Therapy That Works...

The Effect Of A Father's Involvement On Bullying - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Watch Dr Sylvia discuss how every minute a father spends with his child can reduce their likelihood of becoming a bully

Click here.

A Father's Influence Can Prevent Bullying - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Do your children think you work too much and don't spend enough time with them? New research from Vanderbilt University says that every minute that fathers spend with their children may actually be lowering their chances of becoming bullies.

How do you explain that the father’s time has more influence on bullying in kids?

This study has been a big surprise since most of us tend to think that the mother’s time with the kids would have the greatest effect. Not so, says this new study since the father is the key player here. But the crux of the matter is the child’s perception of the father’s interest and investment. If a neglected child feels valued and loved, they are much less likely to exhibit bullying behaviors. But if he felt neglected and marginalized by a busy dad, whether he was in fact really ignored or not, can determine whether he will show the following behaviors:

  • Cruelty to others at school
  • Disobedience at school
  • Hanging out with the wrong crowd
  • Having a bad temper
  • A lack of remorse for his misbehavior

Why would the mother’s schedule not have more of an impact?

While mothers are still centrally important to the child, they are often involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the child and his needs. Women still perform at least double the amount of childcare that men do although that number has dropped with the new economy that has centrally impacted men. But her tasks are often rote and non-inclusive—laundry, cooking, cleaning—that don’t include the child in dialogue or play. That’s where fathers come in.

Why are dads so important in preventing bullying?

Popular Through Humor: Often the father is the chief role model in resolving conflict without violence and in achieving social status without aggression. Bullying is essentially a strategy to gain social status through intimidation. We no longer think of the bully as the loner who lashes out. In fact, studies have found most bullies are among the most popular and socially connected children at school and torture others to raise their profile. Dads go a long way in helping kids socialize successfully through humor, repartee, and good-natured kidding with others.

Dads Teach Problem Solving: An attentive, competent father helps the child to reign in his aggression toward others and to play well with others by sharing, creating opportunities for group “wins”, etc. Dads can coach kids to solve problems, not create them.

Children Will Confide Through Activities: Dads are vital in just showing up and being present in their kid’s life. There is absolutely no substitute for putting in the face time with a young boy or girl. Dads are great at getting kids to talk through activities—throwing a ball around, building model cars or ships, and just hanging out watching the game.

Here are some specific suggestions for fathers who are worried about their kids:

If you plan to spend more time, make the interaction count. I always advise fathers to include planned, special activities with their son or daughter such as pancakes on Saturday morning or time at the gym together. Literally plan a “date” with your child.

It is also important that these interactions are one-on-one and you don’t try to cover all your bases by having one interaction with all of your children at once. Your absolute, undiluted attention on one child is an incredible influence and can really make the difference in their lives.

Battle Hymn of the Western Mother - Verbal Abuse - By Chris Gearing

Monday, February 28, 2011

Survival Of The Kindest - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

With Valentine’s just around the corner, millions of Americans are planning a special treat for our sweetheart. But new research from the University of California at Berkeley suggests that giving to others throughout the year may actually be the secret of good health and can even extend your life.

So exactly how can giving to others actually be a benefit to ourselves?

Scientists have long thought that the survival of the fittest was the gold standard on longevity and on success—the “dog eat dog” mentality where the best competitors survive against all odds. But we are finding that human beings are actually hard wired for giving to others—what psychologists call selflessness. Now we know that caring for others is biologically based too. Sympathy, socializing in groups, caring for our offspring and elderly parents, helping someone across the street, and donating money to charities are all a part of our basic and better nature.

The best news is that you actually increase your own lifespan when you reach out to others consistently. In landmark research psychologists now report that people who serve others--whether it’s through building a house or caring for an elderly parent--will not only increase their happiness quotient but may live longer and better than others.

How does helping someone else improve your physical health?

In the Company of Others: We are built to move in communities and Mother Nature punishes those who do not reach out. Socializing actually increases your immunity and protects you from illness. Sadly, isolated people have double the mortality rates. Giving to others keeps you socializing and alive.

Helper’s High: Research reports that volunteerism produces a helper’s high, similar to a runner’s high. The best part is that volunteers then have a longer lasting sense of calm and heighted emotional well being. Your mood literally improves as you serve the interests of others. A study of almost 3000 men found that those who volunteered for community organizations were two and a half time less likely to die. Volunteering is literally a way to ward off old age.

Giving to Others Literally Counteracts Stress. Giving to others can actually combat the effects of stress by preventing the nervous system from being overwhelmed when adversity arises. When we earn the gratitude of others, our brains are flooded with endorphins, those neurological hormones that make us feel so much better.

Reach Out to Others: Interestingly, even giving to others when your life isn’t going well may be a secret to getting through hard times. In one study, a sociologist studied the data from over 100 disasters. People who reached out to others survived the longest, made the best recoveries and enjoyed the best health.

Continued Giving: People who continue to give over time earn the best dividends. You may literally age slower—your skin will stay moist, your muscles may be more toned, you won’t lose so much hair—because you are less stressed. The bottom line is that positive emotions like compassion and empathy are incredibly powerful feelings and your body and mind love them. Better yet, they will keep you alive longer.

The Warning Signs of Violence - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Role of Fathers In TRON: Legacy - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 24, 2011

What To Do About Your Self-Mutilating Teen - By Chris Gearing

Friday, October 22, 2010

How To Spot Teens Who Cut And Burn Video - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stopping Self-Mutilation - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stopping Self-Mutilation:

What To Do About Teens Who Cut And Burn

Cutting, burning, and pinching are all ways that teenagers try to hurt themselves. A recent study found that 20% of teens have engaged in self-injury at some point in their adolescence.

But what’s the big deal?

Underlying Diagnosis: Beyond the obvious risks of serious physical injury or infection, this behavior can have devastating consequences psychologically. Self-injury is usually caused by some kind of deeper issue such as undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and extreme social isolation. In addition, teens who self-mutilate are at a much higher risk to commit suicide.

Lack of Coping: Most self-injurers report that they use it as a means to cope with negative emotions and to calm themselves down. In effect, their self-mutilation tricks the brain into releasing endorphins which numb pain and cause a sense of euphoria.

Teens hurt themselves for reasons that fit into four distinct categories:

1.) Release of tension and to stop negative feelings about themselves or others

2.) To feel, experience, and maybe even enjoy pain

3.) The classic “cry for help”

4.) To become an outsider

Here’s are some specifics ways that teens hurt themselves:

  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Carving into their skin
  • Intentional breaking of bones
  • Sticking with pins and needles

Parents, your daughters are more likely to cut, carve, and insert pins and needles while your sons are more likely to burn and intentionally break bones.

Now, is this a passing fad or something that parents should really be worried about?

Cyclical Nature: After committing harms to themselves, self-injurers often feel shame about what they have done and fear social rejection for their scars and behavior. This in turn only reinforces whatever anxiety or depression they were feeling beforehand and can start the cycle all over again.

Consequences For Life: Around eighty percent of self-mutilators report stopping the behavior within a few years of starting it due to "growing out of it" or they sought help. However, those who report self-injury tend to report higher levels of sadness and difficulty for the rest of their lives.

If you or someone you know is engaging in self-injury, please seek professional help immediately. This is an extremely difficult thing to deal with without the help of a professional therapist.

Sources:

"The Kids Aren't All Right" by Rachael Rettner on MSNBC.com, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39100605/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

Dating Violence Among Teens - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dating Violence Among Teens

CBS 11 News

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

With the start of school, parents need to be aware of when they need to be concerned about violence in their teen’s relationship.

Depression is Rising:

Dating violence among teens is a very real phenomenon that has increased enormously in the last five years due to the increasing rates of depression and anxiety in teens and twentysomethings. A new study reports that more cases of severe mental illness are being reported among college students than a decade ago.

Parents Should Be Aware:

Parents should be aware that domestic violence in adolescent dating relationships peaks in high school with around 45% of all kids experiencing violence at the hands of a partner. Once a teen is abused or becomes the abuser, the pattern tends to continue with both sexual and emotional violence increasing in high college.

Here are the specific signs to look for if you're worried that your teen is a victim of violence:

Avoiding The Truth:

Teens who are being abused are generally shell shocked. They are literally frozen by the stress. They have no idea what is going on and fail to protect themselves. Many kids from good homes are naive about what abuse is, normalize the actions of the abusive partner and make excuses for the abuser until it is too late.

It Begins with Verbal Violence:

Parents should be on the lookout for verbally abusive texts, emails, phone calls or outright face-to-face shouting. Emotional violence is usually the first type of abuse in a relationship and is the most common type of relationship violence.

Teen Becoming Isolated:

Abusive partners prefer that their partner remains isolated and unable to turn to others for help. In addition, the abused partner isolate herself from friends and family. She seems to shed her former relationships—best friends, family connections, socializing patterns. She stops responding to others and denies she is being victimized.

Increasing Anxiety and Depression:

Domestic abuse victims show signs of anxiety and depression such as agitation, sadness, withdrawal, low energy, emotional mood swings, tearfulness and a decline in functioning at school.

Progressive Pain:

Look for signs of increasing disconnection from others, less responsiveness and avoidant behavior. She is locked in a cage of agony and doesn’t know how to ask for help.

When you hear "domestic violence," you probably think of a man hitting a woman. But that's not always the case:

These days, it seems that neither gender is safe. On average, about half of women have been a victim of domestic violence along with 27% of men. However, this number is probably low for men because of under-reporting of abuse. In fact, we’re hearing more and more about women stalking men who have rejected them.

The causes for each type of domestic violence seem to be quite different. Male-on-female violence seems to be much more about control and domination while female-on-male violence is more verbally expressive and is used to communicate pain, jealousy, frustration, and other emotions.

Parents, here's what you can do to help:

Many family and friends prefer not to get involved out of respect for personal boundaries. However, this is one time that you need to speak up as a parent. Caring about your child now involves compassionate intervention. Do not turn your back.

Gather Evidence:

Collect the observations you have had and organize them into a coherent conversation. Specify behaviors you have seen and conversations you may have overheard or read online or through texting.

Stand Your Ground:

Domestic violence at this age is especially lethal since adolescent brains are often immature and impulsive. They literally lack the critical thinking skills to put it all together. That’s where a smart parent comes in.

Get the Community Involved:

If you present your evidence and they are still resistant, go to their community of friends, family, religious leaders and ask them to help. For more serious cases, please seek out a psychologist. However difficult these steps are, they may very well save your child’s life.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Sources:

JAMA

Archives Journals (July 8, 2008) Relationship Violence Appears Common Among College Students


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