Why Does My Kid Do Great at School and Act Out at Home?

It is 4:00PM, and after school snack time.  It feels like you have not been home more than a few minutes, when your child has some form of a meltdown about something minor such as the snack options, starting homework, or for no apparent reason at all.  Does your child seem to hold it together well at school but then fall apart at home?  Do you repeatedly feel surprised when your child’s teacher has nothing but positive reports?  Many of us have either dealt with this personally, or have heard the stories of other parents who have.  

After school melt down

Possible Reasons for After School Melt-downs:

First or all, it is natural and healthy to evaluate this and consider all the possibilities why.  There are certainly times where this is in some way a result of a strained parent-child relationship and/or a need to alter one’s parenting style to better suit the needs of the child.  However, it is also possible that this holds no reflection on your parenting.  Let’s consider all the factors that often go into behavior such as this…

  1. Home is SAFE.  Your child may see home as a safe place to be able to let it all out.  (Though of course, we sometimes wish they wouldn’t let it ALL out).  It is very possible your child worked very hard to keep it together at school and is DONE by the time they reach home.  At least you can be glad that they are not displaying this behavior at school!
  2. Is your child INTROVERTED?  This is another reason that your child may have held it together at school (because being the center of attention, especially negative attention is far from a fave past time of introverts), but then they are exhausted by the time they reach home.  Introverts can be around and enjoy others company, but this drains their energy.  We all know how we get, especially kids, when we are tired!
  3. What does the TEACHER say?  The teacher may have some valid observations since they do see your child in group settings.  Consider how the teacher manages your child’s behavior and if there are strategies you can utilize from them.  Also, consider if there may in fact be issues at school that are overlooked, such as depression or anxiety that are not easily noticed because the child is not acting out.
  4. Lastly, consider your RELATIONSHIP with your child.  It is not uncommon for parents to go through a difficult time with their child at some point during their development.  Is your child’s behavior mostly in response to you? 

What to Do About It?

If the first two, then it would help to provide a calm and relaxing environment and some down time after school.  You may also want to be cautious about bombarding your child with questions at this time, and instead ensure they know you are there to listen if need be.  Lastly, as they get older, it is good to educate them on these needs and how to manage them.  Seek some outside assistance if it becomes too difficult to manage.

If the latter two, then you may try out some different parenting strategies.  Ask yourself if your expectations are reasonable.  Ask yourself if you are “picking your battles.”  Who cares if your child wants to wear two different color socks to go out and play?  This may also be a good time to seek some outside assistance to help as well.  Everyone needs help every so often!
Photo Credit: mdanys via Compfight cc

15 Oct 2014

Our New Name Captures Our Identity

It’s official! Enjoy the press release:

Indianapolis, Indiana: This month, Integrative Health Resources, a counseling practice on the northside of Indianapolis, announced they are changing their name to Gydo: Therapy and Wellness Strategies. After winning the Fishers Flashpoint Business Competition and experiencing rapid growth over the past year, IHR realized their evolving identity needed a new name. Gydo, taken from the Japanese word gaido, means to guide. Gydo: Therapy and Wellness Strategies offers expert, professional guidance in many arenas, including navigating life changes, child custody evaluations, drug and alcohol evaluations and treatment, as well as individual, couples and family therapy.

The new name reflects the energy and direction of the company. “The name change captures the vision of what I initially set out to accomplish when I first opened my practice in the early 1990’s. Gydo encompasses more than just traditional therapy approaches, it also embraces wellness strategies and techniques that focuses on the total individual or family instead of just symptomology.” stated Allen Rader, LCSW and Executive Director of Gydo. Gydo offers customized, tailored approaches to Indianapolis and surrounding area residents designed to help them discover the best their life has to offer.

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About Gydo: Therapy and Wellness Strategies: Gydo has been providing quality individual, couples and family therapy since 2011. Their team includes nine different counselors, each with particular expertise. Under the name Integrative Health Resources, Gydo won the Flashpoint Business Competition in April 2014.

08 Oct 2014

Suicides Leave Two Questions Behind

Last week a prominent artist in a community I belong to committed suicide on Thursday. I know him only through stories from my friends and the amazing art he created for the Indiana CORE Project last year (see image below). Watching my friends reactions reminds me of just how terrible suicide related grief really is.

suicide artist

Grieving Someone Who Committed Suicide

Every death of a human being sucks, hurts deeply and shifts things for those who know them. Suicide, in my experience, is the worst of the worst for those left behind. No death is easy. No grief a cake walk or a happy experience. There are particular elements that make grieving a suicide particularly difficult and painful.

Suicide has been a concrete part of my life since I was 16 years old. That year, one of my classmates committed suicide. He was part of my circle, my parish, but we were never really close. He wasn’t particularly popular either. Yet, hundreds of students came to the memorial service. People who sat next to him in class wondered if they had any responsibility for his death. It was crazy to observe, this massive ripple effect of one suicide.

Since that first experience, I have lost more friends to suicide. Closer friends. Intimate ones. I have yet to lose a client, and I know it will likely happen. I nearly always have at least one client that is suicidal at any given time in my professional life. I myself came extremely close to committing suicide several times my senior year in high school. Despair is a powerful emotion to try and escape.

The recent number of teenage suicides here in Indianapolis and this most recent death – all distant members of my social circle – make me once again aware of how much suicide deaths are hard to grieve. I think the hard part comes from the two questions those left behind always ask each other and themselves:

1. What would push someone to the point that they would take their own life?

2. Was there something I could have done or said that would have made the difference?

Those two questions will make you crazy if you let them. Believe me, I’ve done the hours of agony in the middle of the night, wondering how I failed someone I loved. Those of us who have come close to suicide ourselves can shed some light on the answers to these questions. So please permit me to speak from my own experience, the experience of dear friends, and the experience of many of my clients.

 

1. What would push someone to the point that they would take their own life?

If you’ve never seriously thought about killing yourself, then this question seems impossible to understand. How could anything get so bad that suicide looks like a good idea? Taking yourself out, on purpose, is an extreme action. It’s a final thing. How can death seem preferable to life?

This shift occurs when life itself is unbearable and there seems to be no end in sight. Depression takes over. Not just feeling down, discouraged or worn out. True depression tells you that you are alone in the world with your psychological pain. That trying to change anything in your life is pointless. Every mistake you’ve ever made looms large in your mind, convincing you that you are a total failure. Every time your actions or statements hurt someone you love (as we humans are prone to do) it becomes more evidence that the world is a better place without you. Hope dies. Something precious and valuable is missing or has been taken from you, AND you believe there is no way you will ever experience it or get it back.

It’s a dark and terrible place to be. If this experience continues for too long, or occurs too frequently, suicide looks really appealing.

 

2. Was there something that I could have done or said that would have made the difference?

No, not really. Maybe, but not really. Suicide is an intensely lonely action. When someone has reached a point that they are ready to end their life, they typically feel a sense of clarity and peace. Because the decision is so appealing at that point, they usually hide it from others and may even appear to be “doing better.”

Suicide calls us to feel compassion for the psychological pain of the person who did it and for those who survive them. It is not a time for judgment or recrimination. It is simply a tragedy. We feel powerless because the action of taking one’s life is such an extreme thing to do. In order to feel more in control of our lives, we will try to make ourselves responsible. By trying to blame ourselves for failing them in some way, we believe we will feel better. This perverse logic is false.

Opportunities for intervention may have existed before the decision was made and the action taken. These opportunities are easily missed unless the person is actively presenting them. What I mean is, there are a hundred possible reasons that a person who is thinking about suicide will never tell you, never show that they are depressed to an extent that would make you worry. Don’t beat yourself up for respecting their privacy. Be compassionate toward their memory and towards yourself.

 

Making a Difference

The best action you can take is using your remorse for good by improving things for those still living. Learn all you can about depression and suicide. Start to speak up about your own struggles with your friends and family. Realize that if someone says they are thinking about suicide they aren’t seeking attention. They are saying HEY! I am waking up everyday fighting to convince myself that there is more to life. Help me! So help them. Listen to them talk if they want or just keep them company if they don’t. Text them tomorrow and see how they are doing. Actively demonstrate to them that you are there, and you aren’t scared by what they are going through. Encourage them to seek professional help. Point out to them what is good and beautiful in the world. Try to relieve them of their shame about their struggle. Don’t assume you know what will fix it, be willing to follow their lead. Please add more ideas in the comments below!

On a larger level, we need to truly believe that depression is not a failure of moral fiber or personal character. Depression is a symptom of a brain problem, just like diabetes is symptom of a pancreas problem. Stop judging people for their struggles. Don’t say things like oh, she’s just bipolar. We need to learn how to be comfortable with all our emotions, not just the fun ones. We need more empathy and less judgment. Savor the human connection, in all it’s messy complexities.

22 Sep 2014

3 Happy Family Secrets for Your Family to Use

Does your family seem to be in constant stress and chaos?  Is there too much yelling, overreactions, and not enough communication?  Bruce Feiler may just have the solution.  In this TED talk, he explains his research of happy families and how they achieved it.  He is concise and clear and identifies three things families can do to improve their happiness.  While it is 17 minutes out of your day, it could just be 17 minutes that gives you a new perspective and solution on how to increase your family’s happiness and also help your kids be more independent.  Take a look…

Do you think this can work?  Add your thoughts in the our comments below!

10 Sep 2014

Fear Fuels OCD and 4 Ways You Can Defeat It

The fuel of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is fear. Fears that come in an endless array of shapes and sizes………

If I touch the door knob without washing my hands, I will contract a deadly illness……..worse yet, I may pass it to my children, and then they may die…

OR

If I don’t check to see if the gas stove is off, then my family and I will die from the fumes while we sleep…

Fear Fuels OCD

Fear Grows

 

We believe that the fears can be abated if we take some action (i.e. the compulsion). While many people wash their hands after touching a door or checking the stove once to be sure it is off, persons who suffer from OCD often do these tasks repeatedly. The problem is that the abatement doesn’t last before either that fear or a hundred others rear their ugly head. In exhaustion, we run through vicious cycles of obsessing over a myriad of fears and doing compulsive acts to try to stay the impending doom.

Notice, I say we. I was hit head on by OCD around the age of 13 and spiraled out of control until I finally got help when I was 18. I battled for several more years through counseling, medication, dietary changes, prayer, journaling, education, and exercise until finally I no longer qualified for the diagnosis.

But thinking in terms of fear and worst case scenarios is still my default mode. I have to battle to not let fear run my life. Here are some things I have learned about fear…………whether it be the fear that fuels OCD or a general feeling of anxiousness:

1. Unless someone has a gun to your head or you are in immediate physical danger, 9 times out of 10, fear is a liar.

2. If you give in to assuaging one fear by completing a compulsion, that same fear or 10 others will rapidly take its place.

3. Fear is a bad decision maker. Decisions based on fear usually don’t work out so well.

4. While we generally think courage is the opposite of fear, I find that love is the antidote to fear. Focusing on our love for and from others, for oneself, and God (if you so choose), helps make much wiser decisions.

_______________________________________

If you struggle with fear, try this journal exercise: Write down all the things (big and small) that you have been afraid of in the last week. Now ask yourself, how many of the fears came true?

27 Aug 2014

3 Things to Consider if You’re on the Fence about Medication

There are a vast number of self-help books, peer led support groups, and various other options out there to help yourself, and though there are great benefits to these options, sometimes it is time to do something more.  Many people (and sometimes very rightly so) are hesitant to try the medication option when it comes to mental health.  This is very understandable.  It is not a decision to make lightly.  So, what do you do when you want to do something more than what you’ve been doing, but are either against or on the fence with medication?

meds

Is Medication the Only Option Left?

First of all, therapy is highly recommended.  Yes as a therapist, I may be biased here, but there is an infinite value of a third party person able to objectively help you get some perspective, or reflect on areas of need or progress, or even be a voice that lets you know at what point it is time to reconsider the medication option (if it is something you are willing to reconsider).  I can definitely empathize with trying to avoid using medications, but there are legitimate things to keep in mind if this is your plan.  Read on…

 

No Medication Means:

It is likely going to take a lot more work.  Therapy is hard work with or without medication.  Depending on what concerns you are working on, your thinking process, your social interactions, your emotional experience or more may all be affected by said concern.  For example, depression can significantly impact your ability to see things clearly and to really focus on the positives or progress.  Without that boost of assistance from medication (i.e. increased mental clarity, improved emotional stability, etc), it will likely be harder. With regard to children (with whom I specialize), this means it is harder work for both the child and the parents (and possibly also the school and the daycare, depending on age).  This does not mean progress is not possible, but do know that it will be harder.

It is likely going to take longer to progress.  Again, depending on what you are working on, this can vary greatly.  Medication or not, some people may stay in therapy for years to maintain their mental health, while others may only need 4-6 sessions.  If you choose to give it a try without medication, you are going to have to be patient; whatever the medication might have done to help your thinking or emotions is likely going to take longer to catch up.  Be patient!

Monitor yourself: set small goals, and if you are not progressing, reconsider the medication option.  Not everyone may be receptive to this one, but if things are not getting better, you’ve got to do something!  Everyone is different, which is why any good clinician is going to individualize your treatment.  Yes, some people can make progress without medication.  But, there are others who may discover in this process that they need it.  At the end of the day, it is a quality of life issue.  If you have given it time and effort and are not happy with your progress, then reconsider medication.

 

Medication Is Just Another Tool

In summary, it is a difficult decision whether or not to try medication.  Consider your options and keep the above things in mind.  Should you end up deciding to give medication a try, remember: it may take some trial and error.  Communicate with both your therapist and physician to ensure you are on the right medication and dosage for you.  Also, remember that just because you try medication does not mean you have to stay on it forever!

 

18 Jul 2014

Tango to Happiness

Follow your passion. Do what you love the money will follow.  These are fundamental to having fulfillment and success say the personal development gurus. When they actually appear, it is a real treat.

Tango Dancers on Las Ramblas

Tango with passion

 

Recently I decided to learn the Argentine Tango. That was a surprise on its own but what I found in a dance studio downtown was extraordinary.  There was a pleasant atmosphere as people from all walks of life gently approached me and introduce themselves.  I learned that my $15 dollars not only paid for my one hour group lesson but also for an hour and one half of practice that took place immediately afterwards.  As I was taking in what a great deal this was, our instructor approached me.  Would you like to spend a few minutes prior to class learning a few basics about the tango? Sure.

Thus began the first dance lesson and lecture on the essence of the tango. I was stumbling all over myself attempting to learn something so it took me awhile to realize how different this place was.  This woman was not just teaching me about the tango she was sharing her love of the dance. Once class began I realized that we would be continually changing partners.  Not only were the instructors teaching me but other more advanced students would teach me as we danced together.  I kept stumbling on.  I kept apologizing for wasting the time of the more skilled dancer but they all smiled and told me they had been a beginner once themselves.  At a break someone told me that this was a good group of people.  They told me I would enjoy myself here.  They were right. The instructor, Marie Roil Roach, continued to attempt to bring the love of the tango alive in me.  I and these people were all drawn to the spirit of this extraordinary woman.  I could see how her dedication to the tango and to bringing it to our community had awaken something within her that drew us to her.

Later during another break I overheard her telling one of the students how it all began.  She told of deciding to learn the tango.  She talked of the moment that her instructor asked her to dance with him as an example for the class. Her eyes lit up as she talked of her experience in his arms and how the Argentine Tango is like no other dance.  You could see in her face how that training and that instructor had changed the course of her life. It was an unexpected moment that she acted upon.  We often think that we have to figure life out.  Sometimes we need to be open and to act.

Being around a teacher who is open, has integrity and passion not only attracts us but can open us up.   Several people lately have told me that I was trying too hard. I sort of listened. “ I am building a company. I have to work hard.”  I would think.  Yet when a teacher I trust told me. “You are working too hard. Relax let the music guide you.” I was able to hear her advice differently.  As I let her words in and relaxed.  I noticed my dancing improving.  I remembered times where not trying so hard helped me be more successful. She said nothing profound.  Many instructors have said similar words to their students.  Yet when we let down our defenses and allow someone to touch us, we can hear things differently.   Her passion, integrity and trust is creating different responses not only in her life but also in the lives of others.

Tango Kiss

But this story is about more than love of dance, passion and openness, it is also about dedicating yourself to something greater than yourself.  Marie did not set up a strategic marketing plan dedicated to maximizing her profits as she brought the tango to Indy.  She asked how can I bring the tango to Indy?  The price and instruction is set up to accommodate a variety of people not to maximize her finances.  As you look into her eyes and see the love and passion in them and as you look at the people surrounding her, you will quickly know that she made the choice that was right for her and for our community.

Have you come across someone who is following their passion? How have they affected you? What has it been like to be around them?  I would love to hear about them.

If this blog post has increased your curiosity about the tango.  Riolo Dance‘s web site is www.riolodance.com and Marie’s email is marie2dance@comcast.net.  If you are interested in discovering your passion, then call us today at 317-471-8780 and ask for an appointment with Allen Rader!

 

Image credits: Louise Leclerc via CompfightPatrick McDonald via Compfight

28 May 2014

Meet Judy Bannister, LCSW, LCAC, SAP, NCCE!

I am pleased to introduce Judy Bannister, the fourth member of our executive team and a terrific therapist. Judy’s dedication to professional growth and development cannot be overstated.

Therapy, Addictions, Child Custody – Oh My!

Judy Bannister, LCSW, LCAC, SAP, NCCE

The Fabulous Judy!

Let me start by explaining all of the letters after Judy’s name:

LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Like all of us here at Integrative Health Resources, Judy is a state-licensed, masters-level mental health therapist. This means she is able to assess her clients, give them a diagnosis and work with them as individuals, families or couples. Judy can help you discover the best your life has to offer.

LCAC – Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor: These letters mean Judy has experience and expertise in treating drug and alcohol addition problems. She can provide assessments and treatment that will be accepted by nearly all judges for court purposes. The best part is Judy can help you without increasing your sense of shame or embarrassment. If you are wondering if you have a problem with drugs and alcohol or if you have received a DUI, Judy is the professional for you.

SAP – Substance Abuse Professional: This credential means Judy can help you if you get in trouble with your employer for drugs or alcohol. Those of you who work the Department of Transportation (INDOT) know you need the right person to help you get your career back. Talk to Judy!

NCCE – Nationally Certified Child Custody Evaluator: Now that you see it spelled out, I bet you can tell what this specialty means! Judy is qualified to complete child custody evaluations. With over 15 years of direct experience at the Children’s Bureau, interacting with and training professionals in the child welfare field, Judy knows questions about custody and guardianship inside and out. Now that she has completed mediation training, Judy is the best resource we know of for divorced or divorcing parents.

Phew! I told you Judy’s commitment to professional development was huge!

Judy the Therapist

I’d like to tell you about who Judy is as a person. Judy is really good at asking the right question. The question that reminds you of what you already know, without making you feel like an idiot. She sees broken hearts, troubling behavior, and strained relationships with clarity. She is passionate about her clients, yet she keeps her excellent sense of humor. A parent herself, she understands the importance of strong attachments in a very personal way. I encourage you to take advantage of her personality and expertise right away!

Judy has available appointments now! Call 317-471-8780 to make an appointment.

02 May 2014

Look Away from the Screen! (Not Yet – Read this First)

If you’re in the majority, you probably have more than one technological device (smartphone, tablet, gaming system).  You or your loved ones also are probably inclined to be on any one of these devices more often than not–instead of actual human interaction.  Our “family time” has become people sitting near each other, each in their own techno world.  Why is that?  Why do we look at a screen instead of a person?  Well, I am just as guilty as the next person and admit that it’s convenient, entertaining, and rewarding to be able to answer any given question at any given time (I love to google everything!).

Seriously: 3 little kids with tablet computers on the Q train.Michael Monello via Compfight

However, I find myself thinking often about how it is sad that my family and I cannot get through a dinner without someone checking their phone, or complaints about dinner at the dinner table instead of in front on the television.  What happened to good ol’ conversation?  Well, I have compiled a list of ideas to help combat this ongoing and ever growing concern of family relationships in the digital age…

6 Ideas to Reduce or Improve Screen Time

1.  Think about instituting a no tech time: maybe at dinner, one night a week, or one day over the weekend.

2.  Incorporate technology into quality time: ask and be interested in what each other is doing on their various technological devices.

3.  Make a point to slow down, appreciate the moment and be present when a non-tech opportunity to interact arises: your son/daughter is playing a sport, instrument, etc.

4.  Get creative!  Use ideas from technology (pinterest, facebook, etc) and get your family involved in something that might get them a little messy and give them a chance to express themselves creatively.

5.  Model for kids (the younger, the better) interactions without technology.  If you are making a point to not take calls or emails after a certain time, kids will pick up on that.

6.  Use waiting times to engage with your child, either with or without a tech device.  We know this happens to us all: waiting for a table at a restaurant, waiting at a doctor’s office.  So, let’s use that time for things other than checking our email.

 

Remember, your kids will take their cues from you.  If you are making the point to engage and interact, then this will be their norm.  If you make it a standard to set aside technology, even for just a short time, then they will see that.  Lastly, keep in mind that this is an ongoing challenge, especially with more and more technology options.  It sounds easier than it is, but you can do it!

15 Apr 2014

4 Destructive Relationship Habits

Relationships are complicated and require daily work to maintain. When we maintain healthy relationships the payback can be quite fulfilling and rewarding. Often when couples get together they believe the fairy tale of happy ever after. There is a happy ever after for those willing to put the work in and look at their individual part in maintaining the happy ever after.

John Gottman of the Gottman Institute has studied relationships and has identified four criteria in couples that are predictors of success or failure in the relationship. He calls them the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and names them this because relationships do not end because of anger and conflict but how the individuals communicate in their relationship. Gottman believes anger and conflict can be good for the relationship if the communication helps them clear the air. Anger and conflict can become destructive when the four horsemen ride into the communication. Gottman calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman)

First step to ridding your relationship of these four horsemen is for you to observe and recognize when you use these tactics. With recognition comes the opportunity to change these behaviors so communication goes from destructive to constructive.

1. Criticism is the overgeneralized complaints that attack your partner’s character. Criticism uses phrases like: “You never,” “You always,” “You should,” “Why don’t you ever,” and “Why are you always?” When we criticize we set up a scenario where one partner is right and the other one is wrong. Criticism inevitably invites in another horseman: Defensiveness, because when we are criticized we feel we need to defend ourselves.

2. Contempt is psychologically abusing your partner with hostile words and body language. Contempt is more destructive then criticism because contempt is meant to harm and hurt with words and body language. When someone uses contempt they often will use putdowns, insults, name calling, yelling and screaming, sarcasm and hurtful phrases. Phrases like: “You’re no good”, “There is something wrong with you”, or “Why can’t I get you to understand your thinking is wrong”. Contempt can also be conveyed by how you respond to the person non-verbally. Examples are; eye rolling, looking away, not making eye contact, stomping out of the room. These behaviors, words and phrases send a clear message you do not see your partner as a full participating person in this conversation. The message is meant to demean and take away from the other person’s self-esteem and self-worth.

3. Defensiveness is a way of protecting oneself from a perceived or real attack. People will say they are feeling attacked and have become the victim. Defensiveness is a way to block a verbal attack. Defensiveness leads to flooding of emotions, which leads to blocking out what the other person is saying. This is where blame and hardening of your stance grows and you no longer hear what your partner is saying, you simply defend. This can then lead to escalation of out of control behaviors. Anger is matched with anger, blame with blame, excuses increase and phrases become black and white; “You never feed the dog”,” It’s all your problem”, You never do what I want you to do”, “Yes but”, “It’s not my fault I…” Defensiveness keeps you from solving issues and impedes communication.

4. Stonewalling is withdrawing from the relationship in order to avoid conflict. When the discussion has digressed to yelling or nonproductive communication stonewalling is a way of shutting down the possibility of any resolution. Leaving the room, giving the other person the silent treatment, turning away and focusing on something else, turning up the volume on the TV are clear signs the situation has digressed to disrespect, mistrust, accusations and nonproductively. Sometimes the person stonewalling thinks they are calming things down, in reality it sends a message of displeasure, disconnection, division, complacency, arrogance or self-riotousness. Stonewalling is a behavior that predicts a relationship is in trouble.

Do you experience any of these patterns of behavior regularly in your relationship? If so there are things you can do to change how you communicate so there is an increase in healthy communication and enjoyment in your relationship. Please call us if these behaviors have become too familiar in your relationship.

(Four Patterns that will sink your Relationship: Review of Gottman’s Four Horsemen by Michael T. Halyard, MBA, MS, MFT)

12 Mar 2014