Encouraging Your Teen’s Creativity

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

How do you support your teen’s creative expression? – Sandra

There is a whole population of creative children gifted with the ability to dance, sing, paint, draw, write music, play instruments, and express themselves. Not everyone is meant to be a dentist, lawyer, engineer, scientist, or accountant. Yet, the drive is to prepare teenagers to enter college, and artistic endeavors are considered less worthy of classroom time or school funding.

Some adolescents are academically oriented, and can thrive in the classroom. But others perceive life through colors, sound, images and movement. For them, the highlight of their day may be watching an amazing sunset, dancing to a fantastic musical arrangement, or singing the lyrics of a song that speaks to them.

All teenagers want and need to feel masterful in some way. How are we honoring a teen’s authentic self-expression if we are asking them to fit into a mold that does not value their talents? What message are we giving to these artists?

In this fast changing world, future jobs that today’s youth will hold may not as yet exist. If teens are not forced into a mold of their parent’s or society’s design, then I believe their natural inclinations towards exploration and resourcefulness will be maintained. Parents who support their child in finding ways to honor their creative expression are giving their child the gift of a lifetime.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

A Cure for Teen Bullying

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Read on to learn effective options for dealing with bullying. – Sandra

Did you know that feelings are our body’s way of keeping us alert to our safety? The primitive reptilian part of our brain needs to be guided by the reasoning part of our brain. Emotion gets our attention, but then what we do with that information determines the success of the outcome.

Teens, although highly vulnerable to slights, are quick to dish them out. Testing each other, and the world, they are often uncensored in their expression. It is important to help teens process and digest their experiences, that they might grow from them.

Teachers, parents, classmates and siblings have all been known to say things that were experienced as hurtful. By teaching teens how to slow down and tolerate their immediate discomfort, they can begin to understand what they are feeling, and think about how they want to respond.

Unless a fellow classmate is pathologically disturbed, simple techniques like using humor or walking away have turned around a good number of “bullying” situations. By helping the teen understand what the taunting means to them, we also have an opportunity to address underlying self-esteem issues that existed long before a particular insult was delivered.

Bottom line, life is not always fair and not everyone will like us. The capacity to accept oneself and to be comfortable in one’s own skin is invaluable in living in a world of diversity–where differences in preference and opinions abound.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Spend Quality Time With Your Teen

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

To improve your parent-child relationship, I recommend this 20 minute daily activity. – Sandra

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Set aside 20 minutes a day where there are no interruptions. Turn off cell phones and try to pick a time when you do not have other things that either of you need to be doing.

2. Let your teenager know that this time will be your special time together, and that you have no expectations on how this time will look.

3. Follow your adolescent’s lead. Talk about whatever they want to talk about. Discover what they want from you during this time. Do they want you to admire them? Respond to them but do not take over and direct them.

4. Watch, wait and wonder about what your teen is telling you. Enter their world and reflect on their experience of life.

5. Avoid giving advice or showing displeasure with what they are offering to share with you.

6. Instead, make observations and/or ask questions about what you hear. (”You sound proud of yourself. What are you planning to do next?”)

7. Have fun. Try to give yourself over completely to the enjoyment of a glimpse into your teenager’s life. You will only find it boring if your mind is stuck in the adult world. Try to be entirely present with your teen. Your adolescent will tell you a lot about themselves and their world if you allow yourself to be receptive.

8. Remember this is not a teaching time. Try to avoid praising or criticizing. You want the motivation of making good choices to ultimately come from within the teenager rather than through praise or punishment.

9. Sometimes, these conversations may elicit strong reactions or uncomfortable feelings on the part of the parent. These reactions may be helpful to reflect on in a supportive setting, like with a parent educator, therapist or another parent you feel safe with. It is important to understand what your feelings mean in regards to your relationship with your child.

10. Try to spend quality time every day, particularly during times of stress in the teen or family’s life.

Last, but not least, make sure to also leave 20 minutes a day for yourself to rest, relax, and do something just for you. (Catching up on household tasks does not count) This time allows you to restore yourself.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Tips On Parenting Teenagers

A Note From The LA Teen Therapist and Life Coach

Parenting teens is an entirely different job than parenting small children. – Sandra

Parents must make the transition from being a parent who provides for all their child’s needs to one who coaches their teen to handle their frustrations and needs for themselves. The challenge is how to deal with the willfulness, clinging, or the demands typical of this period.

Parents need to be able to respond to their teen in ways that affirm the dignity and power of both parent and child. The parent who cannot tolerate their teen choosing to defy them, by wanting to do things independently of their parents, will make that child feel as though the price of their autonomy is the loss of love.

Successful navigation of this phase of life involves setting boundaries and enforcing consequences without becoming punitive, angry, or judgmental. Respectful parenting involves seeing the frustrations teens encounter when pushing against imposed boundaries as opportunities for them to exercise the muscles of self-control, self-respect, and respect for others.

The parenting role must shift during the teen years to supporting their growing independence and preparing them to meet the challenges & frustrations of daily life. Your responsibility as a parent is to teach your child the skills they will need to succeed in the world prior to leaving your home. Respectful, conscious and positive parenting is fair, flexible, and has learning, rather than submission as its goal. Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth.

Hearing and respecting feelings, allowing choice, yet setting fair and clear limits on unacceptable behavior is the healthy balance that we should all strive for. Some parents use authoritarian parenting strategies that do not allow the child an independent voice or sense of efficacy. Other parents overcompensate with overly permissive parenting that doesn’t teach kids about limits and self-control. Research shows both extremes can interfere with kids’ ability to regulate their emotions and form healthy relationships as adults. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of developing into a mature adult. 

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Maximizing Your Teen’s Cooperation

family problems

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Your teen is in the process of learning how to tolerate and digest their uncomfortable feelings, so be sure to give them the space to do this. – Sandra

Sometimes parents need to act as their teen’s surrogate frontal lobe by helping them name their feelings, explore options, and figure out if solutions agreed upon take both party’s needs into consideration. For a teen to be able to participate successfully in conflict-resolution discussions with you, they must first:

  • Be able to identify and articulate their concerns.
  • Be able to consider a range of possible solutions.
  • Be able to reflect on the likely outcome of those solutions, as well as the degree to which they are mutually satisfactory.

How can you help your teen gain the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution? By involving them in the decision-making process in a collaborative way. Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively.

Here is a list of video tutorials explaining Collaborative Problem Solving, a new approach to working with challenging behavior in teens.

1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

4. Collaborative Problem solving aka Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teaching Teens Life Skills

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist and Life Coach

The following are some teen skills that teens will need to know to succeed in the world. – Sandra

CAN YOUR TEEN DEMONSTRATE THE FOLLOWING LIFE SKILLS?

  • Expressing feelings appropriately
  • Making a sincere apology
  • Resisting peer-pressure while maintaining dignity with peers
  • Maintaining proper and appropriate hygiene
  • Using proper table manners
  • Planning and preparing a meal
  • Managing time effectively
  • Being a smart consumer
  • Using conflict resolution techniques to avoid arguments
  • Maintaining proper boundaries with others
  • Minimizing the chances of becoming a victim of crime
  • Handling emergency situations
  • Knowing how to act and what to say during a job interview
  • Earning, saving and spending money responsibly
  • Being able to recognize a person of poor character

If not, you may want to consider setting aside a portion of time each week to discuss and teach these skills to your teen. The best way to approach the subject is by creating a heartfelt discussion. You want to make this a positive experience for your teen.

Implementing these concepts can take some time, and will vary substantially depending on the emotional maturity of your child. Please don’t feel like you have to tackle them all at once. Try setting aside 20 minutes at a time each week where there are no interruptions, and have fun with the process.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

The “Loneliness Cure” for Teens

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Times have changed from when kids would walk out their front door and go visit with the neighborhood kids.

 

It’s not enough to have a ton of “friends” on Facebook, followers on Instagram, or be known by numerous people (for one can feel isolated even in a crowd, or alone within their own family). At the same time, with only a few trusted, heartfelt connections, one can enjoy time in solitude, and not feel lonely. It’s really all about the quality of the connection.

Which is why the Teen Years are so important for cultivating the skills of authentic connection. It’s not about being the most popular, talented, smartest or prettiest. It’s about learning how to find your tribe, and build connections that suit you. This begins by slowing down long enough to know who you are (deep down inside), and cultivating the courage to share that with others.

So much of today’s social media is hype: Using filters to enhance your image, picking the best “selfie” out of the bunch to share, editing your words until they sound perfect, or only talking about the good things happening in your life. This can leave many young people feeling inadequate compared to these doctored personas, leading to insecurity, self-loathing and isolation.

We need to help today’s young people to understand that there was a world that existed before the hype, where people formed bonds based on shared interests and an investment in creating a safe space to share yourself, imperfections and all. Feeling lonely in inevitable at various times in our lives. But there is a cure … in learning how to build heartfelt connections.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Why Today’s Young-Adults Are Struggling

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A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

My very first clients in my Teen Therapy practice are now young-adults.

Many clients have continued to return as they have encountered new developmental challenges; like leaving for college, their first apartment, their first job, and their first love.

Over the span of 15 years, I have noticed a growing trend that I find concerning. These young people are getting burnt-out, over-stimulated by the bombardment of information and constant connection available through technology. Add to this the concerted effort they just put in to create the perfect college application, SAT scores, essays and grades, and you have a recipe for them shutting down, or tipping over, as they enter or leave college.

I’ve witnessed many bright college students, who successfully completed AP courses and got accepted to top name schools, failing out of their first year. Unfortunately, they never cultivated the social and emotional coping-skills necessary to thrive, as they were too busy to truly examine what wasn’t working in their lives, and how they might respond more effectively. Pushing to always “do” more, they lost their ability to self-reflect along the way.

So they turned to drugs, video-games, binge-watching Netflix, and casual sex to distract themselves from their stress. These ineffective coping skills are then carried into their college classwork, relationships, and jobs. Thus, the haven’t learned to tolerate the boredom of a repetitious task. They haven’t cultivated the patience to wait for a desired outcome. They don’t yet know how to communicate their wants and needs in a graceful manner, so they blow-up relationships with bosses, coworkers and friends, or worse, they suffer in silence.

Clearly, this is not true for every young-adult. But there are many who are suffering. If you are a parent reading this, you know what I’m referring to. Life is not the same as when you were growing up. Children are expected to prepare for college starting as early as middle-school. After-school sports no longer teach team-building skills for the average athlete, but are instead gateways for athletic scholarships. Summers are used to pad college applications with internships, jobs and advanced classes. Kids are being pushed to excel just to earn a chance at a college admission.

In my experience, it’s clear that today’s youth are missing out on opportunities that help cultivate their character strengths, social, and emotional intelligence. This is what I am advocating. This is what I’m offering. This is why I say that there isn’t a young person in America today, who wouldn’t benefit from working with a mentor, coach, or therapist.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens Coping With Anxiety

Teen doing yoga

A Note From The LA Teen Therapist

If your teen stressed out or anxious about school or friends, I can help them learn to self-soothe and self-reflect. – Sandra

When a teen is willing to talk about their fears and anxieties, I try to listen carefully and respectfully, without discounting their feelings. I help them understand that increased feelings of judgement and/or embarrassment about their body, performance, and peer relationships are fairly common in adolescence.

Some teens are naturally more shy and quiet than others. As their bodies, voices, and emotions are going through changes, this population may become even more self-conscious. In extreme cases, the adolescent may isolate themselves, unable to overcome their intense feelings of self-doubt and worry.

By encouraging your teen to examine their situations and experiences, I help them reduce the overwhelming nature of their feelings. Although their concerns may be real, there are techniques I can teach them to better manage their stress and anxiety.

Extreme anxiety in teens often benefits from a therapeutic intervention. Talk therapy, role-playing, conscious breathing exercises can help turn this painful situation around. An effective treatment plan is individualized to your teenager and family. While anxiety disorders can cause considerable upset in your teen’s life, the prognosis is very good.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

The Benefits of Teen Therapy

handonshoulder

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Is teen therapy a necessity, luxury, or perhaps a stepping stone to well-being and success? – Sandra

It is not uncommon for parents to seek that cutting edge experience that will boost their teen’s self-esteem, motivation and character. From private tutors, to semesters abroad, parents look for ways to provide their child everything they need to succeed.

In the time of Freud, talk therapy was available only to the select few who could afford it. Self-reflection, through the process of talking to a trained professional, resulted in greater self-awareness and self-acceptance. Symptoms that had long plagued clients were eliminated, as clients came to understand the purpose those symptoms served, and integrate their life experiences.

Today, many parents hesitate to take their teen to a therapist to address the issues that may be impacting their teen’s performance, or quality of life, afraid that they will be labeled problem kids or emotionally disturbed. Yet, if your teen is struggling, a specialist in teenagers can help you to discover the cause and address it.

The reason I offer a free initial parent consultation is to assess the challenges your family is dealing with, and offer my best recommendations on how to remedy the situation.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Depressed?

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white

A Note From The LA Teen Therapist

Teen depression seems to be on the increase. What is causing this epidemic in our teenagers? ~ Sandra

During the teenage years, the pressure to conform with their peers can be incredibly strong. Social media, advertising and television are all telling kids how they are supposed to look and feel, and what is important in life.

A teen’s natural expression, talents, achievement and character can look inadequate next to trends being promoted through social media. Kids who feel different or deprived may spiral down into self-judgement, and loathing. Depression has been the result of changes in our society where a teen’s needs for companionship, healthy goals, responsibility, connection to others and life-meaning are not being met.

Parents are often distressed by their teen’s pain, and lack of interest in activities. Yet, pushing for a different outcome without addressing the cause simply creates more pressure, and distance between the parent and their child. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “The idea that one must be, and look, endlessly cheerful is a destructive and daunting expectation for teens. In actuality, it is perfectly normal to experience “the blues.” He went on to suggest that kids need to learn that happiness is not some end point to be achieved, but rather something that occurs in moments … and that more a more effective goal is to seek a sense of peace and contentment through life’s ups and downs, learn how to see and accept life as is, and find ways to respond appropriately to each situation.

It is important for parents to make a distinction between Situational Depression; a normal reaction to stressful situations or losses, and Clinical Depression; believed to be caused by brain chemistry and not related to external situations. Regardless of the cause, it can be beneficial for teens to work through these periods with help from a trained professional. Emotional well-being means learning how to find resilience, contentment, comfort, and serenity among the various expressions of one’s moods. This is a journey that occurs as one matures. If your teen is in crisis, I would be happy to asses the situation and help remedy it.

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Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

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Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Teens With ADD

boy.school

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It can be challenging to keep your teen on course with all they need to learn in order to become an independent young adult. – Sandra

Unfortunately, angry and irritated responses on your part do nothing to motivate your teen, and only serve to damage your connection with each other. You are both better served by trying to understand why your teen is giving up so easily, such that you might help remedy the problem.
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It is important for your teen to discover how to harness their strengths, to help him/her move towards their dreams. Teens often do not understand the reasoning behind the general education classes, assignments and tests they are required to complete. For teens with learning challenges, it can be like trudging through molasses to turn in assignments. Your teen desperately needs you to understand why he/she is struggling, accept that they are doing the best they are able to do in this moment, and guide them in how they can do better.
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A goal in my working with teens with ADD is to assist your teen in moving beyond their frustrated or defiant stance about school. A tough love approach usually does not work because frustration, not love, is speaking. Teens do best when they feel supported and connected. also, please know that ADD is not a quick fix. Patterns of reaction may be in place between the two of you, as well as with your teen and their schoolwork, that will need to be turned around.
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Parents need to be able to enter into open discussions with their teen where they can discover what their child is feeling, as well as help their child explore their feelings of frustration and upset. Perhaps it’s time for you and your teen to have a chat with the academic counselor at their school about their homework challenges, that the counselor might help you explore options for making up any missed work. Your teen may need to go early to school, stay late, or miss lunch break to complete those assignments.
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It is also not your fault that your teen is struggling. You do not have to feel you must act angry in order to express the seriousness of your concern. Anger can feel like a retaliation for not pleasing you, and confuses the issue altogether. His/her not doing their homework is not a personal defiance of you. It is a cry for help.
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Your teen’s hope and enthusiasm, as well as his/her sense of capability need to be intact as they leave school to finally enter the world. Battles over homework will not accomplish that. There is a better way…..

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen A Perfectionist?

 A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Highly intelligent and creative teens can find themselves struggling to fit in with their peers. – Sandra

The National Association of Gifted Children came out with a list linking characteristic strengths of gifted children with possible problems that might develop.

Because of the difference between their conceptual abilities and their actual development, highly intelligent teens are able to envision outcomes that they are, as yet, unable to perform. Therefore, they frequently end up feeling frustrated and discouraged when learning new things.

By projecting “perfectionism” onto everything they do, these unrealistic self-expectations can result in feelings of inadequacy. Able to anticipate the challenges in new experiences, they can become hesitant to try new things for fear of failing.

Gifted teens can also be hypersensitive to noise, light and the emotions of others, sometimes causing overreaction and difficulty in social settings. These teens often find it easier to be in the company of people older than them.

HELPFUL HINTS:

  • Common interest groups can be helpful for meeting other teens with similar experiences.
  • Parents can help their children to understand and digest their life experiences.
  • Professionals can help normalize your teen and family’s experience.

RESOURCES:

**Note: If your teen is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it. I invite you take that critical next step, and allow me to demonstrate the support I can offer to you and your family.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Your Teen Struggling Academically?

Father Helping Daughter with Homework

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Psycho-diagnostic testing is used to determine the cause and nature of a teen’s difficulties with academic performance. – Sandra

COMMON LEARNING DISORDERS INCLUDE:

Once it has been determined that your teen would benefit from an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), your child becomes eligible for special accommodations at school. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Being moved to the front of the classroom.
  • Receiving extra time on tests and quizzes.
  • Written instructions from the teacher regarding homework assignments.
  • Extra time with the teachers.

Clarifying the problem is the first step towards getting your teen the support they need. It is important that school personnel understand that your teen’s challenges are not originating from a behavioral problem. (although frustration stemming from unaddressed learning challenges can result in “acting out” behaviors)

While learning disorders do present a challenge to your teen’s academic success, they do not need to derail their educational process. With emotional and educational support, teens with learning disorders can have a positive and successful high school experience.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Raising Emotionally Resilient Teenagers

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Children learn early on that in order to please others, they sometimes have to give up being who they are. I help teenagers re-discover their true self-expression. – Sandra

Since it is their natural inclination to want to feel connected, children may put aside their feelings to “belong.” As children try and mold themselves to fit an image that their parents, teacher or friends want them to be, they may suppress their needs to the point where they are no longer in touch with what they really feel.

Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are overwhelmed by new feelings. If teens believe that they are responsible for making other’s happy, or that others are responsible for making them happy, they become a victim of others’ choices.

While it is not uncommon for parents to have expectations that they wish their teen to fulfill, it is essential that parents also provide their children with the space to truly be seen and heard. Ultimately, the lessons you want and need to teach them are:

  • Love and appreciate yourself.
  • Stand strong in what is true for you.
  • Trust and believe in yourself.
  • Don’t waste time looking for other’s approval.

Parents typically teach what they know. If you came from a household where your parents were absent or pre-occupied with their own challenges, you may have be left to grow-up on your own. Depending upon the age difference between you and your child, you may also not yet have had the opportunity to master all of the life skills you want to teach.

In closing, it has been said that it “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” In reality, there is great value in reaching out for support during the process of laying a solid foundation for your child’s future. You are not required to do it alone. Through enlisting the help of professional resources, family, and friends, you can provide your child with the experiences necessary for them to become strong, successful and emotionally healthy young adults.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens At Risk For Drug Addiction

Help

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Negative feelings aren’t always comfortable. Self-medication is often an attempt to avoid uncomfortable emotional states. – Sandra

Many people strongly dislike feeling sad, anxious, angry or insecure. So much so, that they will do anything to avoid these feelings, such as taking or drinking mood altering chemicals. People who are at high risk of actually becoming addicted to these substances often lack a feeling of deep connections to others. Meaning, they are emotionally cut off from most of the people in their life.

Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are often overwhelmed by new feelings. Substance abuse in teenagers may be used for attention seeking, escaping feelings of social isolation, and/or fitting in.

Reaching out in times of challenge is always a wise decision. If you have noticed changes in a yourself, your child, or a friend’s behavior that leads you to suspect that drugs are involved, I have numerous resources available to help you to help yourself/them.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Being Bullied?

bullyorbullied

A Note From The LA Teen Therapist

A solid anti-bullying campaign starts in the home – with loving parents. – Sandra

“As a father, I will serve as the champion defender for my son. I do not want him to be the target of a bully’s reckless comments, but I cannot isolate him in a protective bubble. He will, one day, feel the sting of someone’s deliberate arrows of cruelty. And to prepare him, I will spend plenty of time coaching my son on how to neutralize the comments from an angry peer.” ~ Nick Vujicic

UNDERSTANDING BULLIES:
Many times a bully is seeking power. If they don’t receive a sense of having some legitimate power at home – because they are in an environment where they are constantly being told what to do, as well as how and when to do it – they may seek power outside the home which can present in the form of bullying.

I also think it is important for us to understand that kids who are bullied may be attracting the attention of the other kids in ways that make them feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they are smaller, acting in unusual ways, suffering from mental or emotional challenges, or lacking maturity and/or social skills. The bully then exploits these other kid’s discomfort by leading them to pick on the victim – or simply react out of their own discomfort.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARENTS:
We live in a world where differences in preference and opinion abound. Teaching your teen self-love and acceptance, and helping them to be comfortable in their own skin will enable them to respond in ways that will prevent the bullies from deriving the satisfaction they are seeking from their bullying behavior.

There are also ways to handle insults from bullies that can remove their sting. For example, if someone makes a mocking comment about one’s clothes, hair, accent or physical features, a simple response could be to say: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thank you for sharing yours.” For the bully is seeking a particular response from their victim, and when they fail to get that response, the bullying stops being fun for them. Unless the bully is pathologically disturbed, simple techniques like using humor or walking away can resolve the situation.

Of course, physical violence must be dealt with through adult intervention, with the intention of creating a corrective experience (i.e., anger management classes for the bully and emotional support for the victim). However, I want to caution parents to not get caught up in rejecting attitudes toward bullies as this can create humiliation and shame, a contributing factor behind bullying behavior.

It is up to parents and teachers to truly listen, as well as keep the lines of communication open with the children in their care. It is essential that kids to realize that they do not have to handle being bullied – alone. Working together, we can find a way for victims and bullies alike, to safely get assistance.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Teens After Divorce

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white
A Note From The LA Teen Therapist

It’s often difficult for teens whose parents have split apart. Read on for helpful tips. – Sandra

A teen doesn’t like the feeling that he or she must act as a messenger between hostile parents. Adolescents want parents to talk with each other so that the messages are communicated the right way, and don’t feel like they are going to mess up. It is unfair to make your teen carry messages to your “ex” because you find it too awkward or aggravating to do so yourself.

Avoid arguing and discussing child support issues in front of your teen. Most teens upon hearing these things feel that their existence is a burden on their parents. Do not put your teen in the middle of your child support disputes.

It hurts your teen very much to hear one loved parent criticize the other loved parent. When teens hear bad things about one parent, they hear bad things about half of themselves. Even if you are sure you’re right, try to avoid criticizing the other parent around your kids.

DESTRUCTIVE REMARKS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID:

  • You’re lazy/stubborn/bad tempered, just like your mother/father.
  • Your mother/father put you up to saying that.
  • Your dad/mom doesn’t love any of us or he/she wouldn’t have left us.
  • You can’t trust her/him.
  • He/she was just no good.
  • If she/he loved you, she/he would send your support checks on time.
  • Someday you’ll leave me too, just like your father/mother.

All of these remarks raise fear and anxiety in your teen.

It is very difficult for the teen of divorced parents to cope with feeling “caught in the middle.” If they want to tell you about time spent with their other parent (and they usually don’t), listen closely and politely, and then stop. Encourage your teen to love both parents.

Asking your teen to take your side in any situation regarding your ex-spouse can create a tremendous amount of stress for your teen. Your teen wants to love both of his or her parents. Avoid putting teens in the position of having to take sides.

Complaining to your teen about how lonely you feel makes them feel guilty and sad. It’s not healthy for a teen to be consumed with worry for their parents’ ability to survive. Let your teen be a teenager.

Your teen will have the best chance of growing up to be a functional human male or female with both parents as role models and nurturers. This means that there should be some way of them having access to the good each parent has to offer.”

(Acknowledging Ruben Francia)

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Emotionally Explosive Teens

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Does your teen tend to come unglued when things don’t go their way? – Sandra

According to Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, highly reactive teens have not yet made the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution their own.

Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively. Many popular explanations for explosive behavior place blame on the kid– or his parents. In Collaborative Problem Solving it is believed that if a teen had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting explosive behavior.

VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR WORKING WITH EXPLOSIVE TEENS:

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1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

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2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

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3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

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4. Collaborative Conflict Resolution a.k.a. Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Your Teen’s Academic Success

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

When children become teenagers they embark upon a journey of forming a separate identity. – Sandra

The following tips will help you support your teen in embracing the learning experience as well as developing a love of learning and the strength of character to persist beyond failures.

LEARNING STYLE
People learn differently. Some learn from listening to lectures or reading, while others learn best with visual aids or hands-on projects. If a teacher’s style doesn’t match your teen’s learning style, students can supplement learning by using flash cards or sketching diagrams to aid in memorizing new material.

When taking notes, it may be useful for your teen to draw a sketch of something that helps the information stick in their mind. During class, students should listen for key words or phrases the teacher emphasizes, write them down, and highlight them so they are easily recognizable when reviewing their notes.

PLANNING
It is important for teens to understand their homework assignments and write them in their phone notebook, daily planner or notepad. Include specific details about what is expected and the assignment due date.

If your teen devotes enough time to do good work, they’ll have greater means to succeed. Estimating how much time is needed to read a book, write a paper or prepare for an exam will help your teen establish an effective study schedule.

ORGANIZATION
Organizing study notes helps students find information quickly when preparing for exams. This can be accomplished with highlighters, colored pens and post-its. Flagging information while reading makes it easy to return to. Highlight or write important topics, phrases or terms in a new color pen so they stand out.

Nobody benefits from completing an assignment, but forgetting to turn it in. At this stage, teachers have little patience for the excuse, “I left my homework at home.” After homework is finished, teens should put homework in their binder or backpack, and set it next to the door so they can grab it and go the next morning.

COMMUNICATION
If your teen can develop a good relationship with each teacher, they’ll feel more comfortable asking questions and clarifying expectations, even if they don’t personally like the teacher.

STUDY SPACE AND TIME
Some people prefer a quiet study environment while others benefit from listening to soft music. A comfortable study space should reflect the student’s style, but it should also be free of distraction. I recommend that cell phones and social media be off limits during study time.

Teens can optimize learning by getting adequate rest, taking breaks, and being physically and emotionally healthy. Establishing bedtime limits and a nightly routine of reading or listening to relaxing music prior to bed helps teens get the sleep they need.

Test prep involves more than just studying. Teens need to be rested, alert, calm, confident and comfortable. Plan ahead to avoid distractions such as hunger pangs or feeling cold. It is also important to learn how to manage the time given for an exam and allot a certain number of minutes to each section of the exam.

HOMEWORK HABITS
Instead of watching television or plugging in to the Internet upon arriving home from school, I recommend using them as a reward for after homework has been completed. Consider establishing healthy homework habits such as:

• Homework is done immediately after school.
• Take short breaks every 45 minutes or so to re-focus attention.
• If self-discipline is an issue, homework can be done in the kitchen or common areas instead of their room.
• All social media is off-limits until homework is finished.
• Cell phone is only accessible when homework is finished.

CHECKING IN
As the new school year begins, check in with your teen by asking what they think of their teachers and how they are feeling about the subjects they are studying. Once school is underway check in daily or weekly by asking about their assignments and what they are learning. If, as time goes on, your teen expresses continuous feelings of helplessness or hopelessness this could mean a couple of things:

• They need assistance beyond the time spent in class to understand new information, and thus a tutor may prove helpful.
• They may have a learning disorder that needs to be better understood like ADD, dyslexia, or a sensory processing disorder. (There are tests as well as treatments designed to help address these challenges.)
• They could be struggling with depression, bullying, low self-esteem or even substance abuse.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.