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Monitoring your child’s screen time: Let’s talk about it

Monitoring your child’s screen time: Let’s talk about it

Last month, a story in the media about a social media challenge directed at children and young adults, called the “Momo Challenge,” created unease in parents throughout the country. The challenge turned out to be a social media hoax and no reports of children participating in the challenge actually surfaced – but they were still aware of it and were discussing it among friends.

Several questions and concerns in parents arose from this internet scare. Do I have a firm understanding of what my child is actually viewing online? How do I successfully and healthily monitor my child’s social media and internet usage? Below, we offer a few tips on how parents can become more in touch with and supervise their child’s digital footprint.

Establish open lines of communication

It’s important to sit down with children to explain what’s out there and the harmful impact some online content can have on them. Don’t be afraid to have these hard conversations. Children experience fewer damaging effects when they’ve been taught basic media literacy skills.

Make technology use a privilege

Make it known that your children have to earn their screen time. This may be difficult for them to understand, but stay firm in this discipline – lessons learned from delaying gratification and controlling the impulse to use technology are essential for healthy development.

Set clear guidelines

Establish rules that will help your children develop healthy habits when it comes to internet usage. Where can your child use technology? When can they use technology? Which sites are going to be blocked? Set up a meeting to discuss these concerns as a family – and let your children give input! You’ll probably need to have a few of these meetings throughout the years as your child grows older and more mature.

Raising a child can be hard, especially in this digital era. If you would like assistance with talking through these kinds of tough issues, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

Helping teens care about mental health

Helping teens care about mental health

Every teenager is going to experience pressure at some point in his life – pressure to achieve academically, pressure to fit in, pressure to establish a career path, etc. With the increasing demands put on teens today, it’s essential for them to understand the importance of mental wellness. Developing self-confidence through mental wellness will make it easier on teens to resist peer pressure.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial for teens to appreciate its role in wellness as they prepare to venture into the world on their own. Below, we offer a few tips on how to encourage your teen to prioritize mental health.

Teach coping skills

Learning how to deal with and conquer negative emotions takes time. Work with your child to establish healthy coping skills that will ease the stress of the daily struggles he faces. Coping techniques can be different for every teenager, so work together to find what works. The goal is to establish a habit that will help your child put his negative feelings into perspective, allowing him to seek a healthy solution. 

Be open to having hard conversations

It’s no secret that talking with teenagers about controversial subjects can be challenging. However, being open to discussing mental health issues with teenagers not only diminishes societal stigma, but it also allows parents to prove themselves as an ally and a confidant. Look for everyday situations that can be used as teachable moments.

Instill self-esteem

Let your child know his worth. Make sure your teen knows he is good enough and accepted no matter what. Praise your teen, regardless the size of the accomplishment. And if the outcome is not what was hoped, make sure you still commend the effort. Encourage your teen to always stay true to himself, and let it be known that he is free to explore the interests that makes him a unique individual.

Your teen is not alone in his struggles. You’re not alone either. If you feel your child is struggling with his mental wellness, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Whether you’re a college freshman who’s independent for the first time or a college senior who’s tasked with landing a job upon graduation, students of all ages deal with a lot of change, which can often be stressful and scary.

It’s true that your college years can be some of the best years of your life. But, we won’t sugar coat it – life in college can definitely be hectic, demanding and intimidating for some. The good news is you’re not the only one feeling this way. Experiencing anxiety over major life changes is normal. Some levels of stress can actually be a good thing, as the right kind of stress can lead us toward positive change and growth. However, stress and anxiety become a problem and a health risk for students when they exist for an extended period of time and seem impossible to control.

Whether it’s social or academic pressures, it’s important to seek resolutions from healthy outlets instead of harmful ones – such as drugs and alcohol. There are several resources available on campus to help you cope with and manage student stress. If you feel you need further guidance and support, these resources can connect you with a therapist – such as a South Bay clinician.

Whether you’re entering college or leaving college, know that it’s not a weakness to feel anxious about these life changes, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Below, we outline a few of the most common stressors students experience, plus advice on how to take steps toward coping with them.

Living away from home

For many students, college is the first step toward complete independence. Experiencing this in an unfamiliar environment can be intimidating – especially since your support environment has changed. If you’re struggling with a lack of in-person support, connect with a South Bay clinician. A one-on-one session between you and a clinician will allow for a deep examination of your life, emotions and relationships. Treatment pace is based on your vision – it’s a balance of minimizing risk and achieving your goals. Our clinicians’ primary goal is to build a deep trust and understanding with you while guiding you through anxiety-management techniques.

Academic demands

Academic demands in college may be very different and more intense than they were in high school. Test anxiety symptoms can come in both physical and mental forms. If this anxiety hinders you from performing your best on an exam, seek assistance from academic advisors who can provide you with guidance. The on-campus academic services office should be able to arrange a tutor or other academic help.

Financial problems

Experiencing financial responsibility for the first time can be scary. Whether it’s textbooks, food, gas or social life, college can be expensive, and figuring out ways to budget your expenses is necessary. The financial aid office will have information and advice about money management, on-campus job openings and scholarship opportunities.

South Bay’s outreach program is unparalleled to any other behavioral health service in the area, which gives our clinicians the opportunity to physically reach those who need us most no matter their circumstances or where they are, including colleges.

Are you a parent feeling anxious about sending your child off to college? We understand how stressful the process can be. Counseling sessions with a South Bay clinician could benefit you, as well.

If you think you could benefit from our counseling sessions, we encourage you to contact South Bay Community Services. We strive to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. Let us help you have the best possible beginning this school year!

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Home-based services for children: What is it?

Home-based services for children: What is it?

One of South Bay’s most unique attributes is that the majority of our services are conducted outside of our offices, such as in community settings. Our Early Childhood clinicians frequently travel to homes, schools, foster homes, residential programs, churches, childcare programs etc. – wherever our consumers feel most comfortable.

We understand that inviting an outside party into your home to work with your child can be scary and intimidating. There’s also a common misconception amongst our consumers that a South Bay clinician is the only party involved in the child’s development. It takes a joint effort of the entire family and our Early Childhood team to ensure growth, stability and well-being during the child’s early years. We explain everything you need to know about home-based services for children below.

The clinician’s role

When serving a child, South Bay’s Early Childhood clinicians work with the entire family – not just the child. The clinician’s role is to identify developmental delays and provide support to families if there are environmental barriers that are contributing adversely and may impact the child’s development. Such barriers may include drugs, alcohol, traumatic birth, etc. Once the developmental delay is determined, clinicians provide consultation among the team if it’s beyond the scope of the primary clinician’s abilities. They can also coordinate services in the community (like church or socialization activities), share information or make referrals that may be necessary or desired outside of the initial services. Every situation is different, but what doesn’t change is the clinician’s continued support for the family and the child.

The family’s role

Sometimes, families don’t realize that they do have an active role in the child’s development – not just the clinicians. Clinicians act as supportive coaches for the parents, and the parents actually implement the strategies. Their role is vital to the child’s success. Families often fear that clinicians enter their home and take over, but South Bay clinicians are primarily there for guidance and support. The family is the head of the team. In our home visits, family members can establish what they would like to work on with the clinician and what they would like addressed during the visit.

The goal

South Bay clinicians strive to operate from a place of strength. Our approach is to help families identify their own strengths so they are empowered to foster their children’s growth and development. It’s more important to identify strengths and build upon them than focus on the needs.

If you think your child could benefit from our home-based services, we encourage you to contact South Bay Community Services. We strive to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. Let us help your child have the best possible beginning!

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.