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How untreated Childhood Obsessive Compulsive Behavior can negatively impact a family’s interaction in their community.

 Obsessive and compulsive behavior does not just affect a child; it affects the family as a whole. Many parents struggle with supporting their child that has OCD because the family typically has internal conflicts among family members and social isolation. All family members struggle, parents who cannot participate in family social events, siblings who are argue over disruptive behaviors, and the child with OCD suffers due to the difficulties of making and maintaining friendships.

Let’s discuss basic needs for all family members before we go into detail about how to treat the OCD symptoms. First, parents always need to ensure they are meeting their own needs. Parents typically sacrifice for their child and many times will neglect their basic needs, social life, and leave their profession to assist their children. This is a noble effort but, parent neglect may increase the intensity of these symptoms because neglect leads to parent fatigue.

So what is Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in basic terms? Well, major results of OCD include Obsessive, Repetitive, and Ritual behaviors. The behaviors are typically maintained by fear and anxiety. Many children struggle with fears of being mortally injured or becoming fatally ill. An example many parents see are when their children refuse to eat in certain places due to the food being “Dirty,” and chronic hand washing for children terrified of germs. These symptoms are not isolated to just children but, these behaviors severely impact a child’s normal social functioning. The belief that the repetition of the behaviors will keep them safe, firmly plants the socially crippling behavior in their life.

Many times children struggling with Obsessive and Compulsive behaviors are unable to explain their behavior and feel ashamed by their feelings. Due to the shame they attempt to keep their struggle as much of a secret as they can, even from their parents. An example I have encountered of these behaviors as a Family Counselor was when I worked with a 12 year old girl who refused to eat at other people’s homes outside of the family’s home. She reported that she could not explain why she couldn’t eat at other people’s homes but she was embarrassed to visit during parties and events because she was accused of being rude because she would not eat. Her parents were also embarrassed and upset because their daughter would not eat food that was offered and received ridicule regarding their parenting skills.

In addition, school behaviors are effected as well. In some cases, some children refuse to attend school due to their symptoms.  At one point I worked with a 9 year old boy who refused to return to school because of his anxiety related to the uncertainly of school, the uncleanliness of the environment, as well as the fear of being ridiculed. When he attended school he had been bullied by the other children as well as the school personnel. When he was being re-entered into the school he was terrified he would experience ridicule again and if he started to have symptoms, he not only feared that he would have symptoms but also feared that he would be teased by his peers and caregivers.

Obsessive Compulsive behavior can be difficult to treat, and extremely hard to guide as a parent, but there is hope. Many children respond very well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Therapy, as well as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition, many children find relief working with a pediatric psychiatrist or neurologist for medication management.

Obsessive and Compulsive behavior does not only negatively affect the child but the entire family suffers. Parents re-arrange their life to accommodate their child’s disability and at times feel isolated and many times blame themselves; some parents attribute their child’s behavior to poor parenting skills. Siblings struggle also, many times they feel embarrassed by their sibling’s obsessions and compulsions. In addition, sibling conflict frequently occurs and this conflict places additional stress on the children involved and negative stressors on the parent managing the situation.

Overall, Obsessive and Compulsive behavior, otherwise known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can severely impede a family’s functioning and over all happiness. At the Success Source Troy has a significant amount of experience helping children with Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and uses a unique blend of individual Counseling and Coaching, Family Counselor and Parent Coaching, as well as working (In Vivo) with children and families in real world environments were the obsessions and compulsions are happening. Troy accompanies his clients and families to the root of their difficulty and assists them with developing the skills to thrive.



Dysthymic Disorder with school age and adolescent boys.

“Sad, Mad, Irritable and Moody”; a summary of long-term low level depression, Dysthymic Disorder with school age and adolescent boys. 

Many parents are not familiar with “Dysthymic Disorder” but it is the most common form of depression and it is typically the longest lasting form; sometimes lasting for years. Often Dysthymic Disorder, or “Dysthymia” and when it occurs in boys it can be mistaken for other things. Typical symptoms parents see are mild anxiety, lack of motivation, negative self-talk or automatic expectation of failure, as well as difficulty focusing and unstable mood. Many times boys struggle with Dysthymic Disorder and are misdiagnosed or assumed to have ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Let’s take a closer look at what a child or adolescent with Dysthymia looks like.

Dysthymic is common and at times can run in families but also can be the result of life transitions and or the result of a person’s inability to cope with negative situations. An overall negative outlook on life and on the future is common. Boys typically suffer in silence because many of them do not like to ask for help because they feel it may be a sign of weakness or that they cannot handle things on their own.

Here are some real world examples:
Sadness; Feelings of sadness are common of boys with Dysthymia. Many parents report, “I don’t know what his problem is, he’s always annoyed, negative, or pessimistic.” Another example would be loss of or reduced self-esteem. Many have an attitude like this, “I’m not going to try doing that, It’s not like I will succeed.” As a parent watching and hearing your child speak about their life in such a negative light is heart wrenching. For many parents they have been watching their child struggle for years and are not sure what to do.
Anger and Being Mad; Many boys struggle with a persistent and consistent mean streak. I have heard so many parents report that their sons “Sometimes have their good days but sometimes he just seems to be angry all the time for no reason.” When addressing the emotions these boys are feeling they typically report, “I don’t know, there is nothing wrong I’m find.” In reality their behavior is not aligned with their words. For many they struggle in silence until they enter a crisis and yell their discontent at the top of their lungs.
Irritability and Moodiness; The irritability and moodiness becomes more obvious as demands on the child increase. Many parents encounter this phenomenon when they ask for a chore to be completed, or homework to be started, or just attempt to interact with their adolescent and get a sarcastic/rude response. The moodiness is not just isolated to just the words a child uses but, also the avoidant behaviors which accompany the moods swings. Keep in mind you may notice some overlapping between these characteristics in Dysthymic Disorder and Oppositional and Defiant Behavior.

For boys who are struggling with the symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder, they typically struggle in silence because they seldom want to share their feelings. Many boys feel that it would be sign of weakness if they were to open up, and other simply do not realize that they are feeling symptoms because they have been experiencing them for such a long time. More often than not, parents are the first to notice. Many parents speak about how “Everything seems to bother him” or about “He does not seem motivated to do much of anything but activities he enjoys but, even those activities become boring.” Other parents spoke about how, “Almost everything can be a struggle, we have tried medication and a bunch of different things and not much has helped.” In reality, the improvements for Dysthymia are more gradual than it’s more sever counterpart “Major Depressive Disorder,” also known by many as Clinical Depression.

Situations that result in consistent sadness and or personal rejection increase the persistence of Dysthymia. For example, if a talented 16 year-old athlete suddenly receives a traumatic injury that cripples their ability to perform at their pre-injury condition they have an increased risk of developing Dysthymic Disorder symptoms. If we break the situation down to its elements it looks like this; “I was an amazing athlete and have been for years. All of a sudden I have an injury that robbed me of something I was very proud of. Now I have to wait to recover and if I try to perform like I did in the past I risk re-injuring myself. And now I am embarrassed to try because I can’t perform and I will re-injure myself.” This is devastating for a young man’s self-esteem as well as putting them in a situation where he may not have the skills to cope with the trauma of the injury and loss of personal strength. This situation creates a long road to developing pessimism and self-defeating ideas about new limitations and the loss of bragging rights, and self-esteem boosting activities with peers. In addition to the chronic long-term sadness this teen is also struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress.

Another example would be a 7 year-old boy with a diagnosed Learning Disability who struggles with making and maintaining friendships. As times goes on he tries to interact with peers but is consistently rejected, many times parents notice that he tries but left out of games and activities. Over time his already sensitive, self-esteem dwindles and he feels that he is unlikable. Parents typically see two different extremes with regards to the child’s behavior from this point. In some situations the boy will tell extravagant stories about how he has many friends and all of the dramatic interactions they have together, and on the other hand he may speak very little about his interaction with friends and report that he is liked by no one. The effects of this social situation developed long term, low level depression “Dysthymia” which later can escalate to more severe conditions such as Major Depression, Oppositional and Defiant Disorder (ODD), as well as Anxiety Disorder.

These difficulties are treatable and treatment results are long lasting but they take time. Dysthymic Disorder can be difficult to treat, especially with school age and adolescent boys because they typically do not admit any type of unhappiness due to a shortcoming or weakness. It is important that the clinician is fluent in a variety of different approaches in order to create an individualized plan of care to meet the child’s needs.
At the Success Source, Troy spends a significant amount of time creating a relationship with the child and their parents to best understand the youth’s functioning.

Strategies for Guiding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); strategies for parents and caregivers to use between Counseling sessions to improve the effectiveness of therapy without the use of medication or combined with medication management.

As an a Professional Counselor, I have been providing individual and family therapy services for many children and adults with ADHD and ADD. This is a brief summary of interventions I typically recommend to clients and their families to improve the effectiveness of Counseling/Psychotherapy between sessions.

Prior to successfully implementing any of these strategies, it is important that the parent or caregiver has adequate self-care strategies in place. For example, if a parent/teacher is struggling with burnout, the strategies may not be implemented correctly because of personal fatigue. It is important that caregivers take care of themselves. Activities such as: exercise, eating balanced meals, getting adequate sleep, as well as having regular personal time, and  having a solid support network are needs which typically need to be met prior to implementing interventions. In addition, formal supports such as Individual, Family, and Group Counseling are formal supports which can be used to increase the chances of caregiver success.

The first things to keep in mind regarding ADHD and ADD, are the functional limitations which are part of the disorder. Let’s break down the characteristics in easy to understand parts.

  1. Inattentiveness; the person’s inability to focus on a multitude of tasks because they have significant difficulty multi-tasking. Keep in mind that stress also comes into play; many adults and children struggle with inattentiveness based on life stressors and not ADHD/ADD. Even if the sources of inattentiveness are different, the strategies for managing the situation are very similar.

Caregivers can help children, who have difficulty focusing, by giving them a single task with very specific directions. For example; “Johnny, when you pick up every sock, shirt, pair of underwear, pair of pants, and pair of shorts and place them in this laundry basket; then we can…”

In addition, making a game of the task will also increase the likelihood that the child will focus with more intensity. For example, “Also, Johnny I bet you can’t get it done in less than 2 minutes, I dare you!” Of course you would have a big smile on your face. Once Johnny starts going and you see him run around the room gathering clothes, you would cheer him on and praise him for his speed and accuracy.

  1. Hyperactivity; the person has significant difficulty with sitting sedentary for periods longer than a moment. Hyperactivity can make it very difficult to manage especially if the child is bored or being directed to participate in an undesired activity. Children with significant amounts of unstoppable energy can be very exhausting for caregivers; which emphasizes the importance of caregiver self-care.

Hyperactivity can be overwhelming at time,s but here is one of many strategies which may be helpful for managing the symptom. A mother brings Johnny, a 6 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD, to a doctor’s appointment and there is a 20 minute wait. Immediately, the mother’s anxiety shoots up and the thought goes through her head “I don’t know if we are going to make it waiting that long.”

After a few moments Johnny is now squirming in his chair, swinging his arms and legs and proceeds to leave his chair and roam around the room. A first step for guiding him would be stay calm and explain exactly what his expectation is “Johnny, come sit by mommy in the chair next to me, and if you need to get up ask me. When you sit down we can play a game.”

The organization and opportunity to play a game is important for children with ADHD because their symptoms typically exacerbate when they are bored or stressed. The mother say’s “Hey! lets play 20 questions: I am thinking of a tasty food you get twenty ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Questions to figure it out.” Once the game starts, you praise him for “Asking good questions,” “Great job sitting by me, I love when we sit together,” and “You have been sitting so nicely and waiting patiently for the past few minutes, I wonder how much longer you can go?” Be sure to make the game initially easy, take turns, and increase the difficulty as the game continues. This is one of many strategies which I have seen significant success working with children with ADHD; with hyperactivity difficulties.

  1. Impulsivity; one of the hardest behaviors to manage for many caregivers is, the uncertainty and danger impulsive behavior can create. Keeping in mind, impulsivity is best described as uncertain, random behaviors which occur without much forethought.

Impulsivity can be extremely anxiety provoking and many parents of children with significant impulsivity difficulties sadly avoid many social situations entirely.  

An example of a plan I have assisted in creating for a 5 year old boy with ADHD who visited my office looked like this – Johnny would typically run around and sometimes run away when his family would go the baseball field to watch his 9 year old brother play baseball. Johnny would typically run around whimsically and at times would even run in the street. The situation was simply dangerous and frightening for his mother.

The strategy which worked for his mother was to keep his time planned and keep him busy. Because impulsivity is a disorder which is aggravated by unplanned activity, Johnny’s mother and I planned several activities which would keep him busy. When Johnny was engaged he seldom was impulsive. For the beginning of the game she engaged Johnny at the playground and then brought him over to the field so she could watch her other son play.

When near the field, she allowed Johnny to play Angry-Birds on her iPhone. After that, she moved on to activity number two. This strategy is a generalized explanation of a complex but effective intervention which can be planned in a counseling session prior to implementing it. Nonetheless, there is hope. The overall message is to avoid idle time for children with difficulties with impulsivity. In addition, even a typical child without ADHD/ADD can become impulsive if bored or idle.

I hope you found the general information covered in this article helpful. Please keep in mind that each one of these examples are from real-life situations, but the interventions were carefully planned to meet the needs of each one of these children.

Parenting Strategies for Oppositional and Defiant Children

Being the parent of a child with Oppositional and Defiant behavior is very difficult, but developing a successful parenting strategy is not impossible (Keep in mind that your child does not have to be diagnosed with Oppositional and Defiant Disorder (ODD), in order to exhibit Oppositional and Defiant Behavior.) These basic steps are an outline of parenting strategies which can be combined with other strategies:

First, keep in mind the only behavior you have control over is your own. Therefore if you have no control over your own behavior, you will not be able to affectively guide your child’s behavior. Contributors to loss of behavior control with parents/caregivers is related to burnout, lack of self-care, lack of affective parenting strategies, as well as lack of a parent’s support system. Once you have satisfied all of these factors we can move onto affective parenting strategies.

Now that we covered the importance for parents to take care of themselves as well as their children. These tips may be somewhat helpful.

  1. Pick and choose your battles; be aware that when you need your child to follow a direction it should be something significant and relevant to their well-being. The reason for this is because if you are to enter a possible conflict, the topic would best be something worth arguing about.

    A common situation I encounter providing family therapy is helping parents prioritizing the wants and needs for their child’s behavioral expectations. We first start with safety; the biggest conflict a parent should not back down from is safety, followed by decisions which can have lasting impacts on the child’s future – specifically on decisions which may be irreversible. For many families prioritizing these wants and needs may be impacted by culture and family beliefs, but it is important for parents to know where they stand prior to solidifying their parenting strategy.

  1. Focus on positive behavior; every child regardless of how difficult their behavior can be to manage has their moments of positive behavior. A great way to guide oppositional behavior is to avoid it. A way that many parents prevent Oppositional and Defiant behavior is to actually focus on positive behavior which is helpful with increasing compliant behavior. In family therapy, I have the parents I work with track the amount of times they negatively and positively interact with their child and more often than not; the negatively is much stronger. When the parents discover the moments they can focus more positively their children’s compliance increases. This strategy may be difficult to implement effectively and many parents benefit from Parent Coaching.

  1. Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent; do not make promises you cannot keep, “stick to your guns” when setting ground rules, and keep from expressing extensive emotional stress while parenting.

Many parents I work with in family therapy speak about how they make a promise intending on keeping it, but stuff happens where it is impossible for them to keep the promise. Unfortunately things happen, and many parents find that if a promise was to be made – they best benefit from putting it in writing with multiple contingencies. This may sound excessive, but let’s look at it like this.

A mother says to her son that if he does all of his homework over the week, she will take him and his friend to the movie. Well, what happens if the mother gets a migraine headache on Friday night? What is she to do then? She cannot make it through a movie. At this point, her son may become agitated, and possibly verbally abusive, oppositional and defiant for all of mother’s requests over the weekend. The mother apologizes as she is in agony and her son calls her a liar.

 An agreement – which would have an increased likelihood of success – looks like this. Mother explains to her son, if he completes his homework over the course of the week, she would be willing to make a behavior contract with him. The contract should have every reasonable contingency such as: Time and day of the reward, and two to three alternative times he would get the award if mother was unable to deliver on the initial target day. Also, the mother should make it clear in writing what the expectations for her son’s homework completing behavior looks like. This strategy drastically increases the likelihood of consistency for the parent and reduces the likelihood of a conflict for the child.

In addition, have strong boundaries and stick to your guns when you say no. In the same respect, keep in mind what you may say no to because, if you go back on your word, children may interpret it as inconsistency. For example, if a child asks her father if she can have a few friends over for a sleep over and he says “no.” After, his daughter begs and repeatedly asks for her father to change his mind; he decided to say “I guess you can have a few friends over tonight.”

Now, in reality there is nothing wrong with allowing your daughter a sleepover, but keep in mind if she believes the begging was the reason for the sleepover it will increase the likelihood she will repeat the begging and asking behavior. The begging behavior when ignored will result in oppositional and defiant responses when the daughter does not get her request. A way to avoid the issue from the beginning is for the father to be clear about him being unsure about his decision.

A common conversation I have had in family therapy with parents developing their parenting strategy is: Be clear with your child about how you may not have made a decision yet, and give them a timeframe when you will discuss the issue. For example, a father saying “Sweetie, I’m not sure yet but later after diner we’ll talk about it.” The reason why this is important is because you can reduce the likelihood of entering an unnecessary conflict and prevent unnecessary oppositional and defiant behaviors. Keep in mind your child will not be happy about the new boundary and having to wait for an answer but they will learn to adapt with time.

Lastly, watch your emotional responses because you may find yourself in the middle of your own tantrum. Many parents struggle with maintaining their calm when interacting with their child during a conflict. Remember, it takes two to have a argument/fight and only one to have a tantrum.

That being said, if your child is having a tantrum you want to leave it as a tantrum. If you have a tantrum yourself it becomes a conflict/argument/fight. You only have control over your behavior and not your child’s. Keep your cool, if you address your child with a straight face even if you feel angry you are more likely to direct their oppositional and defiant behaviors more effectively. Using a calm demeanor will allow the parent to handle a child’s limit testing without entering a conflict.

In reality most parents already know these tips work but struggle with consistently using them. The reason many parents struggle with successfully using them is because they may not be meeting their needs and feel burned out.

There is hope out there. Troy runs “No Cost Groups“ to assist parents with avoiding parent burnout. Contact the Success Source today and we can help you organize your plan and reach your goals!

Parent Burnout Prevention Group

Research shows that special needs children respond better to their various therapies when their parents participate in Burnout Prevention activities. Preventing your own burnout keeps you your parenting skills sharp!

This is a 3 group series meeting on (7/22/13, 7/29/13, 8/5/13) from 7:30pm-8:45pm.

– Causes of Parent Burnout
– Stress Management
– Therapy Resources for Special Education
– Brief Advocacy Strategies
– Reconciling the past, organizing the present, and planning for the future
– Burnout Prevention strategies
– Parenting Strategies
– Review of Current Parent Burnout Research

The group is overall a great time, and great way to expand your support network. Coffee and Cookies will be served.

Space is limited to only 12 and groups fill up fast.
If you are interested in attending contact:

Troy Leonard MA EdS LPC
Cell: 201 805 3480
Email: TroyRLeonard@gmail.com
808 High Mountain Rd Franklin Lakes NJ Suite 201-A
The Success Source Counseling and Life Coaching LLC

Oppositional and Defiant Behavior

Family stress of children with Oppositional and Defiant behavior. The importance of getting help sooner than later.

Oppositional and defiant behaviors with children can take many forms. Some children meet the diagnostic criteria of Oppositional and Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder; oppositional and defiant behavior is common across multiple different diagnosis. In reality Oppositional and defiant behavior happens with most children, and it makes no difference if they have a diagnosis or not. Keeping in mind, a major feature of oppositional and defiant behavior; Sadness. Many parents may not understand the function of the behavior and desperately try various different parenting techniques, and find that many simply do not work.

Some children are extremely difficulty to redirect and at times become aggressive when they are sad/angry. Difficulties with redirection typically happen at the most inconvenient times like when grocery shopping, during homework time, and or when at church. An example would be:

A mother gets home from work and she asks her 11-year-old son to open his books at the kitchen table so that he can do his homework at the kitchen table. The mother turns her back for a few moments to start dinner, and Mother turn back around he is not at the table. She walks through the house and finds him playing his XBOX, and she reminds him “I asked you to open your books at the kitchen table. Turn off the XBOX and open your books at the table.” “Mom I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he says with frustration in his voice. His mother heads back upstairs and continue preparing dinner, and she can’t help but notice that time is continuing to go by. Now she starting to breathe heavy, walk swiftly back to his room and says, “I thought I told you to turn off the XBOX and go start your homework!” He looks at his mother and screams, “I don’t care about homework, and I’m not doing it!” His mother responds with s firm tone, “Yes you will or you will be punished. I will take your XBOX.” To which the boy cries, “No, I will do anything! No, don’t take it!” He then goes upstairs and sits at the table, and opens his books. The boy’s mother continues preparing dinner, and sees him open his books and quickly complete his worksheets and then leave the table. “Are you sure you did everything,” his mother says in disbelief that he completed the work so quickly. “Yes mom, everything,” as he heads back to the XBOX. She reviews the works sheets and then she notices that he quickly scribbled answers. “These worksheets are not completed correctly, get back here,” she says in an authoritative voice. “I did it already, I’m not doing it again and you can’t make me,” he screams from his room. She walks quickly to his room “You get off that XBOX now! I’m taking it, you’re punished and you need to do these worksheets all over again!” “I don’t care, I’m not doing it and you can’t make me, “he yells at his mother. The mother shocked at his reply says, “I can take the XBOX!” The boy responds, “I don’t care, take it. I hate you.” “Well you will have to hate me without your XBOX, and you will not get it for a month,” mother says. Then she returns to the kitchen and attempts to finish dinner. At this point she almost tears up and feels like she has eaten glass because her oldest son, her first-born, told her that he hated her.

This is a common scene in many homes. In reality the child does not need to be diagnosed with oppositional and defiant behavior in order to be oppositional and defiant. For the family as a whole, opposition and defiance can stress out everyone. The mother who has been screamed at by the oppositional child, the sibling who is embarrassed and upset by the family turmoil, and the father who is upset because his son is disrespectful to his wife and him.

There is hope; Troy has worked with hundreds of families in counseling offices as well as in their homes. Troy uses a unique approach of natural observations, Family/Individual Therapy, as well as Parent Coaching to assist families with improving their quality of life.

Motivation, Change and getting Yourself There!

Motivation, change and getting yourself there!

Many people have dreams of starting a business, going back to school, and/or reaching a personal goal which they haven’t. So, why haven’t they done it? Well that is a good question with a complicated answer. There are many reasons why people have not put forth the effort to reach their goal. They come up with excuses such as, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, or I don’t have the support to do this on my own.

The first part of motivation is agreeing on something you want! Many people say they have no idea what they want but that is part of the challenge. The goal you set does not need to be the only thing you want, and the goal does not have to be set in stone but, you need to start somewhere!

No one thing needs to motivate you, look at the big picture and all its parts. Wants and needs are like colors in a rainbow, enjoy each want and need for what it is. For example, one person may see the loss of job as just devastating and a complete loss. As hard as it may be, it provides a positive opportunity as well. Opportunities such as extra time to explore other professional interests, the ability to explore a new career path, or the time and opportunity to start a new business. With the loss of the job comes a new found motivation to succeed!

Another motivating need, is feeling lonely. For many, being lonely causes sadness and feelings of isolation. In reality there are two sides to this situation. The need for companionship motivates some to attend public activities to meet others, for others the use of the internet to interact and create a new social network. Taking advantage of the positive side of the situation is the best opportunity for growth.

So let’s talk about change and how needs and change overlap. Two things motivate change, one is when you want to escape a circumstance and the other is when you want to move to a new desired opportunity. In some cases these two situations can occur simultaneously. In the example of job loss, this is a combination situation where you want to move into a desired opportunity of employment and escape the undesired uncertainty of unemployment. A situation of moving into a new desired opportunity is when a student gets accepted into college; they get the opportunity to increase their skills and learn the skills of a new career. An example where a person is motivated to move from an unwanted situation would be when a divorce occurs. In the case of a divorce, the motivation is on escaping the unwanted situation.

In order to get to your goal you need to organize your thoughts. Organizing your thoughts is really that important. Some make a list, or an idea-web on a piece of paper, others talk out their plan aloud reflecting on what they want. If you do not record your ultimate goal than how do you know if you are taking the steps to complete it?

After, you have organized your general goal it’s time to reflect on what is motivating you. Be honest, because if you cannot be honest with yourself you will get nowhere fast. Once you have started listing some of your main motivators it’s time to plan. Taking into account your goals and motivators, list the clear steps that will need to be satisfied to meet your goal. Once you focus specifically on those steps you will meet them. It is quite amazing actually; if you focus on meeting those steps and as long as you stay focused you will get there.

The reality is, sometimes life gets in the way of your plans, motivators, and goals; that is when Life Coaching comes in. Troy is a goal oriented master, and will keep you motivated and will challenge you when you are getting off task. Call us today, and we can help you get organized and get your goals accomplished.

Childhood Social Anxiety/ Social Phobias

Childhood social anxiety and social phobias can be one of the most crippling experiences for a young person. Typically these children struggle with appropriate interaction and are excluded from normal social play. The target of bullying also has fear interacting with peers due to the potential rejection. This experience is extremely difficult for children, and can also lead to extensive sadness and depression.

As a parent, watching your child struggle with social anxiety is absolutely heartbreaking. Watching your child struggle without friends, and fear interacting with their peers is extremely difficult.

With children, Social anxiety and Social Phobias affects .5% to 5% of school-aged children and as children become adolescents’ the number affected increases to 7%-10%. I believe the number of people affected to be higher because not everyone receives help, and many struggle in silence and isolation.

Child social anxiety and social phobias directly affects family interaction. Many times parents plan ahead of time to avoid a possible occurrence of anxiety, avoid visiting anxiety provoking locations, as well as limit the family’s participation of certain activities in an effort to reduce their child’s anxiety. These accommodations are normal because, parents try their best to keep their child comfortable and happy.

Social situations are terrifying for these children. Children with social anxiety and social phobia’s typically struggle with making and keeping friends. They have difficulty speaking in an age appropriate manner and usually feel more comfortable interacting with younger peers or much older peers, and even adults.

Typical Situations that trigger social anxiety/social phobias are:

  • Meeting new people
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being watched while doing something
  • Making small talk
  • Public speaking
  • Performing on stage
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being called on in class
  • Going on a date
  • Making phone calls
  • Using public bathrooms
  • Taking exams
  • Eating or drinking in public
  • Speaking up in a meeting
  • Attending parties or other social gatherings
  • Talking with “important” people or authority figures

Typical emotional responses these children experience are one or a combination of the following: fear of judgment by others, fear of being embarrassed, and extensive worrying about upcoming events minutes, days, weeks in advance. Noticeable physical symptoms are one or a combination of the following: blushing, butterflies in their stomach (upset stomach and nausea), sweating, feeling dizzy, trembling voice, racing heart rate, and shortness of breath. Behavioral indicators are one or a combination of the following: avoiding social situations, typically staying quiet and staying in the background, not attending an event unless a friend or buddy will be present.

If your child is struggling with these difficulties, there is hope. Troy can assist by using a combination of approaches such as coaching the child through tough social situation, role-playing appropriate responses, as well as using real life scenarios allowing the child to build confidence in their abilities to interact with peers, thus reducing their anxiety. In addition, Troy will also teach parents strategies they can use to assist their children reach success! Troy has 6 years of experience working with children with Social Anxiety/Social Phobias and has help many children reach their social goals. Contact the Success Source and we can help your child this week!


Relationship Stress of Parents of Special Needs children

Over the past 6 years I have been providing family therapy services for various different families. A major trend which I have noticed is the lack of supportive services for Couples who are parents of special needs children. Typically these families have higher financial burdens, more difficulties with effective parenting strategies, as well as feelings of isolation.

First of all, let me say these families love their kids! These parents put every aspect of their life secondary to their children. Parents of special needs children are some of the most dedicated, steadfast, heartwarming people who walk this earth. But in the same respect, many of the report feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed. With that stress comes marital distress, struggles with intimacy, as well as frequent arguments and irritably. You are not alone.

At times, these parents experience embarrassment by their struggle but feel the strength of their advocacy for their children. During a recent conversation while providing family therapy, a mother once said “I feel like no one else experiences this,” my response was “Believe it not, that is not true.” The isolation comes from protecting the family from the judgment of others who do not understand.

Other families can make simple plans and whimsically go out or do different activities. A trip out for a few hours is a simple as obtaining a babysitter and going out to dinner with your husband. Or “We can drop the kids off at my mothers and go away for a few days.” Conveniences are virtually impossible for many parents of children with special needs.

The most basic task like planning a food shopping trip can feel like planning the climb Mount Everest. “Let’s give my mother a call and see if she can watch Johnny for 2 hours so we can go to the store;” because it can be virtually impossible for find a babysitter for a special needs child. “We have to make sure that all of the emergency numbers out, his medicines are in clear view just in case there is an emergency, and we also need to make sure that Johnny’s favorite toys are available so that he will be occupied long enough.” “When my mother comes we need to review the redirection and de-escalation strategy with just in case he becomes agitated.” “Also we need to make sure that PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) book is out so if he needs to ask for something he can, we should also let my mother know things he seems to have been asking for lately so she is aware.” And when Grandma comes, the parents update her on recent progress and Johnny has made and what requests he has been making in his PECS book. Then the parents quickly get in the car and head to the store and have a conversation about how one of them should have stayed behind.

Then once in the store, and waiting on line at the checkout counter their cellular phone rings. Grandma “Everything is ok but……” At this point a parents heart rate shoots up, their palms sweat, and a giant lump forms in their throat. Parent responds “What’s going on?” Grandma reported “Johnny decided to leave the house when I went to the bathroom. I found him a block away and everything is fine now but I wanted to let you just in case you heard it from one of the neighbors.” At this point the parent struggles not to leave the shopping cart in the middle of the checkout line and go home. On the car ride home “I knew one of us should have stayed home.”

This example is a generalization but a realistic scenario of how a life a parent with a special needs child and a typical child may differ. These stressors effect a parent’s quality of live, their finances, as well as their livelihood, and ability to work. All of these stressors compound and put a strain on a couple’s relationship. It is important to know that you are not alone, and we can help.

Contact the Success Source about the Burnout Prevention Groups and individualized services for Parents of Special Needs Children