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Counseling Children and Teens

No parent wishes there children to have emotional or behavioral problems which require the services of a professional counselor.

Children and adolescent problems can be triggered by bullying, abuse (emotional, sexual, or physical), divorce, remarriage, blended families, the death of a loved one, mental illness in the family, drugs or alcohol, etc. These experiences can cause temper tantrums, rebellion, school problems, a very tense household environment, legal problems, etc. Since children can be uncomfortable talking with their parents, thank God there are counselors who can help.

How to Make a Report

To report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities call 800-252-5400 or https://www.txabusehotline.org  If there is immediate danger call 911.

Bullying has been a problem for generations, but cyberbullying in new.  It lets the bullying progress from the school into the home through email, instant messaging, texts, pictures and videos, phone calls, chat rooms, web sites, and social networks.  Like bullying, it torments and humiliates children, but anonymity gives the perpetrator license to be much more cruel.  Parents usually find out only after it has escalated because children are embarrassed to tell. Children have committed suicide because of cyberbullying.

Parents can give good advice and establish household policies to protect their children.  They can also show support by telling the child they are on their side.

Here are some safety guidelines for parents: 1) Report online bullying to the police, school, and company that runs the cyberbullying medium; 2) Print everything, photograph it if it can’t be printed; 3) Use all parental controls; 4) Check friends lists and don’t let children accept people as friends unless you actually know them; 5) Don’t let them have passwords you don’t know; 6) Keep adult passwords from children; and 7) pray for them.

Instruct children not to: 1) share passwords, even with their closest friends; 2) respond or retaliate to cyberbullying since this usually makes matters worse; and 3) practice sexting since sending nude pictures is viewed as distributing child pornography. 


Here is some very helpful and important information:

Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet

  1. Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  2. Bullying and Cyber Bullying
  3. ADHD and Medication
  4. Suicide
  5. Helping with Sleep Problems

Helping with Sleep Problems

Some sleep problems require medication, but there are things you can try before opting for medications. Remember, sleep problems can be a symptom of other more serious psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety, or some non psychiatric medical condition, so talk with your child's pediatrician.

Here are some things you can do to help your child sleep better:

Keep your child on a regular sleep schedule. Letting your child stay up late and getting up late on weekends can cause a lot of sleep problems during the rest of the week

Control your child's food choices around bedtime. Junk foods, caffeine (coffee, tea, or chocolate), soda, candy, pudding and pastry. These can disrupt your child's sleep.

Try to make the bedroom dark, with a comfortable temperature and quiet

Regular daily exercise helps with getting good sleep

Find a relaxing activity for your child to do before bedtime

What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Touching behaviors may involve touching of the vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks, oral-genital contact, or sexual intercourse. Non-touching behaviors can include voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), exhibitionism, or exposure to pornography. Abusers often do not use physical force, but may use play, deception, threats, or other forms of coercion to engage children and maintain their silence. Abusers frequently employ persuasive and manipulative tactics—referred to as “grooming”—such as buying gifts or arranging special activities, which can further confuse the victim.
Who is sexually abused?
Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse affects both girls and boys across all neighborhoods, communities and countries around the world.
How can you tell if a child is being (or has been) sexually abused?
Children who have been sexually abused may display a range of emotional and behavioral reactions characteristic of children who have experienced trauma. These reactions include:
• Increased occurrence of nightmares or other sleeping difficulties
• Withdrawn behavior
• Angry outbursts
• Anxiety
• Depression
• New words for private body parts
• Sexual activity with toys or other children
• Not wanting to be left alone with a particular individual(s)
Although many sexually abused children exhibit behavioral and emotional changes, many others do not. It is therefore critical to focus not only on detection, but on prevention and communication—by educating children about body safety, by teaching them about healthy body boundaries, and by encouraging open communication about sexual matters.
Why don’t children tell about sexual abuse?
There are many reasons children do not disclose being sexually abused, including:
• Threats of bodily harm (to the child and/or the child’s family)
• Fear of being removed from the home
• Fear of not being believed
• Shame or guilt
If the abuser is someone the child or the family cares about, the child may worry about getting that person in trouble. In addition, children often believe that the sexual abuse was their own fault and may not disclose for fear of getting in trouble themselves. Many young children may not have the language skills to communicate about the abuse or may not understand that the actions of that perpetrator are abusive, particularly if the sexual abuse is made into a game.
What can you do if a child discloses that he or she is being (or has been) sexually abused?
If a child discloses abuse, it is critical to stay calm, listen carefully, and NEVER blame the child. Thank the child for telling you and reassure him or her of your support. Please remember to call for help immediately.
If you know or suspect that a child is being or has been sexually abused, please call the federally funded Child Welfare Information Gateway at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453) or visit www.childwelfare.gov
If you need immediate assistance, call 911.
Child Sexual Abuse Myths and Facts
Tips To Help Protect Children From Sexual Abuse
• Always teach children accurate names of private body parts.
• Avoid focusing exclusively on “stranger danger.” Keep in mind that most children are abused by someone they know and trust.
• Teach children about body safety and healthy body boundaries early (in preschool) and often.
• Teach children the difference between healthy and unhealthy touches.
• Reinforce the message that children always have the right to make decisions about their bodies. Empower them to say no when they do not want to be touched, even in non-sexual ways (e.g., politely refusing hugs) and to say no to touching others.
• Make sure children know that adults and older children never need help with their private body parts (e.g., bathing or going to the bathroom.)
• Educate children about the difference between good secrets (like surprise parties—which are okay because they are not kept secret for long) and bad secrets (those that the child is supposed to keep secret forever, which are not okay).
• Trust your instincts! If you feel uneasy leaving a child with someone, don’t do it. If you’re concerned about possible sexual abuse, ask questions.
For more information, visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) at www.nctsn.org.
THE BEST TIME TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE IS NOW.

Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is defined by any interaction between a child and an adult or another child in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Touching behaviors may involve touching private body parts, oral-genital sex, or intercourse. Non-touching behaviors can include trying to look at a child’s naked body, exhibitionism, or exposure to pornography. Abusers often do not use physical force, but groom them by buying gifts. Some use deception, threats, or other forms of coercion to engage children and maintain their silence. Any child regardless of gender, race, ethnicisity, age, etc., is vulnerable to sexual abuse.

There are signs you can look for to tell if a child has been or is currently being sexually abused?
Children who have been sexually abused may display the following:

Behavioral and Emotional Signs

Sexual Awareness far beyond what is age appropriate
New words for private body parts
Fear of certain people or places
Doesn't want to be left alone with certain people
Inappropriate sexual behavior or sexual play
Sexual activity with toys or other children
Psychiatric Problems like lack of concentration, depression, unusually quiet or withdrawn, irritable, insomnia, stand alone night mares or with night terrors
Restarts bed wetting
Restarts thumb sucking
Bathing or undressing causes fear
Becomes aggressive with or unable to get along with others

Physical Signs

Torn, bloody or soiled underware which can't be explained
Changes in normal eating patterns
Urinary tract infections
Pain or soreness in the genital area, anus and mouth

How to Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

• Always teach children accurate names of private body parts.

• Avoid focusing exclusively on “stranger danger.” Keep in mind that most children are abused by someone they know and trust.

• Teach children about body safety and healthy body boundaries early (in preschool) and often.

• Teach children the difference between healthy and unhealthy touches.

• Reinforce and empower children to know they always have the right to say no when they do not want to be touched, even in non-sexual ways.

• Make sure children know that adults and older children never need help with their private body parts For example: bathing or going to the bathroom.

• Teach children about the difference between good secrets and bad secrets.

• Trust your own instincts! If you feel uneasy leaving a child with someone, don’t do it.

Bullying and Cyber Bullying

Bullying has been a problem for generations, but cyberbullying in new.  It lets the bullying progress from the school into the home through email, instant messaging, texts, pictures and videos, phone calls, chat rooms, web sites, and social networks.  Like bullying, it torments and humiliates children, but anonymity gives the perpetrator license to be much more cruel.  Parents usually find out only after it has escalated because children are embarrassed to tell. Children have committed suicide because of cyberbullying. Parents can give good advice and establish household policies to protect their children.  They can also show support by telling the child they are on their side.

Here  are some safety guidelines for parents: 1) Report online bullying to the police, school, and company that runs the cyber bullying medium; 2) Print everything, photograph it if it can’t be printed; 3) Use all parental controls; 4) Check friends lists and don’t let children accept people as friends unless you actually know them; 5) Don’t let them have passwords you don’t know; 6) Keep adult passwords from children; and 7) pray for them.

Instruct children not to: 1) share passwords, even with their closest friends; 2) respond or retaliate to cyber bullying since this usually makes matters worse; and 3) practice sexting since sending nude pictures is viewed as distributing child pornography.

ADHD and Medication

Research has proven that medication can be very helpful in treating ADHD.  It improves daily functioning.  It can reduce symptoms which significantly interfere with home and school. If ADHD is left untreated it can cause alot of additional serious problems like social functioning and psychological development.

The medication could help with: reducing fidgeting, academic and behavioral problems in school, restlessness, being "on the go" or "driven by a motor," excessive talking and playing loudly, tuning out and daydreaming, running and climbing excessively.  It can also help with concentration, completing work, forgetfulness, loosing things, listening, chores, organizational skills, paying attention, and getting along better with others.

All medications have side effects, so consult the prescribing physician.  Also, google the medications name and learn for yourself the benefits and side effects of any prescribed ADHD medication.

At home help your child remember tasks by giving him a chore list, give your child age appropriate chores, avoid giving multiple directions at the same time and when you do give directions make brief clear statements.  Also, make sure your child is looking at you when you are giving instructions.  Immediately reward behaviors you want your child to repeat.

Helping Children and Teens with Sleep Problems

Some sleep problems require medication, but there are things you can try before opting for medications. Remember, sleep problems can be a symptom of other more serious psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety, or some non psychiatric medical condition, so talk with your child's pediatrician.

Here are some things you can do to help your child sleep better:

Keep your child on a regular sleep schedule.  Letting your child stay up late and getting up late on weekends can cause a lot of sleep problems during the rest of the week

Control your child's food choices around bedtime.  Junk foods, caffeine (coffee, tea, or chocolate), soda, candy, pudding and pastry. These can disrupt your child's sleep.

Try to make the bedroom dark, with a comfortable temperature and quiet


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