christian counseling for children Articles

The Faithful Family: Christian Counseling and Raising Godly Children

As I think about some of the families that I have worked with and even my own family, one thing that has always been consistent is the formation of family rules, values, and norms. Christian families will often use the Bible as a guide for creating their values, which also includes ideas around what it looks like to raise their children.

The Bible talks quite a bit about families. Families in the Bible traveled together (the children of Israel), went through hardships (Noah and his family on the Ark), experienced betrayal (Cain and Abel), and were sometimes completely torn apart by tragedy (remember Job?).

I believe God knew that families would be searching for examples and answers to make it through their own family struggles, so He included many real life stories in the Bible. The Bible gives specific instructions to parents on how they should raise their children in some areas, but other areas seem to be a little less clear.

What does the Bible say, if anything, about counseling? Did anyone receive counsel from wise people? The Bible includes many incidents where someone is gaining wisdom or knowledge from a trusted person, often directly from God through a chosen person (I am reminded of Paul's letters to the church).

I think Christians everywhere would agree that...

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Anger Management for Kids: How Christian Counseling Can Help

The reasons and causes for a child to be prone to angry outbursts are too numerous to discuss in one article. Children are born with different innate dispositions, may be dealing with a disability that constantly frustrates them, or may be reacting to a dramatic change to their life. These are some examples of life factors that result in an angry child who is difficult to manage.

Having an approach specific to the particular cause is an important consideration when dealing with anger management for kids. However, we can find some universal parenting principles in the Bible that are necessary ingredients for helping children develop coping skills to function in the world.

In my 20 years in working with families, a common theme I have found with children and teenagers with anger problems is inconsistent parenting. A lot of permissive parents focus on being connected to their child, but shift to be controlling in a crisis. Conversely, authoritarian parents don’t know how to be positively connected to their kids when things are going well and provide little support toward autonomy.

Many parents shift back and forth between the two styles inconsistently, leaving the child without stable boundaries to figure things out. The result is that the child is constantly frustrated t...

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10 Ways Anxiety in Children Affects Their Education and Life

Do you remember what emotions you felt on the first day of middle school? How about something a little more recent, like your first day of work at a new job? Maybe by now the scary thoughts and fear you had then are no longer part of your memory because they were fairly normal responses to what was happening that day, but can you imagine what it would be like if those feelings were a part of you all the time, even when they do not make sense?

What if you were a young child trying to go to school every day or to a friend’s birthday party on the weekend, but fear made it difficult for you go?

Perhaps you are the parent of a child struggling with anxiety and you're wondering exactly what is happening inside of their mind and body when they think about a social setting. It can be hard for everyone when a child in the family is experiencing anxiety symptoms, but even harder when their school teacher or their best friend doesn’t understand what is going on and they are not supportive of their emotional needs.

Teachers often do not know what is happening with the child and they can underestimate the effects of anxiety on the student and their peers. Teachers can mistake anxiety for many other things and sometimes do not have the knowledge yet on how to recognize anxiety in ...

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ADHD Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments: What Every Christian Should Know

What is ADHD?

The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) lists Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a “Neuro-developmental Disorder” and refers to it as a neurological disease. It notes that it is not only found in children, but in adolescents and adults.

The DSM-5 states that “individuals with ADHD may present with both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, or one symptom pattern may predominate … Three presentations of ADHD are commonly referred to: combined-type, inattentive-type and hyperactive/impulsive-type … the appropriate presentation of ADHD should be indicated based on the predominant symptom pattern for the last six months.”

Summarizing the DSM-5’s description of ADHD, the ADHD Institute defines it as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, has symptoms presenting in two or more settings (e.g. at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities), and negatively impacts directly on social, academic, or occupational functioning. Several symptoms must have been present before age 12 years.”

The National Institute of Men...

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4 Ways a Child Counselor Can Turn Your Child’s Frown Upside Down

Hello there! If you’ve found your way here, you’re probably looking for some support for your little one at home. Maybe there are some behavioral issues your child is showing, or maybe they seem to be just stuck in the blues and unable to play like some of their peers can.

First of all, this can be a scary and sad thing as a parent to see your kiddo not shining the way you know they can. I want to praise you just for finding your way here and taking the first steps towards finding help for your child and your family. That shows a tremendous amount of strength and will go far towards getting the help you’re looking for.

Now, how can a child counselor help and what does child therapy actually look like?

One of the most formative sessions I’ve ever had with a child ended up with me being spat on. Twice. I was seeing this six-year-old boy with divorced parents and two sisters with major behavioral issues of their own. Put simply, their home life was very chaotic. I had been working with this family for close to a year, and I was winding down my time as a clinical intern at this site.

In order to ease the transition for this family, I wanted to give them ample notice I was leaving, so I informed the boy and his mother that I would be leaving in a couple of...

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2 Signs that Mental Health in Children is at Risk in 2016

Living in today's fast-paced and increasingly unpredictable world, you might wonder what the future (or even the present) holds for the mental health of children in these times. This is a natural question, given that our children are growing up in a world full of violence, both in the media, we are exposed to and in the real world we live in.

The Impact of Violence on Our Children

One risk for children today is the extent and the degree to which they are exposed to threats or violence. Tragically, many children in our culture are exposed to threats and/or violence on a daily basis. We see this in things like exposure to unhealthy media (news, TV shows, video games, Internet sites, etc.), bullying, and hearing about the painful events that occur in our nation and our world.

This exposure to violent media can increase aggressiveness in children. This is a serious concern given that many of the most popular games played by young people today encourage the players to kill, or at least injure, the other characters in order to succeed. Role-playing games, arcade games (fighting games), and so-called “first-person shooter” games are some of the genres that immediately come to mind. Did you know that there are mainstream, widely-available games that promote things like ...

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Bullying, It’s a Christian Issue, Too!

Part 1 of a 2-Part Bullying Series

We’ve all heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As a child, I was often told this by my mother when I came home crying because one of my friends had been unkind with their words or actions. I know my mother meant well and, as every parent knows, we don’t always know what to say in those times, so we do our best.

But as I got older, I realized that this infamous saying is untrue. Words carve much deeper hurts than sticks and stones. This started a search for me, a search for words that would provide healing. Not only would these words heal me, but they would heal others around me.

Words are Powerful

I found these words in the Bible. I found the story of Jesus and how He died, not only for the sticks and stones that were thrown at me but also for the words that were thrown at me too. As I continued to study, I learned through accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior that He also forgave all the sticks and stones and words that I too had thrown at others. Amazingly, this healing of forgiveness was all done with words, and with faith in the power of those words.

Today I know that words are powerful. Scripture is powerful. As Christians, Scr...

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