christian counseling for teens 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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Teen Problems Can Be Complicated: 5 Tips for Parents to Help

Hello, parent-of-a-teenager-with-problems (a.k.a. most parents of teenagers)! If you’ve found yourself here, you’re probably going through some tough times at home. Perhaps your child has grown up faster than you could have ever imagined and suddenly they are trying to claim independence at a rate you’re not ready for. Maybe your teenager is going through struggles of their own, like depression, bullying, or anxiety, and you are not sure how you can help.

You might have multiple adolescents laying the groundwork for World War III in your home and you and your spouse are struggling to just get everyone to the table for peace talks. Whatever the situation, raising a teenager is hard work. But there is good news! This is perfectly normal, and while you might be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are things you can do to help your teenager and bring the family together.

Before we get into some tips, however, let’s address the question:

“What is a teenager?”

This might seem like an obvious question, but it’s helpful to acknowledge that to be a teenager means many different things. On the surface, we could define this as the age range 13-19. However, with every year that passes, adolescence seems to be growing in both directions. ...

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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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A Christian Counselor Addresses Sex Addiction in the Church

By Chris Chandler, MA, LMHC, CSAT-C, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

References “Pure Desire” by Ted Roberts

Sex addiction– that doesn’t happen to Christians, right? I mean, no Christian would ever look at porn or take any approach to sex other than “It doesn’t tempt me.” Of course we don’t think like that. And what if maintaining this facade that all of us are basically saints who never struggle with sin is keeping struggling believers from seeking the repentance and recovery they need? Sin is shameful enough. If a person thinks they are the only Christian to ever contend with that specific sin, it makes it even more shameful. They feel as if they couldn’t possibly be a Christian because no legitimate believer would engage in this kind of behavior.

For some reason, individual believers have gotten it into their heads that they are unique in their sin lives. This is probably because we do not spend a lot of time at church talking about our pitfalls and sources of shame during the week. Maybe we should.

Create Camaraderie Within the Church

In his book, “Pure Desire,” Ted Roberts suggests churches work to eliminate the isolationist atmosphere that leads individuals to think they are the only believers to stumble through a certain valley. He recalls a time he was asked to speak before a...

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