Tag Archives: Therapy

Ask a Therapist: Framing Limits for an Adolescent

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer readers’ questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

In this article, Roy Fisher addresses a reader’s question about how to navigate setting limits with one’s adolescent.

If you have a question, please click here and let us know. We will select two questions each month to answer. The form requires no email address or identification and is completely anonymous. If you are in crisis or in immediate need of care, please contact Crisis Connections at 1-866-427-4747.

Question: I need some parenting advice. I’m struggling with my 11-year-old old daughter. I try and put limits but everything seems like a power struggle. For example, we got into recently about her getting a cell phone, she tells me all her friends have phones so why can’t she? She doesn’t accept “no” as an answer, she always wants an explanation. When she doesn’t get her way, she throws a tantrum until she gets what she wants, it’s exhausting. Please help.

Dear Reader,

Adolescence is a time when children start to pull away from their parents. We talk about the “terrible twos,” but that developmental stage tends to be less challenging than parenting an adolescent or an early teenager. At this age, peer groups take on more importance in your child’s life. This generation has grown up surrounded by technology and having a phone allows kids to feel connected to each other. But should you give your child a phone?

In my clinical work, I do my best to not tell parents what they should do. You are the expert on your life and know what is best. What I do recommend is “values-based” parenting. Rather than telling your child what they can or cannot do, frame everything through a value you are trying to teach. Most parents I speak with who are struggling with a child’s behavior focus on the behavior they want to stop. Instead of doing that, I recommend encouraging and modeling the behavior you want your child to exhibit.

I often ask parents, “Do you want to teach or do you want to punish?” If your goal is to teach, what informs what you want to teach your child? This is where values come in. What is the value you are assigning to the phone? A phone can be a source of information (access to the Internet) and it can be a source of communication (texting, social media, etc.). For parents, a phone also is about responsibility. Rather than simply saying, “no,” let your child know what prevents you from saying, “yes.” What behaviors do you want to see from your child that would let you know they are ready for the responsibility of having a phone?

Instead of making this a power struggle, framing it as a value will provide opportunities for your daughter to show you that she’s ready. Whether it is important to you for her to be a good student, take care of responsibilities around the house, show respect to others, etc., tie her getting the phone those. Share with your daughter that having a phone is a lot of responsibility and if she is unable to manage her behavior (e.g. throwing a tantrum), how are you going to be confident that she will show appropriate behavior with her phone?

There’s another thing to consider. Your daughter will be a teenager soon with a whole host of new challenges. Today it’s a cell phone. Sooner than you will like, this conversation will be about a car, and even if she doesn’t have a car, one of her friends likely will. This conversation soon will also be about dating. There is always something in the future that parents need to consider. In many ways, you are not parenting an 11-year-old, you’re parenting a future 16-year-old.

You are your daughter’s best teacher. It would be in both of your best interests to consider how you want to prepare her for what’s coming next.

I hope you’ve found this helpful.

– Roy Fisher, MA LMFT

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Ask A Therapist: Healing from and holding accountable perpetrators of childhood abuse

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer readers’ questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

In this article, Liz Covey addresses a reader’s question about holding perpetrators of childhood abuse accountable, and healing from that trauma.

If you have a question, please click here and let us know. We will select two questions each month to answer. The form requires no email address or identification and is completely anonymous. If you are in crisis or in immediate need of care, please contact Crisis Connections at 1-866-427-4747.

Question: how can adult survivors of childhood abuse do more to hold perpetrators accountable? After all the healing’s done. In my case, I am wondering about the possibility of either bring a public display to the perpetrators home via fliers, signs, etc., but I also know our courts are designed to make a person whole again after suffering personal injury. I’ll be living with my disability, due to emotional and physical abuse for my lifetime. What do you know about the possibility of filing a personal injury claim against a living perpetrator childhood and adult abuse?”

Continue reading Ask A Therapist: Healing from and holding accountable perpetrators of childhood abuse

ASK A THERAPIST: Conflict in a relationship and differing perceptions of behavior

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer readers’ questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

In this article, Roy Fisher addresses a reader’s question regarding conflicts with their partner, and their partner’s perception of their behavior.

If you have a question, please click here and let us know. We will select two questions each month to answer. The form requires no email address or identification and is completely anonymous. If you are in crisis or in immediate need of care, please contact Crisis Connections at 1-866-427-4747.

My girlfriend tells me that I’m “in a rage” when we are fighting, even though I would never hurt her or anything like that. I yell sometimes, but so does she. She says it’s a huge problem and I’m afraid we might break up because of this. How do I know if she’s right, or if it’s just her being sensitive? The way I grew up was rough, and she didn’t have it so bad, so maybe she just can’t handle anyone being upset. I’m not sure what to do because all we do is fight about who is right, making it all the more likely we will break up.

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Ask A Therapist: Self-Care in the Midst of White Supremacy

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer readers’ questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

In this article, a reader asked Roy Fisher how to stay afloat in the midst of white supremacy in the United States.

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Ask A Therapist: Reflecting on Suicide and Missed Opportunities

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

In this article, Covey answers a reader’s question about suicide, and whether they missed an opportunity to help.

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Ask A Therapist: What to Do With Prolonged Grief, and Is It OK to Use the Word ‘Crazy’?

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer two questions each month for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

This month, readers asked the Emerald what to do with prolonged grief and whether it’s harmful to use the word “crazy.”

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Ask A Therapist: What to Do When Your Teen Doesn’t Want You at the Doctor, and Setting Boundaries with Negativity

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer two questions each month for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights.

This month, readers asked the Emerald what to do when your teenager doesn’t want you at the doctor anymore, and how to set boundaries around negativity with family members.

Continue reading Ask A Therapist: What to Do When Your Teen Doesn’t Want You at the Doctor, and Setting Boundaries with Negativity