Why Your Teen Automatically Thinks the Worst

Why do kids immediately think the worst about a situation or another child's or teen's actions?

Kids and teens often jump to the worst case scenario when their minds run a little anxious. It’s a self-preservation technique on overdrive. Their anxious mind assumes “so and so pushed me on purpose,” or “those kids laughing in class must be laughing at me,” which leads to a fight, flight, or freeze response.

What are some specific ways parents can help guide their children/teens into thinking the best, not the worst, of others?

I always coach the kids I work with to take a pause and step back from the situation. They could be right - this person could have knocked into them on purpose.

But what else could be true?

Could it have been an accident? And if it was an accident, how would that change their feelings and their actions? Breaking down this cognitive triangle (thoughts, feelings, behaviors) can be so impactful for kids and teens, and it gives them more control over their reactions.

Read More
Tolerating Overwhelming Emotions

Sometimes emotions are overwhelming because the circumstances, mood or relationship issue is so powerful.  When a loved one dies, your client feels overwhelming grief.  In time, the grief diminishes.  Other times, the intensity of the emotion is greater than the trigger warrants (e.g., a child spills a glass of milk and mom goes into a rage). Most of the time, our client’s emotions are complex.  Story-telling, over-interpretation and ruminative thoughts trigger an overwhelming emotional response (and vice versa).  

Read More
What Makes Borderline Personality Disorder So Challenging?

Battle lines are drawn in her head each side ready to attack the other at a moment’s notice.  On one side, her inner critic waits not-so-patiently to judge. Her inner critic judges harshly when she ridicules her best friend or takes a stranger home from the bar, when she cuts or quits yet another job after a month.  To the inner critic in her head, the list to be judged is seemingly endless. 

Read More
Borderline Can Be Treated!

Despite decades of research, there are still many who believe Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is untreatable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the years, I have experienced firsthand the resilience (accompanied by the occasional resistance) of people in the face of serious BPD and difficult life situations.  And I have seen firsthand how effective DBT can be when clients are committed to obtaining the mindful awareness and skills needed to create a life worth living.

Read More