How to Help Your Child Through a Tantrum and Keep Calm in a Sticky Situation

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Angry baby and tired mother lying on a carpet in a room

Parenting is no walk in the park, and nothing feels as overwhelming as when your child is having a tantrum, especially in public. While there are endless resources on parenting tips and tricks, what do you do in the heat of the moment when a child escalates and the situation feels beyond mending?

In this article we’ll give you practical, professional tips to help with your child’s tantrums that will bring peace in the moment and decrease outbursts in the long-run. These skills will help you feel in control and be the best parent you can.

Give your child space

Instinctively, we tend to move towards people when we are trying to comfort, soothe or calm. While this is usually effective for adults, for a child who is in distress, it can quickly escalate a situation. It can be tempting to pick up a kid who is having a tantrum and walk away to avoid embarrassment, but physical contact can make an upset child feel even more out of control. When children are frustrated, giving them space to regulate their emotions can be a game-changer.

Don’t react

When a child is dysregulated, it may seem like he/she is not paying attention to anything. In reality, he/she is looking to you for clues on how to act. When you respond like you’re not in control of a situation, that can be scary for kids. Your stress exacerbates theirs.

It may sound impossible, but the less you respond, the better. A strong emotional reaction in response to a tantrum can quickly de-rail a kid, a parent and a whole family. Yelling, swearing, threatening, cold body language and even a sarcastic tone can aggravate a situation. Talking in a calm voice, speaking in a regular or even quiet volume and making minimal gestures gives a child the impression that everything is OK.

Discipline later

Vocalizing punishments in the moment is something we’ve all done and later regretted. Not only are these attempts at discipline reactionary and emotional, they can be a chore for you to enforce and ineffective in the long-run. Yelling or threatening with punishments can alarm kids, and add fuel to a tantrum. 

Perhaps the best child tantrum advice is to save consequences for later, in a different setting. In the moment, a child needs to hear calming messages, even if they don’t seem to work at first. Afterwards, have a one-on-one conversation with the child and give a clear, consistent consequence (consider asking kids what they think is a fair deal, you’ll be surprised by the answers). Remember to stick to what you say, too. Going back on the consequences you’ve declared sends the message that the behavior is acceptable, and it will continue.

Have a reflective conversation

Handling a tantrum smoothly only helps temporarily. Having conversations with your child where you work together to have age-appropriate reflections on what went wrong, and how to solve problems in the future will decrease the number and intensity of tantrums, permanently changing behavior.

Use these questions to guide conversations.

  • What happened from your point of view?
  • What was your emotion when that happened?
  • How do you feel about it afterward?
  • What can I do to make things better?
  • What can you do to make things better?
  • What’s a better idea if the same thing happens again?
  • Pretend you’re back in that moment. How would you ask me for help?

Ask first

When you ask kids to explain what happened in their own words before casting judgment and assignment punishment, you’ll get the full picture of the story. Maybe someone said something that made them afraid, or you didn’t notice a sibling pushing them. Allowing children to have agency and share their side of the story will help them open up to you more and trust your decisions (even if they whine about them).

Encourage emotional awareness

Learning how to express emotions, problem solve and make good decisions can happen at any age. Working with your children to build up a vocabulary of emotion words, both simple and complex, can help both you and your child to understand and respond to difficult situations. You’ll also notice patterns in behavior when you reflect on how you were both feeling in the moment.

Awareness of feelings and the ability to express them will help a child who is having a tantrum and foster important skills for the rest of his or her life. To start teaching emotional awareness at home, try pausing a tv show randomly and ask your kids how that the characters are feeling, and how they know. Point out both physical signs (like body language and facial expressions) and context clues (like what happened just before).

Give yourself grace

While there are plenty of tips to decrease kid tantrums, there will always be factors that are out of your control. Every parent struggles with feeling like they didn’t do enough, but rest assured you’re not alone if you have a child who has overwhelming tantrums.

Professional child tantrum help

While there are some tools that can help any parent to de-escalate a situation, the best child tantrum advice is advice that is specifically catered to you and your family. At Pyramid Online Counseling you can get services that are uniquely designed for your needs, with a professional who knows you individually. Call 833-525-3077 to get connected today.

Creating and Sticking to Your Health Goals

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Setting health-related goals – like drinking more water, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep – is a worthy ambition; but frequently they begin and remain as ambitions and nothing more. So how do you move from having lots of good intentions to making them a reality and accomplishing your health goals? 

It’s easier than you might think.

  1. Identify your motivators

It’s a widely accepted phenomenon that if you desire a change, you’ll take the necessary steps to make it happen. But if the change isn’t truly coming from within, you’re unlikely to do anything to bring the idea into a reality. 

This concept aptly applies to healthy living, and it starts with what motivates you. Are you motivated to drink more water as a natural way to flush toxins from your body? Do you want to get into a regular bedtime routine to help reduce depression and stress due to lack of sleep? Do you want to get a handle on your snacking habit as a means of promoting a healthy metabolism? 

Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you have to first note why you want to achieve it. Only from there will you find the strength to continue persevering when it becomes difficult.

  1. Make a plan

If your goal is to exercise more, make a plan to do that. “Exercising more,” while it’s a fantastic intention, isn’t measurable and therefore is rather difficult to achieve. What is more? What kind of exercise are we talking about? 

It’s vital to your success to plan out exactly how you’re going to meet your goal. Perhaps it looks something like this:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays – 30-minute jog/run/bike ride
  • Tuesday and Thursdays – 60-minute yoga session
  • Friday and Sunday – 30-60 minute strength training and stretching
  • Saturday – rest day

Obviously, this whole thing is completely customizable, but even writing out a simple schedule like that will keep you accountable and serve as a useful reminder.

  1. Start small and work your way up

If you want to eat healthily, it’s unlikely that you’re going to toss everything in your fridge into the trash and completely start afresh. Not only is that a waste of food, but it’s also a whole lot of extra work. Plus, it can be more difficult to start from scratch rather than starting small.

Eating healthy can be a challenge overall, but substituting unhealthy/sugary/inflammatory foods is an easy way to start. For example, you might want to begin with cutting out added refined sugars. This begins with eliminating desserts, of course, but also items like soda, white bread, granola, low-fat diet foods and ready-made meals. 

When you begin eliminating these items (or whichever category of unhealthy foods you choose), you’ll begin to notice a difference in the way your body feels for the better and will be even more motivated to continue working towards accomplishing your health goals. 

  1. Be realistic

When identifying and outlining your goals, you want to make sure they’re ones that you can actually achieve. If you want to drink more water throughout the day, but don’t have frequent access to a filtered water system, purchase a water bottle large enough to help you reach your quota.

Another example might be wanting to attend the gym for an hour every day, but between commuting and dinner and just everyday life commitments, it’s not possible. Consider, instead, utilizing the great outdoors or investing in an online app or class. That way you can cut down on travel time, but still, achieve your goal of frequent exercise. 

Regardless of what you’re hoping to achieve, make sure it remains within the boundaries of what’s possible for your life.

  1. Consider SMART goals

The acronym SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. This means they say exactly what they’re going to do – they can be measured, they can be met in the time allowed, they’re realistic and applicable to your situation and the time in which they can be accomplished is reasonable. 

An exercise goal that isn’t SMART would sound something like, “I’m going to exercise more.” On the other hand, a SMART goal for exercise would look something like, “I’m going to jog around the local park every day for 30 minutes five days a week.” Not only does it give the measurable time per day, but it identifies where it will be accomplished and how many times a week it will be done. Not only does this tactic make achieving your goals more understandable, but it also makes them more possible. 

A healthy lifestyle in 2021

Maybe you’ve been putting off a healthy lifestyle for a long time, or maybe it’s been something you’ve found an interest in but didn’t know where to start. By starting small, being realistic, keeping yourself motivated and making sure you can measure your success, you’ll be on the right path to accomplishing your health goals both for the benefit of your physical and mental health. 

For further information on how setting and sticking to health-related goals increases physical and mental health, reach out to Pyramid Online Counseling at 833-525-3077.

No Time to Waste: How to Get More Done in 2021

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Our brief moment of respite where the world collectively slowed down during the pandemic is over and the world is returning to its fast-paced norm.

If you’re struggling to keep up and maximize productivity, you’re not alone. Many people are wondering how to be more productive at work and at home and not sure where to start.

Thankfully though, you don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve narrowed down the top tips on productivity and assembled the best of the best here. Here are the top six ways to get more done and be more productive in life.

  • Plan your day ahead of time

Taking a few minutes to prepare at the beginning of the day (or the end of the day before) is going to be your best timesaver so you can get more done. Use this time to review your schedule, note your priorities and set personal goals. 

Everyone’s day is going to look different, but you’ll want to schedule in time for work, meals (grocery shopping, meal prep and eating time) and your physical and mental wellness on a regular basis.

  • Streamline your organization

How you schedule is just as important as where you schedule. When it comes to organizing your day, keeping it simple is best – only use one tool so you can see your full day’s to-do’s all in one place to be more productive at home and on the go.

Online calendars are one of the best tools for this because you can view them via your phone or a desktop, and you have the added bonus of being able to share calendars and events with others.

Use a code to make your schedule even easier to see at a glance, like color-coding events for work, social events, doctor’s appointments and your kid’s soccer games.

  • Set limits on screen time

According to CNN Health, Americans spend an average of 10 hours a day on devices, around four and a half of them on their phones. Although phones have incredible utility, there’s no doubt that phones are also a huge time-waster.

The number one tip for how to get more done is to limit screen time. It tops the list because it’s so practical, but it’s also so difficult. Managing time on your phone is an important lesson in self-control, but once you can keep to stricter limits, you’ll feel a million times more productive.

Thankfully, many phones come with screen time settings and your device will notify you when you’re at the max time. Spend a week with a limit of one hour on your phone. Stick to it and you’ll notice incredible gains in what you can get done in a day.

  • Stop trying to multitask

When you have too much on your plate it’s tempting to try to do several things at once to knock things off the list faster. However, multitasking makes us feel busier and more stressed and rarely do things get done well. Multitasking wastes time in the long run.

You’ll especially want to stop multitasking during social activities. Trying to play with your kid while you’re checking emails, or sitting down for a meal with your partner while you’re paying bills can leave room for error in your task and makes the other person feel neglected.

If your lifestyle requires that you are endlessly multitasking, you would be better off minimizing your commitments than doing them half-heartedly. You and the people around you will feel happier for it.

  • Don’t overcommit

It’s impossible to do everything, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to. If you’re struggling to be productive, it might be because you’re trying to be productive in too many areas, instead of honing in on being productive in the areas of your life that are the most important.

As you get the knack of running through your routine every morning, pay attention to what you’re excited about and what you dread. Consider cutting out the things that take up time and don’t add meaning to your life (sorry, work doesn’t count).

  • Invest in your mental health

Maybe feeling unproductive isn’t at the root of your discontent. Sure, crossing things off the to-do list is gratifying, but feeling unhappy may have a deeper cause than your struggle to be productive at work.

If mental health is interfering with how you live your daily life, seeking out therapy can change that. When you feel good about yourself and have an outlet to address your experiences, you’ll have more mental clarity to do other important things.

The key to productivity

You’ll never find the peace you want if you’re only worried about efficiency, and being productive is only satisfying if you’re happy at the end of the day. Make sure to prioritize your mental well-being in your striving for career and life success.

With Pyramid Online Counseling you don’t have to compromise your mental wellness or your productivity. With flexible scheduling and online services, you can invest in your mental health without the inconveniences of in-person therapy.

Online Counseling Helps You Tackle Life Transitions

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Smiling young indian woman in headphones learning practicing foreign language with confident male tutor distantly on computer. Happy mixed race girl listening to educational webinar, writing notes.

No matter how much we might want it to slow down, life continues to move forward, ever-changing, ever-evolving. At times, it might feel like all you can do is keep your head above water, while life forces you to adjust again and again and again. And while many of us would wish these transitions would simply take care of themselves and leave us be, life demands our attention.

The good news is this isn’t an isolating concept. Every single human being on earth has experienced change to some extent. Perhaps it’s been a big change, like a cross-country move, a baby on the way or a marriage separation. Maybe it’s just been a smaller adjustment, like moving houses across town or buying a new car. Regardless of the type of life transition you’re experiencing, change is simply a part of life. 

Some changes can be exceedingly difficult to tackle alone and can affect you in mental and physical ways you weren’t anticipating. For any kind of life transition – big, small, positive or negative – online counseling offers the tools and support needed to embrace whatever happens.  

Step 1: Anticipate the change

An online counselor works with clients to tackle all aspects of a change. This includes the initial anticipation. Take a wedding, for example. Weddings are just the first step into the large life change of marriage, and this change can come arm in arm with all kinds of emotions. Talking with a counselor will help you anticipate and talk through the realities of this change (a new home, a joint bank account, a different way to file taxes, the possibility of children, a permanent new roommate). By processing thoughts and feelings ahead of time, you will experience anticipatory benefits. 

First, you won’t be caught off guard by a pending life transition. It’s much easier to handle a situation when you’re mentally prepared to receive it, rather than when it shows up out of nowhere. When you know what to expect, you already have a game plan in mind on how you’re going to handle it. 

Second, not all aspects of a transition can be identified ahead of time, and some life changes are entirely unforeseen. There will always be obstacles which arise from time to time. However, this is the benefit of talking to a counselor – the tools and healthy coping mechanisms they introduce you to, both before and after a change, will help you handle transitions now and for years to come. 

Step 2: Receive support 

From time to time, we mistakenly believe we can totally handle life transitions on our own. No matter the change, consulting with a licensed counselor proves a major upgrade over processing emotions by yourself. It might be just to vent about the difficulties of post-grad life, the concerns of moving away to college or the difficulties you’re experiencing in starting a new job. Or, it might be to process a graver situation, such as grief or trauma from an event, or a significant loss.

No matter the transition, it’s important to receive support during these times. Knowing you don’t have to handle life transitions alone, regardless of whether or not you’re capable of doing so, is important to healthily navigating a change. 

For some situations, family might provide all the support you need. For other changes, it might be valuable to discuss the situation with a third party, a counselor trained in supporting people through life’s ups and downs. For example, if you’re in the process of navigating a divorce, most people in your life will hold their own opinions of the situation. Talking with a counselor gives you support in the areas you need most. You will learn to see all perspectives of a situation, gain confidence in making choices based on these perspectives and ultimately receive guidance in making the best choices for your well-being and peace of mind. 

Step 3: Navigate the change, during and after

As important as anticipating a life change is, it is just as vital to properly navigate the change while it occurs.

Online counselors help clients navigate changes in a number of ways. 

  1. Counselors will talk with you about the change, but will also help you focus on the opportunities arising from the change. Concentrating on the positive aspects will shift your overall outlook. While the negative, or hard, aspects of your life transition will obviously be processed, the primary focus of sessions will not be dwelling on these difficulties. 
  2. Counselors will help you manage your expectations of the change. If you expect yourself to be right as rain the day after receiving life-changing news, you’re probably setting yourself up for a hard time. Counselors help you set realistic expectations in order to keep you from becoming exceedingly anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
  3. Counselors can walk you through the steps of moving forward. Dwelling on a change doesn’t help, and while it’s necessary to acknowledge the way the change impacted you and made you feel, it’s also necessary to take that information and keep moving forward. An online counselor will guide you through embracing the impact of change versus avoiding it, and will provide you with the tools needed in this new stage of life. 

Considering online counseling?

The convenience of online counseling services, such as those offered by Pyramid Online Counseling, provide secure, convenient sessions from the comfort of your own home. By meeting with a trained counselor via video chat, you’ll be able to discuss the nature of your life transition and receive personalized, professional counseling for anticipating whatever challenges you face. Call 533-525-3077 or reach out today to learn more about how online counseling can help you navigate life transitions.

What Career in Behavioral Healthcare is Right for Me?

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Exploring careers in behavioral healthcare

Today, there’s a major upward trend in people seeking out mental health services. The pandemic, as well as increasing social acceptance around mental illness, has made therapy and other behavioral health services more appealing. With this increase in individuals pursuing mental health treatment, it may have crossed your mind that being a mental health professional is a truly fulfilling and meaningful career.

What is behavioral healthcare?

Behavioral healthcare is a branch of healthcare specifically focused on social, emotional and behavioral well-being. Often, this field includes working with individuals who struggle with mental illness, behavioral problems or unhealthy lifestyle habits. Behavioral healthcare includes mental health and encompasses many areas of need. Here are some areas that are included under the umbrella of behavioral healthcare:

  • Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Gambling addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Family counseling
  • Couples counseling

There are so many reasons to look into a career in the mental health field. It’s a stable career option that is growing as awareness and demand for mental health services increases. Many careers in behavioral health offer more flexibility than other fields and the rewards of helping people achieve fulfilling lives is a major draw. There are countless specialties and ways to serve in clinical settings. If you’re considering a career in behavioral health, here are the most common avenues to specific occupations. Keep in mind that for most careers in behavioral healthcare, the requirements differ by state and by employer.

Social work

Social workers tend to focus on resources and support rather than diagnosing mental health disorders. Although some social workers include treatment of mental illness in the scope of their practice, social work typically maintains an emphasis on mitigating environmental factors and adapting behavioral manifestations so individuals can live a more functional lifestyle. 

Perhaps the broadest range of career options within behavioral healthcare belongs to social workers. Social work is divided into micro-social work and macro-social work. Micro focuses on working with individuals (working in schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, child protective services, hospice, etc.) and macro focuses on changing systems (work in advocacy, policy analysis, community organizing, research and the like).

In order to be considered a clinical social worker, a Master’s Degree in Social Work is required. Additionally, social workers are licensed professionals, receiving full licensure after an exam, a period of supervised work and application to the Association of Social Work Boards.

Time in school: 5 to 6 years. Many schools offer an accelerated Master’s program if you obtain an undergraduate degree in social work, hence the 5-year path. It will take 6 years to obtain a Master’s degree if you currently hold an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field.

Counseling

Counseling is a branch of behavioral healthcare that focuses primarily on psychological health, rather than physical health. Counselors often work with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, grief, self-esteem, substance abuse, anger management, stress, relationship issues and so on. Like social workers, counselors work in a variety of fields, such as inpatient and outpatient therapy, substance abuse recovery, in government or in private practice. Most counseling positions require a Master’s Degree to practice. The National Board for Certified Counselors is where you’d look to get certified in counseling and a license can be obtained after taking one or both of two national exams.

Many people automatically think of school counselors when they think of the profession of counseling. School counseling is a distinct branch of counseling that differs from the rest of counseling in many ways. School counselors, though they often help with emotional and social issues, typically are employed by the school to encourage and assist with college attendance and applications, career readiness and scheduling classes. This requires a specialized Master’s Degree in School Counseling.

Time in school: 5 to 6 years. Like social work, accelerated programs exist for those who have received an undergraduate degree in the same field. Like most other clinical professions, counseling requires some field experience before graduating.

Psychology

Most often, the term “therapist” refers to a psychologist, or someone who has a degree in psychology. Psychologists typically use talk therapy to provide treatment to their clients. Often, a therapist will have a specialty area of practice, such as working with children or working with victims of trauma. Moreover, many therapists will have several areas of expertise and acquire more endorsements over time. Psychologists focus primarily on treatment rather than environmental factors. Psychologists typically work in private practice, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, university medical centers and rehab programs. 

In order to practice, a person will have to complete an advanced degree and obtain licensure after a certain number of clinical hours in the field. Most psychologists have PhDs. Before licensure, applicants take an exam called the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Time in school: Roughly 8 to 10 years. First a bachelor’s Degree, then a doctoral Degree, then some time in supervised training and practice makes for about a decade of study and preparation to practice psychology.

Psychiatry

Psychiatrists lean towards the medical side of the spectrum of mental health workers, as they can prescribe drugs for treatment whereas social workers, counselors and psychologists cannot. Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders by combining therapeutic techniques and medication. In order to be licensed and certified, a person must first complete four years of medical school and a four year residency before he or she can officially be called a psychiatrist. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and The American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry are the two recognized boards that offer certification. Psychiatrists typically work in hospitals and private practices.

Time in school: 8 years, plus 4 years in residency. Factor in a bachelor’s degree, a doctorate degree (either a doctor of medicine, MD, or a doctor of osteopathic medicine, OD), and a residency program and you’re looking at about 12 years before being able to practice independently. However, after 8 years of school a psychiatrist can obtain a license and is working in the field during the residency.

Pyramid Online Counseling employs licensed and certified clinicians in several capacities. We are always looking to hire competent and compassionate team members who want to help individuals master mental health struggles and live a life they can be proud of. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our careers page and apply online.