Total Life Counseling for Children, Teens, Adolescents and Adults in Orlando Winter Park Clermont Lake Mary and Central Florida Everyone Needs a Little TLC Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:15:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dad Superbowl Commercials Teaches 5 Lessons Why Fatherhood is Important | Orlando Counselor Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:52:04 +0000 Super Bowl commercials went beyond the usual humor in Doritos and Budweiser campaigns. These commercials pulled at the heart strings of many dads across the nation that may have inspired them to be more present for their children and teens.  It appears that the commercials were tailored to the Dads and the importance of their roles.

Toyota did an amazing job with an emphasis on father-daughter relationship and reflecting on times where her father was there for emotional support and even supporting a tough decision for her to join the military and support her country!

As well as Nissan’s Dad 2015 Superbowl Commercial, which focused on the importance of a father-son relationship and a hardworking father making sacrifices to provide for this family!

The most moving of them all was the 2015 Superbowl Commercial by Dove showing Dad’s as important and there to protect their children! These commercials are refreshing, rather than bashing dads these show great dads there for their kids as they are calling out in to him in tough situations!

Research has shown that fatherhood is as important as motherhood, if not even more crucial. Over the years, motherhood has taken the lead in the care of children and often fathers are left behind. This phenomenon has brought many researchers to study reasons why fatherhood is key to a child’s development and why they matter. Research has shown that the involvement of fathers make a significant difference starting from the womb. It is heart warming and inspiring to see how companies are spending millions of dollars to bring awareness to our fathers regarding the importance of their roles and how they too matter. Here are 5 reasons why fatherhood is important:

1. Presence in Pregnancy: A study in University of South Florida revealed how infants with absent fathers during pregnancy were most likely prematurely born than those with present fathers. The study also revealed that women with absent fathers were most likely to have higher complications during pregnancy such as anemia and high blood pressure. Many fathers-to-be might feel that their presence is not important since they have no physical contact nor connection throughout the pregnancy.  According to recent studies, fathers are as important as mothers during pregnancy and the development of the baby.

2. Presence at Birth: We can recall the days where fathers would stay in the waiting room waiting to hear the news about their newborn. There has been an increase in the involvement of fathers inside the delivery room. Fathers have the ability to bring relief to the mothers during delivery. Studies report that fathers who were involved in the delivery of their child report a higher attachment to their children. In fact, hospitals are encouraging more skin to skin care between fathers and infants.

3. Presence in Toddlerhood: According to studies, fathers with minimal presence in toddlerhood had higher rates of aggressive behaviors regardless of mother’s relationship with the toddler. When a father is involved in playing with his toddler, helping care for them and spend quality time with them they reduce the likelihood for behavioral problems in early childhood and even delinquency.

4. Presence in Childhood: Fatherhood plays an important role in language development. Studies show that fathers who read to their children at 6 months predicted their expressiveness by 15 months and advanced vocabulary at age 3 regardless of the mother’s educational level. The results indicated that the father’s vocabulary introduces a wider range of vocabulary words than the mothers because mothers are more likely to use familiar words with the children.

5. Presence in Adolescence: The presence of a father during the teen years are crucial regardless of gender. Girls develop a sense of men roles in their lives based on their relationship with their fathers. Boys have fewer risks of delinquency and behavioral problems when their fathers are present in their lives. Research shows that girls reach sexual maturation earlier and teen pregnancy is higher when a father is absent. A healthy father-daughter relationship increases self-esteem, confidence and security. A healthy father-son relationship increases their awareness in the importance of their role, self-worth, confidence and manhood.

Please share your comments below and let us know if you would like to see more awesome dad commercials!

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Mayeling Angelastro, MA is an Orlando Winter Park Bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to couples, families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Winter Park and East Orlando.  (407) 248-0030

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Are You Making Time for Self-Care | 6 Tips to Take Care of You | Orlando Counselor Expert Mon, 01 May 2017 18:17:25 +0000 When our routine gets in our way it seems so difficult to find time for self- care. Guess what? We need to make time for it, regardless. Our life can get out of control if we are not aware and conscious of what is happening inside of us. Most of the time we automatically respond through our thoughts and behaviors without realizing how we feel or what we need. Yes, life is about achieving goals and executing our everyday responsibilities with work and family. Nonetheless, life is not only outside of us but is happening inside of us, too.  It’s vital to become aware of how we interact with oneself and to listen to our feelings and inner condition. A fast pace and distressing routine likely disturbs our physiology and also disorganizes the chemicals delivered in our body. This produces negative behavior responses such as anxiety, stress, and tension. Although our breathing is an important component to balance and to regulate the body, mind, and feelings, we forget to use our breathing effectively when we are in automatic mode. Below are some important tips for self-care:

6 Tips to Take Care of You

  1. Practice meditation– Take at least 5 minutes everyday to decelerate your thought process. Allow yourself to not think for a few minutes and concentrate exclusively on your breathing. Breathe in and out.
  2. Self check – Stop a few minutes throughout your day and ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” You will be surprised with how powerful it is, and you will find out more about yourself. This self-check helps to develop self-awareness and self-growth.
  3. Reserve a time to worry – Yes, even though taking time to worry sounds weird, it is a powerful way to re-discipline our mind to not waste valuable time with toxic worries. When we select a time to worry, our mind will likely become more focused on finding solutions.
  4. Self-nurture –  Taking care of your body is also taking care of your mind. Do nice things for yourself! Select a day or at least some hours out of the day that you can completely dedicate to yourself. There are so many options of self-nurturing that you can choose from. Prepare a relaxing bubble bath with calming essentials of lavender or rosemary, massage your skin with essential oils, or wear something comfortable around the house and watch a movie. Make yourself a delicious meal and take your time to taste it and to enjoy it!
  5. Physical Exercise – When we move our body, it stimulates and distributes our chemicals, which promotes a better blood and oxygen circulation into our system. Exercise helps our mood, interpersonal interaction, and balances our quality of sleep.  Running, biking, treadmill, elliptical and other cardio exercises is a time when our mind can work out worries or concerns!
  6. Talk to a mental health professional – Set the goal of having a mental health professional to better assist you with identifying negative patterns and to develop coping strategies to deal with challenging situations. It is a rewarding long term benefit as well as an amazing way of self-care.

Remember, if we try to keep ourselves in automatic mode, we build an unhealthy relationship within because we lose touch with our own personal needs. Sometimes it is not what we want to do, but what we need to do to get where we want to be.

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Anna Vita, MS has her Masters Degree in Science in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando where our child, teen, relationship and marriage experts specialize in depression & anxiety.  For more tools on self-care check out our articles or for coaching or counseling give us a call (407) 248-0030.

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Adrenaline Unhealthy and Healthy Effects on the Body | 4 Proper Ways to Release Adrenaline Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:16:13 +0000 Throughout our experiences, we interact with a variety of situations, people, and environments that have an extraordinary effect on our mind and body. Our childhood can design important aspects of our identity and how we interact in relationships. A child who was repeatedly exposed to and stimulated by a hostile and negative environment will likely build emotions such as fear, sadness and anger. Due to the constant charges of adrenaline delivered into their body while experiencing these negative emotions, their system becomes overly stimulated and overwhelmed.

Constant charges of adrenaline can damage our body and affect its ability to work properly and for our minds to function effectively. An overly stimulated child will become an overly stimulated adult, who will likely develop acute to chronic anxiety, anger or depression. The adult will likely look for a stimulus that now he identifies as part of his identity, such as alcohol, drugs, hostile and abusive relationships, or environments with constant pressure. The use and exposure to these stimuli can be the direction that the person often takes to stimulate their body and mind with the same stimuli experienced during early age.  Unfortunately, it’s impossible as a child to avoid negative environments, negative people and the effects they have on our identity. However, as adults we can find ways to identify these negative stimuli and to re-educate and re-discipline our mind to look for healthy sources to experience adrenaline.

Below are different and healthy ways to stimulate our body and mind with adrenaline.

  1. Exercising the body, walking, running, dancing are excellent sources of adrenaline and helps to define our physical body.
  2. Laughing stimulates the brain to release endorphins and helps us to feel good. Besides, when we laugh, we age less.
  3. Falling in love stimulates adrenaline and other amazing chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, in great ways.
  4. Enrolling in psychodrama which can be role playing with a psychotherapist, or watch a play, movie, or novel in which psychological elements are the main interest or any activity that stimulates emotions and our body can help us to release adrenaline and to help build our critical thinking skills.

Remember, adrenaline is an excellent chemical that can be used in emergency situations and to help us to solve an immediate problem, but can also be a drop of poison to our body if experienced constantly. Constant charges of adrenaline can have long term damage on the natural functioning of our mind and body.

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Anna Vita, MS has her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando where our child, teen, relationship and marriage experts specialize in depression & anxiety and can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

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Orlando Teen Counselor on Girls Gone Wild? Seven Tips to Handle Spring Break Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:35:00 +0000 Orlando Teen Counselor on Girls Gone Wild and offers Seven Tips to Handle Spring Break. What happens in spring break stays in spring break….the well known rule among spring breakers. There is no denying that spring break “activities” are full of high risk behaviors such as excessive drinking, unprotected sex, and hooking up (in more cases then not hooking up during spring break involves alcohol and drug use).

Alcohol and sex play a prominent and potentially dangerous role in spring break trips of college students. Spring break trips involve more or heavier drinking and increased sexual activity than what occurs normally on college campuses. According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health, the average number of drinks consumed per day is 18 for men on spring break and 10 for women.
The American Medical Association with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2006 conducted a poll of more 600 women ages 17 to 35 as part of a program aimed at reducing high-risk drinking on college campuses. A few Key findings of the 2006 American Medical Association poll include:

  • An overwhelming majority (83 percent) of women had friends who drank the majority of the nights while on spring break.
  • More than half (59 percent) know friends who were sexually active with more than one partner.
  • Nearly three out of five women know friends who had unprotected sex during spring break.

Each year in Cancun, Mexico, a major spring break destination for American college students, the city and hospitals report an increase in deaths, rapes, injuries, assaults and arrests related to drinking.
In Daytona Beach last year county officials reported twice as many rape cases during the month of spring break.

What do these statistics mean? There are a large number of students that drink during this time which means lack of judgment and lower inhibitions. Heavy consumption of alcohol can lead spring breakers down a path they may not be ready to walk. Most spring break activities begin with a wet t-shirt or boxer contest. Through out the week, strip contests along with sexual encounters can be seen openly on the beaches among other “activities”.


Did you know that about 15% of spring breakers are high school students? Although we do not recommend teenagers or young adults to participate in spring break parties, some divorced parents may have trouble agreeing on rules for spring break. What can a parent do to prepare their teenagers/young adults for the spring break experience?

  1. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. The statistics show that parents are still the most influential people in their teenagers/young adults’ life.
  2. TALK TO THEM ABOUT THE RISKS INVOLVED. “Remind them of the risks of alcohol, sexual activity, sunburn, and date rape to just name a few.” However, the best precautions are the ones that they decide on and take themselves.
  3. SHARE EMERGENCY NUMBERS. Create a list of emergency numbers that your teen or young adult will take with them. The list should be kept with them at all times. Parents should also have the hotel number and cell phone numbers for the friends that will be traveling with their teenager/young adult in case of an emergency.
  4. COMMIT THEM TO THE “BUDDY SYSTEM.”  Make sure your teen or young adult know they should travel in groups – three or more is best.
  5. HELP THEM AVOID THEFT. Spring breakers are easy targets for thieves.They should avoid carrying too much cash, wear expensive jewelry, etc.
  6. COORDINATE WITH OTHER PARENTS. If possible talk to the parents of the other people that will be traveling with your teenager/young adult. It would be helpful if the parents are being consistent in the approach.
  7. ENCOURAGE AN ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK. Many teenagers and young adults are choosing other alternatives for spring break that involve community service. Most colleges now offer a formal alternative to spring break through their student services offices.

More Videos on this topic 

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the author’s contact information below intact.
Author: Janie Lacy, MS, LMHC, NCC

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Is An Affair Always The End Of A Relationship? | 4 Tips On How To Survive An Affair Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:25:15 +0000 What constitutes infidelity varies amongst individuals. Couples can view infidelity as anything from a physical or emotional affair, watching porn, sexting, or even staying secretly active on dating aps. What does remain the same is that when infidelity occurs it threatens our emotional security.

Many of us view our partner to be the love of our life, our best friend, and our emotional companion and at the same times view ourselves as the chosen one, unique, irreplaceable, and indispensable within the relationship. What infidelity tells us is that we’re not. It is an ultimate betrayal that can shatter the grand ambition of love. Infidelity can be traumatic because it threatens our sense of self. We start to think, I thought I knew who you were; I thought I knew who I was; I thought I knew who we were as a couple. We start to question everything. With infidelity being a violation of trust and a crisis of identity, it can be normal to question if we can ever trust our partner again? Can we ever trust anyone again?

With all these questions and doubt is it even possible to survive an affair? Sometimes affairs can actually push us into new possibilities. The result is that 60%-75% of couples that experience affairs stay together, but some of them will simply survive and others will actually be able to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Many couples in the immediate aftermath of an affair, because of this new disorder that may actually lead to a new order, will have conversations with openness and honesty that they have not had in years. The fear of loss can rekindle desire and make way for a new kind of truth.

When an affair is exposed there are 4 things couples can do to start to repair their relationship:

  1. Accept Responsibility: Healing begins when the partner who had the affair acknowledges their wrong doing. The first thing is to end the affair, but the other is the essential act of expressing guilt and remorse for hurting the other partner, as well as apologizing without making excuses. It is also the initial duty of the offending partner to become the protector of the boundaries in the relationship. It’s their responsibility to bring it up to relieve the other partner from the obsession of having to make sure the affair is not forgotten, and that in itself begins to restore trust.
  2. Implement Self-Care: It is essential for deceived partners to do things that bring back a sense of self-worth, to surround oneself with loved one, friends, and with activities that bring back joy and meaning and identity. There can be a multitude of emotions experienced when dealing with the aftermath of an affair including shock, anger, stress, and sense of loss. It’s important to allow ourselves to go through these emotions and focus on your self-care. Seeking professional counseling can assist with dealing with intense emotions that may seem too much to handle on your own.
  3. Communication: While open communication is imperative it is important to refrain from seeking the details of the affair. Where did it happen? How often? Were they better than me? These questions only inflict more pain and keep you awake at night. Instead switch to the investigative questions, the ones that focus on the meaning and the motives. What did this affair mean for you? What were you able to express or experience that you feel you were no longer able to do with me?
  4. Rebuild Trust: Rebuilding trust for the offended person is the most difficult part of the healing process because the offended person does not know what has been true and what has been a lie in the relationship. The offending partner will need to be willing to be more transparent and give up some privacy in order to make the other partner feel safe. They must also be willing to offer more frequent validation of their affection and commitment to their partner.

Every affair will redefine a relationship. There can be two sides to affairs, hurt and betrayal on one side, growth and self-discovery on the other. “Your first marriage is over, the decision is would you like to create a second one together?”

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Stephanie Booth, MS has her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando where our relationship and marriage experts specialize in depression & anxiety and can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

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More Research on Diet and ADHD symptoms | Mediterranean Diet Study in Spain | ADDitude Magazine Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:01:13 +0000 A recent study done in Spain further supports previous claims that a poor diet is partially to blame for the rise in ADHD cases across the world.  Although Spain typically adheres to a mainly Mediterranean diet, consisting of fruit, vegetables and good fats, recent cultural changes and modernization has led to children skipping breakfast and making poor decisions in food choices.  Fast foods, sugary snacks and sodas are typical food items for a child with ADHD because of their condition.  The study followed 120 children, half of whom had ADHD but were not taking medications for the condition and it was found that children with ADHD typically had a poorer diet.  Researchers urge physicians to put more focus on diet when considering treatment plans for children with ADHD, not only because a better diet will improve their symptoms, but because a poor diet is common in those with ADHD.

Kids with ADHD crave whatever they love which typically is carbohydrates and sugar.  Higher unburned carbohydrate and sugar intake effects the absorption of essential minerals:

  1. Magnesium is needed to absorb Calcium and is for calming us.
  2. Calcium is natures sedative.
  3. Zinc is for focus.
  4. Chromium for cravings.
  5. Iron for mood control and self-regulation.

Original Source:  The Anti-ADHD Diet

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information intact.

About the Author: Jim West, MA, LMHC, NCC is an Author, Communicator, Coach and Counselor specializing in ADHD, Defiance and Autistic Spectrum.  Most of his clients do not need medication or less medication for ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Mutism, Depression and more with diet adjustments and vitamins.  Here’s some complimentary video tips on Alternatives to Medication for Mental Health.  For more information call (407) 248-0030

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Never Enough Time In Your Week? | 3 Tips For Making Time For What’s Really Important Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:26:15 +0000 How many times do we find ourselves saying, “I would love to do that, but I just don’t have the time?” Whether it’s spending more time with your kids, enjoying that date night, learning a new skill, or even exercising more, there never seems to be enough hours in the week. We live busy lives. We may have a demanding job (or two) that takes up 40, 50, 60 hours of our week and that can seem to leave little time for much else.

We may have tried tips and tricks to shave time off daily activities so we’ll have time for the fun stuff however that can seem futile. Time is highly elastic. We cannot create more time however time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. The key to time management is knowing our priorities and treating them as such. Everything we do is by choice, so instead of saying “I don’t have time to do something” the more accurate way of stating it is “I don’t do something because it’s not a priority.”

Using this verbiage reminds us that time is a choice and while there could be terrible consequences for making different choices, in the long run we have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there.

Here are 3 tips, according to author Laura Vanderkam, to incorporate your priorities into your busy schedule:

  1. Determine what your priorities are. It’s important to not only look at these priorities from a professional level, but also a personal level. Make a list of 3-5 things that would make it a great year for you professionally and personally
  2. Break down your priorities into doable steps. Sometimes when we look at a goal it may seem unachievable or overwhelming. Breaking it down into doable steps can make it seem easier to achieve and less stressful. For example, want to train for a marathon? First step may be to just find a good pair of running shoes.
  3. Put your priorities into your schedule first. Ever notice how quickly our schedules fill up? To ensure our priorities remain priorities put them on your schedule first. We can do this by thinking through our weeks before we are in them. Make a three category list consisting of Career, Relationships, and Self with 2-3 items each. Then look throughout the next week and see where you can plan them in.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you are working a 40 hour a week job and sleeping 8 hours a night that leaves 72 hours for other things. Some peoples lives are much harder than others, however when most of us have free time, what do we do?… We pull out the phone, start deleting emails, scrolling through social media, or watching television.

“We can use bits of time for bits of joy; looking at the whole of one’s time and seeing where the good stuff can go. There is time. Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters and when we focus on what matters we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.“ – Laura Vanderkam

It is important to remember there are always options and choices to improve your life no matter how stuck you may feel.  If you are having difficulties seeing the possible options, consider contacting a trusted professional. You can take steps to creating a life that you enjoy.

NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Stephanie Booth, MS a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at Total Life Counseling Center in Orlando where our experts specialize in depression & anxiety and our experts can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

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5 Ways to Manage Friendships After Baby | Orlando Maternal Mental Health Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:03:30 +0000 As Valentine’s Day approaches, everyone is thinking about that special someone or those friends that have never left your side. On this special day we celebrate love and friendship. Friendship is an interesting phenomenon. As human beings, we enjoy and sometimes feel the need to be social and have a group of friends where we can be ourselves. Research was conducted at London School of Economics to see what made people the happiest. Amazingly enough, when it came to finding out what group of people made these participants the happiest, “friends” was number one, increasing happiness by 8.2%. According to Mathew Lieberman, social psychologist and neuroscientist, interpersonal relationships are a crucial part of life. People are meant to be social and it is part of our nature.

What happens when all of the sudden these friendships do not seem to be as important as before? What happen to these bonds once we start having babies and focus on embracing our new journey: motherhood? Friendship dynamics DO change after having a baby. Our lives completely change and now a bundle of joy becomes our main priority and we start looking for other friends with the same age baby. However, we must remember that becoming a mother is an added personality. This addition comes with its challenges and rewards but mostly with NEW experiences. It does not mean we need to let go of our past relationships, especially our closest and dearest friends. As a matter of fact, this is the time where we need these friends the most.

Here are 5 tips on how to manage our friendships after a baby:

  1. Remember you are the same friend pre-baby. Keep in mind that we are the same person with added modifications. Just because we became mothers, does not mean we lost those caring characteristics that bond us to our friends. We continue to be that funny, caring, loving confidant. Embrace the changes with your friends just like you embraced other moments in life.
  2. Remember to be present and in the moment. Pay attention to what is right in front of you. Let your friend know that you are present and validate her feelings as you always did. Refrain from constant baby talk. Remember your friends do want to know how you and and your baby are, however it does not give us a green light to only talk about the baby. Remember to ask about her life and interests.
  3. Respect parenting diversity. Keep in mind that everyone has their own perspective on how things need to work. Just like religion and politics, parenting is a private matter. Respect when others do not agree with your style. Remember they are just perspectives not a personal attack nor a personality flaw.
  4. Stay Connected. Make intentional phone calls, texts or whatever form of communication is easier. Just remember to stay connected. Allow your friend to see your efforts despite the crazy schedule you just acquired. When visits are intentional, they are much more appreciated.
  5. Value their friendship, time and effort. After a baby, our world is upside down and at times we juggle so much we cannot even remember our last name at times. Take a moment and appreciate when a friend reaches out. Their time and effort matters. Be careful to not exclude them just because they are not parents yet. Let them know that you value your relationship as much as they do.

NOTE: Freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors, name, credentials, and contact information below intact and include a link to this article.

AUTHOR: Mayeling Angelastro, MS, LMHC  – has a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and is an accomplished multi-cultural (speaks English, Espanol) Licensed Mental Health Counselor working with teens, young adults, depression, anxiety, maternal mental health and women empowerment issues in Winter Park and East Orlando Florida!  For questions about Perinatal Mental Health call Mayeling Angelastro can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

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3 Tips to Help you Avoid Valentines Day Disappointment | Orlando Marriage Counselor Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:08:44 +0000 3 Tips to Help you Avoid Valentines Day Disappointment by Orlando Marriage Expert Jada Jackson, MS. It comes around once a year; to some it’s not a real holiday, and to some it’s expected to be a promising occasion—Valentine’s Day. The sensationalizing of this day, themed by flowers and chocolates, has led to extremely high hopes for one’s significant other. It seems like each year the planning and desires one hopes will be fulfilled only get larger. Have you ever stopped and thought about how the pressure this potentially straining holiday—rewarding though for many companies— affects your loved ones, your relationship, and even your emotional state? The effects of insurmountable expectations, all for one day of the year, can lead to negative outcomes that reverberate throughout your life for the rest of the year.


I’m know there are a vast number of Americans whose hearts have been broken on the infamous day of love, simply due to feeling that one’s boyfriend/girlfriend did not provide them with a nice enough gift, show them enough affection, or prove their love “correctly.” Most of the time, it’s the ladies who get a little out of control with setting the bar too high, resulting in a vast number of men becoming stressed out or overexerted. Then, when ladies act disappointed, their self-esteem is hurt, they can feel unappreciated for making an effort, and in turn your whole relationship will probably suffer. You can easily be seen as selfish and insensitive, all because you held unreasonable expectations for a day that is portrayed as being a huge deal. It’s important to remember that Valentine’s Day is one day. Isn’t it the thought that counts more, and what lasts? That cliché still holds true! It doesn’t matter how expensive the gift is, or how nice of a weekend getaway or restaurant it is; if your man/woman took the time and effort to display their love in any way, you should appreciate that. Stop creating so much anticipation for one day of the year. Why only focus on love and affection being shown on February 14th? If you’re with the right person, you will feel such things year round. Is it really worth it to cause tension with your partner and cause your relationship to suffer?

Here are some ways to stop the heightening pressure on Valentine’s Day and avoid unnecessary disappointment.Valentines-disappointment-web-large

  1. Make it about others— not yourself—on this day; not just your partner, but also your parents, kids, and even friends too!
  2. Make the decision with your partner to practice romance in little, but effective, ways all the time. This way, the need for a romantic night, one day in February, doesn’t feel absolutely necessary, and you feel confident about the health of your relationship.
  3. Accept what you receive and be thankful for the consideration, no matter how simple and sweet.

Of course, I’m not suggesting scrapping the whole holiday; it can be a sweet day of celebrating an important emotion if approached properly. What need to stop are the incessant demands we place on our loved ones to surprise us, deliver substantial gifts, and do extraordinary things. By increasing our demands every year, we completely miss the point of the holiday. The date is actually named for St. Valentine, a Christian martyr. That fact alone reveals selflessness at the very root of the occasion. How about we all start practicing a little more generosity and selflessness, and exert a lot less unreasonable pressure for our loved ones to worry about.?

NOTE: Freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors, name, credentials, and contact information below intact and include a link to this article.

AUTHOR: Jada Jackson, MS, LMHC – Communicator, Coach & Licensed Mental Health Counselor working with couples, teens, young adults and women empowerment issues in Orlando and East Orlando Florida!  Jada Jackson can be reached at (407) 248-0030.

Author: Emily Simpson (Intern)

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8 Anti-Bullying Prevention Tips | Villages Charter Middle School Shooting Near Miss | near Orlando Florida Fri, 27 Jan 2017 16:48:52 +0000 Two teenagers ages 13 & 14 were arrested when Sumter County Florida Sheriff Deputies executed search warrants both homes and found weapons.  They were charged for conspiracy to commit murder.  Teen friends were told not to go to school that day or yell “Eugene” to signal the shooters not to kill them.  Students reported that the two students planned to drop a pencil in their gym class as a signal to the others to begin shooting.  Brave students were praised by the Sheriff’s department and they are the heroes in this case, as they did a difficult thing by reporting their concerns to school officials.  Their reports lead the Sheriffs department to thwart their alleged plans.  The two teenagers who planned this shooting, admitted to their plan to the police and both mentioned Columbine when questioned.  Ignacio Liunoras, who has 2 children at this school praised the students that stepped forward by saying “I praise not only the students that reported it, but the parents that taught them to be aware of their surroundings and be aware of any dangers or unusual activity in the school.”

Several Questions:

Many people ask why kids get to the point of wanting to kill their classmates?  How can it get this bad?  How can we educate our kids to be aware of their surroundings?

8 Anti Bullying Prevention Tips!

  1. Kids were excluded: In most of the previous school shootings bullying was involved and in this case it was reported these boys were bullied and teased because they helped the school maintain the school computer servers and were involved in other “not cool activities!”  We need to teach kids that everyone is important and treat people the same as others.  Teach our kids to stand up for kids that are bullied and to be accepting.
  2. Poor social skills: Kids that may stick out socially or not interested in what most of their peers are interested in have trouble interjecting into conversations.  They may have trouble getting into conversations or knowing what to say.  Social skills groups, and Social Skills Camps are a great way to close the gap socially.
  3. Parents disengaged or afraid to ask for help: In a high percentage of school shootings the parents are not in tune to their kids and do not even go into their bedrooms?  In the columbine shooting when the parents went into their rooms they saw a lot of dark things that would make any parent worry about their kids.  We need to face time with our kids daily and be emotionally safe to talk about the things that are bothering them.  Parents need to be open to asking for help if their kids do not fit in and build their social skills so they can feel accepted even if it’s a small peer group for support and to hang out!
  4. Video games are not bad in and of themselves, but games like Grand Theft Auto desensitizes them to violence.  There are so many kids with Grand Theft Auto and it’s an Mature rated game that has pornography (topless women giving lap dances).  Additionally, the only way to get a nice car or home in the game is to rob banks, run over prostitutes, car jacking, steal from drug dealers and deliver drugs, etc.  Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that middle school kids should have 30 – 60 minutes of video game time after they have 3 times that time in socialization and then turn off 1 hour electronics before bed!  Often children and teens are isolating and addicted to video games playing for several hours instead of socializing.  So they get behind more socially even though they say they “have friends online.”  Friends are considered people we do things with outside of school and are reciprocal with invitations to hangout! There are entire neighborhoods where kids do not go out and play. The students “reward circuitry (dopamine)” in their brain has been changed to think their brain can only be rewarded (or have fun) with gaming rather than playing outside.
  5. Parents that Bully Indirectly: Often times kids hear their parents criticize someones outfit in person or on the phone.  They may talk about a parent or another child that does not fit in possibly in their neighborhood and exclude parents from their peer groups as well.  Stanford did a study that found 89% of what we learn is by what we see and 10% what they hear!  If the kids or teens see loving and accepting parents that say positive things about their adult peers or other kids then the kids will more than likely model that behavior.  Often parents that bully indirectly are insecure and most likely they were victims of bullying at one time.  Often they are so insecure they are afraid to look weak by asking for help.  Asking for help shows strength and that you do not care what other people think!
  6. Parents and Social Media: Cyberbullying has caused bullying to triple as now kids go to school and are bullied and then go home and they are bullied online!  Before social media, bullying victims could at least get away from it when they went home. Public schools are only able to monitor social media during school hours, so we need cyberbullying laws where we can monitor social media 24/7 and we need Facebook and Twitters help! Parents also need to insist on having their students passwords for their phones and social media accounts and need to be a friend on all of these accounts!  Parents also need better tools to monitor social media!
  7. Get help for the Bully and the Victim: Over the last 20+ years of helping bullying victims it is so rare that the bully gets help!  Bullies are more likely to be incarcerated by the age of 24, not the victims.  Also, 66% of bullies were bully victims at one point.  So we need to help both the victims and the bully.  It’s so sad as well that the victims have to change schools because the schools are not equipped or the students are afraid to report the bully!  If anyone should leave, wouldn’t that be the bully?
  8. Bullying programs that make the bullying repair the relationship with the victims: What if bullies went beyond being forced to say “sorry” and get a suspension while thinking of another way to get the victim and not get caught.  What if they had to get the victims trash at lunch for a week (middle school and high schools) or carried their backpack from pick up and to drop off (elementary schools).  I’ve done this for many schools and it actually makes the bullies and victim friends or at least they are respectful acquaintances.  Then the victim knows that if it happens again they will have to get their trash for 2 weeks and be suspended.  I remember a father, whose child was bullying a victim, told me after implementing this plan at their school that the victim had been to their house twice in the past 6 months.  They were enemies for 4 years prior to this.  Check out the program here or watch a clip of this program at Colonial High School in Orlando below!

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Bullying Expert Jim West, MA, LMHC, NCC | Author, International Communicator & Life Coach | Serving Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park, Southwest Orlando Florida | For bullying help call Jim at (407) 248-0030 for help for students who bully or victims of bullying.

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