Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC In my work with children and their families, I notice that there are more and more grandparents raising their grandchildren. This has become a trend due to very unfortunate circumstances: parents in prison or with mental health problems that render them unable to care for a child, child abuse, substance abuse, financial difficulties, death. When you have to embark in this journey of raising grandchildren, many emotions and feelings come to the surface. Some em...
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Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC In my work with children and their parents, I frequently learn that the parent’s expectations of their children are unrealistic. And not having their expectations met brings parents a lot of disappointment, which translates into consequences for children, turmoil, and breaks in the child/parent relationship. To help you navigate this tricky terrain, I would like to share some thoughts about how to set realistic expectations for your child. I grew up in Roma...
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The Importance of Empathy

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC According to the dictionary, empathy is “the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else's feelings.” In my work with parents and children, I often find that empathy is almost non-existent in certain individuals. They understand that someone is hurt or in pain or grieving but have no ability to put themselves in that person’s shoes. A heart without empathy is like a plant without water – it...
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Preparing Children For Change

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC A few months ago we decided to move to a different town. In addition to requiring negotiating, logistical planning, and lots of sweat work, the move involved preparing our daughter for what was to come. With the excitement of moving also came the fear of the unknown, for both my daughter and me. Tons of questions went through our heads and we knew that we were going to miss our town – our friends, the restaurants, the stores – everything that had been fami...
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The Helicopter Parent

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC Many of us have heard the term “helicopter parent.” If you’ve heard it and are wondering what it really means, read on... We are naturally wired to take care of our kids and meet their needs on a daily basis. We want to love our kids, feed them nutritious food, dress them nicely, make sure they have what they need when they go to school, and protect them from disappointments and failures. Wanting to do so is very natural and all these instincts kick in onc...
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Gypsy’s Story – Grief in the Family

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC Eleven years ago we decided to adopt a pet. We went to the Humane Society and looked at dogs; of course we came home with one. We picked the one that was kind of shy but did not leave our side while we hung out with her. Her given name was Star but we decided to name her Gypsy - our dog found wandering on the streets of New Mexico. The Humane Society did not know much about this dog, but it did not take long to figure out that she had terrible separation anx...
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Addressing Anxiety in Children

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC Anxiety in children is an increasingly common concern. But what, exactly, is anxiety? According to the Raising Children Network, “Anxiety is an inherent response to a perceived threat and normal levels of anxiety can assist people to be more focused and motivated, and to solve problems more efficiently.” Here are some facts about anxiety: Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in time. It is normal for a child to be nervous when ...
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Parenting With Love

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC Parenting is a wonderful job and it can be equally pleasant and hard. When we become parents, nobody hands us a manual that will teach us what to do for the next 18 years. Nobody has written instructions for the way we have to spend our days being parents, seven days a week, many hours a day. We figure it out one day at a time, we make mistakes, we sometimes learn from them, other times we repeat them. Sometimes we make a phone call to our parents and ask for t...
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