It’s 2011, and you still have money problems?!!!???

Ever feel perpetually broke? Like you make money just to see it go down the tube? Do you ruminate on the status of your bank account at any given time? Do you feel like you’re in a money rat race???
Well, understanding the following is the basis of resolving your money issues.

You have money problems for only two reasons:

1. You do not have enough money coming in, and/or
2. You spend your money inappropriately.

So think critically of yourself. Which category do you fall in? Both?

If you “think” you’re a 2., you’re really a 1, becuase the issue is that you don’t have enough money coming in to support your lifestyle.

More later…

“No, I’m not a Psychic.”

So the other day I’m sitting in my office, and the phone rings.

I answer in my high pitched “Hello, how may I help you?” voice.

The caller states this: “Hi, um, I think you’re the psychic who I spoke to last week. You had said that my boyfriend was gonna call and he didn’t call. So I wanted you to tell me if he’s gonna call tonight.” Many things ran through my mind including:

1. Shit maybe I should be in the psychic business. People really CALL psychics?
2. Odd that she thinks a third, neutral stranger has more insight into her relationship than she does.
3. If you have to wonder day to day if he’s gonna call, HE’S NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND! This is probably some man who you’re obsessed with. He probably thinks you’re weird because you do things like call psychics for advice.
4. If the psychic told you wrong information the first time, why do you continue to believe in this person, despite evidence that is clearly in front of you?

However, I said none of these things. I only replied “No ma’am, sorry, I’m not a psychic.” She apologized and hung up quickly .

So how is this relevant?

1. Well how often do you try to convince yourself of a relationship that is in reality a complete fallacy? Let’s start to be a little honest with ourselves about our relationships. Sometimes I say to my clients “READ THE WRITING ON THE WALL!” Meaning, be honest with yourself about what’s obvious.” Why do we try to convince ourselves of things that are not true, and then look for things that validate our fantasy? If a person likes you, it will be obvious. The person will call you, no matter how “busy” he/she is. The person will make it obvious.

2. To what extent do you find yourself compromising just to have someone? Do you find yourself defending your partner? For example have you ever thought or verbalized some iteration of the following: “Well he smells, has no job, and is unattractive, but at least he calls me a few nights a week to have sex.” WHY ARE YOU SETTLING FOR A PERSON WHO DOES NOT MEET YOUR OWN BASIC REQUIREMENTS?

3. Completely compromising your wants and needs overtime has an impact. Why? Because you compromise, compromise, and compromise, until you’re compromised out. At that point you’re angry, and severely depressed, and find yourself needing psychotropic medication just to get out of bed.

My advice: Be honest to yourself about the person who you are dating. If the entire relationship represents a compromise of who you are, you should probably not be in the relationship. If you find yourself in such a relationship, think critically about why you’re settling. If you are honest with yourself, you may find an opportunity for growth and maybe a partner who actually calls, without you having to first consult a psychic …

Support your Teen’s Academic Achievement: Six Quick Tips

I’ve noticed a trend among teens and parents during the school year.

The trend is this: parents do not seek support and services for their teen until there is a crisis.

The most challenging scenario is when a parent comes in for psychotherapy three weeks before the end of the school year seeking behavioral modification assistance for their teen, who is weeks away from grade retention.

Many parents fail to notice that their teen is having a “problem” at school until a negative progress report is sent home, the teen is suspended from school, or a parent receives notice that their child may be retained. Yet many signs likely portended the crisis at hand, including poor study habits, behavior problems at school, and/or attention/focus/concentration problems.

Here are a few habits that even a busy parent can adopt to “be in the know” and help keep their teen on track academically:

1. Talk to your teen’s teachers often. Visit in person. Call. Email. It makes a difference when a teacher knows how to reach you and that you are a responsive and concerned parent.

2. Show up. Have you ever just “showed up” at your teen’s school? It gives you a snapshot of what your child’s school day is actually like. It lets your child know that you are familiar with his school setting, and are comfortable interacting with the faculty, staff, and campus.

3. Talk to your teen. Do you know your teen’s closet friends? Do you know their parents? Do you know about your teen’s latest crush? You should. Practice talking to your teen about anything and everything. Open communication doors so that your teen feels more comfortable discussing topics like personal relationships, decision-making, and feelings.

4. Set rules and boundaries. Every piece of research shows that teens need rules and boundaries. They need curfews. They need a routine. They need to know what is expected of them. There should be consequences when rules and agreements are broken.

5. Be emotionally supportive. Like adults, teenagers thrive on attention, emotional support, and positive feedback. Recognize your teen’s accomplishments, and nurture positive behaviors and interests.

6. Seek professional services early on. Procuring mental health services for your child may take time. In many school districts, school psychologists and social workers are extinct. Upon first indication that your teen is struggling, seek guidance from school personnel on identifying a professional in your area. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Natasha K. Nalls, LCSW, ACSW, CAP is an expert in the treatment of epression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. She works with individuals, couples, families, and groups.