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Angela Lacalamita, LCPC | Blog
Dependent Adult Children
10/18/12
One of the many challenges with parenting is setting limits with your adult children. As parents you want to protect your children from the disappointments and challenges that life may bring. Supporting your children through their early developmental stages is crucial to their growth and development. However, when you begin to continuously rescue them from their problems and/or overlook their lack of contribution to the household, you are potentially fostering dependent children. Protecting your adult children from the challenges and struggles that life brings may prevent them from developing the necessary skills to care for themselves and become self-sufficient. How do you know when to say “No “? When do you allow them to experience some consequences for their actions? One way to know the answer to this question is to ask yourself the following questions: Am I beginning to feel resentment, burden and anger for everything I am doing for my child? Am I beginning to feel emotionally and physically exhausted? Am I scared to say “No”? Is your adult child beginning to make demands or use guilt when they are not being given what they want? Are you putting you own happiness and opportunities aside for your child? If you have answered “ Yes ” to any of these questions, you may want to explore ways in which you can motivate and foster your adult child’s independence.

Protecting your children is only a small part of parenting. It also involves preparing your children for adulthood. When is it the appropriate time to foster independence? Once your children graduate from school or decide to no longer pursue an education, is the time for them to work toward becoming self-reliant. This does not mean that you have to ask them to leave your household. However, they should be working toward autonomy. At times, a variety of reasons contributes to adult children returning home. Allowing your children to return home is acceptable as long as steps are taken to encourage their independence, i.e. contributing to a fair share financial and household responsibilities. If your adult child is becoming dependent, you may have to motivate them and/or force them to become independence. Here are some things to consider.

Impose household rules for curfew, telephone and TV use and chores. Give them the choice of following the rules or leaving.

Require working children to contribute part of their salary for room and board. If you do not need the money, then consider saving it for your child to use when they are on their own.

Helping your child financially should be contingent on their efforts toward developing independence. If you are helping them financially, consider paying off past debts as opposed to providing living expenses.

Set a time limit on how long children can remain at home before you tell them to leave. If you tell your child that he or she needs to leave, it is very important that you follow through.

You have the right to say, “No, I have changed my mind” about a previous promise.

Set limits on how much time you spend helping your child resolve any problems. If your child asks for advice, encourage them to offer ideas.

Be aware that your child may be angry and possibly reject you. He or she will most likely come around later.
When Your Child Says "I'm Gay"
9/20/12
Over the years, there has been intense debate over whether one’s sexual orientation is chosen or biologically determined. Despite significant evidence that suggests that sexual orientation is genetically determined, many people in our society strongly believe that homosexuals chose their sexual orientation. Those that believe the aforementioned are entitled to their views. However, this only raises further debate as to why someone would chose to face discrimination, be seen as a threat to family values and also an abomination to God. Regardless of your values and beliefs, many parents will be faced with revelation that their child is gay. Dealing with the possibility that your child is gay can be stressful for many parents and families. Feelings of anger, denial and guilt are commonly experienced and can be difficult to manage. Finding it within yourself to accept your child’s sexual identity is not easy. Discouraging your child’s feelings may be your first response. Regardless of how you feel about homosexuality, your child needs acceptance, love and support more than ever. You have two options, one is allowing your child’s worst fear to come true, that he or she will be rejected or accept your child as being the same person as before they acknowledged their homosexuality. Remember, your child’s sexual orientation is just one part of who they are. Nothing about him or her has changed. Offer support to your child. Seek support from other parents who have gay or lesbian children. Don’t feel ashamed of your child, there is nothing wrong with being gay, lesbian or bisexual, nor is it a mental health problem. The only thing that is wrong is the discrimination that gays and lesbians face. We must learn to accept and love one another for we have far more in common than differences.
Strategies to Manage Caregiver Stress
8/2/12
If you are a caregiver, you are not alone. The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, estimate that more than 65 million people, 29% of the U. S. population provides care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member. Over the next several years, this number is expected to increase significantly. With the rising costs of long-term care and increasing budget cuts with agencies that provide assistance, it may be unrealistic for some to avoid taking on the role of a caregiver for a family member. In addition to the stress of providing care, caregivers often experience additional challenges. Balancing the pressure of work, child care and relationships can be quite difficult and result in significant strain on a marriage or family. If you are going to care for a family member, it is imperative that you develop effective strategies to manage the level of stress.

1.) Find a support group for those who are also caregivers. Utilize any community resources or hospitals to locate groups that may be taking place in your community. It helps to talk to others who are experiencing similar challenges.

2.) Self-Care. Get adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise. It is very important that you have the physical and emotional energy necessary to provide care.

3.) Utilize resources such as family, friends professional or community agencies to assist you. There are a number of non for profit social service agencies or government agencies that may be able to provide you some assistance.

4.) Take care of your emotional well-being. Caregivers are at risk for burnout, stress, and clinical depression. Monitor your mental and emotional health. See a therapist if you begin to see signs of prolonged sadness, anger, resentment, sleeplessness, alcohol or drug abuse, and anxiety. Also, make sure you get enough time to interact with your friends and enjoy your hobbies.

5.) Be realistic with what you can give and don't give in to guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, Remember that you are doing all that you can. Ask for help from your family or friends. You don't have to feel guilty about asking for help.