Author: Dr. Chinwé Williams

5 Ways to Help Teens Cope with Change

I am a planner and always have been. I carefully constructed a plan for almost every life milestone. Choosing a graduate school program in high school? Check. Wedding dress selection? Check (as soon as he proposed) Birth plan? Check (as detailed as it could possibly be) For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed planning and longed for routine and stability. In middle school, I sat in the same seat in every class. In college, I decided on my class schedule a semester in advance. I craved certainty and security.Even though I understood that life was anything but...

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How to Help Young Children Cope with Change

“Change” is a powerful word. One that invokes countless reactions depending on who you ask. Change is also unavoidable. Sometimes it’s within our control, but most often it’s not. Certain changes such as the loss of a loved one, serious illness of a parent, and divorce can be painful, and some of the hardest changes to adjust to. Perhaps any unforeseen event can be anxiety-provoking, however, unexpected events that occur in childhood can be particularly difficult to manage. I met Quinn when she was nine years old. Her parents were concerned about how the news about their pending separation...

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Helping Kids Cope With Loss During the Holidays

Around this time of year, I often reflect upon my first job as a school counselor. Helping students navigate the complex journey of adolescence left very few dull moments. One student on my caseload that often comes to mind was Eve. Eve was extraordinary with an exuberant personality and brilliant mind. As a teenager, she spent many summers volunteering in developing countries-something that I had not done as a young professional. Her senior year, Eve became class valedictorian and received a full scholarship to attend UNC-Chapel Hill. Five years later, after I left to pursue my doctoral studies, I...

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5 Ways to Help Teens Deal with Life When They Feel Stuck

We’ve all been there. We all have encountered struggles that felt bigger than us. And we all develop our own ways of managing emotional pain, shame, and regret. When faced with difficult circumstances, it is very normal to look for ways to cope.
Over the years, parents have verbalized their uncertainty with how best to assist their teen with effectively managing the ups and downs of life. There’s no simple response. Quite frankly, as a therapist who frequently works with adolescents, I get it. Being a teen today is tough. Teens face increasing expectations: managing multiple schedules, demanding academic loads, and competitive extracurricular activities. And above all, discovering who they are and how they fit in with their peer group and the larger world. All of which can and do cause internal pressure.

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