NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Raising kids during a time of social media and tough issues happening in the world today can really take a toll on children. That’s why with one local counseling center is focused on bringing joy back in a child’s life while teaching them management skills for hard-to-process emotions.
Daystar Counseling Ministries works with kids and parents to help them overcome anxiety and anger issues. Daystar is based out of a beautiful home on Azalea Place in Nashville’s Berry Hill neighborhood. They typically work with kids 8 to 18 years old and have a staff of counselors and therapy dogs, too.
David Thomas, L.M.S.W., of Daystar and author of “Raising Emotionally Strong Boys,” says he typically sees a lot of anger and struggles with regulating anger for many adolescent boys.
“Certainly with the pandemic, it’s played a significant role, and that [kids] have had less practice being out in the world to work through frustrations and discomfort,” said Thomas. “I’d also say that’s always been a struggle for boys because early pediatric visits will tell us girls are saying more words than boys. So if her verbal vocabulary is bigger, her emotional vocabulary is going to be bigger. So he’s having a hard time figuring out what he’s feeling and more of a struggle navigating that.”
Thomas said a large aspect when working with boys is teaching them how to talk through their emotions. Goff said she’s seeing more anxiety issues in girls.
Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP of Daystar says the counseling center’s goal is to be as welcoming as possible to make the family experiences a positive one.
“Pre-pandemic, it was one in four kids. Now it’s one in three. And girls are twice as likely to deal with anxiety. So it really is an epidemic among kids today and among parent, too,” said Goff.
Ways they said parents can help their children cope with these issues is by being an example of managing their emotions themselves. Goff says to have a good grasp on emotions as a parent and aim to be calm and supportive. That will show kids a good example of a positive experience working through strong emotions.
“The best thing we [at Daystar Counseling] can tell parents is to be good at managing their own emotions in the midst of things being hard in our world,” said Goff.
Goff said another simple tool kids can apply to their day-to-day life is square or ‘combat’ breathing and grounding techniques, allowing what happens in the past to not affect their present mindsets.