Standing your ground

Everyday, from the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring what other people think of us. We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become molded by how we think other people perceive us.

Living a life that follows what other people think is a terrible way to live. We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is —  everyone is thinking the exact same thing, and everyone is too busy thinking about ourselves and our own shortcomings to worry about others.

It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. There will always be people ,  no matter what we say or how we treat them , that will judge us. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can stop it from affecting you! Do not let other people’s perception of you effect your perception of yourself.



Tips for Co-Parenting

The key to co-parenting is to focus on your child and your child only. This can be very difficult at times. It means that your own emotions, anger, or resentment is set aside. Co-parenting is about your child’s happiness, stability and future well being. It is ok to be hurt and angry but your feelings don’t have to dictate your behavior. Here are some tips for communicating with an ex:

  • Make sure never to vent to your child and to get your feelings out somewhere else, for example a close friend or therapist.
  • Never use your kid as the messenger, this will put him or her in the center of the conflict.
  • Use a business-like tone with your ex and set the boundaries. Be cordial, respectful, and use a neutral tone.
  • Be sure to listen. Even if you do not agree, communicating with maturity starts with listening. Listening foes not signify approval but is necessary to understand the other person’s point of view.
  • Lastly, keep the conversations kid-focused and about your child’s needs.

At Star Point Counseling Center, we understand the challenges that come with a divorce and want to help you make adjustments to the changes that occur when families are split up. If you are having trouble with your ex or need communication or patenting techniques please visit our website or give us a call at (813)-244-1251.

Tips for children who are transferring schools!

Is your child having a hard time transitioning between schools? Sometime it is difficult for a child who has transferred schools multiple times to easily transition and become comfortable in a new setting. If your child is verbalizing fear of attending school or exhibiting high levels of anxiety over separating from you during the day here are some helpful tips to improve their school experience:

  1. Schedule extra time to prepare him or her for the transition from home to school.
  2. Let them know you believe in them and have full confidence in their abilities!
  3. Establish a morning routine to help them prepare for the day
  4. Allow him or her to participate in extracurricular activities after school
  5. Encourage and reinforce them for their attempts to do well in school

However, not all anxiety can be easily managed even with the right tools to do it individually. Sometimes, you need to reach out for help from someone who can help you and your child feel comfortable. As always, at Star Point Counseling we are here for you. So, if you are experiencing difficulty with your child please visit our website or give us a call at (813)-244-1251

Effective Discipline For Children.


Although you may think that spanking and physical punishment is the best discipline strategy, it is not very effective in changing your child’s behaviors. Parents who use spanking and physical punishment hope to decrease their child’s bad behavior, however, long-term use of physical punishment could actually lead to an increase in aggressive behavior in children.

Try these strategies for improving your child’s behaviors:

  1. Positive reinforcement. Children benefit greatly from positive attention and praise of good or desired behaviors. For example, if your child tends to talk back and disobey use positive reinforcement and praise during the times that they obey and don’t talk back.
  2. Consequences. Create rules and consequences for not following those rules, and ALWAYS enforce them. The more a child knows that they won’t get away with something, they are more likely to not engage in that behavior.
  3. Accept feedback. Get feedback from the child when creating rewards and consequences. By asking the child you increase the likelihood that those consequences and rewards will be more motivating for them to change their behavior.

All of our Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Registered Mental Health Interns at Star Point Counseling Center have experience with children and can work with you and your children to decrease problem behaviors.

For more helpful parenting tips and suggestions or to schedule an appointment visit our website or give us a call!  (813)244-1251

Advice For Blended Families.


Raising a blended family comes with many ups and downs. When parents get remarried it can be very confusing and frustrating for the children who get stuck in the middle. With patience and a positive attitude, you can achieve a blended family that is filled with love, respect, and peace.  

Here are a few tips to successfully creating a blended family:

Be patient. Just because the parents are in love doesn’t mean the kids will automatically have the same feelings. Getting to know one another, and how to live happily under one roof takes lots of trial and error. 

Make the children feel safe. Children want to feel stability. In a blended family they often feel uncertainty, mistrust, and fear. Reassure them that often, and don’t make them make many changes at once. 

Don’t push them aside. The children are not in their honeymoon phase of love like you are. If you don’t show them love and attention like you do your partner they will feel like they are being pushed to the side and will take it out on the step-parent. 

Don’t force the children. They will learn to play nicely, share, hug, and love each other on their own time, don’t force it.

Set the rules. This is not the time for the children to begin calling the shots. Set limits and boundaries, make sure the children know what is expected of them when it comes to behavior. It may be rough at first but the children will learn to respect the new authority.

Never make your child choose. Never make children choose between, or talk badly about, their “real” mom or dad.

A blended family can be a wonderful thing. Give it time, compassion, and consideration. You might find that your blended family is better than you could have ever imagined.

Visit our website for information on how we can help you make the process of blending a family as smooth as possible!

Anxiety Relief Activities for Children.


Believe it or not, kids have a lot to worry about. These worries usually include meeting expectations from school, expectations from adults, bullying, or changes such as a new sibling, moving to a new home, and simply growing up. Some children experience trauma, mental health disorders, abuse, family dysfunction, or health problems.

Here are three techniques parents to help their child manage anxiety: 

  1. Blowing bubbles: Deep breathing is an excellent way to reduce anxiety. What better way to teach your child deep breathing than blowing some bubbles? Deep breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system of the body in charge of the activities that a person performs when they are in a resting state, and it deactivates the body’s fight or flight response. 
  2. Worry can: Have your child write down his/her worries on a piece of paper, discuss it with you and put it in a jar labeled “fears”, “worries”, or “scary things.” This activity helps the child identify and express their worries and fears instead of keeping them bottled up. An alternative to this would be having the child journal about his/her worries. Journaling has been found to help ease anxiety and reduce stress. 
  3. Calm down box: This activity is used to help the child calm down after feeling anxious. Help your child come up with objects that help them relax and calm down and put these items inside a box. Some examples would be lavender scented play dough, stress balls, calming music, crayons, and coloring books. Break out the calm down box when your child needs something to feel more at ease. 

If your child has more than the typical anxiety or has gone through a difficult experience, it is best to consult with a therapist. Our therapists at Star Point Counseling Center can work with your child and help them learn to effectively manage and reduce their anxiety.

Call us today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251




Recognize Mental Health Problems In Your Child.


Mental health problems in children are common, real, and treatable. Without treatment there is an increased risk in behavioral problems at school, decline in grades, suicide, trouble with the criminal justice system, and more. With the help of teachers and other caregivers, parents can identify these problems early on and can determine whether or not help should be sought out for the child. 

If you recognize the following signs, then professional help may be needed: 

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades in spite of strong efforts
  • Constantly worried or feeling anxious
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability

If you suspect a problem, or just have questions and concerns contact us to see a Mental Health professional. (813)244-1251

Do’s And Don’ts Of Teaching Your Child To Cope.


The ability to cope is not something we are born with. Coping involves emotional and practical skills that our children learn through both observation and direct teaching. As parents it is our job to not only celebrate the good times but also prepare them for the bad times as well. Every disappointment in a child’s life is an opportunity to show them that they are strong enough to overcome it. 

Here are some ways we can encourage healthy coping skills:

  • DON’T ignore a problem. Avoiding the problem will only worsen with time. DO encourage your child to face their problems, facing small problems gives them the practice they need to solve big ones. It is also important to teach your child when and how to reach out for support when life hands them a big one.
  • DON’T step in too soon. We have to let our children learn how to handle situations by themselves without always coming to their rescue. DO have confidence in your child, with our help they can learn to use their hearts and minds to handle a difficult situation.
  • DON’T agree with your child that life is unfair, or mean. Yes, it may be true sometimes but having a negative attitude about life will leave them unhappy. DO acknowledge that sometimes life is unfair and people are mean but if there is nothing we can do about a negative situation we need to teach our children not to dwell on it and move on.
  • DON’T let yourself get down or depressed if your child is depressed. It adds more burden to the problem because kids don’t want to see their parents sad. DO teach your child to engage with problems. Have them talk out exactly what happened and why. Work together to decide what they can change and what they can’t. You may not be able to change a situation but you can always learn something from it. 
  • DON’T accept tantrums, acting out, or helplessness. No problem has ever been solved by tempers, aggression, or just giving up. DO listen and support their feelings, we need to let our children know that it is okay to let their emotions out, but not to make someone the target. It is important to teach your child how to calm themselves down and get past their feelings. 

If you have a child that is not coping well and you are having a hard time dealing with their depression, anger or tantrums, let us know! We can help teach your child coping skills that they will need to get past big or small problems that they may face now and in the future. 


Children and Discipline Pt. 2

There are a couple definitions of the word “discipline” that pertain to this discussion. Number 1 on the list, according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, is “punishment.” Number 2 on the same list is, “instruction.” The first definition is exactly the frame of mind that most people have when it comes to disciplining children. But, what if we took the second definition to be the most accurate and most effective in promoting positive behaviors in children at home, in the classroom, and amongst others?
Recent research suggests that positive discipline has very promising results. Dr. Judy McVittie has put together a compilation of research supporting this notion. She explains that children are more likely to have more positive and well received behaviors when their parents have a more authoritative parenting style. This means that the parent displays a combination of understanding and empathy, but still remain firm and demanding when needed. This type of parenting is often incentive based as opposed to fear based (punishment oriented). Elizabeth Gershoff, PhD., from the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University agrees with Dr. McVittie and suggests that corporal punishment may actually have many more negative than positive effects. In a 62 year long study Gershoff concluded that although immediate compliance is experienced after corporal punishment, negative long term effects such as antisocial behavior, and aggression can result causing problems for children through adulthood. In addition, punishment may encourage kids to obey while the parents are present, but what happens when they are not? Children may be less likely to regulate their behaviors based on their own intrinsic ideas of right and wrong, and good and bad, as well as dangerous and safe.
So then, is the “rod” considered a tool that is used to physically punish our children into submission? Or rather, is it to be used just as the shepherd does to nudge and guide and instruct, by teaching right and wrong? You be the judge.

For more information on the studies and information shared please visit these websites
And don’t forget to visit our website!

School Violence

Even though the school year is coming to a close, we must not forget the impact that school violence has on children of all ages. Check out this article in the Samhsa news letter, and stay tuned for more blogs from Star Point Counseling! Hope everyone is having a great week so far.