Key to Growth … Developing a Learner-Mindset

  • Excellence – Best-in-class delivery of services
  • Teamwork – Togetherness, unity, how we operate
  • Godly character – Uncompromising beliefs, actions and moral standards
  • Transcendent – “Big Picture” thinking and acting – “Legacy” work
  • Ownership – Taking responsibility and doing what is best for the organization
  • Growth – Learner mindset

Leaders are Life Long Learners

In effective teams, leaders and members support each other and share the responsibility of success.  Conversely, low functioning teams accredit themselves with success while attributing failure to leadership (Wheelan, 2013).  Both of these scenarios involve a mindset that is either geared toward growth or remaining stagnant.

The effective team will embrace a growth mindset while the low functioning team will consign to a fixed mindset.  When leaders of organizations are committed to the growth mindset, they cultivate a powerful culture of learning and ownership.  In these healthy environments exists shared pain and shared gain.  Let’s take a look at the game-changing features of the learner mindset!

Being a Learner

  • Learners challenge the fixed mindset by embracing change.  Change is a certainty of life and required for growth.  Thriving organizations consistently identify areas where growth is needed and take action!  Interestingly, organizational health often results in numerical growth.  Personal growth happens when those with the learner mindset are not limited by their perceived lack of abilities, potential, challenges, frustrations, criticism from others, or the status quo.  Try this: begin making your next life change with a more positive outlook by realizing that change is necessary for growth.  You can believe that change makes us better!
  • Learners ask open-ended questions to discover solutions rather than merely stating their opinions as facts. Try this: use what, when, and how questions, steering clear from questions which result in a simple “Yes” or “No” response.
  • Learners seek input and feedback from others. Those with the growth mindset welcome and value the contributions from their team whereas those with the fixed mindset are easily offended by feedback or constructive criticism. Try this: invite others around you to offer feedback or challenges to your next decision and commit yourself not to becoming offended if you perceive the input as unhelpful.

Obstacles are Opportunities

Learners view failure and obstacles as opportunities for growth.  We have the promise of hardship in this life and success is certain to come with many painful failures.  As people of faith, we trust that God uses our suffering to bring growth, character development, and hope.

Failures are Partners in Success

When I was growing up, Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player on earth! I had this famous poster hanging on my wall:


Try this: View your next perceived failure as a partner in your success.  Write down at least three positive takeaways from this painful experience and refer back to them when you need future encouragement.  Fail forward!

Wisdom in Judgment

Learners refrain from being overly critical. We make judgment calls every day – from a simple decision to turn right on red to the more complex decisions like whether or not to place our aging parents in assisted living. Each day presents a series of choices to make quick, passing judgments or to intentionally decide to glean wisdom and insights from our experiences.  Try this: take a quick self-assessment by asking yourself if you give new people that you meet an opportunity or do you quickly write them off?  Do you focus on the strengths and potential of others or do you judge them as lazy, limited, and not very useful?

Guard Your Vocabulary

Learners guard their vocabulary.  While some people are clearly more optimistic than others, optimism can be learned.  I repeat, optimism can be learned!  Negative thoughts can be taken captive and re-framed to a more positive thought or statement.  Try this: avoid saying words like: “can’t, should, and I wish” and use no negative self-talk for one week.  Begin challenging yourself to think and speak differently.

Lead as a Life-Long Learner

Bringing it all home: having a growth or learner mindset will expand your positive influence on others.  If you are a leader, it is your responsibility to develop a healthy culture in your varying contexts.  Leading as a life-long learner will set a powerful example for others to follow and will help develop a winning team!  Always be willing to learn!


Wheelan, S. A. (2013). Creating effective teams: A guide for members and leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Article by: Cameron S. Ashworth, MA

Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, MS



You often hear it said, “Patience is a virtue.” Although it is easy to acknowledge that patience is a spiritual principle to strive for, it is often more difficult to actually practice genuine patience.  In today’s society, we live in a world of instant gratification.  From fast food to modern technology, we are slowly drifting away from the concept of valuing patience and delayed gratification and drifting towards a mentality of immediacy.

Growth takes time and patience.

Although there is certainly some benefit to the convenience of fulfilling basic needs without putting in the time and effort that it has historically taken, it is critical that we analyze the reasons behind the need to take shortcuts.  Growth undoubtedly comes from the process of persevering through trials and tribulations.  “Good things come to those who wait” has also been used over the years to encourage practicing patience.  Especially as Christians, it is important that we pray about our concerns and seek spiritual advice, rather than make impulsive decisions without concern for the consequences of our hastiness.

As Christians, we need to constantly practice patience with others, with ourselves, and with God.  It is easy to get frustrated with people around us, but we have to remember that God created all of us as brothers and sisters in Him, and we all are at different seasons in our lives.  It is also easy to be too hard on oneself, focusing on the negatives only and not giving ourselves credit for our accomplishments.  Taking a moment to appreciate the things we do right gives us the opportunity to be patient with ourselves in our endeavors, to be able to see that growth takes time and patience.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Lastly, in order to truly reap the benefits of God’s plan for us, we need to be willing to wait upon God’s response to our prayers. Sometimes God’s answer to us is simply, “Wait.”

Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, MS

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder is when the brain has trouble receiving and responding to messages that it receives through the senses.  Oftentimes,  children with SPD may be oversensitive to stimuli in their environment, such as:

  • Texture/Taste
  • Sounds/Noises
  • Touch
  • Balance
  • Sights

Meet Julia: Teach children how to interact with the new Sesame Street Puppet with Autism.

What can you do to help? You can be a blessing by saying kind and supportive words to the child and family. Behaviors do not define a child.

Sensory items can be a big help to children with Sensory Processing Disorder.

  1. Puffer Balls are great because they are soft, squeezable, and can easily be pulled. They can be used during any activity to calm children, including class transitions in hallways.
  2. Sensory Bottles are helpful for children to hold during large or small group discussions.  These bottles give children something to engage with their hands and soothe their eyes.  Sensory bottles are also very quiet, so they have minimal disruption to surrounding students.
  3. Wiggle Seats are double-sided objects that can be used for circle times, small groups, or a large group activities to help a child sit. If a child has difficulty staying seated, wiggle seats may help calm them by giving them the sensory input they need. Both sides are useful depending on how much sensory input the child needs that day.

Behaviors related to SPD:

  • Excessive/Low energy and activity levels.
  • Problems with social skills, such as biting, refusing to share, and isolation
  • Difficulty controlling impulses, such as aggression, blurting out answers, or jumping out of their seat.
  • Short attention span such as difficulty staying seated for a task, becoming easily distracted by objects, sounds, smells, or movements.
  • Difficulty with transition, such as have anxiety with change, trying new foods, or changing activities. These changes can sometimes result in tantrums in children with SPD.
  • Low frustration tolerance, such as screaming, or having difficulty regulating their emotions.

So, what can you do to help?

  • If a child is screaming or covering their ears, or overwhelmed by sounds/light, it would be helpful to remove them from the situation.  Sometimes taking a brief walk, sitting in a calm room, being around low lighting, or using a quiet corner can help.
  • Allowing time in a sensory room with a ball pit can help when a child feels overwhelmed.  Try to learn the child’s triggers so you can take them to the sensory room prior to the behavior. Fidgets can also be helpful.  Common fidgets are puzzles, sensory bottles, squishy balls, bean bag chairs, and bubbles.
  • If a child is biting or feeling overwhelmed by other children in their space, separate the children. Let someone in charge know immediately.
  • Engage in Sensory Activities. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder typically love playdough, beans, noodles, pom poms, digging in the sand, or other projects that keep them engaged and could provide sensory relief. Try to find ways to incorporate sensory activities into your lessons every day; all children can benefit from sensory activities!
  • For a child that seems impatient or unable to sit still (for example, during circle time), a ball pit may be helpful. The playground can also be helpful to allow the child time to climb and get out physical energy. They can also use a squishy objects, stretchy therapy bands, or a fidget toy.
  • Some children are calmed by a deep pressure hug or a weighted lap pad/blanket. If a parent gives you permission, hugging a child can help alleviate some of their symptoms of SPD.
  • If a child will not stay seated for a lesson, allow them to sit on a special pillow or a wiggle seat. Bring sensory objects, such as therapy bands or fidget toys, and allow them to play with objects while listening to lesson. Encourage children to stay seated and attempt to engage them in the lesson. Going to the playground or a sensory room prior to the lesson can be helpful to allow the child time to get out energy and reset sensory system.  Jumping on a trampoline or in a ball pit prior to the lesson can also help!


Article Written by Meagan Walkley, LPC, NCC

Blog Post Created by Sarah Warner, MS


How to Truly Encourage Children

Praise kids for ACTIONS and EFFORT, not for natural gifts like intelligence. And remember that intelligence isn’t a virtue; criminals can be intelligent, too. In comparison, having wisdom and pursuing knowledge are virtues. Did you know that kids who are consistently praised for being “smart” are more likely to cheat to get good grades? It becomes an identity that they feel they have to protect.

What if we praised our kids more for being honest, kind, and hard-working? Think of the wonderful places these virtues could take them when incorporated into their identity… People tend to become who they are repeatedly told they are!

A little clip from a professor at Stanford to back us up:

“In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

—Carol Dweck, Stanford University

Article By: Shelby DeBause, MA, LMFT

Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, MS

Nature and Mental Health

Environment can play a huge roll in a person’s emotional well-being.  An unpleasant environment can often evoke feelings of anxiety, sadness, or helplessness.  Being in nature, however, can result in the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress.  Even viewing pictures of nature can produce this calming effect.  In a study done by Mind, it was found that 95% of people surveyed reported that their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka all conducted studies that indicate that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a “positive mood, and psychological well-being, meaningfulness, and vitality.

Nature is essentially “easy on our minds,” says Yannick Joye, PhD.  Since nature is repetitive, it can have calming qualities that soothe the brain. Natural sounds can also be soothing; in Japan, taking in the forest atmosphere, known as “forest bathing,” is encouraged to people who are suffering from  high stress and anxiety as well as depression.

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

So what can you do to get some of these positive mood-enhancing benefits of nature?

  • Make a conscious effort to spend time outside in nature
  • Consider having a houseplant; research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety
  • Limit screen-time
  • Encourage children to play outdoors rather than indoors

If you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed or stressed, don’t hesitate to call us and set up an appointment, we are here to support you!


Cervinka, R., Röderer, K., & Hefler, E. (2012). Are nature lovers happy? On various indicators of well-being and connectedness with nature. Journal of Health Psychology, 17(3), 379-388.

Joye Y, Bolderdijk JW. An exploratory study into the effects of extraordinary nature on emotions, mood, and prosociality. Frontiers in Psychology; 2015; 5: 1577.

Kim, T. (2010). Human brain activation in response to visual stimulation with rural and urban scenery pictures: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study Science of the Total Environment, 408(12), 2600.

Mind Organization. (2007). Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health. UK: Mind Publications.

Ulrich, R. S., Simons, R. F., Losito, B. D., Fiorito, E., Miles, M. A., & Zelson, M. (1991). Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 11(3), 201-230.

University of Minnesota: How does Nature impact Mental Health?

Blog Post by: Sarah Warner

A Christian Perspective on 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why, a controversial Netflix series released on April 1 of this year, has sparked a great deal of discussion amongst teenagers and adults alike.  The show’s main character, Hannah, is a junior in high school that commits suicide after a slew of unfortunate, but sadly somewhat common, teenage experiences.  She leaves a package full of cassette tapes explaining the reasons she killed herself.  All 13 of the reasons she provides are people that were involved in her life.

Psalm 101:3 “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.”

Despite having sparked controversy and discussion in the secular world, it is even more important that Christians strongly consider the implications of allowing their children to watch this show. The show contains many graphic scenes, from reckless underage drinking and drug use to sexual violence between teenagers. These scenes can be extremely emotional for teenagers to watch, which can be a doubled edged sword. It can reinforce the need for our youth to make good decisions and choose not to be in places that put them in compromising situations, but it could also desensitize them to these behaviors, and may imply that “other kids are doing it.” There is also concern that suicide and self-harm is somewhat normalized and even glamorized in the series.

One of the most important facets to consider about this series is that the main character blames 13 other people for her suicide.  Suicide is a mental health issue, and as Christians, it is our duty to help one another in times of need, and to pray with one another for peace.  It can be very difficult to be a teenager, but help is available through periods of mental and emotional difficulty.  Although many situations hurt the main character, no one person was at fault for her death, though she blatantly blames them with intent to make them feel guilty and helpless.

Unfortunately, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it (Bullying Statistics). This show may spark guilt in today’s teenagers by making them question their role if anyone they know has committed suicide.  It is important that if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, or feeling depressed, that you get help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  You can also talk to someone you trust, or schedule an appointment with Genesis Counseling Center by calling 757-827-7707.

Another important topic that is brought up in this show is teenage drug and alcohol use.  Although youth are no doubt going to be exposed to these behaviors on television, it is important that we as Christians do our best to not only monitor what teenagers put into their minds, but also discuss with them exactly what these behaviors mean and the destructive paths they can lead to, and the importance of keeping our hearts pure.  Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Another huge trigger point of discussion in the series 13 Reasons Why is the depiction of rape and sexual violence.  There are two scenes in the series that depict a high school boy raping two different high school girls, one of whom is Hannah, the character who commits suicide.  These scenes are graphically depicted, and can have a huge impact on teenagers that choose to watch the show.  In the series, neither of the girls initially comes forward to seek help and counseling for being raped.  Ultimately, one of the girls does come forward, after being urged by others who were made aware of the situation. Unfortunately, rape often goes unreported. The US Department of Justice reports that nearly 70% of sexual violence goes unreported. Awareness of the facts is one of several preventive measures that can be taken to assist you in making better decisions to keep you and someone you know safe.

“I’d have to tell the police. I’d have to tell my dad. I don’t think I can do that.”

Our youth need to know that help is ready and available if they have experienced sexual violence.  If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, absolutely do not hesitate to seek help.  Genesis Counseling Center provides trauma therapy for such cases; the victim of rape is never at fault, and should not have to carry that burden alone. The Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-4673.  Rape is an exploitation of the differences God created in males and females; from the very beginning, God intended for women to be protected and valued.

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

It is critical that young Christians know that they can turn to God, a trusted friend or counselor, or a pastor, rather than using substances as an attempted coping method.  In the show 13 Reasons Why, more than one of the characters are shown as coping with the death of Hannah by using drugs and alcohol. At one point, the more “popular” teenagers pressure another teenager to drink alcohol with them behind a gas station. He does not want to engage in this activity, but he feels vulnerable and as though he has to in order to avoid negative social consequences.  As Christians, it is imperative to teach our children to be strong in the light of peer pressure, and know how to avoid situations that would put them in a tough spot such as that in the first place.

One of the most critical things to consider about allowing Christian youth to watch 13 Reasons Why is that suicide is presented as the answer to Hannah’s problems. Adequate help for her depression is not presented as an option in her opinion.  Suicide is presented as a glamorous permanent solution to Hannah’s temporary problems.  The series does depict all the people around her having to cope with losing her, but because the show walks the audience through tapes narrated by Hannah, she is depicted as somehow still present.  This belittles the wreckage left behind when a person commits suicide.  Many teenagers feel as though their problems will never go away, but the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a season for everything, including a season to mourn, but also a season to dance13 Reasons Why has a motif of hopelessness throughout the series, both for Hannah and for those around her.  In God, there is always hope and prayer for a brighter tomorrow if we seek Him and His guidance.

In conclusion, we urge you to carefully and diligently consider these topics before allowing your children to watch 13 Reasons Why. It is encouraged that you discuss these issues with your child if you choose to allow them to watch this graphic series.  If they have already seen the series, discuss with them earnestly how they felt about it, and if they or anyone they know is struggling with any of the issues that are portrayed.  If they are, do not hesitate to get help.  Utilize the resources in your community, national hotlines, and agencies such as Genesis Counseling Center, which offer trauma counseling and counseling for other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.  There is so much more to life than one negative season. Life is difficult, but that is part of what makes it beautiful. The hard times we experience as Christians help us appreciate the beautiful times that follow.



Bullying Statistics

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

US Department of Justice

Blog Post By: Sarah Warner, MS

Screen Dependence

Screen dependence is becoming more and more present in today’s technological age.  Dr. David Greenfield says, “Internet and portable devices have a healthy role to play in our information age. However, the very nature of the internet also lends itself to overuse and abuse, encouraging behaviors that are counter productive, isolating and disruptive to ourselves, our families, and community.”

As a result of this technology overload, more and more addictions are becoming present, such as video game addiction, social media addiction, and internet gambling addiction.

In order to minimize the risk of these addictions developing, it is important to set boundaries with technology, such as not allowing electronic devices at the dinner table, during family time, or while driving.  Consequently, overuse of technology by adults in the household can also lead to distracted parenting and low family connection. Children that suffer from screen dependence often act differently when they are away from a screen. They often are:

  • Uninterested
  • Bored
  • Distracted
  • Disengaged
  • Moody
  • Disconnected
  • Surly
  • Irritable
  • Alerted
  • Agitated
  • Awkward

Often, children and adolescents exhibiting these symptoms may have pre-existing mental health disorders. If not, symptoms can be explained by screen dependence alone. Unfortunately, parents often respond to these behaviors by withdrawing.

The prevalence of problematic internet use among children and adolescents is between 4% and 8%, and up to 8.5% of US youth 8 to 18 years of age meet criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder (Media Use in School Aged Children). There are, however, steps a parent can take for a child that is developing a screen dependence:

  • Counseling support to intervene and support
  • School collaboration and improvement plan
  • Family values, behavior and screen use plan
  • Child and family healthy activity plan
  • Seeking a balanced “Digital Diet”

Dr. Kimberly Young from The Center for Internet Addiction encourages aiming for a healthy “digital diet.”  Steps towards a healthy “digital diet” can include:

  1. Check Your Checking
  2. Manage Time Usage
  3. Disconnect to Reconnect

If you think you or your child are developing or suffering from screen dependence, call and schedule an appointment to start the healing process and begin restoring your relationships.


Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents: Pediatrics, Nov 2016, Volume 138 Issue 5

Original Presentation by: Mark Mortier, MA, LPC, MAC

Blog post compiled by: Sarah Warner, MS


According to Psychology Today, “Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.”

Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen panic and open up our thinking to new solutions. Gratitude takes mindfulness, and active participation.  Unstuck gives 9 helpful tips on how to cultivate gratitude daily:

  1. Notice your day-to-day world from a point of gratitude and be amazed at all the goodness we take for granted.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy notebook, no computer program required.
  3. If you identify something or someone with a negative trait (the cold conference room), switch it in your mind to a positive trait (the conference room with a great view).
  4. Gratitude requires humility, which the dictionary defines as being “modest and respectful.” Explore where it fits in your life.
  5. Give at least one compliment daily, whether directly to a person or by sharing your appreciation of something (“I love how quiet it is in the morning, don’t you?”).
  6. When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
  7. Vow to not complain, criticize, or gossip for a week. If you slip, rally your willpower and keep going. Notice how much energy you were spending on negative thoughts.
  8. Sound genuinely happy to hear from the people who call you on the phone. Whether they respond with surprise or delight, they’ll feel valued.
  9. Join a cause that’s important to you. Donate money, time, or talent. By getting involved, you’ll better appreciate the organization — and it will appreciate you more, too.

Grateful people:

  • Feel a sense of abundance in their lives
  • Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being
  • Recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures
  • Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude (Happify)

Practice seeing the beauty in everyday life!



Psychology Today


Blog Post By: Sarah Warner, M.S.

April 10th is Sibling Day

Sibling Day is a great time to appreciate siblings you have!  In the United States, around 80% of children have siblings.  Family can be difficult to get along with, but each of us are blessed to have one.  Whether you are close to your siblings or not, take a moment to thank God for those close to you, as each of these people are gifts from him.

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Whether you have any siblings by blood or adoption, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ–all on the same mission to grow closer to God and share his message with people everywhere.

You don’t have to be related to somebody to consider them family.

Blog post by: Sarah Warner, MS

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month.  Sometimes, it’s difficult to talk to youth about issues that are sensitive.  As Christians, it is important that we set a healthy example for them, and facilitate open communication for them to learn and grow closer to God.  The need to provide meaningful education on the dangers of underage drinking and drug use has never been greater. A few facts help to highlight that need:

  • Alcohol and drugs are the leading causes of crime among youth.
  • Alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teenage suicide.
  • More than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

Young people, like adults, drink alcohol for many different reasons. Some of the reasons may seem obvious, but understanding the feelings behind these reasons – as well as how everyday teen life comes into play – can be difficult. Young people often drink to check out from family problems or issues with school and grades; loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety disorder and other mental health issues. They may drink to deal with the pressures of everyday social situations, to change their image, to fit in when moving to a new school or town, or to gain confidence or lose inhibitions.

As kids get older and alcohol and drugs potentially enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs – and helping their kids to do the same.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Opening communication with youth and setting a positive example can make a huge difference in the formation of our children’s thoughts, behaviors, and actions.

Parents, especially Christian parents, can be a primary source of positive and reliable information. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.

It is important to take advantage of “teachable moments” when parents and other adults can help kids connect the dots about underage drinking and drug use. It’s not so much about having “the big talk,” but about being there for them when the issues come up – on TV, at the movies, on the radio; about celebrities or sports figures, or about their friends.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some guidelines that can help parents talk about alcohol and drug use:

Listen before you talk: For kids, knowing that someone is really listening is most important. Ask open-ended questions. Be involved. Be honest and open. Be positive: talking about these issues can build bridges rather than walls. And remember, addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you know there is a family history of problems be matter of fact about it, as one would be with any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drug use.”

So, this April, Genesis Counseling Center is celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by raising public awareness about underage drinking and encouraging parents to speak to their kids early and often about alcohol and other drugs.  For more information on addiction, see our website. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, we urge you to call us today to schedule a screening and make a treatment plan.

Additionally, we urge local businesses, community organizations, colleges, schools, administrators, and government agencies to get involved in promoting awareness. It can make a tremendous difference in our community as we reach out to those who are most vulnerable and help our next generation avoid the many problems that underage alcohol and drug use can bring.

For more information about Alcohol Awareness Month, contact NCADD or one of its local Affiliates at


National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, M.S.