Recognizing your teen's warning signs

February 2, 2009 4:20:04 PM PST
Find out how to recognize signs of trouble in your teen before it's too late.

Warning signs in a child's behavior:

  • Sudden change in personality
  • Significant decrease in grades
  • Staying in their room a lot
  • On the computer and text messaging a lot
  • Significant change in appearance and clothes
  • Change in eating habits and sleep pattern
  • Staying out all weekend
  • Sudden change with friends
  • Significant change in attitude
  • Easily gets angry
  • Fights and argues a lot
  • Decrease in self-esteem
Parenting tips:
  • Don't try to be a friend. You have to be the parent

  • Parents should live by the boundaries they set for the teen. For example, if you tell the teen "no smoking pot," don't go in the garage and smoke pot yourself

  • Remember that teens are still children and need guidance and boundaries, even though they may look like an adult or act like one sometimes

  • Don't be afraid that your child won't like you; it's not a popularity contest and they need you to set boundaries

  • Parents need to watch out more these days because kids are facing more stress, more violence, more sex, and more drugs than in the past, and they face these challenges at a younger age

  • Parents shouldn't be afraid to ask teens if they suspect a problem, or to bring them in for counseling; if your child had a physical condition you wouldn't hesitate to bring them in for treatment

  • Be aware of possible learning disabilities that may not have been evident in elementary school or middle school - but might show up in middle school or high school when the child is under more pressure; ask for your child to be tested and get resource help if needed
History and Mission of Rubino Counseling Services

Ever since elementary school Dr. Michael Rubino III has been interested in people and interested in helping people. This was no surprise because Dr. Rubino has a family history filled with physicians and teachers, all of whom have devoted their lives to helping children and those in need. So you could say that Dr. Rubino has followed the foot steps of his family, however, Dr. Rubino's course is somewhat different than his family's commitment to people.

Dr. Rubino is the first psychologist in his family. He had planned on becoming a pediatrician, but fate intervened. Dr. Rubino was born with a very, very rare neurological condition that was not diagnosed until he was in the sixth grade. He underwent emergency neurological surgery in June after completing the 6th grade, the first time this surgery had ever been performed by anyone, and returned to school the first day of September to begin the 7th grade. He was not going to let anything stop him and this is how he has conducted his life and career.

When he graduated from U.C. Berkeley and had been accepted to two medical schools he learned that he need two more emergency surgeries to save his life and the only surgeon who could perform the surgery was at the University of Iowa. Dr. Rubino went back to Iowa and the surgeon wanted to know why he was alive. His exam indicated that Dr. Rubino should not be standing or breathing. The two surgeries were performed and during the second Dr. Rubino suffered a stroke paralyzing his right side. Dr. Rubino now had to learn how to walk again, besides recovering from the surgeries.

Once back in California, Dr. Rubino enrolled in the Master's Program at St. Mary's College. He needed something more to do than focusing on his recovery. While in the Master's program he began to see that he could accomplish his career goals with a PhD. He did not have to have the M.D. and after being in a teaching hospital, there were a number of things that he disagreed with, such as keeping interns up for 48 hours straight.

Now that Dr. Rubino's schooling is complete he has decided to focus on his career goals. Dr. Rubino has always wanted to work with children especially children at high risk for more serious conditions as adults. He also does not want any child to feel embarrassed or defective because they need psychotherapy. In fact, no one should be embarrassed or ashamed to be treated; we are learning more and more everyday about how strong the mind-body connection is. Therefore, if someone can be considered normal and suffer from hypertension or diabetes they are also normal if they are being treated for Bipolar or Schizophrenia or Sexual Abuse. We need to educate the general public and this is one of Dr. Rubino's career goals.

Additionally, treatment should not be a luxury reserved for only those who can pay cash for therapy. Everyone deserves a right to treatment and we must fight to ensure that our government enacts laws that will ensure fair treatment for everyone. Also patients must challenge their insurance companies. Too many insurance companies dictate how patient will be treated. They ignore the expertise of the treating doctor. Furthermore, too many insurance companies charge the patients high premiums, assign high copayments to patients while the pay the doctor 25% of their normal fee making it almost impossible to do business. Dr. Rubino believes that, whenever possible, no one should be turned away due to financial resources and he is politically active in trying to bring about insurance reform.

Dr. Rubino believes in investing in our children and adolescents. Our children are our future. So if he needs to make a house call, visit a school site or see an adolescent in Juvenile Hall, he does it. Children are very sensitive to rejection and to lying, if you are not willing to give 100% and stand behind it, why should they trust you? They see you as the next adult in a long line of adults to let them down. If that is the choice they have, they will let you down and betray you before they get hurt. We still have a large number of school shootings and teen suicides every year. Are we doing anything at the schools or in our communities to address these matters? No, the school budget, the County budget and the State budget cannot afford it. However, we had the money to build a new and larger Juvenile Hall and school officials and the aides for the Governor all received raises. If we do not make our children a priority fast and start to implement programs for change then we have no one to blame except ourselves when another tragedy occurs.

Rubino Counseling Services has always been a family owned and run corporation. Our hope is that you feel like you are among family and friends and that we make your experience with psychotherapy a positive one. We are here to assist you through the difficult times that you are experiencing and if you need any assistance please ask and we will do our best to help. Psychotherapy and life are based on relationships and we look forward to a productive, healing relationship that you can call on whenever you need help.

Website: www.lucascenter.com


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