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A woman wearing a patterned blue and white shirt standing against a creamy brown cement wall. She is looking up to the right in a thinking pose.


Have you ever completed a personality test online just for fun?  It may seem an amusing thing to do, but it is actually valuable to be familiar with your personality traits.  Identifying your personality traits not only improves self-awareness, it can build self-confidence.  Knowing yourself well can also help you in relationships because you can more accurately communicate who you are and what you need in a relationship.  Being familiar with the different personality traits can also be helpful for broadening your understanding of people in general.  We all have the tendency at times to believe that others think and feel like they do, which impacts their ability to empathize with others.  When we are experiencing conflict in a relationship, it may be helpful to assess if there are personality traits that you or the other person have that may be influencing the conflict. Having a conversation about your similarities and differences can be especially useful in building or repairing relationships.  


Openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism are five core personality traits that are considered to have a significant impact on our overall personality.  Knowing if you are low or high in these five traits will give you significant insight into your personality.  If you are a parent struggling to connect with your child, consider your and your child’s personality traits to determine if they are impacting the relationship.  If you rank high in openness and your child is low in this trait, you may get frustrated with them when they have a hard time adjusting to change or new situations.  There is an abundance of information online about personality traits and there are tests to take to identify your traits.  The link below leads to an insightful article that does a nice job of describing the “Big Five” personality traits. 


There are a lot of aspects to consider when seeking to improve your understanding of yourself.  Besides getting familiar with your personality traits, knowing if you are an internal or external (verbal)  processor can be especially helpful for your relationships.  The internal processor shares their thoughts and feelings after they have carefully thought them through and have a clear understanding of them.  An external processor, on the other hand, verbally shares their thoughts and feelings real time as they are sorting through and making sense of them.  An internal processor can sometimes come across as excessively guarded to an external processor who may feel like the internal processor is holding back and not opening up to them.  An external processor may be overwhelming to an internal processor, as the external processor tends to stream an abundance of thoughts and emotions.  Reading up on the processing styles is a great step towards better self-awareness and understanding others. https://knotcounseling.com/are-you-an-internal-or-external-processor/

 

Get curious and invest some time in researching personality traits and the processing styles.  Any day is a good day to start your journey to knowing yourself better! 



Lauran Thomas, MS, LPC-S, NCC

Director and Clinical Supervisor of KS Services, LLC


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There’s a funny trend on TikTok these days called “Who ate my powdered donuts?” The culprit pleads ignorance but has a face covered in powdered sugar.

 

Some of us are really good at hiding a lie, and others are not. Have you caught your child in a lie and didn’t know how to deal with it? Do they lie a blue streak, and you can’t tell whether they are lying or telling the truth?


As parents, we all want our children to be good, kind human beings. When we catch them in a lie, we wonder where we went wrong or worry that they will become untrustworthy.  

If we look at it from a psychological point of view, we need to understand that lying isn’t a moral failure. Lying is often a universal biological response, a pattern of protection that allows us to gain a reward or avoid pain, according to Lisa Dion, a licensed professional counselor, a registered play therapist supervisor, and creator of Synergetic Play Therapy. Other play therapists and medical professionals agree. 


This pain-pleasure principle is hard-wired into all of us. This means that as humans, we seek pleasure or avoid pain to meet our own psychological and biological needs, and lying helps us do that. And yes, even as grown adults, we need to admit that we also sometimes lie.


To help us correct lying behavior in our children, we need to get curious and try to understand what they are protecting or gaining when they lie. Some motivations for lying include:

  • Denying an action: “I did not hit my sister.” 

  • Gaining a reward: “I ate all my dinner” (half the food is in the trash)

  • Impressing others: “My parents own a ski chalet in Europe.”

  • Getting attention: “I went to the  hospital last week and had surgery on my leg.”

  • Wishful thinking: “We have a horse in our backyard.”


When we do catch our children in lies, most experts warn against punishing them. Instead, look for the reason behind it and be empathetic: “You know that if  you hit your sister, Mom and Dad would get angry with you.”


You can point out the lie in an indirect way. “You said you ate all your dinner. But I’m confused. Whose meatloaf is in the trash?”  


We can also use humor. "I really wish we had a horse AND a unicorn in our backyard!”  

By understanding the motivation behind the lie and responding calmly, we create an atmosphere of safety for our children. We acknowledge their feelings without attacking their protective pattern. If we punish our children for lying, it could lead to their need to continue putting up the protection and feel even more shame. By calling it out in a gentle way, we create safety within the relationship that allows them to identify and acknowledge their underlying motivations and emotions without being shamed for them. Over time, their need to lie will diminish. 


Licensed Resident in Counseling


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At KS Services we see the healing impact of strong relationships between our teen clients and adults in their lives, and we are here to support, encourage, and problem solve those relationships. Everyday is a good day to pour into those relationships, and we want to share a few ideas to get you started. 


Small things often

Just like any other relationship we need to actively put time and energy into the relationship with our teen. Teens are notorious for being temperamental and prickly (rebuffing our efforts or gestures with an eye roll or huff), but it is important and impactful to forgive easily and keep trying.  

  • Throw their towel in the dryer and bring them a heated towel when they are done in the shower.

  • Offer to make their lunch in the morning so they have a few extra minutes to sleep in.

  • Initiate working together to cook a meal of their choice. If they turn you down, make the meal anyway.

  • Take your kiddo out for lunch on the next early release day.  Offer to bring a friend.

  • Ask for your teen to teach you how to play their favorite video game.

  • Get excited about the things that your teen is excited about  (some things are easier than others). 

  • Ask about their favorite music; listen to one of their playlists.



Communicate on paper

Parent-child journals are an excellent way to open up another line of communication and get to know each other better. Check out a guided journal with an intro, writing prompts, lists to make, and free space to write OR grab a blank journal off the shelf, write a note to your kiddo, and create your own.


Parent-Child Journal Perks

  • Allow space to ask questions, and write about things that might feel a little awkward to bring up in person. 

  • Writing prompts can spark new and fun conversations.

  • Provide a safe space to share thoughts and feelings when there is tension or misunderstanding between you and your teen/child..

  • Encourage both sharing and listening and gives time for the reader to mull over what has been shared before responding.

  • Allow a parent to share valuable insights and perspectives.  And allows the child to read and take in that feedback when he/she is ready. 


Recommended Journals

“Just Between Us” by Meredith and Sophie Jacobs (they have mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, etc.)



Repair

In parenting YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES. We ALL do, ALL the time. The mistake is not the problem; failing to apologize and take ownership for our part is the problem. How we handle the mistake can be an opportunity for the relationship to grow and the foundation to be strengthened.

  • Take time to regulate your own emotions (get some water, go for a short walk, BREATHE)

  • Take responsibility for your part in what has happened.

  • Look for ways to do better the next time (Ask your teen for their feedback).

  • Watch Dr. Becky Kennedy’s TED talk on repair (15 minutes filled with practical ideas and   the reasons why repair is so important) 


We know this is not easy, but we believe it is worth it, a thousand times over, and we at KS Services are here to support you in strengthening your relationship with the teens and kids in your life. 


Licensed Resident in Counseling

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