Parenting Articles

Therapists Get Anxious, Too

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Therapists Get Anxious, TooMy heart was pounding, my breathing restricted, my hands sweaty.

My instinct screamed at me, “You’re too young to die. Turn back now.”

My rational brain said, “That’s just your anxiety talking. You’re only going up the stairs of a lighthouse.”

My rational brain also said, “Lean forward as you climb the stairs, because if your panic makes you pass out, you don’t want to fall backward into the spiral of doom.”

Answering Children’s Questions about Foster Care

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Answering Children's Questions about Foster CareRecently, a colleague came to me for advice on addressing a very tough question from a child: Why don’t I live with mommy anymore? With roughly 400,000 children in out-of-home placements in the United States, this is a question that gets asked by hundreds of thousands of children every year.

If you’re a foster parent, you’ve probably answered this question many times. However, if you’re a relative taking custody of a child, this question may not be one you’ve prepared for. Instead of anxiously awaiting the child’s question, I recommend being proactive and facilitating a meaningful discussion with the child about the move.

4 Tips for Helping Children with Abandonment Issues

Monday, August 11th, 2014

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4 steps for raising a child who doesn’t feel emotionally stranded.

Your child suffers from abandonment issues.

If you are a nurturing parent, you are probably balking at this statement. Most of us associate abandonment with physical conditions, such as inadequate nourishment, inadequate clothing, physical abuse or literally leaving our child without care. If you provide for the well being of your children, how could they possibly feel “abandoned”?

Key Questions for Couples to Consider before Baby Arrives

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

right-way-feed-babyThere’s no shortage of advice and to-do lists for parents-to-be. There are articles on do’s and don’ts; information about things you should and shouldn’t buy; and books you must read right away. The sheer overload of information can be dizzying.

Pausing can help. In fact, one of the best things parents-to-be can do is to look within and reflect together. Not surprisingly, communication between partners is key when you start expanding your family.

5 Ways for Parents to Motivate Their Kids for Back-to-School Time

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

5 Ways for Parents to Motivate Their Kids for Back-to-School TimeAs the summer winds down and stores bring out their back-to-school supplies, parents and children start to feel different emotions about the new school year.

Students may feel anxiety about a new school or a new teacher. They may not want to think about homework, tests and the pressures of school. Parents, however, may be dreaming of having their students back on a schedule.

If your child is feeling apprehensive about the upcoming school year, there are many ways you can get them excited.

Here are five fun ways:

3 Tips for Talking to Children about Traumatic Events

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

3 Tips for Talking to Children about Traumatic EventsIt is almost impossible to shield children from negative world events. In our ever-connected society, breaking news stories reach far beyond the evening news. All too often, these tragic stories involving mass casualties are in the news for days and become the topic of conversation for many.

We see this with any major domestic or international story. As adults, these heartbreaking stories often take an emotional toll on us. Some make us cry; others evoke anger or frustration. For children, however, these reactions can be far more complex.

Signs Your Child May Benefit from Seeing a Therapist

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Signs Your Child May Benefit from Seeing a TherapistKnowing when a child needs to see a therapist can be tricky. Naturally, young kids don’t have the emotional or communication skills to verbalize what they need and how they’re feeling.

Therapy can be incredibly helpful for kids. It teaches children healthy coping skills. It teaches them how to understand, articulate and express their feelings instead of acting out behaviorally, said Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a child and family therapist.

What to Know about Children’s Nighttime Bedwetting

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

What to Know about Children's Nighttime BedwettingToilet training can be a stressful process. This is particularly the case for children who achieve daytime dryness but continue to wet themselves — and the bed — overnight. It may leave you wondering what’s normal and what you can do to help your child.

Nighttime wetting is one of the most common urologic conditions in childhood. The vast majority of cases are not related to a physical cause. Most commonly, nighttime wetting happens in children who are very deep sleepers; their brains and bladders aren’t communicating as they should while they sleep. It is not your child’s fault.

What Really Works in Disciplining Your Teen

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

What Really Works in Disciplining Your TeenParenting teens is tricky. Some parents, worried their teens will make bad decisions, micromanage their behavior. They set a slew of rules and parent with iron fists, lectures and fear-based tactics.

This, however, tends to drive teens away and disconnects them from their parents. In the second edition of his book The Available Parent: Expert Advice for Raising Successful and Resilient Teens and Tweens, clinical psychologist and parenting expert John Duffy, Ph.D, advocates for a different approach.

Of course, discipline is important for teens. It provides structure and boundaries, writes Duffy. But he distinguishes effective discipline from punishment. Punishment triggers arguments and cuts communication. Effective discipline, however, “comes from a calm, centered, loving place.”

Encouraging Males to Embrace Safe, Platonic Touch

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

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Touch. It’s a delicate subject. I just read an article that discussed the idea of gentle, platonic touch between men. It made the case that men are often isolated from touch at an early age by both parents, and that the lack of gentle, platonic touch is a killer. The author decided he would try a different approach, and never give up hugging his son or holding his hand when the opportunity presented itself.

As I read the author’s words, this notion of touch between men felt sort of radical, and I started to wonder why. I found myself agreeing that, for the most part, this physical form of isolation seems true for most men, though not all of us. Many of us get cut off from touch at a relatively early age.

Busting Summertime Depression

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The Four Horsemen of the ApocalpyseThe mark of summer is upon us. The kids are out of school, it’s hot, and it’s the season in which everyone expects to feel good. Except you don’t.

Let’s take a look at some of the causes of summertime depression.

Young Adults and Suicide

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Young Adults and SuicideSuicide is a mental health problem affecting the lives of young adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites suicide to be the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24. In order to prevent suicide of young adults, families need to talk about it.

Suicide is a choice that can be hard to understand and approach without judgment, and discussing the risk of suicide with young adults may feel uncomfortable. Since young adults tend to bottle up their feelings and avoid expressive conversations, parents may be unaware of the risk of suicide or unsure of how to communicate with their son or daughter regarding mental wellness.

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