Family

4 More Pointers for New Parents for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

Having kids can be hard on a marriage. As relationship therapist Rebecca Wong, LCSW, said, kids absorb much of your attention and energy. There are a whole lot more responsibilities and tasks, and your schedule suddenly becomes very limited. Suddenly, there are new challenges to work through -- and you’re running on little, very little, sleep.

So how do you maintain a healthy marriage amid all that?

Continue Reading

Caregivers

The Mindful Pause

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now and the first one I want to share with you is this: the mindful pause.

It's particularly useful for mothers. As a mother, your daily experience is of the craziness of multiple simultaneous demands on your attention, frequent interruptions, on-the-spot decision making, settling squabbles, switching tasks frequently and knowing what you do shapes the lives of your children.

Taking regular “mini-breaks” or moments to pause is necessary to regroup, recharge and restore the relaxation response in your body. It’s like a system reboot.
Continue Reading

Books

Teaching Kids to Identify and Cope with Their Emotions

It’s hard enough to identify, understand and cope with our emotions as adults. It takes practice. And often we get it wrong. That is, we can’t figure out what we’re really feeling. We ignore our feelings or pretend they don’t exist. Or we turn to unhealthy habits.

So it’s understandable that kids find feelings so confusing and overwhelming -- so much so they have meltdowns and tantrums. They kick. They scream. They sob. They stomp their feet.

Fortunately, parents can help. You can help your child tune into what they’re actually feeling and find healthy ways to cope with those feelings. It’s a skill that all kids need and benefit from greatly (as do parents!).
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

A Trance of Unworthiness

Mothers tell me their No. 1 challenge is being overwhelmed by too much to do. They never feel like they finish what needs to be done and they feel exhausted from trying. As a mother, psychologist and mindfulness teacher, I know that feeling intimately.

Our culture values achievement and “doing" so highly that this feeds our compulsion to be busy: our addiction to cataloguing what needs to be done and steadily and relentlessly working our way through it. And the consuming nature of parenting often means we can’t get much else done. When, at the end of a day, we don't meet our unrealistic expectations, we are left feeling that we are somehow deficient.
Continue Reading

Family

4 Pointers for New Parents for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

The transition to parenthood tends to be a stressful time for couples. Because kids radically change your relationship, said Nancy Gardner, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in couples and is certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy. “New parents have more to do than they possibly could have imagined, and they are tired.”

The sleep deprivation “affects our moods, which can cause irritability and lead to poor communication,” said Catherine O’Brien, MA, LMFT, a relationship therapist who specializes in helping families prepare for the transition from pregnancy to parenthood by managing overwhelm, creating more ease and deepening connection.
Continue Reading

Bullying

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

The mental health community has come to understand that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be as common in children as in adults. What began as a disorder mostly of combat veterans has been shown to affect numerous trauma survivors across many situations.

Trauma comes in many forms. A child could be traumatized by a major event, such as physical or sexual abuse, a car accident, or by witnessing a horrifying event. Those are the easier ones to identify. But children also can be traumatized from a conglomeration of daily toxic stress, such as living in poverty, constant bullying, or moving to a place much different than their previous geographic location (culture shock).

Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

ADHD & Parenting: Tips for Creating Calm

When your child has ADHD, there may be a lot of frustration. Your child might get frustrated with having to complete homework that bores them. They might get frustrated with so many thoughts ping-ponging in their brains. They might get frustrated that they have such a hard time focusing -- and have to deal with many other challenges triggered by ADHD.

And you might get frustrated with everything from their taking forever to get ready in the morning to not following your rules. As a result, you might apply more pressure, thinking this will motivate your child.

But it only backfires.
Continue Reading

Books

3 Tips for Raising Kids Who Aren’t Entitled

Does your child expect you to do things for him or her? Do they rarely lift a finger to help? Are they quick to blame others? Do they try to manipulate people to get their way? Do you spend a lot of time rescuing them? For instance, maybe you remind them about deadlines, finish their projects and drive forgotten items to school.

Does your child freak out when they don’t get their way? Do you find yourself resorting to bribes and rewards to get them to cooperate? Do you bend over backwards for them? For instance, maybe you make three different dinners to satisfy all three kids’ appetites. Maybe you rush out to buy their favorite toothpaste. Maybe you work extra to give them a pricey wardrobe every season.

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

Halloween: Have Things Gone Too Far?

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses – and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. ~ Carl Jung
Somehow in the last 60 years, Halloween has become bigger and bigger and the themes and events of October 31 have become scarier and scarier. This year, Americans are projected to spend nearly $7 billion on decorations, costumes and candy,...
Continue Reading

Caregivers

Mindful Parenting in a Cyclone

Birds that survive cyclones fly right into the heart of it. The energy of it lifts them above the turmoil.

My teacher at meditation class recently was talking about our human tendency to get caught up in a cyclone of thought, of suffering and of wanting things to be something other than the way they are. Our minds want something to chew on and it is so seductive, so culturally reinforced, that we get sucked into the cyclone and lose our peace and equanimity.

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

Relaxation, Self-Care and Modeling

It’s time to pick up the kids from daycare, start dinner and get a load of laundry going. Is your blood pressure rising? Among the to-dos of the day, is there time penciled in for self-care? Are you a priority in your own life? Does your to-do list include time to just be?

It’s important to make time not only for our own self-care but realize we are also modeling relaxation and self-care to our children. Is there time to play on the swingset in the park, color, or take a walk? With our schedules packed and our iPhones on hand, are we modeling for our children and family the life we want our children to lead?

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Why Baby Talk Is Good for Your Infant

If you've ever been around a newborn infant, you probably found yourself engaging in some sort of baby talk. Most adults can't seem to help themselves. Psychologists call this kind of talk directed at a baby "infant-directed speech." And believe it or not, they've studied its impact on an infant's development.

The findings are not surprising -- the more you talk to your baby, the better language skills they'll develop sooner. And the more quickly babies develop good language skills, the sooner they start learning.

Continue Reading