Parenting Articles

The Ultimate Pain: Recovering from Trauma

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Ultimate PainRecovery work is painful. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is no wonder that I spent two decades avoiding it.

Deep down in my unconscious where the memories were stored, I had determined that the pain of the emotional memories was far worse than spending my life defending against them. And my overactive cortex was happy to oblige.

I could come up with almost anything to justify my feelings or an image that may have flashed in my head. On the bad days, I could keep myself so insanely busy that there was no time to examine anything.

A Parental Guide to Surviving the Teen Years

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

A Parental Guide to Surviving the Teen YearsAre you a parent of an adolescent? Are you so upset with your teen that you’re ready to enroll him or her in the “Witless Protection Program?”

A new identity! Wouldn’t that be a superb solution to getting your teen to renounce his risky behavior, shut her mouth and show some respect, or stop brooding and be appreciative for what she has?

But alas, there is a 20-year waiting list for the Teen Witless Protection Program. So, as a second best option, I offer you alternative ideas about how you might survive those teen years:

Teen Suicide: Out of Sight Is Not Out of Mind

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Out of Sight is not Out of MindAs a Master of Social Work student, my first field placement was at an acute mental health inpatient facility on an adolescent unit. Each day I went to my placement, I saw an increasing number of rotating teenagers coming into the hospital due to suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt.

My experience in the adolescent unit showed me just how much suicide affects the teen population. As a result, I have become an advocate for education on, and the prevention of, suicide.

How to Strike a Healthy Work/Play Balance for Your Child

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

How to Strike a Healthy Work/Play Balance for Your ChildParenting is tough. We all want the best for our children, don’t we? We want them to grow up well, to excel in school and sports and get into a good college so they can support themselves someday.

We have all probably told our kids the classic “work before play” rule. But how much work is too much for a child? Or is your child a couch potato who hardly helps around the house?

There are many pressures that kids face — themselves, teachers, coaches, parents, peers and society. Making sure these pressures don’t become overwhelming and finding the right balance between work and play is key for a healthy childhood.

Introducing Bipolar Parenting

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Introducing Bipolar Parenting

Parenting is hard work. Ask any parent and they’ll admit as much (if they’re being honest!).

Imagine, however, parenting with an invisible handicap that many people don’t understand. Yet that’s what millions of parents face every day when they have a mental health concern like bipolar disorder or depression, and still have to be the best parent possible to their children.

Should Unconditional Love Have Conditions?

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

loves-me-loves-me-not-flower-woman

I was once working with a group of teenagers discussing “integrity agreements,” which I described as “either spoken or unspoken agreements not to hurt each other.” These integrity agreements are the fabric of our society.

This belief, that we won’t harm each other, is what allows us to walk down the street without worrying about getting shot or intentionally run over. I discussed with the teens how every time we break integrity agreements with each other — every time we cheat, lie, abuse, or harm — we weaken the agreement and create unstable relationships.

Avoid These 3 Toxic Conversations With Your Kids

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

5 Tips To Help Parents Worry Less

Think before you speak! Three conversations that you should absolutely avoid with your kids.

You feel it coming. You’re at your breaking point as a parent. Your kids have pushed every single button you have ever had and are verging on demolishing your sanity.

You have tried every parenting trick known to you, and you are still getting nowhere with them. You have silently counted to 10 in your head and realize it’s way past the point of no return.

A Tale of Two Defiers

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A Tale of Two DefiersShelley, a college sophomore, is an actively aggressive defier. She prides herself on being a fiercely independent person who doesn’t need or want anyone to tell her what to do. She often resorts to fighting words in her verbal outbursts:

– “How could he give me such a crappy grade?”

– “He’s tormenting me with that ridiculous assignment!”

– “Doesn’t she know I have better things to do with my time?”

It’s not just her words that display her defiance; it’s also her actions. She feels no guilt about petty acts of defiance, like returning library books late, ignoring due dates for essays, and refusing to pay parking tickets.

The Masks of Trauma

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

The Masks of TraumaSometimes I receive emails from acquaintances I knew in my early years. They usually start by expressing their deep concern for me and what I went through.

Each message like this is healing because validation and concern for my situation was something I desperately needed as a child.

But their next questions are more challenging. “Should I have known?” “How did I miss the signs?” The answer has always eluded me. I really have no response.

Helping Your Kids Set Boundaries

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Helping Your Kids Set BoundariesI’ve interviewed various experts about boundaries, and one of the running themes is that most of us aren’t taught how to set boundaries as kids.

That’s because our parents didn’t know how to set boundaries, and they didn’t know because their parents didn’t know either, said Fran Walfish, Psy.D, a child and family psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, Calif. “This is really a generational repetition of patterns.”

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of Autism

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of AutismWith the latest CDC figures out, it appears autism is now appearing in about 1 in 68 children in the United States. The disorder — now officially known as autism spectrum disorder — is being diagnosed at a rate that represents a 30 percent increase from 1 in 88 two years ago.

What’s amazing to me is that I couldn’t find a single media report that floated the idea that this increase represents an overdiagnosis of the disorder. While “overdiagnosis” seems to be the first thing suggested when the topic is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’s (ADHD) huge jump in diagnoses over the past two decades, it’s not mentioned in any description of autism’s increase.

Why the double-standard?

Suicidal Ideation & Cyberbullying

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Suicidal Ideation and CyberbullyingBullying probably is as old as mankind. However, being a longstanding part of human behavior does not make it acceptable.

Studies have shown many problems associated with being a victim of bullying, including delayed growth and development; mental health problems; medical issues; poor academic performance; and more. Many of the problems caused by bullying can last into adulthood.

It is estimated that between 5 and 20 percent of children worldwide are victims of physical, verbal and exclusionary bullying. Suicide also is a significant problem, with almost 20 percent of adolescents in America having suicidal thoughts and five to eight percent attempting it.

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