Friday, November 1, 2013

Mesothelioma, there's a word you don't hear a lot! I think I've only heard it in occasional commercials on the television regarding lawsuits. Then a couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from a woman named Heather Von St. James who is a mesothelioma survivor and watched her video. 

In this video, she talks about her exposure to asbestos as a child and her eventual cancer diagnosis. I was amazed to find out from Heather that asbestos is not banned, and in further reading that in some industrial or automobile materials it is still used legally!

I think the thing that struck me most while watching her video is that she received her diagnosis when her daughter was only 3-1/2 months old. Wow, struggling to be a new mom and a cancer survivor. I also appreciate the fact that she mentions that they are honest with their daughter, Lilly, about her Mom's diagnosis; and as a family, they chose to be positive about their future. That may be the thing that has kept Heather a survivor for 15 years.

For further information on mesothelioma, check out this link

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Changing Negative Behaviors Takes Time!!/NonviolentParenting

Sometimes children's behavior make take a while to change. They must unlearn the negative behavior and learn what to do instead...that's discipline.

The following is from a page on Facebook called Nonviolent Parenting:

Setting a positive example is the best way to teach.

If you're feeling frustrated with your efforts in positive (non-punitive) parenting and think it's not working, consider this:

1. It’s too soon. You’re expecting immediate results. You were in a “dance” with your child…you had moves, she had counter moves. If you’re changing your moves, the two of you will have to learn a new dance. That’s why things might actually look worse before they look better. Your child needs time to get accustomed to a new dance and be able to respond in sync.

Tip: Keep going. Keep practicing your new “dance moves.” With consistency, your child will come to understand the kinds of supportive, trustworthy responses she can depend on and relax into.

2. Your child doesn’t feel connected to you. If there are frequent behavior struggles, there is also most likely a disconnection in the relationship between you and your child. Due to interactions based on control, punishment, shame, or physical or emotional isolation your child has perhaps put up a wall to protect from vulnerability. Work at bringing this wall down and coming closer together, emotionally. Once it does, the tools of positive parenting will be much more effective.

Tip: Special time. Make time every day for 10-15 minutes of one-on-one time with your child. The only focus is on staying open to his temperament and personality and getting to know what makes him tick.

3. You’re still focused on the behavior. Nothing about parenting is perfect and nothing is foolproof. Remember that your child is maturing–physically forming new connections in the brain that will help with self-regulation in adulthood. That process of development will never look perfect. Every example of imperfect behavior you see along the way is an opportunity to come alongside your child with help and support.

Tip: Reframe your perspective. Successful parenting is not about controlling a child’s behavior. It is about teaching children to control their own behavior.

Monday, July 8, 2013

E+R=O or Event + Response (Yours) = Outcome. The only thing that you have control over is your response to events; so if you want a different outcome, you have to change your response. For example, if the event is whining and your response is to constantly remind them to stop, you might want to change your response to ignoring. However, it’s the behavior that you are ignoring and not the child. As soon as their behavior becomes appropriate, notice get more of the behavior that you notice and encourage.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A few weeks ago, I read an article in The Washington Post about Elizabeth Smart, the Utah teen who was kidnapped and held captive for 9 months. She was speaking to an audience at Johns Hopkins about issues of human trafficking and sexual violence and offered an answer to the question, “Why didn’t she just run away?” She explained that being raised in a conservative culture that emphasizes sexual purity left her feeling "so dirty and so filthy" after her rape. She felt as if no one would want her anymore and so why run away. She also mentions a presentation on abstinence that she attended where the presenter compared sex outside of marriage to becoming like a chewed up piece of gum. "Who would want you then?" the presenter asked.

Social psychologists and sexual abuse counselors agree that comprehensive sex education can help prevent sexual crimes. Teaching children about their bodies gives them the tools to describe acts of abuse without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable, and it also helps elevate their self-confidence and sense of bodily autonomy. A shame-based approach to genitalia and sexuality, on the other hand, sends kids the message that they can’t discuss or ask questions about any of those issues.

1. Teach your child, at an early age, the correct names for all of their body parts.

2. Keep the lines of communication open, especially during difficult conversations, by practicing active listening and managing your emotional responses. If your child recognizes "the look" on your face that says your uncomfortable, they will be too and communication may stop right there.

3. Practice being non-judgmental by using reflective listening, "It sounds like you're angry at me right now because I won't let you go to the party." This form of communication helps children to feel heard and understood without judgment.

4. Be honest...if you don't know the answer to their question, tell them and commit to let them know you will get back to them when you've found the answer.

As parents we may not be able to control all aspects of our children's lives but we can help them to be educated and have positive personal power over their lives and difficult situations. This honest information may give them the tools they need to cope with difficult situations and avoid becoming another victim.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Talking to Teens about their Parents!

This link takes you to an informational new series on Yahoo hosted by Katie Couric. She provides the latest news and information on a variety of topics. This discussion between Katie, a child psychologist, and a small group of teenagers is about "the scary teenage brain"...what do they think parents should worry about, what shouldn't they be worried about.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peace, love and understanding!

A couple days ago I saw the article about the 9 year old who wanted to peacefully respond to the Westboro Baptist Church members who were picketing at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.

I'm sure he felt safe holding up his sign with his Mom nearby and it may have been different if he was with his friends. Either way I'm glad to see his Mom support his desire to stand up for something that he felt was important. After all the things that parents are posting on their's or their child's Facebook to shame their misbehavior, this mother's posting of the indicident on her Facebook page was a nice change of pace.

How do we teach our children to be caring and empathic towards all people in an age when a lot of children are more interested in their Wii game then current events.

1. Don't be afraid to express feelings and talk about them openly within your family. Reflect what you think your child is feeling and show him that you will understand and honor his feelings even though you may not agree, "I can see that you're feeling really angry with me right now because I've told you no."

2. Discuss current events but also explain to them that there are others who have different views and it's ok to agree to disagree.

3. Model anger management especially when your child is being disrespectful. This can be very hard to do but is a gift that will help them with every conflict that occurs in the future.

4. Don't spank or use harsh judgment when disciplining your child. Everyone makes mistakes and kids need to know that they can make amends and move forward.

5. Try not to vocally express your judgment of others or their lifestyle or actions. Teach your child tolerance and that everyone has a right to live their life on their terms whether we agree with their life choice or not.

6. And last but not least consider joining a parenting or support group. Lots of parents get stuck on issues and discipline techniques from time to time and having the knowledge to consider an alternative teaches self-acceptance and a willingness to learn and grow at any age.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'll use ridicule and embarrassment, that will teach her!

I recently read the article about the mom who wanted to punish her daughter for talking back to her and was confused about what exactly she wanted her daughter to learn.

My first thought was that she wanted to teach her daughter to manage her anger so that she would speak to her with the respect that she is due. I also assumed that she wanted her daughter to understand what respect looked like so that they could have a relationship that was loving and nurturing which would leave the door open for opportunities to teach.

I soon found that my assumption was in error:

"Denise Abbott says her daughter Ava mouthed off, so she changed her daughter’s profile picture. It shows a picture of her daughter with an “x” over her mouth and reads, “I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut.” It also encourages people to ask why she is being punished.
“We decided to do something that I know would totally impact her and that the next time she started that, she’d think, ‘I don’t want my face all over Facebook again with a red ‘x’ over my mouth,” explained Abbott."

Did Ava have respect or conflict resolution modeled for her so that she knows how to handle her anger and disagreements with her mother in the future? No, she learned revenge so she will probably repeat the behavior but just be more sneaky about it next time. That will probably keep her from getting a red 'x' over her mouth on Facebook. So...I guess Ava's mother was successful.

Respect is not forced, it's learned. And the impact of modeling respect is much greater when a parent is faced with disrespect