Archive for August, 2017

20 Things Parents Should Never Do!

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Yes, here is more advice for parents. Are you a parent who takes parenting seriously and truly wants to learn as much as possible to be able to parent your child(ren) as positively and as successfully as human possible? If so, read on. There may be some perspectives offered that you had not thought of, or perhaps have slipped your mind.

This offering comes via Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist, noted brain imager, and frequent presenter on PBS. I spent a day with him many years ago and came away impressed. He is all about understanding the brain and finding ways to wire it for maximal performance. His suggestions follow, along with my thoughts. This is the NEVER do list

  1. IGNORE THEIR BRAINS: The brain controls everything your child does. If the brain is troubled, particularly in the early learning years, the child will be troubled in later life.
  2. FORGET WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A CHILD/TEEN: Remember the challenges and struggles you had as a child. You then will have more empathy, understanding, and patience for your child.
  3. RARELY SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH THEM: If you spend quality time with your child you will have a good relationship. Thus, s/he will emulate your behavior and learn the right way to grow up.
  4. BE A POOR LISTENER: Try to focus in and truly hear your child. S/he will feel valued and respected which helps build self esteem.
  5. CALL YOUR CHILDREN NAMES: If you do call your child negative names s/he will internalize them and live out that descriptor.
  6. BE OVERLY PERMISSIVE: Multiple studies have shown that children that did not have appropriate boundaries and guidelines, with consequences, grow up with more psychological problems.
  7. FAIL TO SUPERVISE THEM: You child’s frontal lobes do not develop fully until the early 20’s. Therefore your vigilance in knowing where they are and what they are doing is paramount.
  8. BE A LOUSY MODEL: If your life style motto is “do as I say, not as I do” you are setting yourself up for frustration. You want to model the behavior that you want your child to emulate.
  9. ONLY NOTICE WHAT THEY DO WRONG: Try to catch your child doing the “right” things. Positive reinforcement will continue to motivate them to do more of these behaviors.
  10. TELL YOUR CHILDREN THEY ARE SMART: Dr. Amen stresses to point out how hard they work. I agree with that but I don’t see the harm in telling children they are smart – if they are. If they are not, then don’t tell a lie!
  11. IGNORE THEIR MENTAL HEALTHY ISSUES: Dr. Amen states that it takes an average of 11 years from the time a child exhibits psychological symptoms til s/he gets evaluated. Don’t miss the signs!
  12. IGNORE YOUR OWN MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: Look in the mirror. Do you have psychological issues that should be addressed? You want to be the best parent possible, don’t you?
  13. GIVE INTO TANTRUMS OR OTHER BAD BEHAVIORS: If you do you will teach them what you will tolerate. They then will learn what misbehaving they need to do to get what they want.
  14. DIMINISH THE OTHER PARENT: Whether you live together with the other parent or not, do not trash the other. Your child loves each parent and gets distraught hearing either one being negatively talked about.
  15. NEVER GET TO KNOW THEIR FRIENDS: Especially during adolescence, the most influential people in your child life is not YOU, it is his/her peers. Know these friends and their families if possible because they are significantly forming your child.
  16. BE REACTIVE: Have a plan, goals that you set for parenting. Have expectations and consequences, and be consistent. Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants in reactive mode.
  17. DON’T UNDERSTAND NORMAL BEHAVIOR: By knowing what is normal at a given developmental stage you will better recognize when your child does something out of norm so that you can respond appropriately.
  18. TELL KIDS HOW TO THINK: You want to be a good coach, not a dictator. At the appropriate developmental stages you want your children to be curious as they mature into their unique selves.
  19. KEEP KIDS UP TOO LATE: Children need more sleep than most parents realize for optimal brain development and function. Enough sleep is a priority. The growth hormone actually works more effectively while your child is sleeping. Consist bedtimes help.
  20. FEED YOUR CHILD THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD): A human’s brain uses 20-30% of the calories that you consume. If you feel your child a fast food diet you will have a child with a fast food mind which is associated with ADHD, depression, and dementia later in life. Feel your child brain healthy food to foster optimal brain development and function.

Well, caring parents, do you have all that?  Parental reminders can help keep us on track to do the most important job in the world – raising healthy, safe, successful kids!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates.

Why Many Stay At Home Moms Get Depressed And Lose Self Esteem

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Being a Mother is challenging.  One of the many challenges is the decision to be a stay home Mom (SAHM) or go back to work, full or part time. Sometimes there is no decision to be made. The only choice is one or the other. This writing focuses on the stay at home Mom and why so often she becomes depressed and loses her self esteem. To be clear here, there are many Moms who thrive being a stay home Mom. They feel very fortunate to be able to stay home with their children and find many ways to remain happy and feel good about themselves. Our daughter, Brittany, is thriving in this SAHM role and is excited to begin home schooling her oldest who is closing in on six years old.

Quality research published by the American Psychological Association, citing various studies, found that working mothers reported better health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay at home moms. There are many variables involved in such studies, i.e. age, economic status, number of children, age of children, husband presence/support, etc… .

A University of Washington study by Katrina Leupp stated that stay at home moms showed signs of depression more than working moms. These stay at home moms shared these symptoms: withdrawal from people, work, pleasures and activities; spurts of restlessness; sighing, crying, moaning; difficultly getting out of bed; lower activity and energy levels; lack of motivation; weight gain or loss. Their thinking patterns were: inability to make decisions; lack of concentration or focus; self criticism, self blame, self-loathing; pessimism; preoccupation with problems and failures; thoughts of self harm and suicide; sleep deprivation.

Leupp further states that  “the root of the problem could be low self esteem … sometimes staying at home with children isn’t valued as much as other professions.”  Rosenquist, another researcher, echoed this belief by saying our “culture doesn’t value that particular activity. … It doesn’t feel important. It’s pretty boring, and it’s pretty demanding and the tasks are pretty repetitive. … The lack of adult interaction and feelings of isolation can lead to feeling unappreciated.” Rosenquist continues by saying that “when someone has a baby in our culture … they can lose status, income, friends, and the life they knew and were used to.”

Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and mother of two, talks about the importance of overcoming the social isolation that can lead to feeling sad and resentful. There is a need for adult interaction as “having conversations with children only over the course of the day can be isolating.”

Various suggestions are offered by the researchers. Some would include talking with your partner about your feelings and hopefully getting back valid appreciation for a job well done; having personal alone time;  join a gym/club/organization; forming friendships with other stay at home moms; play groups with others; finding an interest/hobby that you can enjoy while still taking care of the kids.

 

 

May this article help focus on the many challenges of being a mom, whether it be the stay at home or working mother. May she get the recognition and support needed to accomplish the goal that every Mom (and Dad) wants for their children – to be safe, healthy, feel loved, happy, and have the opportunity to grow into their full potential. They deserve that opportunity!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates