According to Dr. Deborah Serani, author of the new book, Depression and Your Child, it is only recently that we recognize that children, even babies, experience depression.
In an earlier blog I considered the dangers of teens sleeping with cell phones. Specifically that the “ on call status” was in most cases not choice but obligation, anxious need, and even addiction.
A recent article by Deborah Fallows in The Atlantic, entitled, “ Papa, Don’t Text,” invites us to consider the impact of cell phones on those too young to use them.
Fallows asks us to consider the impact on babies and small children when the parent or caregiver is present but talking with someone else on a cell phone or present but silently texting.
Whereas most people are warned that the blessed event of a new baby may challenge the romance in their marriage – not enough warning is given to parents of teens. Lulled by the relative calm of the school age years, they find themselves suddenly embroiled in the challenging journey of adolescence which extends anywhere from age 12 to 18 years.
Notwithstanding the love parents have for their kids and for each other, most parents will agree that the teen years can stress even the strongest of marriages. Why?
When children head back to school this year, they should not be carrying emotional baggage from home.
When we worry about how our children will handle school- what they will face and how they will cope, we often overlook the impact of marital strife on their physical, emotional and intellectual functioning.
It is difficult to feel confident, curious or open to new school friends or ideas when you are a young person weighed down by exposure to adult conflict and issues.
While we know that the impact of most traumatic events on children can be reduced if parents remain calm & learn to manager their own feelings, marital strife poses a bigger challenge. In the case of chronic marital strife, the very people who are supposed to offer safety are the ones creating the danger!
Don’t All Couples Fight?
Yes, in fact if a child never saw any discord or disagreement, he/she would have no model for conflict resolution or regulating a broad range of emotions.
Marital strife that creates a potential emotional crisis for a child of any age is a different animal altogether. It involves expressions of anger that can include chronic but subtle verbal abuse, the silent treatment, bitter fighting and at the extreme, domestic violence that warrants a 911 call.
Unregulated marital discord demands too much of children and teens.
Do they need this extra job as they face new appropriate childhood challenges?
Is this a learned pattern of survival we want a youngster to take with them in life?
In their necessary avoidance they tragically lose not only the connection with their parents, but a world of knowledge, relationships and …
The definition of catastrophe is an event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering. The early morning shooting and killing of 12 people and wounding of others as they eagerly began viewing the latest Batman movie; “The Dark Knight Rises,” tragically qualifies.
As we shockingly take stock of this horrific event, we once again dare to imagine the pain of the families or resonate with memories of having faced similar pain. In the face of traumatic loss we are left without words, helpless to understand ‘Why’ and needing to believe there is a way to prevent such events.
We have come to know that even as we can still barely catch a breath and struggle for answers, there are some initial steps of Psychological First Aid (PFA) that offer some relief.
Here are some suggestions worth knowing and owning when life has suddenly become so darkened.
In the preceding blog, we considered the importance of recognizing medical illness as psychological trauma.
Diagnosed with a rare disease, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, at age thirteen, Michele journeyed through two decades of undiagnosed PTSD to eventual recognition, recovery and support of many as the founder of www.healmyptsd.com.
What she offers in lessons learned is of value for parents of children who have faced illness, as well as adults who wonder how they will ever reclaim their bodies, heal their sense of self and take a new self into the future.
Michele, your journey from illness started when you were only thirteen. Parents suffer so much when they see their children suffer. How did your parents respond?
My parents were phenomenal! They were there in a very active way. Their presence next to me, their translation of what was happening to me, their role in helping the staff understand me in a certain way were all crucial to my safety and comfort.
The new film, “The Hunger Games,” based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, has outstripped Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax as the top grossing film this year. Perhaps because it is based on a young adult novel written in the voice of a 16-year-old heroine with many young fans, it earned a MPAA rating of PG-13 despite considerable violence. As such, there has been concern about its impact on the millions of teens who will be viewing it.
Research studies have demonstrated both an increase in aggression and desensitization to violence by children and teens viewing many hours of violence in TV shows, interactive games and films. Longitudinal, cross-sectional, and experimental studies have all confirmed this correlation.
In “ The Hunger Games” what is of particular concern is that the violence is lethal violence of children against children, an activity portrayed as “games.”
The Role of Parents
As parents you can best mediate the impact of what your children have seen or are viewing if you are “media literate” i.e. – you know what your children and teens are exposed to. Accordingly, if your teens have seen or are going to see “The Hunger Games,” it makes sense for you to see it. If necessary, see it separately.
Suicide ranks as the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States. We have lost loved ones across the generations.
While there are many factors that contribute to suicide, an important new study identifies two factors that have been associated with increased risk for suicidal thought and behavior across the lifespan – hopelessness and lack of connectedness to others.
On Sunday we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, an event of unthinkable proportion in terms of the destruction of civilian lives and life as we knew it. Globally, millions will bear witness to this terrorist assault from the retrospective of ten years. Many will resonate with the commonalities of loss, fear, courage and even growth that have unfolded. At the same time, the personal meaning of the 10th Anniversary and the reactions it evokes will be unique to the men, women and children whose lives have never stopped being touched by that day.
How do we cope with the 10th anniversary of a traumatic event of such proportion? How do we withstand the physical and emotional pain of re-triggered shock, loss, traumatic memory? Now, ten years later, how do we bear witness and re-visit in a way that gives more than it takes?
Ten Coping Strategies
Make Meaning of Anniversary Reactions - The nature of anniversary events is that they often trigger the same reactions of body and mind tied to the original trauma but experienced in the present i.e. hyperarousal (anxiety, sleep problems, startle response, concentration problems); intrusive imaging (memories, flashbacks and dreams); numbing, avoidance and constriction. Such anniversary reactions in addition to feelings of fear, anger, guilt, and grief are common in the weeks before and after an anniversary event.