Archive for August, 2012

5 Common Pitfalls of Parenting, and How to Avoid Them

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Have you ever been going about your normal, happy life, and suddenly ran into a situation with your child that you didn’t expect?

Perhaps it’s an issue you never thought you’d have to deal with, or you realized that the way you handled a situation was wrong. Parenting pitfalls happen to everyone.

Here are five common mistakes that parents make, and how to avoid them.


The Importance of Perspective

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Have you ever felt like the car you were in was rolling backwards, only to realize that your car was actually still, but the car next to you was moving forward?

You inadvertently judged your own movement based not on what was truly happening, but on what your mind thought was happening.

Sometimes what we see, experience, and believe is not completely valid or true. Like an optical illusion where what the eye sees isn’t accurate, it can be difficult to gain a correct perspective at times.

Here are some questions to consider when trying to gain a better understanding of the accuracy of your experience.


5 Tips for a Successful School Year

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

No one ever said parenting was easy. And while starting a new school year can be exciting for kids, it can also be a time of worry and concern for parents.

Here are some tips for making the new school year a successful one.

  1. Use the energy of a new year to commit to organization. Give each kid a folder for things that you need to see or sign. Have an accessible place for school supplies, book bags, coats and lunch boxes. Decide on what clothes are going to be worn the night before. If you have more than one child, figure out shower/bathroom scheduling (coming from a family with four girls, I know how important this one is!) Do what you can the night before to make mornings smoother.
  2. Divide up responsibilities. Who will make lunches- mom, dad, or child? Who will look over homework each night? Who will make sure each kid is keeping up with their school work? How will your child wake up in the morning – alarm clock or mom/dad?
  3. Provide a positive start to the school year. Does your family have a ritual to celebrate the start of the year? If not, create one! Rituals are important ways to encourage community and connection. Some families go out to breakfast or dinner, some go to the pool one last time, or make t-shirts to remember the summer by. Tell funny stories about when you were in school, and talk about your child’s previous teachers and friends. Ask them what they are excited about, afraid of, and hopeful for.
  4. If there were problems or difficulties last year, talk about how things can be better. If a child is shy, role play ways to introduce himself. If a certain subject was tricky, encourage your child to check in with you at the first sign of trouble. If behavior is an issue, try and identify the root cause, and ways to prevent the behavior from occurring again.
  5. Keep the doors to communication open with your child and your child’s teacher. Let your son or daughter know that you understand that sometimes school can be tough, and you want to help. Ask them about their classes, their friends, their teachers. Know what is going on in their lives. They may just grunt when you cheerfully ask “how was your day?” but it lets them know that you care and are interested. Call or email their teacher if you are confused or concerned about the workload, or have a question or compliment. Be informed, and advocate for your child if you need to.


5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

What would you say defines a difficult person? Is it someone who gossips? A supervisor who criticizes you in front of coworkers? A mother-in-law who disregards your request to not smoke in front of your toddler?

Difficult people are everywhere: at work, in social groups, volunteer organizations, the library, and playgrounds. They’re our neighbors, relatives, coworkers and friends.

I’m pretty sure that each of us knows a person who we consider difficult, and I’m also fairly certain that each of us has been considered difficult by someone else. We all have our own definition of who or what a difficult person is.  A behavior that makes one person furious can be perfectly acceptable to another.

Here are five easy tips for dealing with difficult people. Not every tip is right for every situation or person. Feel free to add tips that have worked well for you!


Embrace Your Creativity

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Creativity. It’s a word that adults either love or run away from, claim for themselves or deny the very existence of.

Creativity is a characteristic prized in children. Did you ever create forts with sheets and a kitchen table, or play cops and robbers, house, or act out a TV show? Creativity is fun!

Children use their creativity to open up their minds, to learn and to enjoy themselves. Creativity is as basic and natural as breathing, and as useful as intellect.

Children create constantly, both with their hands and with their minds. They can look at a paperclip and imagine hundreds of uses, see dragons in the clouds, or invent invisible cars that fly.

But as people get older, the push for creativity diminishes. Creativity is often relegated to drawing, making music, or writing. People who don’t consider themselves artistic may falsely believe that they are not creative.

But creativity is much more than art. It is a part of nearly everything we do. And the more the creative brain is used, the stronger it becomes.


Is it Sadness or Depression? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Everyone at one time or another experiences sadness, ‘the blues’, or feels down. When we’re disappointed, mourning or grieving, fighting with someone we love, or a myriad of other reasons, our mood can turn from fairly happy and content to sad or depressed.

These feelings of sadness may last for hours or even days. After a major life change, the sadness may last weeks.

And although mild feelings of depression are normal and to be expected, it’s important to recognize when you may need to seek help from a professional.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to help determine if your sadness could be depression. If you have any concern about your mental health, always check with a professional.


4 Important Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Therapist

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The idea of beginning therapy with a new therapist can be a frightening thought. But there are ways to make starting counseling easier and less intimidating.

Before you ever enter a therapist’s office, there are some basic questions you should know the answer to:

Are they licensed to provide counseling or therapy, and is their license up-to-date? Do they take insurance? How long are sessions? What is the cost for each session? What type of payment do they accept? Do they treat the problem you’re seeking help for? What are their hours? What is their cancellation policy?

In addition to these questions, there are more specific things you may want to inquire about that will help you find out if a particular therapist will be a good fit with you:


Exploring Who You Truly Are

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

If I were to ask you right now to describe how you think the world sees you, what words would you use?

What if I ask you how your friends or family see you, would it be different?

What about if I ask you how you see yourself?

What about if I challenge you to describe to me how you really, honestly, truly are?

Just like a group of people can view the same painting and come away with very different impressions and feelings, people also view and judge each other in different ways. The challenge is to be able to separate the views of yourself, others and the truth.

My purpose here is encourage you to explore the difference between your self view, how you believe others see you and the real you. Although some people struggle with an inflated ego, more often the problem is that people discount the true and positive aspects of themselves.


The Benefits of Group Therapy

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Have you ever wondered what group therapy is all about? Portrayals of fictional group therapy are all over; on TV, in the movies and in literature. But what is real group therapy like? And why would anyone want to open up their soul to other people who are not friends or family?

Everyone has been in a group of some sort. Most of people have been in many. In elementary school students are grouped together by skill level for reading or math. In high school they’re put into groups for projects. Adults are in work groups, church groups, AA, or groups of friends.

All these groups have distinct purposes: to educate, to construct, to build, to learn, to support, or to socialize. In a similar manner, group therapy has a purpose. This is different depending on what type of group therapy you’re in.


 

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