True Greatness: The Pain of Hidden Illness

I had a very good friend named Mary who suffered from a disease called Lupus.

Lupus can be a mild disease, or it can be horrific and fatal. It can go from mild to severe, back to mild again.

My friend was very sick, and we’d often talk about how she looked fine on the outside, but her body was waging war on itself.

She was yelled at for parking in a handicapped space although she could barely...
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Dear Daughter: 5 Life Lessons for My Child

As my daughter enters the middle of her eighth year, she is changing and growing rapidly.
She vacillates between the feelings and needs of a child, and the desires of independence of a young teen.
Eight years old is an age of rapid maturation for many children. She picks up on the nuances of relationships. She hears the news and is afraid sometimes. She is learning her own boundaries and setting limits, but still...
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3 Steps to Battle Self-Hatred

Dear Reader,

If I were to sneak inside your head, just for a moment, what would I hear?

At your darkest moment, when you’re all alone with your thoughts and your thoughts are the things of chaos, when you can’t sleep, and you are at your lowest, what words would slip into being?

Is your head full of hate to yourself? Do you chastise and berate your actions of the day? Do you hear anger? Chastisement? Disgust?

If I could magically give...
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Sadness or Depression? Recognizing Mental Illness in Tweens and Teens

Kids carry around a ton of emotion.
As infants, they communicate with cries, screams, and eventually smiles and laughter.
Toddlers grow and begin to use spoken language in addition to laughter, hugs, biting, hitting, and crying.
The childhood years are generally calm. A second grader has not yet entered the emotional turmoil of the teen or preteen years, and has increased social skills that they didn't have as a toddler...
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Mourning Robin Williams: The Tragedy of Suicide

I'm not one for celebrity gossip.

For the most part, I'm content to let the stars of Hollywood live out their drama in their own world of fame. There are very few actors whose lives I pay attention to, or whose deaths I truly mourn.

Robin Williams is one of the them.

And tonight I am saddened. I am grieved by the death of a man who made his living through his expression of joy and laughter, who...
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Do You Have a Challenging Toddler? 8 Simple, Proven Solutions

Ah, toddler-hood: the years when a child's mind is growing faster than their speech, where they have big feelings but little control. Parenting a toddler is challenging to say the least.
My daughter is seven now, but I clearly remember those days of leaving the grocery cart full and walking out of the store with a flailing, screaming 2 year old. Nearly anything can set a toddler off: a cat...
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Mental Health

Animal Assisted Therapy

Eini, therapy bird at New Wings Counseling
Animal assisted therapy (AAT) has become the new buzzword in the field of mental health.
While animal assisted therapy was previously seen as an alternative treatment, it has become more main stream, and it's now common to find animals in the therapy office, retirement community, and hospital.
All animals can provide love and friendship to those around them, but...
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The Fat Shaming Epidemic

I've been thinking a lot about body shaming and fat shaming.
It's all over the media lately. And although kids being teased for their weight is nothing new, the power of the internet takes it to an entirely new level.
Carleigh O'Connell, a 14 year old girl from New Jersey, became a viral sensation and anti-fat shaming advocate when she posted a photograph of herself in a swimsuit in response to a graffiti message...
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8 Easy Ways to Reconnect with Your Teen

The teen years are a developmental time when children begin to distance themselves from their parents and families.

This is necessary and healthy.

But sometimes the emotional distance can become too extreme and you will feel the need to reconnect.

Your job as a parent parent is not an easy one: to allow your child to grow an independent sense of self, yet remain close enough to provide support and guidance when needed.

As your teen grows in maturity and independence,...
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