Adopting Limits and Forgiveness For The Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time for most individuals and families.  Words and phrases like surviving expectations, holding it together, letting go, getting through and making it often creep into our language while pushing out healthier, relationship and family building practices and descriptions that create Norman Rockwell-like images of what the holidays should elicit.  And while there is wisdom in working toward a conflict-free holiday season, when the stress and difficulties that can accompany family get togethers are avoided or aired to children and adolescents, it can be easy to set a poor example of practices that teach compassion, self-care and forgiveness toward those with whom we share important relationships.


The Power of Stress (And How To Win!)

Stress.  There are few words that we leverage to describe so many unpleasant and different states of being, feeling and thinking.  Much like most emotions, however, often when we try and suppress it or dwell in it, stress can become bigger and more impactful in our lives, something few of us want.    Let's explore some ways to help lessen the impact that stress has in our family's life.....


Words That Need To Be Eliminated From Our Treatment Language

How we choose to language is integral and often communicates more than what is intended. If you are an advocate of the phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”, you likely are a firm believer in the importance of language.  For professionals, clinicians and parents, we often teach or practice lessons of our language to others or impart it to children and adolescents.  Speaking kindly to others and avoiding words that we may later regret are integral lessons in communication that are important to adopt.  In the educational, behavioral health and addiction fields of practice, clinicians and teachers often find kinder, gentler tones to describe disorders, behaviors and interactions because semantics are important and it is integral to have relationships with colleagues, students and patients that keep them engaged in their treatment and academics and feeling heard, respected and understood.


Nine Ways To Increase Your Child’s Happiness

One of the biggest desires for any parent is to ensure that their child is happy.  While rates of anxiety, depression and suicide continue to reach their highest levels among children, adolescents and young adults, there are a number of shared characteristics that families possess that often lead to higher levels of reported happiness. Let's explore 9 ways that parents can increase their child's capacity to experience happiness.


Tips For A Successful 2019 School Year

In May, parents and kids often look like warriors limping to the end-of-school finish line, gasping for that refreshing, rejuvenating summer air that only comes after the final bell on the final day of school.  By August, many of the same parents (and maybe fewer kids) have the same look of anguish as they reach summer's finish line and look to the beginning of the coming academic year.  How can these diametrically opposed races have such different tracks yet, often, the same relief at the finish line?  While school is often targeted as the culprit of bringing too much stress, too many expectations and more social and academic demands than ever, it also provides a structure, something where the majority of children and adolescents thrive.


A Parent’s Guide to Beginning A Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness has certainly invaded pop culture and may be one of the most mis- and over-used words that often stray from the actual practice.  However, the research and benefits continue to increase its application in non-clinical and clinical settings.  In non-clinical settings, research has demonstrated tremendous results leveraging  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which has been shown to be helpful for managing chronic pain and a myriad of other ailments such as hypertension, sleep, menopause and palliative care.  In more clinical settings, mindfulness-based practice has providing compelling evidence in areas such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and clinical provider compassion.  A large part of the success of mindfulness application is that the person practicing can experience the benefits in a fairly quick time frame of 2 weeks.  After just six 20 minute sessions over 2 weeks, sustainable changes were shown in functional MRI studies to provide:

- fewer negative mood states
- more and longer positive mood states
- increased cognitive ability/capacity
- increased working memory
- better overall physical health.
- better cognitive processing speed
- reduced fatigue
- increased prefrontal cortex activity
- decreased anxiety symptoms for those with anxiety disorders
- decreased depression symptoms for those with depressive disorders
- increased cardiovascular health


Making Mental and Physical Health Discussions Equally Important

Most parents have similar wishes for their kids long before the first diaper is changed. While parents often have preferences for gender, shared values or occupation, the overwhelming quality that parents wish upon their kids is health. I just want my child to be healthy. And while the methods that parents leverage to achieve that goal vary, we spend quite a bit of time trying to help our children identify strategies that will elicit health. Eat well, exercise, take care of your body are often parent mantras to ensure that our kids not only achieve health while they are young, but learn similar principles when parents are not the primary influences in high school and beyond. As the important emphasis on physical health and education continues at school, where state curriculum and designated classes help teach and guide principles of caring for our bodies, it can seem more daunting to give similar play time to the equally important message of mental health.


“I Cut Myself”: A Parent Guide To Helping A Child Who Self Injures

Preteens and adolescents are kind enough to engage in all sorts of unpleasant behaviors.  Sneaking around, friends with others that we wish would just go away, questionable and/or overuse of phones and digital devices, relationships beginning and ending (sometimes with the speed of a trending hashtag) and experimenting with substances are all on the 'best of' list of adolescent behaviors that drive late nights, anxiety and googling phrases like 'Is it normal that my...