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...


Don’t Let Norman Rockwell Ruin Your Holidays

With the holidays upon us, it is easy to picture the perfect family season.  Everyone gathered together in perfect harmony, multiple generations of relatives unified by genetics or marriage smiling in unison and showing gratitude for all the work that is placed into creating a memory-defining moment.  And then there is everyone else’s family counting the minutes until dear Aunt Ginny decides to stop talking about politics, texting sympathetic friends sarcastic emojis and quotes that end in “…and she actually said that out loud” and trying to put the relationships and interactions in context for the kiddos.

Now that we are knee deep in holiday hoopla, here are some ways that we can work toward helping ourselves and our kids survive the holiday season and come out on the other side with memories that will allow our family to reminisce about the end of 2018……


The Quest for Yes in Parenting

It happens to every parent. Like the villain in a scary movie, it can feel like there is a giant “NO” lurking around every corner. Sometimes we can take the blame. At other times, the requests or behavior of our child can put us on a constant collision course with “NO”.   Either way, it can be demoralizing to moms, dads and kids when parents are holding a Cal Ripken-like streak of “no’s” when all we want to do is offer up a single, solitary ‘yes’.


The Importance of Generating Joy

While avoidance of anxiety, stress and sadness can provide temporary relief, intentionally focusing on generating joy can be a proactive way to curb negative affect. It can also make unpleasant feelings around stress become more manageable by acknowledging negative emotions and providing us with the capacity to experience, negotiate and see them as the temporary emotions that they are. 


8 Lessons Written By Kids From “The Ultimate Parenting Manual”

Wouldn't it be great to to have the proverbial 'users manual' for each of our kids.  Parenting dilemmas would certainly be diminished and, theoretically, parent/kiddo relationships would be strengthened by our ability to refer to our child's 'answer key'.  While it might not be the teacher's edition to your child, there are a bevy of suggestions that tend to be elicited by the question "If you could teach your parents one thing that would make them a better parent, what would it be?"