Resources & Useful Links

Does Your Child Have Problems With Anxiety or Stress? What Do To Help ?

Kim Frank, author of The Handbook for Helping Kids With Anxiety & Stress gives us some practical tips to consider.

  1. Limit violent media that leaves children with the perception that their neighborhood and world is unsafe.
  2. Build good relationships so kids feel connected in their families and neighborhoods. Social relationships serve as a buffer against stress.
  3. Listen and discuss your child's worries and fears.
  4. Have realistic expectations about life. Movies and television can set up unrealistic expectations for kids in term of appearance, jobs, wealth, and relationships. Trying to reach unreachable ideals can cause great anxiety. You cannot change a child's genetics, but you can change the media they watch, along with the quality of their relationships. It's difficult to change the entire society, but you can change society's impact on you and your family. (Davis, 2000)
  5. If your kid's anxiety and stress is not abating, get a professional to help him or her. As mentioned before, profesional counselors and physicians can be of good help.

Books that can help are:

  • What to Do When You're Scared & Worried by James J. Crist, Ph.D (for students)
  • .Helping your anxious child : A step- by -step guide for parents. by Rapee, R.M. & Spence S. Cobham V. (for parents)

10 Big Truths About Bullying

Definitely bullying it's a big worry for parents when it comes to their children. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do as a parent to educate and guide your children. So they can be strong and stand up for themselves and their friends.

A few days ago I came across with these 10 tips for parents, by American Girl®

1. Communication is key. Spend and hour or so to read a book or watch a movie about bullying. You’ll open up important conversations about a topic that affects all of our children in some way every day. Then keep talking about it, checking in often and keeping tabs on the world they live in.

2. There’s no substitute for staying close. Truly knowing your children means spending time listening and sharing stories with them. Is she/he more likely to be bully, the bullied or a bystander? The only way to know is to stay close and foster a relationship of acceptance and unconditional love.

3. Children learn what they see. Model kindness, and insist on it within your family. Avoid gossiping and show your children how to stand up for others. The positive relationships they see will guide them on the path to building their own, in the home and outside of it.

4. Media matters. You can’t control the messages they receive in the outside world, but you can screen the media in your home. Make sure that the music, TV, movies, and video games that they are exposed to convey the values that you hold dear. When you see or hear unkind or objectionable behavior in the media, speak up and let them know where you stand on the issue.

5. “Cool” doesn’t equal confident. Having all the latest, greatest items on the shelf or hanging in the closet won’t make your children more confident. But feeling strong, smart, and competent just might. Support them in finding activities, especially those outside of school that tap into their strengths.

6. Tough times build resilience. Try not to rescue your children from feeling negative emotions. Instead, empower them to work through them. When they come to you to let off steam, honor their feelings, whatever they may be instead of trying to talk them out of them.

7. We all have limits. Teach your children to accept boundaries. Say “yes” when you can but “no” when you need to. When you set limits, try to come from a place of kindness rather than criticism. By building a foundation of deep respect at home, you help your children develop respect for others and for themselfs.

8. We all make mistakes. Kids and parents alike. But your children need to know that when you make a mistake, you make it right. Admit to them your own mistakes, and show them to heal the hurt when something harsh has been said.

9. Laughter heals. Families who have fun together have happier kids. They just do. Plan fun activities to do together, but also build humor into your day to day life. You’ll give your children an important break from the rest of the world and provide them with a strong emotional safety net.

10. It takes a village. When you see any child being hurt or bullied, speak up. Advocate for anti-bullying programs, volunteer whenever possible. When we all work together, we make the world a better, safe place for children.

Do’s & Don’t to Guide Parents in the Midst of Separation or Divorce

  • Do let your children know that you care. Show them your love through words and actions.
  • Don’t argue, blame or criticiza the other parent in front of your children.
  • Do listen to your children. encourage honest, open expression of their feelings without judging or trying to change them.
  • Don’t use your children as messengers or spies.
  • Do tell your children the separation or divorce is not their fault. Adult choices are never a child’s fault.
  • Don’t leave children in the dark about the details of their future, such as custody arrangements.
  • Do reassure your children that they are safe and will be provided for.
  • Don’t use visitation or child support as bargaining tools with the other parent.
  • Do let your children know that it is OK to love both of their parents. Support your children’s relationship with their other parent.
  • Don’t expose your children to adult information such as intimate relationship details, financial concerns, or child support and court matters.
  • Do maintain consistent discipline and structure in their lives. Re-establish their sense of security.
  • Don’t allow your children to become counselors or confidants for your problems. Seek adult support from friends or professionals.
  • Do be dependable about keeping promises to your children. Maintaining your children’s trust is important.
  • Don’t allow your guilt to interfere with parental responsibility. Try not to be overprotective or use material things to compensate for their loss.
  • Do inform your children’s teachers about family changes. Update emergency contact records.
  • Don’t expect your children to choose sides between parents.
  • Do seek professional help for yourself or your children if needed.
  • Don’t make your children responsible for making adult decisions.
  • Do keep your sense of humor. Laughter can lighten stress.
  • Do work on establishing new family traditions and activities

By Janet M. Bender, M. Ed.

Divorce Education for Children

Suggestions For Caregivers or Family Members of Children Impacted By Incarceration

1. Provide quality time with the remaining parent, when possible, and other family members and friends. Don’t isolate the family from normal interactions with others.

2. Protect younger children from all the frightful details. Be honest, but age-appropriate when explaining the cause for the incarceration.

3. Reassure the child that he/she will be taken care of in the absence of the incarcerated parent.

4. Continue with normal routine and consistent discipline as much as possible.

5. Provide opportunities for discussion and decision making. Use the experience to teach the child about the consequences of our choices and taking responsibility for our behaviors.

6. Avoid either “running down” or glorifying the person who is in jail. Simple, hones facts are best.

7. Always be aware that a child’s self-esteem is closely interwoven with his/her image of his/her parents. What he/she hears about them will greatly effect the child feels about him/herself as an offspring of those parents.

8. Assist the child in maintaining communication with parent through calls, letters or visits whenever possible and prudent.

9. Remember, if handled sensitively, this experience can strengthen the child. It doesn’t have to ruin a child’s life.

By Janet M. Bender, M. Ed

Transitions Tip

Mandy Fricke, author of this great post about transitions.

Are you concerned about your child’s transition from middle to high school? After all, this is an exciting time for them, and, often, one where they will learn to establish their independence. However, the new beginning can also induce stress and anxiety. To ensure the change is a positive one, here are 5 tips that can help your child transitions with success:

1) Make it easy for your child to navigate school: Unlike many middle schools, high schools may require students to walk back and forth between classes throughout the day. Alleviate your child’s anxiety by helping them navigate the school’s layout and learn the new environment. Get your kid’s schedule before school starts and walk through it with him or her before classes start. Additionally, if a school offers freshman orientation programs, encourage your child to attend and explore the building afterward. This will reduce some of the uneasiness he or she will experience when beginning school.

2) Be enthusiastic: Be your child’s cheerleader and discuss the exciting events and extracurricular activities that school offers. For example, sports teams, clubs, and other organizations are likely available. Getting involved in such activities will help your child meet new friends, build a resume, and transition into school easily.

3) Discuss some of the changes: Don’t take your child’s worries lightly during the transition. Instead, help him or her embrace the change by listening openly to what he or she is going through, how he or she feels about being around older kids, the difficulties of homework assignments, and the trouble he or she may have making new friends. Emphasize that there will be people—such teachers, students, and counselors—to help during the adjustment.

4) Talk about the importance of school: Introduce the idea of college to your child. This will help your child think ahead about schools he or she would like to attend, as well as consider admittance, SATs, and scholarships. However, don’t go too far and pressure or frighten your child, but simply ensure that he or she understands the importance of school from the start.

5) Encourage your child to talk to a current school student: It will probably be easier for a teenager to talk to another, teenager than to his or her parents. If you know a school student who you feel would be a great influence on your kid, ask him or her to speak to your child about school in order to advise him or her about the experience.

Symptoms of ADHD

by Maryann Hudgins, LPC

YouthLight, Inc.

Some symptoms of ADHD are described as inattention, difficulty in performing tasks, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Inattention: Where a person often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes, often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks, often does not seen to listen when spoken to directly, or often does not follow through on instruction.

Tasks: Where a person often has difficultly organizing tasks and activities, often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort, often loses things necessary for tasks or activities, is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli, or is often forgetful in daily activities.

Hyperactivity: Where a person often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat, often feels restless, often has difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly, or often talks excessively.

Impulsivity: Where a person often blurts out answers before questions have been completed, or often interrupts or intrudes on others.

ADHD symptoms in infants

  • Extreme restlessness, crying, poor sleep patterns
  • Difficult to feed
  • Constant thirst
  • Frequent tantrums, head banging and rocks the cot

ADHD in older children

  • Poor concentration and brief attention span
  • Increased activity- always on the go
  • Impulsive- doesn't stop to think
  • Fearless and takes undue risks
  • Poor coordination
  • Weak short term memory
  • Inflexible personality
  • Lacks self esteem
  • Sleep and appetite problems continue
  • Normal or high IQ but under performs at school

Not all infants and children with ADHD have all the features of the condition and there are different degrees of severity.