Parent coaching is one of the services we are proud to offer at GHCS! In light of that, we will be posting a 3 part series on Positive Parenting. Check out Part 1 on how to raise and encourage a highly sensitive child.
It was my friend's son’s birthday party. He was turning three. The lights were turned off and his Mom proudly walked into the room with his amazing birthday cake. Everybody was singing, the candles were lit, but…the birthday boy was missing! We found him hiding in his room, in tears, covering his ears, too ashamed of all the attention on him.
How many times have you seen your child getting upset or sad very easily? Or getting extremely shy after you arrive to a birthday party? Does your child spend most of the day at the daycare crying? Or get overexcited over a new toy? All of the abovementioned she has experienced with her son.
She and I began to talk and she started to wonder if her son's reactions have been exaggerated. She found herself asking “Is my child highly sensitive?” Extremely sensitive children easily become overexcited, super angry or extremely sad. Unfortunately, in our culture this trait is often misunderstood and seen as a weakness rather than a gift.
Raising a highly sensitive child can be very challenging. Trust me, been there, done that.
In order for our children to develop into healthy, well-adjusted and confident adults, they need to be raised with love, appreciation and understanding. Otherwise, as grownups they may be prone to anxiety, depression or experience other mental health issues.
Here are a few things you can do to positively parent your highly sensitive child and encourage your little one to thrive.
1. Accept Your Child
The most important part of positive parenting is that you accept your child’s hypersensitivity as a wonderful trait. It is no disorder or illness. These children are gifted with the ability to experience the world deeper and more intensively than others. Don’t try to modify your child’s temperament or request them to adjust to society’s demands. Highlight your child’s strengths instead and show them how to manage their emotions in socially appropriate fashion.
2. Emphasize Your Child Strengths
Think of your child’s sensitivity as of a special gift. These children usually show high empathy for other people, the astonishing wisdom, great intuition and creativity. They have a profundity and understanding for things greater than their peers. Encouraged and raised with the patience, these children will most likely develop into creative, intuitive and confident individuals.
3. Teach your Child to Verbalize Emotions and Handle Unpleasant Situations
Teach your child to verbalize their feelings and use proper strategies to handle unpleasant situations. Show your child how to recognize and deal with unpleasant feelings in socially appropriate ways. Encourage their self-esteem in order to deal with uncomfortable situations constructively and in assertive manner.
4. Establish Boundaries
Rules will upset your super sensitive child, but they still need rules in order to develop into responsible and confident adults. Set the limits, but be flexible. Praise your child’s achievements and use constructive criticism. Encourage and appreciate every effort your child makes. Always explain the reasons of your decisions and be a positive role model to your child.
5. Use Distraction
When your child becomes overwhelmed, try to distract them. Use redirection in younger kids to switch their attention or suggest a fun activity for your older one to participate. Do things together and make sure your child feels loved and accepted.
Children with the high sensitivity trait have enormous potential to develop into healthy, creative and wise adults. They just need a positive parenting approach with loads of encouragement and endless love to flourish to their full potential.
One of the biggest barriers to finding help is recognizing it is needed. Many people fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns, but if you can move past that (congratulations) other barriers may still exist; issues with trust/confidentiality, insurance/affordability, thinking that your problems are not serious enough to need help, or the stigmas and embarrassment of having sought professional help. Any of these sounds familiar?
Another big barrier is something few consider, how do you bring up the topic of mental health with others, either for yourself or for someone else? Some may struggle with the idea of turning to their spouse or parent and saying “I think I have depression and would like to seek professional help”. Practice saying it, keep it simple to start with, and remember this is to help yourself or another and that is okay.
You now may be wondering, well how do I find said professional? If you know someone who has experience in this area you can ask them or you can conduct an Internet search. You now have hundreds of results, how do you simplify? Decide what's important to you; location (how close to you), specialty (Play Therapy for children, etc.), insurance coverage, and affordability. You can start narrowing down your search with any one of these and others. You may be going on a good vibe from the counselor’s description and that's okay too.
As a last note, don't wait to contact someone. Once you've picked a few prospects contact them as soon as you can. Waiting allows doubt and nerves to interfere with your resolve. We are here to help, give us the opportunity to do so in a judgment-free atmosphere and you will be surprised how incredible the healing process can be. You deserve it.
Monica Alexander is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern (LPC-Intern) under the supervision of Christina Runnels, MA, LPC-S, LCDC. Monica enjoys working with individuals and families to take that difficult first step in the healing process.
In an age of anti-depressant, SSRIs, anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers we are constantly looking for a pill to fix us. 1 in 5 Americans take a psychiatric medication. Also, nearly twice as many women as men report taking psychiatric medications. Many people experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues seek out the help of their primary care doctor or a psychiatrist to prescribe them a medication. Sometimes it can be helpful, and other times it might not be the cure all you were hoping for. What happens when medication isn't helping? What happens when you've tried all the different pills in the category and are still experiencing symptoms?
From the medicine cabinet to the therapy couch, folks come seeking out the assistance of talk therapy to help in conjunction with their medication. My favorite cocktail is what your psychiatrist has prescribed you along with a weekly dose of therapy. Many people have the misconception that you cannot have therapy and medication. If you are needing medication then usually this combination can actually be more helpful to alleviating symptoms. It's important to learn coping techniques to manage the difficult symptoms that may or may not be masked by the medication.
One of the common questions I'm asked is "how do I find a good psychiatrist?" Many therapists can help you with a referral to a psychiatrist that can prescribe you a medication if you need it. If you do choose that route, you don't have to navigate the prescription drug maze alone.
My fuzzy blue slippers slid across the commercial grade tile. It was Day 4 of our stay in the hospital. I was on the way to brush my teeth and wash my face in the women's restroom because I learned that housekeeping came around 8 am and the sinks were still fairly clean around that time. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, brushed my hair back up into my pony tail, and wished for a change of clothes. My purple maternity shirt (now loose fitting) and gray yoga pants had seen better days. I was on my second day of wearing them and I truly didn't bring anymore clothes. Silly me. I hadn't planned on being at the hospital more than 3 days. I hadn't planned on staying in the NICU with my son. I hadn't planned on sleeping on a cot with a hospital blanket for a week while my son fought to maintain his blood sugar levels, but who does? So eventually things got better and we left the NICU. After a week we all got to leave together and that was all that I could ask for, right? I am happy to say now that my son is healthy and there were no long-term effect from his early blood sugar battles. I have since changed my clothes and honestly, I threw that purple shirt and gray pants in the trash. But what do I do with the memories? This is when I realized first hand what birth trauma really is.
Another 9% of new Mother's will go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this trauma.
Birth trauma effects many women every year in the United States. Another 9% of new Mother's will go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this trauma. Birth trauma doesn't mean that you have to have experienced a loss of a life or other catastrophic event. It can be whatever you make it. Meaning, trauma is determined by the person that experiences it. No one has the right to say that your trauma is more traumatic than theirs. Each person experiences it in their own way.
We can't keep traumatic things from happening surrounding our pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences, but having the right to make your own choices, feeling empowered, and receiving support are all tools to help combat birth trauma. Sharing your story and being an inspiration for others can also help heal your own birth trauma.
Christina Runnels, MA, LPCS, LCDC is a mental health therapist that enjoys working with expecting and postpartum Mom's. As a mother and a mental health perspective she offers a supportive perspective through the difficult times in motherhood.
This is dedicated to all of the Mom's! Sometimes motherhood can a very hard thing. Okay, parenting in general can be hard, but at times Mom's feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. You are taking care of little ones, working in and possibly out of the home, and trying to hold it all together. Not only do these times make me think about how awesome multitaskers Mom's can be, but it also reminds me how important it is to take time for you.
Self-care is a skill that doesn't come naturally for everyone. It's important to implement a self-care regimen that can be incorporated into your daily existence, is easy enough to do on a rough day, and overall makes you feel good. It may require you to be a little creative, but exercising your self-care muscle is the first step in creating a self-care regimen. Need help with coming up with self-care techniques that work for you? Check out our Fun Self-Care Ideas!
Now that you've got your self-care creative juices flowing, take some time to think about how you might implement your regimen. Who will help you stay on track? A support network is key to a good self-care plan. Join our FREE Facebook group for Mom's that support each other!
Now take a moment to relax! A good self-care plan won't happen over night, but you're on track.
Like any other field, buzz words come and go through the world of psychotherapy and psychology. One word that has been trending lately is "attachment". And not just attachment, but "reactive attachment". Like the announcement of the ADHD era, parents and caregivers may be concerned and wondering what reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is and how it can effect them or their child.
RAD refers to individuals that have aversions to touch and physical affection, control issues, anger problems, difficulty showing genuine care and affection, and failure to show guilt or remorse. Specifically in children, detached or unresponsive behavior is common. Children and toddlers are less likely to reach to be picked up, reject efforts to be calmed or soothed, and attempt to avoid eye contact.
There are two types of RAD: inhibited and disinhibited. Inhibited type refers more to individuals that experience detached or unresponsive symptoms, while disinhibited individuals typically have difficulty selecting the appropriate people or caregivers to attach to.
Now I know what it is, but what can I do about it?
There are many ways to assist adults and children with working through RAD in order to have more healthy and fulfilling relationships. For children, unconditional love is key in helping them learn to reattach in a healthy way. Setting positive limits and boundaries, maintaining predictable schedules and routines, and talking and playing with them regularly also can be helpful. For adults, changing faulty thinking patterns that have led to disengaging from others can be helpful. Working on gaining a positive sense of self acceptance may help as well. Professional help is available for children and adults that are working through RAD.
I know you're asking yourself "how could she have come up with a more cynical title?" "Why am I even reading this?" Because someone somewhere in your life has done something wrong to you. So where does that leave you? Holding the bag full of bowling balls that you've been carrying around. You're weighted down. These bowling balls are heavy and they won't let you walk far. You can't bare the weight of them anymore. So what do you do?
Let them go.
Drop them now and walk away.
It's not easy without an apology", you say. "If they could just recognize their wrongdoing you'd let it all go." Forgiveness without an apology frees you from holding those bowling balls. It lets you put that bag down and walk away with all of your emotional energy.
Now, if forgiveness was this easy we would all snap our fingers and do it. But the sad truth is that it's not easy. It's a mental and emotional process that makes us reflect. We reflect on who we are, what we deserve, and why that's more important than seeking words from another person for that validation. Their apologetic words don't create forgiveness. The willpower inside of you to forgive and let go creates forgiveness. The ability to see beyond someone else's faults and shortcomings and focus on what's best for you and what you deserve creates forgiveness. When you let forgiveness in you can walk. You can run. You will drop that heavy bag of bowling balls that you've been holding and soar.
Sometimes writing down a list of these thoughts helps you to conceptualize it. Write down the incident, person, or situation that you're holding on to and some short thoughts about why you're holding it. Sit in this moment and think about what comes up. Whether it's a feeling, place, etc. Just sit and be mindful of it for a moment. Then get your paper, ball it up, and throw it away. It's time to let it go.
So I ask you, what's holding you back from soaring towards your desires and goals? What's holding you back from achieving your greatness? Someone that has wronged you? An incident that you can't forget? A tragic moment that won't let you move forward? Forgive. Create your own forgiveness so that you can soar.
Usually the day that someone gets married they consider it to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Your family and friends are excited for you and it feels as if the marital bliss will go on forever.
What happens if it doesn't?
In the United States the current rate of divorce is about 50% (www.divorcerate.com). The United States has made it on the top 10 list for highest divorce rates around the globe. We have landed at number 6, but are we proud of that? Many couples find themselves contemplating divorce for many reasons.
The top reasons couples typically consider divorce include:
1. Lack of commitment
2. Too much arguing
4. Unrealistic expectations
5. Financial issues
So let's say that we have decided we are going to do it, we are going to end our marriage. What's next? Divorce rates tend to increase after the first divorce. Divorce rates for future marriages are: Divorce rate for first marriage = 50% Divorce rate for second marriage = 60% Divorce rate for third marriage = 73%
Now that we see those odds are stacked against us let's consider our other options. Sometimes we feel like there are no other options. But, if you are willing to explore it there are some things that you can try to help your marriage get back on track.
1. Define your problems (do this calmly and in 3 sentences or less with your spouse)
2. Make a financial plan
3. Just do it, yes I mean "do it". Intimacy can be one of the strongest connections shared.
4. Go to therapy (individual or couples), on average couples experience about 10 years of marital problems before they are willing to go to therapy. Don't make yourself suffer!
5. Realize that all marriages are work (whether your 1st, 2nd or 3rd) and that most marriages can use a tune-up at some point. If you are thinking that you have tried all of these things and you still can't do it then maybe it is time to reconsider. But don't quit before you've tried. Ultimately, the most important thing is a happy you!
From that positive test to the moment you're holding that sweet baby in your arms you know your life is going to change. But do you know how much it will change? Whether you're eagerly expecting or reminiscing on the birth experiences you had, this time is a ride full of ups and downs.
Pregnant and postpartum women are more likely to experience difficulty maintaining mood stability. Now I'm not just talking about the having a crabby day mood. I'm talking about the life altering, relationship fracturing, need to apologize frequently mood changes. These come and go through the perinatal period in a typical way. But pregnant and postpartum women have varying levels of hormones in their body's. These hormones are great for fun stuff like bonding with baby, and making it through sleepless nights... but they also make you feel more likely to have emotional outbursts, experience anger and anxiety among other things.
Okay, so now that we know what this roller coaster is about what can we do about it? Only 15% of women with postpartum depression receive professional treatment. This means about 850,000 women each year are not getting the help they need. That number is astronomical! Why is that? Figuring out the steps to get help can be confusing and discouraging. Help can come in so many different ways. Here are a few places to get the help you need:
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