Easing Back Into School

  As the calendar moves from July to August, both parents and children start thinking about the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. While it is normal for both parents and children to feel anxious, here are some tips that can reduce the anxiety and help to get the school year started on the right foot.   Create a Routine – Start getting your children back into their regular schedule for dinner, bath, bedtime and wake up time An easy way to get this done is to put together a checklist or a chart of tasks. I suggest starting at least a week prior to the first day of school. This will give them and you time to adjust to the new routine.  Be Prepared – Make sure that you have purchased school supplies, clothes and shoes in advance. Try not to wait until the last minute as this will create stress and anxiety for both you and your children.  Celebrate – Create a family ritual that coincides with the start of the new school year. It could be as simple as allowing your children to choose their favorite for dinner or it could be a family “New Year’s” party. Be creative with this. It will get the children excited about school.  Take a “Test Drive” – Whether you will be driving your children to school or they will be riding the bus, plan out the route and run a test drive. This is especially important if your children will be attending a new school.  Stay Positive – It is important that no matter what happens the first day or first week of school, stay positive. Your children will follow [...]

Children’s Mental Health

As a nation overall, the United States needs to improve how it diagnoses, treats and handles citizens suffering from mental health disorders. One of the areas that receives the least amount of effort and concern is the area of children’s mental health. Too often mental health disorders in children are written off by family doctors and parents as “That’s just Susie being a kid.”, or “That is just how William is.”.  Many times, these conditions are diagnosed years later when a serious event occurs. In an attempt to raise awareness of children’s mental health issues, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health has designated May 5th – May 11th as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year is “Out of the Shadows: Exposing Stigma” and they have several events planned. You can find out more by visiting their website. So what are the signs that your child could be suffering from a mental health disorder? Changes in Behavior – Has your outgoing, rambunctious child suddenly become withdrawn and quiet? Dropping Grades in School – Is you’re A/B student now performing at a D/F level? Mood Swings – Does your child go from happy to sad within a matter of minutes? Unexplained Weight Loss – Has your child had a weight loss of more than 10 lbs. over a month? Physical Harm – Has your child starting cutting or mutilating their body or attempted suicide? If your child is experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, you should talk to your child about their thoughts and feelings. Find out what is causing these changes. It may require you to reach out to the school for any issues occurring there with a [...]

How to Make your Family Holiday Travel Joyful instead of Woeful

Extended families want to be together during the holiday season. This inevitably means that some part of the family will need to travel to spend the season with their loved ones. As an adult, preparing for the holidays, planning the meals, planning the trip, packing and getting to your destination can be stressful. What parents sometimes overlook is the impact that this travel can have on their children.  Whether it is a reaction to your additional stress, the change in their schedule or diet, the holidays are ripe with opportunities for children to exhibit bad behavior. Here are some tips to help get you through you trip in one piece and still speaking to each other: Be realistic – As a parent, you need to realize that the trip is not going to be perfect. There will be some bumps either minor or major along the way. Try and stay calm when these occur so that your emotions aren’t transferred over to your children. Make light of the situation if possible. Try and turn it into a game or an opportunity for the family to offer solutions to the issue. Set expectations – Prior to your trip, talk to your child about what you will be doing. Go into detail about the trip, where you will be staying, as well as any special dinners or events that they will be participating in. Make sure that they also know what you are expecting of them. Whether it is to wear fancy clothes, eat with “the good china”, or go out to an event, let them know how they should behave.  If time allows, practice their behavior in specific situations. When children are placed into an unknown [...]

Quick Tips for an Easy Transition from Summer to School

I can't believe that Summer is winding down. Colleges and universities are already back in session. Elementary, middle and high schools have either already started or are starting soon. The transition from summer to fall can be difficult for parents and children alike. This can result in rebellion, acting out and anger from the children and anxiety, stress and anger from the parents. So what can you do to make this transition as easy as possible for both parties?   Plan - Prior to the beginning of classes, begin to      get yourself and your children back on to a schedule for school. This may      include reduced screen time, earlier bedtimes and earlier wake times. Dry Run - Take yourself and your children through a      dry run of both the morning and evening routines. This should include a      ride to the school or bus stop, pick up from school or the bus stop and a      drive to any after school locations for extended care, sports practices or      other extracurriculars. Pack your Patience - Things may not run smoothly the      first days/weeks of school so remember to be patient as issues get      resolved. Remember, you are the adult so take a deep breath, count to 10,      recite a mantra or walk away if needed. Enjoy - Right now you might think that these school      days are going to last forever. Before you know it, your child will have      grown up and moved on. Don't forget to take the time to enjoy these      experiences even if they try your patience. If nothing else, they will      make for funny stories to share together in the future. [...]

12 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics

Alcoholism, known as “alcohol dependence syndrome” is a disease that is characterized by craving, loss of control and physical dependence. Alcoholics, as well as being victims themselves, have an adverse impact on those with whom they associate. Research has shown that children of alcoholics develop some personalities traits that may impact their lives as an adult. Here are 12 characteristics of adult children of alcoholics described by Woitiz (1988): 1.Adult children of alcoholics guess what normal behavior is. 2.Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end. 3.Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. 4.Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy. 5.Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun. 6.Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships. 7.Adult children of alcoholics over-react to changes over which they have no control. 8.Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation. 9.Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people. 10.Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible. 11.Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even if in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved. 12.Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. Research shows that adult children of alcoholics are at risk at becoming alcoholics, abusing drugs, attempting or committing suicide.  Also, they may develop patterns of compulsive behavior such as overeating and other eating disorders. And adult children of alcoholics tend to marry alcoholics partners. If you are an adult child of an alcoholic remember that you are not alone. Millions of people have grown up in families with alcohol-related problems. Because of the environment you grew up in, you had to develop [...]