Archive for December, 2011
Don’t take it personal and think it must be related to you. He has his own issues to deal with.
Don’t disapprove, blame or punish him for being stressed up. Everyone has his difficult time. Show your understanding and acceptance.
Don’t urge him to tell you what has happened. He needs to think on his own when feeling stressful. Talk to him at other time.
Don’t worry about him and think he will not get over. He wants you to trust him. Say encouraging words or send encouraging messages to him.
Don’t sit there and wait for him to turn better. He doesn’t want another burden. Do things that make you happy. Talk to friends, grab a book, go shopping with others etc.
Don’t give advice unless he asks. Believe that he has his way to handle his issues.
Don’t demand him to attend to your “abandonment” feelings. Be aware that men and women handle stress in a different way. Discuss about your feelings later when he is ready.
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From pregnancy on, parents often keep a stack of bedside reading full of advice on raising children — survival tips from the terrible toddler years through annoying adolescence. Los Angeles comedy writer Gail Parent figured she’d be done with all that once her kids turned the magical age of 21.
“Because I didn’t tell my parents anything bad or negative,” she says. “I let them be very peaceful about me when I was an adult. But I had told my kids to tell me everything when they were young.”
And so they did — and kept doing it even after leaving home. At that point, Parent was no longer sure how to respond. Now that they were adults, where was the line between friendly advice and unwanted intrusion? There was no manual on parenting for the 20-something years, so in what appears to be part of a budding trend, Parent decided to create one. Her co-author, Pasadena, Calif., psychotherapist Susan Ende, says all their peers were grappling with the same thing.
“All I had to do was say, ‘I’m writing a book called How to Raise Your Adult Children,’ and somebody would say, ‘I’ve got a problem,’ ” Ende says.
The hottest topics? Money — and kids moving back home. That trend was well under way even before the recession, which has since forced record numbers of job-seeking and penny-pinching college grads back to their parents’ nest. Deserved or not, such “boomerang kids” have acquired a reputation as lazy slackers.
“When we first started this book, we thought it was all the kids’ problem,” says Parent.
But Parent says she soon discovered a lot of baby boomer parents are quite the enablers. She heard stories of them accompanying their kids to college class registration and negotiating grades with professors.
“I heard a parent saying on her cell phone, ‘No, your father is not going to write your term paper for you!’ “
Parent admits to some micromanaging herself, but says it’s no wonder kids today can’t make decisions on their own. And no wonder they feel entitled to move back home, rent free. Ende says parents may be happy to help, especially in this down economy.
“But parents have a difficult time setting time limits,” she says. “Saying, ‘You have to obey my rules because it’s my house.’ And, ‘My money is my money, and you don’t get to decide that I’m supposed to give it to you.’ “
Others take a more sympathetic view.
“Should we just cast them loose at age 18 or 22 and say, ‘You’re on your own, and we’re not going to help you anymore?’ ” asks Jeffrey Jensen Arnett of Clark University. Arnett is an expert on delayed adulthood, and his own parenting book on 20-somethings is due out next year. He says social norms are changing, and the 20s are a tough decade for both generations.
“A lot of parents say, ‘Gosh, when I was 23 …’ ” and note that they were already set on their career path and even had children, Arnett says. “They look at their children, and they see them nowhere near that, and they feel like their children are not making it. But that’s not true.”
Arnett says young adults today typically change jobs seven times before age 30 — yes, often quitting ones their parents find perfectly good. And with the average age of marriage continuing to rise, a life partner may still be nowhere in sight.
“There’s a great deal of comfort for parents just in learning that that today is perfectly normal,” he says. “Thirty really is the new 20.”
The message for parents in both of these books: It’s OK to let go.”You won’t lose your child,” Ende says. “You’ll just get a better version of them.”
A true adult.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Think about yourself.
You are here because…
Your dad met your mom.
Then your dad and mom conceived you.
So a particular egg in your mom
Joined a particular sperm from your dad
Which could only happen because not one of your direct ancestors, going all the way back to the beginning of life itself, died before passing on his or her genes…
So what are the chances of you happening?
Of you being here?
Author and blogger Dr. Ali Binazir did the calculations last spring and decided that the chances of anyone existing are one in 102,685,000. In other words, as this infographic figures it, you are totally improbable.
Click the image to enlarge it and check their numbers:
On The Other Hand…
Of course, there are poets who argue exactly the opposite: that each of us is fated to exist, that there is a plan, and that all of us are expected.
The Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska once wrote about two lovers who liked to think they’d met entirely by chance, but no, she says, there was nothing chancy about it. For years, she imagines, they’d almost met, almost, but not quite, until it was time…
…They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.
Not quite ready yet
To become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.
There were signs and signals,
Even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished into childhood’s thicket?
There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.
Is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.
— from “Love at First Sight”, Wislawa Szymborska, The End and The Beginning, 1993.
Were we meant to be, each and every one of us? Or are we glorious accidents, each and every one? Or are we some mysterious combination of impossible and inevitable? Or is it much too early in the week, this being only Monday, for thinking about stuff like this? I was toying with this other idea, about an owl who falls in love with a cat and brings it mice every day. What are the odds of that? Maybe that one would have been better.
Parents need to teach children positive ways of managing their anger so that they can manage relationships and don’t end up unhappy as adults.
A Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons study in 2000 found that children who had been consistently angry in childhood were more dissatisfied with life at age 30.
Children of different ages and experience have different levels of maturity. A 3-year-old handles anger differently than a teenager. Here are some general tips for parents and caregivers to help children manage their anger:
>> Calm children down by redirecting attention. Calm younger children down by doing something soothing that involves their five senses. For example, take slow deep breaths, run around outside or play with play dough.
The key is to do something else instead of acting out in anger. For older children, communication is important to redirect their anger. Ask how they are feeling and what is the best way to work through the problem.
>> Teach children to respond instead of react. Ask them to stay calm, and walk them through their anger. Acknowledge that angry feelings are normal and everyone has them sometimes.
Empathize with them, but set boundaries such as no physical or verbal aggression. Keep things simple, focusing on the solution. Assure them things will be OK.
>> Guide children in solving problems. Teach them that physical and verbal aggression doesn’t solve anything and makes matters worse.
Ask children about possible solutions and if they can’t think of any, offer a few for them to choose from.
>> Be aware of how you respond to anger. Children see adults as role models, so if children see their parent or caregiver behave aggressively when angry, that is what the child will do.
Try to talk calmly and respectfully instead.
>> Be consistent in parenting. Anger usually is generated when there is a gap between what is expected and what happens in reality.
Draw up consequences for certain behavior and stick to them. By doing this, children feel less insecure because they know what is going to happen, and they’re less likely to act out in anger if they don’t get their own way.
>> Tell children personal stories of triumph over adversity. Tell them how you beat the odds when you thought you could not.
Research shows that these stories give children hope for overcoming difficulties and help children feel more attached to their caregivers.
Learning how to manage anger is a continual process, so remain patient with children as they figure things out.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
If you’re a woman in America trying to get pregnant, you’ve probably heard about that long contentious list of all the things you’re not supposed to do that might hurt your chances of conceiving: Smoking. Drinking. Exercising too much. Not sleeping enough. Weighing too much or too little. Consuming too much caffeine or too many carbohydrates
But the one getting a lot of media attention lately? Stressing out. Doctors and grandmothers alike have long suspected that a woman’s inability to relax is to blame for her infertility troubles. The theories range from the more scientific (stress might mess with a woman’s delicate hormonal balance and ovulation timing) to the homespun (stress isn’t nature’s best aphrodisiac and results in couples having less sex).
However, the hype around stress as a cause of infertility isn’t warranted. Firstly, stress research is notoriously problematic, since it’s hard to pinpoint what causes what: Was a patient stressed to begin with or did she become stressed after being diagnosed as infertile? Also, it’s hard to objectively assess stress levels, considering that some studies rely on self-reports or don’t take into account how people experience stress differently. In fact, it seems as if for every study supporting an association, another refutes it. A recent study that appeared in Fertility & Sterility found a connection between stress and lower fertility by measuring a stress biomarker in women’s saliva, yet another article pointed out that the link isn’t so clear, since caffeine, food intake, and exercise can also make that biomarker rise.
When Danish researchers reviewed 31 studies on whether stress, anxiety, and depression played a role in whether infertility treatments worked, their conclusion was that the influence of psychological factors appeared to be “somewhat limited.” If the data are so spotty, why does the message persist that stress is bad for fertility?
For starters, it’s convenient. Infertility, like autism, remains one of modern medicine’s greatest mysteries. Fertility doctors know why a 45-year-old woman can’t get pregnant, but they don’t know what’s wrong with up to one-third of their patients who are struggling to conceive—causing them to diagnose them with “unexplained fertility.” As a society, we wonder if we’re suffering from lurking environmental toxins or secret sexually transmitted diseases. But stress is an easy explanation. And it fits nicely with the cultural imperative that stress is something that we can—and should—manage at all times. Aside from sex, weight loss, and the Kardashians, it seems to be the next most popular subject in magazines these days.
For a woman trying to conceive, the idea that she can do something proactive—practice yoga, meditate, pop fish-oil capsules—is wonderfully appealing. It gives her a sense of control over a process that is frustratingly uncontrollable. The problem, of course, is that no one can control her stress levels all the time. We are going to get annoyed at delayed traffic, inconsiderate partners, and unrealistic bosses. We are going to carry tension in our shoulders and feet. And women who are trying to get pregnant experience a whole other level of misery: Scheduled sex is stressful. The cost of infertility treatment is stressful. “It’s living in the whole fertile world where you don’t fit in. Baby showers or meeting other people’s newborn babies compound stress,” says Carol Fulwiler Jones, an Atlanta-based infertility counselor and author of Hopeful Heart, Peaceful Mind: Managing Infertility.
However, all this focus on enforced relaxation often just makes women feel worse. “When women hear things in the press about the causes of infertility, they feel guilty that they’ve done something that prevented them from getting pregnant,” explains Sharon Covington, a psychologist at Shady Grove Fertility Center in Washington, D.C., who reminds patients that many women who have endured severe trauma, such as the Holocaust or rape, still got pregnant. “There is nothing worse than hearing a family member say, ‘You’re way too stressed out’ or ‘You’ve just got to relax.’ It’s not something they can turn on and off.”
The message can also set a woman up to be blamed for her infertility. It’s not a far stretch to imagine husbands and partners accusing her of “not really making an effort” if she lets herself get worked up while trying to get knocked up. (Researchers are discovering that stress may harm men’s sperm, too, but that headline doesn’t get as much attention!) More insidiously, society may adopt a standard about how such women should behave. It’s bad enough how certain people feel it’s OK to glare at some poor pregnant woman sipping a single light beer (even though the jury is out on that issue, too). Will we now start the policing even earlier? If we see a friend whom we know is “trying” screaming into her cell phone, should we feel compelled to confront her or quietly slip her some chamomile tea and aromatherapy candles?
Women generally feel bad enough about not being able to get pregnant. They already feel enough shame about their malfunctioning bodies and disappointed partners. Last month, Redbook magazine and Resolve: The National Infertility Association launched the “No Shame Campaign: The Truth About Trying” video series featuring celebrities, including Padma Lasksmi and Sherri Shepherd, sharing their stories about the emotional pain of infertility. Adding to a woman’s burden of being told to “chillax” isn’t clearly helpful—to her cause or emotional well-being.
Stress researchers admit that even if came up with overwhelming evidence that stress causes infertility, they are at a loss how to design a proven stress therapy that helps women get pregnant. Currently, fertility clinics are increasingly offering “mind-body” programs, consisting of stress management and cognitive behavioral therapy exercises, such as breathing or visualization. But administrators say the main goal is simply to help women feel better—not necessarily improve their chances of conception. At the very least, the meditation might be a nice break from thinking about making babies.
Children lie for the same reasons adults do: to be accepted socially, to get attention or status, to hurt someone else, or because they fear the consequences of the truth. But younger children do not understand the concept of truth the way adults do. Let’s get into the world of the child to understand why kids can twist the truth so easily.
One type of childish fantasy is wishful thinking. Witness the five-year-old telling his friend about a trip to Disneyland — where he’s never been. “Why, he’s lying through his teeth,” you think. “What’s wrong with him?” He’s not lying (at least by childhood standards), he’s thinking wishfully — imagining what he wishes had happened. Not only does wishful thinking allow the child the luxury of living in a dream, it impresses his friends and raises his social status. “You really played with Mickey Mouse?” the admiring friends inquire. Children fabricate tall tales for other children, knowing they always have an audience of believers.
If you hear two children spinning yarns, that’s innocent storytelling — not lying. This stage will pass around seven to nine years as imaginative thinking wanes and peers become less gullible. (If it continues past nine, this character trait will not win friends and is probably a sign that there is an underlying problem needing attention.) You can use storytelling as a teachable moment. You overhear the child’s presentation of his make-believe trip to Disneyland, “We went to Disneyland for my birthday…” Don’t label your child a liar. That’s a putdown. Instead, respect his wishful thinking. “You wish you went to Disneyland. That would be fun. Now, tell us what you really did for your birthday.” The child knows you understand and sees you are not angry. He also subtly learns there’s no need to lie. Also, wishful thinking often reveals the wish. “You wish you could go to Disneyland. Maybe I can help that wish come true. Let’s plan a trip…” It’s comforting for a child to know that some dreams do come true.
|THE AGE OF TRUTH
Preschoolers usually can’t (or don’t want to) distinguish fact from fiction. To a four- or five-year-old, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs exist somewhere. Most children don’t begin to understand truth and falsehood until the age of seven – the age of reason. By eight or nine most children have, or should have, a sense of morality. They feel wrong when they don’t tell the truth and right when they do. They understand what “lying” means and can feel “it’s right to tell the truth.”
“I didn’t do it. Toby did it.” Who’s Toby? The child’s imaginary tiger friend who spilled the juice. The preschool child confuses fact and fiction. This is normal. Children often fabricate imaginary characters
and enjoy living in their make-believe world. Appreciate your preschooler’s creative thinking and enjoy this imaginative stage while it lasts. Play along with the child’s fantasy. Sometimes children bring imaginary friends along to my office for a check-up. I place an extra chair for the invisible companion and even do a brief pretend exam. We laugh together.
Adults believe that it’s important to be firmly grounded in reality and to know the difference between real and pretend. But these are adult standards. To children, the world is not only what it really is, but what they need it to be. Imaginative thinking can actually help a child cope with the real world. Children periodically retreat into their make-believe world, which they can control, as a way of coping with the adult world which they can’t control.
If your child “lies” by making the fictitious friend the scapegoat (“Toby the Tiger did it”), get into your child’s fantasy: “Tell me exactly how Toby broke the glass.” As your child gropes for details to get himself off the hook, he will quickly reveal his part in the incident. In the meantime, ask yourself why he wanted you to think he “didn’t do it.” Do you tend to react to accidents or experiments too harshly?
Respect your child’s creative thinking by telling him that you understand his viewpoint: “It’s easier if you pretend Tony broke the glass. I understand. But now tell me what really happened. I won’t get angry.” Help your child to feel that the truth won’t hurt — there’s no need to fabricate a cover-up because you will love and accept him no matter what he tells you.
Sometimes a recurrent theme in a child’s storytelling reveals what is truly missing in their real world. A mother of a six-year-old consulted me about her child’s “lying.” Her daughter was telling her friends wild tales of fun things that she and daddy were doing: fictitious yarns about trips to toy stores, airplane rides, horseback riding, etc. The truth was she seldom saw her daddy. He traveled a lot, and because he brought his work home with him, was mentally absent while physically present at home. This child built a world of make-believe in self- defense, to protect her growing self from her loss.
Children want to please their parents. If they sense that lying will please, but the truth won’t, they often choose to lie and believe that’s the right thing to do. Mother will ask her five-year-old, “Did you pick up your puzzles?” and will get an affirmative answer because the child wants mother to smile and say “thank you.” Later when mother finds the puzzles (or most of them) still spread all over, she’ll need to let her child know that the lie is more displeasing than the disorder. A seven-year-old will say “yes” to the toy question because he doesn’t want to inconvenience himself at the moment and go pick up. Eventually, he’ll realize mom is going to go check. He needs to discover that his tactics won’t work. He is responsible for keeping his toys in order, putting them away every night before bedtime. That’s a family rule.
Children develop self-protective lies out of fear of punishment. The fear of punishment wipes away any guilt for not telling the truth. Children who are on the receiving end of a lot of corporal punishment often protect themselves by becoming habitual liars. If the child believes that the broken vase will merit a spanking, he reasons it’s less painful to lie. The same thing happens in children who are given major punishments for minor offenses. This inappropriate correction may hinder a child’s development of conscience. Children who fear punishment will say anything to avoid it.
We have helped our children overcome the fear of telling the truth by making this deal: “We promise we will not get angry “no matter what you did, if you tell us the truth, although you will have to face the consequences. However, when we find you have lied to us, the punishment will be severe.” One day someone left Erin’s bike in the driveway. She told me that Matthew had it last. To discover “who did it” I had to free Matt to tell the truth by assuring him I would not get angry if I heard the truth. “Matthew, the deal is I don’t get angry at truth. I get angry at lies.” If a child is afraid of the consequences of telling the truth, he may become a habitual liar. When he can trust you not to fly off the handle, he will be able to open up and tell you honestly what happened. Listen calmly, be fair, and help him correct his behavior. The best way to encourage children not to lie is to support them as they tell the truth.
At some point normal childhood storytelling evolves into purposeful lying, which may become habitual. The child intends to deceive. Many of his social interactions revolve around falsehood rather than truth. The root cause is an angry child who is dissatisfied with his real life and afraid of his parents’ reactions. He doesn’t experience acceptance for normal clumsiness or poor judgment. He has been taught he is bad.
Seven-year-old Charlie’s father disappeared from his life when he was six. To keep from acknowledging painful reality, Charlie created a make-believe world with wonderful father-son stories. Gradually he found that the world of make- believe was more comfortable than the real world. By the age of eight he was lying habitually about other things. Charlie claimed A’s on his tests when he was barely passing and lied to his mother about where he went after school and about where new possessions came from. Lying became a way of life, a protection from his anger and a cover-up for his poor self-image. The cure for Charlie’s lying was to help Charlie accept and learn to cope with his real life. Therapy for Charlie allowed him to accept that his father wasn’t coming back and that he hadn’t caused his father to leave. It wasn’t his fault. His mother learned through support counseling to spend more time with Charlie doing fun activities and listening to him. Charlie joined a soccer team and the coach took a special interest in him. Soon lying was a thing of the pastRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Most discipline problems can be handled by just taking the time to assess the strength of your parent-child connection, using commonsense techniques, and trying one approach after another until you find what works. Yet there are times when you need outside help. Consider two different types of counselors. Consult experienced, happy parents whose advice you value. They can offer practical tips to make living with your child easier. You may need to dig more deeply into disciplining yourself in order to discipline your child. You may require the help of a therapist. Here are some red flags that mean you are at risk for disciplining unwisely.
- Yelling . Do you go into frequent rages that are out of control, calling your child names (“Brat,” “Damn kid”) and causing your child to recoil and retreat? This means that you are letting your child punch your anger buttons too easily, that you may not have control of your anger buttons, or that there are simply too many anger buttons.
- Mirroring unhappiness. Do you walk around all day reflecting to your child that you are unhappy as a person and as a parent? Kids take this personally. If they bring you no joy, they must be no good. Life is a “downer.”
- Parentifying . Are your children taking care of you instead of vice versa? Are you crying and complaining a lot and showing immature overreactions to accidents or misbehaviors? This scares children. You’re supposed to be the parent, the one in control protecting them.
- Blame shifting . Do you unload your mistakes on your kids or your spouse? If so, children learn that the way you deal with problems is to avoid taking personal responsibility for them, and that somehow these problems are just too big for you to manage or that you don’t know how to ask for help.
- Modeling perfection . Are you intolerant of even trivial mistakes made by yourself or your child? The child gets the message that mistakes are horrible to make. This is particularly difficult for the “sponge child,” the one who soaks up your attitudes and becomes too hard on himself.
- Spanking more. Are slaps and straps showing up in your corrections? Are most of your interactions with your child on a negative note?
- A fearing family. Is your child afraid of you? Does she cringe when you raise your voice and keep a “safe” distance from you? Is your child becoming emotionally flat, fearing the consequences of expressing her emotions?
While even the most healthy parent may experience one of these red flags occasionally, if you find they are becoming a routine way of life, for the sake of yourself and your child, get professional help.
With the hours ticking down until Christmas, it’s the high-risk season for compulsive shoppers.
In the past, those who struggled to control their urges could steer clear of the malls. But with online daily deals beckoning 24 hours a day — Today only! Free upgrades! Half off your entire purchase if you act now! — reining in those impulses is more challenging than ever, experts say.
“There are just a lot of triggers out there,” said April Lane Benson, a New York psychologist who has treated problem shoppers for 15 years.
An estimated 15 million American s have little control over their spending, according to the American Psychological Association. For them, just checking email during December can be like navigating a minefield.
While Kiratiana Freelon, 31, wouldn’t say she’s a shopaholic, she acknowledged it’s easy to buy things you don’t need, especially with the proliferation of coupon sites.
“I get excited about a bargain. … I rarely pay full price for anything,” she said.
“I felt like this was the year the whole thing just got out of hand … especially when I looked at the deals I actually used,” said the Chicago writer, who has spent about $200 for unredeemed “discounts,” including a juice cleanse.
To curb spending, she recently deleted the Groupon app from her phone.
“At least it gives me more time to think before I hit the buy button,” she said.
The National Retail Federation found in 2010 that online shoppers start their holiday buying earlier and are more apt to grab a few items for themselves than those in retail outlets.
Anonymity and accessibility are big factors in blowing cash online — but so are the often complicated emotions intertwined with December, when anything less than an idealized Hallmark holiday can seem like a letdown, clinicians said.
“There’s disappointment, loss, bad memories … and shopping is one way to anesthetize ourselves against those feelings,” said Benson, author of “To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop.” “If you want love and affection, 12 pairs of boots isn’t going to do it.”
A normal, pleasurable activity turns dysfunctional when it becomes a constant preoccupation, experts say. In the extreme, it results in harmful consequences — such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce. Also, it’s often done furtively, such as hiding purchases and bills from a spouse, and can escalate into criminal behavior, such as retail theft or credit card fraud.
Compulsive buying isn’t listed as a distinct disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the bible of psychiatry — but it is under review for the new edition, the first overhaul in 20 years, due out in 2013.
Generally, it is treated as an impulse control disorder, such as gambling. The pulse-pounding, heart-racing euphoria is the same, whether hitting a jackpot or scoring a coveted bag, said Vickie Lewis of Proctor Hospital in Peoria, which specializes in addictions.
In the last year, calls about shopping and spending to Proctor’s 800 number have increased by 50 percent, Lewis said. The usual protocol for treating such disorders is outpatient therapy and 12-step groups but, in some cases, can include hospitalization.
In one landmark case in 2001, a Chicago woman, Elizabeth Roach, embezzled nearly $250,000 from her employer to finance her splurges, which included a $9,000 purse and a $7,000 belt buckle. It was the first time a federal judge reduced a sentence, citing a shopping addiction.
“It’s not about getting things,” her attorney told the court. “It’s about trying to find a way to deal with the pain.”
One south suburban woman can relate. A few years ago, she started accumulating “tons” of jewelry — to the point that she was secretly draining her and her husband’s retirement savings.
“Everything was just so shiny and pretty. … I’d look down at this bracelet, and it just made me happy,” said the woman, who did not want to be named because she was embarrassed by her spending struggles.
Only when confronted by her husband did she seek help. Eventually, she came to see that her obsession coincided with her only child leaving home, and that the luxury goods were a substitute.
Still, for all the heartache, mixed messages abound. People who would be concerned by other out-of-control behaviors wink at “retail therapy” or view Black Friday as frivolous fun, Lewis said.
“Society just doesn’t recognize it,” she said. “If this were heroin, people would be devastated … but with shopping, the reaction is: You go, girl!”
Niquie Dworkin, a clinical psychologist in Lakeview, said clients often come in for other issues, such as depression or anxiety and, as therapy progresses, realize they have a spending problem. “If you’re overwhelmed by your feelings, it’s about reaching for something quick.”
The ease of technology — along with credit — takes the speed to a whole new level. And while addicts can avoid alcohol or cigarettes, it’s almost impossible to live without a computer, experts said.
“Everyone who is struggling … is able to engage more (in destructive habits) than in the past,” Dworkin said. “It’s just a click … and it’s dangerous.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Even after you do your best to create an attitude within your child and structure the environment in your home to prevent tantrums, they still occur. Here’s what to do when the little volcano blows, at home, in public, or at Grandma’s house:
- Don’t take it personally. Normal tantrums are a result of your child’s development and temperament, not your parenting. Tantrums are due to frustration (your toddler is trying a complicated engineering feat, and howls when it goes wrong), so don’t ignore this need for help. Take this tantrum as an opportunity to connect: By helping your child out of a tight spot, you build authority and trust. Offer a helping hand, a comforting “It’s okay,” and direct his efforts toward a more manageable part of the task (for example, you slip the sock halfway onto the foot, and then he can pull it on all the way).
- Verbalize. Children just need to blow off steam. You can help your child by verbalizing for him what he can’t say himself: “You are mad that Mommy won’t let you have candy.”
- Holding therapy. Other times, when they have lost control, they want someone bigger and wiser to take hold of them lovingly and securely take charge. Try: “You’re angry and I’m going to hold you until you get control of yourself because I love you.” Soon the tantrum will fizzle and you will feel your flailing child melt into your arms as if thanking you for rescuing him from himself.
Avoid forceful restraint. If holding makes your child furious and escalates the tantrum, loosen your hold or quit holding. Your child needs support, not anger. (Forcefully holding onto your child when your child needs to release from you is controlling too much.)
The tantrum-throwing child under two will most often need the holding approach. He can’t talk about his problems. Your strong arms in place around him give the message that since he’s out of control you have stepped in to help him hold himself together. You may or may not be heard, but you can speak softly near his ear with reassuring phrases like “Mama’s here. I’ll help you. Show me what you need,” and so on. Don’t coddle and don’t allow his kicks and flails to hurt you. If you can’t contain him and he hurts you, calmly put him down next to you and stay as close as you can without letting him hurt you. When to hold the child and when to just be on stand-by is a tantrum-by-tantrum call.
- Time-out the tantrum. If neither ignoring the tantrum nor comforting it seems appropriate, remove the child from the triggering circumstance and call for a time-out. For example, if your child throws a tantrum in the supermarket, calmly pick him up and head for the car.
For tantrums at grandma’s house (often the ones that embarrass parents the most because it is in the presence of their own parents and in-laws that they feel the most scrutinized), it helps if you are able to share your tantrum strategy ahead of time so Grandma knows not to sabotage your approach, and also so she knows you really are in charge of her grandchild and she can just relax and watch you parent. It might be similar to what she did when she was a mom, or it might be very different. But it will help your perspective on things if she says to you something like, “He’s just like his dad. I had lots of days like this, and we both survived.” Then you can both share a laugh and you may get to hear some wisdom from one who’s been there.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As a child nears
three years of age, tantrums lesson because he now has the language to express himself, and he’s busy developing in other areas of his life (such as imagination is blossoming, and more fears are surfacing. Tantrums may reappear at four with a surprising twist. A four-year-old is smarter, stronger, louder and more adept at pushing parents’ buttons. The child now realizes he has his own power in the family, and that can be threatening to some parents. It is important not to squelch an emerging personality by overreacting.
- Give a positive message. Give your child clear messages of what you expect. Be positive and specific in your instructions: “I expect you to be polite at Grandma’s. We can show her your new books and maybe she’ll read one to you. After lunch, we’ll go home.” This is more meaningful to a child than “I won’t tolerate tantrums, and I expect you to be good.” You can’t reason with a child during a tantrum, but you can before it occurs.
Give your child other outlets for emotional overload other than tantruming: “Use your words instead of your body to get what you want.” Help him use his body positively — lots of opportunities for motor activities and outdoor play. (Get an old mattress or a mini-trampoline to bounce on.) Play lively music to dance to and have jumping contests. Encourage him to draw what he’s feeling on a “tantrum table.” After a tantrum, ask him to “draw angry pictures about what you feel.” You can do this yourself when you’re angry and talk about what you’re doing: “I’m drawing angry lines and angry faces!” What really helps is for your child to see you manage your temper tantrums. When you’re angry, try lying on your bed, kicking, and hitting the bed. Or, say “We’re going on an angry walk. Get in the stroller.” If you are beginning to realize this is a problem area for you, now that you have little eyes and ears soaking up your every move, you will want to get help on managing your anger. Having children forces adults to take stock of their own emotional maturity. We’ve all been there to one degree or another, so don’t be embarrassed to admit, even to yourself, that there are changes you would like to see take place in you, so you can be a calmer parent.
- Don’t reinforce tantrums. Don’t let your child use a tantrum as a means to an end. If he knows that as soon as he gets within grabbing distance of the candy at the check-out counter in the supermarket all he has to do is pitch a fit and you’ll give in to quiet him down, then he’s already conditioned to begin his act as soon as you approach the counter. Next time explain before you enter that high-risk area: “We are not buying any candy, so it won’t do you any good to fuss. You can help mommy put the groceries on the counter. Remember, we’re buying frozen yogurt to have at home.” A friend tells us she handles private and public out-of-control tantrums differently. In private, she becomes so bored by the tantrum that it soon stops. In public, she says sternly to the child, “You may not embarrass me,” — and the child believes her.
- Just Say No! One day I was with our then five-year-old, Lauren, at the supermarket check-out counter. (I reason that if the store is silly enough to risk putting candy in front of children, the management deserves the behavior they have caused.) Lauren threw a tantrum in protest. I kept saying “no” to the candy request. Finally, she got the message that “no” means “no”, finally! The clerk later whispered to me “I wish more parents would say “no” to their children.”
- Ignore it? Whether or not you ignore a tantrum should depend on what you think the cause is. If you judge that the child is pitching a fit to gain your attention, ignore it. By you not reinforcing tantrums, your child will get the message that this behavior is not acceptable: “It gets me nowhere, I might as well be a nice person” (Then be sure to reinforce the nice person.) If you’re going to ignore the tantrum and walk away, leave your child with the message that you are available: “Eric, you must really be angry. When you calm down, I will try to help.” Then you walk away, though not far, and allow the child to regain his composure. Shouting “shut up” and storming off closes the door to communication and escalates a tantrum.
Instead of walking away from the tantrum, you could try the homebase approach. Stay nearby the scene and keep busy: read a book. Don’t get drawn into the tantrum or start arguing. If the tantruming upsets your harmony or the child wants to get physical, you need to walk away. A phrase we use is: “That’s disturbing my peace.” Remember, a tantrum will go on as long as it can hold an audience. Big audience reactions will be rewarded with an encore. Sometimes, announcing “I’ll be here when you’re ready to calm down and talk” is enough to motivate the child into changing characters.
When a two-year-old goes out of control, you can usually physically take charge. This is not so with the four-year-old or older. He is now big enough to hurt you. You may feel like locking him in his room, but a safer option would be for you to lock yourself in your room until he is able to calm down. If you feel angry enough to hit your child immediately separate yourself from your child. Some mothers have put a child in a room and have found that the child destroys property. If he destroys toys, remember they are his toys, and you will not replace them. If he destroys parts of the room (breaks a window, dents walls, and so on), he will be shocked at his own angry power the first time it happens. It will most likely not be repeated because it is so scary. The older child can be required to work off what it costs you for repairs. If this destructive behavior does happen again, you will need professional help to sort it all out. There is just too much anger there. A sudden onset of tantrums is a clue to put on your detective hat. There is likely to be a problem going on in your child that needs solving.
One mother we talked with, who is also a psychologist, acknowledged her large part in escalating tantrums. She would keep talking, and engaging the child in battle. What she learned was she should have stopped talking and just done something to bring the tantrum to a close.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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