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As my kids ran to their bus on that first day of school there was always a mixture of relief and dread- relief that they’d worked hard to move forward into another school year, and dread over seeing them off to that new phase. At these points each year I grew more and more aware of time pushing us apart. As my children grew from toddlers in pre-k to teenagers in high school and into adults in college, there I was left waving them off.
Perhaps you are a parent like me and experience these mixed emotions of pride, fear, relief, and dread; and wonder how to handle it all.
In my personal experience as a father I’ve learned that children must grow, and of course, they need to do so-but how did I as a parent let them grow without letting them go? For this I relied on some of my expertise as a licensed clinical social worker.
The key is balance-because if you do not obtain it you run a few common risks here: Risk 1: you will give them so much freedom and indulge them so much in their “leave me alone” attitude that they feel isolated and get themselves into trouble with grades, the opposite sex,cyber bullying, vandalism, smoking cigarettes, violence, drugs–you name it and there’ll be trouble. Or 2: you coddle them and they feel so suffocated that they hide themselves away from you, they run away because you run to them, and they are still left feeling alone and may act out with poor choices as well.
Here’s an example of how to achieve the balancing act with a psychological explanation over how it works:
Say your kindergarten or high school aged son just got home from school. He wants to go play video games or go play outside- but you think that first he needs to do his homework, and maybe after he can go out and play outside or on the consol. Here’s where you come in-ask him if he needs help with his homework, and make sure you are available when you ask. If, for instance, you are putting dishes away and stopping for one minute to ask, all he sees is you busy-of course he’ll say no, and he will feel unimportant. Even if you said, “I’ll stop doing this to help..” He’ll say no, because he doesn’t want to put you out. So instead of multi-tasking, stop, and give him one minute of one-on-one respect to ask.
What if the homework’s done? Still take that five to twenty minutes to talk to him, put everything down that’s a distraction and just talk-see what his day at school was really like, what he’d like to do that weekend, and if he won’t give up more than two words ask leading questions like, “What’d you do in Math today? How was that teacher with the uni-brow?” Then you can tell him a little about your day at work or what you’re thinking about lately, what book you read, etc.
This kind of one-on-one catch up time is important, and it only takes five minutes. If you’re out of practice, don’t fret, look at your clock and talk for five minutes. With our busy schedules working, cleaning, and cooking, it can feel like we can’t possibly sit for five minutes to talk. Even your teenager would agree it could at first be like pulling teeth. But this short moment, taken each day, will create a trusting routine.
This will build trust on a much deeper level, so that they can talk to you about the truly important things when they’re ready, such as peer pressure, how to handle bullies, drugs, violence, academic pressure, etc.
Give them their freedom, but stay involved from the sideline in small moments. This will not only make them feel important but will impact their self-esteem, which is prominent in all decision making, especially when they are young.
Helpful Video: “Soothe Separation Anxiety:” In this video Mark Dworkin, LCSW talks to parents, helping them overcome their own anxiety over their children’s fits of anxiety. Now available for only $3,99 as an Mp3 audio!
For more information and self-help solutions click here to visit our site. And as always, please contact me if you have any questions or requests for new information or new products and I will be happy to assist you.
The Key To Adapting To Your Changing Life
Why doesn’t everyone love their life? There are many reasons too numerous to mention, but let’s just say that your life is always changing, and change challenges us to adapt.
Some changes are small and require little effort while other changes are like tsunamis. A psychologist’s job is to help you develop resilience….
(Click here to read the rest of this blog post on my new website’s blog) Link will open in a new window for your convenience.
Day 29 (April 29) – Congratulations
We all know Health Activists are awesome. Share three things you love about yourself, things you’re great at, or just want to share. Don’t undercut or signpost!
I consider myself a pretty good father. If you’re my friend I’ll take a bullet for you. Looking back on my career I feel a sense of ego-integrity: Eric Ericson wrote the 8 Stages of Psycho-social development … & after generativity (the major phase of one’s adult life), as you come to the end of your life, you’re either in despair or a sense of contentment or ego-integrity.
Today’s Prompt: Titles
If you wrote a book about your life, your community, your condition, or your Health Activism –what would you title it?
Coming Home To Myself- A Place I’ve Never Been.
Day 26 (April 26) – Pain-Free Pass
What’s a day that you wish you could have used a pain-free pass (either in the future or the past)? How would being pain or worry-free impact that day?
I almost committed suicide in my college years because I thought I would never find another woman to love. I was in so much emotional pain I almost jumped out of my window on that first day at Boston University. Had I had a pain-free night I could have felt okay with the fact that the woman I loved had a boyfriend I could have rested easy, I could have more fully enjoyed my experience in college. And in the words of George Harisson, ‘all things must pass.’
Share something you learned from another Health Activist (that everyone should know!).
Share something you’d like to teach other Health Activists.
Francine Shapiro is a greta health activist. There are many people who need to use their insurance companies. But keeping our mindset on also helping people who cannot afford private therapists. This is why I have been encouraged personally to sell self-help and mental health audios & e-books through my website—to help as many people as possible heal, ad grow positively in life.
For other health activists: I encourage you to learn about mental health politics and look for all of the changes coming up in healthcare so that you can be prepared for them and don’t get pushed under the rug or mistreated.