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Friday, May 23rd, 2014
According to renowned expert Robin Berman, M.D.–you have probably seen her on TV–parenting has become more of a profession than a relationship. She’s written a popular new book all about it called Permission to Parent. Her no-nonsense approach encourages adults taking back the power in the family. Kids have become the center of the world–and Dr. Berman believes we need more balance. She offers tons of tips you can take home and put into action right away. This book can make you and your child happier while improving your relationship.
For a taste of her take on parenting, Dr. Berman compiled a list of tips straight from her clinical practice for Mom Must Read. Keep reading!
5 Tips for Taking Back the Power in Your Parenting
1: You would not feed your kids junk food all day, so don’t feed them junky thoughts.
How we talk to our children is how they will one day talk to themselves. You are the voice in your child’s head forever on automatic replay. I beg you to delete from your parental vocabulary, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” and “You are so naughty, what a bad boy.” Is this what you want to teach your child about themselves? Think of choosing language as a way of loving your child. Take a moment to make your comments constructive. We want them to internalize a loving voice, not a critical one. So much of mental health is how we talk to ourselves.
2: You can’t parent without power.
Don’t be afraid to take your rightful position as captain of your family ship. Make sure your “No” does not mean “Maybe.” If you set a consequence, follow through. Not finishing an antibiotic grows resistant bacteria; not following through grows resistant kids. Have a parent firmly in charge makes children feel safe.
3: Instructions for childhood should read, ”Handle with care,” not “Fragile will break.”
If you treat a child like they are fragile, they will stay fragile for life. Parents need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You must be able to withstand your children’s disappointments and negative feelings without rushing in to fix them. If you can’t handle their charged emotions, how will they learn to?
4: When it comes to parenting, check your ego at the door.
If you are screaming play-by-play instructions from the sidelines and are devastated when your 9-year-old loses his flag football game, you have to ask yourself if this is really about your child. Children often learn best when no one is watching. Many children today are losing their natural instincts on the field, as they are so busy looking at their parents (who are living vicariously through them) for instructions. Always ask yourself: “Is this really about my child, or is it more about me?”
5: Parenting is not a project, it is a relationship.
We are so busy running our kids from ballet to chess club. We forget best head start any child can have is a deeply loving connection to their parents.
Neuroscience research shows that a loving, safe connected relationship builds a more resilient brain. So let’s slow down and spend more time just enjoying our kids. Childhood’s greatest legacy is how we felt loved.
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Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Another much-needed new book. The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into a Tiger hits shelves today. The author, Shimi Kang, M.D., is just amazing.
As the medical director for Child and Youth Mental Health for Vancouver, B.C., Dr. Kang has witnessed the consequences of parental pressure (tiger mom) firsthand. As the mother of three children and a child of Indian immigrants (ones who couldn’t afford to send their kids to special summer camps or music lessons), she also knows that raising kids who are successful and self-motivated isn’t a matter of piano lessons, math tutors or money. It’s about helping your children embrace and rely upon the instincts that come naturally to them.
Check out her scientifically-based book, and see more about what’s inside below. Dr. Kang submitted this guest post that includes Overparenting Dos and Don’ts:
“How can it be that the most informed generation of parents in human history are raising children who have poorer problem solving skills than generations prior and higher incidences of anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes and addiction? When we hear such concerning facts about our world’s future decision makers, it’s natural to wonder what more could we be doing, what more can we as parents control for? The truth is that, the more we try to control our children’s lives and “prepare” them, the more harm we cause. In our ever-changing, ultra-competitive and socially connected world, overparenting is truly underparenting. Instead, we need to guide our children The Dolphin Way and help them develop skills that will be key to their survival in the 21st-century, skills such as collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking Below are some of the parenting “don’ts” we need to be mindful of—as well as a few essential parenting “dos.”
Overparenting Dos and Don’ts
Set reasonable schedules: Schedule 1 or 2 activities that encourage your child’s natural interests but no more. Eat meals together as a family as often as you can. Children who eat family meals at least five times a week perform better academically and are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems and substance dependencies. Make sure your kids get enough sleep every night (7 to 10 hours depending on age). Adequate sleep is one of the simplest ways to boost health, happiness and motivation!
Encourage role-modeling and free play: Provide some instruction when needed, but also encourage free play and exploration. Play and exploration build neural tracks in our children’s brains that help them become comfortable with uncertainty, trying new things and learning through trial and error. Simply sending your child to play outside is a great start. If they complain of boredom – excellent! Boredom is often a spark for the imagination.
Step back and resist the urge to overprotect: Whether it is bruising ones’ knee or ones’ ego, it’s good for your child to make some mistakes and experience the natural consequences of them. This can be scary for parents, but we have to take some deep breaths and stand back. When our lungs are fully expanded, sensory receptors send a signal to our brains that we are ok and we move out of fear mode. Instead of removing all the obstacles out of your child’s way, allow him/her to occasionally fall over. Of course, you can be there to support and guide them through it. This will teach your child that they have the ability to cope with the ups and downs of life.
Over-scheduling. We are scheduling our kids and thus ourselves into an endless cycle of activities, leading to personal, familial and financial stress. When we do this, the home becomes a pit stop between activities and is no longer a place of rest or family connection. Over-scheduling leads to all the unhealthy habits of being “too busy” such as eating dinner on the go, chronic sleep deprivation and “socializing” but not social bonding. It is not sustainable and leaves our kids stressed, anxious and “burned out.”
Over-instructing. Research has shown that kids need to learn through play, exploration and trial and error. By favoring instruction through tutors and coaches, we are standing in the way of our kids’ natural curiosity and experimentation. Over-instructed kids have difficulty with critical thinking, are unwilling to take risks and lack spontaneous collaboration and communication skills.
Over-protecting. Yes, the world can be an unfair and dangerous place at times and no parent wants their child to experience hardship. However, exposure to adversity, learning from mistakes, and solving real-life problems is precisely what allows children to acquire the resiliency, accountability and adaptability that will protect them from harm throughout their lives. When parents step in too soon and too often, they stand in the way of their children acquiring these important life skills.
Take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.
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Friday, February 28th, 2014
Sounds weird, right? You have a co-worker who drives you nuts. But instead of trying to win a battle with that person–whether it’s in the open or not–just give up. Surrender. By knowing the toxic types, you can let them do their thing without letting their behavior interrupt your day or upset you.
I became a big fan of Judith Orloff, M.D., after I saw her TED talk on surrender. When I saw her new book comes out in April, I was psyched. The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life is a great read for anyone interested in the topic. And check out this glowing recommendation from Marianne Williamson: “One of the most important changes we can make is to shift from seeing surrender as sign of defeat, to seeing it as a land of victory inside ourselves. In The Ecstasy of Surrender, Dr. Judith Orloff offers beautiful guidance and insight into making the switch.”
Below, Orloff encourages us to get along with our co-workers at work by identifying their personality type and just giving in and letting go of the issues we have with them. Here are five difficult people and communication strategies for each one.
1. The Narcissist
These types have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave attention and require endless praise. Some are obnoxious ego-maniacs, others can be charming. Both types know how to belittle you and make you serve them. First, let go of the belief that you can win them over with loyalty and love. Narcissists value control and power over love, and they lack empathy. Next, don’t make your self-worth dependent on them. Seek out supportive coworkers and colleagues instead. Finally, to get your goals met with narcissists, frame your request in ways they can hear–such as showing them how your request will be beneficial to them. Ego stroking and flattery also work.
2. The Passive-Aggressive Coworker
These types express anger while they’re smiling or showing exaggerated concern. They always maintain their cool, even if through clenched teeth. Start by trusting your gut reactions and the feeling that their behavior feels hurtful. Say to yourself, “I deserve to be treated better and with more respect.” If the person is someone you can speak directly with–a team member as opposed to a boss–address the behavior specifically and directly. You could say, for example, “I would greatly appreciate it if you remembered our meeting time. My time’s very valuable, as is yours.” If the person doesn’t or won’t change, you can decide whether to accept their behavior or not.
3. The Gossip
Gossipy busybodies delight in talking about others behind their backs, putting them down and spreading harmful rumors. They also love to draw others into their toxic conversations. Start by letting go of your need to please everyone or control what they say. Then be direct. Say, “Your comments are inconsiderate and hurtful. How would you like people talking about you like that?” You can also refuse to participate by simply changing the subject. Don’t share intimate information with gossip mongers. And finally, don’t take gossip personally. Realize that gossips aren’t happy or secure. Do what you can to rise to a higher place, and ignore them.
4. The Anger Addict
Rage-a-holics deal with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating or criticizing. Let go of your reactivity. Take a few short breaths to relax your body. Count to 10. Pause before you speak. If they’re spewing verbal venom at you, imagine that you’re transparent and their words are going right through you. To disarm an anger addict, acknowledge their position, and then politely say you have a slightly different approach you’d like to share. Request a small, doable change that can meet your need. Then clarify how it will benefit the relationship. Finally, empathize. Ask yourself what pain or inadequacy might be making this person act so angry.
5. The Guilt Tripper
These workplace types are world-class blamers, martyrs and drama queens. They know how to make you feel terrible about something by pressing your insecurity buttons. Start by surrendering the notion that you have to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, so if the guilt tripper is scolding you, you can simply apologize or take responsibility, and that will shut them down. If you need to, find a safe place to cry. Tears will cleanse the stress and help you heal. Also, know your guilt buttons. If there’s something you feel bad about, you can work on being compassionate with yourself so you’ll feel stronger when this difficult coworker tries to push that particular button. Finally, set limits with the guilt tripper. Tell them you can see their point of view, but that it hurts your feelings when they say those things, and you’d be grateful if they stopped saying it.
How do you deal with people who drive you nuts? Do you struggle or just walk away and go on about your day?
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Friday, February 21st, 2014
The title of this new book screams for attention: ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s so sensational that it turned me off at first. But once I dig into the author, Richard Saul, M.D.‘s arguments, I see he’s completely serious and legit.
As a behavioral neurologist who is certified in pediatrics, Saul has been seeing children and adults who think they have ADHD for 50 years. He believes that they do not have this disease. Instead, they have symptoms that can be treated. It’s a huge mistake to pop pills like Adderoll and Ritalin. People want a magic solution to get their kids–or themselves–to sit down and shut up. But these drugs are stimulants, and Saul says they lead to dangerous addictions.
He urges health care professionals and patients to dig deeper. One adult man complained that he could not turn off his television, computer and games, and he was going crazy. He was sure he had ADHD. Saul discovered he was only sleeping 4 to 5 hours a night and diagnosed him with sleep deprivation. Saul prescribed black out shades, a noise machine and a program that turns off all devices at midnight. The patient’s health dramatically improved.
The real conditions and disorders he diagnoses include vision and hearing problems, substance abuse, mood disorder, giftedness (kids need more challenge sometimes!), seizure disorders OCD, Tourette’s and Aspberger’s. He digs in and treats what is really wrong.
ADHD Does Not Exists is a wake-up call to get patients and professions off the Adderall and Ritalin. Saul acknowledges that attention and hyperactivity do exist. But there are so many better ways to tackle them than what we mostly see used today.
What do you think? Is ADHD a real disease or a catch-all excuse to put people on pills?
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