How Not To Give Your Kids Mental Health Problems

I have been a fan of Demi Lovato ever since her Camp Rock days. I used to think that she was telling the story of my life through some of her hit songs, such as Skyscraper, Warrior, and Give Your Heart A Break. Then, before singing Let It Go, she released the Gift Of A Friend, which was an OST for one of the Tinker Bell movies. Up to this day, whenever I needed music to pump my energy and wake me up, Demi’s songs would be blasting through my speakers, I would sing along at the top of my lungs. (Don’t judge me!)

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The thing is, I am among those fans who continue to support someone’s music despite their questionable behavior. However, as the years passed, I could not help but notice that the pop star’s image started going dark. Everyone thought that it was an artistic move, but then Demi admitted to drinking and abusing substances, to the extent that she needed to sign up to a rehabilitation facility.

What’s triggering her to do all that despite the outpouring of love and support from her fans, you might ask? Well, it was evident in a couple of songs like Father and For The Love Of A Daughter from the Unbroken album that Demi had deep-seated resentment towards her father. Even though he already passed away, she could not get over the trauma that he caused to her as a child.

Reality Check

Many people could relate to Demi Lovato’s life story, considering many came from broken families. To say that they merely had Daddy issues was undermining the reality that a parent’s action could leave a lasting impression on a child. It would have been cool if it made the latter wiser or want to have better relations, but that’s not the case. Such an experience often caused the kids to develop mental health problems.

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As a mother, it was challenging to imagine my kids going through the same thing as my favorite pop star. Demi’s family must feel helpless when they learned about her struggles but could not do much to help her get over them. If I was in their position, I might have cried day and night and never left my children out of my sight.

Nevertheless, since the kids were still too young, I tried to think of the things I could do to ensure that I won’t give them mental health problems.

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Watch The Words

Before having kids, I used to be more carefree with my word choices. It was effortless for my friends and me to hurl the F word to each other whenever we met as if it was the most normal thing to do. We also made insensitive comments about various people or things that I admittedly did not think about before.

But when I gave birth to a smart little girl who went through a lengthy phase of copying everything she heard, my husband and I became more mindful of our words. We wanted to shield her from F-bombs as much as we could and preserve her innocence. After all, the worst-case scenario was that our kid would end up a racist or depressive person.

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Avoid Fighting In Front Of The Children

No one—not even me—could have a perfect marriage. Although our fights happened every four months or so, my husband and I made a pact that we would only argue away from the children’s eyes. Whenever we’re in front of them, we always tried to be peaceful and loving so that that’s what our kids would learn to be while growing up.

Sometimes, it was difficult to hide my annoyance or frustration because guys tend to do silly things that they didn’t know were silly. For instance, my husband mixed the whites with colored clothes when I asked him to do the laundry one time. No matter how I wanted to yell at him, I practically smiled through it all. The only consolation was that our kids would not have traumatic memories of us fighting in front of them.

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Stay Away From Vices

Before having kids, I smoked and enjoyed happy hour at bars every week. I always knew my limits, but it felt as if I could not live without cigarettes and alcohol. The same goes for my husband.

When the children came, we stopped using both substances at once because they were probably causes of congenital disabilities and diseases. The sudden change was more challenging for my husband since he did not need to carry our babies full term. However, once he saw our angels, I did not have to ask him twice—he stayed away from vices immediately.

Final Thoughts

I could not tell if our combined efforts would be practical until our kids probably turn 18 years old. But as far as I could see, they were open to us about their issues. I guess that’s a promising start.

 

How Families Can Benefit From PCIT

 

 

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Definition

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy or PCIT is described as a blend of behavioral and play therapy for young kids, and their parents or guardians. Here, the adults get to learn and be hands-on on the skills and strategies that they would acquire from the therapy and are associated with children and their behavioral patterns, emotions, disabilities, or mental health concerns.

Geared mostly towards parents and guardians, this type of therapy teaches particular skills that they can utilize to help them become better at communicating with their children. PCIT was created for kids between 2 and 7, and so far, it has been proven to be successful for children who manifest disturbing behavioral patterns, have gone through trauma, or those who are on the spectrum. This type of therapy, including its related programs, are also used as interventions for helping counteract neglect and child abuse as well as reducing children’s risk of criminal and antisocial behavior.

Expectations

Indeed, parents and guardians have a crucial role in PCIT during treatment while the therapist plays observant and teaches from the next room furnished with a one=way mirror. The therapist talks with the parent or guardian using earphones while giving instruction and assistance. The adults are advised not to use negative language and are encouraged not to focus on the innocent and unhelpful behaviors. They should also acquire other skills, including echoing the child’s reactions back to him to help better the communication. They are to describe these behaviors aloud to maximize the child’s vocabulary, and replicating his positive behavior so the child is aware that the behavior is approved.

 

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How PCIT Works

By acquiring knowledge on certain strategies and skills, families, especially parents and guardians, can establish a stronger relationship with the child. The child is also able to manifest better behaviors. On the whole, PCIT can help regain good family dynamics by reducing negative behavioral patterns within the whole family, as well as learn new behaviors and techniques of collaborating that can be more inspiring and comforting. When these techniques are done regularly, they can build confidence, improve individual child and parent behavior, and decrease anger and hatred.

The PCIT Therapist

The parent-child interaction therapist, including the counselors and social workers, are employed privately or in community mental health. He has been certified by the PCIT International and has a license to provide mental health services through his master’s degree and other training and experiences in PCIT. Additionally, the therapist of your choice should be someone that you, as a parent, guardian, or family member, feel comfortable with working on personal concerns.

If your child is going through behavioral or emotional problems, you probably should have attempted to do a lot of techniques to pacify his behaviors, such as punishment and positive feedback. But if the child has not demonstrated a more pleasant behavior, you may be frustrated about not being able to do the right thing for your child.

It is significant to note that amidst all your efforts to keep yourself calm and collected, parents can become exhausted and annoyed when they are demonstrated with the same unpleasant behaviors from their child repeatedly. When this occurs, you might act inappropriately and affect the child negatively. Consequently, the child can imitate your bad reactions and habits and replicate them, which might also be the reason why they are behaving rather unpleasantly – because they see you react negatively when you are frustrated. If you are experiencing this kind of situation, then PCIT is the perfect therapy for you.

 

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It goes to say that parent-child interaction therapy is a therapy for the parent, the guardian, or the family member. You are given lessons from a child psychologist about how to manage your negative behaviors while improving your connection with your child. This type of therapy assists in controlling behavioral patterns in a young child. PCIT is a 15 or 20 therapy program developed for parents or guardians and their children who are ten years old or younger. They may be going through emotional, mental, or other behavioral problems.

Benefits

  • It can help kids deal with their violent and rebellious behaviors.

PCIT focuses on various defiant behaviors in kids. Some of these include fighting, swearing, demonstrating tantrums, reduced self-confidence, lying, and refusing to follow the rules. With many more of these behaviors present in children, parents and guardians often doubt if this kind of therapy is the appropriate solution. But to be able to fix these behavioral concerns, they need to get to the bottom of the real problem of the child. Frequently, the behaviors manifested by the kids are ones that are replicated from the parents – and the parents might have been doing these behaviors unintentionally. For instance, when you reprimand your child, and they talk back at you, you might unconsciously start an argument. When this happens a number of times, a habit is developed, and it may be difficult to fix it without the help of a professional. The parent must now learn to break these habits and practice techniques that will help him positively deal with his child.

 

  • It assists in improving relationships between the child and the parent.

One of the most important benefits of PCIT is that you are allowed to improve your connection with your child. Most parents and guardians yearn to have a strong bond with their child, yet they do not know how to do it. This type of counseling facilitates the learning of good communication through parental guidance while respecting your child in the process. Building a positive and enduring relationship with your child is easier when they are younger rather than in their later years.

 

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  • It reduces the incidence of child abuse.

When parents are discouraged or annoyed, they may verbally show these feelings out loud and can be painful and mentally disturbing to a child. Regrettably, they sometimes cannot realize this, as they may have been disciplined this way when they were children themselves. PCIT attempts to cut this vicious cycle of child abuse and guides the adults into the process of disciplining their children without mentally, physically, or emotionally assaulting them.

 

 

 

Help Kids Cope With Stress During This Pandemic

One of the misconceptions during this pandemic is that adults believe children are not that affected by the situation. They assume that kids do not understand what the world is going through. That all these children have to do is listen to what adults tell them. However, adults do not recognize the emotional and mental stress that kids also had to go through during this global health crisis.

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For Your Information

Children may respond to stress differently. Some tend to be so clingy, anxious, stubborn, withdrawing, angry, and impulsive. Most of the time, parents do not look at the signs intently because they somehow assume that children’s behavioral issues are normal and are a part of growing up. However, given this pandemic situation, the emotional stress that kids feel is different from what parents know. Children in times of crisis may suffer from mental decline due to lack of social school interaction, limited access to outdoor play, and sudden change of routines. With all these complications, here are some of the things parents can do.

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Providing Reassurance

One of the factors that cause children to become emotionally unstable is the lack of emotional support. That is the reason why most children tend to act and respond to their surroundings differently. Some of them become too anxious that they can no longer pay attention to themselves. So in this unfortunate condition, parents must learn how to listen to their kids. If the children say they are worried and afraid, prioritize by giving them an assurance that whatever happens, they will never go through the struggle alone. Make them realize that the situation is only temporary so that they can find it in their minds and heart not to get emotionally distracted with what they negatively see and hear on the news.

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Explain Things Calmly

Understandably, adults get too stressed because of the limited things they can do in this time of crisis. But they are not the only ones. Kids also feel deprived of their freedom because they understand they are not allowed to do things they were supposed to. These include playing and socializing. Thus, it is the parents’ responsibility to talk to the children and explain things calmly. At first, the children will get confused and might ask a lot of questions that can sometimes tend to be annoying. But that doesn’t have to cause an emotional burden to parents because that’s how kids are. They are curious about everything. Therefore, that is enough reason to tell them the truth about the people and the world’s suffering.

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Avoid Any Forms Of Separation

As much as parents want to keep their children safe, it is essential to not allow kids to feel alone in times of crisis. One thing that most adults wrongly do is trying to keep the children safe by allowing them to be with people they thought are more capable of taking care of the kids. Yes, assuming there’s the possibility there. But to avoid children’s emotional stress, parents must always stay by their kids’ sides. And if example, a member of the family needs to go to the hospital or might need to run an errand, they must ensure regular communication with the kids. That way, children will never feel left out, especially in moments that they need their parents’ with them.

For most of us, we somehow underestimate the children’s understanding of the situation. Thus we often make mistakes in taking care of them. In this time of crisis, we must all learn to understand that kids also feel the pressure, anxiety, and stress we all feel.

Parenting Is Not All About You Doing Everything For Them

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This 2019 Parenting Event was helpful, but it cannot compare to the first-hand experience. I am a mother of five kids who was married for nineteen years and have been taking care of children for 23 years now. It is never easy to be a parent. There is no magic pill to do it. You just have to suck it up, breathe in positive vibes, and breathe out your worries. That is what I do every single day since I still have three kids who are below 18.

Continue reading “Parenting Is Not All About You Doing Everything For Them”

Keeping Kids Busy During A Lockdown

Since the spread of COVID-19 diseases, all of us became homebound. That is because staying at home is our best precaution to avoid getting infected. And since the lockdown closes a lot of establishments, we, parents, are now dealing with our kids all day long unexpectedly. With all the exhaustions of keeping our kids safe and nurturing them at the same time, we need more resources. In this article, I am going to share with you some of the activities that will keep your kids busy and productive.

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Health And Fitness

For health and fitness activities, you and your kids can spend time exercising. You can choose exercises that are easy to follow. Well, it doesn’t have to be the same as the basic exercises you do at the gym, though. You can go for some stretching, yoga, as well as dance. You can always make it engaging by putting up some music to it. You can also build them an obstacle course inside the house with the use of kid-friendly materials such as pillows, carton boxes, plastic bottles, and so on. Or, if you like, you can also schedule them house chores that they can do every day, such as washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, flower the plants, and re-arranging the closet. Honestly, there are a lot of physical activities that fit children’s capability. As a parent, you just have to be creative.

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Entertainment

For the entertainment’s first choice, you and your kids can have fun watching movies together. There is a wide range of websites that offer suitable films in different categories that you can watch for free. If you already have subscriptions, you can select the best movie that you like based on you or the kids’ preference. But if you want to limit screen time, you can play board games. There is chess, snake and ladder, monopoly, etc. If you wish to activities that are less demanding of winning, then you and your kids can spend time doing art. Some of these can include drawing, painting, coloring, craft-making, and many more. Creating art will not only entertain your kids but also improves their mental and emotional strength. It is the best option since the whole lockdown situation is a nerve-racking experience for everyone. But if you want fun and engaging entertainment, you can always go for karaoke sing-along.

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Learning With Fun

Learning with fun is probably the most engaging type of activity that offers so many options. You and your kids will have time to bond together while enhancing skills. The kids can learn to cook. I assure you, your children will love the opportunity to get busy in the kitchen, along with your supervision. Not only can you encourage kids’ skills in meal-preparation, but it will also allow you to teach them the importance of healthy living. Or if your kids do not like the kitchen, you can go for other stuff like sewing and knitting, playing instruments, composing songs, and more. If you want a little more relaxed, then you can read some books. Not only is it entertaining, but it will also enhance your children’s vocabulary. The options are endless. As long as you understand what your kids want, you can always make the best choices for them.

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In choosing the best thing to do during this lockdown situation, you do not have to follow a structured-like activity. Besides, this lockdown pretty much seems like a holiday experience for the kids. As long as there are a lot of options, you and your kids can decide which and what activity suits best.

 

Mom And Daughter Bonding At The Symposium

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The 2017 Child and Parent Symposium is a vital symposium to enhance parent-child relationships. My mother is a child therapist, and when I had Zoe, she would always tell me, “Linda, you and Bella must attend our symposiums!” And so, we attended, after so many invites from her. But I had no regrets. My time and money were well-spent in that symposium.

Continue reading “Mom And Daughter Bonding At The Symposium”

Bad Practices That Could Harm Your Children

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The consequences of the choices we make in life become heavier once we become parents. The habits we keep will affect not only us but also our children. The things we do around our kids may have lasting, adverse effects on them.

For the sake of our young ones, let’s look at some harmful practices we need to quit.

Destructive Conflict

Many parents will make the mistake of vowing not to fight in front of their kids. The reality is that it’s going to happen eventually. While this may sound like something that can harm your kids, it’s not actually all that bad. Arguments become harmful if you deal with conflict destructively.

We tend to picture parents fighting as two people yelling, throwing things, and lashing out at each other. This hostility can cause children to become troubled, anxious, and stressed. They tend to become insecure and withdrawn. For others, they act out and develop problems at school as well as at home.

Conversely, a better approach is to have a mature conversation where you discuss things like adults. Your children will also go through conflict throughout their life. They will need to learn how to deal with these situations appropriately and effectively.

Overreacting

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Have you ever wondered why kids don’t tell you things or why teenagers have to lie about what they do? Often, this stems from a fear of how their parents will react. Perhaps mom and dad found out about that broken plate and went ballistic.

It’s precisely this outburst of emotions that pushes them away from us. Overreacting to our children’s mistakes can make them fearful of us. Instead of coming to us for help or to open up, they’ll try their best to cover things up. This practice will only create kids who act out and are quick to become upset.

Before you get angry over spilled milk or a broken vase, get down and help your kid clean up. Teach them how to be more cautious, but don’t blow up over small things such as this. Otherwise, they’ll be too scared of making mistakes.

Hiding Your Emotions

While we mentioned that it could be harmful to overreact, that doesn’t mean that you should mask your emotions either. While you shouldn’t yell at your kids over small things, it doesn’t help to lie about how you feel. This practice will make them confused about their feelings. 

Show your kids your sentiments and how to deal with them. If you experience loss, teach them that it’s okay to be sad. Being positive all the time can be harmful because it sets an unreasonable standard of happiness. It is not the only emotion we should be allowed to feel.

Trying To Solve Everything

As hard as it is to resist, parents have to stop trying to be superheroes to their kids. We shouldn’t try to solve everything for our children.

This practice will do nothing but teach them that we will deal with every road bump they face. As much as we want to be the people they run to for help, they may become too dependent.

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Instead of swooping in all the time, teach them how to deal with problems and conflict. It’s another one of those situations where the “teach a man how to fish” saying comes into play.

The things we do around our kids will leave lasting effects on them until their adulthood. As parents, we have to do our best, even if it means breaking bad habits that are hard to quit. The sooner we kick these types of behavior to the curb, the better mothers and fathers we can be.

 

A Guide On How Parents Should Handle Failing Grades

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Most parents’ first instinct when they see a failing grade is to yell and punish their child. However, this strategy might cause more harm than good. As parents, you should be sensitive in dealing with these kinds of situations since your children are at a stage where they’re still capable of holding grudges. Although a bad grade is a red flag for a potential child concern, it does not measure your kid’s overall worth.

Listed below are some of the tips on dealing with bad report card grades to help parents like you who are still unsure of what tactic to use in these kinds of situations.

Praise Your Child

Do not just focus on the negatives. Make sure that you still acknowledge their well-mannered attitude, good attendance, and high grades in some subjects. Tell them that they have done an excellent job and that they have made you proud. This strategy will give your children a boost of confidence and will inspire them to do better in the areas that they have not excelled in.

Understand The Grading System

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Before reacting, ensure that you have read and fully understood what the numbers and letters in the report card are all about. Each school has its way of grading their students. They have different grade ranges and cut-off failing grades. Knowing the ins and outs of the grading system will give you a brief idea of how good or bad the situation of your kid is.

Schedule A Consultation Time With Your Child

Yes, it might be tempting for you to air your concerns once your child shows you his or her report card. However, this might not be for the best. If you express your frustrations on a heated moment, chances are you’ll only offend your child and result in a screaming match. Nothing productive will come of this situation.

What you can do is to wait until both you and your kid have calmed down a little bit and schedule your consultation time. You may opt to talk with him or her after dinner or after he or she is done doing homework.

Calmly Discuss

Take note that kids do not absorb lectures. Instead, they are more receptive to open discussions. You can start your talk by asking them what they think happened and what kinds of problems led to this situation. From here, you can then come up with specific strategies which will help them overcome their challenges.

For example, your kid tells you that their teacher talks too fast, and he or she cannot understand what they are saying. Knowing this, you can phone the teacher and air this concern to him or her.

Identify Motivational Patterns

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Do not punish poor grades; instead, identify their motivational patterns and bank on this. Let’s say that they are visual learners. Your best approach in this situation is to create PowerPoint presentations or let them read books with a lot of pictures so that it will be easier for them to absorb the topics.

For every failing grade, there is most likely something that you, as a parent, can do to improve the situation. Don’t be caught up with your emotions. Take the time to listen to them, analyze the case, and slowly address the problems. Letting your child know that you are still there as a support system will build their confidence, which will more likely translate to an excellent performance in school.

Tips For Parents In Managing Parent–Teacher Conferences

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In the middle of the school year, teachers usually invite parents to discuss their child’s accomplishments and areas of improvement. These are called parent–teacher conferences, and they typically happen after releasing the report cards of the students. No matter how important these initiatives are, some parents do not attend these conferences because they do not know what to do in these situations.

In here, we will provide you with tips on how to make the most out of these meetings.

Talk To Your Child Beforehand

Before you attend the parent–teacher conference, you have to set an open discussion with your child to talk about the problems they are experiencing in school. This exercise will allow you to see your child’s perspective to represent his or her interest in the meeting better. Your conversation can also be an avenue for you to set academic and co-curricular goals with your child come the next school days.

Be Prepared

Do not entirely rely on the things the teacher will present to you. You also have to investigate on your own by checking their grades and performance beforehand. You can do this by reading the comments on the report card or viewing the school’s student portal. Make sure to research and study what the academic benchmarks should be depending on your child’s school level and cross-check this with what they’re doing in school.

In addition, come up with a list of questions you can ask the teacher so that you can have a better picture of your child’s performance. Some of these include the following:

  • Does my child submit his homework on time?
  • Does my child actively participate in all of his classes?
  • What are my kid’s weakest and strongest subjects? How do you say so?
  • Is my child happy at school, or do you feel that some issues are bothering him?
  • What can I do to improve his school performance?
  • Does my child get along with his classmates?

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Treat The Teacher As A Confidant Instead Of An Opponent

Some parents tend to be defensive when teachers bring out concerns about their child. They display this kind of combative mindset because they passionately want their children to achieve their goal. But to help your child, you have to stop treating the teacher as an opponent. Instead, consider him or her as a partner. Come up with ways which can help your child get the best education opportunities for his growth and success.

Execute The Action Plan

Make sure to immediately implement the action plan you agreed on with the teacher. Discuss this with your child and make him or her understand its importance. You also have to set up key performance indicators and track his or her progress through this.

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Communicate With The Teacher

Your partnership does not stop after the parent–teacher conference. Make sure that you still stay in touch with the teacher throughout the school year and regularly schedule checkup sessions where you can discuss the student’s growth.

Not all parent–teacher meetings are structured the same way. However, you can apply all of the points listed above to every conference no matter what your child’s grade level or age is.

 

How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Children

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Being a parent is a tough role. Most parents balance everything from work to household chores, paying the bills, and more. Despite the exhaustion and sacrifices, they still choose to move forward because of their children. As parents, we only want the best for our children. However, working hard and giving them material things are not enough. What children seek the most is the company and love of their parents. Thus, you need to make sure to improve your relationship with your children if you wish for them to grow up well.

What Happens If I Don’t Improve Our Relationship?

In several studies, psychologists have found that during the early stages of a child’s development, they become dependent on their parents. The development of their brain is mainly affected by the love and attachment they receive from their primary guardian. Neglect of children has been linked to several mental health issues as well as decrease in their overall potential and happiness. These studies show that parenting plays a vital role in the development and growth of children.

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Early attachment plays a significant role in predicting the future development of a child. In most researches, devotion is a good indicator of their long-term well-being. Curiosity, sociability, and social development are some factors that contribute to an excellent attachment to your children. Lack of this attachment at an early stage of growth often results in behavioral and emotional problems, as well as stress disorders. Thus, as parents, it is necessary to watch over the progress of your children to ensure their healthy growth.

How To Improve Our Relationship

In hopes of helping our children grow up healthy, it is crucial to establish a good relationship with them. Below are some ways to improve your relationship with your children.

  1. Be present. There are times when they seek company. Refusing to see them or spend time with them will only hurt their feelings. Take the time to show up on important moments of their lives (graduation, doctor visits, etc.). These will serve as valuable memories they will treasure.
  2. Make lots of memories together. There are simple ways to create such memories. You can have dinner every night together. You can also try going on vacations during the holidays. Even playing with them as kids is a memory they’ll never forget. Let these serve as things they can reminisce in the future.
  3. Respect their choices. Take the time to listen to them. They may have plans for themselves that are different from what you have initially set out for them. Don’t let this bother you; instead, learn to understand them and respect their choices. Support and guide them.
  4. Prioritize your children. Make your children feel secure by making them your priority. It is essential to take note of the little details. Maybe they are going through rough times, but you’re too busy to notice because of all your work.
  5. Let them know you love them. Make your children feel loved. Sometimes, actions may not be enough. Don’t be shy and tell them you love them. Assurance is an essential factor that builds up trust and improves your relationship.

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Never neglect your children. They won’t stay as kids forever. Sooner or later, they’ll grow up and eventually leave you. Make sure that before they go, they’re the best version of themselves.