• Assess your child’s risk. A youngster who is generally doing well in life — happy, well adjusted, engaged with the family — generally poses less risk for potential problems than one with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression or in the midst of a family crisis. If your son falls in the high risk category, I would urge you to get outside professional help to nip any serious problems in the bud.
• Be cautious about punishments. If there is no history of addiction in your family tree and you are certain that your son is generally doing well socially, emotionally and academically, focus on keeping the lines of communication open. If your teen is afraid of your reaction, it is unlikely that he will continue to confide in you. Punishing him may simply encourage him to become better at hiding any future use from you.
• Strengthen connection. When we feel seen, understood and cherished by someone, it is much harder to keep secrets from them. Teens often give us signals that suggest they aren’t interested in having us around, but look for ways to keep nourishing the connection you and your son share — cooking together, walking the dog or even chatting about music or sports while you unload the dishwasher together. The more he feels anchored to you as his North Star, the less influenced he will be by peer pressure.
• Talk with him about how he felt when he smoked. If he tells you that he really liked it, discuss why drugs and alcohol make people feel better. Explain the way the brain works, and the impact these substances can have on lowering inhibition or lifting mood —temporarily.
• Model healthy ways of unwinding. Consider what your son sees you doing to relax at the end of the day, or when you socialize with your friends. If you have a glass of wine the minute you get home from work or immediately open a six-pack when friends show up, you may be “teaching” him that enjoyment cannot happen without some kind of substance. Show him you can enjoy life without leaning on something to help you lower your inhibitions or numb out, and you will send the message that he can do the same.
• Don’t force unwanted advice. Instead, ask him if he would be open to listening to your concerns. Explain that while you understand “everyone” may be smoking weed or drinking, the stress relief many kids experience while under the influence of pot or alcohol can quickly become at least psychologically addicting, and that there are better — and healthier — ways of handling social anxiety and pressures. Show him the impact these substances have on the brain; there are some great scans at brainplace.com.
•Keep your eyes open. If you start to sense that your son’s use has escalated beyond normal experimentation, do not hesitate to set guidelines that send him a clear message that it is not okay. At 15, his brain is still in a vulnerable and formative stage, and it is your responsibility to help him make sound decisions that preserve his health and safety. Some kids tell me that they actually appreciate it when their parents tell them that they might start conducting random drug tests; it makes it easier way to say “No” at a party if they can tell their buddies, “I can’t; my parents are drug testing me.” — How Should I Handle My Teen Trying Marijuana?
Are you the type of parent you thought you would be or are you everything you said you would NEVER be?
Are you wanting to be a better parent starting immediately?
Parenting can be hard and is often full of disappointments but it is never TOO LATE to transform yourself and your children into the family you dreamed you would be.
If you are serious about wanting to make some big changes in your family relationships, take our 10 Day Challenge by following the steps by clicking here.
Post your successes and difficulties on our Facebook page at to get more support and success tips along the way.
By Ron Huxley, LMFT
Journaling has long been a tool to achieving better emotional and
mental health. The need to express oneself in a safe and controlled
manner is a powerful means to improving self-esteem and personal
relationships. Parents can use this tool to increase their
effectiveness and satisfaction with family members. Here are ten ways
that a journal will help parents:
1. Tell your family story. What better way to immortalize your life
than to write about it in a journal? You can create a memoir of your
life growing up, describe the many branches on your family tree, or
just make a scrapbook of your life. Children can benefit by learning
their family history and discover whom they are in relation to past
generations. Parents will find clues to family dysfunction and
strengths by exploring their familial history.
2. Share yourself with family members. Most people keep their
journals private but choosing a sister or child to share a journal
with can close the gap on distant relationships or bring close one’s
even closer. Swap separate journals for family members to read, keep
a family journal that is free for all to read and write, or create a
journal to express thoughts, feelings, and dreams with a particular
3. Organize yourself…emotionally and spiritually. Whenever I go to
the store, I make a list. If I don’t I am sure to forget something.
Probably a few “something’s”. Writing things down helps me recall
what I need to buy. Journaling will help you remember the emotional
and spiritual items you need in your life. Some of this items you may
not have known you needed and others will be one’s that you know you
need but haven’t had the courage to go out there and get it.
Journaling is the first step in that spiritual grocery store
4. Track your emotions, moods, and experiences over time. Monday was
a high-energy day. Tuesday, I felt depressed and lethargic.
Wednesday, I started to climb out of it. Thursday, I felt better but
had difficulty focusing. You get the picture, right? Journals will
help you map the highs and lows of your week, month, or year so that
you can plan your life accordingly. What mood ring can do that for
5. Unburden yourself and let go of old hurts. You’ve carried that old
emotional baggage for how many years now? Isn’t it time to let it go
and move forward feeling a little lighter on the emotional load. You
can let go of the hurts and fears you inherited from childhood that
have clung to you through adulthood and affected all of your
important relationships. Release them into a journal and really live
life to the fullest. Because you are anonymous, this is your
opportunity to say it all and unburden yourself so that you can have
freer, more productive relationships with your family instead of
venting it all at them.
6. Clarify and achieve your dreams, goals, and aspirations. Any
successful life planner, motivational speaker, or therapist will tell
you that in order to achieve a goal or dream you must write it down.
Journals are a great way to realizing that goal or dream. While the
path of life and relationships seems confusing and chaotic, a look
back, into your journal, will reveal some very clear patterns that
will help you in your future journeying.
7. Share your wisdom (life experiences) with others. I may not be an
expert on life but I have had my share of successes and failures. So
have you. Together we can learn and grow more than either of us could
have done alone. Use journals to write down your mistakes so your
children do not make the same one’s or share a few tips about life
that you wish your parents had shared with you. It’s not too late.
8. Glimpse the world through the eyes of another person. Journals
allow you to see life from the perspective of another’s culture,
geography, beliefs, age, and gender. Take a trip around the world or
through time simply by reading a family journal. Ask family members
to describe you or your childhood. You may be surprise by what you
learn when others look at you and your life.
9. Challenge your beliefs and enrich your life. Master therapists
tell us that in order to change your life you must change your
thoughts or beliefs. Doing this on your own is difficult if not
impossible. Journals are a great way to analyze those thoughts that
get in the way of good mental health and better family relationships.
10. Realize you are not alone! Have you had a loved one pass away?
Suffered a divorce or financial loss? Had a prodigal child leave
home? Anyone who has suffered a loss or felt the weight of depression
knows how lonely that can be. It feels like no one could possibly
understand the pain you feel. Family Journals remind you know that
you are never alone and that hope is just one entry away!
The Psychology of Hope
How much do we need this in modern families today?
Unfortunately, only half of us measure high in hope, Lopez notes in the book. Fortunately, however, hope can be learned. Hopeful people share four core beliefs, according to Lopez:
Hope includes a range of emotions, such as joy, awe and excitement. But it’s not empty, tunnel-vision enthusiasm. Hope is a combination of your head and heart, Lopez writes. He describes hope as “the golden mean between euphoria and fear. It is a feeling where transcendence meets reason and caution meets passion.”
What does this saying mean to you as a parent? How does it inspire us in our parenting ideas and methods? Share here or at http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox
Children with strong positive beliefs about their own social skills, learning skills and emotional skills have such a great resource to take them forward allowing them to not only create a wonderful life for themselves, but also to contribute positively to the lives of others.
So what are some of the things we can do to develop a strong belief system in the unconscious of our young children?
~ Manners and Conduct In School and Out, by The Deans of Girls in Chicago High Schools, 1921
via University of Oregon
Is it really that bad of advice? :)
Surprising Rate of Women Have Depression After Childbirth -
CHICAGO —- A surprisingly high number of women have postpartum depressive symptoms, according to a new, large-scale study by a Northwestern Medicine® researcher.
This is the largest scale depression screening of postpartum women and the first time a full psychiatric assessment has been done in a study of postpartum women who screened positive for depression.
The study, which included a depression screening of 10,000 women who had recently delivered infants at single obstetrical hospital, revealed a large percentage of women who suffered recurrent episodes of major depression.
The study underscored the importance of prenatal as well as postpartum screening. Mothers’ and infants’ health and lives hang in the balance. The lives of several women who were suicidal when staff members called them for the screening were saved likely as a result of the study’s screening and immediate intervention.
“In the U.S., the vast majority of postpartum women with depression are not identified or treated even though they are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders,” said Northwestern Medicine lead study author Katherine L. Wisner, M.D. “It’s a huge public health problem. A woman’s mental health has a profound effect on fetal development as well as her child’s physical and emotional development.”
Wisner is director of Northwestern’s Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders and the Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She’s also a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
“A lot of women do not understand what is happening to them,” Wisner said. “They think they’re just stressed or they believe it is how having a baby is supposed to feel.”
The paper was be published in JAMA Psychiatry March 13. Wisner conducted the research when she was at the University of Pittsburgh.
In the study, 14 percent of the women screened positive for depression. Of that group, 826 received full psychiatric assessments during at-home visits. Some of the key findings from those assessments:
- In women who screened positive for depression, 19.3 percent thought of harming themselves.
“Most of these women would not have been screened and therefore would not have been identified as seriously at risk,” Wisner said. “We believe screening will save lives.”
Suicide accounts for about 20 percent of postpartum deaths and is the second most common cause of mortality in postpartum women.
- Many women who screened positive for major depression postpartum had already experienced at least one episode of depression previously and, in addition, had an anxiety disorder. The study found 30 percent of women had depression onset prior to pregnancy, 40 percent postpartum and 30 percent during pregnancy. More than two-thirds of these women also had an anxiety disorder.
“Clinicians need to know that the most common clinical presentation in the post-birth period is more complex than a single episode of depression,” Wisner said. “The depression is recurrent and superimposed on an anxiety disorder.“
- Of the women who screened positive for major depression, 22 percent had bipolar disorder, the majority of whom had not been diagnosed by their physicians. There is often a delay in correctly diagnosing bipolar disorder, which depends on identifying not only the depressed phase but the manic or hypomanic phase as well. But postpartum is the highest risk period for new episodes of mania in a woman’s life.
“That’s a very high rate of bipolar disorder that has never been reported in a population screened for postpartum depression before,” said Wisner. “It is significant because antidepressant drug treatment alone can worsen the course of bipolar disorder.”
In addition, women who have been pregnant in the past year are less likely to seek treatment for depression than women who have not been pregnant, previous research has shown.
Maximizing a woman’s overall mental and physical health in pregnancy and after childbirth is critically important.
“Depression during pregnancy increases the risk to a woman and her fetus,” Wisner said. “Depression is a physiological dysregulation disorder of the entire body.”
Maternal prenatal stress and depression is linked to preterm birth and low infant birth weight, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Depression also affects a woman’s appetite, nutrition and prenatal care and is associated with increased alcohol and drug use. Women with untreated depression have a higher body mass index preconception, which carries additional risks.
When a new mother is depressed, her emotional state can interfere with child development and increases the rate of insecure attachment and poor cognitive performance of her child, Wisner said.
Screening prenatal and postpartum are essential (Illinois requires mandatory screening for perinatal mental health disorders), but the health care field must develop cost effective and accessible treatment, Wisner emphasized.
“If we identify patients we must have treatment to offer them,” Wisner said.
The study was funded by grant RO1 MH 071825 from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.
Avaz today is an app designed to assist to children communicate non-verbally by addressing their difficulty in processing information such as letters, words and sentences. The app reworks the information into easy-to-understand pictures, rerouting through visual pathways rather than verbal ones. Avaz is prescribed through therapist evaluation for purchase by the child’s parents or through the school’s therapy program. Gradually introduced, the software becomes a part of the child’s life as it helps them to communicate in both academic and social environments. Taking a holistic view of the language development process, Avaz teaches the child underlying patterns of language while seamlessly integrating with existing methods of speech therapy. Moreover, the app is very easy to customize, allowing users to add a new phrase in just 15 seconds. And it’s available on the App Store for $99.
Learning Disability Apps and Important Innovations Under Way
I love this.