Category Archives: Uncategorized

When Vicious Behaviour Goes Viral

Towards the Light

Towards the Light

By now, most of the world has heard about Rehteah Parsons’ life and death.

Beautiful, young and said to show great compassion for both humans and animals, Rehteah was sexually assaulted at a party, photographed and then victimized all over again when the photo was posted and shared by who knows how many students.

Ironically, the cause of so much of Rehteah’s pain and torture (social media) is now one of the vehicles being used to express outrage and promote justice.

Just this morning I signed a petition on Change.org demanding an independent inquiry into the police investigation which declared that no crime had taken place regarding both the rape and distribution of graphic and revealing photos. There are also Facebook pages set up, tweets posted and emails being sent to Justice Minister Ross Landry.

Why does it take death and despair to invoke a change in our laws? How can we use social media in a way that’s innovative and useful without promoting hatred, bullying, stress and destruction? Obviously, the way we engage in and rely on social media must change. Now.

Tell Me!

Tell Me!

Recently, I received two non-fiction children’s books written by Leanne Matlow – a counselor and workshop facilitator based in Toronto. Her two books are: Thinking About Thoughts and Tell Me!

Tell Me!, illustrated by Tamar Tal-El, focuses on the worry, anxiety and concern that sometimes consumes children and teens.

In this short colourful book, a pre-teen is worried about her twin sister, Kim. Kim is dealing with an anxiety disorder and the book cleverly and clearly illustrates how one family member’s health concerns can radiate out to affect family and friends. Kim’s sister is frustrated because although she can see that  Kim is suffering and her personality has changed, no one explains what’s going on. She herself feels anxious and alone.

After speaking with her parents, our protagonist understands that Kim is having a difficult time. She begins to see a “coach” named Dr. Simon who later explains to her whole family what’s happening with Kim and how they too can help her out. “Finally, the truth!” says our protagonist.

Dr. Simon goes on to outline the four “superheroes” whom Kim uses to help stay calm and focused. They are:

1) Do-It Guy who tells us it’s best not to avoid; just give it a try.

2) Distraction Dude helps us focus on something else instead of our anxious thoughts.

3) Whoa! Man reminds us how to stop unreal, unwanted or unhelpful thoughts.

4) The Reflector assists us by reminding us of our past successes.

If your child is dealing with anxiety you may want to pick up Tell Me! and use it as a tool for meaningful discussion. Let me know if you do.

Leanne Matlow is a Professional Colleague of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and an Associate member of the Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies. Leanne’s blog for parents can be found at http://lmatlow.blogspot.ca.

You’re the Voice Inside Their Head

Admission: I’ve missed my self-imposed weekly deadline by about 9 hours. You know what? After the day I had yesterday, I’m going to give myself a break. Enjoy the post.

Image

Help me shape my brain, will you?

Being a writer and a “people person” (whether that’s virtual or IRL) I tend to be on social media a lot. Now, I’m not even close to the top of the heap for followers, friends, link-ers, plus-ers, pin-ers, etc., but I do post information, thoughts, images and review others’ posts almost daily.

If you’re on Facebook, you know it’s rife with serious or tongue-in-cheek e-cards, mini-posters and political statements. I see dozens each day. However, recently, a friend posted an inspirational ad which really struck me.

It said something like, “The way you speak to your child will be the voice inside their head.”

Why did it strike such a chord with me? I’m not sure but I’ve been thinking about the statement ever since I saw it. Perhaps it’s because I have so much going on in my own brain – always have. Conversations, admonishments, occasional encouragements, comments, questions, nagging reminders…the list (and those nagging reminders) goes on and on.

If mine is going to be the voice inside my child’s head, I want it to be the practical yet positive lead cheerleader not the bitter, angry football coach. I know firsthand how harsh inner voices (read: critics) can be and, ideally, my children’s not-so-silent inner voices will be shouting out, “Way to go!” and “Keep your head held high” instead of, “Why are you so stupid?” or “Try harder next time, moron”.

What does your inner voice have to say today?

Superparents Need Not Apply

Yeesh. If I’m going to stick to my promise of posting at least one blog post a week then I’d better post this puppy in the next few hours.

Image

 

 

I’ve been watching a new show called America’s Supernanny on Slice.ca. You may be familiar with the original Supernanny, Jo Frost, whose “UK nanny teaches parents to parent” TV show prompted much talk around the ol’ water cooler (virtual and otherwise).

I’m not supermom by any stretch but watching the first few episodes of America’s Supernanny has made me sweat and cringe on more than one occasion: There have been horrible bouts of swearing, hitting, threatening, punching, soda-drinking, sugar imbibing, and head-butting… and that’s often just sibling to sibling.

Today “Miss Deborah” was pointing out to one set of parents with four young boys that they were, in fact, clueless. And, indeed, they did seem pretty clueless. They had a beautiful large home, lovely furniture and toys and it was obvious that the boys were loved. But, when it came to discipline, there was none. They (almost literally) let their kids get away with murder because, as the father pointed out, he “didn’t want to be the bad guy.”

Um, really? That’s how you see it, mister? You’re their parent for ____ ‘s sake. Parent your children. Letting them get away with murder isn’t doing you or them any favours. It’s astounding to me that some parents don’t get (or choose not to see) that setting limits actually makes things easier for kids and the family. Drinking a Coke at 10 pm and then swinging from the rafters may be a fun night out in university but it sure ain’t appropriate for a seven-year-old. I think Miss Deborah is right on target with her no-nonsense approach to good parenting.

Have you seen the show? What do you think?

 

Invest in Summer

My wonderful one-year corporate communications contract has now come to an end. I’ll miss the stimulating work and my fantastic colleagues. But, to engage a cliche… as the corporate door shuts and the drafty cottage window opens, I realize that I will now have abundant opportunities for outdoor summer adventures, playing with my kids, freelancing gigs and, of course, bolstering this blog!

My aim is to post once a week or more for the remainder of the summer. There are quite a few topics that I’ve been mulling over in my head. These include:

  • The Triple P parenting program
  • How seasons/weather affect mental health
  • The link between intelligence and ADHD
  • Alternative health/wellness tools for depression, anxiety, ADHD and other mental heallth issues
  • The important connections between pets & people

What are your plans/hopes/dreams for the summer? Are there any topics you’d like to see covered in this blog? I’d love to hear from you and receive your comments and questions.

Image

Iguana spend the summer with you

Time to take a stroll around the local pond… until next week!

Mean Moms Rule, Right?

Image

Heard of the new book, Mean Moms Rule by Denise Schipani? I was given an advance copy and have made time to flip through most of it. Full disclosure: I am familiar with Schipani through an online writers’ forum.

In the book, Schipani asserts that “doing the hard stuff now creates good kids later” or, to spell it out even more fully: don’t cop out on your kids ‘cuz it’s easier to give in; once you’re a parent, you’ve got to step up to the plate and do your job.

While a lot of the author’s rules and regs for being a “mean mom” appear to be common sense, much of it was actually a good reminder for me – and I’m someone who is quite happy to qualify as a mean mom.

Mean Mom Rules include:

  • Prepare them for the world, but not the world for them – Philosophical thinking here; let’s make sure our kids are savvy enough to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
  • Don’t follow the parenting pack — In other words, be a leader not a follower.
  • Take (or take back) control — Confession: Lately, I find myself catering to my children’s whims. While that’s fine sometimes, it can’t – and shouldn’t – be the case all the time. Sometimes momma’s gotta take a nap (or watch TV or chat on the phone or do her Pilates DVDs).
  • Say no. Smile. Don’t apologize. Repeat as necessary — I love this one! Let’s not apologize for being parents, shall we?

While these MM rules are solid, most parents know that what works for your family one day may not work the next. And, that seems to apply to all kids – mental health issues or not. I’ve found that softening on certain rules occasionally makes life sweeter and calmer for all of us.

If you’re looking for common sense advice that justifies your instinct to be a good parent – not just a good friend – I suggest you order yourself a copy of Mean Moms Rule.

4 Reasons Why Every Kid Needs an Outlet for Self-Expression

Image

Creativity Alive

Hello, Readers. I was approached by my guest poster, Lauren. She inquired about writing an article for KidsAndMentalHealth.ca. I admit being both flattered and skeptical but, I was pleased with Lauren’s submission and post it here. I hope you enjoy it!

Everyone needs to have something in their life that they love to do and are good at. Far too often we see parents trying to figure out what their child loves to do, or, even worse, demanding that they partake in some sort of after-school activity in order to “do” something. However, when left to their own devices, all children will gravitate toward the things that they love to do.

And, more often than not, the things they love will develop into a special talent. Not only is this an important part of childhood development, it’s an important aspect of life for people of all ages. So, whether you child loves art, music, writing, science, sports, or fashion, the importance of unique self-expression cannot be stated enough. Read on for the top reasons why your child should be allowed to find his own way to do what he loves.

1. Builds Confidence

When a child discovers an activity that he or she loves, they will want to practice that activity as much as possible. This will lead to mastery and a huge boost of confidence for the child. Learning how to work hard toward something that they cares about, and seeing the positive results of that hard work, will bestow your child with the confidence to pursue all types of new things.

2. Reminder That Everyone is Different

During the childhood years, there can be so much pressure to do and like the same things as everyone else. But, as adults, we now know that just because the coolest girl in school loves gymnastics, it doesn’t mean that everyone else needs to like or be good at gymnastics, too. When your child has the chance to explore his own likes and dislikes, discover activities that he excels at, and become confident in those gifts, the world begins to become a broader and more accepting place in his own mind.

3. Creates Unique Personal Goals

How many times have we come across a grown adult who has only just begun to consider doing something with his life that he actually cares about? When a child has the opportunity to express and explore the things that come most naturally, he will have a head start on discovering his hidden talents and sources for future success.

4.  Reinforces Well-Rounded Development

The school system as we know it does not place much emphasis on development of creative outlets for students, and if a student does not fit in to excelling at either academics or sports, he or she runs the risk of feeling very left out.  And, even if your child loves something that is practiced in the school system, like sports, for example, he or she may not make the team. Unfortunately, these educational models do not do enough to foster the development of a well-rounded individual. Children, whether at home or in the classroom, need the opportunity to explore and develop in all areas, and finding a unique form of self-expression will allow them to do so.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at: blauren99 @gmail.com.