Looking for a way to teach your children how to keep their hands to themselves? Or maybe you want to teach them safe body boundaries? Check out the video below! In 3 short minutes, you'll learn a very simple way to teach your kids those body boundaries while having fun doing it!
This is a depressed brain:
Image courtesy of Mayo Foundation. Image can be found online here.
This is an emotionally well brain:
Image courtesy of Mayo Foundation. Image can be found online here.
What does that mean?
Most simply, the front part of the brain (the top in the picture) is not functioning optimally. The front part of the brain helps with learning, judgment, reasoning, memory, abstract thinking, interests, motivation. and more.
A depressed brain literally is just that. Its function has been depressed, limited, shut down.
People who are depressed are limited or shut down. They no longer are interested in doing the things they usually do. They no longer find pleasure in doing the things they normally do. They have irrational thoughts about themselves, others, or situations. Their judgment becomes poor. They isolate themselves because of their irrational thinking and poor judgment. For some, getting out of bed may become incredibly difficult or even impossible, and choosing death over life not only seems like their best option for feeling better, but also their only option.
There’s a physiological reason for depression.
Emotionally well people, and even depressed people, sometimes have difficulty understanding depression. They might see a depressed person as lazy, selfish, or undisciplined. They might write off depressed moods in adolescents as "typical teenage behavior."
Everyone becomes emotionally unwell at times, just like everyone gets a cold at times. Sometimes colds are short-lived, and all we need is rest and fluids to feel better -- similar to some emotionally unwell times. Sometimes, though, a cold actually is more than a cold -- it's a sinus infection or strep or the flu -- and we need medical intervention to heal, similar to moderate to severe emotionally unwell times.
As you can see in the images above, the brain is not working properly. It's altered, it’s not well, and it needs therapy to get better.
Therapy? Like a shrink?
Therapy is defined as treatment for healing a medical or psychological condition. So, getting therapy for depression could mean seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health counselor or social worker (all of whom specialize in treating mental health conditions), or it could mean seeing your primary care provider (a physician or nurse practitioner), or it could mean receiving alternative treatments such as reiki, acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga, or hypnosis.
Psychiatrists, physicians, and nurse practitioners can prescribe medication to help with symptoms of depression. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors and social workers can provide non-medicinal psychotherapy to help with symptoms of depression.
Pills or People?
Medication can be very helpful for some people with depression, some saying it's life-changing for them. Psychotherapy and alternative therapies also can be very helpful for some people with depression. There's no one right answer; however, the thought that a "happy pill" is the cure-all for a mental health condition is misleading.
Clinical research for decades has shown a combination of both medication and psychotherapy has the best outcomes. Remember, a depressed brain is altered, and, oftentimes, needs more than medicine to make the changes needed to alleviate depression. While the chemicals added to the brain with an anti-depressant certainly can help to lift a person's spirits, they cannot help change habitual negative thinking tied with depression that usually only can be changed with the help of psychotherapy or disciplined self-guided treatments.
It Can Get Better, Really.
When you're waist-deep in depression, you feel absolutely stuck, and, frankly, you are. Your brain is being held hostage by the illness. Life seems bleak, blah, unbearable even. But, there was a time you didn't feel that way, and you can get there again. Reach out to a friend, family member, doctor, self-help site. If you're already down, the only place you can go is up.
Your 3-year-old takes off his shoes and puts them away when he walks into the house!? 🤯
Listen to this video to hear about the parenting technique that will make your life easier. 👊
The Greater Cincinnati area is supposed to turn into a wintry wonderland again this weekend, just ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which means a 3-day, snowed-in weekend for most kids and their parents.
Snow days are the bane of some parents’ existence.
The thought of being stuck inside with kids for an unknown amount of time is exhausting.
There are things to do — work, cleaning, cooking, social media — that are ten times harder to do when kids are around. But, if you spend a little time on the front end with your kids, you’ll find your snow days will run more smoothly.
You don’t have to be a Pinterest parent to spend quality time with your kids. Simple things that don't require crafts of any kind are perfectly acceptable.
Here’s a list of 20 things to get you through your snowed-in weekend:
Commit to putting away your phones & tablets for at least 1 hour every day of your snow-filled weekend to enjoy family time. Have fun and be safe if you're driving around Cincinnati this weekend!
This video explains a VERY simple calming activity for all ages. Use it for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, and everything in between!
And don't think you adults are too old for this! Anyone can participate. So, roll up your sleeves and dig in!
Maybe you know you're stressed or anxious and you're looking for ways to reduce your anxiety. Maybe you're not sure if you're anxious, but people around you have told you to "calm down" or "chill out" and you're looking for ways to do that.
Look no further.
This list, while likely nothing new to you, contains proven methods for calming the sympathetic nervous system (the part of your brain and body responsible for releasing stress chemicals) and getting you on your way to chill town.
Taking time to relieve stress might just add years to your life. And, even if you're not stressed, doing the things listed above can add to your overall wellness. Doesn't matter if you choose just one or decide to tackle the whole list, if you create a consistent routine -- preferably daily, but as many days as you can -- you'll be on your way to cool-as-a-cucumber status.
When an accident happens -- fall, bicycle or car crash, assault -- our bodies have natural physiological responses to those events. These responses help our brains and bodies release chemicals to help our bodies cope during and after the event.
In most accidents or assaults, we become immobilized in some way; we're physically unable to move, we have determined we shouldn't, or both. Immediately after an accident, our bodies might shake, tremble, cry, or breathe rapidly to release energy that was unable to be released during the event because of our immobilization. Allowing our bodies to engage in these physiological responses can be vital to the successful resolution of these events.
Oftentimes, though, we don't allow ourselves or others to have these natural responses. We're embarrassed to cry so we hold back our tears. We think it's inappropriate to scream so we muffle our voices. We're frightened of the sensation of our body's uncontrolled trembling so we try to remain still. By not allowing the release of pent-up, stressful energy, we walk around with unresolved stress reactions, which is unhealthy and problematic -- in both the short- and long-term.
You see, that energy remains until we burn it off, and intense or chronic stress is damaging to our bodies. The longer it takes for us to release that energy, the more likely we will have physical and/or emotional problems (heart disease, autoimmune disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, emotional instability, behavioral outbursts).
So, the next time you or someone you're with experiences an accident or assault, allow your body to engage in the natural release of energy afterward. You even can help express that energy by purposefully engaging in movement activities such as gentle rocking or shaking, bouncing, walking, arm circles, or lunges.
If you experienced an accident or assault and still feel stuck in those experiences, consider working with someone who specializes in helping people work through those past negative events. EMDR, yoga, hypnosis, and other body-focused (somatosensory) treatments are known to decrease or completely eliminate negative symptoms that result from accidents or assaults. Just be sure the person you choose to work with has specific training in working with survivors of accidents or assaults.
Half of U.S. children have divorced parents. Many of those children go back and forth from one parent’s house to the other. Maybe they are 1 week on, 1 week off. Maybe they are 1 day a week and every other weekend. Maybe they spend most days at one parent’s house and then school breaks at the other house. Whatever the case, these kids get used to packing a bag and going to another house.
How can you make that better for them?
Forgo the suitcase
Forgo using the terms “Mom’s house” or “Dad’s house."
Examples of exclusive and inclusive statements
A fractured home almost always is irreparable. While fractured homes sometimes are safer and healthier for all involved, oftentimes they are disruptive for a child’s development, so anything you can do to foster stability and security in your child’s life after divorce is best.
Belonging, connection, stability, and security are key factors in healthy child development. While being civil with an ex-partner may be incredibly difficult, that civility is important for your child after divorce.
Something you never want your child to experience is sexual abuse. But what if your child has? Will she or he be damaged for life?
Child sexual abuse certainly can be a damaging experience for a child. Not just the act of the abuse is damaging, but also any negative fall-out from the abuse (separation from the abuser who often is a loved one, divorce, jail time, court proceedings, telling the story over and over to different service providers, emotional turmoil of others, removal from home, etc.), but that damage doesn’t have to last a lifetime.
First, many children are not clinically traumatized by the abuse. If the abuse was not threatening, violent, or painful, a child might not have a fear reaction from it. Many times, education about body safety is all a child needs to move forward.
Even if a child is bothered or traumatized by the abuse, appropriate intervention can heal and help children move forward. There are multiple evidence-based therapies for children who have been abused. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), for example, has an 80% success rate, meaning 80% of children who receive TF-CBT from start to finish will see their clinical symptoms significantly diminish or completely disappear.
Sexual abuse is one experience of many in a child’s life, and it does not have to define the child. There are good, effective treatments that can be applied to heal the child so she can move forward and have a stable, successful, and satisfying life.
1. SEXUAL ABUSE
1 in 10 children are sexually abused. 20% of those are abused before age 8. They need to have the right words to tell what's happened to them. Why? Consider these examples.
2. OPEN THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION
Most parents want their children to talk to them about anything -- any problem, any success, any ailment. But if you start their life shrouding their private parts in secrecy, you are closing the line of communication to that topic. Here's why closed communication about private parts is harmful:
Let Kids be Kids
At the end of the day, private parts truly are just parts of the body. Adults are the ones who sexualize these parts and then assume children do, too. Really, unless a child has been exposed to sex, private parts are bathroom parts to them. A penis is used for peeing, an anus for pooping.
So, get comfortable with the words penis, scrotum, testicles, anus, vagina, vulva and more, and then teach your kids the correct names for their anatomy.
For additional information about children, child abuse, and parenting, visit this resource.