Monday, October 21, 2013

Fill Your Cup

     It’s easy to get pulled into the everyday routines of caring for your kids or others, focusing on work and deadlines - the last thing you think to do is care for yourself. When you take care of yourself, you take care of your family - something I call filling your family’s cup. By doing something that feeds you, you are feeding your family.  You will have more energy, enthusiasm, and emotional presence. Doing something for yourself can be as simple as a quiet  cup of tea, hike or walk on the beach, ten minutes to read the news, talk with a friend, date night, basketball game, or yoga class.
     This week I challenge you to do one thing for yourself each day. Schedule it as an appointment or a meeting and do not cancel. You deserve it. You are worthy of your own love.

Share with us what you will do for you this week!

Blessings and Love,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Black Dot: How to Shift Your Negative Thought

The Black Dot
By Jamie Perillo, LPC

     When I was twelve I attended a holiday service with my mother. We were shown a large white poster board with a black dot in the center and were asked, “What do you see?” At twelve, not too happy to be there on a Saturday afternoon, I remember thinking this was a silly question. ” I see a black dot. There’s nothing else to see."

     I was gratefully proven wrong.  The speaker explained, “You have two choices.  You can see the black dot or you can see a large piece of beautiful white paper with lots of room to write on.” In life, we have a choice – we can focus on the negative or we can try to see the positive. We have the choice to fixate on the black dot or see beyond the dot and open our mind to all of the possibilities the situation might bring.

     When children come in anxious or stuck in negative thinking patterns I show them the paper with the black dot. Initially I am met with the same, “Are you kidding me?” look I gave many years ago. But as I explain the purpose in the exercise their eyes brighten and the lesson is understood.
If your child is having difficulty stuck in negative thought patterns or anxious, try showing them the paper with the black dot.  It will be a lesson that sticks with them years later.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Talk to Your Kids About Tragedy in the News

How to Talk to Your Kids About Tragedy in the News

I am saddened to have to post this today. It seems in the past twelve months I've posted something similar too much. It's overwhelming. I've already spoken to parents who are saying, "Parenting feels so difficult today. How do I explain this?"

Parenting is difficult, especially when events like the tragedy in Boston yesterday occur. You want to shield your child's innocence, and protect them from worry and fear - all while you are whirling inside with anger, sadness, or worry.

Here are some tips to talk to your child about tragedy in the news:

1. Before you talk to your child or answer any questions, check in with your own feelings. Take a deep breathe. Be honest with yourself because children are perceptive and they will notice too. It's okay to say, "Mommy feels sad for the people who were hurt." Follow up, with a positive statement for your child, such as suggesting a way to volunteer help or a reminder of why your child is safe.

2. Explore your child's thoughts. If they ask a question inquire further. Find out what they know and how they feel about it - don't assume. Kids talk and have great imaginations - check in with what they know. (Ask without providing too much detail)

3. Validate your child's feelings with statements such as, " It was a scary event." Statements such as "Don't worry about it, you don't need to feel scared, or "get over it" are not helpful.

4. The news can make events that are uncommon feel as though they happen everyday everywhere affecting a child's sense of safety. Talk to your child about the news, how they focus on such events, and remind your child such disasters are not as common as the news may make it sound. Shield your child's exposure to the news.

4. Get concrete. Talk numbers. For example, how many marathons occur every year and how many people were safe. Remind your child they are safe and why.

5. Keep explanations simple and age appropriate.

6. Check in with your teens. With technology today it is quit likely they have been exposed to information about the tragedy. Talk to them.

7. Invite your child to get involved in a volunteer project to help others. This is a great tool in helping deal with tragedy and disasters. For example, send cards, make a donation, or look up ways you can help the people of Boston. 

8. Instill some hope. Remind your child, as Mr. Roger's says, "Of the helpers." Talk about the emergency responders, the heroic bystanders and runners who did not run away but towards the people to offer help. In times of crisis, remind your child there are always people to help. That the helpers outnumber the those that hurt. 

9. Seek support if your child is appearing overly anxious or withdrawn.