As you approach the new year, take time to reflect on all that you have done and all that you have learned. For self reflection, try this simple exercise of journaling about the year. Jot down thoughts about something you learned every month of 2015. If it is difficult to come up with, it may mean you need to spend more time considering what "learning" means for you. This is something that is different for everyone and open to interpretation. The point of this is not to "learn from your mistakes", but rather to simply learn. By realizing that we are learning all of the time, we accept that we do not know everything which lessens the pressure of perfectionism and decreases daily anxiety.
Are you a company, school, organization or group looking to have an inservice on a mental health topic? I have availability in January and can meet with you beforehand in order to discuss your needs and/or what services you are looking for. I also offer mental health screenings during these inservices if requested. Please contact me with any questions or to schedule a time to meet and get set up. I look forward to working with you.
I have worked with several families and children who are struggling for different reasons. It is my job to help them first identify sources of conflict and then work towards healthier outcomes. More often than not, I see children who are wise beyond their years. They have seen, heard and witnessed more things than I may ever in my lifetime. This forces them to grow up quickly, to act as if they are mature and take responsibility for things that they should not be taking responsibility for at such a young age. I am a mom myself, and I want nothing more than to keep my child safe and protect him from everything that I possibly can. At the same time, I know that I cannot be with him 24/7. However, it is important to have a clear understanding of what is "kid info" and what is "adult info". Be very aware that there are listening ears everywhere. Even when you think your kids are wrapped up in playing with their Rescuebots or My Little Ponies, they are listening when you vent your anger at the customer service rep on the phone, or when you mumble under your breath when you are arguing with your partner. Children are like sponges, and when they take in "adult information", they may not know what to do with it causing emotional distress. Or even worse, they see how you are reacting to something negatively, store it in their memory bank, and use that same behavior in the future.
Emotional regulation is hard enough to get a grasp of for ourselves. Teaching it to our children can be that much easier if we simply display that we are in control of our emotions. On the same note, keep the lines of communication open with your children. Let them know that ANY emotion they feel is OK. How often have you said something like, "That shouldn't make you sad." or "You can't be mad over that." All this does is tell them that what they are feeling is wrong. Instead, ask them why and offer solutions. As adults, we know how it feels to be sad, angry, mad, etc. We also aren't very happy when someone tries to tell us not to be. Accept that your kids have emotions just like you do, and they are learning to control them, just as you are. Be the example that shows them a positive way to do that.