Thursday, April 19, 2018

Red Flag Behaviors - Responding To Clues Kids Aren't Coping

Experiencing stress is part of growing up. What happens when children feel overwhelmed by stress? If your child is under age six, the result is often a tantrum. They aren’t trying to misbehave. They simply have not developed better coping skills.

Older kids may also have meltdowns when they are flooded with strong feelings. They are developing better coping skills but may not have the presence of mind to use those skills.

All kids experience stress. Some turn to talking to friends while others try escaping with drugs. How are your kids coping with their stress?

Developing Healthy Coping Strategies

Your kids may feel pressure to do well at school, sports and other activities. They also have various social pressures with classmates, friends and family.

Since all kids need to handle stress, developing healthy strategies is important. What do your kids like to do to calm down? Some healthy ways kids cope with stress include:
  • Drawing or coloring
  • Listening to music
  • Playing an instrument
  • Meditating
  • Talking to someone
  • Exercising or going for a walk
  • Writing in a journal
  • Practicing a sport
  • Reading
Ideally your children have many healthy coping skills to choose from. Establishing a daily practice for dealing with stress is helpful.

Recognizing Unhealthy Coping Behaviors


When your kids are overextended or exhausted, their coping skills may start to crumble. Even though they were coping well a few days ago, they may not be able to do it today.

Some behaviors indicate potentially serious problems in coping with stress. It’s natural to want to minimize the possible consequences and hope that things will get better. Don’t all teens act like this? Isn’t this a phase that will soon pass?

What behaviors may indicate a problem? Red flag behaviors include:

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Reducing Suicide Among Kids

You love your kids. The last thing you want to think about is that your child might commit suicide. Tragically suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids and youth ages 5 to 24-years-old.

Is there anything you can do today to prevent a tragedy like this from happening? Some parents who have suffered the devastating loss of their child to suicide are working hard to prevent it in other families.

Opening Up About Depression and Suicide

John and Susie Trautwein lost their 15-year-old son, Will, to suicide. Will is the oldest of their four children. In John’s book, My Living Will: A Father’s Story of Loss & Hope, he describes their families’ fun, loving atmosphere. The night Will hung himself they had no indication that he was depressed let alone suicidal.

Will was doing well in school and sports plus had plenty of friends. It’s hard to imagine that kids like Will would feel like ending their lives. Yet it happens.

Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer and winner of 28 medals, has struggled with depression since his teens. In this MSN article titled “Michael Phelps: 'I am extremely thankful that I did not take my life'” Phelps reports falling into major depression after every Olympics. He finally reached out for help when he hit an all-time low where he wasn’t eating or sleeping well and didn’t want to be alive.

The article quotes Phelps saying "I was very good at compartmentalizing things and stuffing things away that I didn't want to talk about, I didn't want to deal with, I didn't want to bring up -- I just never ever wanted to see those things." After learning to talk about his feelings, he reports life was much easier.

People who share their struggles with suicidal thoughts help break the taboo of talking about it. Seattle Times columnist Matt Calkins wrote about his own mental health challenges in this article “Player’s Death A Reminder Help is Here”. He was inspired to share his struggles after the suicide death of Washington State college quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

Recognizing Boys’ Vulnerable Feelings

Males are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than females. Part of what puts them at higher risk is society’s expectations of males.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Establishing Healthier Eating Habits

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat healthy? If so, you have plenty of company! While it seems like it should not be that difficult to have children eat plenty of nutritious food, for many it’s an ongoing struggle.

When there’s tension around what your kids are eating, it adds stress to every meal. It doesn’t have to be that way. Changing your approach so that healthy eating is no longer a battle is worth the effort.

Recognizing Eating Issues

How do nutrition-smart parents raise kids who exist on mac and cheese, yogurt, goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets? Your nutritional knowledge can unintentionally help you justify feeding your children junk food. If you find yourself saying “well at least it has Vitamin C”, you’ve fallen into this trap!

Do you need to adjust your family’s eating habits to be healthier? These signs indicate a need to make some changes:
  • You find yourself begging your kids to eat just two more bites.
  • You battle with your kids over eating enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Your children are overweight.
  • Your children often aren’t hungry at meal time.
  • You justify poor food choices with saying things like “at least it has protein”.
  • Your children typically eat something other than what is being served for dinner.
  • Meal time is filled with tension.
  • When you eat at someone else’s house, you bring special food for your child.

If any of these signs resonate with you, it’s time to make some changes.

Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

Dr. Dina Rose discusses helping kids eat well in her book, It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. She focuses on teaching your kids healthy habits that will last their lifetime.


Picture Courtesy of Pinterest Search for Vegetable Recipes

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