Posted in mental-health, Parenting, Teen

Could Gaming be the Reason Teen Depression is on the Rise?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with working and Christmas shopping and writing. So, it has been productive. I had lunch today with a couple of friends from my writer’s group. I haven’t seen either one of them in a long time and it was good to see them.

Oddly enough we didn’t talk about writing. We talked about personal struggles and dealing with life. It was good to talk with them and open up about our fears for our kids and the trials we’re dealing with in our daily lives.

 

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It made me think about how different my childhood was compared to my own children’s. With the advances in technology, I find my kids spend more time in front of a computer screen than they do running around outside playing games like Kick the Can or Capture the Flag. This got me thinking about how teen depression is on the rise and it wasn’t a huge leap for me to think the advances in technology are to blame. Is that a fair conclusion for me to draw? Click here to see a study regarding this question.

The answer isn’t quite as simple as a definitive yes or no. Because there are some positive aspects to video games. Gaming is a great coping mechanism and it improves hand eye coordination and teaches teamwork when teens must work with another player to accomplish a goal. However, there are some negatives. Gaming can become addictive and it is isolating. It doesn’t provide the physical activity a young person needs to develop a strong body and physical activity, or exercise is a great way to combat depression.

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Especially in the Midwest, where it’s winter for nine months of the year, it’s important for kids to get outside and get that Vitamin D from the sun, and it’s equally important that they get outside and move their bodies.

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Statistics show that teen depression is on the rise. Exercise and getting out into nature are excellent ways to combat depression. Gaming doesn’t have the positive physical effects that exercise does. Exercise and getting out into nature are not only good for your soul they’re good for your body as well.

So, what is the answer? The answer is two-fold. I believe moderation is the key when it comes to gaming. Limiting the amount of time kids are on the computer is a key component to combating depression, but we need to also teach teens other coping mechanisms as well. We need to teach them to value nature and to respect our connection to it, and to get them into the habit of exercising at least one hour a day.

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This summer, I’m planning on taking my kids for a hike at least once a week. It will be a great way to stay connected to them and hopefully will develop some excellent ways for them to cope with the turbulent teen years they are about to start. They’ll be getting out into nature and exercising at the same time. I’m also going to insist they get outside for at least one hour during the day. We are fortunate that we have neighbor kids near us, and they do get together and play football or basketball when the weather permits.

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What about you? How do you feel about gaming? Do you think it’s the cause for the rise in depression? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Mentors are Gold for your Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, let’s home it’s not an optical illusion. 😉

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But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about being or finding mentors for our kids. I can make suggestions to them until I’m blue in the face and they won’t be motivated to try my suggestion, but if another adult whom they respect makes the same suggestion. Bingo. They’re all for it. I don’t feel bad about this. The reason this happens is because I’m their mom and I love them no matter what, so I’m always going to see the good in them, but another adult who notices a spark… well then it must be true, right?

I stumbled on this concept last year when the tennis coach asked my youngest to join the team. He had never expressed an interest in tennis, but just the fact the coach asked him to join was a huge factor. His father and I had been trying to get him to join a team because he’s very athletic, but every sport we suggested he didn’t want to participate in it. He joined the tennis team and enjoyed it so much that he’s planning on doing it again this year.

 

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So, when a friend complained to me about how her son was nominated for the National Honors Society at his school and he didn’t want to do it because he had to do thirty hours of community service, I decided to test my theory. I suggested to her  she have one of his teachers encourage him to join. She did and now her son is taking the steps necessary to join the National Honors Society.

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Teachers your kids respect are gold. If you can have them help you with your child, do it. The teens years are tumultuous to say the least and I’m not ashamed to say that our teens need all the help they can get. So, don’t underestimate the influence teachers have over your kids. It doesn’t take much. Just a suggestion or a request from one of them is all it takes. Teachers do make a lasting impression on our kids. There’s no doubt about that.

 

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However, it doesn’t have to be a teacher, it could be a coach, a scout leader, or a favorite uncle or aunt. It takes a village to raise your kids and finding them a mentor who believes in them is a great place to start.

How about you? Do you have any ideas that will help parents through the teen years? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! I need all the help I can get! 😉

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal, Teen

The Book Every Parent Needs to Read

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy weekend of writing, family time, running, and cleaning. Yes. I was able to get all of that in in one weekend. LOL! Plus, a date night with my hubby! 😉

I also picked up a book recommended to me by one of my friends, so I thought I’d pass the information on to you. It’s called “The Stressed Years of their Lives.” It’s about helping kids handle the college years and beyond.

 

From two leading child and adolescent mental health experts comes a guide for the parents of every college and college-bound student who want to know what’s normal mental health and behavior, what’s not, and how to intervene before it’s too late.

“The title says it all…Chock full of practical tools, resources and the wisdom that comes with years of experience, The Stressed Years of their Lives is destined to become a well-thumbed handbook to help families cope with this modern age of anxiety.”
― Brigid Schulte, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of Overwhelmed and director of the Better Life Lab at New America

All parenting is in preparation for letting go. However, the paradox of parenting is that the more we learn about late adolescent development and risk, the more frightened we become for our children, and the more we want to stay involved in their lives. This becomes particularly necessary, and also particularly challenging, in mid- to late adolescence, the years just before and after students head off to college. These years coincide with the emergence of many mood disorders and other mental health issues.

When family psychologist Dr. B. Janet Hibbs’s own son came home from college mired in a dangerous depressive spiral, she turned to Dr. Anthony Rostain. Dr. Rostain has a secret superpower: he understands the arcane rules governing privacy and parental involvement in students’ mental health care on college campuses, the same rules that sometimes hold parents back from getting good care for their kids. Now, these two doctors have combined their expertise to corral the crucial emotional skills and lessons that every parent and student can learn for a successful launch from home to college.

 

 

In our society, suicide is the second largest killer of our young people today. Let that sink in. It’s the second largest, know what the first is? Accidental overdoses and alcohol poisoning. I don’t know about you, but these statistics scare me. What is happening to our young people today?

I compare my teen years to my kids’ teen years, and it is a totally different era. I know it was a long time ago, but still. 😉

I was so much more active than kids are these days. We used to play kick the can and capture the flag with our neighborhood friends until dark. Summer was a magical time. I was outside all day. Kids these days are not. We have become the indoor generation. I try to get them outside for at least an hour a day, but when the weather’s bad or it’s too hot. It isn’t always possible. Parents are caught between providing for their kids, meaning both work or making sacrifices, where one spouse stays home, and maybe having their kids apply for student loans to get through school. Then the kids are strapped with thirty thousand dollars or more in debt when they get out of school. No wonder our kids are stressed.

 

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According to the authors of the book, we are in a constant state of striving. Striving toward our goals, striving to be the best we can be, and striving to live our best life. So, our kids lack the skills of self-care and behavior management that they so desperately need, and they are woefully unprepared for college life and beyond. I agree with this statement. I remember the high anxiety I felt during those early years. Fear of making a mistake and becoming a failure before the age of twenty-five.

As parents, we need to teach our kids reasonable expectations. They aren’t going to have it all by the time they’re twenty-five. They just aren’t. It might take them a few years to find that perfect job or the right spouse, and we have to teach them there are going to be bumps in the road. For example, room-mate issues, nasty break-ups, and sometimes getting fired from a job. We have to teach them to manage dealing with a bad boss, because sometimes you have to put up with that because you need the job. They must learn the world is an imperfect place and life just isn’t fair. We must teach them strength of character, grit, and resilience. They must learn how to overcome obstacles, deal with rejection, and learn to keep moving forward.

 

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This book is going to give me insight on how to do just that. I’m hoping it’ll give me tools to help my kids manage their fears and anxiety, so they don’t become paralyzed when dealing with some of the issues I’ve mentioned. And lastly, and most importantly, it will help me convey to them that when life does become too much to bear, like a nasty break-up or getting fired from a job, that they can reach out for help. Help from parents, grandparents, and even professional counselors. So, I will keep you all posted on the golden nuggets I get from this book and I urge you to pick up a copy yourself.

Do you have any tried and true methods of helping your teens deal with anxiety and depression? What are they? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Teen

Developing Emotional Intelligence

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been neglecting my blog because I’ve been focusing on getting my story together. It’s getting there and I’m loving it. So, sorry, but I’m not sorry. 😊

 

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Today, I’d like to talk about family time. It’s so important in today’s busy world. When did we become such a busy society? We’re always doing instead of taking moments to enjoy each other and our family members. My kids are growing up way too fast. It’s driving me crazy how fast they’re growing up. I’m trying to slow it down, but I can’t. It’s like a runaway freight train. So, I try to plan family nights and we try to eat our evening meals together. We also try to have one evening of family time where we watch a movie together or play cards.

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We were playing hearts last night and the boys were laughing because they were making sure I got all the hearts and the Queen of Spades. All the hearts except for a couple, so I couldn’t shoot the moon, but I digress. Anyway they were ganging up on me because that’s their way of saying they love me. 😉

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Out of the blue, my oldest says, “Look at her face. She’s getting mad.”

I wasn’t mad, but I wasn’t happy either and he picked up on that and the boys stopped teasing me. I still lost, but that’s beside the point.

I was happy to hear my son pick up on my frustration. I don’t like being ganged up on, and he could tell. This is an important lesson, and I’m glad my kids are learning it. They are developing their emotional intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is so important in life. Our teens need to be able to gauge when their spouse, or boss, or a co-worker are upset with them. All the screen time kids get takes away from their ability to pick up on social cues. So, we as parents have to provide them emotional intelligence lessons and I feel that last night was a good one. Even if I did lose. 😉

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I’m trying to give them as many teachable moments as I can because they are going to run into adversity and unfairness in the world. I hope I’m giving them the tools they’ll need to persevere and overcome it. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? How are you helping your kids develop their emotional intelligence? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

Image may contain: text

For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

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We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

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Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

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This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

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Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, social media, Teen

Social Media and its Effect on Conflict Resolution

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, shuttling my boys to places, and painting. Yes, that’s right. My friends and I got together and had a painting party. It was fun, and I highly recommend it.

 

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Today I’d like to talk about social media and its effect on our ability to resolve conflict. I was thinking about that this morning as I wiped the sleep from my eyes because I’m worried about what the future holds for my kids.

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In my opinion, social media is detrimental to teaching our littles the skill of resolving conflict, of compromising to get along. Why? Because they don’t have to come to a resolution, they just have to turn off the computer. However, they still have to deal with those negative emotions that negative comments and confrontational interactions stir up.

Being able to resolve conflict is an important skill for the working world. What are our littles going to do when they have an upset customer? You just can’t turn off the computer then.

Social Media allows people to turn off their filters and say whatever they want under the guise of just “expressing an opinion.” Then when things get too heated they’ll block someone or logout. So what happens when you’re dealing with someone in real life and things start escalating?

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We need to teach our littles to “agree to disagree” with respect. We can still respect someone who has a different opinion than ours. We as parents need to be the role models for this behavior.  Unfortunately, not all parents do this.

Another reason we need to teach and model appropriate behavior is because of the negative emotions that are stirred up when things escalate out of control. On social, media name calling and bullying cannot be tolerated. The effects of this type of behavior are resounding and have far-reaching consequences after the computer is turned off. Our nationwide suicide rate has increase 25% since 1999.

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Doesn’t that scare anyone? It should. When did social media make its first appearance? 1997. Then blogging became popular in 1999. In the early 2000’s My Space was born and following that, in 2005 YouTube arrived on the scene. Right on YouTube’s heels, Facebook and Twitter.

I hope I’m not the only one seeing a correlation here.

We need to make sure our kids learn how to negotiate and compromise for when they can’t turn off the computer. These skills are vital for them to make their way in the world long after we’re gone, wouldn’t you agree?

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We also need to teach them coping behaviors so they can deal with cyber bullies effectively. They need to learn how not to internalize negative messages and how to deal with the feelings they inspire. We need our “in real life” friends now more than ever, don’t you think?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. It ended up being much more serious than what I intended, but sometimes that happens, you know?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

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But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

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Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

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How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

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As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!