Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Parenting: It’s not for Sissies

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I did. Although, it seems like the holidays fly by faster and faster every year. I love the holidays and it’s always great to get together with the family and catch up.

I was also productive with my writing. I got a couple of scenes done and I’m getting closer to the end. I’m hoping I’ll get this done by the end of the year or maybe even January. Cross your fingers for me. It’s getting close. 😊

 

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the sadness of watching your children grow and become more independent. I know they’re supposed to grow up and move away, but I get so much joy just hanging out with them and hearing their stories that it makes me sad to think about the time when they won’t be there. I’m sure every parent experiences this, but for some reason, I’m becoming more acutely aware of it every year that passes.

Photo credit: Ted’s photos – For Me & You on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I enjoyed all of it, watching them grow and watching their personalities develop. That’s why when I hear statistics saying that the suicide rate for teens has doubled. It scares me. I don’t want to lose my kids to something like that. So, I talk to them about depression and anxiety. I tell them that anxiety runs in our family and if they’re feeling anxious, they can talk to me or the hubster. But I worry. I worry that talking about it isn’t enough.

So, I try to tell them about coping mechanisms they can use to relieve their anxiety or stress. I tell them how exercise is a great way to calm your mind. I’m hoping to get them into the habit of exercising at least three or four times a week. Right now, they have gym class so it’s not a big deal, but later in life exercising a couple times a week will help them manage their stress.

Photo on Visual hunt

I’m trying to prepare them for every situation that comes down the pike, but this is an impossible task. Some things we can only learn through experiencing them first hand.  I hope I’ve given them enough so they’re resilient when adversity strikes. I hope. I hope. I hope.

I know every parent has these thoughts and feelings and I’ll get through them, but I miss those years when they were younger, and they came to me with all their problems. Those years went by so fast. In the blink of an eye they became teenagers with smart mouths and sassy attitudes. I love to hear them stand up for themselves though. It does my heart good to know they’re not afraid to voice their opinion even if they’re different from mine.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

Parenting is a tough gig. No one prepares you for when the kids start to leave the nest. Sigh. They’re not there yet, but it’s coming, and I can tell when it happens, I’m going to be a mess. Thanks for reading my rambling post today. Do you have any ideas on how to handle your kids’ growing independence? If you’ve got some advice, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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.

 

Photo credit: Mitchio on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

 

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.

 

Photo credit: Sangudo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

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 community, Public Service Announcements

Gone Too Soon

 

This week I’d like to dedicate this post to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. It makes me sad to think these bright, creative people had such scary demons they felt the only recourse they had was to end their lives.

 

Photo credit: annainaustin on Visualhunt / CC BY

Photo credit: AIGA New York Chapter on Visual Hunt / CC BY

Depression is such a scary thing to deal with because your brain tells you lies. It tells you you’re not good enough. Your family will be better off without you. You’re a burden. And it never stops telling you these horrible things. I imagine Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were dealing with these demons for a very long time and the battle wore them out.

I wish we could pull together and fight this disease. Please, if you’re feeling down talk to a professional before it’s too late. Someone who can help you with these intense feelings and help you back to a healthier way of thinking.

If someone isn’t available please call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 and let them help you.

And if you don’t suffer from this disease but you see someone struggling with it, please reach out and lend them a hand. Sometimes all they need a little guidance back to the light.

RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. You will be missed.

Posted in Parenting, Teen

What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of summer I used to love. However, I’m old now and the heat isn’t quite as much fun. Thank God for Air Conditioning! 🙂

It saddened me this week when I learned of Chester Bennington’s death. For any of you who haven’t heard, he was the lead singer of Linkin Park and he committed suicide this week.

 

It just breaks my heart that someone who gave so much to the world struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was further saddened when I found out that Chester was abused when he was a child by an older male.

I’ve done a little research on alcohol and drug abuse and it’s my opinion that the majority of addictions stem from abuse. Either emotional, physical, or sexual. I believe an addiction is a form of self-medication that has run amuck.

Photo via VisualHunt

Addiction is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So we as a society need to stop treating addiction like it’s something to be ashamed of. We need to support our addicts and help them get better. How do we do that?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Good question and I’m glad you asked. 🙂

We need to treat the underlying cause of the addiction. We need to get our loved one into therapy so he can deal with the abuse he has received. Once we give him coping mechanisms for that abuse, the need to self-medicate will disappear.

I know it sounds so easy, but we all know it’s not. Dealing with the shame, fear, and anxiety this abuse causes is extremely hard. Abusers are smart. They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to speak up and stop them. A fine example of this is the documentary, “The Keepers.” I know I’ve mentioned this one a number of times, but I’ve got to say I’m amazed by the outpouring of support the victims of Father Maskell have received. There are over one hundred thousand members in their Facebook group and the majority of members offer support to the victims who are willing to speak out about the abuse they’ve experienced.

Their goal is to get the Archdiocese to release their files on Father Maskell. They’ve got a petition going where they are asking the Bishop to release the files. If you’d like to sign the petition, click here:

Petition for The Archdiocese to Release Files on Father Maskell

They’ve got about forty thousand signatures and they’re hoping to reach fifty thousand.  This is a step in the right direction. The church needs to be held accountable for hiding the abuse and not turning the pedophiles into the authorities.

There are other forms of abuse that priests and other members of our society are involved in as well. I’m talking about human trafficking. Recently, I watched the documentary, “I am Jane Doe.”  Here’s the link to the trailer.

I am Jane Doe

Teens are being taken right off the streets and sold online. They are forced to have sex up to twenty times a day. It’s happening in every state in the US. It’s not just a problem overseas. How do we stop this?

By arresting the people who pay for this kind of thing. Once you eliminate the demand there’s no one to buy the product. I know easier said than done. (I think I’ll save this one for another blog post. It deserves its own.)

Photo credit: dualdflipflop via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is another form of abuse that will lead to addiction if these victims don’t get help. These victims did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, but our society engages in victim-blaming quite often. So not only are they dealing with trying to come to terms with what happened to them, they’ve got society pointing an accusing finger as well. So you see how easy it is to slip into self-medicating behavior?

Once we step forward and stop the victim-blaming, we’ll be able to provide these people with the counseling and help they need. This is a huge step, I know. There are so many abused people in the world today. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any ideas on what more we can do to stop this horrific abuse? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Teens: Beware the Blue Whale

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you and that you all had a Happy Mother’s Day. I’m back today and I’m talking about something called the Blue Whale Suicide Game. Have you heard of it?

Photo credit: Benjamin Lehman via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

No?

Well let me fill you in. It is a game that encourages teens to commit suicide. It’s name is derived from the fact Blue Whales sometimes beach themselves to die.

According to this article, http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/blue-whale-challenge

at least one hundred and thirty Russian teen suicides have been linked to this game. This is how it works. An administrator assigns tasks to the teens who sign up to play. The tasks range from waking up at an odd time, watching a horror movie, to self-harm. The teen has fifty days to complete the tasks and they have to post proof for the administrator to validate. At the end of the fifty days, they’re encouraged to commit suicide.

The game is now spreading across the UK via social media. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/806384/Blue-Whale-Game-Suicide-Challenge-UK

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Now, it hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt the Blue Whale game is responsible for those one hundred and thirty suicides, but those teens were all part of the same group. Besides, do we need to prove it? Isn’t the fact that the game exists at all a major red flag for anyone?

I hate to say this because I’m not one for a great deal of regulation, but apparently we need some sort of guidelines for the internet. First of all, this game shouldn’t even exist. It needs to be removed from the web. We need some sort of committee to regulate apps so kids can’t access these games.

Of course, creating a regulating body takes time. So what do we do in the meantime? We must warn our kids against this game. Tell them in no uncertain terms not to play. Even if all their friends are doing it. Give them the tools they need to deal with peer pressure because that is how the Blue Whale hooks these kids. Here’s a great article on dealing with peer pressure. http://www.yourlifecounts.org/blog/20-ways-avoid-peer-pressure

 

The man behind this game claims he’s cleansing society. Isn’t this kind of thinking considered a mental illness? If it’s not, it should be. This guy reminds me of Hitler and we all know where his thinking got us, don’t we?

Photo credit: ksablan via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! Do you have any ideas on how to stop this insidious game? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, Teen

Teen Depression: What it looks like and What You Can Do

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. Because we’re on vacation and I’m dealing with some health issues, I’m reblogging this post from a year ago. I hope you don’t mind and I hope it helps you with your teen! Happy Reading!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you!

I’m back on track today discussing issues that affect young adults. Today I wanted to touch on a topic that affects many people, but it’s especially tricky to spot in teenagers. That issue is depression.

According to Familyfirstaid.org, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. I don’t know about you, but I found this statistic staggering!

The most common cause of suicide is depression. That being said, I’m deducing that since suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teenagers that many teens are depressed, but only 1 in 5 teenagers receive help for this ailment. So, my theory is that if we start treating the depression in our young people the suicide rate will drop.

According to Helpguide.org, occasional bad moods and acting out is normal…

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Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Looking for Alaska”

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been up to the cottage this week enjoying the hot weather before school starts. I can’t believe summer is almost over and neither can my boys.

A few weeks ago, I read the book “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. I enjoyed the story and the cover and blurb are below:

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award An ALA Best Book for Young Adults An ALA Quick Pick A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

My thoughts:

“Looking for Alaska” is the story that’s told from Miles point of view. Miles is sent away to boarding school where he meets vivacious Alaska, and his life is never the same.

Miles not only meets Alaska, but a number of new friends as well. The story documents their adventures and Miles’ reactions to them.  It’s a great novel and I like reading the story from a young boy’s point of view. There aren’t many stories that are told from that view point.

The story revolves around Miles’ fascination with Alaska and his reaction when she abruptly dies. All of her friends experience the guilt of letting her drive while she was under the influence. It was sad and maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much as “Paper Towns.”  It deals with death and the possibility that Alaska committed suicide.

It delves into this dark issue and brings back some of the painful memories we all have of high school and our own dark days. I must say that I will probably pick up another John Green book even though this one was on the sad side for me.

Posted in Uncategorized

Teen Depression: What it looks like and What You Can Do

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you!

I’m back on track today discussing issues that affect young adults. Today I wanted to touch on a topic that affects many people, but it’s especially tricky to spot in teenagers. That issue is depression.

According to Familyfirstaid.org, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. I don’t know about you, but I found this statistic staggering!

The most common cause of suicide is depression. That being said, I’m deducing that since suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teenagers that many teens are depressed, but only 1 in 5 teenagers receive help for this ailment. So, my theory is that if we start treating the depression in our young people the suicide rate will drop.

According to Helpguide.org, occasional bad moods and acting out is normal for teens as they go through puberty and try to find their place in the world. This behavior can look like depression, but it’s not. Depression is different. It causes an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger.

So how can you tell if your teen is going through the regular teenage angst that all teens go through or if what he/she is experiencing is depression? This is a very good question.

Again, according to Helpguide.org, the answer is the length of time the symptoms have been present and the severity of the symptoms. Long lasting changes in mood, personality, and behavior are all red flags to a deeper problem.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of depression. You can find them all at Helpguide.org.

  • Sadness or Hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or Frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Loss of Interest in Activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lack of Enthusiasm or motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What can you do if you suspect your teen is depressed?

  • Offer support- Let your teenager know you’re there for them.
  • Be gentle but persistent- Don’t give up if your teen shuts you out at first.
  • Listen without lecturing- Resist any urge to criticize or judge once your teen decides to talk
  • Validate Feelings- Acknowledge the pain and sadness they are feeling

Getting treatment for Teen Depression

Take your child to your family physician and get a complete physical. Make sure you explain your teenager’s symptoms of depression.

Seek out a Depression Specialist

If your family physician does not find any health issues causing your teen’s depression then speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in adolescence, and then listen to the advice of your counselor.

Teen depression is a serious situation, but there is help out there. You can visit Helpguide.org for more information, and I want to thank them for the valuable information used in this post.

If you have any insight into this issue please leave a comment. It may help someone who is suffering from depression. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Posted in Uncategorized

Another thought on the movie “Bully”

Hello again! I was thinking about the movie this morning as my two kids were trying to drag me out of bed, and my thoughts turned to the bullies themselves. No where in the movie did it show any consequences for the bullies. It left me wondering, are there consquences, and if not how come?

I believe there should be. Kids should be kicked out of school for harrassment. Victims should be able to take legal action against these bullies. They should be able to get restraining orders. I’m really surprised that the lawyers haven’t jumped on this bandwagon and sued the parents of bullies.

How about the schools that turn a blind eye to this stuff? I think they should be prosecuted too. I bet a lawsuit would get everyone’s attention, and then it would be taken seriously. Isn’t that sad? That it takes the fear of a  lawsuit to get any action out of adminstrators. Just some thoughts! Let me know what you think! 🙂