Family Health Parents Kids

Do you remember searching for four leaf clovers in the grass when you were a kid? Making dandelion necklace? Building forts with old cardboard boxes? What will your kids remember? Sitting in the back of a minivan? Ordering dinner at drive -through? Being shuttled from activity? More importantly, how will it affect their mental and physical health?

Emergency doctors are noticing more and more children coming into emergency rooms with racing hearts, sweating, feeling like they’re going to die, etc… all adult symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Common children stressors include: problems at home or school, parental conflicts, family money problems, health problems, changes to routine, distressing world events, and social problems, such as teasing and bullying.

Children often say “the morning rush hour stresses me”: I have to eat quickly, I have to get dressed fast, brush my teeth quickly, then pack my stuff!….

Academic stress or competitive sports can be healthy for children but it depends on how children manage the stressors and their sense of control. “If the stress is something over which they have no control, and that could be anything from a certain disaster to problems in the family, the results can be long-term physical and psychological health effects.

Signs that a child might be experiencing undue stress are:
” Recurring headaches, tummy aches or neck pain
” Increased irritability, sadness, panic, anger
” Trouble relaxing or sleeping
” Lethargy, daydreaming, withdrawal from activities
” Excessive energy or restlessness
” Reverting to less mature behaviour
” Nail biting, hair twisting, thumb sucking or sighing deeply
” Friend trouble
” Behavioural problems, such as biting, kicking, poor listening, restlessness, acting out, impulsiveness, poor school performance, whining, crying, and fighting.

Although there’s more research regarding the health effects of stress on adults, there’s no reason children wouldn’t experience similar effects.

What parents can do is often too simple, but due to their own stressors and busy lives, it often becomes challenging or pushed to the side:

1. Stop, look, and listen! This is one of the most effective and simplest strategies: really look at the child and seeing what they are doing, whether it’s darting eyes or raised shoulders…. and really listening to their concerns while a connection is established.

2. Help kids cope: the best defence against stress is a healthy balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity, quiet time and relaxation techniques, with a primary emphasis on affectionate parents who are good listeners.

3. Be a good role model. Parents are terrible stress models for kids. “Where’s the balance that we’re modelling for kids as we answer cell phone calls in the middle of soccer games or we bring briefcase of work on holidays?

Helping children gain a sense of control through effective problem solving and decision making are great strategies for stress management. But it’s important that parents first emulate the behaviour. Many professionals encourage parents to share their mistakes and challenges with their kids; this is an excellent and efficient way to teach them to problem solve when, for example they hear ” I blew it at work today and this is what I’m going to do to retrace my steps”

4. Play with your kids: Above all, parents need to play with their kids. “Get to know your kids and let them get to know you.” It’s the only way parents can determine if stress is a problem in their child’s life.

Some of the most important nutrients to help children cope with stress are the ones that strengthen the adrenal glands (stress glands):

” Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)-helps the adrenals function adequately
” Vitamin C-is vital for proper functioning of the adrenals
” L-Tyrosine (amino acid)-relieves excess stress put on the glands raw adrenal extract (adrenal glandular)-helps rebuild and repair the glands
” Coenzyme Q10-carries oxygen to the glands
” Multi vitamin-mineral complex-contains nutrients needed for correct functioning of the body

Naturopathic medicine offers many other therapies for reducing stress caused by the beginning of school, such as: botanical medicine, acupuncture and chinese medicine,homeopathy,etc.

Parenting Kids and Teens

How can we parent our kids and teens better? I think the answer lies in allowing our kids to have more choices, not fewer. We want to empower our kids and teens to make better choices for themselves, and this does not happen by wrapping them up in a cocoon. Here’s an example of something that hopefully will cause you to rethink some of your parenting strategies:

My mother and her sister were both given cigarettes at age six and eleven. Mum will not smoke now but her sister became a chain smoker from that experience. I think their father made a huge mistake, nevertheless he was trying to put them off smoking and knew no other way. Imagine if he had done what I have done with my teenagers:

I have always said to my kids, if you ever want to try out smoking, just let me know and we will sit down together so you can try one. Now, hear me out. This is my logic. The child who wants to try a cigarette will try one regardless of whether you agree or not. If you say no they will simply do it behind your back. That’s what kids do.

What if you were to let your child know that it is OK to want to try it out, but that you would prefer them to try it out in your presence? Doing this takes away the peer pressure that most kids face nowadays, leaving your child to make an educated choice without any pressure from anyone. Don’t you see the value in that?

The goal of parenting is to help your children learn to make great choices in life and when their friends are not pressuring them, they have the best chance to do this. Parents, you need to let your child know that it is OK to want to have a cigarette, but that they should bring their request to you. Believe me, this will save you from heart ache.

Parents need to control the environment as much as possible. I have three teenage boys and I have asked them to come to me should they ever wish to smoke a cigarette. I would then go out and buy the strongest available cigarette and watch them try smoking one.

I know it sounds weird but the safest place to try something like this is definitely with mum or dad. When you show your child or teenager that it is OK to want to try it, they will be less likely to go ahead with it. None of my boys have asked me to smoke with them yet and I have a funny feeling they won’t want to because I have empowered them in this area. It is no longer a big deal to them because I said they can try it out if they are curious.

The moral of the story? Try real hard not to forbid things that your child wants to do, rather channel them to do it in front of you so that you can supervise. Now that is great parenting of kids and teens.

Kim Patrick is a single mum with four children who lives on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. She is a parent coach, seminar speaker and author of the book “Get Your Child To Behave In 30 Days Or Less”.

Parenting Kids God’s Way

Parenting in today’s culture is one of the most difficult challenges families face. Because there are so many views concerning raising children and discipline, parents often find themselves at a crossroads when deciding how to handle these issues. The question we find ourselves asking is, “What is the best way to parent my children?”

As I have researched, studied, and read materials and books concerning parenting, I always return to the one place I know that offers sound wisdom and proven principles concerning parenting – God’s Word. God’s Word is very clear on issues concerning parenting, so I would like to focus on one such passage to help us better understand how to “Parent Kids God’s Way.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is a very important passage in Jewish culture and tradition. This passage is often referred to as the “Shema” and is one of the centerpieces of Jewish faith and prayer. It also gives strong instruction concerning parenting and family life. When I look at this passage, I see four key principles for parents and their relationship with their children:

1) LOVE YOUR CHILDREN THE WAY WE SHOULD LOVE GOD. Verse 5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your STRENGTH.” When we love our children with all of our HEART, we need to love them emotionally. Children deal with all kinds of positive and negative feelings, so emotions are an important part of their lives. We must help them work through their emotions while letting them see ours at the same time. When we love our children with all of our SOUL, we need to love them spiritually. As parents, one of our primary responsibilities is the spiritual formation of our children. When we teach them concerning the things of God and live our lives as an example for them, they will learn true devotion. When we love our children with all of our STRENGTH, we need to love them physically. Do you hug your children every day? Do you embrace them? Do you hold their hand when you’re walking somewhere? One thing our children should never lack is our deep affection.

2) LEAD WITH YOUR HEART. Verse 6 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” This is a direct address to the people, many of whom were parents. We can’t possibly hope to instill right beliefs, values, and morals into the hearts of our children if they are not in our hearts. Life can only produce life, so when we value the life, power, and Spirit of God in our own hearts and lives; it will spill over into the hearts and lives of our children.

3) USE TEACHABLE MOMENTS. Verses 6-7 strongly encourage us to do this. These verses talk about the various times and opportunities for spiritual instruction. If we were to write these verses in modern-day terms, perhaps it would read like this, “Talk about them when you’re riding in the car, outside playing, getting ready for school, walking in the grocery store, and so on.” In other words, there’s an opportunity in every situation you face for a teachable moment. Do you sit around the table together and have family meals? Do you take advantage of time when your children ask you to do something with them? Misty and I have learned with our own children that there are many daily opportunities to teach our children about life in general and life in Christ. Don’t let teachable moments become missed opportunities.

4) BE CONSISTENT. Verses 8-9 teach us something about consistency. These symbols that the Bible refers to are called phylacteries. Phylacteries were small boxes with tiny rolls of paper containing Old Testament Scriptures. They would be attached to pieces of leather or fabric and worn around the head and wrists as well as the doorframes and gates to constantly remind the value of God’s law. This would be done on a regular, consistent basis.

When it comes to parenting decisions, discipline, and discipleship we must be certain we are being consistent. When we are consistent in our role as parents, our children will be consistent in their response.

Parenting Kids With Autism

It can be very difficult, parenting kids with autism. There are so many issues that come up that wouldn’t normally come up if you had a typically developing kid. One of the troublesome ones can be toilet training. It can take some kids with autism years longer than their peers to learn how to use the toilet.

Fortunately, there are strategies that can help autistic kids.

It is common for parents of autistic kids to become frustrated when trying to get their loved ones to use the toilet. He just sits there and won’t do anything. Diapers can get bulky and annoying to change, and of course your child needs to be toilet trained, in most cases, in order to be able to go to school.

Toilet training is one of the more difficult issues in parenting kids with autism, but luckily, there are a lot of parents who have gone before you. Here are some tips.

  1. Take one step at a time. First and foremost, when you are teaching your child to use the toilet, you should break everything into small steps. This works best if your autistic child already has an understanding of what you use a toilet for. Some autistic kids have a lot of fear around a toilet. This could be because it’s so loud, or different, or even because they think they might fall in, but whatever it is, they need to know what the parts of the toilet are and you may need to show them the different parts of the toilet in a low pressure environment.

  1. Use physical rewards as encouragement. You will want to find some rewards that might be of interest your child. These can be anything from cookies or some food treat to action figures or baseball cards. Choose anything that is small and that you can keep in the bathroom so that you can access it easily. Of course we use these “reinforcers” to acknowledge a job well done and to say to your child that they have succeeded in the task at hand.

  1. Have patience. When you and your autistic child enter the bathroom, assume that you will stay for some time. Provide acknowledgement and praise if your child is willing to stay in the bathroom and does not want to leave. Provide a reward for staying close to the toilet. A good thing to do is to reward your child if he or she sits and stays on the toilet, even if they are doing nothing but sitting there! Remember that this can be a slow and gradual process and you will eventually get there.

  1. Reward any step accomplished successfully. If there is an “accident” go to the toilet, remove your child’s pants and show him or her were the waste goes. This will help your child realize where the waste is supposed to end up. Remember, eventually your loved one will get the idea. Then let them flush the toilet and use toilet paper to clean. Each step that they accomplish gets them closer to the finish line. And each step, even if accomplished out-of-order, should be praised.

The goal is to gradually, step-by-step, build to your desired outcome. In other words, having your child use the toilet- and do the steps that lead up to it enough times that it will eventually sink into his head what he’s supposed to do.

You will of course want to be sure to reinforce your child if he uses the toilet in an appropriate way, and he will, eventually. Patience is the key to all problems involving parenting kids with autism.