Children are still developing their executive functioning skills and find it challenging to prioritize, organize, manage their time, sustain work and attention, regulate their emotions and keep track of their responsibilities. These skills are crucial in order for children to develop independence and the overall ability to better manage themselves and yet we often overlook teaching them.
The virus’ impact and wreckage can be seen and felt in a myriad of ways: from the horrific rising death tolls to the joblessness ravaging the country. We are feeling exhausted by the constant need for vigilance due to the invisible threat on surfaces and in the air, the added pressures of home-schooling, a never-ending loop of laundry, housecleaning, cooking, and the void of true face to face socialization.”
“One of the exciting and also terrifying things about being a parent is the knowledge that how you raise your children will directly impact their success and their happiness in life. As the mother of three little girls ages 7, 4, and 3 months, and someone who gets to spend most of her days thinking about how to help more women feel empowered through my work with WIN, I feel particularly invested in this topic.”
We are at the crossroads of another transition. Summer is coming to an end, and the school year will soon begin. Summer is a time when we encourage our children to take a break from their regular schedules. We allow them to indulge in the extra dessert, later bedtime, more screen time, and anything else that may make them smile and further embraces their passions and individualism. However, the month of August and September can also be tricky because although our kids may want to continue the summer flow, we have to help them transition back to school.
The weekend before I first started teaching 15 years ago, I was filled with anxiety. I had trouble sleeping, my mind was racing, and I believe I found my body shaking from the nerves. My mother, my sweet and kind mother, gave me advice that I hold near to my heart to this day.
As the new school year rolls in, so does the stress associated with the transition from summer to fall. Stress and anxiety can seem like barriers, but in fact they are natural experiences that we all have and can use to our advantage. The beginning of the school year is no different!
One of the biggest struggles parents have is getting their baby to sleep through the night and establishing routines that lead to healthy sleep. In the first year of life sleep patterns change so often that it is hard to get into a consistent rhythm or routine. Learning how to be a good sleeper, is like learning any other skill; it takes times and practice. Understanding some basic tenants about babies’ sleep can help parents gain control and nurture healthy sleep habits for their baby.
As an expectant mother I have begun to think about the type of parent I want to be and the type of parent I will become. I reflect on the way I was raised; sifting through the techniques my own parents used, keeping the things I liked and rejecting the one’s I don’t want to repeat. I also look for inspiration around me, in my family and friends. I find myself saying, “I’ll never do that” or “What a great idea, I need to remember that one”.
On my regular run through Riverside Park I pass Eleanor Roosevelt. I have come to depend on Eleanor’s comforting and consistent stance leaning thoughtfully on her chin and reflecting pensively on life: predictable, dependable, steady and constant as only a statue can be. But recently I noticed something unusual and different about her. Eleanor was wearing a pink pussy hat on the top of her head. Undoubtedly, she had been enlisted to join with the hundreds of thousands of people who came out to express solidarity recently for defending women’s rights. I was struck by how poignant the symbolism was of her wearing this hat because in her own adult life she, too, had rallied for human rights and women’s causes in particular. Throughout her life Eleanor Roosevelt fought hard for what she believed in.
The majority of psychological research is focused on helping those who are already suffering with mental health issues. Stress is often seen as a trigger or significant factor that leads to emotional struggles. While it is worthwhile to understand the mechanisms of how stress affects mental health and leads to struggles, even more might be learned from looking at those who deal with the same adversity and for some reason are still able to thrive. At the center we believe in a strength based approach in helping every individual overcome their unique challenges. One of our core values is that through effective therapy people can learn to adapt and grow despite hardships. Life presents with many environmental stressors, our histories and prior experiences, and even genetics may present roadblocks that at times feel impossible to face, but none of these are enough to extinguish the hope for change. We all have the potential to grow and to develop resilience in our lives and become increasingly fortified to deal with life stressors.
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