Posts by drdanadmin5:
Dr. Dan Peters’ March Parentfootprints advice column talks about helping your child understand worry and fear so that they can drive away the Worry Monster and work towards being happier and more productive. His monthly column appears in every issue (page 5).
BY DR. DAN
When I was young, I distinctly remember being afraid of killer bees. What will happen to my family and me? What if killer bees attack me? Will I die? These are not comforting thoughts when you are a child. They are scary. Really scary. Well of course we weren’t attacked by killer bees and eventually I’m grew up and forgot all about this fear.
Fast-forward to last night at the dinner table with my family and the topic of this year’s flu. My kids felt real fear and real worry.
At the dinner table, my wife and I were calm. We explained the facts. We listened. We know with the reports of the flu dominating the news that similar scenarios are taking place at dinner tables, during bedtime rituals, and around the lunch table in school. What should parents do?
First, our current situation with the flu is very scary to think about for some children and teens. Our job as parents is to help our children deal with worrisome information by understanding how they think and process information at this formative time in their lives, and by giving them information they need to manage their thoughts and worries while remaining engaged in life and sticking to regular routine living.
Based on my work with families and my own personal experiences, I suggest:
• Think about how your children think about “worry” events based on their age and maturity
• Filter information based on their age and maturity level
• Minimize watching the news, listening to the radio, screen time and monitoring internet news and images
• Respond to their questions calmly and with the minimal amount of information necessary
• Give facts that are helpful and reduce fear such as the likelihood of the event occurring and how it is transmitted
• Offer reassurance as needed
Whether it is killer bees, economic collapse, or Ebola, there will always be something that can cause worry in young people. The goal is to give our children the tools to deal with the worry right now and shut down the fear. The unexpected curve balls of life will keep coming but we can win the fear game.
This piece originally appeared in Diablo Gazette, and is based on earlier work by Dr. Peters. Image: Free from Pixabay
by Dr. Dan Peters
I was sitting with a client a few weeks ago — someone I have known for some time. He is a hard-working professional, husband, and father. He was reflecting on the holidays and the stress in his home due to the loss of a close and loved family member, and the lingering feelings from a previous few years of more loss than one expects in such a short amount of time. He talked about how hard he is trying to support his wife and be patient with his kids. He is under a great deal of pressure at work and carries a lot of responsibility. He walks through the door each night with the goal of being present, patient, and enjoying positive interaction. He reflects on how hard it is to consistently carry out this goal.
As my client reflects, so do I. I reflect on the challenges of the night before in my home with my family. I reflect on the challenges an hour earlier getting my youngest to school (she had a rough morning reminiscent of prior years). I reflect on my similar intentions as I walk through the door each night for quality time with my family after a long work day. Sometimes I walk into a happy home with people singing, dancing, and joking; sometimes I walk into arguing, fighting, and yelling; and other times I walk into a quiet home where everyone is engaged in some sort of screen and nobody notices I am home. Like my client, I too wonder why it is so hard to carry out my goal.
I briefly share my recent experiences with him to validate his. I talk about how hard it is to live intentionally even without the added stress of the impending loss in his family. He sits in silence and thinks. It is a comfortable and contemplative silence. I ask him what he wants to bring to his home; what is his intention? He responded, “Joy. I want to bring joy to my home.” He was resolute. It was clear to him. It was clear to me as he said it. He wanted to intentionally bring levity, happiness, and joy to his wife and kids. But why is it so hard?
Our lives are busy. Often too busy. Our kids are scheduled. Often too scheduled. With each day new technologies offer us more distractions. Too many distractions. Many are under a great deal of stress at work. Too much stress. Our kids get a lot of homework. Too much homework. The list goes on and on. So what can we do about it? Although our lives and world are often complex, I like to simplify things as much as possible. We can:
• Accept reality
• Make conscious choices
• Live intentionally and purposely
As my client and I reflect on these ideas, we realize they are easy to embrace in the confines of my office, yet often hard to carry out on a daily and moment-to-moment basis.
More and more these days I find myself thinking of that old saying, “Who said it would be easy?” I have come to realize that most things that are important and worth anything come with purpose, commitment, and hard work. Most people I know, and with whom I work, are able to accomplish the vast majority of goals they set out to achieve. The challenge I find and have observed, is deciding to apply that same tenacity to daily living. The challenge is to fully commit oneself to accepting reality, making conscious choices, and living with intention and purpose.
With the arrival of 2018 and the new year, we have a ritualistic and symbolic opportunity to commit to accomplishing something new. Some commit to exercising, losing weight, working less, taking risks, and saying “no” more. How about committing to accepting the reality in which you live and the circumstances you are given? How about making conscious choices every day about what you say and what you do? How about living with purpose and acting in a way that fits your values and intentions?
Nobody said this would be easy. Like most things, it takes practice and will come with more ease the more you do it. Think about what is important to you. Think about how you want to live in 2018. Make a commitment to yourself. Accept that some days will be easier to live with intention than others. Be kind to yourself.
My client is going to bring joy to his home. What will you do?
This blog first appeared on Huffington Post. Image Copyright: vencavolrab78 / 123RF Stock Photo
You don’t have to let shame travel with you everywhere you go and keep you from feeling joy and experiencing a meaningful and fulfilling life. Dr. Dan challenges you to be open to life’s possibilities and believe you deserve happiness in “Taking on Shame in the New Year: How To Live the Life You Want in 2018!” for Huffington Post.
Dr. Dan admits the holidays are stressful for most people. He has created this list of 5 tips to help you get through this holiday season with minimal (or at least a lot less!) stress so that you can focus on the good stuff. Read the latest Parent Footprints column, “5 Steps to Managing Stress During the Holidays,” in the December 2017 issue of Diablo Gazette (page 6).
All parents will probably need to take a chance and give their child more freedom than they might be ready for. Dr. Dan offers advice on how to manage what might be unpredictable or dangerous in his new blog, “Parenting Strategies for Risky Situations” on PSYCHOLOGY TODAY.