Baseball practice, piano practice, dance class, after school activities, homework,
family night, church activities – are our kids doing too much?
It’s an epidemic that is sweeping through our homes. It’s about giving our kids what we never had growing up, but too much can be a bad thing.
While children are in school, it should be their primary focus. When we add too many activities during the evening, we are limiting the time they can spend doing homework or reading.
Plus, you are talking away what little family time is available when kids are in school.
If you want your child to participate in other activities, try limiting the number of extracurricular classes they take. You can try different classes in different years, allowing your child to find the activities that they enjoy best and are good at.
Let them take dance or soccer one year, and piano or softball the following year.
Limiting our evening activities will also help our children.
If they come home and you are stressed out, trying to get too many things done in the evening, that is going to roll down to your children and cause them more stress.
Make your evenings a quiet and peaceful time, where you can help your children with their homework and spend some time together.
Every parent wants the best for their child, but realizing now that giving them everything may not be best will help your child do better in school and have a stress free childhood.
Giving them limitations will help them learn self-control and they will be more balanced as adults. In our fast paced society, it’s a good idea to teach your child about what is most important – family and learning.
Some Effective Solutions for Managing Stress
It is important to realize the not all stress is bad for you. Some stress can make life interesting, and it can push you to achieve your goals.
Because we cannot escape every commitment, instead of trying to eliminate stress from our lives completely, it is important to learn to control stress.
Every person has a different type of level of stress in his or her life. Therefore, there is no one solution for dealing with stress.
For example, a person who flourishes on constant change would suffer from tremendous boredom and stress in a job that is dull, while an individual that avoids change would be filled with anxiety and stress in a really dynamic position.
It is believed that a lot of illnesses are immediately tied to stress. If you find that you are always sick or fatigued, or that you are always nervous, it is time to learn to cope with your stress.
Stress management takes patience and practice. If you persist at it, you will master the art of effectively dealing with stress.
First figure out what main things cause your stress. Is it your morning commute? Preparing for a public speaking engagement at work? Dealing with your kids after school? Most of these things are unavoidable, but still manageable.
If your morning commute stresses you out, try leaving for work a few minutes earlier. If public speaking horrifies you, try consulting a psychologist to help you deal with your fears.
If your kids drive you crazy, arrange organized activities that you can all enjoy together. It is important to understand what causes you stress, and think of ways that you can deal with them.
It is then important to try to reduce your emotional reactions to your stressful situations. Stress can cause negative thoughts, and you will act accordingly. It might be better to try to think of stress as an opportunity for self-improvement.
If you overreact to every situation, step back and assess each time you lash out, and think of ways to calmly cope. You might not be able to do anything about your stressors, but you can control how you react to them
Also note your physical reactions to stress. Try to start deep breathing techniques in order to lower your heart rate.
If your physical reactions to stress are severe, seek medical attention to avoid hypertension or heart problems. Sometimes the best way to avoid stress is by taking a time out in order to regroup and refresh.
Another positive way to combat stress is to exercise. Try aerobic exercise and strength training. Those are powerful outlets for stress.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and avoid a lot of caffeine. Try to get a full night’s sleep every night as well. Following these simple strategies will help you to cope with stress more than you know.
Stress is part of life. You cannot avoid it. But, by engaging in effective management techniques, you can effectively deal with stress and become a stronger person for it.
This month I want to talk about stress-free living. Summer shouldn’t be the only time we slow down and smell the roses. Why not make it a lifestyle? How do we do that? Let me suggest four important keys that just might help:
1. Keep it simple!
Our lives are just far too busy at times. We exert so much energy and time trying to please, impress, or keep up with the Jones’ that it can get downright crazy at times.
Even having someone over for dinner can become a major production. Whatever happened to “just come over and we will grill some hotdogs”?
Okay, time to SIMPLIFY!!! God really does want you to enjoy your life! So why not start today? Ask yourself,”What is the one thing I could let go of today that would make my life a little easier?” Remember life is short so keep it simple!
2. Lighten up!
Not only are we stressed out but we are ridden with anxiety and concern. Just get on a highway and you can tell from the aggressive drivers that people are in a hurry to go – where? Are you a person that is uptight and easily agitated? Maybe it’s time to lighten up!
How long has it been since you really had fun? Fun doesn’t always have to be expensive or elaborate. Time for the kid in you come out! Go ahead and be silly.
It’s okay. Rediscover some fun in your life. Sometimes we are just way too serious for our own good. Learn to laugh, even at your mistakes, and not take yourself so seriously. It is true that a merry heart acts like medicine. It is good for the soul. So lighten up!
3. Live in the moment!
If we are not anxious to get to the next place or phase in our life,we are too often bogged down with our past and regrets.
It’s a new day, a new moment that you will never live again so why not enjoy? Whatever happened to “THIS IS THE DAY that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it”?
Your past is history and your future isn’t guaranteed. Why not squeeze the most out of today? Try something new. Go to a different store.
Eat at a different restaurant. Speak to a stranger. Pick some flowers! Get creative and enjoy the moment while you can. Don’t live your life with regrets. Enjoy today!
4. Let go and Let God!
Jesus said “My peace I give to you.” What a promise! God not only wants us to have joy in this life but peace. The antithesis of stress is peace.
What would your life be like if it was peaceful? We are too often carrying things we were never meant to carry. Give over your worries, your anxiety and fear to God. Let go and let God. It’s time for peace!
So what are you waiting for? I believe stress free living can become a way of life as we learn to simplify our lives, lighten up, live more in the moment, give our problems and concerns over to a gracious and loving God.
How To Help Kids Deal With Stress
(NC)-Modern life is faster and more stressful than ever. To cope, many resort to dreaming of their happy childhood days. But for a surprising number of people, this kind solace is unavailable.
Childhood can be a very difficult time. Children experience stress just like adults do, and this needs to be recognized.
Family conflict, domestic violence, divorce, constant school changes, new neighborhoods and child care arrangements, peer pressure, and bullying all contribute to childhood angst.
Here are a few things that parents can do to help their children deal with stress:
Monitor and modify their own stress levels
Keep communication lines open.
Let your kids know what’s going on
Encourage friendships by scheduling play dates, sleepovers, and other fun activities
Remember that children need quiet down time to as well as time to play
For more facts about mental illness and how a book called “Catch a Falling Star: A Tale from the Iris the Dragon Series” is helping parents identify and understand early onset mental illness visit www.iristhedragon.com.
Single Parents and The Rise of Crime Rates Among Children
The hardest thing to face as a single parent are the intense emotions associated with being both a mother and a father to a child.
This is further magnified when the other parent is absent or is deliberately not doing anything to fulfill his part in the caring for the children. More often than not, the single parent’s psychological well being bogs down.
Single parents might try to cope with this strain by either trying to compensate by adopting both mom and dad roles, or by scouring the social scene for a partner to help him or her in the rearing of the child. The pressure is definitely high.
However, if truth be told, none of the above will help. If anything, they might even cause you to become more stressed. And when you end up being more stressed than ever, chances are this will reflect and magnify on your child.
If you are a single parent, ask yourself. How does your behavior and general outlook toward life affect your kid? Upon closer scrutiny, you might just find out that your child’s constant tantrums and bouts of unexplained anger might just be the result of your continuing negativity.
It is for these reasons that you should be careful.
Several studies show that children coming from single-parent households are more susceptible to destructive or rebellious behavior,
not just because society imposes the need for a two-parent structure, but also, more often than not, the custodial parent is either too guilty that he or she smothers his child, or too busy to make ends meet to show how much he or she cares.
According to one study, about 90% of the change in crime rates between 1973 and 1995 had been accounted for by children born into single-family setups and those that had been born outside of marriage.
While this is not entirely true for all cases of that cover single parent households, we cannot discount the fact that majority of reports conducted in lieu of single parenthood and crime rates show that they are, indeed, linked.
Children born into two-parent, or ‘intact’ homes, are also susceptible to committing crime, so it would be impulsive to generalize that all kids under one-parent households are likely to become criminals.
Sure, two-parent settings place some sort of balance to a child’s psychological well-being. However, it should also not be discounted that kids who grew up under an unhappy but intact home are also prone to some form of destructive behavior.
If you are a single parent, the best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to be there for your child.
You don’t really need to be available 24-7 and spend so much just to show him or her that you care. The mere fact that you make it clear, in the occasions that you can, that your child’s well-being is your utmost priority is enough.
Never forget to tell your child that you love him or her. Do away with discussing the negative, especially if it’s against the other parent, no matter how distressed you are with him or her.
If you are having trouble reaching out to your kid, particularly if you’re realizing this need just now and your child is already a teen, seek counselling. Or have a one on one talk with your child so that both of you will understand each others feelings openly.
Honesty is key in a single parent setting. If both parent and child are honest about what they think and feel, the less likely a rebellion would occur.
While you do feel somehow guilty for being a single parent (you may sometimes even think it’s your fault that your kid is exhibiting rebellious behavior), you should immediately try to take it out of your system.
Guilt will only magnify the ill effects on your child and might even push him or her further into ill behavior.
Simply put, a positive attitude will do wonders. A happy household, whether in a two-parent or single parent setting, is still a happy household. And this is all that is going to matter.
Kids Behaving Badly: A Misdiagnosed Epidemic?
What’s wrong with kids today? Although every generation seems to ask the same question, the debate on children’s manners has heated up significantly with articles,
Op-Eds and even TV shows like “Nanny 911” that paint an alarming picture of manners and misbehavior unparalleled since…well, since the last generation grew up.
To help desperate parents and frustrated onlookers, child development experts are pointing out clues-and perhaps cures-for the causes of what they say may be a publicly misdiagnosed epidemic.
“Manners are important,” says C.T. O’Donnell II, President and CEO of KidsPeace, a 124-year-old national charity that works to bring peace to the lives of children and families in crisis.
“They are vital to social order, building mutual respect, tolerance and cooperation, without which conflict and chaos will prevail.
And while most indicators on youth behavior are becoming more positive, with youth crime, teen pregnancy and drug use and smoking all dropping, we’re now discovering a number of commonsense reasons why children seem to listen less and sometimes act in ways that make us-and often, them-unhappy.”
Social Issues: Sociologists point out that children’s more challenging attitudes are, in part, a reflection of our own changing view of authority and authority figures.
We openly question the motives of politicians, bankers, lawyers and other former authority figures in ways our parents did not.
We may not be able to turn back the clock but the key seems to be to teach today’s Generation Y how to be “Generation Why?” in a way that still shows respect.
Family Issues: Parents work hard to do their best but with the rise of the dual-income household, time spent with kids teaching and behavior modeling is scarce.
Even the best parents have a hard time providing enough meaningful time and instruction when, according to one study, the average American parent spends no more than seven minutes per day in uninterrupted, one-on-one time with each child.
“The world is a different place now than when we grew up and parents with less time need more resources, especially creative resources,” says David Bruce, author of “Manners I.
Care” (Child Life Books, www.mannersicare. com), which aims to improve children’s manners by having kids and parents read together an amusing story of a child, his behavior, his loved ones’ frustration and the hidden reasons for kids‘ actions.
“By putting a child on your lap and experiencing together in a fun way a fictional character’s less-than-perfect behavior and the frustration it causes, the whole family builds caring and sharing, understanding and values.”
Medical Issues: Doctors note some behavioral issues can be traced to physical problems such as ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) or related to emotions and stress.
“It’s not well known but children, especially younger children, respond to stress differently than adults do,” says Dr. Herbert Mandell, medical director of the KidsPeace Children’s Hospital.
“When children hear about terror attacks and school shootings or are bullied, they often show it through behavior rather than words.
When kids are subjected to tremendous stress, in their home lives or through school or TV, things may happen that look like misbehavior but can be a sign they’re struggling with something.
While bad behavior needs to be corrected, at the same time bad feelings need to be unearthed and dealt with.”
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