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Empathetic Parenting: Navigating Anxiety with Our Children

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Kids can be so confusing!

mental models Apr 29, 2024

I hope this message finds you well. Today, I wanted to share a simple yet profound lesson that unfolded right in my kitchen.

It involves a young girl and her choice of cup—a blue one over another adorned with Elsa from Frozen. While it may seem like a minor detail, it's a significant one for her. Both cups fulfill the same function, yet she is adamant about her preference.

This scenario might perplex some. Why does it matter? It's just a cup, after all. But for her, it's not just about the vessel—it's about consistency and comfort in her daily life. The wrong cup can unsettle her, a reminder that even the smallest choices can have a big impact on someone's day.

As adults, we might overlook such nuances. We see two cups; she sees a choice that defines her day. We see water; she sees a cherished part of her routine. We see an ordinary object; she sees an extension of her identity.

When we mistakenly hand her the Elsa cup, her reaction is more than a fleeting tantrum. It's...

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Navigating the Anxiety Wave: What parents Can do

anxiety Apr 29, 2024

Navigating the Anxiety Wave: 9.4% of Children Experience Anxiety, Here’s What Parents Can Do

Anxiety is a common issue among children, with approximately 9.4% of children aged 3-17 years experiencing diagnosed anxiety1[6]. This number has been on the rise, increasing 27% from 2016 to 20192[7]. As parents, understanding and addressing this issue is crucial for our children’s wellbeing. Here are some strategies that can help, inspired by resources on Huddle Wisdom21.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of life and all children will experience it at some point32. It’s when there’s too much anxiety, or it occurs too often, that it becomes uncomfortable32. Anxiety can present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry1[6]. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves, so the symptoms can be missed1[6].

Strategies for Managing Anxiety

  1. Open Communication: Maintain an open dialog with your child and encourage them to...

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Parenting Lessons from Dune!

Uncategorized Apr 29, 2024

Parenting Lessons from the Sands of Arrakis: A Dune-Inspired Guide

Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece, “Dune,” is not just a tale of interstellar politics and giant sandworms. It’s also a treasure trove of wisdom that can be applied to various aspects of life, including parenting. Here are some key lessons from “Dune” that can guide you on your parenting journey.

1. Honesty is the Best Policy

In “Dune,” Duke Leto Atreides grapples with whether or not to tell his 15-year-old son, Paul, about the dangers they faceHe decides that even dangerous truths are valuable if one is trained to deal with them. This teaches us the importance of being honest with our children, preparing them for the realities of life, and equipping them with the tools to handle these truths.

2. Teach Your Kids to Spot Trouble

Duke Leto also imparts wisdom about identifying potential pitfalls. He tells Paul, "Knowing where the trap is —...

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Thinking about psychopathy and egocentricism in children

Uncategorized Apr 29, 2024

Psychopath or Just Full of Themselves?

As a parent, you've probably had moments where you've looked at your child and wondered, "Is my kid a budding genius, a future leader, or plotting to take over the world?" Fear not, dear parents, for you are not alone in this conundrum. The line between a child being egocentric and showing signs of psychopathy can be as thin as the patience you have left after a two-hour tantrum over the wrong color of juice cup!

 

Egocentrism: It's All About Me, Myself, and I

 

First, let's talk about egocentrism. This is a stage where your little one believes the world revolves around them. They're not being selfish; they're just the star of their own movie, and everyone else is a supporting actor.

 

Signs of Egocentrism:

 

- Your child thinks the moon follows them personally.

- They believe they can sing better than any contestant on "The Voice Kids" (auto-tune has nothing on them).

- Sharing is caring, but not in their dictionary (yet)....

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The Empathic Parent's Guide to Eating Humble Pie

Uncategorized Apr 25, 2024

Let's face it, fellow parents, sometimes our pride is the hardest thing to digest.

I've had my fair share of moments where my pride was as swollen as a diaper on a long car ride.

But here's the scoop on how to swallow that pride – with a spoonful of humor and a dash of self-awareness:

 1. Admit When You're Wrong: Yes, even when your toddler's argument is based solely on their belief that unicorns are real and they should be allowed to eat glitter.

2. Apologize Like You Mean It: Because nothing says 'I'm sorry' like doing the 'I was wrong' dance.

3. Learn and Laugh: Remember that time you swore you'd never be 'that' parent? Well, look at you now, wearing a macaroni necklace to work because it's your kiddo's haute couture.

4. Embrace the Mess: If your living room looks like a toy bomb exploded, just throw some glitter on it and call it a 'sensory development environment'.

5. Ask for Help: It's okay to ask for directions, even if you've already circled...

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Setting Screen Time Rules in Your Home for Visiting Children

checklist screentime Apr 22, 2024

In today's digital age, managing screen time for children is a challenge many parents face, especially when hosting kids who are not their own. Here's a guide to help you set screen time rules in your home that respect your values while being mindful of other children's habits.

 

Understanding the Importance of Screen Time Rules

Excessive screen time can lead to various issues in children, such as reduced physical activity, less face-to-face interaction, and potential impacts on psychological well-being¹. It's crucial to establish clear guidelines to ensure that screen time doesn't overshadow other valuable activities.

 

Establishing Clear Guidelines

1. Communicate with Parents: Before the playdate, discuss screen time preferences with the other children's parents to understand their rules and expectations.

2. Set Expectations Early: Let the children know the screen time rules as soon as they arrive, so they're aware of the boundaries.

3. Create a Balanced Schedule:...

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The Power of Adult Connections: Tackling School Anxiety and Refusal

Uncategorized Apr 21, 2024

 School can be hard for many kids. They have to deal with academic pressure, social challenges, and new situations. All of this can cause anxiety. Some kids even refuse to go to school because they are too scared or stressed. As educators and parents, we need to work together to create a supportive environment that helps kids succeed. Let’s see how adult connections make a big difference in this process.

  1. Teachers as Anchors Creating a Safe Haven Teachers are not just teachers; they are anchors for our kids. When teachers make kids feel safe, trusted, and cared for, kids do better. Research shows that kids who feel loved by their teachers learn more. Why? Because when kids feel safe with someone, their brains are ready to learn. Without this feeling of safety, the brain is focused on survival instead of learning.

Moving Beyond Fear-Based Discipline Fear does not help—it hurts. Old-fashioned ways of discipline like suspensions, stand-downs, or public rankings...

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Navigating the Anxiety Wave: A Compassionate Approach to Parenting

anxiety compassion Apr 21, 2024

Navigating the Anxiety Wave: A Compassionate Approach to Parenting

In the whirlwind of our modern, hyper-connected lives, we often find our children grappling with anxiety. As parents, educators, and members of society, we may unintentionally contribute to this growing concern. Let’s delve into this issue and discuss how we can shift the tide.

From Self-Growth to External Achievements

Think back to our own childhood. Our aspirations were centered around personal development, learning, and self-enhancement. We strived to evolve into better versions of ourselves. However, over time, the focus shifted. We began to pursue external indicators of success such as wealth, social media validation, accolades, and academic accomplishments. These became our benchmarks, which we inadvertently passed on to our children.

The Ever-Changing Goalposts

Today’s children are navigating a sea of ever-changing expectations. They are expected to excel acadically, engage in numerous...

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Checklists: A Pilot’s Secret Weapon and a Parent’s Best Friend

Have you ever marveled at how pilots manage to fly complex aircraft safely? The secret lies in a deceptively simple tool: checklists!

In the world of aviation, checklists are more than just a mundane list of tasks. They are a critical lifeline that pilots rely on to ensure they don’t miss any crucial steps and that all systems function flawlessly. By following a systematic order, checklists make the process logical and prevent any steps from slipping through the cracks or being incorrectly set. But here’s the exciting part: this methodical approach isn’t exclusive to flying airplanes—it’s a strategy we can seamlessly integrate into our daily lives, especially as parents.

Checklists for Parents: A Low-Cost, High-Reward Solution

Just like pilots, we parents have an intricate and vital job to perform. Our responsibilities range from managing household chores to nurturing our children’s growth and well-being. Amidst the chaos of parenting, we can...

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The Day I Abandoned My Daughter

Uncategorized Apr 05, 2024

I want to share a deeply personal story with you, a story that changed my life forever. As a child and forensic psychiatrist, I always believed I was emotionally stable and calm. But one day, I discovered I had my own demons to face.

Several years ago, I experienced a day that still haunts me - the worst day of my parenting life, perhaps even my entire life. It was a day that shook me to my core and made me realize that I needed to change.

Imagine this: A young child, my child, left distraught, anxious, and crying in a bustling school car park as I drove away in a fit of anger. The image of her tear-streaked face in my rearview mirror, her hand reaching out, pleading ‘daddy please,’ is etched in my memory. I could see other children nearby, wondering who the heartless man in the car was. Yes, that was me.

That morning, I was anxious about an important meeting. My daughter, sensing my anxiety, began showing signs of not wanting to go to school. I was torn between my...

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