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Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Is Working Mom Guilt Real? Ways to Alleviate the Stress

A mom friend sent her a picture this week. It showed her perched on the (closed!) pedestal on the toilet, resting her laptop on the toilet paper holder, while her daughter peeked over the side of the bathtub during her evening bathing routine. This is working mom life today—juggling two jobs at once but feeling like neither is done to the best of her ability.

What can be done to help alleviate the guilt of balancing working responsibilities with being a good parent? Is working mom guilt real? It can paralyze mothers with stress and trigger their instincts of fight or flight.

Ways You Can Ease Working Mom Guilt

The first thing to do is simply breathe deeply. When in a moment of heightened guilt, taking a few breaths can help put much-needed space between the situation and the mother.

Longer-term, changing perspective on guilt is essential. Is it so bad for a child to see their mom working and having to prioritize her time? It sets an excellent example, showing children that they can do or be anything they want to be.

Ordinarily, despite a child’s tears at seeing their mom go (and possibly her own), it’s an opportunity for the child to grow, form their thoughts and feelings, and make personal friendships without always looking to their mom for affirmation. This helps to overcome working mom guilt by realizing that allowing children to be in someone else’s care while working is not detrimental.

However, in conversations with a child’s caregivers, a mother might feel guilt and sadness when she isn’t there for a milestone or when someone else spends more waking hours with her child. This can lead to questioning if she is good enough in all her roles because many mothers have thought, felt, and carried all these emotions too.

Letting go of the guilt comes with acceptance—accepting what is and not clinging to what should be.

This holds true for those balancing working from home. How to stop feeling guilty for being a working mom? When switching on the television or handing a tablet to the child to entertain themselves during a Zoom meeting, knowing that it’s okay to be ‘good enough’ but not perfect offers more peace than trying to do everything correctly. A mother is not going to be perfect, and that’s okay. Being good enough is all she has to be.

Establishing boundaries with the workplace is crucial. A boss knows an employee is a mom, and when she clocks out promptly, it’s not due to a lack of ambition or slacking off, but because of other responsibilities. This doesn’t make her a bad employee or a bad mom for working.

Even if a mother dislikes her job but does it to pay the bills, she provides the means for a safe place to sleep and good things to eat. If she loves her job and is passionate about it, she creates a childhood where little girls grow up to achieve their dreams and little boys see women as equals.

Who Do You Surround Yourself With?

The company a mother keeps is important. Does the support system uplift or mom-shame her? Surrounding oneself with supportive individuals rather than those who impose what one “should” be doing can alleviate working mom guilt.

Don’t Follow The Rules

Relieving oneself from working mom guilt involves not adhering to others’ rules. Forget the rules. When feeling working mom guilt, asking “What’s the worst that can happen if I break the rules?” can bring one back to reality.

Limiting screen time is important, not just during moments of guilt. Giving a child undivided attention, despite the challenges of a busy workday, can bring peace of mind and enhance the ability to be a present and conscious parent.

Do It At Your Own Pace

Taking one day at a time is crucial. Focusing on the present, rather than future weekends or vacations, makes each day manageable. A mother should consider how working makes her feel. If she feels more well-rounded and grounded by working, her child will benefit more from a happy, fulfilled mom.

Don’t Judge Yourself

Self-judgment is often harshest. Forgetting something at a child’s school or comparing oneself to others can lead to guilt. It’s important to think about the bigger picture. Will these moments of guilt affect the child’s performance in school? No one is perfect, and mistakes are part of learning.

Getting organized helps. Utilizing phones for reminders and using apps or planners can keep everyone’s schedules on track.

Would a mother be better off with one full-time job instead of two? It’s easy to think stay-at-home moms are happier because they aren’t trying to do it all. Christy Lilley admits she has asked herself this question many times, believing that lives would be less stressful if she wasn’t working. However, she acknowledges that she might not be happier and that the grass may not be greener on the other side.

We can accept working mom guilt isn’t going to go away completely. But you can work towards alleviating that guilt and see the positives of being a working mom.

Love and Blessings,
Katherine

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Celebrating Independence: Helping Your Child Develop Autonomy

Happy Independence Day! As the nation celebrated its birthday last Thursday, July 4th, it commemorated the United States becoming independent from England.

This festive holiday is associated with summer, family and friends coming together, barbecues, and fireworks—all to commemorate the day the country was born.

As the country celebrates its independence, it’s important to remember that individuals have the same right to autonomy. Many parents often ask, “How much independence should I give my kids?” As parents, it’s their duty to encourage and develop a sense of autonomy in their children. Understanding how to safely give your child more independence is crucial.

So, in the spirit of the holiday. . . here are a few ways to give children more independence.

. . . hug kids a little tighter today and tell them they’re appreciated for exactly who they are.

. . . let them know their thoughts, feelings, and opinions are valued, and that their ability to self-direct is admired. This answers the question, “How do you increase independence?” by validating their individuality.

. . . reassure them that even though they may drive parents up the wall sometimes, they’re never “bad kids” for speaking and living their authentic truth. Understanding why it is important to let children be independent helps in fostering their growth and confidence.

Whether this holiday is celebrated or not, wishing everyone a Happy Independence Day!

May everyone model the freedom, respect, and equality that every human being—including children—deserves!

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Engaged During Summer Break

Happy summer, everyone!

As summer approaches, many parents wonder, “How to keep your kids engaged during summer?” It’s a time for relaxation, vacations, and fun, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and learning. Here are a few key points to keep families and their kids stimulated until school begins:

  1. Educational Vacations:

Science museums, historical sites, and nature reserves are all great family-friendly places to go on a summer weekend adventure. Not only do these attractions offer educationally conducive environments that are safe and fun to explore at any age, many offer free admission; allowing families to have fun together while not spending a fortune! For even more excitement, try planning a nature scavenger hunt or historical tour with the kids while visiting the attractions to get the most out of the visits.

  1. Planning Hypothetical (Or Real) Trips:

It may seem strange at first, but actually, allowing kids to plan trips themselves (with parental guidance or feedback!) helps them understand the logistics that go into getting a group of people somewhere and can teach them important lessons about budgeting, travel times, and how to use different resources like the internet. It can even propel them to look inward to figure out what kinds of things they might enjoy instead of looking to parents to provide something interesting for them. In fact, this can even be an important opportunity for parents to practice letting their children figure something out on their own and providing valuable feedback only when necessary: Did you call ahead to see if that will be open then? You’re over budget “x” amount, can you find any cheaper places to stay or eat? Etc. It’s important to keep an open mind and not shut down their excitement, while also being realistic and setting boundaries. This dynamic will only become increasingly more prevalent, vital, and nuanced as they get older!

  1. Creative Learning at Home

Engaging DIY projects can be tailored for any age and interest. For example, the prompt “build an instrument” can have a solution as simple as putting an old shoelace or rubber band over a shoebox with a hole, or as complex as woodworking or digital software synthesis. It can take an hour, a day, or the whole summer! Finding the right prompt can give kids a boost of imagination and creativity, and finding the thing that sparks their interest is key. Maybe a child wants to try cooking or baking something, or maybe they want to write a song or make a painting. How can I make learning fun and engaging? Regardless of the tasks, exploring topics through creation is engaging and can teach countless new skills.

  1. Flexible Downtime:

Finding enjoyable and acceptable entertainment to balance outdoor time and family activities is key. Got a bookworm in the family? Whether there is one or not, establishing reading habits over the summer can be an exceptionally rewarding way for children to stay mentally engaged during their off-season. Instead of forcing a child to start reading, try setting up a cozy reading nook, or hosting a family book club where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas about a certain book. If a child is more oriented towards online games or digital media, parents should keep an open mind! There are online resources and educational games that make learning fun, interactive, and interesting. Even games parents may not think of as conventionally educational can teach history, math, politics, strategy, and more through immersion. Talking to the child, asking questions, and watching them play are all good ways of engaging with what they enjoy and making sure parents feel comfortable with what they are playing. How do I keep my child busy on school break? This can be a great way to explore various interests together.

There are many ways to incorporate a mix of adventure, creativity, and learning to keep children engaged and excited all season long without adding stress and exhaustion to the parents’ plate. With these tips for keeping kids engaged during the summer months, families will be well-equipped to make this summer both enjoyable and educational for their kids. Remember, summer is a wonderful time to foster new skills, create lasting memories, and strengthen family bonds, so don’t forget to enjoy yourselves too!

Wishing everyone a summer full of joy, growth, and unforgettable moments!

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Understanding Your Child’s Love for Video Games: Finding the Right Balance

Dear Katherine,

A parent expresses concern about their kids’ love for playing video games. The children seem to take genuine pleasure in this activity, and while they’re occupied, the parent has a chance to do household chores and enjoy a little time to themselves.

The parent wonders if there are better hobbies out there—but if the kids like gaming and it gives the parent a bit of space, is that so wrong? They question if they are making a parenting mistake by letting the children play.

Sincerely,
Guilty As Charged

Hey there, Guilty As Charged,

First of all, there is nothing to feel guilty about here! Check the shame at the door. Everyone’s human.

Gaming—and screen-time in general—is a sore spot in many parent-child relationships. It’s hard to imagine eliminating these activities because, as mentioned, the kids enjoy playing video games, and the parent enjoys having some space. Not to mention that screen-time has become an undeniable part of children’s social lives.

But of course, “too much” of anything can be a problem.

So what constitutes “too much” in terms of gaming? The answer: It depends.

Rest assured that it’s probably not necessary to put an end to the kids’ gaming. This kind of hobby can have a place in a healthy, well-rounded child’s life. The issue is when it becomes an addiction.

In a webinar with Cam Adair (founder of Game Quitters, the world’s largest support platform), who once struggled with video game addiction, Adair shared his experience. He dropped out of school, lied to his parents about having a job, and eventually experienced suicidal ideation. At the height of his problem, he was gaming 16 hours a day.

The discussion highlighted that one of the risk factors for full-fledged gaming addiction is using video games as a coping mechanism or a means of escape. The amount of time spent gaming matters much less than why they’re gaming in the first place.

Why does my child like video games so much?” is a common question among parents. Often, it’s because video games provide a sense of achievement, excitement, and even social connection. Understanding this can help in managing their gaming habits effectively.

Here’s a good litmus test: If the child is gaming and they are asked to stop—for dinner, homework, or something else—are they capable of easily walking away? If so, there may not be cause for concern.

If they have trouble walking away, there may not be cause for concern either. If they are in the middle of getting to that next level at the very moment they are called, they may just need a few more minutes!

It’s also important to take a holistic view of the kids’ lives outside of gaming.

Are they doing well in school?
Do they have nice friends?
Are they generally kind and happy?
Do they get proper exercise and nutrition?

The answers to those questions will help determine if playing video games is a solution for another problem—or just another activity that brings the children joy.

Do video games affect children’s behavior?” The answer varies, but generally, moderation and balance are key. Ensuring that gaming does not interfere with their daily responsibilities and overall well-being is crucial.

“What to do when your child only wants to play video games?” Start a conversation about their gaming habits and show interest in what they enjoy. Plan family activities that can engage them and set reasonable boundaries without resorting to power struggles.

If there is concern, Game Quitters—Adair’s game addiction support community—is an excellent resource. But first, start a conversation with the kids about their gaming habits. Good old-fashioned quality time and better parent-child communication may be enough to keep them from entering unhealthy territory.

Tell the child that the family wants to spend time together, and be sure to plan activities that excite them. Steer clear of using power and control because that is guaranteed to activate the 3Rs (retaliation, rebellion, and resistance) and generate a resentment flow.

It is hoped this response gave some peace of mind to “Guilty As Charged.” The kids’ love for video games is likely healthy and normal.

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Dad,

You spend so much energy taking care of everyone around you…

Now, it’s your turn to be taken care of!

Be on the look out for our emails with the ribbon emoji for all sorts of incredible savings and deals… starting now!

Happy Father’s Day!

In celebration of Father’s Day, I’m giving 10 special dads $160 gift of half an hour consultation with me! Grab it before it fills up! (My hourly rate is $320)

To claim this special offer, you just need to be one of the first 10 mothers to follow this link and grab a spot on my calendar.

You’ll be able to book anytime during the month of June.

What’s the call for?

A chance to troubleshoot an issue you’re having with your kid. 
A chance to get answers to your burning questions about parenting.
A chance to get real about the highs and lows of fatherhood.

Whatever is on your mind, I’m here for you.

No judgment, no shame, no pressure.

Ready to chat? Treat yourself!

Click the button below to make sure you’re one of the first 10 dads to schedule your $160 gift!

Love and Blessings,

Katherine

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Pride in Parenthood: Supporting Your Child Through Transitions and Transformations

As we step into the vibrant and inclusive atmosphere of Pride Month, Conscious Parenting Revolution stands proudly as dedicated allies of the LGTBQIA2S+ community. Our commitment to supporting parents through the intricate journey of raising children remains unwavering. Every child deserves a nurturing environment where they can thrive, regardless of their identity or orientation.

How to Support Your Child’s Journey

Parenting is a journey marked by transitions and transformations, each stage presenting its own set of challenges and joys. Today, we delve into the profound journey from childhood to adolescence, exploring how we can best support our children through this pivotal phase of their lives.

The Transformation From Childhood to Youth

The transition from childhood to youth is a remarkable period characterized by profound changes and self-discovery. As parents, we often find ourselves navigating a delicate balance between pride and concern as we witness our children unfold into young adults. It’s a time when they assert their independence, question societal norms, and embark on a journey of self-exploration.

In understanding this transformation, we recognize the importance of creating a supportive and nurturing environment where our children feel empowered to explore their identities authentically. Happy Pride Month serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of embracing diversity and celebrating the uniqueness of every individual within our families.

How to Help Young Children Transition Into Young Adults

Guiding young children through the transition into young adulthood requires patience, empathy, and unwavering support. As they navigate the complexities of adolescence, they rely on us, their trusted guardians, to provide guidance and encouragement along the way.

It’s essential to foster open communication and create a judgment-free space where our children feel safe to express themselves authentically. By respecting their boundaries and offering a listening ear without judgment, we empower them to navigate the challenges of adolescence with confidence and resilience.

The Changing Transition to Adulthood

As our children transition into adulthood, our roles as parents evolve from managers to consultants. It’s a journey that requires us to let go of control and trust in our children’s abilities to make decisions that align with their authentic selves. While this transition may evoke feelings of uncertainty and apprehension, it’s also an opportunity for growth and mutual understanding within our parent-child relationships.

Embracing pride month serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of unconditional love and acceptance within our families. As we celebrate diversity and inclusivity, let us also reaffirm our commitment to supporting our children through every stage of their journey, from childhood to adolescence and beyond. Happy Pride Month!

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Skills

Work Life Balance Mastermind

Work Life Balance

25 Signals you may need to rethink some priorities

Looking for a High-Level Business Executive Mastermind?

Recognizing signs of an imbalanced work-life dynamic is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships with your children and spouse. Here are 25 red flags that may indicate your work life and home life are off balance:

Children’s Perspective

  1. Limited Interaction: You rarely spend quality time with your children.
  2. Missed Events: Frequently missing your children’s important events (games, recitals, parent-teacher meetings).
  3. Emotional Distance: Your children seem emotionally distant or hesitant to share their feelings with you.
  4. Behavioral Changes: Noticeable changes in your children’s behavior, such as acting out or becoming withdrawn.
  5. Increased Screen Time: Your children are spending more time on screens because you are not available to engage with them.
  6. Decline in School Performance: Their academic performance drops due to lack of parental support and involvement.
  7. Lack of Routine: Inconsistent routines for meals, bedtime, and homework due to your unpredictable schedule.
  8. Health Issues: Increased complaints of physical ailments (headaches, stomach aches) that may be stress-related.
  9. Decreased Bonding: Fewer shared activities like family dinners, outings, or game nights.
  10. Increased Anxiety: Your children show signs of anxiety or stress related to your absence.
  11. Lack of Communication: They express feeling unheard or neglected.
  12. Seeking Attention: They act out more often to get your attention.
  13. Dependency on Others: Relying more on friends, teachers, or other relatives for emotional support.
  14. Loss of Trust: They become more secretive or dishonest, feeling you are not available to understand their issues.
  15. Withdrawal from Activities: Losing interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed because they miss your involvement.

Spouse’s Perspective

  1. Infrequent Conversations: Lack of meaningful conversations with your spouse.
  2. Increased Arguments: More frequent disagreements or conflicts due to stress and lack of communication.
  3. Emotional Disconnection: Feeling emotionally disconnected from your spouse.
  4. Reduced Intimacy: A noticeable decrease in physical and emotional intimacy.
  5. Unresolved Issues: Leaving important issues unresolved because there’s no time to discuss them.
  6. Neglected Responsibilities: Your spouse feels burdened by taking on more responsibilities at home.
  7. Missed Plans: Frequently canceling plans or not being present for planned activities.
  8. Social Isolation: Less social interaction with friends and family as a couple.
  9. Health Decline: Your spouse experiencing stress-related health issues due to the imbalance.
  10. Resentment: Your spouse expresses resentment towards your job or work schedule.
  11. Feeling Unappreciated: Your spouse feels unappreciated or taken for granted.
  12. Financial Stress: Financial decisions and burdens are not being shared or discussed adequately.
  13. Increased Solo Activities: Your spouse engaging in more activities alone, indicating a gap in shared experiences.
  14. Avoidance: Avoidance behaviors such as going to bed early or late to avoid interaction.
  15. Reduced Patience: Decreased patience and tolerance for minor issues, indicating underlying stress.

Recognizing these signs can help you take proactive steps to restore balance and ensure the well-being of your family relationships.

Work Life Balance Mastermind

Work Life Balance Mastermind Online

GET MORE INFORMATION

A work-life balance coach can be instrumental in helping married entrepreneurs with kids achieve a healthier and more sustainable balance between their professional and personal lives. Here’s how they can assist:

1. Identifying Priorities

  • Clarifying Values and Goals: Helping you define what’s most important in both your business and family life.
  • Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal time to ensure neither is neglected.

2. Time Management

  • Effective Scheduling: Assisting you in creating schedules that allocate sufficient time for work, family, and self-care.
  • Delegation: Teaching you how to delegate tasks effectively at work and home to reduce your burden.
  • Eliminating Time Wasters: Identifying and minimizing activities that consume time without adding value.

3. Stress Management

  • Coping Strategies: Providing techniques to manage stress and prevent burnout.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Introducing practices like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness to enhance focus and reduce stress.

4. Communication Skills

  • Improving Communication: Enhancing communication skills to ensure effective dialogue with your spouse and children about needs, expectations, and concerns.
  • Conflict Resolution: Teaching conflict resolution strategies to handle disagreements constructively.

5. Building Support Systems

  • Support Networks: Encouraging the creation of support networks both professionally and personally.
  • Outsourcing and Assistance: Identifying areas where outsourcing (like hiring help for household tasks) can free up more personal time.

6. Personal Development

  • Goal Setting: Helping you set and achieve personal goals alongside professional ones.
  • Self-Care: Emphasizing the importance of self-care routines, including exercise, hobbies, and relaxation.

7. Family Involvement

  • Involving Family in the Process: Encouraging family discussions about work-life balance to foster understanding and cooperation.
  • Quality Family Time: Planning activities that ensure meaningful and quality time with family members.

8. Accountability

  • Regular Check-Ins: Conducting regular sessions to track progress, adjust strategies, and ensure accountability.
  • Feedback and Adjustments: Providing feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, and making necessary adjustments.

9. Work Efficiency

  • Optimizing Work Processes: Helping streamline business operations to make them more efficient, freeing up time for personal life.
  • Goal-Oriented Work: Ensuring work goals are clear and aligned with overall life goals.

10. Creating Balance in Roles

  • Role Clarity: Defining your roles and responsibilities in both business and family contexts to avoid overlap and conflict.
  • Transition Strategies: Developing strategies to smoothly transition between work and home roles, reducing the mental load.

Practical Steps a Work-Life Balance Coach Might Implement:

  • Time Audits: Conducting time audits to understand how time is currently spent and identify areas for improvement.
  • Weekly Planning Sessions: Facilitating weekly planning sessions to prioritize tasks and activities for the upcoming week.
  • Boundary Setting Workshops: Conducting workshops on how to set and maintain boundaries effectively.
  • Stress Reduction Techniques: Teaching and practicing stress reduction techniques in sessions.
  • Family Meetings: Encouraging and guiding regular family meetings to discuss and plan for balanced living.
  • Personal Development Plans: Creating personalized development plans that include professional and personal growth goals.

By addressing these areas, a work-life balance coach can help married entrepreneurs with kids create a more harmonious and fulfilling life, ensuring that both business ambitions and family needs are met without sacrificing one for the other.

Get More Information 

 

Work Life Balance Speaker

Work Life Balance Speaker mastermind host

 

Executive Business Growth and Personal Fulfillment Program

The Business Freedom Forum (BFF) is a transformative coaching program designed specifically for ambitious entrepreneurs who seek both significant business growth and personal fulfillment. At the heart of BFF is a commitment to not only enhance business performance but also improve the quality of life for its members. The forum utilizes innovative tools like the TriMetric Tracking System and the Alignment Operating System, which together provide a holistic approach to business and personal development.  BFF focuses on diagnosing underlying business issues and leadership challenges, ensuring that solutions are not just effective but sustainable. Through a combination of personalized coaching, strategic planning, and peer support, members learn how to align their business operations with their personal values and life goals. This alignment helps them achieve a balance that fosters business success without sacrificing personal happiness.

Members of the Business Freedom Forum gain access to exclusive mastermind groups, expert-led workshops, and a supportive community that encourages growth, accountability, and transformation. BFF is ideal for business owners who are ready to step into a role of true leadership and wish to create businesses that not only thrive on their own but also contribute positively to their owners’ lives.

Monthly mastermind sessions are on Zoom. Plus, occasional special events in the Portland and Phoenix areas.

Mastermind Leader: Scott Landis Get Info

Scott Landis is an influential business coach and the visionary founder of Awakened Life, where he integrates profound personal development with strategic business growth. His coaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that true success comes from aligning one’s business endeavors with personal values and purpose. Through his flagship program, the Business Freedom Forum, Scott empowers entrepreneurs to not only scale their businesses effectively but also to enhance their overall quality of life.  With a rich background in relationship intelligence and a deep understanding of business mechanics, Scott crafts bespoke solutions that address both the operational needs of a business and the personal development of its leader. His tools, including the innovative TriMetric Tracking System and Alignment Operating System, are designed to diagnose and resolve the complex challenges faced by business owners today.  Scott is happily married to his high school sweetheart and best friend, Tawnya. They are raising their three children: Skyler, Allie, and Brynna in Gilbert, Arizona. His commitment extends beyond mere business success; he is dedicated to helping leaders achieve a sense of fulfillment and freedom that permeates all aspects of their lives. His approach fosters a balanced lifestyle that values health, relationships, and personal well-being, ensuring that entrepreneurs thrive in every area of their lives.

Business Freedom Forum

 

 

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Compassionate Conversations: Explaining Death to Children of All Ages

There is no subject more difficult to discuss with children and teenagers than dying. Tragically, it is also a subject that often must be discussed while adults cope with their own grief. How do you explain death to your child? Discussing death with preschoolers, school-age children, and teenagers should, of course, be approached differently.

Preschoolers

Death becomes surprisingly familiar to younger children. Many fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and Disney movies deal with the subject.

Additionally, pet animals die, and there is death depicted all over television screens in both fact and fiction. Evidence of death, such as animals by the side of the road, is common.

The hardest fact for a child to come to terms with, however, is that death is permanent, not temporary. It is also scary and challenging for children to understand that death happens to everyone, including their parents, caregivers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings.

A young child’s reaction to death may manifest in unpredictable ways.

There may be confusion as to why the adults in a child’s life, including the parents, are suddenly so sad and upset. Their routine, crucial to their stability, may be interrupted, leading to increased clinginess.

Changes in familiar scenarios, such as attending kindergarten, could become traumatic, with the child seeming desperate to avoid more changes in their life. Alternatively, a child may display a nonchalant response, seemingly bothered for a few moments before reverting to normal behavior.

This is a typical response at this age because children process significant events like death piece by piece over time. The release of grief might be delayed until the child is older and more capable of expressing it, especially when the deceased was someone close, such as a parent or sibling.

It’s essential not to avoid any questions about dying from a preschooler. Even if the death of a person close to the child has not occurred, it is a subject that should be discussed to help manage trauma when it does happen.

Answering a child’s questions should be brief, straightforward, and easy to understand. For example, it can be explained that a body has stopped working, so the person isn’t around anymore.

Euphemisms for death, such as ‘grandma’s gone to sleep,’ should be avoided as they could give the child the idea that if they go to sleep, they might die. Similarly, telling a child that someone died because they were sick could trigger worries that all illnesses lead to death. It can be explained that not all sick people die.

If a child is directly affected by a death, such as a close relative, they need to be informed about how activities previously done with that person will now be replaced.

Parents should not be afraid of expressing their grief so that children understand that they, too, are undergoing something complicated.

Open-casket funerals for young ones and older children can be traumatic and should be carefully considered before attending. It might be too traumatic for them. However, memorializing the deceased, such as lighting a candle or writing a letter saying goodbye, is a good idea.

Discussing Death With School-Age, Pre-Teen Children

Older children can grasp that death is an end and is permanent. Parents and caregivers can provide comfort just by ‘being there’ to give them a feeling of familiarity.

Grief and sadness at this age may manifest physically, such as through headaches or stomach cramps, accompanying tears and sadness. Mourning is likely to come and go, as the pre-teen processes the loss.

Recognizing that death is final, they may envision the deceased as an angel, skeleton, spirit, or ghost. They will want to know what happened and what will happen to the body. These questions shouldn’t be avoided and must be handled sensitively.

Death may also trigger concerns about their own mortality, leading to feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and possibly physical aggression. Feelings of abandonment and insecurity will surface, and they may even feel responsible for the death.

How Do Kids Cope With Death?

Children of different ages cope with death in various ways. Younger children might seem more clingy or regress to earlier behaviors, while older children may display physical symptoms of grief, such as headaches or stomach aches. Teenagers might react with more severe behavior, including lashing out or engaging in reckless activities. It’s crucial to handle each child’s grief with sensitivity and understanding, providing the support they need to process their emotions healthily.

Discussing Death With Teenagers

From the start of the teen years onwards, children will have a clearer understanding of death and its implications. However, while they have a mature understanding, they lack adult coping mechanisms.

Grief is likely to manifest in more severe ways, such as lashing out at family members and close friends. Reckless behavior as a consequence of grief, including alcohol abuse, drug abuse, fighting, and sexual promiscuity, should be watched for.

Death may lead to profound questions about their faith and fundamental worldview, potentially shattered by the event. As they seek independence, they may shun offers of help and assistance, spending more time alone or with friends. Discussing Death With Teenagers can also involve talking about the family’s religious or spiritual beliefs about death. Encouraging them to speak with someone outside the family, like grief counselors or mental health professionals, is beneficial.

Teenagers should play a role in the memorial and funeral. Visiting the location before the event may help calm nerves and provide reassurance.

Feelings of guilt may arise, especially if a sibling has died. This could be evident following arguments when they might have said, “I wish you were dead.” Guilt is a natural outcome, but teenagers may also take on more responsibilities, assuming roles previously held by the deceased.

Handling questions and reactions with sensitivity and understanding is crucial. Be open to how children of any age process their grief.

Categories
Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

Memorial Day 2024: Remembering Sacrifice and Service

It is Memorial Day in the USA. 

Happy Memorial Day! It is a day for remembrance, a time for the nation to express thanks and reflect on the brave individuals who lost their lives in service to their country, commemorating the ultimate sacrifice they made.

What is Memorial Day? Memorial Day 2024 is an important holiday dedicated to honoring the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. It’s a time to pause, reflect, and give thanks.

Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize our heroes and she-roes.”

In light of this sentiment, it’s essential to take some time to express gratitude for all those in the service, both present and past, and remember a hero of one’s own.

One poignant story is that my father-in-law who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. His battalion suffered many losses, leaving him in charge. When a white flag appeared from the Germans, offering to take them as POWs, he agreed—they would all have perished on that hill otherwise. As a POW officer, he was not made to work, but he was not fed either, leading to severe emaciation. Not being a smoker, he traded his cigarette rations for another officer’s chocolate, hoarding it for the day he planned to escape.

The camp was liberated when the Allies crossed into enemy territory. He consumed all his chocolate for the necessary energy boost but became so violently ill that he ended up sleeping in a farmer’s barn and was recaptured. Many of his fellow POWs were bombed on the train by American fighter pilots, not realizing it was filled with POWs. The chocolate ultimately saved his life.

As the war drew to a close, everyone was eventually freed. He made his way to Paris, searching for his brother, who was General Patton’s driver. They had lost contact, and he had no way of finding him. Miraculously, when he went to a restroom, his brother was there. The story felt like a miracle each time it was recounted.

When did Memorial Day become a day of remembrance? This significant transformation occurred after the Civil War, evolving from Decoration Day into the Memorial Day observed today, to honor all American military personnel who have died in all wars.

While servicemen and women are vital to the nation’s safety and security, they are also paramount to their family units. While the nation grieves those who have died in the line of duty, it often overlooks the families they leave behind.

If you are a parent dealing with the loss of a family member, offering support to yourself and your children can be an immense struggle and a heavy burden to bear. There are many valuable resources available to help, such as the blog post “How to Explain Death to a Child.

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Health and Wellness Parenting Personal Development

United in Understanding: You Are Not Alone in Mental Health Awareness

Every year, an average of 150,000 lives are tragically lost to drug, alcohol, and suicide-related causes in America.

These staggering statistics underscore a pervasive sense of isolation and loneliness among many individuals. Yet, as May unfolds, it serves as a poignant reminder: it is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Throughout this dedicated month, mental health experts, psychologists, and wellness educators come together to amplify a vital message – you are not alone. Despite the isolating challenges, societal upheavals, and profound losses, we stand united, celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month.

Drawing from personal experience, having lost my own brother to suicide years ago, I’ve come to understand how shared childhood experiences and patterns often compel us to suppress our emotions and needs. Tragically, unmet needs can manifest in profound ways. It was during this harrowing period that my commitment to conscious parenting and mental health advocacy took root.

Yet, our society requires more than mere awareness of mental illness; it necessitates an active commitment to fostering mental wellness. What is Mental Health Awareness? We must equip ourselves with tools and strategies for empathetic communication, emotional regulation, and navigating challenging circumstances.

In the spirit of promoting mental well-being, I’d like to share three simple techniques to alleviate anxiety, foster inner peace, and clarity:

  1. Draw Figure 8s: Using your index and middle fingers, trace a figure 8 pattern around your eyes. Applying varying pressure instantly integrates the right and left brain, fostering equilibrium and harmony.
  2. Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing: Inhale through one nostril, exhale through the other, promoting deeper breaths, centeredness, and anxiety reduction. Alternate nostrils to enhance balance.
  3. Engage in Ha! Exhales: Clench your fists, inhale deeply, and forcefully exhale with a “HA!” as you bend forward. This technique induces relaxation, dissipates nervous energy, and restores calmness.

Why mental health awareness is important nowadays? For those seeking further mental health resources, I recommend exploring this enlightening video from the National Mental Health & Mental Fitness Summit held in July 2019.

Remember, we traverse this journey collectively. Let’s continually reassure one another that we need not confront our adversities in solitude.

Wishing you resilience and flourishing mental health, just keep in mind that you are not alone – celebrating mental health awareness month.