Break The Mold! (Or Bend It)

Making a shy kid more communicative

As a mom of four, I have had multiple personalities to cultivate and raise.  Each child had his own quirks and traits that made parenting fun, hard, unique and challenging.  So parents, guardians… what do you do with that child that hides behind your leg?  Who looks at the floor when spoken to?  Whose fear is palpable when someone catches him off guard and speaks to him?  One of my twins was so shy, human contact could actually elicit tears!!  Sound familiar?  No worries. Here are some tips for breaking that mold and getting your child to communicate better.

Don’t Push! Dr. Sears, a certified health coach, warns of the dangers of pushing too hard.  Pushing too hard can cause an introverted child to recoil more from social situations, because they feel put on the spot.  Most shy personalities are born that way, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Shy kids tend to be more kind and empathetic kids with big hearts.  So, treat your child as the blessing that they are! Praise them in their emotions.  It’s good to encourage healthy communication, but don’t make them feel forced.

In conversation once with a social worker, she told me how from age five, her kids had to speak to three people in church every Sunday.  She explained on the first three weeks, her shyest wept.  That same child, now 13, knows the name of every lunch room worker, teacher, teacher’s kids, as well as everyone at church, and willingly engages in conversation with adults.  Positive reinforcement for their efforts went a long way!

Parent’s magazine Allison Hersh, Ph.D.  Suggests practicing at home and explaining what to expect, and replacing pessimism with positivity.  What are the positive aspects of conversation? Making friends and learning vs. rejection.  Knowing what to expect in a conversation can reduce anxiety.  Recognition of a job well done, “you played so well with her,” or “I’m so proud of you for talking to Mrs. Smith today!” can be the positive reinforcement that kids need to help come out of their shell.

Workingmother.com suggests modeling self-love and positive self-talk.  When you get a promotion, or accolades at work, win a prize, celebrate with your child.  Teach your child to love themselves and to be proud of who they are.  Self-confidence is a huge factor in successful communication.

Workingmom.com also preaches teaching resilience.  There will be rejection, there will be disappointments.  Teaching your child to not give up is important, and so is validating their feelings.  Children that feel that their feelings are validated are more comfortable sharing their feelings and opinions.  Don’t pity, but empathize, and then teach them to move on.  Disappointments are a part of life, but not a reason to quit!

Any other helpful hints?  Please share!

ADHD Parenting Tips

Having an ADHD child can be challenging, from struggles at school to behavioral issues, ADHD kids can be a handful.  Parenting an ADHD child can feel like a constant battle of wills.  Here are some tips from the pros to help you navigate ADHD parenting!

1. Limited choices, but choices.  Many ADHD kids need to feel in control.  By offering them choices, they are still in control of the situation.  (Not too many, that can be overwhelming!)

2. Structure is a positive influence for ALL kids, but you will see a difference in your child if you maintain a regular schedule.  With routine and structure, a child knows what to expect and when, allowing them to be in control of themselves, and you to impose consequences!

3. Speaking of consequences… And consequences goes both ways! Reward positive behaviors, impose consequences for negative choices.  Keep your consequences the same, and remind them frequently, their brain moves on much quicker than most!

4. Stay positive. “I want you to pick up your toys now,” clearly defines your expectations and wants. “Don’t you dare forget to clean up!” has negative implications.  Clearly define what you want, not what you don’t want.

5. Be consistent! You cannot expect your kids to do as you say, and not as you do. Kids learn by example!

6. Small steps. Large tasks can seem overwhelming to a child that cannot stay focused long.  “Clean your room,” will get you maybe a tenth of the way there before your son or daughter is on to the next thing that caught their attention.  Keep it simple.  “Pick up your toys,” “Put your dishes in the sink.” Take big chores and tasks and break them down.

7. Have your house rules on display. A visual image helps them to remember, as well as gives you a frame of reference when needed. Make it fun!  They can help you design a poster to hang, which allows them to be a part of it.

8. MAKE TIME FOR YOU. I cannot stress that enough parents!!  When you feel that you are at a breaking point, remember that losing your patience will only frustrate an ADHD kid more! They panic because your expectations are no longer clear and concise.  Create a system where you alert your partner or another adult that you need to step away.  Remaining calm and in control is the way to get through to your ADHD child.  Remember, your child already may feel a loss of control.  Your loss of control is a recipe for chaos.  Step away, calm down.  Make sure at some point in your day you make down time for you too.  Bedtime, early morning, whatever works, but have some YOU time.

Back to School Savings

It’s back to school time again! So, tell me, anyone out there actually like the back to school dent in your budget and schedule? Me either. Take a look at some of these hacks to keep your money and your time well spent.

Uniforms go on clearance everywhere once the back to school craze ends! Buy more then, and buy a size up! You’ll be prepared for the rest of the school year. I buy all clothes for my family off season.  Stores need to get rid of merchandise not in season. Some stores go as high as 80% off.  Try department stores such as Macy’s and JC Penny, they have a big selection and name brands.

Save money and time! Use sites like Pinterest and allrecipes.com Type in “low cost crock pot recipes.” You now have the recipe for a healthy hot dinner on a budget with little effort!

Enjoy the movies but not the cost?  Use reward cards! They are worth it!  If you are near an AMC, get a stubs card.  Standard showings are $5 on Tuesdays, and you build rewards that can be used on anything, including concessions! Plus, you skip the line with VIP status. Check your local theaters for their offers!

The era of the app has replaced time consuming couponing. I don’t shop anywhere without downloading their app.  Many places offer a discount just for downloading it, and you will either receive coupons on your phone, or be able to collect points to reach an incentive.  Also, Google “promo codes” for online items, you can frequently get a coupon or free shipping.  Why spend money you don’t have to?

Look local first.  Use Facebook marketplace, Let Go, and other apps that help you find what you’re looking for in your neighborhood that someone else may not want!

Scrapbooks and photo albums are thoughtful gifts and cost little. From hand-painted champagne flutes, to a framed picture of my sons feet with a little poem in it, these are the gifts the touch the heart.  A dollar store trip for crossword books, warm socks, a teabag, and a coffee mug in a pretty basket is a great get well gift!

Download GoodRx.  It will price match medications at all pharmacies near you.  The last time I used it, I saved $40 on a prescription.

Use apps like Kayak, Priceline and (my favorite) Hotwire for travel needs.  It makes renting a car, booking a hotel room, booking a flight a low cost, time saving swipe on your phone.

Price match!  Almost all large retailers price match each other.  Target has a sale, but you don’t live near one? Pull up the ad on your phone and show the retailer, most will match it.

When is Anxiety Unhealthy?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Anxiety is defined as : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill.

“Anxiety is a healthy and normal response to certain situations, especially those involving danger or personal difficulty.”  https://www.promises.com/articles/mental-health/how-to-know-if-your-anxiety-is-healthy-or-unhealthy/

Anxiety can be good for us, it alerts us that something is wrong.  It lets us know that something is not right.  It is a guide that directs us and keeps us safe.  So when does anxiety become unhealthy? According to Psychotherapy matters.com, the following are signs of unhealthy anxiety:

  1. Daily worrying
  2. Uncontrollable worrying
  3. Restless and unable to relax most days
  4. Physical manifestations, headaches, pain, stomach aches
  5. Trouble sleeping
  6. Trouble focusing
  7. Persistent tired and irritable feelings

The above feelings can be more serious than healthy anxiety, and experiencing one or more of the above can be a red flag for anxiety disorders.

Excessive anxiety can lead to serious health problems such as GI tract problems and heart disease, Harvard Health Publishing

Get a mental health assessment with us, it may save you bigger problems down the road!