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Classroom Placement for Twins and Other Multiples

Classroom Placement for Twins and Other Multiples

Classroom, Classroom Placement, kindergarden, primary school, school, parenting, Classroom Placement for Twins and Other Multiples, twins, Multiples,

 

You’ve given birth, decided on names, and have survived multiple cold and flu season, and now it’s time to registered your babies for school. Here comes the dreaded question and decision. Do you want your children in the same or different class? What do you do? Do you have a choice? And what is best for your children? What does the research and what are the best practices for multiple birth children? Today parents do have more say in class placement of their child and in this case your children.

Classroom Placement Myths for Twins or Multiples

Surprisingly there are a lot of myths about twins or multiple birth children. There is very little to no formal research to back up these ideas or beliefs about classroom placement for twins or multiples.

Some myths are;

  • Twins or multiple birth children need their own space to develop as an individual separate from their siblings
  • Separating twins or multiple birth children in different classrooms is better so that the teacher gets to know each of them as an individual
  • Placing twins or multiples in the same classroom will lead to classroom behavioural issues

Your local school may suggest separating your twins or multiple birth children. Many schools teachers and principals may not be aware of research addressing how to meet the educational and social needs of your children. There is research that suggests separation is not always the best choice. Some research shows separating twins during the early school years can cause long term anxiety and distress.

Negative Impact on Separate Class Placement

Research following twins separated at a young school age showed they could developed emotional issues such as anxiety, night terrors, and fears that something bad would befall their twin. Other separated twins showed reading difficulties. Twins may benefit being in the same classroom until at least the end of grade 2.

When it comes to class placement each family needs to look at each of their children in order to determine what best fits their child, children, and their family. Parents and educators need to come to a decision that will benefit each child. A one size fits all policy is not suitable.

What can you do?

Meet early with your local school and the staff. It’s never too early to approach your local school to start the discussion. The principal and staff might appreciate learning early on your multiple birth children will be attending school next fall. Families of multiples can help their children adjust to school by advocating themselves as their best source of information regarding their children.

Parents and school staff need to invest the time so that school principals and teachers get to know their twins or multiple birth children as individuals and not as “ the twins”. And don’t forget to reach out to the school psychologist for information and guidance on what the best practices area for multiples and what is the current research on classroom placement for the early school years for multiples.

Same or Separate Class Placement

When deciding on same or separate class placement, parents and school staff need to take into consideration:

  • Your children’s age and actual birth date ( are they fall or December babies?)
  • Each child’s social skills and level of independence
  • If there is any negative competition or comparison by the twins with each other
  • What classroom support is available for multiples?
  • What monitoring and follow up will occur with the parents to identify emotional, social or educational problems?
  • Any already identified physical, developmental, emotional, or academic issues for one or all of the children
  • Any special external considerations such as divorce, death or other events that may be causing multiples additional stress

As a parent it’s important to reach out to other parents of multiples and ask about their children’s school experiences. Other parents have reported keeping their multiple birth children in the same classroom made the transition to school easier. They stated that same classroom placement allowed multiples to provide emotional and social support for each other.

Each set of twins or multiple-birth siblings are unique in how they interact with each other, their peers, and will adjust to school. Research suggests that young multiples may adjust better to school transition by sharing the same classroom.

If teachers and schools want to help promote independence and individualization, staff must be able to tell each child apart from their twin or multiple and call them by their correct name. Parent need to stay in close contact with school and teachers, to be aware of how their multiples are adjusting to school and make the necessary changes that focus on the best long-term interests for the their children.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Holidays

Post traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, PTSD and the Holidays, Ways to Avoid PTSD Stress Over the Holidays,

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Holidays

The holiday season can often be difficult for people with Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Suffering from PTSD  can make it more difficult to cope the holiday season for any number of reasons.  It can be difficult to be merry and joyful through the holiday season  if you’re depressed, sleep-deprived, anxious, hypervigilant, trigger-sensitive and struggling to suppress uncomfortable thoughts, feelings or memories. Family and friends may not understand you’ve been changed by trauma and the holidays season is full of stress and anxiety for you. Instead of hiding behind a fake smile and suffering through holidays season let’s help you make a plan to address your needs this holiday season. 

Ways to Avoid PTSD Stress Over the Holidays

Here are some tips from clinicians that can help you manage your PTSD symptoms over this holiday season:

 Don’t over schedule

Talk with your spouse or partner before the holidays, parties, and get togethers start. Let your partner know in advance what events or gatherings you can do.  Decide ahead of time how many events you’re willing to attend and how long you can stay. Let your partner know it’s OK if he or she wants to attend some events on their own. Talk to your family member about what they need to feel comfortable during the holidays.

Make a Sensible Plan

Talk with your partner, spouse, family or friends about how you plan to prepared for situations that may come up during the holidays. Write down your coping plan to help you if you become overwhelmed. Ask the the party host questions to help you be more prepared for social gatherings. How many people will be there? Who will be attending? By knowing more information about the event, you can prepare yourself for possible triggers.  And have a plan that can help you cope with the triggers.

Develop Coping Strategies

When you feel triggered, overwhelmed, or stressed, remind yourself of what has helped you in the past. Use your coping techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization or removing yourself from the situation for a few minutes to help reground yourself. Some people find it helpful to focus on their environment by describing what they see, hear, feel or smell.

Sometimes leaving for a few minutes may enable you to relax and return for the rest of the event. Other times, your anxiety may require you to leave the event. Leaving an event is always an option and those who care about you will understand.

Set realistic goals

Too often we expect too much of ourselves, we try to cram in too many activities in a day or we try to meet the unrealistic expectations of others. Remember to be realistic on how much you can accomplish in a given day. Don’t take on too much.  Make a sensible plan to what you can get done. Set small, doable goals. Some people find making “to do” lists to be helpful. And enjoy your accomplishments. 

Make time for yourself

The holidays are not just about rushing from one event to another. It’s always been important to take care of yourself. It’s more important when you feel more pressure to be plan to take some down times to relax. Do activities that are recharging for you such as listening to music, taking a hot bath or shower or what type of activity recharges you. Try to exercise daily to reduces body tension and stress.  Maybe it’s heading out to the gym or spending a few evenings at home with your children or your partner. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. And listen to your body. It will tell you when you’re doing too much and you need to back off and spend some time focused on self care.

Develop a Support Network

Reach out for support if you need it. Know you can rely on for help within your family, your circle of friends or your community. Ask for help early don’t wait until you’re at the breaking point.It is important not to isolate yourself when you’re feeling down angry or depressed. Instead make efforts to be with others who can offer you positive support.  If your symptoms are getting worse or you feel down, reach out to your health care provider, your therapist or call your local Crisis Line.

Get online Help

Help is available online to help you. There are tools such as Use the tools from PTSD Coach app or PTSD Coach Online to help you manage your stress or anxiety. Do not rely solely on online help for support but use them in addition to ongoing support groups or individual therapy sessions with your therapist or doctor.  

Have a friend or loved one suffering from PTSD?

If you know someone with PTSD, there are things you can do to make sure the holiday season is pleasant and enjoyable for everyone. Educate yourself: Take the time to read Understand PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF), to learn more about how PTSD affects those you love. Make your self available to them when they need to talk. Show you care by recognizing when everything doesn’t seem to be okay and let them know it doesn’t have to be perfect this holiday season. Let them know you understand they may not be able to attend all the holiday activities and then you manage your own disappointment without blaming your partner or friend. 

Know what resources are available in your community and reach out to them when you need help or support.

 

Handling Divorce Holiday Schedule with Kids?

Handling Divorce Holiday Schedule with Kids. How do divorced families handle the holidays?, children , kids, holidays, co-parenting agreement, co-parenting, coparenting,

Handling Divorce Holiday Schedule with Kids

How do divorced families handle the holidays? Well as we know, handling holiday celebrations is a challenge for most families. For separated or divorced families, the holiday stress just increases. Along with attending to the usual holiday events – recitals,  gifts, shopping, travelling, and family gatherings, divorced parents find themselves living with a co-parenting agreement that dictates how holiday time with their children is to be spent. Which can really put a damper on the season to be “Jolly and Merry”.

During the holiday season your children will be taking their cues from you. Keep in mind, your first holidays  separated won’t be hard just for your children; they may also be hard for you. Make sure you are paying attention to your feelings and needs this holiday season.  Take stock of where you might need a little extra support and create a plan for taking care of those needs before your burn out.

You may also discover their first major holiday season following your separation or divorce, is sad because it really emphasizes the loss and break up of their original family. And it may hit them hard. While you can’t take away the pain your children feel, how you spend the first holiday after a separation or divorce can really impact your children’s perception about this family change and their own sense of belonging.

The first set of holidays following a divorce is likely to be the most difficult for both of you because as parents. The two of you might still figuring out what works and what doesn’t in terms of co-parenting.  And the pain from going through separation or  divorce are likely still very new and rare for both of you. so how do divorced families handle the holidays without additional stress, aggregation and hostility?

How do Divorced Families Handle Holidays?

How do divorced families handle holidays? Well each separated or divorced family is different. Some separated or divorced families will celebrate holidays together for their children. It’s important to ensure you don’t give your children any false hopes that you might reconcile and if there is any possibility of fighting, disagreement or tension then please do not try to organize or participate in a  shared holiday meal. Your children do not need to witness your anger or discontent.

Some parents will alternate each holiday on an annual basis. One parent gets even years and the other parent gets the odd years. The emphasis is on trying to be equitable so your children can enjoy uninterrupted time with both families. Though both the children and parent don’t see each other over the holiday.

Other families split the holiday “day” its self in half. One parent spends the morning  with the children and the other parent spends the afternoon. While this allows both parents to celebrate the “special day” with their children, many children find this back and forth to rushed and chaotic.

How you decide to divide or share the holiday season is up to you and your Ex. Think about your children and how their needs will be best met. You may need to try it out for a few years to come up with a holiday co-parenting plan that works for your children.

Focus on Your child’s Best Interests

The holidays are really for children. Just imagine the holiday season from your child’s perspective. They just opened their presents, spending some time with their cousins and grandparents, and hopefully playing with their toys. And before you know it, it’s time to bundle them off to their other parent’s home to repeat the whole event again. Kids to say that doing 2, 3 or 4 holiday meals is just too much. It’s overwhelming and stressful for them to be on their best behaviour at so many different homes.

Splitting the day does allow each parent to see their children but this can be too hectic a schedule for your children. Having to pack up their belongings and hop from home to home can be overwhelming and stressful for children and teens of all ages. Your child may not respond well to the increased number of transitions and interruptions over the holiday season. This can lead to meltdowns, tantrums or teens not wanting to participate in the increased back and forth between homes especially if it involves long drives out of the city.

Prior to the holiday season, parents need to discuss and plan their holiday coparenting  based on their children’s personalities and ability to cope with increased chaos, disruptions, and moving back and forth over the holiday season. What works this year might not be a permanent solution. It might look good on paper but in real life doesn’t work for your children. It takes a lot of adult maturity and courage to sit down and talk about your children and how they are coping with the holiday schedule. Even if you celebrate the same holiday, there are ways to make this work for you and your children.

Help your Children shop for their Parent

Kids get excited about the holidays, shopping or making a gift, and gift giving. Help your child make or purchase a gift for the other parent. It isn’t difficult to do. By helping your child give a gift to their parent they love, you are demonstrating respect  and teaching your child a life long lesson on giving to others. It’s not hard to help your young children find a present for their parent. You don’t want your child to experience everyone else handing out presents and they have nothing to give the person they love.

Ensure you give your child the gift to enjoy the holidays with their parent. No child want sot feel obliged to worry that their Mom or Dad will be alone for the holidays. If you are unable to be with your children during a holiday, encourage your children to enjoy themselves with the other parent and their extended family.

Examine your traditions and those of your EX

Look at how you, your Ex, and your extended family celebrate holidays to see if this can give you an opportunity to find an easier solution to splitting the holidays. Does your family celebrate on the 24th? Are there 8 nights to celebrate? Does either extended family celebrate  the season earlier or wait to celebrate in January?

What holiday traditions are important to you? How do you want to help your children maintain and cherish these traditions? It’s more difficult to build traditions when your children bouncing from house-to-house. And what new and unique traditions can you create with your children that don’t have to focus on just December 25th? What traditions you create are up to you.  Maybe it’s we’re making Granny’s special cookies this weekend. Or we use the good dishes and special tableware.

What traditions do you want to create so you help create lasting memories for your children to pass down to their children with love? Which holiday traditions do you treasure? Ask your kids which holiday traditions or activities they enjoy the most? Maintaining a favourite tradition gives your children a sense that not everything in their life is changing and some things will stay the same.

Examine your own beliefs

Too often we live life on autopilot. This year, especially if it’s your first year separated or divorced, slow down, and focus on what matters most to you and your children.  Before you get caught up in the holiday daze, slow down to avoid going into holiday overdrive.

Do you really need to go to every party? What is your focus for the holidays? The holidays are about family time. This year you could be put your smaller family first on the list. Maybe this year is the year to cut back on holiday obligations. Select the events and dinners that are the most meaningful to you. Which events will be the most beneficial for your younger children? What events will allow your older children and teens to get quality time with you and other family members? Place quality time not quantity of events with your children at the top of your holiday list this year.

Maybe as a recently separated or divorced parent, it’s time for change. Remember you don’t have to re-invent the whole holiday season. Maybe select one new event or tradition that you and your children can enjoy together to make the holidays “yours”. Your quality holiday time together doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s holiday. It just has to be something special you do with your children.  Your family can celebrate any holiday on a day that is not the designated holiday. Don’t let others tell you it’s not a real holiday. Make it your family’s designated day to celebrate together.

Explain Your Holiday Plans Early to your Family

Explain, explain, and explain again. People who are not separated or divorced can sometimes really not understand why you don’t have your kids home for the holidays.  Early in the season send an email, call your parents, talk with your siblings and let them know what your holiday kid schedule is.  Explain to them when your kids will be with you and when you will all be available for family get togethers. Send it in writing circle the dates on the calendar so your family remember and can see when your kids will be home.

Don’t allow your family to guilt you about your separation or divorce and the kids being with your Ex. Gently explain to your family your holiday co parenting schedule. Expect there could be some confusion on why the kids aren’t here until they understand the concept of coparenting.

You can ask your family to celebrate holiday on a day that is not the designated holiday. They don’t have to agree. And that’s OK too.

The most important thing for divorced  and separated parents to remember is that the holidays are about their children and not you or your parents. Even if you are unable to be with your children during a holiday, encourage your children to enjoy themselves with the other parent and their extended family. It was perfectly OK that not everyone we love is here to celebrate the holidays. And we will get through this.

 

Is Your Child is Struggling at School?

How to Recognize if Your Child is Struggling at School?, student, exam anxiety, test axniety, school troubles, failing, How to recognize if Your Child is Struggling Academically

 

Is Your Child is Struggling at School?

There will come a time when many children and teens struggle at school. And not just in primary school but also in college or at university. what can you do as a parent to help identify when a child is struggling at school and how to help them succeed. School struggles show up in any number of ways – from bad grades, peer troubles, or even emotional or physical problems. These problems can negatively affect both the students and parents as parents might see emotional or behavioural problem pop up at home too. A struggling student can lead to a stressed out parent. How do you recognize if your child is struggling at school?

Signs something is wrong at school

Unfortunately most kids won’t come and talk to parents to their teachers about school problems. After all it can be embarrassing to have to talk about not understanding school work and in many cases young children don’t even where to begin the conversation.

It’s important for parents to be engaged and interested in their child’s education and their progress at school. Take the time to ask what they are learning at school. Can your child coherently explain what she or he is learning? Does it make sense to you? can they show you how to solve math problems? Are they able to “teach” you what they have learnt at school?  If you are getting short answers from them or ” nothing fun today at school” start asking to see their school work and have them take out their books and show you what they did at school.

Homework completion and test results? 

In younger children and teens look for homework completion and test results scores. You are looking for completed homework. English, history or geography homework needs to be written in complete sentences, is understandable and makes sense. Math homework shows their math work on how they solved the math problems. Remember most math books have an answer key in the back of the book or at the end of each chapter.

Is the teacher marking their homework with too many “Xs” or requesting they redo the work? Are you getting teachers notes asking your child to hand in late, missing, or incomplete assignments? Are they doing poorly on tests? Parents who regularly monitor and engage in school discussions and what their children are learning at school won’t be surprised by poor midterm reports cards.

How is your child’s attitude about school? Positive or negative? Is your child complaining school is boring or the teacher picks on them? It’s time to investigate and speak with their teacher(s). Are they getting into trouble at school for being fidgety at school or losing homework, books or their own belongings at school? Do they trouble remembering where they placed their belongings or following instructions with sequences? Do you find your child doesn’t pay attention to details in their homework or often makes careless mistakes? These could be signs of ADD or ADHD. Talk with your child’s teacher and visit your family doctor.

Is there a change in their moods?

Have you seen a change in your child’s or teens moods since school started? You may notice that your child is irritable, aggressive, bad mood before or after school.  Children and teens can become depressed due to poor school performance. Many kids are aware they are not doing as well as their peers and are aware they are falling behind at school. Young children can become whinny and clingy wanting to avoid class and school. Again investigate what’s going on – talk with your child’s teacher and visit your family doctor.

If you find yourself fighting every time you discuss school. It’s time for you to book an appointment with the teacher. What is the teacher noticing and what might be happening at school? Avoidance about discussing school could mean academic troubles. It might also indicate that your child is anxious about going to school or is experiencing some form of bullying or social isolation. Again talk with the teacher and book an appointment with  a therapist to help your child learn ways to cope with anxiety or any bullying issues.

Sometimes it could be something as simple as your child is struggling to see the blackboard. Maybe your child needs to be closer to the front of the room or visit the ophthalmologist for an eye exam and potential glasses. Could your child have a hearing issue?  Visit your family doctor to rule out any physical issues.

Investigate and take Action ASAP

Sometimes it’s difficult to accept that our child is struggling at school. It’s important for your child’s success to take action today.  See your child’s teacher as your best resource to knowing your child academically. Book an appointment to go over your child’s or teens school work and tests to pinpoint where the problem started. Did your child miss key concept due to a field trip in another class or because they were away from school that day or that week?

Too often parents wait until the ‘signs’ of failure have already caused their child too much frustration. Parents should seek help at the first signs of school struggle, which include frustration or frequent tears during homeworkgirl stressed studying time, coming home with failing grades or constant “re-dos,” or the child expressing that he or she just doesn’t “get it”. The child’s teacher should be your first source for help.

 

Does my Child need a Tutor?

Private or group tutoring might be the way to go to help your child catch up. If you child has missed key concept some individual one on one school help  could help fast track them back to success.  A tutor isn’t just for drilling your child in spelling or math lessons.  Tutors can also help your child learn study skills, organizational skills and how to manage their time and school projects. Children diagnosed with a learning disorder, such as ADHD or dyslexia can benefit from after school tutoring. Your child’s school may have a list of qualified or approved tutors or they may know of teachers who are willing to provide outside of school classes. Some schools may have a resource teacher who can spend time with your child during school hours.

Who’s responsible?

While you may offering your child extra support to help him or her learn new concepts manage their school work or get caught up at school, it’s important they remain responsible for their schoolwork.  Remind your child, he or she is responsible for their schoolwork and projects. It’s vital that he or she knows that they are being held accountable by you and the teachers to do their part in their education. Remember to praise your child for working hard and for persevering. Children who are praised for putting in effort are more likely to keep trying when they encounter setbacks.

Do we need psycho-educational assessment?

After you’ve talked with the teacher, hired the tutor, and your child is still struggling at school it might be time to consider a psycho-educational assessment. You may choose to have one done or your child’s school may suggest an assessment.

Bring samples of your child’s homework, projects, teacher’s comments and recent report cards. The results from a psycho-educational assessment will point out your child’s strengths, weaknesses, learning disabilities, and if your child is a gifted. You take the psycho-educational assessment report back to your child’s school. After reading the results the school may create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child’s exceptions. This IEP will follow your child throughout their education and can continue with them to post secondary education. IEP are updated annually.

An IEP is not a“ I don’t have to do homework” get out of jail card. Now your child will need to learn coping skills and tools to overcome and circumvent any identified weaknesses or learning disabilities. Students have access to many resources available today to help them succeed. Universities and colleges have student success centres or access centres to help accommodate and promote student success.

 

 

Overcoming Bitterness and Disappointment

Bitterness and disappointment, disappointment, Forgiveness, bitterness, resentment, letting go, holding on, grudges, grudge

What is eating you? Overcoming Bitterness and Disappointment

Is there something bothering you? Is it something that is too difficult or upsetting to talk about? HsS someone let you down,disappointed you by their words or by their actions? Has someone hurt you? Do you find it hard to forgive someone because you are in so much pain? Are you holding on to words that cause you so much pain and discomfort?

What ever the case for your pain and anger has this anger taken over your life? Do you find yourself now impatient, angry, frustrated or just fed up with everyone and everything? Are you irritable and suspicious of others? Do you get upset at the slightest misunderstanding? Have you told yourself “ill never trust that person again?” or no matter what I’ll never let that person back into my life again?” or I’m waiting for that person to hurt me again?

This sounds like you have a lot of pain, sorrow and hurt. And the past is still hurting you, still haunting your dreams and your thoughts and holding you prisoner from living in the present. Your past is holding you prisoner and you are allowing bitterness to grow deep inside of you.

Take a moment to think about the person or persons who hurt you. Do you think they dwelling on this event, this interaction, and this moment where you felt you were wronged? There is probably a good chance that they have forgotten this event and moved on. Not that the event was insignificant but that overtime this inter action has faded from their mind. However, you reminisce, obsess, and turn over this event in your mind again and again and again. You are reliving this event daily in your mind. When you focus on past events, you are reliving the past. You are living in the past and in hour pain. Each moment you focus on what happened, the words, the actions, the feelings you experienced without letting go of the past, your disappointment and your bitterness grows.

Holding on to Negative Emotions

The longer you hold onto your bitterness and disappointment the stronger these negative feelings become. Left unresolved, your bitterness and disappointment can cause you untold sadness. As you hold on to your anger bitterness and disappointment your body will start to feel these negative feelings and you could start feeling depressed, anxious or even physically ill from the tension and stress you carry in your mind and in your body.

These negative feelings will impact your mental health, your physically health, your relationships and friendships. While you may believe you can hide these feelings those around will start to sense your anger bitterness and disappointment. You will discover that this bitterness and disappointment will eat away at you and your happiness.

I’m having a Hard time Letting go

What can you do when you have a hard time releasing your bitterness? To start, remember that you cannot undo the past. What has happened has happened. It is only a memory that lingers in your mind. Take the time to bring the memory of the loss, the pain, the insult the injury to come to into your thoughts. If you allow your negative feelings to crowd out your positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or disappointment.

Holding onto Resentment

Realize you are holding onto resentment. Reliving the painful event or memory means that you feel this pain, this hurt loss, bitterness and disappointment again and again as if the event just happened. As a results of you going over these memories again and again in your mind, you are re-experiencing all those negative emotions and feeling but by not allowing yourself to let go of the past, the past hurt and pain. Acknowledge those feelings. Say “yes I feel hurt, bitter disappointed.” Name the emotions you feeling. Your feelings need to be validated. And be aware that the person who you feel has hurt you does not have to be the one to validate your feelings.

Take the time to be compassionate with yourself. How has this event impacted you and your life? Are there thongs you have missed out on because of holding onto this grudge, your anger and disappointment? Reflect on the facts of the situation. Did the person behave in a deliberate manner to hurt you? As you look back on the event do you truly believe the person meant to hurt you or could there be other explanations to what happened?   How you’ve react? And how did your reaction add to your disappointment or bitterness? How has holding onto these negative emotions has impacted your life, health, and emotional well-being?

Have you tried Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment your make to yourself to journey through a process of change. It’s not an easy journey and forgiveness is not necessary a straight line. Allow yourself the space and the time to experience your feelings of disappointment. Now might be the time to release yourself from creating a life of bitterness and resentment. What is the value of forgiveness in your life? What is it like when someone forgives you? Can you image yourself giving up the role of helpless victim in this situation and start to take active steps to release yourself from the pain and heaviness of anger, disappointment, or bitterness? When you are able to let go of your pain you’ll no longer define yourself or life by how you’ve been hurt, let down or disappointed.

Letting go of a grudge is not so easy when the person you feel has hurt you does not admit they were wrong, doesn’t speak of his or her sorrow or doesn’t even know they have hurt you. What can you do when you feel stuck? When you feel you don’t know how to release your pain take the time to reflect about when you have accidentally hurt someone else’s feelings. What happened? Did you deliberately try to hurt someone? Was it a misunderstanding? Where you aware right away that the other person was hurt? Did that person forgive you?

You can also consider the situation from the other person’s point of view. Ask yourself why he or she would behave in this way? Where they deliberately try to hurt you? What do you thing was the motive or reasoning behind their behaviour? How would you have acted in this situation given the same circumstances? And reflect on how you have forgiven others in the past and how you felt afterwards. You may also wish to speak with someone you trust to ask them for their advice and guidance.

Letting go takes Time

Remember letting go of your bitterness, resentment, and disappointment takes time. Some days you will feel better and lighter while other days may be filled with the sorrow taste of your resentment, and disappointment. It’s also important to realize that being disappointment is part of the human experience. It is part of being human and of life. What would it be like if you could accept the fact that you are disappointed without letting your disappointment grow into bitterness and resentment? Can you accept your feelings without blaming or holding other responsible for you sadness and disappointment? What would it be like if you could talk to that other person and tell them about your disappointment without being bitter or resentful? How do you think that person would respond to you? Are the even aware that you feel hurt?

How do I deal with social Situations?

If you haven’t been able to fully forgive and let go for your resentment, and disappointment, being near the person who hurt you might make you feel tense and stressed or anxious. It’s important for you to be aware of how you might feel and to take positive steps to manage your emotions. Make sure you are with someone who is supportive and caring to help you get through these social situations. You may ask this person to check in on you to offer their emotional support to you. If you find being near the person who has hurt you too much it is OK to avoid attending social gatherings.

What if I need to ask for Forgiveness?

And if you know someone is harbouring anger, hurt or bitterness towards you because of some wrongdoing on your part, take the positive step of initiating reconciliation, exploring what went wrong and what has caused them pain. Remember they may not be ready to hear your apology. You may have to listen to their pain and angry. This takes courage and strength to face someone who might be very cross and angry with us.

Letting go of your bitterness, disappointment and resentment is liberating as it frees you from the burden of holding a grudge and the sadness and heavy emotions that accompany it. Emotional and psychological hurts linger in the form of bad memories and thoughts of past hurtful experiences and creates barriers to personal growth, and prevents you from growing closer to others. Remember letting go of your pain can be a slow journey, be gentle with your self and others.

Parental Estrangement CBC Interview

In case you miss the radio show, CBC Ontario Today, you can listen in to Nataxja Cini MSW RSW, talk about Parental Estrangement. It was a great call in show. We heard from many parents and  children talk about their experiences and what helped them. We heard some current ongoing tragic sad stories and some really happy positive outcome is too.  Guests twitter about our show and even shared help groups where parents can get support. If you’re a parent estranged from your child visit http://hope4parents.ca They offer a network of support and self help for parents, guardians and relatives across southern Ontario.

Thank you to Rita Celli for having me on the CBC Ontario Today at noon. Please share with your friends and network. You never know who could use some timely advice. Visit us at http://family-therapy.ca

 

CBC Parental Estrangement

 

http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/

Parental Estrangement

Parental Estrangement: What to do when your Kids don’t want to talk to you

Parental Estrangement, Parental Estrangement: What to do when your Kids don't want to talk to you

1) Estrangement as identity

Many adult children cut off their parents because they have no other way to establish their own feelings of autonomy and independence. They haven’t yet mastered how to feel close to the parent and not feel too influenced or overwhelmed by their parents.

2) Listen and Try to understand what happened from your child’s point of view

Here’s a place where you the parent need to show restraint and the openness to hear your child.  Rejection is a powerful emotion that can lead to all sorts of defensive behaviours, which can further alienate you from your child. Take a deep breath and work hard on being open to this conversation and try to put your defences on the back burner.

You need to put your ego on hold and really truly listen to what your child has to say to you. You may not fully understand or agree with your child’s point of view. And it’s important for you to say to your child, “I am trying to understand your pain and how you experienced this.”   The pain your child feels or is expressing is real to him for her even if you think it’s foolish or ridiculous. This is your child talking about his or her experience. 

4) Put it in writing

Sometimes a letter works better than a conversation. Words on paper can be read over and over again so your child can absorb your apology.  Take the time to write out a well thought out letter or an email.  Write this letter once you are in a calm frame of mind.  Acknowledge their rejection of you, guess  and offer suggestions as to the cause of the distance between the two of you, and ask to understand their experience looking for clarification as you are curious about them and what they are feeling. Finish the letter by asking what you can do to make amends or to fix the relationship. Make suggestions you know they will appreciate and that you are willing to to.

5) Admit your mistakes

It takes a lot of courage to deal with the emotions and the rupture that’s happened in your family. Especially since you too have been hurt by this estrangement. It takes a lot of courage and determination to admit you’ve made a mistake. Are you’re modelling positive family behaviours. Families need talk out problems and be honest about their feelings. And you might hear things you don’t want to.

6) Avoid engaging in negative conversations or fights

Should your adult child feel the need to continue the fight, let him or her know that, you’re not going to engage in these types of conversations or fighting with them. Your child may experience this as you refusing to talk about the problems. Calmly express to your child that you do want to talk and understand their point of view. You will no longer be willing to fight with them. You want to protect your relationship and you do not want to say anything that might further damage the relationship or cause anymore pain. Reassure your child you will return to this conversation as it’s important to you and to your child. 

7) Create Healthy Boundaries

State you’re open to having conversations and dialogue with your adult child and you will stop the conversation once it becomes heated, yelling, name calling or abusive 

 8) Do not allow your children to abuse you

Sometimes parents in their desperation to reconnect with their estranged child give in to their child’s demands. It’s ok to say no and your kids do you have to learn how to be disappointed in life. And I mean disappointed and not devastated. It is not your job as a parent to “fix” your child’s life. If you find yourself in an abusive situation, set limits with your child. Refuse to give time, money, or advice until you are treated appropriately and don’t meet with your child alone. As a parent, you need to learn how to say”no”  in order to stop or prevent abuse. If you feel you have difficulty say no to your children or your are being emotionally, physically, or financially abused by your children reach out for help from a therapist or the police. 

9)  Find an intermediary

Sometimes finding an intermediary  such as trusted adult friend, a trusted adult relative with him your child has a positive relationship can help you reach out to and reconnect with your child. This person needs to be able to offer to be a go between between you and your child and they must be able to deal with the conversations without inflaming the dispute. If there is no one who you can ask to help you then seek professional assistance from a family therapist who specializes in estrangement and parent alienation. 

10)  Persevere

Don’t give up too early and don’t overwhelm your child either. You need to understand that not only does your child may need time to cool off or time to mature, you too need time to cool down and time to overcome your anxiety.  Too often parents cannot cope with estrangement from their children and need to reconnect as soon as possible. 

It is normal for teens and young adults to pull away from their parents in order to figure themselves out. Some distance is normal. Always avoiding you or telling you they never want to see you again is not normal. Give yourself and your child time to cool down.

Don’t be too quick to reject your child permanently. Often when we’re hurt we turn to anger, resentment or vengefulness. But these are not how we are truly feeling. Underneath those emotions are our true emotions of  unacknowledged sadness, loss and grief.

 

Talking to your Child about their Weight

 

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Talking to your child about their weight is a very sensitive and touchy subject. How do you, as a parent, voice your concerns about their weight and not alienate, embarrass or shame your child? Too often this conversation abut eating habits and food choices ends up focusing on being overweight, and fat and not on healthy eating or having a healthy lifestyle.

 

5 Tips on Talking to your Child about their Weight

1) Don’t Focus on Body Size

  • Don’t have a conversation starting with “ I think you need to loose some weight”, “I’m concerned your overweight” “you need to be more active”
  • Comments that encourage dieting or the need to lose weight are associated with feelings of shame, embarrassment and body dissatisfaction in your child or teen
  • Conversations focusing on body weight and size are linked to an increased risk of unhealthy dieting, binging, and other weight-controlling in young people
  • Never bring it up concerns about your child’s weight front of their friends, your friends, relatives. This is a private conversation for you and your child and the family doctor
  • If you are constantly talking to your child about their weight or harassing your child about their weight or what they are or are not eating, it becomes a power struggle over who has control and food

2) Create a healthy lifestyle for the whole Family

  • Do make this about the whole family living a healthy lifestyle that includes good food, exercise, limited screen time, sleep, hobbies, and work.
  • Have this conversation often. You won’t agree on all the same goals all the time. Take the time to listen and learn what is important to each family members.
  • Don’t single out one person as being the “problem child”
  • Help educate your child on how to eat healthy. What does this mean to them and to you
  • Have your kids help out in the kitchen and go grocery shopping with you. Teach them how to read the food labels.
  • Don’t label foods as being good or bad. Teach your kids to enjoy all food in moderation
  • Show them how exercise can be fun like bike riding sports ping-pong or just going for a walk.

3) Examine your own Beliefs

  • Do you make negative comments about your body shape, size or dislike of parts of your body? Your children pick up on these types of negative statements
  • Be aware that teens years can be difficult for teenagers as their bodies go through growth sprouts and physical changes.
  • Both teen girls and teen boys are often concerned about their weight. It’s quite common to hear or see teenage girls dieting, but it’s about finding a balance point between eating and exercise. We are now starting to see young men becoming overly concerned about their weight and body image
  • demeaning or shaming language about weight and body image will lead to your child become defensive and then hiding their unhealthy eating behaviours
  • Don’t to engage in badgering or harassing. If you harass, it becomes a power struggle about who controls the food that enters your child’s body
  • Examine images and stereotypes in the media and pop culture about body image, food, and body shapes and sizes. Ask your kids what do they think?

4) Don’t use food for rewards or punishments

  • Sometimes we use food to soothe emotional problems, rewards good behaviour or even use food for punishment
  • Food should be for eating and not for pushing down emotions – talk about how to deal with sadness or anger without reaching for foods to self soothe
  • Over focusing on good versus bad foods can lead to poor eating habits and issues such as bulimia, anorexia, or the use of laxatives to control weight
  • Do talk about how foods are associated with family gatherings, holidays and examine is it the food that makes these memories good or the company we share?

5) Look for signs of unhealthy food patterns

  • Sometimes we do use food to self soothe when we’re sad, anxious, depressed or angry. Teach and show your children how to regulate your emotions.  Do not use food to solve emotional issues or to make them “feel better”.
  • Have you seen your kids skip several meals, severely restrict what they eat, won’t eat certain types of foods, go to the bathroom often during or right after meals? Do you find a lot of food wrappers in their bedroom or the trashcan?
  • Do reach out for help from your family doctor or a therapist who specializes in disorder eating

Remember you want to have an open conversation not a criticizing monologue. Talking to your child about their weight is a difficult conversation. We’re all sensitive about our looks and body shape and body size.  It’s best to not focus on your child’s  weight. Your focus needs to be about leading a healthy lifestyle that involves healthy eating and exercise. Don’t single out one person in the family as being the “problem child” or “problem teen”. Try to engage the whole family into leading a healthy lifestyle that involves healthy eating and exercise.

 

Visit us at http://family-therapy.ca if you’re interested in speaking with a therapist.

 

 

Are these Just Pre wedding Jitters?

Pre Wedding Jitters

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You’ve bought the dress, booked the reception, planned the honeymoon, and sent the invitations. And now you’re unsure she or he is the ONE? Feeling sick to your stomach or feeling anxious? Does the sight of the dress fill you with dread? Feeling like you may have made a mistake saying “yes” or proposing to your loved one was too early? If you answered yes, you are experiencing pre wedding jitters. This is your mind telling you that something is not quit right and you need to listen. It’s time to slow down and ask yourself why you feel this way – what are your warning signs? Are these just normal pre wedding jitters or are there real issues you and your soon to be partner haven’t discussed or won’t discuss?

Pre Wedding jitters, are just anxieties that come up because there is something going on that’s worth you paying attention. Maybe the two of you struggle at communication or working together as a team or listening to each other or balancing both of your needs? To help you solve this problem it’s a good idea to pay attention to whether or not your concerns and doubts revolve around your partner ‘s behaviour versus other temporary stressors that can impact your relationship.

Normal Pre Wedding Jitters

– Worried about the ceremony, all the attention, and all the people who will be there focused on YOU and your partner

– Worried your divorced parents or another difficult relative will not behave at your wedding

– Worried or overwhelmed by all the wedding planning and the costs

– Worried you’ll end up with a marriage like Mom or Dad

– Worried you’re not going to be a perfect spouse or partner

These are normal worries and I wouldn’t call off the wedding because of these worries. This gives you the opportunity to lean on your partner for support. Take the time to express your concerns and fears. If you need to take a break from all the wedding planning and focus on what is really important, your life together as a married couple, your commitment to each other, and your love for one another.

Talk to your partner about your fears and concerns that you might not be perfect all the time or end up like Mom or Dad. How do the two of you communicate and resolve problems? What do you like about your relationship and what makes it unique?

Red Flag Pre Wedding Jitters

Below are what I consider to be important warning signs to stop, address, and realize these issues won’t necessarily change without a lot of work. It doesn’t mean this is the end but you really need to address these issues and get answers to your questions and worries.

  1. Alcoholism, drug addiction, or engaging in illegal Behaviours

Get support for yourself from AA family or spouse groups. While these are serious issues you can have a good marriage if you both are take responsibility for your choices and behaviours. Do not fall into the trap of thinking “he or she will settle down or change once we’re married.” Unless your partner can see they have a problem change can’t happen.

Take the time to talk to someone who is not related to either your families about these issues, and how they impact you. Make sure to talked with someone who is unbiased.

  1. Any type of violence towards you, pets, his or her family

Violence is never OK. If there is violence, threats of violence, rage, uncontrollable anger, shaming, isolation, or controlling behaviour in your relationship, seek support and assistance of a therapist to better understand the dynamics of the abuse and why you choose to stay.

  1. Cheating or Infidelity

Finding out your partner is unfaithful to you and your relationship is devastating.  Healing from betrayal, forgiving your partner does take a long time and is possible. Trust can be rebuilt and your relationship can be stronger after an affair or betrayal of your trust. It is not acceptable to just say this will never happen again and move on. The two of you need to figure out why this happened in your relationship. Seek support and assistance of a therapist together or individually to understand these issues in your relationship.

  1. Difficulty talking to your partner to be about difficult or hot topics

You might have trouble expressing yourself to your partner about issues like sex, your plans together as a couple, how to get along with their parents, wanting or not wanting children, saving money, traveling or our career ambitions.

It’s important to actually talk about these topics before you get married or even engaged so the 2 of you create a picture or plan for your marriage and future lives together. Many couples fail to discuss their overall plan before they get married because they either don’t know how to or because they already know there is a conflict and they don’t know how to find a resolution. Remember it’s a plan and plans can change but it’s important to agree on deal breakers like having kids or careers that involve lots of travel or frequent moves. You need to know what you can tolerate and what parts are just too much for you.

Pre Wedding Jitters, couples, marriage, engagement, Ottawa couples therapy, Ottawa couples counselling,

Remember it’s normal be to worried or overwhelmed by planning and orchestrating a wedding. It’s a lot of work. So if you’re worried about tripping when you walk down the aisle, the ring bearer losing the rings, the bride being late, mixing up your vows or your flowers wilting in the heat of the day, these are all normal pre wedding jitters.  Take a deep breath and breathe. Yes there might be a few oops in the day but you’ll both do fine. Talk with your fiancé about your pre wedding jitters and ask for his or her support and reassurance. If you have concerns that you can’t claer up between you and your partner visit us at http://family-therapy.ca to speak with one of our therapists.

Helping your Child through Separation and Divorce

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Helping your Child through Separation & Divorce

Separation and divorce is tough enough for you. But how do you help your child through separation and divorce?   While adults make the choices on how they dissolve their relationship, children have little say on how separation and divorce affects their lives. It’s important to remember to create safety and stability for your children. Helping your child through separation and divorce means providing reassuring emotional support and stability.  This is a difficult time for everyone.  Your children are vulnerable to feeling abandoned or responsible for your marriage breakdown.

What your Child Needs from you Now

Jointly tell your children that the marriage or relationship is over

Keep this talk short and simple. Younger children do not require a lot of detail. Older children will ask more complicated questions and will need to talk more about the separation. They will need multiple talks about where they will be living and how this will work.

Keep your answers age appropriate. Children do not need to know any of the details as to why you are getting divorced. Remember your children have their own fears.  Your Children need to be reassured you will be there for them even if they do not with you live full time. Be prepared to revisit this topic at other times.

Ask them if they have questions. Some children may be afraid to ask questions. Young children will truly not understand what is happening. It will take time for them to understand what separation and divorce really means.  Young children will need to experience the separation before they understand the words. Expect your teens to have many questions about how this will impact them.

Maintain their usually routine

Reassure your children.  Your children need to know they will be supported emotionally and physically. Try to maintain their usually routines as much as possible. This will reassure your children they can count on you for stability, structure, and care.

Be prepared that each of your children may react differently to the news and the changing situation. Some children regress and may be more clingy, others may try and take on more grown up behaviours, while some children get into more trouble and mischief in order to get express their own angers and fears. Be prepared to spend more one on one time with your children. They will need more attention and support from you during this transitional period. This is not the time for you to start dating or go on business  or personal trips.

No fighting in front of your children

No fighting in person or on the phone in front of your children. While you may no longer love or get along with your partner they will always be your children’s parent. Please reframe from being critical of your ex-spouse. This can be particularly difficult if you feel betrayed or deeply wounded by your ex-spouse. You also need to tell your family members not to bad mouth your spouse in order to protect your children. Even if your partner has been hurtful or spiteful, speaking poorly about them does hurt your children. Research shows that the biggest single factor in long-term adjustment to divorce is the children’s level of exposure to parental conflict.

Allow your children access to both Parents and family members

Allow your child as much open contact and communication with their other parent. Divorce is difficult for everyone, especially for children who don’t understand why Mom or Dad can live with him or her full time anymore. Allow your child to freely contact the other parent or to talk to you about missing their parent. It’s important that your children do not feel they have to choose who they love. Asking your child to choose which parent they love more will cause hurt the relationship between your child and their parent and in the long term will cause emotional damage to your child.

 

Allow your child to freely express their emotions about the separation and divorce

Allow your child to freely express their emotions about the separation and divorce. Your child may express feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, or loss. It’s important that your child knows she or he can freely talk to you about how divorce has disrupted his or her world.  You can help your child process his or her loss by in initiating conversations about their emotions and feelings. Acknowledge their feelings validates your children and lets them know your hear and respect their feelings.

 

What You need to do for Your Child

Communicate directly with your child’s parent and NOT through your child

Communicate directly with your ex-spouse.  While it may be difficult to have to talk with someone you’re upset with passing messages through your children harms them. No child wants to be the messenger for Mom or Dad. Avoid putting your children in the middle of your fights, or making them feel like they have to choose between you.

If it’s difficult to be civil when speaking to your ex agree to leave voice messages, text messages or emails to exchange important information regarding your children. Do not withhold important or urgent information from the other parent. In the end, this makes you look foolish, creates more hostility between the two of you, and leaves your child in a lurch.

No spying on your EX

Don’t ask your child what is happening at Mom or Dad’s house. This causes your child to feel he or she needs to choose sides and makes them feel very uncomfortable. Children will be resentful of you if they feel they need to provide you with a report of what the other parent is doing.  Do ask if they had a good time and let them know you’re happy to see them.

Leave your hostility behind

Allow the other parent to still be your child’s parent even after you have divorced and are living separate lives. Your child still needs both parents to be involved in his or her life. This means that you need to leave your emotional baggage at home or better still with your therapist. Children need to know they are still loved by both parents and they are not the cause of the divorce.  For example, even if it’s painful to encounter your EX at parent teacher interviews or sporting events, take the high ground smile and be polite. Your child still needs the two of you to parent together and provide a united front in helping them grown up.

What You need to do for Yourself

Manage and reduce your stress and anxiety

Getting divorced is never quick and easy. Your children need you to provide them with support as they go through this difficult transition. Make sure to take time for yourself. You too might be finding this a difficult path to navigate no matter. Time for yourself go be as simple as taking a bath after the children are in bed, exercising, talking with your friends, or listening to your favourite music. Seek out your friends, a divorce support group for support or an individual therapist to express your emotions. Never turn to your children to discuss your marital difficulties even if they offer you support. Yes it’s OK to say you’re having a bad day or you need a hug but allow your kids to be kids.

 

Seek individual therapy for yourself

Seek professional help. It’s not easy to overcome your sense of loss or your children’s loss when there is a divorce.  It will take some time for your kids to work through their issues about the separation or divorce. If things get worse rather than better after several months, it may be time to seek professional help for yourself and your children.  Professional help may be warranted if you or your children are experiencing difficulty sleeping, withdrawal from favourite activities, inability to concentrate, frequent angry outbursts or bouts of crying months after the divorce. Keep your children’s teachers informed of your divorce so they can keep an eye out for unusual behaviour and may be able to offer your child support at school.

And seeking individual therapy for yourself can allow you the space to explore and reflect on your part in your past marriage or relationship. Everyone played a role in the path your relationship took. Having a look back can help you create stronger and more resilient relationships in the future. This does not mean blaming yourself or your Ex for the demise of your relationship but looking at your blind spots so you don’t repeat unhealthy patterns in the future.