Storms of life…

A wild ‘Dust-nado’ that sent the town/schools scrambling a few weeks ago and the topic of Divorce made me think about how we cope with ‘storms’ of life.

In a sense we begin coping with all storms the same way. We open our toolbox of what we ‘know’ and begin to apply the skills to the storm. If the storm is small we may have all the tools we need to cope effectively. But as the storm grows we need to be open to allowing others (personal and professional) to help us fill that toolbox with the right tools. You really don’t want to use a hammer when you NEED a screwdriver (well in most cases- HA!).

In the midst of storms it can be difficult for us to determine the right tool to use for the storm we are in because we are in the middle of if surrounded by the yuck and muck. It can be hard to allow others to help us use the right tools – I’ll be the first one to admit I like to solve problems on my own! So I challenge you as I challenge myself – can you let others help you choose the right tool for your storm?

What tools have you found effective for life’s storms? Both big and small?

Here’s a great E-xtension Article – Coping with Stress

 

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Children and Divorce

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to this month’s blog I would highly encourage it. I have placed below a great resource from the eXtension website. Stay tuned for more conversations the rest of this month.

Parenting During and After Divorce

Parents help children adjust to divorce better when they show respect for the fact that the child is now a member of two families.

Parenting through and after divorce is different than parenting when both adults are in the home. Normal parenting challenges become harder during this time. Life is thrown out of balance. Parents and children may experience feelings of stress, loss, guilt, and/or anger. Most family members overcome this stressful event, but the process takes time.

Parenting Behaviors that Help and Hurt

Making the transition through divorce is easier for the child when parents look at things through the child’s eyes. It’s important to remember that the child is now a member of two families.

Children do better when they are able to maintain their relationships with both parents (when it is safe for them to do so).

Children whose parents have a lot of conflict after the divorce have the hardest time. Parents can support their children best by keeping their arguments private, away from where children can hear them. This includes phone conversations.
Experiencing negative emotions about the other parent is normal. But it’s important to avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of the child. Children often feel a negative comment about the other parent reflects on them. After all, half of their DNA is from that parent! If a parent needs to vent, a good strategy is to seek support from another understanding adult.

For the rest of the article… http://www.extension.org/pages/27654/parenting-during-and-after-divorce

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Where did THAT shirt come from – it wasn’t there before!

I have 3 girls and 30,000 pieces of laundry to wash.  (Ok maybe I’m exaggerating). In the last 3 days (yes true) I have asked the girls to each go to the laundry room, get their own clean laundry and put it away. Each of them has gone to the laundry room 3 times. Why? Because after the first 2 trips they had still missed some of their own items, which meant there was still a clean laundry pile.

How do I get them to find their items on the first trip? I’d even settle for the second? Do they not recognize their own articles of clothing?  (They certainly do when one of their sisters is wearing it?)

After a few moments of pondering the dilemma I remembered  the following technique I learned from a Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 last month.

Adding a Small Chore: Here’s how it works.

Because they didn’t accomplish the first chore – getting their own clean laundry-mind you after 3 separate requests.  – they will now have a small additional chore. When I asked them to get their clothes initially, I also asked them to fold/match 6 pieces of ‘family’ laundry (towels, wash clothes, linens, match socks etc.) They will now have to each fold 3 times the number of towels/washcloths that I asked them to the first time. So they will each have 18 family items to fold/match. Trust me there are plenty! (sock come in pairs remember!)

By giving them a small ‘additional’ chore they will learn to check and make sure their first chore was done to completion. A small chore is not meant to be a punishment or an overwhelming task (like cleaning the garage or the complete disaster of a bedroom). The goal is to make it an inconvenience so they stop and think – or at the very least DO!

What are some other ‘small’ chores that could be assigned for those minor infractions? You might be surprised how the minor infractions decrease with the addition of a few small chores here and there.

Happy assigning!

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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I Need a Nap

Last night I went to bed late and woke up early, refreshed. Another night I may go to bed at a decent time and still have trouble dragging myself out of bed. Sound familiar? And I do know the importance of a regular sleep routine. I feel better and function better when I have enough sleep.

We adults can manage some deviation from getting enough sleep. But it is not realistic to expect that kids can do the same. When I listened to the podcast, I really zoned in on the conversastion about how the spirited kids suffer more from not getting enough sleep. Then I add to that the hectic schedules many families keep, plus the availability of tech devices in kids’ bedrooms, and OH MY!

Remember how excited you were as a parent when your baby starting sleeping through the night? Then later on when your little one starts fighting the naps, it seems like we can easily forget how important sleep is for her. It’s easy enough to find out how many hours of sleep children need each night. Check out the Children and Sleep publication mentioned on the main page this month. As a good rule of thumb, choose a bedtime that is about 10-12 hours before your child needs to get up. Then stick with it. Even if your child doesn’t fall right to sleep, at least he is resting.

And just one more thought – don’t have lots of exciting and interesting things going on in the house when it is bedtime. No one wants to miss out. So turn off the TV and computer, put on your pjs, and bring the day to a quiet close. Raising a spirited child can be a challenge. So why add to everyone’s stress level by operating on too little sleep. That is one aspect you, as the parent, can control.

Now about that nap …..

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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HELP! I need some direction!!

Did you hear it? Could you hear your own words in what Mary was saying in this months podcast? Did you find yourself saying “She’s talking about MY child! My LIFE!”

I Love Love Love sharing about Temperament. I have been climbing the walls WAITING for the podcast to come out so you could all hear it. And now it’s here and I have so much to share ……. that I’m at a loss for words…. no really…. I have no idea where to begin!

Do you want to hear about the Intense and Feisty child?  Or the Shy and Fearful one? Or maybe you have a Flexible Easy Going child and want to make sure they don’t get lost in the crowd!

Understanding temperament is like being able to ‘see in’ to the why of children’s behavior. Why do they scream loudly? Why do they cower and tuck their head? Why do they take so long to make a decision? How do I COPE!

There is so much to SHARE but I need your help to tell me where to START!!!

Listen to Mary if you haven’t and then let me know your burning questions about what she said!  If you don’t help me – I’ll start without you!

https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/scienceofparenting/2012/02/01/episode-12-how-to-parent-spirited-children

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Will She Ever Stop?

Raising Your Spirited Child has been on my bookshelf for years. I helped raise three daughters and now watch them parent my seven grandchildren. As I listened to the podcast I immediately realized how my perspective has changed from kids to grandkids. Out of the three daughters, we got to parent one spirited one. I remember the intensity so well and admit I did not always see the traits in a positive way. We were just trying to get through the days without damage!

Then the grandkids started arriving. And you guessed it – the spirited daughter ended up with a spirited daughter. So did a daughter who wasn’t expecting it. But now when I’m a step removed (and know more about raising spirited kids), it is easier for me to celebrate the specialness of these kids who live so intensely.

I find myself helping the parents attach positive labels to their kids. I try to be specific. For example I might say, “She may be driving you nuts with all this energy and passion. I know it would be nice to have a quiet and peaceful house once in a while. But just think how great she will be as an employee or parent someday. She’s like that bunny with the batteries that never runs down.”

I also work with the grandkids in learning ways they can manage their intensity. One granddaughter is quick to voice her opinion on how people treat her. She is sensitive and perceptive – that is awesome. But she needs help in understanding when and where it is appropriate to share her feelings. And I celebrate the wonder of this child who will not let people treat her badly. I say, “You go girl.”

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka talked a lot about the importance of sleep. She said spirited kids suffer more from inadequate sleep and are prone to meltdowns. I remember the Christmas when the two spirited granddaughters, operating on too little sleep for too many days, had meltdowns at the same time. In fact I’m sure the whole family remembers that year. If nothing else we are fast learners, so we approached subsequent holidays and special events with attention to reasonable schedules.

We know the reactive, arousal ssytem is biological so I’m guessing someday I may be playing with a spirited great-grandchild. I’ll be ready and smiling!

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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It’s still a Happy New Year!!

Sometimes as I start these blogs my mind wanders… then I have to think about what I really wanted to say. I started out thinking I wanted to talk about winter activities for families. Then looked outside at the shining sun and melting icicles and my mind wandered. It wandered to New Years! I started thinking about an article I had read on the eXtension website and wondered “how many families are already frustrated and disheartened with their New Year’s Goals?” So I went back to the article and thought I would share it with you here.

I have excerpted it and added the full link at the bottom. My question to you is this…  Instead of getting frustrated about things that haven’t gone right or things you haven’t achieved… is there something that you and your family can do TODAY to start over with your goals and plans? Tell us here!!! We can help keep you accountable!!

By the way family goals can be a great way to create family togetherness!

Wishing You a Healthy & H-A-P-P-Y N-E-W Y-E-A-R

H – ealth Make health a priority this year. Health should be more than the absence of disease – read on for ideas.

A – ttitude A positive attitude may not cure a disease. However, thinking positive can help you deal with misfortune, make the most of your situation and enjoy life more.

P – hysical activity The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends for adults: “Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.”
For more information and for guidelines for children: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx

P – eople Numerous studies indicate social networks, whether formal (such as a church or social club) or informal (such as meeting with friends), make people less vulnerable to ill health and premature death. Be wary, however, of social support that drains you through people being too demanding or encouraging you to engage in harmful behaviors.

Y- our body Schedule physical checkups as needed: eyes, teeth, mammogram, colonoscopy, general physical, etc.

To find the rest of the article go to: http://www.extension.org/pages/24859/happy-new-year

And just in case you think I don’t really want to know – I DO!!  Is there something that you and your family can do TODAY to start over with your goals and plans? Tell us here! It’s about family togetherness!

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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Teaching children how to be grateful is a gift that will benefit them throughout their lifetime.

Gratitude, a sense of appreciation, joy, or thankfulness, leads to better emotional and physical health in adults and in children. While the bulk of research concerning gratitude has been conducted with adults, newer research has explored its impact on children.

Studies involving children as young as 10 years of age have shown that children also reap positive effects from being thankful. In one such study, adolescents who were grateful showed greater optimism, greater satisfaction with their family, friends, community, school and self, and an overall positive outlook on their life, including positive thoughts concerning their friends’ and families’ support. Research with older adolescents revealed that gratitude is positively associated with life satisfaction, social integration, and academic achievement, and negatively related to envy, depression, and materialism. Other studies have shown that children who express or acknowledge gratitude sleep better and have stronger bonds and relationships with others; these advantages also correlate with children’s development of competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring/compassion.

On the other hand, research shows that youth who are ungrateful are less satisfied with their lives and are more apt to be aggressive and engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as early or frequent sexual activities, substance use, poor eating habits, physical inactivity, and poor academic performance.

Additionally, studies involving adults consistently show that grateful people are less likely to respond with anger after being hurt by others, have better coping mechanisms, and are more willing to help others than those who are not grateful. Interestingly, studies have shown that some of the positive benefits of gratitude last between 3 and 6 months.

Research has proven that individuals of all ages can learn how to become more grateful. Here are a few simple tasks that can help you and your child practice gratitude:
• write a letter of appreciation for someone.
• make a list of up to five things for which you are grateful (i.e., give thanks at meal time or bed time). Individuals who did this reported having more gratitude, optimism, and life satisfaction, as well as less negative emotions, compared to individuals who focused on things they found annoying.
• keep a journal of daily positive events or blessings. Those who kept a gratitude journal had a more positive outlook than those who did not keep a journal.
• think gratefully by acknowledging all of the positive things in your life. Individuals who focused on the positive occurrences in their lives reported more grateful thinking, gratitude, and happiness.

Because research demonstrates that gratitude is a positive state of mind that can be learned or enhanced, we should regularly focus on the positive occurrences in our lives and teach our children how to do the same. Research has provided us with this gift of knowledge about the importance of gratitude. Therefore, we should count our blessings for this research and pass this knowledge on to our children so they can become physically and emotionally healthier.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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