Mental Illness, Stigma & Suicide: Finding Hope in the Darkest Times

Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com**I realize this is a very tough subject to talk about, and I do speak very candidly in this article about some very painful, but very important things. If you in any way feel triggered by these topics, then please do not read this at this time.**

I didn’t plan to be writing about death and suicide this week. I wanted to be writing about happier things, like back-to-school or fulfilling your life’s purpose (like we’re doing in my Personal Growth Group). But I’m compelled to write on this topic today, because, once again, suicide has reared its ugly head in my life, by taking the lives of two more of those whom I loved.

A couple weeks ago, my husband’s cousin lost his life after over four decades of struggling with self-esteem, mental illness, and just plain old life. And just two days ago, a dear friend who had suffered so much and overcome so much, finally lost her battle with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

This friend suffered from postpartum psychosis years ago, which resulted in her committing infanticide, killing her own daughter. She served several years in prison for this–a tragedy in itself–and even knew my friend, Hope, who is serving 40 years for child abuse as a result of postpartum psychosis (read about Hope!). She was finally out, had recently married, and was putting her life back together. We met just last month for lunch here in Flagstaff, because she wanted to talk with me and with my dear friend, Carole, about how she could get involved with the postpartum work we’ve been doing for years here in Arizona. She had started The Phoenix Postpartum Wellness Coalition, to advocate and support other moms struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. She was even advocating for Hope, to get her out of prison, and had been featured in a  new documentary on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (yet to be released).

I’ve been surrounded by death my whole life, but lately, it’s been suicide. As many of you know, last year, my close friend, Jody, took her life after silently struggling with depression and anxiety. A week after Jody died, a young man at our kid’s school took his life by jumping in front of a train. Later that week, I received word that a young client of mine who also attended our kids’ school had been planning to hang herself. She’d been “inspired” by Jody and the other young man. Her mother had luckily found her suicide notes just in time to get her admitted to the hospital. And of course, almost 8 years ago, my dearest sister, Shannon, accidentally overdosed while drunk one night, after struggling on and off with depression and alcoholism for years. (Read about my experience in This is How We Grow.)

I’m raising children who have lost a parent to mental illness and addiction. I’m a second mom to 3 more children who’s mother is no longer here because she couldn’t feel how loved she was and she couldn’t accept all the help that was surrounding her; the depression was too dark. And now, I’m once again grieving the loss of two more dear lives, all because of mental illness, stigma, and that dark call of suicide.

 

How can we help those who are suffering find hope in their darkest times, and how can we find hope in these dark times after such loss?

It’s hard to know when someone is suffering so sorely, to know that they’re considering taking their life. It’s hard to tell which of those who feel like dying (which is quite common) will actually plan and complete that death.

Even when we know someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts or intentions, it’s hard to know

My family with Jody''s family, sending balloons to her in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

My family with Jody”s family, sending balloons to her in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

what they’re really thinking. When Jody asked me to watch her daughter the next day for her, I knew she’d been struggling with suicidal thoughts. I thought, “What if she’s trying to be alone so she can do something to herself?” I replied to her text, “Sure I’ll watch her. But I’m worried about you, my friend. How are you doing?” She replied, “Doing great! Don’t worry about me! xoxoxo.” I believed her when she said she would use that time to go for a jog, to take care of herself. Instead, she took her life.

It’s hard to talk about this; we’re not supposed to talk about it. We’re not supposed to say on Facebook, “My friend died today after leaving her daughter at my house, sending her husband and older boys to school and work, and then grabbing a coffee before driving to the Grand Canyon and jumping off.” No. We can’t say that. So, instead, the posts say, “It is with great sorrow that I inform you that so and so died last night.” No explanation of how they died. No “died of cancer” or “died in a terrible car accident.” None of that. The silence lets us know what really happened.

But the silence is also what leads to suicide. The stigma surrounding mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of wanting to die, is so huge, it keeps people who most need to scream, silent. Why can’t they just scream? Why can’t they just scream, “I’m suffering! I need help! I am NOT okay!”? One word: stigma.

 

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness & Suicide

Stigma gags us. It puts a dirty hand over our mouth, or shoves a dirty rag inside, and stops us from speaking up when we need it most. It tells us, “You can’t admit you’re struggling. That’s weak. That’s embarrassing. No one will like you. You’ll be rejected, humiliated, or worse, feared.”

Stigma IS fear. It is fear of not being good enough, fear of not being “normal.” It is others’ fear of the mentally ill, fear of seeing themselves in the mental illness, fear of becoming “like them,” one day, too.

The truth is that, deep down, we are all the same, mental illness or not. We all struggle in some way or another–it’s no secret! We are all ill, in some way, at some time in our life. Physical illness isn’t you. Mental illness isn’t you, either, and it’s not weakness. It’s like diabetes, migraines, cancer–it’s an illness that can come and cause trouble or stress, an illness that needs attention, treatment, and care to overcome. It’s an illness, like physical illness (and maybe even moreso), that needs love to overcome.

 

What can we do? Understand. Talk. Love. 

Before we can stop the stigma, before we can begin to heal from mental illness and the pain of loss Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide- Finding Hope in the Darkest Times; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comwhen those we love can hold on no longer, we must first understand, talk, and love. It is our only hope.

 

Understand. Understand that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Understand that, even so, it is very hard to admit and seek help for mental illness. Seek to understand those in your life who struggle. Listen. Hear.

Understand that it’s “normal” to feel like you don’t want to be alive when you’re suffering from mental, or physical, illness, pain, or heartache. It’s NOT, however, normal to start planning to die or to act on that feeling. If this is happening, you need immediate help. Seek that help. Reach out. Help others get the help they need.

Understand that suicide often follows after the darkest days have passed, when the person is starting to feel a little bit better. Watch more closely, talk more openly during this time.

Also, understand that, often, those who are set on a plan for suicide often seem better, happier, more relaxed. They know what they’re going to do, and it feels like the right thing in that state of mind. Be there. Look at them. Look deeply and seek to understand.

 

Talk. Talk about mental illness. Talk about how you feel, ask others how they’re really doing, and then, listen. Connect. Be there for one another and let them know it’s okay to struggle. We all do.

Talk about receiving help and help them reach out and find the help they need. Talk to them face-to-face if you have any doubt or worries. Stay with them if you’re uncertain. Oh, how I wish I’d run out to the car that night when Jody dropped her daughter off, to SEE if she was really okay or not. I know it’s not my fault that she died, but oh how I wish I would have taken that extra step. Who knows what it could have done.

 

Love. Last week, my dear cousin, Eddie, and his beautiful wife, Mary, lost their sweet angel daughter when my cousin accidentally backed over her in a parking lot. She was three years old. It has devastated our entire family and the community where they live–another reason death has been on Love Greatly, www.DrChristinaHibbert.commy mind. Yet, the outpouring of love for them and their other two children has been incredible. You see, not only has this tragedy occurred, but Eddie has been battling brain cancer for three years, and beating the odds. Now, this. It’s too much for any family to take. And yet, they move on in faith and love, and they reach out for help and for donations to cover the funeral and thousands of dollars of medical bills, and they accept that help. And they will carry on; I know they will. (More on dealing with grief, grief and the family, and grief & children, here.) (To donate to Eddie’s family, click here.)

Why can’t we have this kind of support for all kinds of people who are suffering? For those who tragically lose a child, for those who suffer from depression, for those who are battling terrible physical illnesses, and for those who struggle to find enough value in this life to keep themselves alive. Why can’t we talk about this? Why can’t we seek to understand, to be there, to tell stigma to take a hike because we won’t allow mental illness to sit in silence any longer. Why can’t we choose to love greatly?

That is my hope, that we will begin to love greatly today. Begin to reach out, to smile, to ask, to talk, to listen. Begin to hug, to understand–to cry together, to FEEL together. Begin to expose mental illness and discuss it and seek help and let help in.

Together, we can stop the stigma that strangles us. Together, we can save lives.

 

 

If you or anyone you know needs help, please call one of the following numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Postpartum Support International Support Line: 800-944-4773

 

 

 

Please share your experiences of mental illness, stigma, loss, and/or suicide/death with us, below, by leaving a comment. We want to hear fro you. We are here for you. xoxo

 

 

 

Be sure to tune in to next Monday’s episode of my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!  Talking about “the Dark Side of Motherhood” and how to prevent tragedy together.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
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Join one of my new webinar series!

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Depression & Motherhood: Facts, Help, & How to Overcome

Depression & Motherhood- Facts, Help, & How to Overcome; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Depression & Motherhood-Facts, Help, & How to Overcome, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comDepression affects one in five women throughout their lifetime and is especially prevalent during the childbearing years. Pregnancy, postpartum, hormone shifts, sleep depravation, and the pressure of parenting and raising children while also dealing with life changes and stress, all combine to make depression in motherhood common.

 

Motherhood & Depression

In fact, motherhood does make us more vulnerable to depression. While the lifetime rate for women and depression is about 20%, the majority of these episodes occur in the childbearing years. 10% of women experience depression in pregnancy, 15% experience postpartum depression, and if untreated, maternal depression can last for months or even years. It makes sense, doesn’t it, considering the extreme stress, lack of sleep, hormonal shifts, and life changes that occur in the mothering years?

There are various types of depression in motherhood, including major depression, which is a clinical disorder and includes symptoms like:

  • sadness, crying

    Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

    Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

  • fatigue
  • hopelessness
  • feeling worthless
  • changes in sleep or appetite
  • lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • guilt, frustration, and/or anxiety
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • possible suicidal thoughts

Dysthymia is a form of milder depression that persists most of every day for most days, for two years or more. Seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is also common in women of childbearing years, and is believed to be more common in women who are also vulnerable to PMS. Finally, situational depression may occur because of loss, change, or life stress. This type of depression may go away when the situation clears up, or it may persist, especially if it was never dealt with.

 

Hormones, Depression, & Motherhood

And then there are hormones. Hormone-related depression can come in the form of postpartum depression, perimenopause, and/or PMS (premenstrual syndrome). It’s estimated 85% of women experience at least one significant symptom of PMS each month, and PMS is most common and at its worst among women in their childbearing years.

Approximately 3-8% of women experience Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. PMDD most commonly affects women who have at least one child, are in their late 20’s-early 40’s, and who have a family or personal history of depression or postpartum depression. [1] These facts just speak to the role our shifting hormones and compiling life experiences play in the development of mood changes, and especially in depression. (More on hormones and women’s emotions here.)

 

How do we know when we’re experiencing depression, versus just having a bad day or week or month or year?

People often say, “I’m depressed,” but what they really mean is that they’re sad, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted. True depression lasts for two weeks or more, and includes symptoms like those above, like: sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings; feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt. It also significantly impacts your daily life, your relationships, and your functioning. Major depression isn’t something you just wake up and “get over.” It’s something you must work to overcome. But, remember that, with help and time and work, it IS something that can be overcome.

 

The Impact of Depression on Kids, Partners, Family

The hardest part of depression in motherhood is often the fact that we moms can’t afford to be Depression & Motherhood- Facts, Help & How to Overcome www.DrchristinaHibbert.comdepressed. We have to be “on,” 24/7; we don’t want to feel depressed, and we especially don’t want our children to suffer as a result. All this can add up to some pretty hefty guilt, and sometimes, even shame.

The truth is that untreated maternal depression does impact our children. In fact:

  • Untreated maternal depression is the number one predictor of future behavioral and cognitive problems in the child.
  • It is associated with less positive parenting practices, like smiling, reading to, and talking with children.
  • It can affect social development, since children of depressed mothers often take on the low self-esteem their mothers tend to exhibit.
  • And untreated depression can negatively impact marriage and relationships as well, often leading to depression in one’s husband or partner, or too often, to separation or divorce.

Yes, the stakes are too high, moms. We can’t afford to let ourselves remain depressed. We can no longer kid ourselves by saying, “It only affects me.” It doesn’t. And even if it did, is that what we really want? To feel miserable? To feel unworthy? To feel so low all the time?

I don’t say this to add more guilt. Trust me, as a mother who struggles with depression myself, that’s the last thing I would want to do. I say this because it’s true. Motherhood does not mean depression. We can, and will, overcome depression, if we take it seriously and seek help. We can be happy, full of hope, and joyful as we raise our children. But first, we need to be honest with ourselves and seek help. We need to take action, to let go of the guilt that holds us captive. We must trust that we can, and will, be well again.

 

Help: What can we do about Maternal Depression?

There are many ways we can treat depression, including self-help, social support, and professional help like therapy and medication. In order to know what will work best for you, it’s important to create a game plan.

In this week’s episode of my “Motherhood” radio show, I spoke with Jennifer Peterson, mom of 5, writer, and creator of the blog “The JoyFinders.”  Jen has struggled with depression and is very candid about the lessons she has learned, and I share some of my own struggles and lessons as well. Listen to the episode on demand, on WebTalkRadio.net or download it for later. Or, watch it on my YouTube channel. Then, read how to create your game plan, below.

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How to Overcome: Creating Your Game Plan

One thing Jen shared was how important it is for her to have a game plan, and I agree, it’s crucial. How do we create a “game plan” for dealing with depression? Here are a few ideas:

  • Be honest about where you are. Before you can be honest with others, you need to be
    I started the "I am the FACE of Depression" campaign to get people talking. It's okay to admit you struggle with depression. It doesn't define you.

    I started the “I am the FACE of Depression” campaign to get people talking. It’s okay to admit you struggle with depression. It doesn’t define you.

    honest with yourself. It’s okay to say “I’m struggling with depression.” In fact, you may find it freeing. Sort of like an exhale—it can be a relief to just be where you are. Sometimes, your body is screaming at you: “Hey! I’m not doing so well. We need to be depressed for a while and figure some things out!” Are you listening? (Read “Women & Depression” for a new view.)

 

  • Find what you need. What do you need to overcome depression? This will look a little bit different for each person, but pay attention and see what things help you feel better. Your list may include things like, “I need to talk with a friend each day, to go for a walk, and to get to bed early.” It may include, “I need to give myself a break, to say “no” more for now, and to go out with my husband at least once a week.” What do YOU need when you’re in the throes of depression? Some common items include: sleep, exercise, activity, social interaction, doing less, alone time, time to rest, serving others, quality time with kids/partner/friends, a support group, therapy, massage, medication, etc.

 

  • Seek support. We need each other, especially in times of discouragement, grief, heartache, and depression. Yet, depression can make us want to isolate. That’s one of the hardest things about it. But healing comes through seeking and finding support. Search out those people in your life who make you feel comfortable, who “get” you, who understand depression and will be there for you. Sometimes, it helps to have a friend or family member who will check up on you, who will push you out of the house or stop by to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Professional help is important, too. Therapy is a great place to start—to learn coping strategies and help solidify your game plan. If your depression is moderate to severe or if self-help and therapy don’t work, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying an antidepressant. (Read “Antidepressant? Or not? )

 

  • Schedule activity. Even one little activity each day that gets you dressed or interacting with people or out in the sunshine or out of the house can make a big difference on your mood. It’s one of the best things you can do to “treat” your depression. And getting in the sunshine is also excellent for lifting depressed mood.

 

  • Talk about it. Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. The more we talk about it, the more we see we are not alone. I wrote about my battles with depression in this article. Jen shares her struggles in our Motherhood interview. Be honest with your family, with your partner, with your close friends. No, you don’t have to tell everyone you meet. But, explaining to those who love you most that you’re having a hard time and are working on it is very helpful. I encourage you to talk with your kids about it, too, in words they can understand. Many moms fear that telling their kids will make them afraid or worried. The truth is, they probably already know something isn’t “right,” and talking honestly with them about it can be reassuring, if it’s done right. Same goes for husbands/partners. My close friend struggled to even tell her husband she was suffering from depression and anxiety. She tried to handle it all on her own, and she eventually took her own life. Again, the stakes are too high. We can’t afford to remain silent. Talk about it. It is healing.

 

  • Write it down. Once you know your game plan, write it down. Post it somewhere you will see it often so it can remind you of what you’re aiming to do.

 

  • Follow your plan and adjust as needed.  It will take time to figure out what you need to become depression-free, just like it will take time to heal from depression. It’s okay to let yourself be where you are, to take the time you need to do it right. Make changes as you learn new elements of your plan for wellness. For instance, if winter hits and you suddenly realize how much sunshine has to do with your mood, you may make sitting in the sun each morning a part of your routine, or exercising outside a “must do.”

 

Remember:

  • Depression isn’t you.Motherhood & Depression-Facts, Help & How to Overcome, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #depression #mentalhealth
  • It’s doesn’t make you weak, and it’s not a character flaw.
  • Depression isn’t something to feel ashamed of; it’s something to work on.
  • While it’s normal to feel guilt when you’re a mom who’s depressed, it’s also only helpful if you use that guilt to help you grow. Let it guide you toward the help and plan you need. Then, let the rest go.
  • With honesty, openness, and work, your family will not suffer as a result of your suffering. They are resilient, and so are you.
  • You are not alone. Seek support and love. Then, let it in.
  • With help, you will be well.

 

What is the hardest part of depression in motherhood for you? What helps you overcome? What does your game plan contain? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, below.

 

 

References:

[1] Premenstrual Syndrome Fact Sheet, http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html.

[2] More facts on Postpartum Depression: http://www.postpartum.net

 

 

 

Join one of my new webinar series!

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Link for this episode: Depression & Motherhood: What is it? And what can we do about it?

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Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
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6 Strategies for Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment

6 Strategies for Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #mentalhealth #health #mind #body

6 Strategies for Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #mind #body #wellness #mentalhealth #healthThe body and mind are inextricably linked. What we do to one affects the other. When we care for one, we care for the other. How can we take better care of our bodies to improve our physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual wellness?

 

Body-Mind Connection

First, it’s important to really understand this body-mind connection. As I wrote in my forthcoming book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise (coming early 2016!): “The research is clear: our brain, immune and endocrine systems, nervous system, and our body’s organs share a chemical language with our emotional responses. They are literally in communication with one another continually (Gordon, 2000). The mind and body are basically inseparable.”

The fact is that powerful emotions, when unfelt, remain in our muscles and body. Emotions like grief, pain, heartache, fear, anxiety, and sadness can get stuck inside, causing all sorts of physical problems. If we want to be mentally and emotionally well, then we must remember to care for our bodies.

 

Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment

Body-mind wellness can begin with either the body or the mind. When we work on one, we help the other. In this article, we’re focusing on caring for the body; that’s why I’m using the term “body-mind,” instead of “mind-body.” If we want to be well–body, mind, and soul–then we must focus on caring for all parts of us.

The beauty of taking care of our bodies is that it can empower us. It not only makes us physically stronger, but it also helps us realize that we have the power. We have the power to make change–to overcome mental and physical distress by working to bring more balance into our lives. As I say about balance, “it’s all about choices.” We each have a choice–to continue to run ourselves ragged, to neglect our bodies and therefore our mental and spiritual health, or to do something. To make choices that empower our physical and mental health, leading to greater health, energy, healing, and to greater joy.

 

6 Strategies for Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment

The following six strategies are a great starting place if you want to increase your body-mind wellness and if you want to empower your body and yourself. Start by practicing one of these strategies, and then when you’ve got a grip on that one, move on and practice another. These are all things that can be done at home, and they’re all things that can make a huge difference in your life, so make a commitment to care for your body (and mind) today!

 

1) Physical Activity (yes, Exercise).

When many people see that word, “exercise,” they immediately run away (pun intended). But the Body-Mind Wellness & Empowerment; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com, www.exercise4mentalhealth.com #exercise #health #mentalhealthtruth is that exercise is the single best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. And it’s not as hard as most people think. It’s really about being physically active–in whatever way you can. It’s about finding activities you enjoy, about moving your body as often as you can, and about taking it slowly, one step at a time (literally.) As I wrote in 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise (coming early 2016!), “Were exercise available in a pill, everyone would take it. It’s that good.” If you want a strong, empowered body and mind, then exercise is the way.

Stretching is crucial to overcoming muscle tension, to keeping us limber as we grow older, and to helping us relax. Try yoga, pilates, or light stretching in the morning, after activities, or before bed.

Cardiovascular exercise, like walking, bike-riding, or even playing with your kids in the yard, not only improves your heart and keeps you in shape; it’s a miracle drug for your mental health. It is one of the best ways to increase energy, mental clarity, and to overcome feelings of depression, and it also increases oxygen flow in your body, which can help reduce stress and tension.

Resistance training, like lifting weights, doing push-ups, or using bands to build muscle and tone up is wonderful for relieving anxiety and tension in the body. If you’re feeling stressed and tense, go lift some weights. (For more on exercise, read: 40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise, or Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to Create an Exercise Program that Works. And visit http://www.exercise4mentalhealth.com for more on my new book!)

 

2) Breathing. 

Simply put, our bodies and minds need oxygen! When we feel stressed, worried, or depressed, we often hold our breath, or we get so busy in life that we forget to practice breathing in ways that calm and help us.

Deep breathing is one of the best things we can learn to reduce stress, to tackle problems in life, and to increase physical and mental health. This video can show you how.

 

3) Sleep.

Quite frankly, most of us don’t get enough sleep. Our bodies need sleep to restore health and wellness, and our minds desperately need sleep to be fresh, energized, and well. Sleep recharges the brain, solidifies memories, increases learning, and gives us the rest we so desperately need every single day. Sleep deprivation builds up over time, and eventually can create or exacerbate symptoms of mental illness, not to mention how it can lead to physical illness, injury, and pain.

Most people need 7-9 hours a night, and if you’re not getting it, then it’s time to focus on repaying your sleep debt. Naps, sleeping in on days off or weekends, and for parents, getting someone to watch the kids while you sleep, are all great ways to get a few more zzz’s. This article, Sleep Better, Cope Better: 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures, can help, too!

 

4) Rest/Relaxation.

Rest and relaxation is not the same as sleep. It might include a nap or some sleep, but resting is really about recharging your body, mind, and spirit. Relaxation may be different for each of us. For some, it

My husband took this pic of me revising my new book, "8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise," while eating lunch and chilling with the dog in a hammock. It's one way I can put a little more "relax" into my day, even when I'm on a deadline!

My husband took this pic of me revising my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” while eating lunch and chilling with the dog in a hammock. It’s one way I can put a little more “relax” into my day, even when I’m on a deadline!

may be going out to dinner with friends. For others, it may be reading in a hammock, watching TV, or playing golf. Whatever recharges you, you need more of that!

Your body needs to rest from its labors, and so does your mind. Focus on what relaxes you and do a little bit of that each day. 10 minutes is a great place to start, if you’re short on time, but be sure to add in an hour or more every week. When we push ourselves too much, our body suffers, as I’ve learned the hard way. And when our body suffers, our mind does too. Make rest and relaxation a priority!

 

5) Massage Therapy.

I am a huge believer in massage therapy. This entire article was inspired by my Motherhood radio episode, “Body-Mind Connection, Wellness, & Empowerment,” with my extremely knowledgeable massage therapist, Cori Getchell. A couple months ago, I was in a car accident and experienced some pretty intense whiplash as a result. I started tri-weekly therapy with a chiropractor and some intense weekly massage therapy. There’s a difference between the relaxing spa massages you think about and this kind of therapy. This is intense. Painful. But so worth it. Through massage, I’ve been able to heal my headaches, muscle pain, tension, and other aches I didn’t even know I had!

Massage can release the emotions that are trapped inside; I’ve had several experiences where I just start talking and even crying about things I’ve been through because the therapist has hit a powerful trigger point. As she works out the physical pain, I heal emotionally.

I realize massage can be expensive, but it isn’t just for the rich and famous. It’s also not an “indulgence,” like many people believe. In many cases, it’s a necessity; it’s a tool for healing and health, for wellness, and yes, for empowerment. It’s for anyone who wants to heal their body.

Try a massage therapy school, where they have discounted rates. Train your spouse/partner to apply pressure to sore areas or to do myofacial release, or lifting of the muscles to lengthen and heal them. There are home techniques you can try, and you can learn all about them in this episode of Motherhood, so check it out, either by downloading the podcast or by watching the interview on my YouTube channel!

 

6) De-stress your body to de-stress your mind.

This is what I’ve been working on lately. I’ve had a wake up call that my body is over-stressed. When I sit and type all day, or sit and listen to other people’s problems all day, my body pays the price. When I push myself, fail to get enough sleep, and keep adding to my “to-do’s,” my body pays the price. Extreme pain, illness, and exhaustion are the result of over-doing it, and then, my mental health suffers as a result.

We mustn’t keep piling on to our bodies. We must stop, notice what we’re doing to our body, take a deep breath, and then make change. The consequences are too great if we don’t. I don’t know about you, but I want to live a long, healthy, happy life. That can only be achieved by slowing down and practicing serious self-care. And that starts with the body. What can you do to care for your body today? (Read Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less (& Smile More) and 5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Mind (& Life!)  and 10 Ways to Simplify Your Busy Life! for more.)

 

 

What is your biggest block to caring for your body? What helps you be physical and mentally well and empowered? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, below!

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Body-Mind Connection, Wellness, & Empowerment

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

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8 Keys To Mental Health Through Exercise, subscribe today!

 

 

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Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
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10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life

10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comSimplify. Don’t you love that word? That concept? I sure do. I love the idea of a simpler life.

 

Simpler doesn’t mean simple or boring. No. For most of us, life will always be anything but that. To me, simplifying means to move from a “busy, overwhelming, or stressful” life to a “full, rich, and meaningful life.”

 

Ask yourself, “Is my life busy? Too busy? Overwhelming? Stressful?” “Is my life full? Rich? Meaningful?” Where do you fit in this spectrum? Do you need to make some changes in your life? Simplifying your busy life is all about time—first and foremost, it’s about taking the time to implement strategies that lead to a simpler life. Then, it’s about using your time efficiently and effectively so the end result is a healthier, happier you.

 

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with international time management expert and host of “Getting a Grip on Time: Do More With Less,” Robyn Pearce. Boy was she full of excellent, practical tips for making the most of your time! Our discussion not only produced a great radio show, it inspired me to want to share a few things I’ve learned about simplifying life, too.

Listen to “Simplify Your Busy Life” on Motherhood Radio, or watch the “Simplify Your Busy Life” interview on my YouTube channel.

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10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life
Here are ten of my favorite ways to simplify life, to get out of the “busy,” “overwhelmed,” and “stressful” life and into the “good,” “happy,” and “abundant” life!

 

1) Slow down and get still.

This is my number one. If we don’t make time to slow down and be still, we won’t know the truth—the truth about where we currently are, the truth about where we desire to be, and the truth about what we really need from life right now. We miss life when we fail to slow down. We miss opportunities for spiritual connection, opportunities to hear and follow the whispers that lead to a more meaningful life.

 

Make stillness a priority. Start with 5 minutes. Then, build up to 10, 15, 30, or more. Use your time to ponder life, to pray, to study inspiring books and scriptures, to meditate, and to get in touch with what matters most to you.

 

 

2) Decide what matters most.

If you want to simplify, you simply must know your priorities. What’s most important in your life?

10 Ways to Simplify your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHIbbert.com

My family is one of my top priorities, but I have to make a concerted effort to create quality time with each child and with my husband.

What are your values? What are your top five things that matter most? You may value family, faith, work, play, relationships, fun, cleanliness, or a host of other things. Getting still can help you get honest and remember what matters most to you.

 

First, list all the things that are important to you. Then, narrow your list to your top five. List them on a sheet of paper, in a journal, or on your smartphone.

 

 

3) Prune by priorities.

Now, are you spending your time according to what matters most to you? For instance, if you really value family time, do you spend the most time with your family? If not, then why not? If we want to simplify life, we need to live according to our priorities. Stress, overwhelm, busyness, and emptiness come from living out of line with our priorities–from living a life of distraction, trying to keep up with others, chasing fame or fortune, or perfectionism.

 

Write down how you’ve spent your time over the past week. Be honest, and write down all the different kinds of things you did. Now, compare this list to your list of what matters most, from above. Do the two lists compare? If not, then start pruning. Start to look for the things that don’t measure up to your priorities and prepare to let them go.

 

 

4) Plan ahead, and schedule your time.

We schedule work, appointments, and activities with other people, but what about your top priorities? Are they on your “to do” list? Are they in your schedule? If you value exercise, sleep, and good health, are these things on your daily schedule? If you know you need stillness in your life, is it a part of your daily routine and plan? The truth is that if we don’t plan and schedule the most important things, then we probably won’t get to them.

 

Plan ahead to make sure you are focusing on the most important things in your life. Schedule time for you. Schedule time for relationships. Schedule time for exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. Schedule time for play. Oh, and remember to keep your appointments with yourself just as you would with someone else!

 

 

5) Do the most important things first.

This is so important when it comes to simplifying life. When you do the most important things first, then the rest just falls into place. You start to feel more balance in your life, and you find you no longer waste as much time and energy on distractions and unimportant things.

 

When you make your daily “to do” list, be sure to put your “things that matter most” on your list. Then, write an “A,” “B,” or “C” next to each item on your list. Make your priorities “A” items, along with the most important family, home, faith, work, and personal activities. “B’s” are the things you need to get to, but aren’t essential today. “C’s” are “would be nice to do” items. Then, cross off the “C” items. You’re not going to have time for them, and they aren’t important today! Then, cross off your “B” items. You’re probably not going to have time for these either, so just simplify your list and get rid of them. IF you happen to get to a few “B” items after your “A’s” are complete, then yay for you! But in the meantime, you’re taking the pressure off and simplifying your day.

 

 

6) Manage your time and your energy

“Time management is really energy management.” This was one of my favorite tips Robyn gave in our radio interview, because she is so right! It’s really about making sure we have enough energy to not only fulfill our responsibilities, but to live the life we desire. As Robyn writes, “Around the world I’m hearing the phrase ‘energy management’ more and more. Think of your energy levels as your filter or indicator as to whether you’re doing the right things. Sluggish energy is a powerful clue – if something isn’t flowing smoothly there are almost always ways to either change activity or improve things. A good filter question: ‘What’s blocking my energy here? What can I do about it?’” (Read more in “Eight Top Time Management Tips”.)

 

One thing to keep in mind is how much time you’re spending on social media, the internet, TV, etc. It’s so easy to hop on Facebook in the morning or to check email, but how often does that suck you into a time warp and before you know it, it’s been an hour, or longer? These things, though “fun” or entertaining in the short term, can actually be energy drains, distracting your precious energy away from the most important things. Be on the lookout for things that take your time and energy away from your top priorities and push them off until later. Or, set a timer for yourself and then, mind it! Also, seek to do the hardest or most important tasks when you are most energized. For example, I’m a morning person, so I know that if I write or tackle chores in the morning, I’m much more efficient and far less stressed!

 

 

7) Learn to say a loving “no.”

Saying no is not a horrible, mean thing. In fact, it may be one of the most loving things you can do—for yourself and for others. Years ago, I learned that saying no to something is really saying “yes” to 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life- www.DrChristinaHibbert.comsomething better. Instead of focusing on saying “no” to helping a friend, think of saying “yes” to being there when your child needs you. Perhaps saying “no” to a night out with coworkers is really saying “yes” to building your relationship with your spouse.

 

A good tip is to only say “yes” to things that energize you—if you really have time and space in your life to do those things. Be honest with yourself about that! Sometimes, even the things that energize us need to wait until a better time. Then, be sure to say “no” to things that zap energy. You can say “no” in a kind, loving way. And saying no helps others, too, by setting healthy boundaries and helping them have realistic expectations.

 

 

8) Eliminate physical clutter.

We all know the concept of “a clean house is a sign of a clean mind.” While I’m not advocating for spending unnecessary time on housekeeping, it definitely helps to reduce the clutter at home.

 

Clear out one closet, cupboard, or room a couple times each week until things feel more organized. Develop a system that helps you stay clutter free. As Robyn suggests, “Instead of saying ‘I’ll just put it here while I think about it’, get into the habit of letting go. The reality is, even if you do think about it again, why would you want to?”

 

 

9) Eliminate mental/emotional clutter by practicing letting go.

Just like the physical clutter, we often hold on to mental clutter that weighs us down. Past hurts, 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #WhoAmIWithoutYou #quotesheartache, depression, grief, sorrow, fear, worry, anger, anxiety—the list goes on, and it only makes life more complicated, heavy, and miserable. Simplifying your busy life means dealing with your mental and emotional “baggage” so you can stop carrying it around all the time.

 

This article, “5 Steps to a Clutter Free Mind (& Life), is a great place to start. Then, practice letting go. FEEL the emotions that come, and then let go of them a little piece at a time. If you’re feeling grief over the loss of a friend, for instance, you might first let go of the sadness of not being able to see them at work anymore. Then, let go of not being able to go out on the weekends together. Eventually, you can let go of the pain of not having them to be there for you, and so on.

 

 

10) Build in “sanity gaps.” Robyn mentioned the concept of “Sanity Gaps” in our interview, and I love it. It’s a great way to reinforce the fact that we need time for fun, for relaxation, for rest, and replenishment. “Think of taking regular time off as a defrag of your brain,” Robyn says. “You’ll come back fresher and you’ll also produce better results (just like the computer!)”

 

Be sure to schedule “sanity gaps” into your days and weeks, and to keep your “sanity appointments!” They are just as important as any other important, in fact, perhaps, more so. They are the little things that keep you sane. What could be more important than that? (Read Robyn’s “Eight Top Time Management Tips” here.)

 

 

Learn more about Robyn Pearce, and get her FREE “How to Master Time” Report and FREE Time Resources Pack, on her website, www.GettingAGrip.com.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Simplify Your Busy Life

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

NEW! My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

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Parenting & The Guilt Trap: The Side-Effects of Picky Eating

Parenting & The Guilt Trap-The Side Effects of Picky Eating; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #pickyeating #motherhood #radio

Parenting & The Guilt Trap-The Side Effects of Picky Eating; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #pickyeating #motherhood #radioDo you have a picky eater? Or a child who just won’t seem to eat what you’d like him to? Do you ever feel guilty, stressed, or fearful about your child’s eating and nutrition habits?

After talking about “Help for Picky Eaters (and the Moms Who Love Them),” on this week’s Motherhood radio show, with Jenny McGlothlin, MS, SLP, co-author of Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, I invited her to do a guest post to help us better understand, as mothers, fathers, and parents, what we can do to help our children eat healthier and help ourselves let go of the guilt.

Jenny has dozens of excellent tips and suggestions to help us help our children to eat in healthy, happy ways, and it all starts with us. So, check out Jenny’s article, below, and give yourself permission to “ditch the parenting guilt!”

 

Listen to “Help for Picky Eaters (And the Moms Who Love Them)” on Motherhood, www.WebTalkRadio.net,

or watch the video on my YouTube channel just as soon as it’s uploaded!

 

The Guilt Trap: The Side-Effects of Picky Eating

Guest Post by: Jenny McGlothlin, MS, SLP

 

Stress. Fear. Anxiety. Guilt.

 

Any of these sound familiar? If you are the parent of a picky eater, you probably experience some or all of these emotions each day.  Meals keep on happening, and your child must be fed, so there is no rest for the weary. If your child has extreme picky eating, your life may feel like one big guilt- and worry-fest.

 

Why so much guilt?

For one thing, our society has become an incubator for comparison. From social media to online forums, parents are more than willing to judge and give advice based on their own experiences with their kids. But it doesn’t stop there. Family doctors, teachers, family members, and good friends all seem to have an opinion about what children should eat and what tricks will get them eat. It even begins before you have a baby- the decision to breast or bottle feed is a personal choice that somehow ends up being everyone’s business.

 

All of this guilt can be devastating to our self-concept as parents.

 

One scenario looks like this: a 9-month old infant has trouble transitioning to pureed foods, gagging on each bite, so her mom decides she needs to really make presenting the purees a priority so she can “get used to it”.  She is worried about her daughter’s intake because her growth has been slow over the last two months. Mom pressures and begins forcing the spoon into her daughter’s mouth, and within a few days, the baby has begun refusing food altogether, and even starts fussing when presented with the bottle. When she asks the doctor about it, he advises to “get it in her however you can” because “she needs to gain weight or we will have to do something drastic”. The fear and worry have now been intensified and Mom feels like a failure, but hasn’t gotten any actual help.

 

Fear and worry feed feelings of guilt.

One of the biggest jobs we have as parents when our children are infants is to feed them- we Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, on Amazon.comliterally have to keep them alive.  What a huge responsibility! So when feeding doesn’t go well for a variety of reasons (many having everything to do with the unique traits the baby brings to the relationship), it is natural to blame ourselves.  And others are more than ready to do it for us. Finding ways to channel those feelings into productive change is the key to becoming a competent and confident feeding partner for your child. (Tips for overcoming Fear: “Fear Does Not Prevent BAD, It Prevents Good here. Tips for overcoming Worry: Be Worry-Free with The Worry Tree'”)

 

Creating a supportive and peaceful environment where your child can learn the skills for eating for a lifetime (because isn’t eating a life skill?) can be done. Easing your anxiety (and guilt) about your child’s eating habits starts with understanding where they are coming from. Children are learning every day, and our job as parents is to provide opportunities to learn. Following the Division of Responsibility in feeding provides a framework within which parents can move from ‘getting’ their child to eat to ‘letting’ them learn at their own pace.

 

Seeing your child grow and learn to eat a variety of foods will ease those feelings of guilt and worry. But in the meantime, if things aren’t going as well as you’d like, consider approaching feeding differently. There is much advice out there about feeding your children, but often the advice is difficult to put into practice and can make you (and your child) feel even worse. Our STEPS+ approach strategically walks you through the journey, guiding you when you feel lost and empowering you to take control of the areas you can to support your child and let go of the guilt.

 

And when we feel like we are able to do something—and it actually helps—we can move forward and be the best parents we are able to be, guilt-free.

 

~Learn more about Jenny, her work, and her book, Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, on her website, extremepickyeating.com

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Help for Picky Eaters (and the Moms who Love Them)

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

NEW! My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 
 
 

Parenting & The Guilt Trap-The Side Effects of Picky Eating; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #pickyeating #motherhood #radio

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Fostering Dad’s Relationship with Kids: Moms, You’re the Gatekeepers!

Fostering Dad's Relationship with Kids-Moms, you're the Gatekeepers! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #fatherhood #motherhood #family #kids #couples

Fostering Dad's Relationship with Kids-Moms, you're the Gatekeepers! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #fatherhood #motherhood #family #kids #couplesI was particularly inspired by the topic of this week’s Motherhood radio show, with guest Dr. Daniel Singley, founder of The Center for Men’s Excellence. I knew I wanted to do a show on fathers’ relationships with their children. A few years ago, I wrote a post, called In Praise of Fathers, that shared some of the fascinating and important research about the positive impact dads have on kids. Using this post, Dr. Singley and I jumped right in to an enlightening discussion on how moms can help foster dads’ relationships with their children–whether we’re in a relationship with our child’s father or not.

 

There are numerous takeaways from this show, plus Dr. Singley is just a fun and entertaining guest, so I encourage you to download and listen to this episode of Motherhood (WebTalkRadio.net), whenever you can (while driving, doing chores, watching the kids play at the park, whenever!). And/or, visit my YouTube channel or click below to watch the show.

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3 Ways to Foster Fathers’ Relationships with their Children (and with you!)

In the meantime, I’d like to share three main takeaways I got from the show– “aha moments” I took away from my discussion with Dr. Singley. Important facts about fathers, their role in our children’s lives, and what we mothers can do to help.

 

1) Moms are often the gatekeepers to dad’s interactions with his child, and moms can  make a huge impact on fostering dad’s relationship with his children, from infancy throughout the lifespan.

 

The research shows that mothers are the “gatekeepers” to a father’s interactions and relationshipFostering Dads' Relationships with Kids: Moms, you're the gatekeepers! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #fatherhood, #motherhood #family #parenting #couples with his child(ren) (read “In Praise of Fathers”). What I mean by that is that moms can either prevent, allow, or even encourage a father’s relationship with the child by giving him access to taking care of the child and even letting him do it “his way.” This is important, because the research is also clear that dads impact kids for the better in a host of ways. But if we block dad’s access to our children–for instance, because we don’t like how he dresses them or we want to be the ones to take care of them all the time–we are doing our children, and their fathers, a huge disservice.

 

And a father’s relationship with his child can start in pregnancy and definitely postpartum. Dr. Singley focuses on helping dads strengthen relationships with their children from infancy and beyond. Many dads are excited about their baby growing older so they can “do” something with them, but what Dr. Singley does is help fathers understand they need to start “doing” things with their child from infancy. This might mean putting baby in a frontpack and taking him on a walk while mom takes a rest, or it might mean placing baby, tummy-to-tummy, on your chest while you’re on your phone checking email and telling your infant all about your day. These things not only strengthen a father’s relationship with the child, but it also strengthens his confidence in being a father. When mom lets dad “do his thing” with baby, everyone wins. And mom, you win, too, by getting some precious alone time!

 

 

 2) Fathers need encouragement, support, and yes, even praise, from moms, friends, and society.

 

“You can’t really talk about fatherhood without talking about masculinity,” Danny (Dr. Singley) said Fostering Dads' Relationships with Kids: Moms, You're the Gatekeepers! #fatherhood #motherhood #relationships #kids www.DrChristinaHibbert.comin the show. He explains how fatherhood is so tightly wrapped up in a father’s sense of masculinity, and how society and the media too often portray the “deadbeat dad” image, promoting the idea that being a good father is not “manly.” Dads need support and examples to look to when it comes to being a good father, and often, what Danny calls “the man box” prevents them from finding what they need.

 

“To be an engaged, involved dad, and to be an engaged, involved partner to mom, involves breaking out of that ‘man box’,” Danny says. Fathers need to be able to feel confident in their role and responsibilities as a dad so they can say to their buddies, “Sorry, but I can’t go play ball tonight. I’m hanging out with my kids,” and feel good about it.

 

As mothers, we can not only support fathers in their fathering role; we can, and must, encourage and praise their efforts. Look for the good they do. See it. Tell them what we see. Encourage them to seek out and find friends who are “family-friendly,” and do the same, too, moms. We all NEED support when it comes to parenting. We need others around us who “get it,” and who encourage us to be the best parents, and partners, we can be.

 

 

3) Speaking of partners, the relationship between mom and dad is one of the most important aspects of fatherhood–and motherhood–whether you’re together, or not.

 

Fatherhood is about “dad’s involvement with baby AND with mom,” Dr. Singley reminds us. Both"Focus on Making Memories," from 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com parents need to have time with baby, to be able to interact with baby in their own way, and to remember that their relationship as partners, or as co-parents, is just as important as their individual relationships with the child. Though it’s true that relationship satisfaction tends to go down after a baby is born according to the research, it’s also true that, if we work on it, it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Moms and dads, prioritize your marriage, your partnership, and your relationship. Don’t let it slip by in the busyness of parenting. Don’t let it fall apart because of personal frustrations you haven’t taken the time to properly work out. Work on being a strong partner for one another, on encouraging one another to get social support and have time for yourselves, and to encourage one another in your roles as parents. A healthy relationship is one of the best things we can give our children. 

 

Dr. Singley gives some excellent tips on how to keep your relationship strong amidst the chaos that can be modern family life. First, he suggests that dad takes charge and calls two “meetings” a week. The first is a “Logistics” meeting, in which couples can discuss the logistics of the week to come, kids’ needs, and how they’re going to make it all happen this week. This might only take 10 minutes, but it’s a way for parents to connect and be on the same page about their kids.

 

Then, Danny encourages fathers to call a “State of the Union” meeting. This is a short meeting each week in which mom and dad discuss their relationship. It’s about checking in with one another, and about each person asking how the other is doing and what they need and what “I can do for you this week.” Dr. Singley reminds us this is revolutionary, because dad is the one in charge of asking to talk about the relationship! He also says this will save you a lot of money down the road in couple’s therapy bills, so keep that in mind!

 

 

Now, go listen to the show!

There are so many more excellent ideas and tips in this episode of Motherhood, and I sincerely hope you will give yourself a break and listen to the show. It’s a place of community, support, learning, and growing together as moms, and yes, as dads, too!

And then, join my brand new Motherhood: Overcoming, Becoming, & Flourishing! Facebook group! A wonderful place to connect with other mothers and parents, to learn, share, support one another, and grow together.

 

~Learn more about Dr. Daniel Singley and The Center for Men’s Excellence, here.

 

Moms, do you feel like the gatekeepers? Do you ever struggle with letting dad “do his thing?” Dads, what impact does society and “masculinity” have on your role and relationships as a father? Moms and dads, what do you do to keep your relationship healthy and strong for your children, and for you? Please leave a comment (or two) below! I’d love to know your thoughts!

 

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: In Praise of Fathers

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Watch my free, online, video: Postpartum Couples!

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The Best Father’s Day Gift: 7 Ways to Show Dad How Much He Matters

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Life: The Battle & The Beauty (The Paradox of Personal Growth)

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“Mothering Through the Whirlwind”: 3 Sanity-Saving Strategies

Mothering Through the Whirlwind-3 Sanity-Saving Strategies; www.DrChrisitnaHibbert.com

Mothering Through the Whirlwind-3 Sanity-Saving Strategies; www.DrChrisitnaHibbert.comI have to say this episode of my new radio show, Motherhood, has been my favorite so far. Perhaps it’s because the topic is the one I need most right now–and always, it seems.

Try as I may, I just can’t seem to stop the whirlwinds of kids and family and work and life. I catch myself all the time saying, “It’s a whirlwind right now. Hoping it settles soon!” Yet, it never quite does.

I’ve been in intense whirlwinds that included death and grief and overcoming very difficult things, and whirlwinds that are just part of having a large family at the end of a school year, during the summer, at the start of a school year, or during the holidays (wait, that’s pretty much all year long, isn’t it?).

 

Seasons of Mothering, Life, & Growth

Different whirlwinds also come depending on the season of life we’re in. Whether you’re in the season of babies, sleepless nights, and showerless days; or the season of just trying to keep up with school kids’ schedules and activities; or the season of teenagers keeping you awake at night for a whole different set of reasons—every season has its whirlwinds.

And every season of life carries with it seasons of growth.

From fall, when things suddenly change and shift; to winter, when everything feels cold and dark; or spring, which is unpredictable as you try to grow but then find yourself buried once more in snow; to summer, when it’s your time to shine. The seasons of growth continue to come whether we want them to or not., and can be a major contributor to or creator of life’s whirlwinds.

 

3 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Mothering Through the Whirlwinds

My guest on this week’s show, author Tamara Passey, and I had a fabulous conversation about some of our own whirlwinds, and we each shared a few strategies we’ve discovered to help us get through. It was such an inspiring conversation I just had to share a few of these things with you here! I also hope you’ll visit the link below and give yourself a “break” by listening to this incredible show!
Listen to the whole “Mothering Through the Whirlwind” broadcast here 

or watch it on my YouTube channel !

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(Other episodes of “Motherhood” on WebTalkRadio.net).

1) Be a “dedicated caregiver.”
Tamara shares a moving story about where this term came from (listen to the show to hear it), but

Me with my kids, standing between my sisters' graves. Death has definitely created some pretty tough whirlwinds for our family.

Me with my kids, standing between my sisters’ graves. Death has definitely created some pretty tough whirlwinds for our family.

the main idea is that, no matter how crazy or chaotic life may become, the best possible outcomes arrive through dedication. Dedication to our kids. Dedication to our family. Dedication to our role as mother, and to ourselves.

Dedication gets us up in the middle of the night to care for a sick child when we’re exhausted. It keeps us going in the evening, when the second shift is in full swing with homework, rides, dinner, and bedtime. It keeps us going through the toughest whirlwinds. Dedication is what makes a mother a mother.

Dedication will look different for each of us, but Tamara suggests three things we can focus on: Being engaged, being available, and being ready to respond. I’ve added a few questions you can ask yourself to see how you’re doing on each of these:

Be Available. Ask yourself, “Am I around when my kids need me?” “Am I emotionally available when my kids have a problem or need emotional support?” “What can I do to make myself more available to my children, despite the whirlwinds?”

• Be Engaged. Ask yourself, “Am I engaged with my kids?” “Do I tune them out when I get too tired or busy?” “Am I focusing my attention on the things that matter most to me?” “Do I get distracted with social media, TV, internet, or phone calls when my kids are seeking my attention?” If anything feels lacking in this area, then ask, “What would help me engage with my kids on their level more easily?”

• Respond. Ask yourself, “When my kids engage with me, do I respond readily?” “Do I really hear them when they ask me a question, and do I reply?” “What could help me respond more effectively to my children?”

 

2) Practice regular self-appraisal.
We need to stop and take note of how we’re doing regularly, as moms and as individuals. When the whirlwinds come, we’re especially vulnerable to physical or mental illness, and stress is often one of the biggest causes. It’s crucial to check in with ourselves so the whirlwinds don’t carry us off completely. Here are a few tips:

• Find quiet time each day. I know it’s hard when you’re a mom, but we NEED time to be still, to ponder, to just be. You may just sit and watch the clouds, practice deep breathing, read scripture or a book that uplifts you, practice mindful meditation, pray, and/or journal. Whatever helps you get quiet and hear what’s really going on in you, do that. (This might help you find alone time!)

• Practice self-love. Part of loving ourselves is taking that good, honest look at where we really are, at what we really need. Then, once we know what we need, we must lovingly take care of it, just like we’d do for our children.

• Don’t compare. It does no good to compare where you are or your needs to anyone else. If you want to compare, then compare where you are now with where you have the potential to be—compare yourself to your best self, and then work to become her.

 

3) Be a “self-respecting” mother.
This involves respecting your needs, the things that replenish you, and the things that light you up. Ask yourself, “How can I give myself a ‘place of honor’ in my own mind, in my home, and in my life and my children’s life?” Being self-respecting also means to:

• Live with integrity. Integrity is one of the greatest values, in my opinion. I see integrity as

Later, after visiting the gravesites, at the funeral of OJ's grandfather. We try to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

Later, after visiting the gravesites, at the funeral of OJ’s grandfather. We try to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

actually living the things you value, living authentically and honestly and true to your best self. Tamara considers integrity as “wholeness,” which I love. It’s living life in a “real” way. It also involves being enthusiastic.

• Be enthusiastic. It may seem counterintuitive to try to be enthusiastic about the “whirlwinds,” but how important this is! When we can dedicate ourselves to the process and enthusiastically face our challenges, we bring joy and peace and yes, even a little fun, to life.

• Practice self-care. I’m always talking about this on “Motherhood,” because it’s such an important part of being a mom. If we’re not strong, healthy, and happy, then our families won’t be either. (Read more on self-care here and here, and then make sure to listen to the whole show for more tips!)

I realize these things can be tricky, so listen to the show for a few more ideas on how to actually make these things happen. But, setting a goal and working toward it is a great beginning.

 

Bottom line:
We may not be able to stop the whirlwinds from appearing and picking us up from time to time, but we can control how we handle the whirlwinds when they come.

Rededicate yourself to your role as a mother, no matter how stressful it gets (and even more so in times of stress), make time for self-appraisal, and then respect yourself enough to care for yourself.

You can (and will) survive the whirlwinds with sanity. And if you choose to, they can be some of the best fertilizer for personal growth. Someday, you will even flourish—just be patient until the whirlwind sets you back down.

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Mothering Through the Whirlwind

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

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The Family that FEELs Together Heals Together–The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

The Family that FEELs Together Heals Together; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #mentalhealth #radioshow

The Family that FEELs Together Heals Together; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #mentalhealth #radioshowFamily life can definitely be stressful. Whether it’s the daily stress of activities, learning, problem-solving, emotional support, and the exhaustion of it all, or the bigger stressors, like illness, death, divorce, job loss, and financial concerns, all families need a little healing from time to time.

 

When stressful times come, they bring with them powerful emotions, and it can be a challenge to know how to handle both the stress and emotions, and especially how to help our kids and families do the same. As I wrote in This is How We Grow:

  “Powerful emotions can make even the sanest feel on the verge of crazy. Grief, anger, sadness,   pain, fear, can feel intense, out of control, and downright scary. Like caged predators, we box this emotions up and stuff them deep in an effort to prevent the frightening consequences we envision if they were ever to escape. We fear powerful emotions, because we believe they will overtake us. We fear that that once they are free, we may never be free of them again.

       ‘All emotions, powerful as they may appear, are simply that—emotions, like the clouds that float across the sky, which never stay for long. Though they appear threatening the most they can do is rain or hail or snow for a little while. In raining, hailing, snowing, the clouds lose their power. They literally dissipate. So it is with emotions.” (Chapter 15 Intro)

 

There are many ways to deal with powerful emotions–to help them lose their power, and to help our families heal. One of the mostFEEL-How to Cope with Powerful Emotions (plus video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com helpful tools I’ve learned is something I call “FEELing” emotions. To me, FEEL means “Freely Experience Emotion with Love” (This is How We Grow).

 

That last part is especially important–with LOVE. Too often, we try to force ourselves to feel something other than what’s really going on inside, or we ignore our emotions, or we deny them outright. But none of these will lead to emotional healing. And none of these is loving.

 

When we love ourselves through life’s challenges, and through the difficult emotions that accompany those challenges, we find peace. As we sit with each emotion, recognize it for what it is, let the feelings come, and remember that the FEELINGS are not US, we find that they do dissipate. We do find we do become free. (Read more on how to FEEL, and watch a video on it, here.)

 

 

Emotional Freedom Technique

Another tool for dealing with stress, trauma, and difficult emotions is something I just learned about in Elizabeth Mary Hancock, www.DrChristinaHIbbert.com my “Motherhood” radio show interview this week with my new friend, Elizabeth Mary Hancock–Coach & Host of The Happy Family World Summit. It’s called the Emotional Freedom Technique/Tapping (EFT). In this show, titled “The Family that FEELs Together Heals Together,” Elizabeth Mary and I discuss how this technique helped her overcome birth trauma and led to a beautiful birth experience with her second child, and then she teaches me how to do it, too.

 

When stress or trauma comes, your nervous system reacts, leading to the “fight, flight or freeze” responses–raising your heart rate and blood pressure, making your breathing quick and shallow, and so on. We also tend to have thoughts about the stressful situation–thoughts like, “I can’t handle this,” or “I’m going to die!”

 

The Emotional Freedom Technique uses tapping to help you release both the physical response to the trauma and the thoughts associated with it. The idea is that EFT switches off that nervous system response, and it can work very quickly. Of course, very traumatic events will take longer to heal, but this technique is a simple, potentially powerful way to help yourself and your family.

 

During our interview, Elizabeth Mary did EFT with me, to help me release the stress and trauma of a recent car accident I was in. I found it very relaxing, and I especially enjoyed the positive messages she helped me create to replace the negative, stress-based thoughts I’d been harboring about the accident. It did make me feel calmer, and I actually did it with myself the next day when feeling stressed, and it calmed me again.

 

Below is the chart we promised, in the interview, to share, so you can see exactly where the tapping points are and follow along as Elizabeth Mary “taps” with me. You start by tapping on the “karate chop” part of the hand, as she explains in our radio demonstration, and then, you tap on these specific areas while you express what you really feel and create a new “script” for yourself that’s more helpful and peaceful.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping Points; from The Family that FEELs together Heals Together; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #EFT #mentalhealth #families

 

Family Healing

Because it’s simple and focuses on six (or 7) simple “tapping points,” the Emotional Freedom Technique is something you can also do with your children, and you can teach them to use it

Our family christmas photo, 2007, taken just three weeks after I gave birth and inherited my two nephews, going from 3 to 6 kids. I wrote about this in "This is How We Grow." Don't I look "fine?" Look closer. I definitely wasn't.

Our family christmas photo, 2007, taken just three weeks after I gave birth and inherited my two nephews, going from 3 to 6 kids. I wrote about this in “This is How We Grow.” Don’t I look “fine?” Look closer. I definitely wasn’t. But thanks to hard work and FEELing, I am now, and so is my family.

themselves. It’s just one of many “healing” tools you can add to your emotional health toolbox. So, check out this important show, here, and then try the EFT technique yourself.

 

My hope is that, whether you use the EFT technique, the FEEL technique, or whether you focus on your own techniques, that you will make your family’s, and your own, emotional health a top priority.

 

Be willing to look at tough emotions. Remember they are just emotions–they are not you! Feel them, and then, choose to let them go. Then, repeat again and again, until you feel the healing begin.

More about Elizabeth Mary Hancock: www.elizabethmaryhancock.com

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: The Family that FEELs Together Heals Together!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

Register for the Happy Family World Summit Today! FREE. Online!

www.happyfamilyworldsummit.com

Register for this awesome FREE on-line event to listen to top international experts, including me, who will help you to fall in love with being a parent again! You will feel inspired and ready, fully equipped to create the calmer, happier and more loving family you deserve

 And be sure to check out my interview on June 15, 2015, “Growing through the Motherhood Experience!” (You can even download it and listen later!)

 

 

 

 

For More Strategies on FEELing and Healing, check out these posts:

FEEL: How to Cope with Powerful Emotions (plus video) 

Fear Does Not Prevent BAD; It Prevents GOOD: How to not let fear get the better of you 

5 Steps of Overcoming: Depression, Grief, Anger, PPD, hormones, etc…

5 Tips to Turn a Rainy Day Sunny: Overcoming Feelings of Depression

Grief & The Family

Understanding and Overcoming Anger: “I do not want to be an angry person!”

Coping with Loss & Trauma

Thought Management Part 1 & Part 2 (plus video) 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

NEW! My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
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“Old School Parenting” on “Motherhood” Radio: Values, Discipline, & Authoritative Style for Modern-Day Families

Old School Parenting on "Motherhood" Radio: Values, Discipline, & Authoritative Style for Modern-Day Families; www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #books #skills

Old School Parenting on "Motherhood" Radio: Values, Discipline, & Authoritative Style for Modern-Day Families; www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #books #skillsThis week, I had an intriguing discussion on my new radio show, Motherhood, with Dr. Michael Mascolo, professor and author of 8 Keys to Old School Parenting for Modern Day Families. One hour was definitely not enough time for us to discuss all we wanted to on this topic!

 

As a mom of six, four of whom are teenagers, I was excited to read Mike’s book and even more excited to bounce ideas off each other on what “old school parenting” means and how we can spice it up for our modern day needs. A few things stood out from our conversation that I wanted to share with you. I hope these will spark a few new, or old school, parenting ideas and strategies that will help your modern-day family!

 

Listen to the full episode of Motherhood: “Old School Parenting for the Modern Day” on demand now, or download the podcast at www.WebTalkRadio.com/internet-talk-radio/motherhood/!

Or,

Watch the video of this, and other “Motherhood” episodes, on my YouTube channel!

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Old School Parenting for the Modern Day

1) Modern-day parenting tends to focus on a “child-centered” approach, which isn’t necessarily the best method.

I agree with Dr. Mascolo on this one. Though it started with good intentions, child-centered parenting puts the child’s values and wishes at the center, making the child the head of decision-making. Initially created as a backlash against the old ways of “adult-centered,” “My way or the highway” parenting, child-centered parenting has left children without the direction and values they desperately need. While we may want to foster creativity, individuality, confidence, and initiative, there are other, more effective ways to do this. Putting children at the center of parenting decisions may not be the best approach.

 

 

2) There are actually three well-known parenting styles, and the best approach lies in the middle—authoritative.

Family and parenting experts have long identified three styles of parenting: 1) Authoritarian—high direction and low warmth/support (“I’m the boss. Do what I say,” or adult-centered parenting), 2) Permissive—low direction and high warmth/support (“I love and trust you. You can do whatever you want,” or child-centered parenting), and 3) Authoritative—high direction and high warmth/support (“I have high expectations for you, and encourage you to set high standards for yourself. I will do all I can to help you achieve them.”)

Authoritative parenting has long been shown to be the most effective parenting style, helping children gain confidence and feel loved and supported while also holding them to high standards and values and directing them in how to live up to them.

 

 

3) We are responsible for teaching our children morals and values, and we must model and start the conversation about these—today.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s become almost taboo to talk about morals and values. Yet, we can from "Old School Parenting on 'Motherhood' Radio-Values, Discipline, & Authoritative Style for the modern Day" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #quotes #education #valuesrespect one another’s differences while still teaching and expecting our children (and ourselves) to live up to high moral values. Values like kindness, goodness, virtue, compassion, contribution, peace, spirituality, and so forth, encourage our children to become the best they can be and to help make this world better.

One of the best ways to teach children morals and values is to live them ourselves. Ask yourself:

  • Am I modeling for my child/ren the things I want them to embrace and become?
  • Do I talk about/discuss these things regularly with them?
  • Do they know which values I value most?

If not, isn’t it time to start the conversation? It’s never too late to begin.

 

 

4) We can also, and should also, help children discover who they would like to be.

Sure, we can watch and help them identify the traits, talents, and possibilities for their future, but what about asking them what they think? This was a point Dr. Mascolo brought up in our interview, and it really struck me. It made me wonder if I had truly taken the time to ask and listen to what my kids feel about this.  You and I can both start now, and ask our child/ren:

  • “Who would you like to become?” “How would you like to be in this world?”
  • “What does it mean to you to be a good self?”
  • “What does it mean to you to be a good person?”

 

 

5) “We’re in the business of making children care. That’s what we do.”

A direct quote from Dr. Mascolo, from our interview, and one that I love. Yes! We show them, “Like this. Don’t like that. Do this. Don’t do that,” and it’s okay! It’s not only okay to show our children what to like, do, and care about, it’s our primary responsibility as parents to show them the way. As Plato said, “Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.” Yes! If we don’t show our children what is right, then who will? It’s our job. It’s one of the best ways we can love our children–guiding them, directing them, showing them the light. Then, we teach them self-discipline and motivation so they will choose to follow it.

 

 

6) Understand the difference between punishment and discipline.

Discipline teaches something. It’s about helping the child learn to ultimately discipline him/herself. It’s "8 Keys to Old School Parenting for Modern Day Families" on "Motherhood" radio, w/ Dr. Christina Hibbert; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #parenting #motherhood #books #skillsabout instilling self-discipline in the child, about creating motivation in the child to follow what’s right and good on their own.

Punishment, on the other hand, focuses on instilling a negative consequence to discourage unwanted behavior. Dr. Mascolo is not a fan of punishment and states that it only works when 1) the punisher is around, and 2) the punishment is severe enough.

I still believe in helping children face consequences, and Dr. Mascolo does, too, in some situations. Often, kids need a good old consequence to help them learn from their mistakes. Additionally, I do agree that our main focus should be on teaching our children through discipline. This means that we don’t go too easy on our kids, but also that we seek ways to motivate them toward good behavior, versus punishing them out of bad behavior.

 

 

7) This model, “Authoritative Discipline in 5 Easy Steps,” is a helpful way to know how to discipline our kids in ways that promote learning, motivation, and self-discipline.

Dr. Mascolo outlines 5 Steps that can be helpful in healthy discipline, in his book (from key 3):

  1) Stop the unwanted behavior. (Stop walking away from me when I call you to dinner.)

2) Acknowledge the child’s feeling/interest (I know you don’t want to eat with us because you don’t like the dinner and you’d rather stay in your room.)

3) State what they did wrong or the rule the child violated. (The rule is that we eat dinner together, even if you don’t love what I make for dinner, and especially that you do not ignore me when I call you to eat.)

4) Provide “interest-relevant consequences,” as needed. (If you continue to ignore me, then you will have to sit on the porch until you’re ready to come and sit with us.)

5) Provide an alternative response. (When you’re ready to treat me with respect and come to the table,   you may join us, and I’ll help you find some food you like from the choices I’ve provided for dinner tonight.)

 

 

8) One of my very favorite things from this book is the following statement, which in my opinion, summarizes all of this up. I’m actually planning to sit my older kids down and read this to them; it applies so perfectly to where I currently am in my parenting journey!

“I am your parent. I’m not your friend, your colleague, your maid, or your chauffeur. You are not my      equal. I am responsible for your safety and development. I am here to teach you how to be successful in the world. Why is this? For one thing, I brought you into this world…For another, I love you and don’t want anything bad to happen to you. But more important, it’s because—right now, and for the most important things—I know more than you do. I know things you need to know to be successful in the world. And I have a better understanding of what’s good for you than you do…I’m going to make mistakes, but when I do, they will be honest mistakes, mistakes I’ve made because I did what was right for you in the moment…However, know this: If you fail to do the right thing, you’re going to find me right there, showing you the way until you can get it right…You are my son or daughter and you’re stuck with me…I’m here to help you get what you want out of life, but to help you to do it in the right way…Why? Because I am your parent. I’m not your friend, your playmate, your maid or your chauffeur…” (page 3)

 

Old school or not, that’s my idea of courageous, valiant, loving, modern parenting.

 

 

 

~For more on these and the other “8 Keys to Old School Parenting for Modern Day Families,” check out Dr. Michael Mascolo’s book, on Amazon or Norton.com!

 

 

What do you think about adult-centered, child-centered, and authoritative parenting styles? What are your thoughts on these “old school for modern day” parenting ideas? How do you feel it’s best to discipline children? What strategies feel most successful for you? Leave your opinions and suggestions below, in the comments!

 

 

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