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Friday, December 15, 2017

Managing Holiday Stress from The Family Institute at Northwestern University

As the holidays approach and our high  school students  prepare for their final exams we may all be in need of suggestions  for managing stress. 

Validating and  naming our emotions is the first step  in controlling those feelings,. Don't deny the feelings but help your teen build an emotional vocabulary to better cope.   Also, Deborah Gilboa MD a recent GPS presenter reminded us  that encouraging our children to  seek professional help while living at home reduces the stigma when at a later date -like college- professional help may be necessary.  Thanks to the Family Institute for the  tips below.

Managing Holiday Stress


The holidays are times for joyous celebration; enjoying gatherings for family and friends; and having that second pumpkin pie. These same cheerful traditions can cause copious amounts of stress and worry. Here are some ways to tackle the upcoming holidays in a happy and healthy way:


Validate your feelings. Some people will try to ignore feelings of sadness or loneliness to maintain the holiday spirit. Ignoring these feelings can only increase over time and affect your overall mood during the holiday season. Rather than ignore them, make sure to be aware of your feelings and how they are impacting you. This also can give you insight into other strategies of how to handle what is bothering you.

Engage in social activities. Go to your friends’ Christmas open house or to your local religious community. Visit your neighbors or family members. When feeling an increase in sadness or loneliness around the holidays, you should make an effort to see those you care about as feeling isolated only increases feelings of depression. If you do not have friends or family available, you can try participating in your local community or religious community.

Give back to your community. Participate in other holiday activities in light of the season of giving by giving back. Donate toys or buy a Christmas gift for a family in need. Spend time at a food drive, homeless shelter, or even food pantry. Giving back can provide a fulfilling sense of happiness.

Budget your finances. Holiday shopping and sales are endless during this time of year. Make sure to set up a financial budget ahead of time before the shopping takes over your wallet. This can aid in preventing unwanted financial burdens as the New Year rolls in. Perhaps create new traditions of white elephant gifts or secret Santas for larger groups of family or friends as ways to monitor your financial stress with gifts.

Try something new. Traditions are wonderful and can provide nostalgic happiness for some. For others, it can cause impending dread or worry around having to do the same thing each year. Instead, trying something new can make holidays feel more refreshing. This can be anything big such as traveling for the holidays with your family or even smaller such as adding a holiday game or new dish to your spread.

Set aside your airing of grievances. Many families have unresolved issues or unrealistic expectations around gatherings. It is best to try and address these concerns outside of holiday gatherings to avoid unnecessary negative outcomes. Rather than discuss these concerns in the throws of holiday planning, try to set aside time to discuss these issues at a later date as not to make it a focal point during the holiday.

Continue your healthy habits. Many people choose to overindulge during the holidays. Try not to change your eating or sleeping habits during this time. Both greatly impact mood and can significantly affect your holiday cheer during festivities. 

Manage your time. It is easy to get caught up in all of the planning of festivities that you forget to take time to enjoy these activities. Try preparing for things ahead of time as not to overwhelm you the day of such as delegating chores, cooking/freezing food ahead of time, or take time to complete tasks that are important to you.

Seek professional help. If you find that some of these feelings are continuous or exasperated as time continues, it may be helpful to seek professional help. The holidays can bring up many things for so many people such as loss of loved ones, issues in relationships, or reflecting on disappointments. Talking with a professional can assist with developing skills to best manage these continued concerns.


The Family Institute at Northwestern University brings together the right partners to support families, couples, and individuals across the lifespan. As researchers, educators, and therapists, we work with our clients and PARTNER TO SEE CHANGE.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Brenda Nelson speaks to GPS on Nov. 30 on Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning

On Nov. 30, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted Brenda Nelson at a presentation called Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning:  An Approach for Sailing the Rough Seas of Adolescence.

Teacher shares takeaway from mindfulness program


Christa Gifford, Glenbard South Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and Glenbard District 87 Wellness Committee chairwoman, shared the following takeaway: "Teenage brains are wired
Christa Gifford (left) and Brenda Nelson
differently and teens have a heightened sense of fight/flight and tend to perceive things much differently than adults. Teens have a natural vulnerability that we need to be aware of.  With all of the stress and pressures from social media, school and family, this "noise" is constant.  Contemplative practices, like mindfulness (i.e. paying attention, on purpose, in the present, without judgment) can help teens deal with stress and be comfortable with the clutter of negative thoughts that teens can get caught up in; feel it and then let it go. Make time for reflection, peaceful moments and gratitude.  Strengthening this practice can lead to better relationships and better physical and mental health."


Notes from Brenda Nelson's mindfulness program


Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Learning:
An Approach for Sailing the Rough Seas of Adolescence

Dr. Brenda Nelson, DSW, LCSW
GPS November 30th 2017

·         Decided and was intrigued with mindfulness after a 2-year span of 5 student suicides and 2 staff suicides
·         Background as a special ed social worker
·         Bias that every kid could get individual help from some sort of PPS employee as the first few suicides she was associated with had had no sort of connection to a mental health professional
·         “When we are stressed, the first thing to go is our breath.”

The Problem
·         Brain and the stress response
o   Anxiety, Depression, Digestive Problems, Headaches, Heart Disease, Sleep Problems, Weight Gain, Memory and Concentration Impairment.
o   Today’s Stresses:
§  Parents making comments about stress related to 4 year plans and naviance and college…
§  Academic, Social, Family
The Unique Adolescent Brain
·         Older Adolescents “display greater stress-induced cortisol levels compared with individuals in late childhood or earlier stages of adolescence. 
o   Brains take things in as an extreme.  i.e. parent yelling at student when in reality there is just a conversation going on that the student does not agree upon.
The opportunity
Social Emotional Learning
·         www.casel.org (Social Emotional Learning and its definition)
o   SEL is a hot bed in Dupage County
§  Good amount of SEL at the elementary level, less at the middle school level and even less at the high school level. 
·         SEL in Illinois Self-awareness, Social Awareness and Decision Making.
Mindfulness, including four central process
·         Defined:
o   Paying Attention
o   In the present moment
o   On purpose
o   Without Judgment (doing it with a sense of curiosity)
·         Secular Mindfulness
o   Mindfulness based stress reduction –Kabat Zinn
o   Since the 1970’s
o   By far, most researched mindfulness program
o   Health care, business, politics media and education
·         What is the big idea?
o   Changes the brain and strengthens the mind.
§  People who have meditated (a Buddhist monk) can control their brain unlike anyone who is not able to dedicate so much time to meditation
§  Where we typically function at is “auto-pilot” (hair conditioner, driving for 20 miles) habitual occurrences. Goal for mindfulness is to get out of auto-pilot and create those new pathways.
o   Notice Thoughts and let them come and go. And that is OK! Remove the judgmental aspect. Many times, adolescents’ thoughts are even more intense than ours.
o   Mindfulness of Emotions
§  “Riding the waves” Cultivating gratitude
·         Mindfulness in schools
o   Programs vs practices
o   Research is compelling
§  BUT – Enthusiasm outpaces research
o   Casel secondary guide off of their website
·         How to go about implementation
o   Core group of Admin, teachers and parents. (practice)
§  Go slow. Anything that is valuable, doesn’t happen overnight!
o   Programs vs. practices
o   Targeted vs. universal
·         MBSR or other teacher prep – CARE for teachers
·         Last core aspect
o   Self-Compassion
o   Loving Kindness
·         CAN WE….
o   Ride the waves with the teens in our lives
o   Prioritize our own well-being and calm
o   Sit with unpleasant and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings
o   Create time and space for quiet
·         40- day challenge
o   can you take 10 minutes a day to put your tush in a cush…
·         www.learning 2breathe.org

·         Tarabrach.com

Friday, October 13, 2017

Scott Barry Kaufman speaks to GPS on October 9 and 10 on "The Many Paths to Greatness"

Parents, administrator share takeaways from Many Paths to Greatness



The Glenbard Parent Series hosted Scott Barry Kaufman on October 9 at an event called The Many
Paths to Greatness: Intelligence and Creativity Re-examined. Glenbard West parent Joannie Ruhstorfer shared the following takeaway: "This was an enlightening talk about the amazing potential and ability of every mind. Dr. Kaufman encouraged parents to re-examine play, daydreams and failure. He shared great information about how every child can be successful by recognizing the whole person and encouraging/focusing on the individual's strengths, creativity and their "many paths to greatness".

Joannie Ruhstorfer with
Scott Barry Kaufman
Glenbard West parent Molly Hoerster also shared her takeaway: "The idea that IQ is a predictor of achievement is not only inadequate but disregards other important factors including intrinsic motivation, active learning strategies, self-control, emotional intelligence and a cognitively stimulating home environment. The positive psychology movement is upon us (thankfully) and promotes a definition of intelligence as the interplay of engagement with ability in the pursuit of personal goals (which are not all about achievement in the first place).  Creativity is another exciting and relevant factor that, if fostered properly, greatly increases openness to experience, which translates into enrichment in life"

Scott Barry Kaufman and Debra Cartwright

Kaufman also addressed Glenbard faculty on October 10. Debra Cartwright, Glenbard North assistant principal of student services, shared this takeaway: "Kaufman's definition of intelligence as "the dynamic interplay of engagement and abilities in pursuit of personal goals" offersa more holistic and accurate view of intelligence where abilities and disabilities can co-exist and all kinds of minds can live creative and fulfilling lives."




Resources 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Glenbard Parent Series hosted Kevin Sabet PhD: "The Myths of Marijuana"

The Glenbard Parent Series hosted Kevin Sabet PhD at a presentation on Thursday, Sept. 28 entitled The Myths of Marijuana.


Parent appreciates scientific data re: marijuana


Ann Marie Andexler
Glenbard South parent, Ann Marie Andexler shared this takeaway: Dr. Sabet brought a scientific perspective to the marijuana dilemma that our country faces today. He educates his audience with truths to counter the falsehoods and manipulation (as in big tobacco) linked to the legalization and commercialization of marijuana.

Examining virtually every scientific review, marijuana is dangerous to the adolescent brain and today's marijuana is more potent than ever -with increased THC.  It can be addictive, impact motivation, may lower IQ and interferes with judgement and well being. In Colorado and Washington costs of legalization outweigh revenue.   More high school seniors are using pot now than a decade ago, even as the use of cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs have declined.

Resources (click on text)

Drug Policy…and My Journey Into The Arena by Kevin Sabet

Myths of Marijuana, Is Marijuana the New Big Tobacco? 

Web site for Kevin A. Sabet: Clear thinking about drug policy

Web site for SAM here (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

Marijuana: Past, Present, Future by Aaron Weiner, PhD


Monday, September 25, 2017

Take aways and resources from Conquering the Challenges of College Costs

Financial aid seminars outline key tips


Frank Palmasani and Raina Gollins
The Glenbard Parent Series hosted two financial aid seminars on Sept. 23. Glenbard East parent Raina Gollins attended the workshop with Frank Palmasani and shared this takeaway: "In addition to discussions about the best academic and social fit for selecting a college, families need to have discussions about the best college financial fit for the family. Do the net price calculator found on college websites to find the actual sticker price of the school. And fafsa4caster will help you find the estimated family contribution. Start early and do your research."

Ercilia Jonas and Veronica Rodriguez
Glenbard East parent Veronica Rodriguez attended the financial aid workshop in Spanish with Ercilia Jonas and shared this takeaway: "Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most critical document for families to complete. Completing this free form makes students eligible for grants, loans and Federal Work-Study.  Our children need our help in their college planning. Ask questions and attend the college workshops to learn
more."




Resources from Frank Palmasani's seminar

Jacy Good and Steve Johnson visit GPS to share their message: "Hang Up and Drive"


May 18, 2008 was meant to be one of the best days of Jacy Good’s life. It was the day of her college graduation,when suddenly everything changed. A young man distracted by his mobile phone conversation drove through a red light, collided with an 18-wheeler which hit Jacy’s car head-on. Jacy’s parents were killed instantly and Jacy was left with a permanent brain injury and partial paralysis. Determined to use her family’s tragedy to change minds, behaviors and laws, Jacy’s advocacy for cell-free roads brought her to the Oprah Winfey Show, and the United Nations.

Parent: All have "power to prevent a tragedy"GPS


Rita Crotinger (left) and Jacy Good
On Thursday, September 21, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted Jacy Good and Steve Johnson at a presentation called Hang Up and Drive. Glenbard West parent Rita Crotinger shared the following takeaway:
"Jacy Good miraculously recovered from a car crash caused by a distracted driver that claimed the lives of both her parents and left her partially paralyzed. She shares the tragedy with others to remind us of the obligation we all have, both as drivers and passengers, to look out for each other every time we get into a car. Texting, email and social media are devastating distractions to drivers.  Talking to someone you don't see (handheld or hands-free) is a main cognitive distraction while driving because your mind focuses on what you are saying rather than paying attention to what you are seeing on the road. Each one of us has the power to prevent a tragedy - put your phone away while driving.  You never know how many lives you save by your actions, but you definitely know when one or more are lost."

Resource Links


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Take aways and resources from our event "A Day with Dr. Deborah Gilboa MD" on September 13

Police representative appreciates GPS program


Dr. Gilboa (left) with Tanya Macko
At noon yesterday, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted Deborah Gilboa, MD ("Dr. G") at a presentation called Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate: Raising Respectful, Resilient and Responsible Kids. Tanya Macko, community outreach specialist with the Glendale Heights Police Department, shared this takeaway: "If you want to change your child's behavior, you need to change your reaction. Pick one behavior and be consistent in reinforcing it. And try to make your no's into something more positive, so that you are not constantly just saying no."




Parent likes message about balanced approach to parenting balance

Anita Gaikis

Last night, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted Deborah Gilboa MD in a program called Start the Year Off Right: Raising, Responsible and Resilient Teens. Glenbard South parent Anita Gaikis shared this takeaway: "Today's focus on resume building undermines character development, autonomy and may leave our kids frozen when faced with adversity. We need a balanced approach to parenting that encourages kids to try new things, take measured risks and navigate/problem solve on their own - all in the hopes of letting them learn from challenging experiences to develop the confidence that is a major factor in adult contentment. Show empathy, show them that we have faith in them, but let your children know they are capable of fixing problems themselves - empathy without intervention.  Parents need to step back so our children can step up."


GPS message for parents of young children resonates


Deb Gilboa (left) and Erin White
At the early program on September 13, the Glenbard Parent Series hosted Deborah Gilboa MD in a program called Raising, Resilient Young Children. Erin White, senior director of youth development at the BR Ryall YMCA of DuPage County, shared this takeaway: "Our job as parents is to allow our children new opportunities to grow and make mistakes so they can build resilience. Resilience is holding two emotions at once; angry and sad, happy and sad, etc. And as problems arise, do seek help with counseling. If we reduce the stigma now, they will be more likely to seek help at college and beyond.



Resources

Dr. G’s web site here
Dr. G’s Free Resources here
Dr. G’s Chore Chart by Age here
Dr. G’s Parenting Blog
Dr. G’s Twitter and Facebook
Dr. G’s YouTube here
– or text to 412-212-7679 to subscribe to Dr. G's Resources

Friday, August 25, 2017

Take away and resource links from our event with Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey

Parent:  book talk shed light on everyday issues

The Glenbard Parent Series kicked off this year's programming by hosting Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Sonia Nazario, the author of "Enrique's Journey." The book was selected as this year's community read.

Sonia Nazario (left) and Tanya Czapiewski
Glenbard North parent Tanya Czapiewski shared the following takeaway from last night's program: "I felt that Sonia hit all the key points around the complexity of children fleeing from a violent situation. In today's society, we have to protect children no matter where they are from. Let's examine the laws; let's look at innovative ways to improve their lives in their native lands as well. I felt that Sonia's message was very powerful, and I understand why the book was a suggested summer read. It is important for students to understand these real-life issues - issues that children face every day.




Resources


Web site for Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario HERE

Solving Illegal Immigration [For Real] | Sonia Nazario | TEDx (YouTube) HERE

Sonia Nazario Twitter page HERE

2003 Pulitzer Prize Sonia Nazario of Los Angeles Times article HERE

Friday, June 30, 2017

It is 10:00 and Snap Chat knows Where Your Children Are: Geotagging Issues

There has been a huge change in our culture--we didn’t used to expect to know where our friends, spouses and children were all the time. Maybe if we thought about our kids we could picture them at school, walking home, playing outside, etc., but when we were 11, 12, 13 our parents did NOT know our whereabouts constantly.

I still remember having a police officer ask if I was Devorah Heitner when I was 13 and walking around with a friend in NYC. Turns out, his parents were holding a surprise 13th birthday party for him, but he wasn’t there. We had gone into the city to celebrate his birthday and were wandering around the village like the suburban kids we were trying on sunglasses and eating 1 dollar slices of pizza. They were annoyed but also amused. They did call the police to find us, but this scenario is unthinkable today--the parents would have just texted their child-in the unlikely event their kid was in an unknown location in the first place!

The problem with geotagging is that you are leaving a trail which could be used to threaten you or to bother other people. Perhaps your child has a simple carefree life like many kids, but their good friend has parents in a bitter custody battle. The geotags from your kid’s photographs could lead the wrong person to your child and her friends.

What Can I do? 
You may want to know where your kids are, but do you want everyone to know where they are?

Learn how to turn it off in specific apps--look for a youtube video about how to do it or challenge your child to figure it out and then to teach you. You could even have your kid mentor you and a few friends and pay them a small fee! In Snapchat, Ghost Mode offers a way out of geo-tracking.
You can talk with your child and see how they feel, see if they can come up with some reasons it might not be great to let everyone know where you are at every share. Have they considered the hurt feelings possibilities? Sometimes sharing not in real time is a strategy that kids use to diffuse some of the intensity of being excluded from things...but with geo-tagging, even knowing where you were yesterday or an hour ago can be problematic or at least unnecessary.

We really don’t need to geotrack our kids. When I spoke at a high school recently, I had a dad who confessed that he still geotracks his oldest kids, who are presently in college. He knows when they’ve missed class, for instance, as he can geotrack their phones to their dorms. I get worried about such behavior. Another dad said, “my kid would be in jail if I didn’t geotrack him.” To me, this seems not too far away from making the child wear a “house arrest” ankle bracelets—I don’t think that this is the way to go. Someone else doesn’t need to know where your child is all the time, while a true stalker or bad guy is unlikely, it is not a good idea for any of us to post our whereabouts all the time. WE want to cultivate in our kids an appreciation for the right to privacy.

Devorah Heitner, PhD founded Raising Digital Natives to inspire parents and teachers to mentor children thrive in a world of digital connectedness. She is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World



RESOURCES (click on text)

The Scary New SnapChat Feature All Parents MUST Know About from For Every Mom

NBC 5 News: Geotagging Allows for Real-Time Surveillance  (Nov. 2012)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Suggestions from The Family Institute at Northwestern University on helping kids manage emotions

We always enjoy the clinical insights that come our way from the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Check out the article and link below, "Supporting Children in Distress", for suggestions on how to help our kids manage their emotions in healthy ways.

The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Clinical Science Insights | May 2017
Supporting Children in Distress: The Power of Parental Emotion Coaching
- By Allen Sabey, PhD, Postdoctoral Clinical Fellow


Clinical Science Insights allows TFI's clinical and research staff members to share their expert knowledge on a variety of topics facing families today, from child development and innovative treatments for depression and anxiety, to best parenting practices and the latest research on what works in couples therapy, and many more.

Imagine the following scenarios:

A 3-year-old girl begins yelling in a grocery store because her mother said she cannot have the cereal she wants. An 8-year-old boy comes home from school crying about how a friend said he did not want to be the boy's friend anymore. A 14-year-old girl's grandmother just passed away and she hasn't come out of her room for three days. A 16-year-old boy argues with his parents about not letting him stay out later with his friends.

These types of emotional moments in children's lives shape their ongoing development and future well-being. More specifically, it is in the accumulation of these moments that children learn about their emotions and how to deal with them (Sroufe, 2000). What children learn from these experiences will either support constructive ways of dealing with their emotions, or hinder their ability to manage their emotions in healthy ways. The experiences children have in this regard are largely influenced by how their parents or caregivers respond to them in such moments of distress (Cunningham, Kliewer, & Garner, 2009).

Read the entire Clinical Science Insights article here.