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My Journey

Mental Illness in Children – How to Deal with this

Mental illness in children is growing to become more and more common. Some parents think their kid will never be affected so when it does happen, they don’t know what to do. The stigma around mental illness in children can also cause parents to feel embarrassed and reluctant to discuss it with loved ones. In case your kid is even diagnosed, here are some do’s and don’ts:

 

Do not feel embarrassed

Feeling embarrassed due to your kid’s illness seems ridiculous, but it is very common. Because mental illness can cause kids to act in completely irrational, disrespectful or dangerous ways, some parents rather keep it all in the family and don’t discuss their situation with friends or loved ones. It becomes a completely taboo issue, a feeling that can pass to your child as well – he or she might feel that they are such a disappointment or that what they are going through is so unique and terrible no one must ever know about it. This, in turn, can keep them and you from seeking help.

The best way to deal with mental illness is precisely to think about it as a disease. You wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell others your child had cancer or even a broken arm. And you wouldn’t think twice about asking help if that was the cause. Mental illness is just that – an illness, something that does not define your family or your kid.

 

Always make sure to follow doctor’s orders

Many people with mental illnesses go through phases in which they decide to stop taking their medications or they refuse to see doctors. As a caretaker, it is your responsibility to make sure that does not happen, even if that pill causes your kid to be nauseated or feel drowsy – common side effects of medication. Even though this might be hard, you have to understand that doctors really do know best and that, depending on the mental illness, your kid might change drastically if he or she is a mere day without medication. Progress is slow and painful with mental illness – don’t complicate it further for stopping treatment midway.

 

Do not blame yourself

It is true many mental illnesses might be made worse due to the environment people are raised in and some might actually develop as side effects of childhood trauma and neglect. But unless you were a very irresponsible parent, you probably did not cause your kid’s mental illness. Many teenagers who suffer from depression or other types of illnesses blame their parents, sometimes even as a manipulation tactic to get them to do whatever they want. But blaming yourself is not going to fix anything and you are only inflicting more pain.

 

Take some time off

It is very, very stressful to handle people who are mentally ill. The mood swings, the unpredictability, the drama…everything can be very difficult and frustrating. Even though it might seem selfish, it is important to take some time off and realize there is more to life than being a caretaker for someone who is mostly dependent on professional help to get better.

 

My Journey

Domestic violence – the facts and figures you should know

Domestic violence is at a disturbingly high level in Australia. Acts of violence between two people who have an intimate domestic relationship occur frequently. For instance, one woman every week is murdered by a current partner, or someone who she was previously in a relationship with. There are different forms of domestic abuse including, physical, psychological and sexual. Although most people who suffer domestic violence are female there are also many incidents where males are abused, either physically or emotionally.

Firms that specialise in family law are used to witnessing the potential fallout from domestic abuse cases. The aftermath of this type of abuse can have long lasting effects, such as mental health problems and housing issues, if a couple can do longer reside at the same address.

What does domestic violence involve?

The range of domestic violence that occurs is large. It can include:

  • Blame for everything that goes wrong in a relationship. This can significantly reduce the self-esteem of an individual.
  • Humiliation in public by the use of swearing and demeaning language.
  • Isolation from friends and family meaning that sufferers have no support available.
  • Control of all the household finances, meaning that the sufferer cannot spend any money without first seeking permission.
  • Threatening behaviour.
  • Physical assaults.
  • Sexual assaults.

Often, different forms of abuse are combined making the situation frightening and extremely dangerous.

How common is domestic abuse in Australia?

Unfortunately, domestic abuse is very common in Australia. Take a look at statistics quoted by White Ribbon, and you can see facts such as;

  • A quarter of women have experienced some form of emotional abuse by a partner, or ex-partner.
  • Around 40% of women continue to be subjected to assaults after they have separated from a violent partner.
  • Violence carried out by a partner is a leading cause of illness and early death for women in the age range 18-44.

It’s interesting that domestic abuse can affect anyone, no matter what ethnic origin, wealth levels and social situation they have. However, it tends to more prevalent when factors such as poverty, lack of education and substance abuse are present. Witnessing abuse as a child can also contribute to the chances of being an offender or a victim.

Movements for change

There are dedicated movements for change in Australia, such as Let’s Change the Story. Their aim is to change social beliefs which traditionally place males in a position of power. Even today, males have dominance in society. They tend to earn more and have more chance of gaining promotion at work. They also often have control of the money that goes into the household. Obviously, in many relationships couples are on an even footing; but, all too often, this is not the case. Anti-domestic abuse movements promote equality as a means of moving away from the abuse epidemic.

Their work has not achieved major success as yet, but important changes in social attitudes always take a considerable length of time to teach, and to take effect.

My Journey

Psychology Tips For Understanding Your Child Better

Parenting is not only about providing comfort and food to your child.

Parenting means being there for your child in their time of need, helping him grow emotionally as well as physically and, giving them a sense of security and warmth, but to be a good parent you need to understand how their mind works.

These are some psychology tips for understanding your child better.

  • Observation

The easiest and most effective way to know about your child is via observation. Show interest in your child’s life, what he is doing or talking about, what he likes to eat, when does he sleep, what does he like playing with are all related to observation.

Every child is unique and different in his/her own way and as they grow their personality starts to shine out so to keep their self-esteem strong avoid comparing your child with other kids.

Remember to not judge your child as this will make him feel inferior and ask general questions to know more about his personality such as:

  1. What does he love to eat?
  2. What is his favorite subject?
  3. How many friends he has?

 

  • Spend Time With Your Kid

Everybody has a busy schedule but don’t let your work get in the way of your personal life as kids tend to feel neglected very easily.

To understand your child, you need to spend time with them, remember communication is the key.

Spending time with them on the dinner table or the car ride is not enough, spend some quality time with them playing board games, reading bedtime stories, dancing, etc.

Conversing with your kids will give you an insight into their lives and problems, and you will know things such as what excites them and what they don’t like.

You can even watch a movie and silently observe them as quality time does not always mean talking and having fun.

  • You Attention Means A lot To Your Kid

Every child craves attention from their parents; even a toddler cries when he is not being held by you or given enough attention.

When you take time out to spend with your child, turn off your cell phone and any other thing that might come in between you and your child, which includes cooking, driving and even checking your emails.

This will make your child feel less of a priority thus feeling neglected, and he will slowly slip in his shell, keeping his feelings to himself, or he will burst out and do bad stuff to gain your attention.

  • Child’s Surroundings Matter

Keep in mind that the environment your child hangs out in will play a part in shaping his personality. The surrounding at home must be secure and nice so that he can count on his family in times of need.

Also, parents should know the people their kid hangs out with and how they interact with surroundings and friends play an important role in the development of cognitive skills and language.

If you notice a sudden change in your child’s behavior immediately find out about who he/she is hanging out with and what has influenced him to react in a certain way.

Remember to take time out to create a good ambiance at home.

  • Listen To What Your Child Has To Say

Listening to your kid can make him feel eager to express himself, and it will be easier for him to confide in you.

Try to initiate a conversation and show no criticism as criticizing what he is saying might shut him down as quickly as he opened up.

Put your focus on their tone, expressions, and posture. Try to gauge their emotions out and keep your tone soft and sweet, taking them seriously.

Respond to what they are saying so that they know you understand them.

  • Let Them Express In Their Own Way

No two children are alike; some children express via talking others express themselves through art, and writing or acting so do not restrict their imagination.

If your kid likes to write a diary, do not object to it, do not pry through it instead appreciate what they are doing.

Let them express what they are feeling without judging them.

  • Know About Child Phycology

It is very important to know and educate yourself about child development and phycology as this gives you an upper hand in understanding them easier.

Buy books, read blogs or speak to a child specialist to know what to expect and how to deal with it.

Do not make wild guesses and jump to conclusions quickly, be patient with your child and understanding.

  • Know About Childhood Mental Disorders

There are a few disorders common in kids, educate yourself about them and know how to deal them before they get out of hand. Some common disorders include:

  • Depression

This may cause your child to throw tantrums and immediate mood swings

  • Eating disorder
  • Learning disability

This can make learning for your child hard with poor memory and coordination.

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Your child may show characteristics such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness. They might act excited and aggressive as well.

  • Anxiety
  • Disruptive Behavior

You child may isolate himself or bully other kids.

My Journey

6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Co-Sleeping

For first time parents or veteran parents, co-sleeping is a novel idea, far from the western culture’s practice of sleep training, in which infants are taught to sleep in separate rooms from the parents from day one.

For those that do not know what co-sleeping is, co-sleeping is the practice of sleeping in the same room or nearby your infant at night. Co-sleeping isn’t as widely practiced in the UK or US as it is in many other parts of the world. Reasons for that are due to modern western safety warnings and cultural views.

But here are 6 facts about co-sleeping that you may not have known:

benefits of cosleeping

  1. Co-Sleeper cots are safe and beneficial

Co-sleeper cots are designed with three walls to ensure maximum comfort for your baby, while also making sure that they don’t roll out or get rolled on. Co-sleeper cots are beneficial to both the parents and the baby because it provides maximum proximity with the smallest risk of SIDS or accidental death. Anxiety in both the parent and infant is lowered and mothers can ensure that their child is breastfed at the most ideal moments throughout the night.

 

  1. There are numerous benefits to co-sleeping

Babies that are introduced to a co-sleeping environment are more likely to learn to sleep through the night faster than isolated babies. It also creates an environment that fosters healthy sleeping patterns.

 

  1. Sleep isolation isn’t the best option

Since the overhyped panic over SIDS being liked to bed-sharing in the early 2000s, many infant caregivers and parents have come to the conclusion that leaving their baby in isolation throughout the night is the most practical and safe option.

Yet, studies have shown that sleep isolation can impede development within infants and negatively impact bonding between the infant and its parents or caregiver. Other studies have also shown that babies who are isolated while sleeping are more likely to create emotional attachments to things like stuffed animals and toys. They use this to replace their parents, which is extremely unhealthy.

 

  1. Co-sleeping benefits new parents more

Having a baby is exhausting, especially if you are a new parent. When new parents choose to isolate their babies at night, they are prolonging their exhaustion.

Throughout the night, these parents have to continuously get up to feed and check on their baby. Even if their infant does not cry throughout the night, parents are still subconsciously aware and alert as they try to get some sleep while also listening to the baby monitor. When new parents practice co-sleeping, they and their baby get more rest and the parents are readily available to tend to their baby’s needs throughout the night.

 

  1. Co-sleeping has been around for a long, long time

Historical studies have shown that co-sleeping has been around for hundreds of years and has been practiced by nearly every culture in the world. Western cultures are one of the few that do not widely practice it today. Co-sleeping is completely natural and should be encouraged more, but due to the cultural views of the west, it is has fallen out of favour.

 

  1. Sleep training is not the ideal situation for your baby

Sleep training is when parents not only leave their baby in isolation, but when they neglect their baby’s cries. This idea of “crying it out” has been proven to be unhealthy for infants, particularly newborns to 6-8-month-olds. Instead of calming down and turning to self-comfort, infants begin to create an anxious cry. It is important to remember that babies cannot take care of themselves. When they cry, it means something is wrong. Ignoring them and letting them continue to cry creates more harm than good.

Ultimately, parents should choose what to do based on their family and their infant’s needs. If you would like to know more about co-sleeping cots, here is a site on everything you should know about co-sleeper cots.

My Journey

How To Find Yourself Again After Becoming A Mom

Mothering a child is literally miraculous. As your life perspective changes, so do you. Maybe not at first, but slowly it happens. You start losing your previous identity and start to be known to the world as X’s mom. One day you realize that no one finds you intimidating and strangers feel way too comfortable asking you for directions. As wonderful as it is, there comes a point where you will start to miss the older, slightly tougher version of yourself. For everyone it comes at a different time in their lives. But it will come.

How to find yourself after becoming mom

So how can you reclaim yourself while not giving up your devoted Mama status? Check out these insightful tips to get that part of yourself out of hibernation mode. The best part is that it will be fantastic for your children to see their mom making her needs a priority for once.

Get Healthy

Are you too exhausted to exercise at the end of the day? Do you eat leftovers off your child’s plate instead of making dinner for yourself? You can change your health habits slowly and effectively by marshalling resources around you. Take advantage of babysitting grandparents so you can go to a spin class. Ask your partner to help by preparing something healthy to eat.

As a bonus, cooking better for yourself will result in healthier meals for your family as well.

Leave Your House

Whether you stay at home or work outside the home, that decision is up to you. However, like everything in life, the moment you step away from something, the more you appreciate it. Much has been said and written about the work-life balance, but perhaps the most eloquent and inspiring is by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Read her excellent piece on how she has juggled her family and her career. The way she describes how having a baby while in law school helped both her studies and being a mom is a must-read for anyone grappling with their own struggles in the matter. Time with your children is more precious when you also make time for your mind. Having work time and home time, while not easy, is immensely rewarding.

Again, everyone makes the choice depending on the needs of their families but sometimes pushing yourself out of the house can help give you a jolt of confidence and respect that is not always found at home.

Rediscover Hobbies

I know, you’re thinking, ‘Who has the time for this?!’ and you would be right. However, it’s amazing how many hobbies can be turned into practical projects for your family. Want to bring out your artistic side? Learn how to decorate a castle cake for your daughter. Does your bookshelf need updating? Try a cute and affordable idea on Pinterest. Doing something to recharge your creative batteries will give you more energy to tackle the less attractive tasks you’ve been pushing off for weeks.

Reconnect With Friends

Adults need play dates, too! Instead of texting your friends all day long without really connecting with them, put down your devices and meet them for drinks. It’s not a myth that your body feels better when you are relaxed and happy. Meeting a good friend for half an hour will do wonders for your mood and give you extra patience for those times when your toddler decides to crack a dozen eggs all over the floor.

 

So, think about the you that gets lost over snacktime, dinnertime and lunchtime (why are they always so hungry?!) and try one of the ideas here. Let us know in the comments how it works for you!

My Journey

NO, I AM NOT A BAD PERSON BECAUSE I WILL ONLY HAVE ONE CHILD

Mum’s with only one child faces this particular question most of the time, “When are you having another”. Such questions tend to throw mums off balance if they plan to have only one child. I am literally about to say something that might piss some people off, but in reality that will be the truth. Let’s face the fact for a second; only child is a lot easier for parents to take care of then two or more children. Most people think that having only one child seems selfish but the truth is there is no right answer to the debate of having one child or two children.

one child

Parents who have only one child tend to give their attention, time and all the necessary benefit accruing to that child. With that, they receive criticism from friends, neighbours, and strangers who have no qualms suggesting how to live their family life. Most likely these attacks will not stop until they have reached menopause or too old to have another or adopt one. This happens because most people are of the idea that lack of sibling means your child will turn out to be selfish, or spoiled. Well, that’s not true. However, having one child gives more controlled environment and such family seems to be happier than those with more than one. Parents-to-one child family seems very peaceful, giving them more room to be attuned with the child’s emotional needs. Here are some stats which have shown that there are steady rise in one child family in most developed countries.

  • 46 percent of families in England have one child
  • A recent US census conducted state that 22 percent of families have one child and 30 percent in metropolitan areas
  • One child families represent 30 percent in Portugal and Spain.

Susan Newman, a social psychologist in her book ‘Parenting an only child’, stated that the number of one child families is rising because

  • In this economic times, the cost of child care is of most concern
  • Both parents are working and may find it difficult to take care of more than one child
  • 50% of families divorce before they have another child

New Pew Research Center discovered that women are now reluctant on giving birth; A decrease in birth rates were most experienced between 2007 (before the recession) and 2011 (the latest data available).

One child parents are they really selfish?

Children without siblings are said to be lonely, bossy and spoiled but studies have shown that they are not different from their peers. 65 percent of mothers with kids work to support their family. They find it stressful and difficult to work while raising their kids. The impact of losing your job to take care of your kids in these current economic times can be devastating and that tends to dissolve the idea of having more kids. It’s not selfish to choose to give birth to one child because of individual concerns like finances, health and jobs. That is being realistic.