Blog — Resilience

Mastering Transitions: Trust That You'll Adjust to the Changes In Your Life

Change is the one constant in life, and yet, when we face it, we feel totally unprepared and want to run the other way. Why is that and what can we do about it (especially considering that changes-- even the ones that aren't so good-- tend to turn out pretty well in the end)? Here's a piece I wrote on Huffington Post about mastering transitions, the bottom line:: trust that you'll adjust, it will help the adjustment happen faster.

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Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Help for the Pint-Sized Pessimist

pint-sized-pessimistI can't do anything right! Everything is wrong! I'm so stupid! What's the point? Such is the inner monologue (and sometimes outer outburst) that children suffering with negative thinking can have on a regular basis. The trigger is often something as small as dropping a pencil, or making a mistake on a test. How do we help kids think less negatively and more accurately (and not get pulled into the downward spiral ourselves?) Here are some answers!

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Surviving College Rejection Letters: What To Do When A School Says No

Mouse / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Following up on my recent blog post on handling college admission stress, Here is a piece I wrote last year about college rejection letters. So many parents wrote in after I published it telling me how grateful they were to have some guidance on this topic, because they were really struggling too. It's a statistical fact of life: rejection letters will happen. But it's what happens after the rejection that matters most. Here are tips for parents and students to stay on track and not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

 


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A Solution for Bored Children: The Common Good List

clogozm / Kids Photos / CC BY

Too much time, too little to do-- this is the often the problem of summertime with kids. Can weeding, washing dishes or taking out the trash help your child do better at school and better in life? Yes. Here is a piece I wrote about getting kids and families to work together for the common good. 

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Teaching Children to Succeed in Sports by Managing Their Mindset

Atos International / Foter / CC BY-SA

As an anxiety therapist who works with kids with perfectionism, especially around sports, I always appreciate when the Olympics come around. By watching these unparalleled feats of human agility, grace, strength and beauty and also seeing that things don't always go as planned, children can learn that excellence isn't the same as perfection and that true mastery can often be measured (in gold!) by how quickly one bounces back from disappointment and mis-steps. You'll learn in this blog post strategies to teach kids how to increase their mental agility in sports-- just like the pros.

 

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8 Ways to Strive for Excellence Not Perfection and Live a Better Life!

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I was in my favorite coffee shop recently (I would walk very far for the best iced Americano in town) and the barista was dumping out a latte that just wasn't up to snuff for her. I joked that perfectionism is only important when it comes to making coffee. She laughed and said, no, perfectionism is important everywhere. We got into a whole discussion about whether perfectionism was really sustainable, how it is different from striving for excellence. In the end we agreed to disagree (I think it's just a matter of time, she's young) and I enjoyed my delicious drink. But it got me thinking about how destructive perfectionism can be to a person's well-being, not to mention productivity, so I am reposting this piece I wrote on the topic a bit ago. Here's to striving for excellence (not perfection)!

 

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Homework is Stupid and I Hate Everything!

homeworkBack to school means to back to homework, and for many families that means back to homework battles. For the next couple of blog posts I will share ideas about how to get kids and families on track with that necessary evil, I mean, that vehicle for reinforcing learning-- homework!

 

 

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What Robin Williams Can Teach Us

robin-williamsAs much as we are interacting with people who are suffering from depression everyday-- research suggests that at any given time as many as one in ten adults is in its grips-- the suicide of the beloved, Robin Williams, shook us, stunned us, and saddened us greatly. It also left us with many questions, among them-- what can we do to help people with depression? Here are my thoughts with special help from my friend, depression-insider, Therese Borchard.

 

 

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How to Take Charge of Back-to-School Fears

back-to-schoolWhat's a parent's first instinct when a child is afraid? To reassure, to take away the fear, to tell your child that everything is going to be okay. If only that worked! In this post we see how asking your child the right questions about her fears can be even more powerful than giving reassurance, because it shifts kids out of worry mode and into thinking mode-- and that's exactly the mode they need to be in for school, and for life! Here's to a great school year for all!
 

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Preventing Homework Procrastination

Cayusa / Foter / CC BY-NC

Homework? No thanks, I'll do it later... Procrastination, what has been referred to as a human instinct, starts young. Five year olds with a mere five minutes of homework would rather do anything than sit still and be trapped with what will feel to them like hours of torture! In this post I describe many strategies for teaching kids to sneak past the tough beginning of their work session, and get more quickly to the middle-- the part when they are in their groove and heading toward the finish line. Feel free to use these ideas to get your own work flowing, they have been adult-tested too!

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What to do when you're afraid of throwing up

throw up fear

Happy new year, readers! This may seem a strange way to start off the year, but this is an opportunity for change, and for millions of Emetophobia sufferers, they'd love to not bring their disabling fear of throwing up into the new year. Maybe you know someone like this-- or you are someone like this! Here are many ideas for understanding how this phobia works, how to take charge of it, maybe even have some fun with it, and importantly, how to overcome it.

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8 Ways To Get Rid of Perfectionism and Live a Better Life

the walking disaster / Foter / CC BY-NC

I was in my favorite coffee shop recently (I would walk very far for the best iced Americano in town) and the barista was dumping out a latte that just wasn't up to snuff for her. I joked that perfectionism is only important when it comes to making coffee. She laughed and said, no, perfectionism is important everywhere. We got into a whole discussion about whether perfectionism was really sustainable, and how it is different from striving for excellence. In the end we agreed to disagree (I think it's just a matter of time; she's young) and I enjoyed my delicious drink. But it got me thinking about how destructive perfectionism can be to a person's well-being, not to mention productivity, so I am reposting this piece I wrote on the topic a bit ago. Here's to striving for excellence (not perfection)!

 

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What to Do When Your Child is Afraid to Go to Bed

©Corbis/Veer, by permission

When I was a little girl, I couldn't sleep for weeks after seeing The Wizard of Oz-- how could I when those flying monkeys were stuck in my head? Monsters, zombies, bad dreams, the wind rustling in the trees-- all children go through times when their fears get the better of them-- and one of the best times for fears to sneak in and take over is in the quiet and darkness of bedtime. Here are some fun and effective solutions to help your child take charge of their bedtime fears and get a good night's sleep!

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How to Manage College Admission Stress

©Veer, Used by permission

March madness. If you have a high school senior that expression takes on a whole new meaning as you wait for the college admission results to come in. Is your child's entire future dependent on what comes in the mail (or these days, email)? Is there really life beyond the thin envelope? At the moment of impact, the answer is no. But after the brief flatline, when it feels like the horizon of your child's future has dropped out of sight for both you and your child, there is a resounding -- yes. In this article, parents and teachers can learn how to help kids to put this moment in perspective and see that no matter what happens come April 15th, they have their whole life ahead of them.  

 

 

 

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How to Correct Your Anxious Child

Veer/Corbis used with permission

Should you correct a child who is always worried about making mistakes, being in trouble, and having people mad at them? This is the question that parents of anxious children ask me every day. The answer is yes. In fact, the best place for anxious children to learn that being corrected or having someone mad at them is temporary, survivable, and much more rare than they fear, is at home where they are loved and cared for. Check out this post on how to practice resiliency-promoting discipline in your home, and lower the anxiety level for all.

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When Tragedy Feels Near, But Is Very Far

single tree

Last month a tragedy happened in my hometown of Philadelphia when an Amtrak train derailed killing eight people and seriously injuring many, many more. The day after the crash my husband and I had long ago planned to meet with our lawyer to update our will. The juxtaposition of these events gave me a lot to think about, especially, how hard it is to be resilient, even when you are an anxiety therapist. And how, as parents, we need to be-- for our children, and ourselves.

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Don't Save the Wisdom of Failure Until Graduation

Corbis Images by permission

Graduation speeches encouraging students to be resilient in the face of failure (because therein lies the path to success) are becoming a staple in American culture. But why save that great advice until the 11th hour? Imagine how different things might be if our children learned how to approach and manage risk and uncertainty from the very beginning of their education. Here are some simple ideas that we can start using today to make resilient risk-taking part of everyday life for our children, and ourselves, too!

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What Parents Can Learn from Disney/Pixar's Inside Out

Inside Out

I don't think I've ever talked about a movie with patients as much as I have about Disney/Pixar's Inside Out. It is truly a one-size-fits-all film which can help any of us-- adults and kids alike-- understand and feel empowered to make choices about what goes on with the emotions in our minds. My new favorite intervention in session to help patients get a new perspective is to say, "Let's 'Inside-Out' this one. Who is in charge of the control panel in your mind? Who do you want to be taking over the wheel?" This strategy is not limited to the therapy room-- you could try it at your dinner table, or even at your next staff meeting and don't be surprised if you see the wheels of flexibility start to turn.

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How to Help Your Child Succeed in School: Don't Do Their Homework for Them

Homework picture

We want our kids to succeed in life, but what's our role? Often the dilemma comes-- do we go ahead and finish that homework assignment for them? Check the homework portal for tests? Neaten up their backpack each week? The most important lesson we can teach our children is how to do their homework for themsleves. Instead of micromanaging or doing for, we can teach them good work habits that will last a lifetime. So take a deep breath and step back; here comes your child!

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How to (Lovingly) Teach Your Bossy Child Some New Lines

Bossy Child/ShutterstockHave you ever-- like 5 minutes ago when your child seated in front of his hamburger, demanded "Ketchup!" as if no other explanation were required-- felt that there is something wrong with the hierarchy in your family? Aren't parents supposed to be in charge? Don't worry, EVERY parent feels this way sometimes, no matter how well behaved their child is, nor whether their day job is a therapist talking to families about these issues all the time...  In this blog post I take on the challenge of the bossy child. Spoiler alert: It's all good news, and the solution is at least a two-person job. So roll up your sleeves and enjoy.

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Yes, Your Teen is Going to College, But Are They Ready?

Acceptance

What a very exciting time for families of high school seniors. College decisions are being finalized and the future is looking bright. After the arduous journey of the last several years which has brought you to this moment, it is understandable that families will be breathing a deserved sigh of relief and ready to coast until August. My advice to parents? Coast not. Catch your breath, but then take this opportunity to help your student prepare emotionally for the transition. Hint: this may involve doing less laundry and dishes for them.... 

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How to Talk to Your Child (and Yourself) About Ebola

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Many parents are hesitant about whether or not to bring up the topic of the Ebola virus with their children, because they don't want to upset them, and more to the point-- because they don't know what to say because they're feeling overwhelmed themselves. Here are ideas about how to talk about Ebola by shifting away from the fears and to the facts, and even how to refocus on gratitude and compassion, the greatest antidote to fear.

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