Blog

Talking About Hate and Violence With Your Children

 

 

photo of boy hugging his mom
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

It seems like on an almost daily basis a new major  tragic event takes place in the world.  Remember children are aware of what is happening in the world around them, parents shouldn’t assume that children are unaffected by global events. When frightening and violent incidents occur, such as school shootings, both children and adults may experience a range of emotions including fear, confusion, sadness and anger.

To counteract fear and give reassurance, parents, teachers and day care providers can provide opportunities for children to express how they feel and channel their feelings into positive actions.

. Prepare

In order to provide the reassurance and guidance children need, adults should first come to terms with their own feelings. Explore and discuss with other adults your own feelings and perceptions. You should also  recognize that your past experiences may influence how you look at current situations.

Be Alert

Be alert to signs of upset in children. These signs may include withdrawal, lack of interest, acting out, fear of school or other activities, or anything that is different  from the child’s usual behavior.

Listen

  • Listen carefully in order to learn what  your children know and are thinking.
  • Treat all children’s questions with respect and seriousness; do not ignore or dismiss children.
  • Clarify children’s questions so that you can understand what is being asked, what has led to the question and how much information a child wants. A child who asks: “Why were those people  attacked?”  may be asking, “Could I or someone I love be hurt in an attack?” A good way to clarify what a child wants to know is to repeat the question to the child; for example, “You’ve been thinking about what happened to those people and why they were attacked? In this way a child can say, “Yes, that is what I’ve been thinking,” or can correct what you said in order to redirect the conversation to something he or she wants to discuss.
  • Sometimes, without repeating the exact words, it is helpful to reflect what you think a child is feeling, as a way of giving a child the opportunity to confirm that you have understood, or to clarify. For example, you can say: “It sounds as if you’re afraid that something like this might happen again.”

Reassure

  • Review the facts of what actually happened.
  • Reassure children in age-appropriate ways that they are safe. When talking to toddlers, responses can be simple and direct: “I love you and I will always do everything I can to make you safe.”
  • Let children know that many people and organizations are working to make us safe.
  • Reassure children that while there are people who do things that are hard to understand,  the vast majority of the time, we are safe.

Be Honest

  • Answer questions as clearly and honestly as you can, using developmentally appropriate language and definitions. If you don’t know the answer to a child’s question, say so and make a plan to try to find out.
  • Correct yourself if you give incomplete or inaccurate information. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake; when we admit our mistakes, adults model for children how to admit their own mistakes. Be direct about acknowledging mistakes and avoid defensiveness; say, “I made a mistake.”
  • Acknowledge that there are people who hate other people, and that hateful actions can be threatening.

Share Your Perceptions

  • Share your perceptions and feelings but try to avoid conveying hopelessness. Without diminishing the seriousness of a situation, it is important to keep perspective and convey it to children.
  • Avoid giving young children more specific detail than necessary. Be careful not to frighten children. Limit children’s exposure to media coverage of violent events.

Take Action

  • Children need to know that people are not powerless in the face of hate; there are many things children and adults can do.
  • Have regular discussions about ways people can address hate. Brainstorm ways to address these concerns at home, in school and in the community. Examples include speaking out against name-calling, making friends with people who are different from you, learning about many cultural groups and exploring ways to increase intergroup understanding. Discuss specific steps to make these things happen.
  • Help children understand that if hateful words go unchallenged, they can escalate to acts of physical violence. Discuss how hate behaviors usually begin with unkind words. Discuss and practice ways children can challenge name-calling and bullying. Even preschool children can learn to say, “Don’t call him that; that’s not his name!” or “Don’t call her that; she doesn’t like that!” or “Don’t call me that; it’s not fair!”
  • Help children understand that sometimes it might not be safe for them to intervene; teach children to seek adult assistance when someone is being harassed or bullied.
  • Help your children feel good about themselves so that they learn to see themselves as people who can contribute to creating a better world.

When a Friendship Ends

 

 

adult alone architecture bridge
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just like other relationships, the ending of a friendship can be very difficult.  Some friendships end naturally and others  end prematurely and abruptly.  It can be very painful when a friendship ends abruptly and you don’t understand what caused it to end.   If you don’t know why it ended,  you may  spend a lot of time wondering what happened and grieving the loss of your friend.

Tips on What to Do When a Friendship Is Over:

When a friendship is over, sometimes it helps to review the relationship.   Perhaps you remember your friend complaining that you’re always late, maybe you rarely return their phone calls. Maybe one of you was always asking for help but rarely returned the favor.
When a friend ends your relationship, it is a good idea to try to uncover the reasons the friendship is over.
Some people are better able to express feelings in writing rather than talking. It may  be helpful  to write your friend a note where you can express your feelings about the friendship.

It’s helpful to express your feelings of hurt, anger, or rejection. Write or talk about how you feel in a journal or letter – something you don’t necessarily plan to send. You can send the letter, throw it away or keep it. What’s most important is that you were able to write down your feelings.
If you wish to reestablish your friendship in the future, you can keep the doors of communication open by sending holiday or birthday cards or tell mutual friends to say hello for you.
When a friendship is over, don’t give up until you’re ready.

What not to do When a friendship is over:

Don’t be disrespectful of your friend by gossiping or complaining to mutual friends. When a friendship is over, you have to let it go.

Don’t burn all bridges – The ending of a friendship may only be temporary and you may want to reach out to your friend in the future.

Don’t push for communication When a friendship is over, sometimes you have to let it be over.

Loving Your Body At Every Size

 

I was a chubby baby, I weighed over 10 lbs and throughout my life I’ve been slim, average, chubby and what doctors call  obese.  It can be  a struggle but through all this, I’ve learned that I can’t let my size determine my worth and I need to love myself no ,matter what size I am even if I’m not the size that society considers acceptable and attractive.  If you are struggling to love yourself or your body, you can let go of certain things in order to reach the love you desire. Here are 10 things to stop doing  in order to  help you  truly accept and love your body and all of yourself.

1. Stop blaming your body for  bad things in your life.

It’s not your body’s fault. Instead say,  “I’m  thankful to be on this journey in my life.”

2. Stop letting a look or comment from someone else determine how you feel about yourself.

Say to yourself, “I’m beautiful and I love myself”

3. Stop thinking you aren’t in the body you are supposed to have.

You are in the best body for you.   Learn to love yourself and offer yourself reassurance and acceptance.

4. Stop letting the number on the scale or your pant size define you.

What matters most is how you feel, not how much you weigh or the size of your clothing..

5. Stop judging yourself by what you can’t do and instead celebrate what you can.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Try to say “I can” more often than “I can’t”.

6. Stop being mean to yourself when you look in the mirror.

You are more beautiful than you can ever  truly see.

7. Stop joining in when your friends compare and trash their own bodies.

Instead, celebrate your natural beauty and each other’s success.

8. Stop thinking your size is  more important than how you feel.

Your health is not determined by your size. Focus on feeling good and taking care of yourself.

9. Stop waiting to reach your goal to enjoy your body.

Your life is happening now. You can choose to hate yourself or love yourself.

10. Stop thinking you don’t matter because of the size your body.

Life is hard enough without you hating yourself.   Love yourself no matter what your size.

Enjoy and love yourself because as RuPaul says “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else”.

Celebrating Mother’s Day When Your Mom Has Passed Away

 

 

rose-blue-flower-rose-blooms-67636.jpegAlthough it will lessen as  time passes, the pain of losing your mom is something that stays with you forever.  This will be my 3rd Mother’s Day without my Mom and although the pain is less sharp it is still there.   Mother’s Day  can be wonderful time to spend with your family and children,  however it can also be  somber if your mom has passed away.

I’ve compiled a list of ways you can remember your mom on  Mother’s Day, this will keep her in your thoughts on a day which can be difficult to get through.

 Make Her Favorite Recipe

Making a recipe that she really loved will help you to feel close to her and if you have children have them help you and you can talk about and share memories of your Mom.

Eat at Her Favorite Restaurant

If  possible visit your Mom’s favorite restaurant with your family or siblings and reminisce about when you went there with your Mom. 

Plant Her Favorite Flowers

Planting her favorite flowers will help you remember her and you’ll think of her every time you see the flowers.

Write Your Mom a Letter

Write her a letter telling her what’s going on in your life and how you’ve been feeling.  You can put it in a scrapbook or box of memories of your Mom.

Make a Scrapbook

Fill a scrapbook with mementos of her life, things she loved, pictures, cards she gave you, anything that reminds you of her.

 

I hope that these ideas will help you to have a good day as you remember your Mom on Mother’s Day.

What is Body Dysmorphia?

 

pexels-photo-1043219.jpeg

 

Body dysmorphia affects many people especially  women.  People with body dysmorphia often can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their  appearance.  The  perceived flaw  is either minor or not observable to anyone else.  However they  may feel so ashamed and anxious that they  may avoid many social situations.

A person with body dysmorphia  intensely obsesses over their  appearance and body image,  they may repeatedly check the mirror, groom themselves, weigh themselves or seek reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day.  The repetitive behaviors  can cause  significant distress, and impact their  ability to function in life.  People with body dysmorphia also often compare themselves to others and feel that they will never measure up in appearance to other people.  They also tend to be perfectionists.

Shame and embarrassment about your appearance may keep you from seeking treatment for body dysmorphia.  However if you have any signs or symptoms,  it is  important to seek help from a mental health professional.   Body dysmorphia   usually doesn’t get better on its own, and if untreated, it may get worse over time and may lead  to depression, anxiety and in some cases  may lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

While there is no known cause, certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing body dysmorphia.

This is a list of some risk factors:

  • Having blood relatives with body dysmorphia or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Negative life experiences, such as childhood teasing and trauma
  • Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism
  • Societal pressure or expectations of beauty
  • Having a psychiatric disorder, such as anxiety or depression
One of the specialties of my private practice is body dysmorphia,  I have extensive personal and professional experience with it.  While there is no cure, it is possible to learn techniques to live a full life where you don’t obsess over perceived flaws.

Your Relationship After Infidelity

 

 

pexels-photo-984949.jpegIt seems as if everyday another public official comes forward and announces that he or she  is having some type of affair. Infidelity can take on different forms, there are emotional affairs, physical affairs as well as when a partner spends much of their time talking about sexually explicit behavior with someone whom they meet on the internet even if they have not physically met. Every time the media gives attention to the topic of infidelity and cheating, many couples internally ask the question of how they would cope with the  situation.

Marriage Can Survive Infidelity

It is possible for a marriage to survive infidelity however it won’t be easy and there will be many different emotions as well as hurt feelings.
There will probably be anger, tears, and depression. It will take time to heal. In order for the relationship to heal there has to be a decision to trust again.

The person who had the affair will need to take responsibility and not blame his/her spouse for the affair. Both spouses will need to be committed to save their relationship. It is very important to have open communication with your partner and discuss your feelings about what happened. Marriage counseling will be helpful in helping you to heal from the pain of the affair. A relationship can only survive if both partners are willing to acquire and use the communication skills necessary to making their marriage successful.

Feelings Often Surrounding  Infidelity

Some feelings that are prominent when a couple experiences cheating  include:
Shame
Guilt
Blame
Anger
Hurt
Disappointment
Rage
Embarrassment
Forgiveness
Jealousy
Resentment
Denial
Mis-trust

Some Relationships Should Not Be Saved

It is possible for your relationship to survive this onslaught of feelings. However, some relationships  are not meant to be saved.
If the infidelity is one of many symptoms of domestic and/or emotional abuse in your relationship, or if your spouse is a serial cheater, it may be time to end the relationship.

Microaggressions at Work

pexels-photo-871495.jpeg

Being a Black woman at work often means dealing with microaggressions from other co workers.  This is a list of  common ones and how to deal with them.

1- When White people think you’re the help-  This happens often because people often don’t  except Black women to be in corporate or professional positions.  While we should never believe we’re above people in service positions always be assertive in telling people who you are when they assume you’re the waiter, waitress or bus person..

2-When your presence disturbs them-  For some reason many people are afraid of Black women especially if we raise our voice or seem assertive.  Don’t make yourself smaller to please anyone, always stand tall and speak your truth.

3-When your hair seems to be the talk of the office-  Why do they always want to touch our hair?  If you’re not comfortable with anyone touching your hair say please don’t touch my hair, I’ve done this before, they will get the message.

4-Your voice is heard but not acknowledged-  You say something then your White co worker says the same thing and somehow they’re acknowledged.  This is extremely frustrating.  Speak up and make your voice heard.

5- When you’re stereotyped-  Have you ever had a White woman co worker run to management crying because you corrected her?  I had this happen with an intern I was supervising and I was told to be nicer to her.  The tears can be annoying but remember they often cry because they don’t want to stand up to you and are afraid of your greatness.

It gets frustrating dealing with this stuff but no matter what remember you’re fabulous.