We are so thankful to Stephanie for her expertise and talent in working with our children, adolescents and their families. She is going to miss working with her "children."
This month, we also say good bye to Stephanie Fredericka, LCSW. We wish her well as she dedicates her time to her two sweet little babies.
We are so thankful to Stephanie for her expertise and talent in working with our children, adolescents and their families. She is going to miss working with her "children."
We are happy to share that we have moved!
We are still located at 9 North Beverwyck Rd in Lake Hiawatha, but on the Lower Level instead of the 2nd floor!
Our new space offers two offices, a waiting area and bathroom to provide our clients and therapists with greater comfort and room to wiggle.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Fighting in front of your children has been proven to take a toll on them. It can lead to emotional issues, psychological issues, and issues with school performance. As a child, hearing adults argue can be stressful. If you feel an argument forming, it is important to go somewhere your child is not.
Stomach pain in children can be caused by both physical issues as well as mental issues such as stress and anxiety. While it is important to get to the root of what is causing this pain, yoga is a great way to help along the way. The breathing techniques as well as the light stretching work to provide relief to your child, while educating them on the benefits of yoga.
Prepared by: Chrissy Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC
Our brain only sees what is in front of us. “Out of sight, out of mind’ is an old expression that is very significant for the time challenged person. It’s easy to end up forgetting to do things that we don’t see, like completing an assignment that’s due at the end of the week, and that assignment in your backpack or on the floor next to the back door.
A student with time management deficits may have trouble with homework, school work, a job and a social life. For example, a student may forget that he had an appointment after school with a teacher to make up an important test. Students with time management issues have a hard time keeping track of time and their many obligations. Students that are time challenged may not turn in their projects on time even though it was assigned a month ago. Some of these students may not realize how much time and effort a project may take and start it the project 2 nights before the due date.
Since time is invisible and we can’t see it, a child, adolescent or adult that struggles with time management is going to need external tools that support the brain in order to remember to get stuff done.
Below is an external toolbox for time management for the time challenged or really anybody.
Analog Clocks - these clocks show three aspects of time: the present, the past and the future. Analog clocks can be displayed all over the house, next to computers, next to the bed, where homework is done, next to the tv and even on a wrist.
Digital Timers - these timers can be used for transitioning from one activity to the next. They can be set for limited time breaks. They can be used as motivators as well.
Daily Planners - with a brain that only focuses on what it sees, it’s important to have a plan for the day in sight. You can simply use a piece of paper and clip it to a clipboard, a planner or you can use a small dry erase board.
Weekly Planners - Keep the weekly plan insight and visible. This is where you can create and maintain your to do lists. You can use a dry erase board or create your own list. Be sure to add everything you need to do for the week plus the fun things you are planning too.
Monthly Calendars - similar to the analog clock, this calendar provides the big picture of time: the past, present and future. Similar to the weekly planner, the topic of organizing calendars is a lengthy one and it can have an entire web-site dedicated to it so I’m going to keep it simple.
Whether your needs will be met with a family or a student calendar, the calendar needs to be kept in sight and ready visible. If you plan on using a family calendar you can have each family member add and update their own activities, and in their own color (e.g., dad – green, mom – blue, John – orange, etc). A student calendar should represent the quarter, semester or the 10-month traditional school year. Each subject should be color coded along with activities. Students can have a calendar just for projects, exams and weekend commitments.
Remember to cross off each day on your calendar. You can see the time getting closer and see that you have less time to complete an assignment. We want to see the future and make time visible, plus that dopamine hit sure feels good when you cross things off your list!
My Personal Time Management Experiment
I want to share something personal about my time management skills. I ran a little experiment over the winter to see where my time was spent during the day.
For one week from 9am – 9pm, I kept track of everything I did during that time frame, I wrote the estimated time I thought it would take, as well as the actual time it took. Wow, I was off. That’s when I realized I had to change my relationship with time. See below, this is a real eye opener.
Time, time – its invisible but certainly a very real factor that we all need to acknowledge and manage in our lives. For our children and adolescents who struggle to manage their time effectively, these strategies are helpful ways to keep a lot of what’s to come and to break down long-term assignments into parts. The end goal is to keep up with deadlines in school and be able to know what’s next for sports, activities, and family events!
Prepared by: Miranda Dekker, LCSW
Today’s youths are immersed in a world that is technological, fast paced, and sometimes, just cruel. A so-called culture of violence is portrayed in video games and echoed in today's media. Most youth are exposed to music and television which promote the use of drugs and alcohol and present suicide as a solution to problems. Some suggest that 15 years ago there was not as much hostility in the world which exists today.
No age left behind
What we do know is suicide is affecting our youth much more than generations before. Suicide among teens and young adults has nearly tripled since the 1940’s. In two days this month, June 5th and June 6th, 2018, two successful and well-established humans, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both committed suicide. We often think of suicidality affecting our children and teens, but it affects people of all ages. It affects people who are so anxious or so depressed that they feel that the only way out is to bring their life to an end.
According to the CDC, Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. Remember Mallory Grossman, a young 12-year-old middle school student who was bullied and brought her life to an end on June 14, 2017? Suicidality knows no age.
Suicide does not discriminate, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely to go through with suicide. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide and expressing suicidal ideation than boys.
A nationwide survey of high school students in the U.S. found Hispanic youth were more likely to report attempting suicide than their black and white, non-Hispanic peers. Moreover, The Office of HIV/AIDS Policy on Bullying and Teen Suicide reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual teens are seven times more likely to have reported attempting suicide than their peers (2010).
The Teen Years
The teenage years can be a tumultuous time for many young people and their caregivers. Teens are balancing peer relationships, academics, body image, emotional instability, bullying, and not to mention developmental and hormonal changes. All issues that can prove to be confusing and unsettling for many teens.
As parents and caretakers, there are certain behaviors that are red flag warnings that our children are struggling.
Among teenagers, suicide attempts may be associated with feelings of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, disappointment, and loss. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems.
“13 Reasons Why”
With the release of Netflix's drama 13 Reasons Why, researchers found a significant spike in internet searches using terms such as "how to commit suicide" and "how to kill yourself" for 19 days following the release of season 1 of "13 Reasons Why."
Many experts warn that the show is doing more harm than good, and many families who have recently lost their son/daughter to suicide say the show triggered them. On the other hand, many people who support the show and say it raises awareness about the epidemic and loosely portrays the struggles that today's youth experience. This community believes the show highlights the many layers that influence suicide in young teens, such as: bullying, cyberbullying, underage drinking/drug use, sexual assault, and guns in the home.
If your child has not yet watched this series, it is advisable to co-view the show with them. Co-viewing the show with your child can help you intervene and point out cyberbullying or sexual assault and ask your child if they have experienced this. If your child has already watched the show, take the time to discuss what he/she took away from the show. Discuss reality vs. fiction and how the show gives an unrealistic view of the help available for teens.
How To Talk To Your Child About Suicidality
Despite what was portrayed in 13 Reasons Why, there is always help. Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable issues. In order for help to start, a parent or loved one will need to take notice of the warning signs and inform your child that resources are available. Suicide and depression are difficult topics to have with your young one, but it is imperative that you address the topic often and early on.
Ask your child,
As a parent, if you are open and honest about your feelings, it signals to your child that they feel understood and connected. Be available to have this discussion if it comes up, and try not to use judgment.
Reach Out To Your Child’s School Counselor and Teachers
If your child is pulling away from peers and family, involve your child's school. Inform your child's school counselor or teacher that you are concerned and ask that they monitor them as well and report any unusual behavior. Sometimes if a child feels disconnected from family they may turn to a school counselor who is an unbiased support. As a parent, you may want to recommend counseling services at your child's school. In addition, if your school counselor believes your son or daughter may need more help than their scope of practice they may refer your child for more comprehensive services.
By knowing the signs, you increase your ability to open a dialogue that can prevent your teen from acting on his or her thoughts.
Gomez, M. (2010). AIDS.gov. The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy on Bullying and Teen Suicide
Suicide in Children and Teens: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Suicide and Suicide Attempts in Adolescents: The American Academy of Pediatrics
Parenting is a relentless job, but the demands and responsibilities are constant. Many of us just want to quit or take a day off. Unfortunately, that's just not possible.
Over time, the pendulum has swung and we have fewer boundaries between us and our children, and the negative effects of this dynamic are strong and powerful for our children.
When kids throw temper tantrums or have meltdowns it can be hard to remain calm. Often, they happen at the worst of times and can make any parent feel upset, embarrassed, or frustrated. More often than not, we react to these melt downs by trying to shut down the situation as fast as possible. However, this type of reaction is often not effective. Although it can be difficult, the key to managing these situations is to not only learn how to manage your own feelings as a parent, but also to teach your children how to manage their own feelings too.
Prepared by: Stephanie Fredericka, LCSW
Let us be honest: moms are super heroes. That doesn’t mean that behind those capes and masks moms don’t face their own struggles. Speaking from my own mommy experience, sometimes it feels as if I don't have even one moment to breathe or be anything other than okay. Despite how we may be feeling, we have to keep moving because our children depend on us. We need to prioritize by putting our little ones’ needs before our own. That is hard on those days when we are under-slept, catching a cold, or feeling burned out. Now, imagine taking care of a little one, or a few little ones, when you are struggling with depression or anxiety. It’s a daily struggle and there are good days and days where we can’t think we will make it. It’s okay. You’re not alone.
The Daily Grind
In her article, When Being Mom Leads to “Mommy Depression,” Jami Ingledue speaks about this high-functioning depression that many moms cope with as they face every-day life: putting one foot in front of the other, wiping noses, making lunches, telling husbands where things are, answering every call and cry for mommy. The stay-at-home moms may especially face depression as she finds herself alone all day, without adult interaction (expect Paw Patrol or Mickey Mouse Club House). These moms work through the same tasks repeatedly in their pajamas, which becomes their daily garb. Jami speaks about the never-ending schedule (rewind, press play) we find ourselves in, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working-mom. There seemingly is never a break, unless you are fortunate enough to have good sleepers (insert laugh track here). Sleep is pertinent to our mental health. Without it, moms coping with depression may feel even more in a state of utter desperation.
Caring For a Child With Special Needs
Having a child with mental health challenges or a disability can also make it very difficult for moms with depression, as it exacerbates everything. There is a constant schedule of appointments, school meetings, and wiping of tears. When does this leave time for you as a mom to breathe and take care of yourself?
Your child’s meltdowns and daily struggles will also trigger your depression and anxiety and put you in an even deeper ‘funk’. Having a child with special needs means you often feel out of control, and parenting is an especially big and difficult challenge.
Parenting Feels Like a Sham
Jami so beautifully describes her own high-functioning depression in her article: “But it is all a sham. We feel dead inside, like a shell of a person. We can sort of fake it for the kids, but no one else. We are completely sucked dry. Still functioning on the outside but paralyzed on the inside. No hope, no light we can see at the end of the tunnel.” She opens up about spending all of her energy on keeping her kids alive, digging deep until her well was dry. Until one day, she had an epiphany when she thought to herself, “I hope my family will still love me for what I used to be, because I have nothing good left.” She said she knew she had to stop and put her own oxygen mask on first, because if we don’t nurture our own self, how can we take care of the little ones that depend on us?
Find Your Help
Moms - I want you to say this out-loud: It is OKAY to get help. There’s no shame and it doesn’t make you less of a mom. If anything, seeking your own therapy and mental health support is your way of putting on your oxygen mask before you can put it on your children.
Create a Support Clan & Take a Break
It’s OKAY to ask for help and it is OKAY to not be okay. Set up a pact with another mom that you will take her children when she is on the brink of insanity, and you will do the same for her. If you need a break, take a break. There is no prize to be won for going, going, going on fumes. That’s mans it’s okay to take a walk, cry, read a book, or go for a pedicure – by yourself, without kids.
Jami ends her article speaking about balance. That word that makes us think that if we can find it, we are good moms but without it, we are just the opposite. This is simply not true. There is no balance (say it with me, that’s OKAY). If you go out with friends or just take a breather at the store, chances are the dishes may pile up in the sink or that load of laundry you’ve been putting back and forth between the washer and dryer will still be there. But what’s important is that your battery will be recharged and I think that’s more important than having a clean house or whatever unrealistic set of standards you have set for yourself.
I want to give all of us moms who are in the trenches together, cheers to you - raise your glass, or the sippy cup you are probably refilling for the 20th time today, and tell yourself you are doing a good job. Tell yourself you are going to get through the day. Schedule something to look forward to in the near future (as in the next week or two). Tell yourself you are the real superhero (this is our mantra). Superhero moms aren’t always the Pinterest projecting making moms. They are the everyday ones, doing the best they can and that’s just fine with us.
Jami Ingledue. When Being Mom Leads to “Mommy Depression” Huffington Pos
I was blessed to be a part of this amazing #MOMBOSS event today at Bloomingdales at the Short Hills Mall!, sponsored by HipNJ and NJ Family Magazine. I was inspired by fellow women, moms and business owners in a way that is making me excited to think about this practice that I have grown from it's infancy, and where I want to go next.
The event was coordinated by Maria Falzo, founder of HipNJ, and panelists consisted of Cheldin Barlatt, Rumor, Danielle Forte, Mallika Malhotra and Priya Virmani.
As each mom spoke, I made a list of wise words to review again and again in those moments for when I feel uninspired and discouraged. I'm going to share that advice with you:
Once again, thank you for renewing my creativity!
Dr. Liz is one of the Anxiety Relief Project's most recent Advisor and Contributor!
The Anxiety Relief Project is an on-line resource for people who suffer from anxiety. People are able to have full access to these resources 24 hours each day, 7 days per week. The list of contributors is diversified and will bring a great deal of useful strategies and information to those struggling with anxiety.
Thank you, Craig Mollins, for creating this forum for professionals to offer their insights and ideas in an effort to offer relief and hope to the world of anxious people!
Click here to learn more about the Anxiety Relief Project!
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles