I’m Not Raising a Wilting Flower

I’m Not Raising a Wilting Flower: How to Build Children’s Resilience in the Midst of a Pandemic

written by Dr. Liz Matheis, published on psychology today

This pandemic has challenged every single one of us. Children, teens, adults: we all have had to balance an extra set of life demands that have been outside the scope of any other life experience we have had thus far. I often pose a question to help us realize that we don’t have a former life experience to reference right now: “How many pandemics have we lived through? Just one and, hopefully, only one!”

As a mom and a psychologist, I have watched my own children and others collectively struggle with isolation, loneliness, anxiety, academics, and reintegrating into a world that is slowly opening back up. We know that adolescents are very self-focused and believe they are on display on their imaginary stage where everyone is watching (aka the imaginary audience). Add the computer camera, masks, and social distancing, and we have a lot of confusion, stagnation in the development of skills, anxiety, and depression.

Adolescence is already a period of intense growth, identity building, and emotional chaos as it is. Add a pandemic into the mix, and that is a lot of intense emotion to process on top of the usual “stuff.” It’s a lot more to unravel and work through alongside the “regular” milestones to develop.

So how do we, as parents, build children who can use this experience to develop a sense of self and strength? How do we raise children who are not going to fall apart when presented with a challenge? How are we going to grow children who can face stress and use it to find their inner strength? Resilience isn’t born; it’s bred. As parents, we can play a role in building resilient children who aren’t going to break down each time they are faced with a life stressor, big or small.

Provider Spotlight: Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling

Provider Spotlight: Megan Marchaterre, RDN, Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling

Megan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist with over 14 years of experience in  nutrition counseling. She holds a certification in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration. Her belief is that everyone is unique and therefore should be evaluated individually.  

“I believe in a non-diet approach focusing on whole foods and lifestyle change. I take  a no ‘one size fits all’ approach and create individual plans based on the patients  needs. My focus is on making small sustainable changes.” 

Megan’s special interests are:  

  • Adult and adolescent weight management  
  • Bariatric nutrition counseling 
  • Medical nutrition therapy  
  • Eating disorders/disordered eating  

If you are interested in making an appointment with Megan please call (973) 744- 7495. She is currently seeing patients in her Denville office and via telehealth. 



Sensitive Teeth: Risk Factors and Treatment Options

Sensitive Teeth: Risk Factors and Treatment Options

written by Alyssa Hill, published on www.newmouth.com

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is when you feel a sharp, sudden pain after exposure to cold or hot liquids, sweets, and highly acidic substances. Sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits, harsh over-the-counter products, or as a side effect of common dental conditions. Sensitivity can also develop after minor restorative dental procedures, but the pain typically resolves within a few days.

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

by Deborah Tiel Millard

I began my search for a unique way to develop mindfulness, when my 11-year-old son was struggling to regulate big emotions and settle himself to go to sleep at night. My goal is similar to that of most parents, to see my son become independent and capable of self-regulation.

I was looking for a screen-less option, as I wanted something to help develop regulation and self-calming before bed. This ruled out all the great apps for devices like phones or tablets. This search led me to Zenimal.

A Zenimal is a screen-free device that assists children with developing mindfulness through nine mediations. The nine meditations cover the following areas: sleep, gratitude, stillness, breath, creativity, relaxation, empathy, feelings and warmth (healing). The device also offers three options for white noise to soothe and help a child fall asleep and stay asleep.

I did my research and went ahead and ordered one. My son thought the unboxing experience was pretty cool and the turtle-shaped device was cute. We plugged it in and read about the options. That night he chose the sleep meditation and fell right to sleep. Ever since, my son has been using his turtle at night either through the sleep meditation or one of the white noise settings to help him sleep.

As a Mom, I love many of the features that Zenimal offers. The device can be plugged in and white noise played all night, or left unplugged, it will play for an hour. It is cute and cleverly designed. It’s easy to find the buttons by feeling in the dark. I also really appreciate the many meditation options and I’ve used several of them myself. Speaking of that, there is also an option for adults! You can even purchase additional meditation cartridges.

I have been really impressed with Zenimal both for my son and myself. I may just go ahead and order one for myself, so I don’t keep stealing his!


What You Need to Know About Insomnia

What You Need to Know About Insomnia

posted on Health Match

What is insomnia?

If you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night, you may have a common sleep disorder called insomnia. This is likely to cause you to feel groggy or tired as if your sleep was poor quality. So, what is insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as a “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality.”

There are two different types of insomnia:

  • Primary – This type of sleeplessness may also be called chronic or ongoing insomnia. It refers to sleep disturbances that last longer than a month. If your doctor rules out other medical conditions, you might be diagnosed with primary insomnia.

  • Secondary – Sometimes referred to as acute or short-term insomnia, secondary means something is causing the sleep disturbance. There are several physical, mental, chemical, and lifestyle factors that can cause secondary insomnia.

Sleep disorders are common in the United States, affecting 70 million Americans annually. Secondary or short-term insomnia affects between 33% to 50% of adults, while primary insomnia is estimated to affect about 10% to 15%.

The amount of sleep needed at night is different for everyone. That number can also fluctuate depending on certain factors like health, activity level, age, and nutrition.

Whether you need 4-5 hours of sleep a night or 8-9 hours, insomnia means that you are not getting enough good quality sleep for what your system requires. It also means that you’re not waking up refreshed and your body does not feel restored.

Over time, the symptoms of this sleep debt grow, and it may cause serious side effects or health problems in the future.

Mama’s, Get Stuff Done: The 15-Minute Power Hour

Mama’s, Get Stuff Done: The 15-Minute Power Hour

written by Dr. Liz Matheis, published on Psychology Today

Mamas, it’s the new year, and I’m sure you have many new year intentions, as I do. For me, my goal has been to declutter and have “less stuff” in my immediate environment because too much stuff makes me feel crowded in my physical and mental space, and creates anxiety and dysregulation. I know I’m not alone on this.

I’m also sure you’ve been saying to yourself, “Once I have some time, like a few hours, I’ll get to XXX.” How many times have you walked past the pile of mail sitting on your dining room table, which is now a mail-holder rather than a table used for eating? How often have you looked inside your closet and swore to yourself that once you have “some time,” you’ll take sort through your clothes and donate? I know I’ve said these things to myself many, many times. Too many times to admit.

Raising babies and a running a business makes it very difficult—in fact, sometimes impossible—to actually find a few hours to do anything without being interrupted 3,999.8 times. Given I’m not a patient person, and given I am a person who needs to accomplish something at the end of each day, I have found a way to break down a larger task into smaller, more manageable, and less anxiety-provoking tasks. Thus, I’ve found a way to clean and organize the closet, the drawer, and that part of the basement or garage in a way that makes me feel productive and efficient. That is how the 15-minute power hour was born for me.

"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Julie C.
"Dr. Matheis has a remarkable ability to understand the unique needs of her patients and address them constructively. She builds strong, meaningful relationships with patients and their families, encouraging trust and collaboration. When working with my son who struggles with autism-related anxiety, she created an environment in which he was able to calm down and open up to her in ways I had not seen before. She was able to reach him and helped him work through his crisis/problem. Most importantly, she empowered him to move forward."
- N.L.
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- Anonymous
"Dr. Matheis has an amazing ability to read kids and connect with them. She has been an invaluable resource for our family over the past several years and has helped us with everything from educational consulting, to uncovering diagnoses as well as family therapy. Working with Dr. Matheis never feels clinical and most importantly, our children love and trust her. We can not thank you enough Dr. Liz!"
- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
- LG
"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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