In Raising Kids to be Decent in a Challenging World, I discuss the importance of examining our own attitudes and behavior as a model for our children and as a touch point for the way we engage them as they interpret a world where what is "appropriate" may appear boundless.
In Tips to Avoid Catching Negative Stress, I offer some tips to avoid catching negative stress as a way to stay centered, grounded, and "whole" when in the presence of someone whose negative energy seems to get the better of them (and hopefully not you).
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Raising Kids to be Decent in a Challenging World
Our children are exposed to a range of attitudes and behaviors, some of which we hope they will absorb and emulate, and others we hope they will avoid like a plague. We can rise to the challenge and remind ourselves and our children that there are countless opportunities to behave decently in a world that sometimes "indecency." As a psychologist, educator, parent, grandparent, aunt, and friend to many children, we would be wise to begin with a basic realization: the most powerful examples of treating people and behaving decently are within our own families.. Children learn by observing how the adults who are close to them behave, so it's important to be the kind of person you want your children to be.
To that end, we need to know our own values and live according to those values. When we do this, we are sending clear messages to our children about what is and is not appropriate. We are modeling our expectations of decent behavior as we consider the consequences on ourselves and others. This is particularly true when we demonstrate concern for others. Parental attempts to help children treat others well is invaluable so that our children's lives are connected to others in a positive way. Parents who are overly stressed and unavailable have a more difficult time reserving emotional energy for their children. Consequently they may be less patient or less available for their children which makes it more of a challenge for them to "behave decently."
It is helpful to reflect on and understand what "decent" means for you and your family and which behaviors convey decency. Among some of the words that come to mind may be respectful, compassionate, present, kind, charitable, supportive, patient, honest, and polite.
As parents, we can think about what happens within us when we make a conscious decision to behave decently and help our children as we share, in age appropriate ways, our "process" with them. When parents face a particularly challenging situation, maybe one that creates a moral dilemma, we can discuss both short and long term effects of behavior. This offers children options for problem-solving strategies when dealing with their own challenging situations.
Discussing the conduct of people you and your children read about in magazine and newspaper articles as well as the behavior of characters on TV, movies, or books, broadens your scope and offers opportunities that tell about ordinary people who do noble acts or overcome problems. And keep in mind that children love to hear stories about their parents' childhood and about relatives who set good examples.
Parents can also initiate discussions (mostly listening) about the ethical implications of news stories, such as politicians accepting bribes, celebrities' dubious behavior, or reports of mistreatment, or international clashes, as well as their own and their children's day-to-day experiences. Adults have a great opportunity to hear what children's perceptions are if we do not jump in to tell them what to think or do before hearing their perspectives of what they believe is going on and what they feel would be an appropriate way to handle the situation.
If we don't listen, they will likely stop talking to us. Even if we don't agree with what they say, keep in mind that to keep the conversation going, we need to validate at least some of what your child says. By doing this, you are keeping a bridge between you. Everyone appreciates being understood and having their feelings acknowledged.
For more extended discussion, please follow this link: http://www.today.com/video/today/51990303/.
A Good Daily Habit
One of the simple social pleasures of life, which goes almost unnoticed because it's automatic, is when you smile at someone, and usually they smile back.
Smiling is first an attitude and then an action. We don't have to necessarily be full of joy to smile. In fact, if something is bothering us, we may be pleasantly surprised to find that our problems may not loom so large if we focus our energy on smiling at a friend or even a stranger. Sometimes, problems seem transformed when we decide to put our energy into smiling at those who cross our paths daily.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Avoiding Catching Negative Stress
Have you ever had a day when you feel terrific, optimistic, bright, and then, after only a short time in the presence of someone who is engaged in their own downward spiral, you are, within minutes, no longer optimistic and in danger of drowning in their pool of distress?
If you've ever wondered if stress is contagious, it is. We are extremely sensitive to one another's energy fields. Protecting ourselves against the impact of someone else's negative stress response is a healthy way of caring for our own well-being. Rather than drowning, you can devise a method for preserving your own spirit, perhaps by temporarily removing yourself from the person who is stressed out just so you won't "catch" their mood and keep yourself centered.
If you do not do this, your outlook can change for the worse, so you not only share the gloom but you are unable to help the other person. Additionally, your physical, mental, and emotional reserves can be depleted.
Protect yourself without losing your ability to empathize with someone you care about by following these tips:
Do Not Take On Their Problems. - You can offer sincere help and support without taking on their moods as your own. It is not your responsibility to make people happy or less stressed. You can empathize with and support them, and perhaps help them respond in ways that make them feel stronger and calmer. You can stress yourself out by setting unreasonable goals. Set limits on what you can do.
You Can't Solve Their Problems. - Only they are the ones who can truly make changes in their lives; your role can be to guide, if they are open, and support. Ask what you can do to help. If the response is nothing, do not assume that you know what to do. It may be better to leave them alone, breath and center yourself, and in your own mind keep yourself calm and send them healing thoughts.
Remove Yourself. - Removing yourself from their "energy field" can help you protect and rejuvenate yourself. You are not abandoning this person. Think of it as helping yourself so that you can help both of you at this moment and in the future.
Communicate. - Inform your loved one how their response affects you. They may be surprised.
Protect yourself without losing your ability to empathize with someone you care about.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
Dr. Atkins comments on breaking news for CNN's HLN. Please check HLNtv.com for updates.
Jewish Home LifeCare Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony
June 5th, 6PM: Speaker: Cultivating Happiness.
Jewish Home LifeCare, Sarah Neuman Center
North Dakota School for the Deaf
June 6-7th, Speaker: How To Take Care of Yourself While Working with Individuals, Professionals, Family Members of Children with Hearing Loss.
Devil's Lake, ND.
TC Today Magazine
Dr. Atkins is the focus of Work - Life Balance, written by James Reisler. Access PDF of the article at www.drdaleatkins.com.
Topics by Dr. Dale Atkins:
Tips for Getting Along with In-Laws: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Getting-Along-With-In-Laws.htm;
Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-a-Troubled-Marriage.htm;
Issues to Deal with before Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Types-of-Issues-to-Deal-With-Before-Getting-Married.htm;
Warning Signs of Cheating Spouse: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-Cheating-Spouses.htm;
Tips for Maintaining Interfaith Marriages: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Maintaining-Interfaith-Marriages.htm;
Tips for Growing Old Together:
and, Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married: http://video.about.com/marriage/Most-Important-Questions-to-Ask-Before-Getting-Married.htm.
Visit Marlo Thomas' site to access my relationship column and Mondays with Marlo video stream. http://marlothomas.aol.com/search/?q=dale+atkins
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic
Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants,"
in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf
Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by
Gallaudet University Press.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family
Involvement and Counseling in Serving
Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing,"
in the new text, Introduction
to Aural Rehabilitation.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. There is something that every single one of us can do to help those less fortunate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Scribbles to
Novels, We Give Books, and Read for the Record.
"From a moral point of view there may be no such thing as a bystander. If one is present, one is taking part."
David Gushee, theologian
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works