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Having a Sane Summer with a Full Household

You can hear the kids now, “I’m boooooorrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeddddddd.” And instantly, your anxiety levels begin to rise. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids came home from the end of the school year and built cocoons for 2.5 months before emerging as beautiful, colorful, next graders? Instead, they come home and any semblance of sanity we had begins to drift away when that last day of “school” (aka the 90 minute “day” that proves someone in the district scheduling office needs a best friend named Basket of Chocolate covered Fruit) ends.

So how do you have a sane summer with a full household? Here are a few ideas that have helped me and that I hope will help you.

  1. Be aware of kids’ needs to simply decompress..

School has been a big year for them whether it’s their kindergarten or senior year. They may want to veg out and do nothing (teens) or they may have anxious excess energy to burn just because (elementary school).  Our role as parents it to observe what our kids need and provide them access to meeting their need.

  1. Learn how your kid decompresses.

Depending on their age and developmental stage, your child’s need for stimulation will vary. As parents, we are responsible to help meet their stimulation needs. My favorite resource for understanding the energy level of my kids is “Fire Child, Water Child” which I’ve written about here– it’s one of the best holistic approaches to attention and activity challenges in the school and family setting. I know that I have an earth child and a wood/fire child. I’m a water child and each of our elements feed into and feed off of each other.  Learning about my kids’ needs and how it impacts my own needs helps me help them engage and relax. Teaching our kids what balance is will help them value it as part of a healthy life style.

  1. Involve the family!

I’ve found that the best way to do this is to discover an activity that each of my kids might like and then as a family, work together on the activity. This way each individual person gets something that’s just for them and the family gets the experience of creating something for their loved one.   Last summer, we made Lego Calm Down jars – you can find the information here – and my kids enjoyed the hours we spent talking about the activity, getting supplies for the activity, completing the activity and sharing the results with our friends. Involving your kids in the process from start to finish will take a bit longer than if you just did it yourself, however, this is actually part of disciplining your kid without drama. Discipline them to become a certain kind of person because of the relationship they have with you. This relationship is built in the activities you complete together just as much as the teaching and instructing we do in moments.

  1. Don’t forget about the parents!

One thing I’ve worked on as a parent is understanding that my needs are as valid as my kids’ needs. My regulation is as important and necessary as their regulation. So when I do activities with them, I have them create activities with me too. I enjoy coloring and painting, so I have an easel for myself and each of my kids in our basement and we spend time painting. We each have our own coloring books and pencils, so we spend time coloring. When parents are balanced, we can teach our kids about balance.

  1. When all else fails – and there will be those days – go for what’s easy.

My other go-to, when I’m not in my calm, regulated, trying to be Zen Mom mode is right here. It will give you about 45 minutes of peace until you can either find an escape or the strength to try again.

Have a Happy & Sane Summer! 

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Is Anxiety Hereditary? What You Need to Know

Is Anxiety Hereditary? What You Need to Know
We get a lot from our parents. Bone structure, our first car, eye color, money habits, etc. It’s well-known that we can inherit certain health conditions from them as well (you’re 50% more likely to develop migraines if either of your parents experiences them) Recently, evidence has emerged that suggests anxiety may be one more thing that we can get from our parents (and this is clinical anxiety, which is much more than ordinary nervousness that we all experience).
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Quit Monkeying Around!
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Dr. Ned Kalin and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed brain scans of rhesus monkeys and found that the ones that displayed signs of anxiety had a family history showing stress-related symptoms in their brain wave patterns. While the study was complex, the takeaway is that anxious thought patterns may not be merely adult occurrences but can have their roots in one’s genes. This is groundbreaking, as the cause of anxiety had previously been largely unknown.
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Ask a Therapist: How Do I Hold My Abuser Accountable?


From the time I was 8-12 I was sexually abused as well as my brother who is 4 years younger than I am . As I am getting older I am learning the thread of lies that I was told from my family regarding the situation. Growing up I believed my grandmother adopted a child from Haiti, he was 8 years older than I am. Through the time he was 19 he sexually abused myself and my younger brother. I repressed much of my memories from childhood due to this but I vividly remember the abuse. My mother took me to the University of Massachusetts sexual abuse center where I was tested for rape and attended counseling. My parents moved us to Florida away from this. I assumed he had been in trouble until recently when I found out that his high school counselor told my parents he would be deported if they reported it and it was never reported to police. After we moved for years he continued to call to talk to my brother and myself but we refused to talk to him. My grandmother and father hid most of what happened. Now that I am 29 I want him to be held accountable for his actions. To make sure he isn’t hurting any other children. I am not sure what to do or how to handle it. I wanted to contact him and after much research learned he changed his name and still was not legally in this country. Because of this abuse I have sexual issues , depression and still cannot trust people. I have seen three therapists and it never helps, just knowing he is married with a child makes me sick and scared.

A: I’m so incredibly sorry about the abuse you and your brother suffered. I suggest gathering as much information as you can about him today. Then contact Child Protective Services in your state and just ask how they would handle it. It is often empowering for a victim to report and take action against the perpetrator, even years later. Watch the video for the rest of the answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask a Therapist: Could Grandfather’s Death Cause Depression?


I saw my grandfather die when I was young and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me. And ever since my grandfather’s death I’ve been having troubles maintaining my relationship with others whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again. I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be and I felt guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather died. And whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of actually committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing. This is ruining my life and I think I seriously really need help.

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Ask A Therapist: Is My Eating Disorder Serious?


Q: Hello. About four months ago I diagnosed myself with possible anorexia. I skip about 2 meals a day but I eat try to eat a full meal for dinner. I exercise for at least an hour daily. I am 16, my height is 5 foot 9 and my weight is 123 pounds. I want to ask for help from my parents but I am too scared they will be disappointed in me. I also do not think that my disorder is that serious. Should I ask for help?

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Ask A Therapist: Talk Of Parents’ Divorce Causing Depression


Q: My life was fine until I was in seventh grade, my parents were alright and I had amazing friends, until one night my parents told me and my siblings that my mom was thinking about divorce and how they were constantly fighting that single night brought everything down since then my parents were fighting all the time, my father would get drunk and start talking without knowing he was hurting my feelings, one night he almost hit my sister and my mom that marked my whole life, I almost didn’t make it through eight grade because I would just think about my parents and how their marriage is gonna end. Is not very pleasant to see your mom and dad sad :( Now in my freshman year everything got worse I started to get sad, cry without a reason, I get stress more easy and stuff like that.

Also I’ve been distancing from my friends and I know many people but I’m just used to them being my friends, two of them have boyfriends and they just stick to them like glue and its kind of annoying because we made a promise that no boy will interfere with our friendship but I guess isn’t validate anymore, for them I don’t exist anymore because they also have new friends and they leave in a corner alone. I guess that is also part of my sadness I guess and I also lost interest in things I used to like for example writing, photography, fashion and reading plus I’ve been thing about self-harming but I know that isn’t gonna help. So please answer me. take care :)

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Ask A Therapist: How Much Will My Therapist Tell My Parents About My Self-Injury?


As a minor, how much of what I tell a therapist will my parents hear? Recently my parents have discovered I struggle with self-injury. After discovering this, they are going to send me to see a therapist to help with the issue. They, of course, know I struggle with self-injury, but I would prefer if they did not hear about it if I tell the therapist when I self-injure. Is this possible, or is it required that they inform my parents when I cut? As a minor, do I have any confidentiality from my parents?

A: Excellent question and an important concern to bring up in your first session with your therapist. Watch the full answer below.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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Ask A Therapist: I Feel Ashamed about Being Molested as a Child


I’ve started thinking of my past life and how naive I was. Then horrible memories have come back to me. When I was around 9 going to 10 I was molested by a teenager. It made me cry almost thinking how stupid I was by listening to the molester telling me what to do and threatening to tell my parents what he did. I thought I would get in trouble so I let him do what ever. It happened for almost 2 years and I kept it secret. I was even more frightened that he said he planned to bring his friends. Then when I was in middle school, we moved and I finally told. The officers didn’t do anything because there wasn’t enough evidence.. I felt stupid for not telling and to this day, knowing he’s still out there.. I wished I was strong. This really affected me making me more naive, confused, and depressed as the years went on. I have felt sexually attracted to older men wanting them to touch me. I was even willing to risk my life by walking around my neighborhood hoping I would get captured and raped. Then I met my ex boyfriend. He changed me in a way but wasn’t what I thought we would be. I believed in my ex boyfriend and allowed him to have sex with me whenever he asked and I fell in love. It didn’t end too well.. I changed after that situation and I hate my old self right now.. please give me words of advice..

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Ask A Therapist: How Do I Tell My Parents I Want Therapy?


These past few months have been different for me. I don’t feel complete. I have no hobbies, romantic relationships, or sports that I enjoy, whereas it seems everyone I know has these things. I belong to a middle class family and we have plenty of money and things, but something in my life is missing. I want to ask my parents if I can see a therapist or someone, but I’m too embarrassed and my parents will ask me questions about what’s wrong and I’ll feel stupid because I don’t have any answers. I don’t self-harm, but I’ve thought about it. I’ve got one good friend and a twin sister, but I always feel lonely… and I feel like something in my life is missing. I realize that I’m very young (14) and that life gets better, but I honestly just need answers. Why do I feel this way? What’s missing? Is there something wrong with me? Do other people feel this way?

A: Please talk to your parents from your heart. You don’t have to have all of the answers and it’s OK to tell your parents, “I don’t know,” if they ask you questions you’re not sure how to answer. Let them know that you want to see a therapist. Watch the video below to hear the complete answer.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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Ask A Therapist: How Do I Help My Suicidal Best Friend?


A few months ago me and my best friends ex boyfriend (who still cares a lot about her) went to our school guidance councilors and told them how my best friend was suicidal. they told her parents and she had to get an evaluation from a therapist. they cleared her and she was allowed back in school. however now school isn’t in session and she’s suicidal again. I know this because she told me that I’m the only thing keeping her alive. a few years ago she was raped by a close friend and then a few days after the rape walked in on him killing himself. she never dealt with this traumatic event and I think it’s one of the reasons she’s suicidal now. we talked a little about it and she told me she feels like she messes everything up and all she does is make things worse. I tried to show her how that’s not true and how a lot of people care about her but she doesn’t believe me. I don’t want to go to her parents again because I dont think they’d believe me a second time. I want her to get help and talk to someone but I don’t know how to do it. please help me.

A: Thank you for your email. I can feel your concern for your friend through this letter. Even though you might be putting your friendship at risk, I suggest you go talk to her parents. They need to know about the rape and that she walked in on the person who raped her committing suicide. Those are horrific traumas for a teenager to witness and she is in serious danger.  Please watch the video response for more tools to handle this painful situation.

Take good care of yourself
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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