The findings from a recent 90by30 pilot survey suggested that 75 percent of Lane County residents are willing to be active in reducing child abuse and neglect, and yet less than half reported knowing what to do or how to go about helping. 90by30 is in the process of creating the structure to implement the plan that will make it possible for each of us to play our part.
While consistent routines, good nutrition and quality parent-child interaction time are important, the value of outdoor motor play should be noted, as it leads to positive outcomes. While it may seem counterintuitive, children’s brains are in a better state to focus and pay attention when they engage in running, jumping, bouncing, swinging, climbing, spinning and other movement activities. Physical activity leads to greater learning opportunities.
Start a conversation. “Did you suffer from postpartum depression? Or know someone who did?” Break the silence. Talk about it. Reach out to new parents, share your experiences and let them know they are not alone. By starting the conversation, you will also reach a new level of healing.
Volunteer. We are fortunate to live in a community with access to resources for new parents, particularly those struggling with prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety. In Lane County, we have WellMama, a nonprofit organization offering free support services. WellMama, and other organizations like it, can only thrive with help from volunteers. Even if you have just five minutes to give this month, you can post flyers, write a thank-you card to a donor or participate in a focus group.
Donate. Funding for maternal mental health services is scarce and inadequate. Nonprofit organizations rely on donations to sustain basic services that support men and women in our community.
Join us. Participate in community events throughout the year to raise awareness about maternal mental health.
Prolonged activation of the stress response in children can have damaging effects on the development of the brain. The stress hormones that flood the brain during prolonged stressful periods can affect the development of brain cells and connections between them, the size of certain brain areas and, ultimately, development of healthy brain architecture. Because these brain areas are important for learning, memory, and emotional processing, prolonged exposure to stress can lead to problems with thinking, memory, and emotional processing as well as increased risk for later health problems.
If parents are not proactive in addressing their own stress, they might unknowingly overlook the signs and symptoms of stress in their children. There is a danger in this, as young people are then left unsupported in identifying stress, and without the necessary tools and resources to manage it in a world where stress is escalating.
It’s fairly common for all of us parents to wonder if we are doing the best job possible in raising our children. After all, the day-to-day reality of child-rearing is a mix of, as Birth To Three says, “joy, exhaustion, challenge, stress and delight.” Being a parent can be overwhelming. At some point, every one of us will be tested, no matter what our intentions or resolutions may be.
Multi-tasking. If you’re a parent, you’re probably a pro. You know the drill: one ear on the phone, the other listening for baby. One hand spreading jam, the other checking e-mail.
You feel like you’re getting lots done, but you rarely feel peaceful. The truth is, according to recent research, multitasking can actually reduce your efficiency and endanger your health. If you’ve ever had to re-make dinner because you burned it while answering e-mails, or if your adrenaline regularly pumps overtime as you try to do four things at once, read on.
By taking control of your time, you will feel less overwhelmed because you will have prioritized the things that you decide need to be done. You will feel better about what you’ve done each day and about yourself. And, for a job well done, reward yourself. After all, although the main goal is to make the most of your time, that includes having fun, too.
For parents and adolescents who may be experiencing conflict, the mediation model includes two mediators; one adult and one teen. This approach addresses, to a certain extent, an adolescent’s concern that an adult mediator might be biased in favor of the parent. But even more importantly, it addresses the ages-old refrain, spoken almost universally by adolescents to their parents, “You just don’t understand me!” It turns out that a teen mediator actually is better at decoding what the adolescent is trying to communicate and, through artful questioning and encouragement, is able to help the parent to understand. By involving a teen mediator in the process, the adolescent is more likely to feel heard and respected.
Whether we are dealing with huge problems or everyday hassles, we parents need to keep our cups full. We can’t easily solve long-term serious problems; however, there are small things we can do that help. They don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time.