Monthly archives: November, 2014


32780048_sWhy is it important for us as parents to teach our young children to have gratitude? There are several different pieces of data suggesting that not only does gratitude help children to form, maintain, and strengthen supportive relationships, but it also helps them to feel connected to others who care for them. Other studies have linked gratitude to creating a protection from stress and depression over time.

Evidence from research suggests that grateful children compared to their less grateful counterparts, are happier and more optimistic, have better social support, are more satisfied with their school, family, community, friends, and themselves, and give more emotional support to others.

Well it seems that all the research supports why we should teach our kids to be grateful, so the next obvious question would be how do we teach them to be grateful.

Encouraging gratitude in children is, appreciation for when somebody has done something kind or helpful for them or recognition of the good things and people they have in their lives. This is a three step process.

Awareness- Calling attention to physical object or situation and then the effort it must of taken them.

Positive Emotions-Help your child to connect to their happy feelings about the situation or object and how they must be special.

Attribution-Assisting children to make sense of what took place. see that there was a willingness on the part of the other person to give with out any obligation. (ie, wasn’t that nice of her she did not have to do that.)

Essentially gratefulness in children is going beyond good manners and creating meaning about those positive attributions.



















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26264625_sWhen I was thinking of writing my next blog with the holiday season in mind, I thought of what could be an easy way for couples to start giving and connecting with each other. First thing that came to mind was the power and benefit of gratitude in romantic relationships. It seems simple enough to be thankful towards your partner but even though I am a pretty grateful person sometimes I feel misunderstood, burdened or sometimes I don’t even notice the thing the person did for me because I am really use to having them do it for me but every once in a while I feel grateful. For example, last week when my husband went for a walk with me at 9 o’clock at night just to keep me company. Aside from the personal benefit I got from the walk, it was a really important type of moment for me this gratitude it showed me that he understood me and that he cared. He could tell it was an end of a long day, and I was wavering and was thinking of sacrificing my walk to be with him because I really wanted to hang out with him too. So he looked at me and said “I am coming with you get ready. “ So moments like these between people remind us of how great specific people are for us.
What we know about emotions is that when we have an experience of gratitude it does more than just remind us about our partner’s great qualities, but it allows us to have emotional responses to situations with gestures that bind us more closely. So for example in the situation with my husband, my expression of gratitude made him feel more valued and that makes him feel more connected and interested in being in the relationship and sets up a great base for moving forward.

Many clients who have good relationships at times questions the need to show gratitude feeling that he/she already knows how I feel. A great deal of research points to the fact that even in the best of relationships, over time, satisfaction declines. Just like when you buy a new car, after a while the new car smell fades and the car becomes just another way to get you from point A to point B. You may even start looking around at other cars and think of getting a newer model. Cars can’t get their new smell back but humans can do new things to remind each other of things that they loved when they first met.
Everyday gratitude can work as a “Booster Shot” for your relationship. Here are some simple ways to increase the gratitude quotient in your romantic relationship:

1. Notice your partners actions- capitalize on gratitude’s nature by noticing the small things your partner does daily. Don’t allow stress to become a barrier to having gratitude in your life.
2. Don’t forget to show it-Missed connections don’t count. You can create more commitment in your relationship by letting your partner know you appreciate them. Don’t assume that your partner knows how
you feel.
3. Be genuine- in the rush to practice gratitude you may say things that are not genuine. So if your partner messed up dinner you don’t need to say what a great meal, but the gratitude can be expressed
for the time and effort put in to the process.

So the leading indicators for partner satisfaction in a relationship is feeling understood, valued and cared for, gratitude accomplishes all these goals. So remember when you feel it don’t forget to show it and say it like you mean it.

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32440806_sRaising a child or teen with ADHD/ADD can seem quite overwhelming, but when these conditions are combined with co-occurring mood disorders this can truly be a challenging situation for any parent. This, however, is a very real challenge for over half of the families of children with an ADHD diagnosis. Research studies show that as many as 60% of children and teens diagnosed with ADHD have one or more additional co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety and/or depression.
The first challenge for any parent is to recognize the possibility that a co-occurring disorder is present. This is no easy task. Indeed, it will take the specialized skills of a qualified mental health professional familiar with both ADHA and anxiety/depression, to make the final determination. The diagnosis is complicated by the fact that many of the symptoms associated with ADHD are the same as those that are associated with other conditions, such as anxiety or depression. In children, for example, depression can often manifest as irritability, which might look like one of the characteristics of ADHD.
The relationship between ADHD and anxiety/depression can be a bit of a chicken and an egg dilemma. While there are clear neurological reasons for the occurrence of anxiety and depression, these two conditions can also be brought on by environmental situations. Think about it. You have watched your child and teen struggle with their ADHD and the pain it has caused them. You have watched their confidence being zapped away by continued failures. These repeated experiences of failure can take a toll that can result in depression and/ or anxiety. As parents, we try our best helping children build their self-esteem, but it is especially important for parents of ADHD children. Healthy self-esteem is one of the best remedies against anxiety and depression.
The testing process accompanying most educations environments in particular can condition anxiety. When a child or teen knows that even though they have studied twice as hard as anyone else, but they are likely to make critical mistakes during testing due to lack of attention to detail or an inability to focus, they are likely to develop anxiety prior to testing. The fear of impending doom will be compounded with the inattentiveness that accompanies ADHD to make matters even worse.
Depression can result from continued rejection by peers and continued failure to live up to the expectations that everyone seems to have for them. The isolation that often accompanies ADHD can contribute to a loss of self-esteem and a sense of hopelessness. The child or teen experiencing this kind of depression may withdraw and simply stop trying to improve him or herself.
This means that even if ADHD is treated by medications and instruction in organizational skills, the anxiety and depression may still remain as a result of a life history of disappointment. This is very important for a parent to be aware of. Medication alone will not be sufficient to help your child change the negative mindset resulted from years of discouragement.
Whether your child’s anxiety and/ or depression are the result of neurobiological condition, social conditioning or a combination of both really does not change how you will work with him or her to overcome these challenges. In addition to the support of a counselor or therapist who fully understands what your child is experiencing you will need to:

Praise your child– finding ways to compliment your child on a job well done can be an incredibly powerful tool.

Think about your child or teens strengths– what is it that they do well? Are they funny? Are they kind to their brother or sister? Do they have a particular passion? Too often parents in their desperation to improve ADHD behaviors use favorite activities as a bartering chip that can only increase depression and anxiety, instead whenever you see your child engaged in something that they love and are doing well, take the time to compliment them. Point out their strengths as a way to build up their damaged self-esteem.

Shift your expectations– remember that the ADHD brain is typically 3 to 5 yrs developmentally behind the brain of chronological peers. When you set tasks and expectations for your child remember to scale them accordingly.

Set your child up for success– minimize speech associated with short comings and avoid putting your child in situations where there is a high likelihood that they will in some way embarrass themselves.

Your job as a parent is to continually reinforce your child’s sense of their own value and worth as a unique individual deserving your love- as indeed they are.










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