I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Do you listen to your children?

mom and daughter talkingWhen your children are talking to you, do you listen to what they are saying?   Do you hear the emotion behind their words?  Do you understand what they are saying?  Do you even care?

Often we become so busy with life that we tend to ignore what our children are saying.  Small children can be especially annoying when you are talking on the phone, doing some work or trying to read.  They can start chattering away and interrupt your thoughts.  Older children or teens might make a comment that seems unimportant or ridiculous and we dismiss them with a quick unfeeling reply.

When children are speaking, it is important that we acknowledge their feelings and try to understand what message they are conveying.  If we don’t tune in to their feelings and let them know we are listening, we will lose their trust and they won’t share their problems with us.  Children want to communicate with their parents and if they are unable to connect, they will find someone else to talk to.  Parents need to listen to their words and try to understand their feelings without being judgmental.   Parents may not always agree with what their children are saying or even totally understand, but they have to be willing to listen anyway.  This will promote good communication between parent and child and pave the way for a closer relationship.

If your child is trying to communicate with you:

  • Pay attention to what they are saying.
  • Read their body language.
  • What emotions are they showing? Are they happy or upset, excited or worried, nervous or afraid?
  • Look directly into their eyes and encourage them to talk.
  • Ask questions and make sure you understand how they feel and try to determine what they need.
  • Be supportive, try not to argue or force your opinion and don’t discount their feelings.

Remember back when you were a young child or teenager.  Your ideas about life were totally different than they are now.  You won’t always see eye to eye with your child but they need your love and support.  If they think that you are listening to them with an open mind, they will feel that their thoughts and feelings are important.  This will help them build good esteem and  become a confident, responsible adult.

Do you listen to your children?

Leave a comment »

I’m not a fan of Facebook

College freshmen who report higher levels of anxiety and alcohol use are more likely to feel emotionally connected with the social networking site than those who don’t.

I read this article by  Elizabeth Armstrong Moore about a study that was conducted on college freshmen.  It shows a link between anxiety, alcohol and an emotional connection with Facebook and other social media.  It’s really no surprise to me.  I’ve read numerous articles about the problems with Facebook and I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of social media.  I do have a Facebook account and I enjoy the positive side of keeping up to date with family and friends, along with discovering new information but there is a lot of gossiping and bullying done through social media that has become commonplace and it is certainly not acceptable.  Every day we hear about someone who has been hurt by mean comments, outright lies or inappropriate pictures that are being shared with family, friends and complete strangers.   Why do people think it is okay to hurt someone else?  When we hurt others we will inevitably end up hurting ourselves also and for what purpose?

Read what this student discovered when doing his thesis.

April 12, 2013 11:30 AM PDT

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

In a quest to learn what leads some people to turn to Facebook to connect with others, doctoral student Russell Clayton of the Missouri School of Journalism found that anxiety and alcohol use seem to play a big role.

For his master’s thesis, which appears in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior, Clayton surveyed more than 225 college freshman about two emotions, anxiety and loneliness, and two behaviors, alcohol and marijuana use. He found that the students who reported both higher levels of anxiety and greater alcohol use also appeared the most emotionally connected with Facebook. Those who reported higher levels of loneliness, on the other hand, said they used Facebook to connect with others but were not emotionally connected to it.

It probably isn’t terribly surprising that those who are anxious may feel more emotionally connected to a virtual social setting than a public one, which Clayton acknowledges in a school news release. “Also, when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.”

Marijuana use, on the other hand, predicted the opposite — the absence of emotional connectedness to the site. Clayton has a theory about this as well: “Marijuana use is less normative, meaning fewer people post on Facebook about using it. In turn, people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook.”

Whether Facebook is therapeutic for those feeling anxious is debatable. Last year one study found that people who use social networking sites regularly saw their behaviors change negatively, and that included having trouble disconnecting and relaxing. So the question becomes: Which came first, the anxiety or the networking?

Meanwhile, Facebook appears to be showing its laughter lines as teenagers “meh” their way to Twitter and Instagram. Surveys of their levels of anxiety and drug use while on those sites are surely imminent.

This article should be disturbing to us.  Parents need to help their children build esteem so they don’t become dependent on social media for their entertainment and relationships.  We need to teach them how to use the internet properly and that they should not spread gossip or pass along inappropriate pictures or information.  Children learn good and bad habits from their parents and the people around them, so we need to be a good example and show them how to be a responsible, caring adult.   Let’s all start doing acts of kindness and passing along love to each other!

Leave a comment »

Altruism has significant health benefits

1 handAltruism is an “unselfish concern for the welfare of others”.   It is an ethical theory that was coined in the 19th century by Auguste Comte and it is antithesis to egoism.  Altruists believe that everyone has an obligation to help other people and they do unselfish acts of kindness to create happiness and relieve pain.

Volunteering is a form of altruism.   It has been proven that volunteering is a good way of helping yourself.   If you are feeling unworthy or think your life has no value, it can be very therapeutic to help someone else.  By putting the needs of others ahead of your own and focusing on their problems instead of your own, it can help you find a sense of purpose and direction.  Helping someone else to heal is a survival tactic that can provide healing from your own challenging and possibly tragic life events.   You can forget that your world is falling apart around you when you are busy helping build up others in need.

Scientific studies show that volunteering and doing acts of kindness can result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, for those who perform them.   Here are some of the possible benefits:

  • stress relief
  • stronger immune system
  • decrease in physical pain
  • decrease of negative emotions
  • increase in positive emotions
  • calmness, improved emotional well-being
  • release of body’s natural painkillers
  • increase in self-esteem

When you see a smile on someone’s face, especially a child, and you realize that it is because of your act of kindness, it will bring warm feelings of contentment to your heart and this small, caring action is making the world a better place.

Don’t spend your time feeling sorry for yourself or being depressed and lonely.

Don’t spend your time wondering why people can’t be nicer to each other.

Don’t spend your time wishing the world was a better place.

Step outside of the self-imposed box that you have put yourself into and take action.  Find a local organization that interests you and volunteer some time.   Doing good for others will help you overpower any feelings of depression or loneliness, as I well know.  Once you become involved in an organization, you will soon begin to understand why so many people are interested in volunteering their time, talents and money to help others.

Let’s all try to make this world a better place by doing acts of kindness.  What have you got to lose?   Probably loneliness or depression.  What have you got to gain?  Better physical, mental and emotional health.




Leave a comment »