imconfident

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.

Are you walking dead?

Just because we are alive doesn’t mean we are living.  It is possible to be alive on the outside and dead on the inside.  If we are just doing the same thing every day without passion or purpose,we are basically walking around dead.  We may be breathing, moving, talking, working and interacting with other people but inside we might feel empty and alone.

Every day we should think about what we are doing and work towards some kind of goal.  It might be just a simple goal like getting up, getting dressed and going for a walk or it could be to start a course, join a group or write a book.  The more we focus on doing something positive in our lives, the more alive we will feel.

A good idea to get motivated is to make a list of goals, both short and long-term.  What do you enjoy doing?  What are you good at?  What do you want to achieve?  What do you need to do in order to get to where you want to be in life?

Instead of just going through each day, doing the same thing over and over again and feeling dead inside, start doing something that will help you get out of your rut and moving forward.  Surround yourself with positive people, places and things.  Here are some ideas:

  • make a list of your skills, abilities and interests
  • read motivational books and watch programs that will inspire you
  • join an interest group or a church that can provide ongoing support
  • take a course that deals with communication and learn how to build good relationships
  • work on a healthier lifestyle – eat proper foods, exercise, get enough sleep
  • try to focus on what is positive in life
  • learn to appreciate what you have
  • spend time helping other people – this will increase your level of happiness

Are you walking dead?  If the answer is yes, than start doing something about it today!  Don’t waste one more day feeling lost and alone.  TAKE ACTION and start living your life.

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What is a friend?

Everyone wants to have friends.  Friendships are important.  Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life.  When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.

Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally.  They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger.  Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible.  Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them.  Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships.  Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.

What does it take to be a good friend?  It comes from a combination of teaching and experience.  Good friends are able to :

  • communicate their feelings in a positive way
  • understand the feelings of others
  • show empathy
  • be trustworthy
  • not gossip or spread false rumours
  • take responsibility for their own actions
  • solve problems and resolve conflicts
  • forgive easily and not hold grudges
  • distinguish right from wrong
  • make good choices
  • stand up for what they believe
  • withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
  • be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
  • get along with others even during difficult times
  • accept differences in people
  • own up to their mistakes and not blame others
  • have fun and enjoy life

 

If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.  Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others.   Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong.  Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends.  You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.

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What kind of parent are you?

To Build (or Break) a Child's Spirit - by Rachel Macy StaffordThe way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in.  Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised.  Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour.  They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they  have never encountered a different approach.

There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible.  Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become.  Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.

  1. POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments.    They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom.  They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them.  Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way.   They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
  2. PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want.  There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent.  They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves.  This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion.  Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
  3. RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people.  They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable.  They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example.  They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth.  Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.

Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children.  Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships.  They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme.  Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love.  Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly.  Neither method works well.

The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting.   The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship.   Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.

It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method.  There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems.  When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail.  Children are a lot smarter than we think they are.  They will divide and conquer every time.  Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible.  And if you make a mistake?  Well, you are human and nobody is perfect.  Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!

So what kind of parent are you?  And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?

 

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How to help your teen build esteem

We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals.  We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be.  Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.

Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life.  As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to.  Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:

  1. Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children.  No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them.  A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong.  They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
  3. Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say.   You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently.  Be honest and open.  Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
  4. Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow.  Be the person you want your teen to be.
  5. Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way.  Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging.  Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
  6. Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued.  Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship.  Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.

The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support.  Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face.  You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.

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What is a friend?

The dictionary describes a friend as ‘someone you like and enjoy being with, someone who helps and supports you’.   I agree with this definition if it refers to a casual friend but there is a lot more to being a real friend.

Friendship is something that we all treasure and it is important to have friends but you have to be careful who you surround yourself with.   Having ‘good’ friends will give you positive energy and help you feel good about yourself.  Having ‘bad’ friends will give you negative energy and make you feel bad about yourself.

So what is a real friend?  It is someone who:

  • loves you despite your flaws and imperfections
  • you can completely trust
  • you enjoy spending time with
  • helps you feel good about yourself
  • can share secrets that are not repeated to anyone
  • disagree with you but still talk about things
  • encourages and supports you
  • you have fun with
  • sticks up for you even when others try to hurt you
  • is always there for you even when you are sick or hurt
  • accepts the differences you both have
  • admits they are wrong and makes amends
  • forgives you when you do something wrong

Relationships are tough and you will never find a perfect friend that totally fills this description.  There will be times when even a real friend hurts you with their words or actions and you will do the same thing.  However all of these things are important in a friendship and we should always try our best to be a good friend.

Think about your friends and see how close they fit this description.  If they don’t fit at all, then they probably aren’t a good friend and you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time with them.  Surround yourself with people who have positive attributes like kindness, respect and integrity.  Good friends are sometimes hard to find but it is better to have 1 good friend who cares about you and makes you feel good than 25 friends who put you down and make you feel bad.

 

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Home alone

Will you be spending home alone for Christmas?  Sadly there are millions of people around the world who spend the holiday season feeling alone amidst the hustle and bustle going on around them.  Some of us have recently lost a loved one or maybe Christmas is a reminder of something unpleasant that happened in the past.  Others are struggling with depression or feeling that nobody cares about them.   We may attend festive parties and sing cheery songs but inside we may be crying out in pain.

There are so many families that don’t even spend time together at Christmas because of distance, being too busy or just because they just don’t want to.  This is a shame because Christmas is such  a wonderful time to share traditions and create memories.

Take some time to consider your friends, neighbours and co-workers and determine if they are receiving any love during the Christmas season.  If you are fortunate enough to be spending Christmas with your loved ones, why not consider doing something special for someone who may be feeling alone:

  • invite them to spend some time with your family
  • stop in for a visit
  • buy a Christmas gift
  • call them on the phone
  • send a cheery Christmas card

If you are spending Christmas alone, don’t allow any negative thoughts to bring you down.  We are conditioned by society to believe the lie that there is something wrong with us if we don’t spend Christmas with family and friends.   In reality, there is nothing wrong with spending any day alone.  Being alone can be very peaceful if we have a positive perspective on life and realize our true worth and value.   Solitude can be a wonderful break from our lives of constant pressure and stress.   There are lots of things that you can do to enjoy spending time alone:

  • watch a Christmas movie
  • listen to some music
  • read a good book
  • take a walk
  • nap
  • meditate
  • do some puzzles
  • organize closets

If you really don’t want to be alone at Christmas you can:

  • attend a Christmas church service
  • feed the homeless at a local shelter
  • go to a park and say hello to anyone you meet
  • pick up some Christmas cards, sign them ‘from a friend’ and deliver them to the mailboxes around your neighbourhood
  • call people you know and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’
  • try inviting some friends over to watch TV – you might find someone who is just as lonely as you are and wants companionship

Whatever your situation, try to have a good Christmas and spread some love around!

 

 

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Nobody cares, just waiting to die

Niagara Canada is home to a large and growing senior population.  Many seniors who have never experienced depression in their lives are developing this illness due to poor health, inability to cope with daily tasks and lack of emotional support.  I often connect with clients who live alone and feel like their lives have no purpose.   Sometimes when I am covering a shift for a housekeeper, a client will talk my ear off because they don’t have anyone else that will listen or they will just sit and stare into thin air until they fall asleep.  My heart breaks for these people who were once so happy and full of life.  They feel like nobody cares and they are just waiting to die.

What causes seniors to slip into depression? For some, their family members and friends live distantly or they have passed away.  Others have family close by, but they are not able to help them due to busyness or lack of interest.   Many seniors have a very active mind but they are confined to their homes because they no longer have the ability to drive or they are too ill to go out.  Their lack of independence gives them lots of time and little to do which is very depressing.

It can be hard to detect depression in a senior because the symptoms can be found in other illnesses.  These can include:

  • lack of energy, tiredness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritable, agitated
  • lack of interest
  • constant worry, fear
  • sleep problems
  • sadness, mood changes
  • physical pain

Depression affects people of all ages and we should always pay attention to the people around us and make sure they are not struggling with excessive feelings of sadness or unworthiness.  Depression is a horrible illness that robs people of having a good life and it also negatively affects their families, friends, the people they work with and anyone else they connect with.  We always need to give our loved ones lots of love and support, especially if they are depressed.

Look around you and see if there is anyone you can lift up with your love today.  Is there a family member that you could pay a visit to?  A friend you haven’t called in a while?  A neighbour who doesn’t come out much?  Connect with them and let them know how special they are!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

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Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Cancer is the name given to a group of diseases that encompasses over 200 different types and sub-types of cancers. We are all aware of breast cancer, lung cancer and other familiar types but there are many others that we rarely hear anything about until they are brought to our attention by someone who is struggling.   Mesothelioma is one of these cancers that I knew little about until now.

Today, September 26th has been designated as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  I would like to share some information about Mesothelioma with you:

  • It is caused primarily by exposure to asbestos
  • In many cases, up to 60 years will pass before the cancer develops in people who have been exposed to asbestos
  • After being diagnosed, people are given about 10 months to live
  • There is no known cure, however surgery, chemo and radiation have been helpful
  • Incidence is rare but still have about 3000 cases each year in the US alone
  • Secondary exposure can result in cancer due to asbestos being brought into the home by workers not properly cleaning their body or clothing
  • Difficult to diagnose as symptoms closely resemble other respiratory problems

Did you know that a majority of cancers, over 90%, are caused by environmental factors including tobacco, obesity, infections, radiation and environmental pollutants? Asbestos is one of these pollutants that have been commonly used for years as building materials in homes, schools and commercial or industrial buildings.  Asbestos was also used in about 3000 household items including toasters and hairdryers.  It was at its peak production from the 1930’s until the late 1970’s when they started to realize that asbestos was causing harmful effects on people’s health.

Yet even though governments are aware that environmental pollutants are killing us, they are still allowing the use of materials such as asbestos. Mesothelioma is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States and Canada’s mesothelioma cancer rate is now one of the highest in the world.  Due to pressure from asbestos opponents and the high death rate, Canada finally closed its last 2 remaining asbestos mines in 2011.

Thousands of people die each year from asbestos related diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma and thousands more are living with the daily effects. We need to ensure that we are aware of any signs and symptoms and take action immediately to care for the health of ourselves and our loved ones.   If you have the following symptoms and have ever worked in an industry or have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to asbestos, please see your doctor.  The symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Effusions (fluid) of the chest and abdomen
  • Presence of blood in lung fluid

Heather Von St James is a Mesothelioma cancer survivor with a great attitude. In 2005 she was diagnosed shortly after the birth of her daughter and was only given a few months to live.   Being a positive person, she was not ready to give up on living.  She found a great doctor and got the best treatments available.  Today, almost 9 years later, she is a happy and healthy wife and mother, who shares her story of hope with others around the world.  You can read more about Heather by clicking on this link www.mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness.  Here are some pictures of Heather and her precious family.

Heather and daughter1

Heather and familyHeather and daughter2

If you are ever diagnosed with cancer, please don’t lose hope.   Find some good doctors, get support from family and friends, pray and keep a positive attitude.  I’ve had family members with cancer who have survived and also some who haven’t. My grandmother and sister both had breast cancer surgeries that save their lives.  My father had cancerous brain tumours and beat the odds of surviving not one but two experimental surgeries.  A brother-in-law has been struggling with prostate cancer for several years. A nephew, sister-in-law and brother-in-law passed away from lung and kidney cancers due to cigarettes and alcohol.   Cancer is very prevalent in my family and my husband’s family so I always encourage my children to get regular checkups and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Is childhood becoming extinct?

Many child psychologists and therapists are in agreement on one thing – children today are becoming adults too soon.  In reading various articles and also from personal observation, I am in total agreement with this.  Everywhere I go, I see young children dressing provocatively, using language that is inappropriate and acting in ways that would have embarrassed me at their age.  Instead of enjoying the few short years of their childhood, they are trying to be mini adults.

So why is this happening?  It is because many parents are pressuring their children to become responsible for themselves at a young age.  They allow them to make their own choices and often try to be a friend instead of a parent.  In many homes there are no restrictions as to what children watch on TV or the computer.  Children often watch the same programs and movies as adults do which causes them to be exposed to sex and violence at a very early age.   Children can’t handle this information emotionally, physically and spiritually and the result is early sexual activity, teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and violent behaviour.   This results in relationship issues, problems in school, low esteem, eating disorders, addictions, depression and possibly even suicide.

Children are a gift and we should treat them with special care.  We don’t need to show other people that our children are smarter, faster or better looking.  We don’t need to tell our children that they are better than someone else.  We  don’t need to help them grow up any faster than they need to.  Children need to be children.  They need to play and explore.  They need to be loved, appreciated and respected.

Do your children a favour and allow them to be a child.   We have enough adults in the world.  Don’t let childhood becoming something that is extinct.

Which child would you rather have?  The one that looks like a serious model or the one that looks like she is having fun being a kid?

tots in tiaras1happy girl standing on hands

 

 

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Are you a full time or part time parent?

Family Eating An Al Fresco MealParenting is a full time job that requires a lot of time and effort.  Finding time in this busy world can be a real challenge but it is important if you want your children to become responsible, caring adults.  You can’t be a part-time parent if you want a full-time child and a full-time family.  Parents need to be actively involved in the lives of their children and show them how valuable they are.  If you have too many things going on in your life, determine what is really important and cut out anything that you don’t really have to do.  You DO NOT have to be a super-person like the world tells us.  You just have to do the best you can and being a good parent is far more important that most other things.

Take the time to teach your children to:

  • love themselves and love others
  • be a positive role model
  • have good manners
  • be encouraging and supportive
  • communication effectively
  • spend valuable time with their family and friends
  • set and work towards realistic goals
  • accept failure and learn from their mistakes
  • be a responsible, caring adult
  • be thankful for what they have
  • help others and show kindness
  • never give up

Remember that everything has consequences.  If you take the time to teach your children important things, the whole family will benefit.  However if you don’t take the time to teach your children important things, the whole family will suffer and there will be a lot of problems to deal with.    The choice is yours.

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