Increasing self-awareness and emotional-regulation skills so that you can experience a more connected, effective and joyful life.

5 Tips for Getting Through the Start of School at Home

Ready or not, here comes school! After months of global uncertainty, you’d think we would be pros at handling the unknown, right?! Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and many of us are feeling unsettled as we wait and see what this new school year brings. Before I share my 5 tips for getting through the start of school with you, ponder this: Research shows that uncertainty triggers severe anxiety in most people because the brain registers uncertainty as danger. In fact, one recent study showed that people who were told they would definitely receive a painful electric shock were calmer than those who were told there was a 50% chance they would receive one. When our brains know what is coming, they can plan for it. When they don’t, they overestimate the risk of a situation, and underestimate our ability to handle it. So, when you find yourself worried about [...]

Effects of Overfunctioning in Parenting

Like most of you, I am trying to figure out the juggle in this apparent "new normal" we call Covid, and find a balance that works. One of my challenges is that, right when I think I've found a good balance, something happens that knocks me off the beam and leaves me scrambling to adjust once again. Can you relate??? I know you can... For us, one benefit of quarantine has been our ability to focus on strengthening relationship and communication skills. All of this time spent together has certainly shown us where the cracks are! A relationship dynamic I recently read about, called overfunctioning and underfuctioning, has helped me to see where I have been doing more than my share for my kids, which has led to frustration and resentment on my part. Just having awareness of it has empowered me to release responsibility for some of the things [...]

How Words Impact Emotions

We, like so many others, have been experiencing an abundance of emotion throughout the past few months. As a therapist, I know the benefits of emotional expression, and highly encourage it in my clients and my children. Most of the time, emotions serve as valuable information and give us clues about what we need: Anger lets us know we feel wronged and we need to set or reinforce a boundary Guilt tells us we have wronged someone else and need to make it right Disappointment reveals unmet expectations that might need to be communicated Irritability typically communicates that a basic need (hunger, thirst, connection, comfort, rest) is not being met. All of you who, like me, are raising “hangry” kids know the fast-healing power of a solid snack! Other times, however, big emotions are triggered simply by our choice of words. “This is NEVER going to end!” “Why do you [...]

Your Anger May Be Justified, But It Is Not Effective

It can be argued that anger is not a feeling, but a reaction to a feeling. * When your child says hurtful things to you, you feel sad, or hurt, and react by yelling at her to go to her room until she has something nice to say. * When your partner doesn't follow through with what they said they would do, you feel disappointed, and react by insulting their character- calling them lazy or accusing them of never following through. * When your kids are preventing you from getting out of the house on time in the morning, and you realize you are going to be late for work yet again, you feel overwhelmed, and react by yelling at them. * When your partner has been working long hours and you have been by yourself with the kids for four days, you feel depleted, and react by dismissing their attempt [...]

Ever wonder if you are doing this parenting thing right?

Me, too! I often hear parents like you tell me they feel so much guilt and fear on this parenting journey. Guilt that they aren't spending enough time with their kids, or giving them enough opportunities. Fear that they are saying or doing the wrong things. And, you know what? I feel those things, too! Which is why I was so relieved when I heard Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson share the results of the latest brain science and attachment research, which is this: The best predictor for how well kids turn out is whether or not they have had a secure attachment with at least one person. That's it! A secure attachment. Not the number or caliber of activities they were involved in. Not the socio-economic status of the family. Not the school they went to. Not the number of hours their parents spent with them. Siegel and Bryson went on to share how [...]

The Power of Showing Up For Yourself, Using the Four S’s

Last week, I told you about the newest research on attachment, and how you can help your child develop a secure attachment with you just by "showing up" for them on a consistent basis. If you missed that email, you can read it on the blog HERE. But what if showing up and being emotionally present for them is difficult for you a lot of the time? What if you struggle to tolerate their big emotions, let alone be present and available as they are experiencing them? I get it! As do so many others. Here is what I have been hearing from other parents and caregivers: When your kids have big emotions, it triggers your own emotional response. That response can feel overwhelming or stressful, and your natural response is to want to shut them down so you don't have to experience the discomfort. But, shutting them down goes against what [...]

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