It has been said on numerous times in many contexts and by wiser and more eloquent beings than me (?I/?myself), that there’s nothing as constant as change. Change is inevitable. Indeed, a life without change would be catastrophic because unless we adapt, alter or develop (all changes) then our very survival is at risk. Perhaps less alarming, but also true, is that without change, life would be just be terribly boring! So, why, then, do so many people find change difficult?
Change can rock the most grown up and mature among us. Our general day to day anxieties are allayed by predictability and routine. When we mess with the predictable things in life, our brains can become a little more hyper-aware of possible new threats. Of course, there are some variables which will determine how different adults cope with perceived threat and this variability is exactly the same for children.
Last weekend, when I heard about a group of 100 “hoons” doing speed trails down the M1 from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and reaching speeds of over 200km per hour, my heart skipped a beat.
I know I’m not the only one whose heart skips a beat when they hear or see people driving fast, losing traction (doing donuts and burnouts) or driving dangerously, but I also know that the reasons people’s hearts are skipping are very different. For me, when I think or hear of fast cars, my head goes back to all of the people I have seen who have been affected by a motor vehicle accident. I have worked for many years with those who have been injured on the roads and families who have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident. I’ve also seen many young people who have been convicted of culpable driving – those who have killed someone (usually their best mate or their girlfriend or even a pedestrian) because they have been driving too fast and lost control. My heart beats in despair at the danger and the ripple effect among family and community.
The terrible news of the killings in Paris is already flooding screens repetitively and there will be more and more images and discussions to come. News like this is, understandably, big and has a big effect on our mood and the thoughts and feelings we express out loud.
When things like this happen and there is a change in mood, the younger people in your household may have questions or they may be, also understandably, quite distressed by what they see and hear.
Should you be worried if your daughter leaves all but her lettuce leaf on her dinner plate….or your son is at the gym for the fifth time already this week? What do you say if your child is on his second plate of bacon or won’t wear the school sports pants because it “makes my bum look big”?
Our body image is the way we see, think, feel and behave with regard to our bodies.
The Spring Carnival is in full flight….the fillies, the fashion and the flutters. Hmmmm…..”flutters”. “Flutters” is one of those words that makes something that could be very serious seem like it’s a tiny, wee thing that is harmless, perhaps even beautiful. For some, a flutter is poison.
Problem gambling, in essence, is when someone has difficulties limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, others, or the community.
It seems just so wrong to even be thinking about children perpetrating acts of terrorism or extreme violence. There’s a part of my head that just doesn’t want to go there. I find myself trying to duck and weave to avoid the scandalous, over-inflated, anxiety-provoking media articles designed to keep us glued to screen and print. At times like these when my head and my heart want to be going in separate directions, I know the place I can find solace is in solid research and facts.
When I take the “oh-this-is-too-awful-to-think-about” factor out of it, the sorts of questions my head is left asking go something like:
Depression in young people is something we hear more about these days, but sadly, it is still something that goes undetected and can seriously affect a young person…even to the point of suicide. There are many programs out there that attempt to make things better for young people and mental health. The great news is that young people are more aware of mental health issues than in years gone by. In fact, I would go so far as to say that young people are very interested in their mental health and in learning more. The other great news is that young people are better at help seeking then they once were. The not-so-good news is we still do not have an iron clad way of preventing depression in young people and the terrible news is that there are still many depressed young people who go undetected. However (more great news…) we can prevent depression from worsening if we work with high risk groups and with those who have the early signs of depression.
We know that young people at risk for depression may have a family history, some past traumatic experiences, a personality type or come from some marginalised or minority group because of their race, gender identity or even risk of homelessness. We also need to keep an eye out for the early signs of depression in young people. Warning signs to watch are:
When you think about health, what do you think about? How fit you are? Whether you have a disease or not? Being injury free?
Most people think about health as being something they either have or do not have, when, generally speaking, we are probably all on a spectrum of health. Some people who have chronic illnesses can be considered healthy if their conditions are managed well. However, like many things, when we start to think about health or sickness as something we either have or don’t have, we can open up a dyad of absolutes in our thinking that can generate anxiety. If I’m not healthy, I must be sick!
Having just returned from speaking at the Australian Summit on Bribery and Corruption, I was overwhelmed by the huge amounts of money large corporations commit to preventing bribery and corruption in their organisations and the huge amounts of time, money and resources government officials put into prosecuting offenders. It made me think about parallels between organisations and families. These large organisations, and indeed Governments, really want their employees and citizens to be honest and to be decently rewarded for good work. I think that is exactly what many parents want for their families, too – to raise children who are honest and decent people.
So how do we raise children to become honest citizens of the world?
Meltdowns – We’ve all had them. Some of us have had them more recently than others. Some might live with someone (grown up or little) who frequently melts down.
In psychology, we understand that melt downs are the letting out of built up emotions – frustration, excitement, disappointment, anger, despair, grief….