Nourished Minds is an online resource for individuals and families providing specialized family services, empowerment coaching, and self-help guides. Social worker Nikole Seals helps families manage and recover from challenging life events like a health crisis, mental health issues, addiction, and other common social issues.
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When a child experiences or witnesses a trauma or act of violence, it can have a devastating effect on their mental health. Being a well-informed parent can make all the difference for your child's recovery and your peace of mind. The post Signs of Traumatic Stress in Kids appeared first on Nourished...
One of the most difficult truths of parenting is that you can’t always protect your child. An increasing number of children are exposed to acts of violence. Even witnessing traumatic events can leave kids feeling fearful and unsafe. If you think your child is having difficulties coping, it’s important you know the signs and symptoms of Child Traumatic Stress. Being informed will make all the difference for your child’s recovery and your peace of mind.
- Approximately 1 in 4 children will experience some type of traumatic event before the age of sixteen. A child may suffer symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear and feelings of guilt, whether they were a trauma victim or a witness to the trauma.
If these emotions go unresolved and persist for more than a month, your child could be suffering from Child Traumatic Stress, a term used to describe symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. Recognizing the signs of PTSD in young children is difficult since they may not be able to verbalize their feelings. For this reason, parents should watch for changes in a child’s behavior in the aftermath of a crisis.
PTSD typically occurs in children who have witnessed or experienced an event involving death, the threat of death, serious physical injury, or a threat to their physical safety.
Some common childhood traumas include:
- Car accidents
- Serious injury
- Serious medical diagnosis and procedures
- Natural disasters
- Acts of terrorism
- School violence
Signs & Indicators of PTSD in Children
There are several key indicators to be watchful of after your child has experienced some type of trauma. You may want to seek the help of a professional if your child exhibits any of the following behaviors:
- Continues to experience the event in the form of thoughts, flashbacks, dreams, or phobias
- Avoids anything associated with the event like where it happened, people involved, or thoughts
- Has difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or experiences mood swings
- Expresses fear verbally or in the form of crying, screaming, freezing-up, tantrums, scared to separate from family members, or starts to act younger than their age
- May see changes in their impulse control or ability to concentrate
- School-age kids may experience problems in school or refuse to attend school
- Child may get very attached to parents or isolate themselves from family and peers
- Teens may engage in disruptive behavior, eating difficulties, sexual acting out, substance abuse, self-injurious behaviors or suicidal thoughts
What Empowered Parents Can Do
How a child recovers from trauma largely depends on several factors. Age, developmental level, and severity of the trauma will influence how a child reacts. But the greatest influence on a child’s reaction is the parent’s reactions. Your emotional resilience, or lack thereof, is a guiding agent for your kids.
Research shows that parents who respond to trauma with reassuring supportive action can greatly reduce the likelihood of their child suffering PTSD symptoms. Your child will be looking to you to gauge how they should be reacting.
Role modeling healthy coping skills can have a powerful impact on your child’s healing. Be very cautious about letting your own fears stop you from talking with your child. It’s appropriate to let your child know that you feel fear too. Sharing stories of how you have overcome your fears in the past can be very helpful as well.
Family counseling is an effective way to help reduce a child’s fear associated with the trauma. If you believe that your child has signs of PTSD, you should seek the professional help of a clinician who specializes in trauma-focused therapy. It’s critical that parents and family members be involved in treatment to encourage an environment of support, understanding, and reassurance for the child.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th Ed.). Washington, DC.
Lubit, R. H. (2010). Post-traumatic stress disorder in children. emedicine from WebMD. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/918844-overview
McNally, R. J. (2009). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (Eds.), Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, (9th ed.), (pp. 2650-2660). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Sibling abuse is one of the most common forms of family violence and the least reported. To prevent and stop sibling abuse, we must first know the difference between normal sibling interaction and abusive behaviors The post Is It Sibling Rivalry or Abuse? appeared first on Nourished...
Sibling abuse is one of the least reported forms of family violence. In past years, sibling abuse was considered a private family matter, not to be discussed outside the home. Today, it is recognized as one of the most common forms of family violence. We know that children who have suffered abuse by a sibling are more likely to experience adjustment problems, have low self-esteem, bully others, and engage self-harming behaviors. The first step in prevention is to know the difference between normal sibling interaction and abusive behaviors.
Rivalry or Abuse?
If you’re a parent with combative children, you may be used to a certain degree of rough-housing and battling in your home. This type of interaction may start to feel normal over time, which makes it difficult to know when it crosses the line. The challenge for parents is to determine when an action is normal developmental behavior between siblings versus when it crosses the line into being abusive.
Sibling rivalry differs from sibling abuse in that it typically consists of isolated incidents that are age appropriate. Both children are mutually aggressive versus there being one dominant aggressor. With sibling rivalry, conflicts are related to specific incidents such as fighting over household privileges. These types of interactions are usually based on an underlying need for attention and significance.
An effective way to determine if an interaction is abusive is by identifying the intent and impact of the act. Unlike sibling rivalry, the goal or intent of sibling abuse is for the aggressor to establish dominance over a sibling or inflict harm to a sibling. To achieve this goal, the aggressor may use physical force in the form of hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, biting, pinching, choking and hair pulling.
An aggressor may also be emotionally abusive to a sibling through use of intimidation, belittling, threats, torture, or destruction of sibling’s property. In some cases, the aggressor’s need to exert power and control over a sibling can be acted out in the form of sexual abuse. The severity and motivation for sibling abuse vary based on a child’s age and is strongly influenced by family relationship dynamics and cultural trends.
Examining Your Parenting Beliefs
Some parents feel that aggression between siblings is expected and teaches children how to manage conflict. You may be unknowingly holding beliefs or engaging in behaviors that encourage or re-enforce sibling rivalry and abuse. Studies show parents are often unaware they are promoting sibling abuse by minimizing or ignoring the abuse, blaming the victim, or responding inappropriately by using physical discipline with the abusive sibling.
What we know for sure is that children learn the rules of relationship conduct from their parents. This learning process is called role modeling and it’s the standard way in which children learn how to engage and interact others; and more specifically, with their siblings. Children are at a significant risk of being an abuser or a victim of sibling abuse if they have witnessed their parents engage in domestic violence or abuse of a child. Children are also at risk of sibling abuse when parents are unwilling or unable to help them resolve conflict or parents promote sibling rivalry by playing favorites.
What Empowered Parents Do
Sibling abuse and conflict are less likely to occur in households where there is regular and consistent parental supervision. As the parent, it is important to role model effective communication skills and conflict resolution skills for your children. Aggressive behaviors among children need to be stopped before children graduate to more extreme acts of violence towards one another.
If you feel that you are unable to address the issue on your own, you should seek the assistance of a qualified counselor or family therapist for support and guidance.
Don’t let your circumstances define you. Feeling lost is our soul’s way of letting us know we have disconnected from our true sense of self. Dream. Imagine. Remember who you are meant to be. Become bigger than your circumstances. The post Know Your Truth appeared first on Nourished...
Don’t let your circumstances define you. Feeling lost is our soul’s way of letting us know we have disconnected from our true sense of self. Dream. Imagine. Remember who you are meant to be. Become bigger than your circumstances.
We think our actions are independent and based on the information in front of us. But the reality is that are actions are determined by our beliefs. The post Our Beliefs Determine Our Actions appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Our beliefs are the driving force behind why we do what we do. “Belief systems” are the governing rules of our lives. It’s described as a system because it addresses the many different types of rules that we create for ourselves or that society creates for us.
We have beliefs to govern our morals and values; our identity and how we present to the world; our perspective and how we view things such as religion, race, time; our behavior and how we treat others; how we navigate and sustain life; and how we process information and use information.
Why We Get Frustrated
One of the greatest sources of internal conflict and feelings of imbalance is when your beliefs don’t match up with your current life experiences or your priorities. For example, if you believe that you need to marry a Catholic, yet you have fallen in love with someone Jewish, you will experience internal conflict. You may even decide to end the relationship based on what you believe. A loving relationship is a priority for you, but it doesn’t match your belief about marriage.
As children, we adopt beliefs from our parents. As teens, we adopt the beliefs of influential peers. As consumers, we adopt beliefs from what we hear from ads, reviews, the news, and science. “Milk does a body good.” “Skinny Women Are Pretty.”
We also create beliefs to protect ourselves from experiencing pain, loss, or failure. “It is against my religion to get divorced.” “Education costs money.” “Money can buy happiness.”
When our beliefs are adopted from others, it increases the likelihood that they won’t match up with our own life experiences and desires. A young man can spend thousands of dollars and several years of time and energy attending law school only to pass the bar and feel a sense of longing and discontent.
See, he really wanted to be an artist. He grew up being told that he would be an attorney like his father and like most kids, he adopted this belief. He also held the belief that being an attorney will earn him his father’s respect. He felt discontent because his belief did not match his desired goal of being an artist.
Living a Flexible life means we must recognize that our beliefs need to be flexible too. They are not set in stone. In fact, beliefs should evolve and change with our lives and goals. A flexible belief system allows for adjustments to be made as needed.
This doesn’t mean that you need to change all your beliefs. It simply means that you should take the time to assess which beliefs you hold are no longer serving you or are based on false information.
If you’d like additional guidance on updating your beliefs, get a copy of my self-help guide, Finding Your Life Balance.
Health care cost are on the rise yet we seem to be losing more coverage and benefits. Discover the hidden truth behind the high cost of health. The post Hidden Health Care Cost appeared first on Nourished Minds.
The Truth About Health Care
Our healthcare system is about as stable as a diabetic’s insulin levels. Benefits are being cut, restrictions are being enforced, and insurance premiums seem to be rising faster than bread dough. Maybe the reason we’re anxious is because we know so little about why it cost so much. The question we need to be asking is why there’s so much mystery when it comes to the cost of medical care.
What We Know
You may not have noticed, but we lose more of our health insurance benefits as we Americans get sicker and more dependent on health care. The reason is simple math. For the system to work, we need to pay more into it then we get out of it. If I pay $1,200 a year for insurance and only use about $500 worth of services, companies can cover the cost of services and make a profit. If I pay the same amount but use $11,000 in services, then companies lose money. So, companies must continue to raise prices to meet the demand for care and still make a profit.
How did our health care system get so complicated? Corporate greed, blind consumerism, politics: it all played a role in getting us here. We are intentionally kept in the dark about billing, costs, networks, and coverage which makes the whole open enrollment period feel like a stab in the dark. Making the wrong choice can cost us thousands of dollars.
As a community, we need to start holding politicians accountable to the people they serve: us. Getting our laws changed means we need more lawmakers who prioritize people over profits. But in the meantime, educating yourself is the best way to protect your health and your money.
Knowing the truth about things really work, frees you from becoming a victim of the system. Blindly accepting what you’re told only sets you up to be taken advantage of. Information can change the way we think but it also influences our expectations.
The Scary Truth We Need to Know
Administrators Making More Money Than Doctors
Did you know that some hospital CEOs and administrators make an annual salary of $400,000? You may not realize it, but you help to pay their salary in the form of unjustified and insidious hospital charges on your bill. Like $25 for a box of tissues.
In her book, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, surgeon and author Marty Makary MD, explains how surgeons are often pressured to do more operations and that over-treatment is incentivized in many hospitals.
A cautious, thorough physician who wants to play it safe may suggest costly x-rays, blood test, or unnecessary procedures to rack up charges. This is typically done under the guise of “ruling out” conditions for which you have no related symptoms.
There is no better evidence that we’re being bamboozled and over-charged than the cost of prescription medications here in the U.S. We pay up to 100 percent more for drugs than 33 other developed countries. We’re told that a free market gives us more options when in fact, it allows for a significant markup of life-saving drugs and treatments. Companies get to determine their prices no matter if it’s a life-saving drug.
Don’t be the blind consumer. Take the time to get educated. It could save you money and save your life. For more consumer tips on health care, get a copy of my guide, Taking Charge of Your Health Care: How to Work the System So it doesn’t Work You.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to eating healthy is knowing which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Not an easy task when you consider what you’re up against. The post Boosting the Health of Your School Aged Kid appeared first on Nourished...
Best Foods for Kids
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to eating healthy is knowing which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Not an easy task when you consider what you’re up against. Food companies spend billions of dollars in advertising and paid research to keep you confused. Misleading you with false information makes it easier for companies to sell you poor quality food that is often hazardous to your health.
This is especially true for children. What your child eats today will have a significant impact on his or her health and development throughout life. The nutritional needs of children are greater than those of adults. Kids need a high intake of nutritious foods since nutrients are the building blocks for a developing body (for example the immune system, brain development, cardiovascular system, etc).
In order to ensure your child’s dietary needs are being met, you’ll have to become a bit of a “deficiency detective”. Not in the sense you need to spy on them. But you do need to be on the lookout for physical signs and behaviors that are strong indicators your child may have deficiencies. To help you out, I’ve created a quick reference guide highlighting the most important health issues for school-age children.
Hopefully by the time your child turns four, you’ve been able to identify major food allergies. The most common food allergies include milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, soy and shellfish. I also encourage you to be on the look-out for food sensitivities in your child. Food sensitivities can cause subtle symptoms that may persist and appear to be totally unrelated to a specific food.
Some common allergy symptoms that can be the result of a sensitivity to certain foods include gas, stomach ache, diarrhea, earaches, ear infections, irritability, and dark circles under the eyes. Food sensitives are easily overlooked by doctors because they don’t tend to show up in test that measure a histamine reaction. Take notice of any patterns by keeping food journals so you can hone in on the food culprit and eliminate it from your child’s diet.
Essential fatty acids (in the form of DHA, GLA, and EPA) are vital nutrients for brain development. They help to promote not only development, but learning comprehension and mood stabilization. Fat cells make up a good majority of brain matter which is why delays and learning disabilities are being linked to fatty acid deficiencies. Be sure your child is getting plenty of fish, seeds, and nuts in their diet or supplement their diet with an Omega 3 fish oil supplement made from wild caught fish.
Children of this age are undergoing a constant and rapid pace of physical development. Growth requires a significant source of energy from carbohydrates and proteins for the development and maintenance of body tissues. Whole grains like oats and brown rice are good sources of carbohydrates while lean chicken, fish, beans, lentils, eggs and nuts/seeds are good sources of proteins. Try to avoid giving your child processed meats of any kinds. They contain harmful additives that can often disrupt the digestion process.
Where ever there are groups of children, there are bound to be germs-a-plenty. Schools are big Petri dishes which puts your child’s immune system to the test. Try not to worry so much about your child getting sick. I know that’s easier said than done but there is a benefit to being exposed to germs. A child’s immune system is not like that of an adult’s. It needs to learn how to identify and attack foreign invaders. The more practice it gets, the better it gets at its job. You can help to strengthen your child’s immune system by adding foods rich in vitamin C (oranges, lemons, lime juice, broccoli, berries) and zinc (chicken, beans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, crab).
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