Tough Love Tips For Better Back To School Sleep

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By Robert S. Rosenberg

SleepingWomanNear the end of summer we all have a hard time adjusting back to our regular sleep schedule – especially our kids! Here are 9 tips to help get your kids to adjust from their summer sleep schedule to their back-to-school sleep schedule:

* Gradually get back into the school sleep-wake schedule 2 weeks before school

* Maintain that schedule – even on weekends!

* Establish a relaxing bedtime routine

* Avoid vigorous physical activities after dinner

* Avoid video games, television and other electronics within 2 hours of sleep

* Avoid large meals close to bedtime

* Avoid all caffeine-containing foods and drinks within 6 hours of bedtime

* A dark room + comfortable temperatures = better sleep environment

* Be a role model- Establish your own sleep-wake schedule and STICK TO IT!

– Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP has over 20 years of experience in the field of sleep medicine. Board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, and internal medicine, Dr. Rosenberg serves as the Medical Director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. He is a contributing sleep expert blogger at EverydayHealth.com and his advice has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Prevention, Women’s Health, Woman’s World, Parenting, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among others. Dr Rosenberg is the author of Sleep Soundly Every Night; Feel Fantastic Every Day (Demos Health). He appears regularly on television and radio and lectures throughout the country on Sleep Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Rosenberg by visiting AnswersForSleep.com.

It’s Tough To Be A Man In America – Part 2

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By Bob Livingstone

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

familyThe need for control comes from feeling that we have little or no power in the world. This belief stems from the fear that we are not good at dominating and conquering. We also secretly question if we want to be conquerors. The fear that we are not perfect and that this idealized state won’t be reached leads us to attempt to control our surroundings as much as possible. This need for micromanaging people and every day events is another source of worry.

If events don’t go as we anticipate, our reaction can be experienced by others as rage. This is another sense of loss of control that makes us feel vulnerable and lost.

Television shows depict men as either clueless boobs or superheroes who rescue those in distress. This reinforces the internalized stereotypes that we are either not clued in to the needs of others (mostly women) or we are supposed to be faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.

We are allowed to function in the world as morons or superheroes. That is the territory that is carved out for us and it gives us very few places to go.

Everything discussed above keeps men isolated from our healthier parts and others.

How Men can Breakthrough Isolation

• Understand that the role of provider is gift and not a curse. However, we are not only providers. We are workers, caretakers, lovers, friends and healers. We also cook and clean house. We do what we can to help out those we love and that is the most beautiful role of all.

• Learn to discriminate between constructive criticism and character assassination. Understand that your partner telling you she would like you to rinse off dishes when putting them in the sink is not the same thing as calling you a worthless a–h—. If she is making a request, when you start going into the “don’t I do enough around here?” mode; stop and realize she is only asking you to change some minor behavior. If she calls you vile names, you can say that this is unacceptable to you and consider if you want to stay in this relationship.

• Take risks at sharing your long pent up feelings of inadequacy, fears and hurts with those closest to you. You may feel a sudden relief when you do this and find yourself having a closer connection with them.

• Realize that you don’t have to be a superhero or a buffoon to be accepted. You don’t have to act like you are stupid or spend much of your time rescuing others. You don’t have to expect this from yourself.

• If you don’t want to dominate, conquer or take charge of every situation, don’t beat up on yourself. This is a sign that you want to take steps to confront this long held belief about ourselves and that is a positive development.

• Understand that your quest for control is futile and it only hurts yourself and those around you. You cannot control others or the future any more than you can change the weather.

• It is totally normal not to be perfect; you can be ok with yourself even though you make mistakes.

• Consider psychotherapy or a self-help group if you feel that you need assistance in breaking through your isolation. There is no shame in asking for help.

• It is ok to cry if you feel overwhelmed; it is beneficial to take in painful memories you have had in the past. If you can feel your own pain; you can learn to empathize with others. Those who love you will welcome this dramatic change and feel safer in a relationship with you. Spend some time focusing on the memory when your dad smacked you in the face for no reason. Remember the time when your cherished grandmother died suddenly; concentrate on the day you graduated from college after struggling so long and hard. Feel the tears fall down your face and the ache in your throat. Honor your losses as well as your gains. It feels wonderful to finally let all this anguish out.

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.

It’s Tough To Be A Man In America – Part 1

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By Bob Livingstone

malepushupIt is the twenty first century and gender roles have evolved from the 1950’s working father and housewife mother. But, how significantly have these roles changed?

Men are still assigned superior status over women in our sexist society. Men are given permission to dominate and conquer. Men are allowed to show anger, but not sadness. Anger in men is viewed as assertive and sadness is perceived as a character flaw. This all comes with a huge downside. We feel insignificant if we are unable to meet these standards.

We also may not really want to be dominators and conquerors. This alternative belief itself may make us question our masculinity. We may not want to take charge of every situation and want a break from that demand. This kind of thinking may cause us to feel ashamed.

We feel that our main function is to provide for our families. If the assessment is made that we are not measuring up, our self-esteem and confidence take a great hit. Our partners may feel that we are inadequate providers and/or we may believe that ourselves. In any case, we tend to suffer in silence and are often too ashamed to reach out to anyone else.

For all the buzz about men now having permission to freely express our feelings, often times that sharing is viewed as weakness. That weakness is targeted by those who wish to do us harm or want to feel superior to us.

This influences men to be guarded and on hyper alert for those who may hurt us. This is a phenomenon that leads us to a further shut down.

We become so guarded that we lose the ability to feel our own pain. If we cannot feel our own pain, we have no means to put ourselves in another’s shoes. If we cannot empathize and be compassionate towards ourselves, it is impossible to do so with others.

The pressure to provide and fix all that is broken makes us feel incredibly anxious. We feel that anything less than perfection is not acceptable to the world at large and therefore to ourselves.

Your partner asks you to please buy toilet paper when you know you have run out. We feel wounded by this perceived criticism because we feel that we strive so strongly for perfection. We react badly when we hear about our mistakes from others. We respond to this criticism with defensive outrage and we tell those closest to us that they are making a big deal about nothing when in reality there is really no severe criticism here; just a suggestion to change some approach or way of doing things.

At this moment this perceived criticism feels like a punch in the stomach and a total loss of dignity. When in reality it was nothing more than a request to be more aware.

Deep down inside we are angry at ourselves for not being perfect and we respond to the feeling of inadequacy by verbally striking out at those who care about us the most.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.

Guest Post – Diane Lang, 20 Tips On How To Talk To Your Kids About Tough Financial Times

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Reduce Stress and Worry in Your Children

Summary: With the economic uncertainty and the threat of the fiscal cliff looming paired with the high unemployment rate, parents are worried about not having gifts, vacations, special foods, etc. for the holidays. Therapist, author and positive living expert, Diane Lang, discusses signs that your child/teen may be stressed or worried and offers 20 tips on how to talk with kids about tough economic times to decrease stress and worry in your children.

30% of children ages 7-17 years old said their stress levels are higher this year than last year due to financial reasons.

Signs of stress in children/teens: change in eating habits, change in sleeping habits, change in academic grades, loss of interest in hobbies and/or leisure activities

Physical signs: stomachaches, headaches, low immune system – frequent illnesses

If a child internalizes their stress/worries they can become depressed and have anxiety disorders. Kids can have panic attacks too.

Here are 20 tips for talking to your children about tough financial times:

1. It’s okay to talk to your children about finances.

2. Discuss who makes the financial decision in your home.

3. It’s not their fault. When discussing the financial situation, make it clear that it’s not their fault. Be empathetic to your child’s feelings.

4. Normalcy – try not to make drastic changes or big changes in their schedule. Try to keep everything as normal as possible with their schedules. This will keep the fear level down.

5. Age does not equal maturity – an age/number doesn’t mean a child is mature. The more mature they are, the more they can handle.

6. Acting Out – if a child becomes fearful, overwhelmed, stressed and/or anxious, they can act out. A child can become depressed as well. We now see depression as early as 3 – 4 years old. Children can act out and become angry or guilty like it’s their fault.

If you see your child is extremely and/or chronically stressed or showing signs/symptoms of anxiety and/or depression like irritability, mood swings, sadness, isolation, change in grades, change in the desire to go to school and see friends, participate in activities, change in sleeping and/or eating habits, get outside help and/or tell your school counselor.

7. Reassurance – even if you are worried about the financial future of your family, don’t let it show. Reassure your kids everything will be okay. Watch how you express your fear both NON-VERBALLY & VERBALLY. Kids learn through imitation and role modeling. They absorb like sponges; if they see your worried and stressed, they will feel the same way.

Also remember – positive and negative behaviors/attitudes are contagious. If your family is in a bad mood constantly it will rub off on the kids. Happier people handle situations better, they are more realistic and recover from negative situations quicker. The more optimistic and happy the parents are, the easier it will be for the family to remain calm and intact. Kids don’t understand what a recession is, but they can sense fear and stress.

8. Tell the kids what you’re doing to make the situation better: looking for a job, collecting unemployment, the wife or husband took on more hours at work, or you have a good savings. ALWAYS STRESS THAT THIS SITUATION IS TEMPORARY!

9. Basic needs – let the kids know that everything will be okay and nothing much will change. All their basic needs will still be there. There will be food on the table, a house to come home to, a car to pick them up from school, etc.

10. Use past experiences as examples. It’s good to use past experiences or real life experiences from your family on how you dealt with these types of situations.

11. Change one thing at a time and involve your kids. If you do need to make drastic changes in the kids life. Follow these steps:

– Change one thing at a time

– Let the children be involved in what changes they have to make. So, if they can only keep one extra school activity or sport out of three, let them pick the one they want.

12. Don’t ever lie to your kids. You will feel worse about yourself. You will feel guilt. The kids can lose respect towards you. When you lie, you are teaching your kids it’s okay to lie!

Instead, be honest, clear, simple and concise.

Examples: Dad is losing his job. I wish he wasn’t, but his company is going out of business or Dad is losing his job, but it’s okay because I work full-time and we have savings.
Then express what is good and safe in their life.

Love, family, friends, good community, etc.

13. Q & A – let your child express their concerns and ask questions. Don’t dismiss them – answer them as honestly a possible. Allow your child to express his or her concerns about the changes in their life and how they feel about it. As a parent explain that you have to make changes and sacrifices as well. Example: I wanted a new outfit for work, but due to our budget I couldn’t get it. This will show the child that the new rules/budget are for everyone

14. Don’t send mixed messages – don’t say you can’t buy or afford something for the kids and then buy it out of guilt. This will confuse the kids. They need consistency. As a parent/role model don’t use such phrases as: I want ___ or I wish I had____. Don’t be too materialistic or try to “keep up with the Jones’s.”

15. Don’t bribe your kids with materialistic items. Use positive reinforcement like praise and compliments.

16. Altruism – teach your kids to pay it forward. Teach them about volunteering/charity. Volunteer as a family; this is a good way to spend quality time together. Spend no money and be a good role model. Helping others is a key factor to happiness. Example: Meals for wheels – the whole family can drop off meals at senior centers or homes.

17. Frugal – is not a bad word. Teach your kids about abundance. Kids should have abundance of love, affection, quality time with friends and family, etc. Frugal does not equal cheap. Example: We want to save gas and electricity so we have oil left for the next generation. We want to recycle to protect the environment. We garden to have fresh veggies because it tastes better and is healthier for us – no pesticides or chemicals. Teach your kids to live an abundant lifestyle filled with fresh air; quality time with loved ones; a good, safe location/environment and lots of fun and smiles.

18. Give and Take – discuss with your kids the give and take method while budgeting. They can buy _____, but then you can’t buy________.

19. Kids of all ages understand. Elementary age kids can’t understand the meaning of a recession, but they can understand that the economy has its ups and downs. Middle school and older can grasp the meaning of a recession.

20. Media – kids are smarter then we think. Even young kids watch TV, go on computers, listen to their peers and teachers and they know more then we think. My daughter has asked questions about money, economy, etc. since five years old.

– Diane Lang – Positive Living Expert and psychotherapist – is a nationally recognized author, educator, speaker, therapist and media expert. Lang is extremely mediagenic and offers expertise on a variety of health and wellness topics about creating balance and finding happiness through positive living. Lang offers expertise in multiple mental health, lifestyle and parenting needs. In addition to holding multiple counseling positions, Diane is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and Dover Business College. Lang is the author of two books: “Baby Steps: The Path from Motherhood to Career” and “Creating Balance and Finding Happiness.”