You are a parent…your infant suffers from reflux and eczema. He cries often, especially at night, rarely sleeping more than a few hours at a time.
You are a parent…your toddler is very active and unable to sit still. She has dark circles under her eyes and has had several ear infections lately.
You are a parent…your intelligent school aged child is receiving low grades on his report card and his teacher often reports that he has difficulty staying on task and completing assignments.
You are the parent of a child with Asthma, Allergies, Autism, ADD/ADHD, behavior challenges, speech delays, hyperactivity or sensory dysfunction.
You are the parent of a S.U.P.E.R .K.I.D.
(Sensitive, Underestimated, Puzzling, Exceptional, Reactive, Keeper of our hearts, Inspiring, Difficult)
You are a Super Hero.
When you become a parent, you live for your children, vowing to defend and protect them at all cost. When your child struggles due to poor physical, mental or emotional health, that commitment is magnified, often at the cost of your own care. You are running here and there…therapy sessions, doctor’s visits, chiropractic care, counseling, support groups and special stores for special diets. You are exhausted, sleep-deprived, worried, scared, angry, confused and overwhelmed.
As a parent, how does your health and well-being impact the care of your child?
Studies show that factors such as parental ADHD, depression, marital discord and degree of life stress may be factors in predicting parental responses to parenting programs. Furthermore, parents who are isolated from their peers or who encounter aversive interactions with their extended family are more likely to drop out of parent training programs (Dumas 1984, Dumas & Walher 1983). These factors demonstrate the significance our own physical, emotional and mental health may play in reaching success with our children. Caring for your own well-being can no longer be considered a selfish act. It is not only okay to take care of yourself, it may be essential to your children. So if not for you, take these steps towards better health and wellness for your SUPERKID’s! You can be the best support, advocate and coach for your child when you are at your best.
In addition to the many roles you may play as a parent…chaffauer, cook, therapist, friend, role model…,the parent is the driving force behind their child’s success. The pressure is tremendous and the feelings of failure and guilt that accompany any lack of progress often leads to unhealthy behavior. Some parents may increase the focus on care for their SUPERKID to an unhealthy obsession, leading to marital discord, decreased interaction with other children, loss of interest in activities, anxiety, exhaustion and general health decline. Other parents may lose their motivation and stamina and become resistant to try anything else. This will often lead to depression, withdrawal, disconnection from children and family, marital discord and resentment towards their SUPERKID.
Support for the parent is critical. This support may wear many different faces, from family and friends, to the local chapter of a community group. However you design your support, it must reach beyond the typical support group focus, to explore, connect, empower and achieve. Work with your current supports to explore these avenues for health.
Educate yourself by attending lectures and workshops. Learn as much as you can about many different modalities and theories to create something that will work for you. Try not to shy away from learning opportunities that seem uninteresting. Sometimes the best approach to discovering the correct path is to rule out the paths that do not make sense for you.
Seek emotional support. Walking through life with a SUPERKID can trigger many emotions. Sorting through these feelings and understanding their impact on behavior is essential. Through this process of change, you will most likely grieve the loss of the familiar things and the comfortable ways you were used to. Meeting with a counselor can be an effective way to cope with these emotions, adjust to new changes in your life and stay committed.
Connect with peers. Participate in on-line web groups. Talk to other parents, find support and identify resources and referral sources in a community that supports what you are trying to do.
Investigate allergies, sensitivities and dietary contributions to your emotional state. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Any dietary issues your child has, may have been passed down by you. Many parents don’t realize their own health issues until they are forced to change for their child.
• A nursing mother uncovers her own dairy sensitivity after removing dairy from her diet in response to her infant’s dairy reaction.
• A parent struggling with an explosive temper discovers a connection between the sugar in his/her diet and the mood swings that are experienced on a daily basis.
Explore environmental toxins and the role they may play in your behavior as a parent. Chemical exposure at work, cleaning products, preservatives, artificial colorings in food and beverages and beauty products containing synthetic ingredients do contribute to poor physical, emotional and mental health.
Set small goals that are achievable and you increase the chances of success and reduce risk of failure. It is tempting to jump feet first into a dietary change or new program that promises to promote the results you are looking for. Remember that change is slow and dependent on your continued efforts. Putting too much pressure on yourself or setting the bar too high usually results in failure to achieve and hence loss of compliance to the original program. Take is slow and savor each success.
Invest in yourself. Better health and wellness is often an investment of time and money – but you are worth it…and your children are worth it. With the economic struggles we are all facing, finances become a critical factor. So create a plan that will grow with you. Start by exploring and making change with minimal financial burden. Revisit your budget and allocate additional funds towards health and wellness.
Contact the Mental Fitness Center at (248) 601-3111 and ask about our affordable home consultation program. Click here for the Mental Fitness Center website.