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Picture of a parent and two kids playing with toys.

Making Time for Family Fun

Often the fun activities in life get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. When this happens, I encourage caregivers to take a few minutes to complete the following activity adapted from the “Together Facing the Challenge” curriculum.
Teen and Parent

How to Have Genuine Conversations With Your Teen

Getting your teen to open up and participate in a genuine conversation can be difficult. So, how do you foster a genuine conversation based on truth, mutual respect, and understanding?
Picture of someone sitting down, seemingly stressed, with her palm on her forehead.

The Amygdala Hijack

Over the years, I have noticed the increased worry, anxiousness, and what-if patterns among my loved ones when it comes to awaiting information from their healthcare provider. The reality is the degree of worrying we apply in our lives has never and will never impact the outcome—either for the better or worse.   
Picture of the feeling wheel originally created by Dr. Gloria Wilcox

What's Feeling Got To Do With It?

“Humans first, work second,” is often how I move into check-ins. In work meetings I facilitate, I ask the question: “How are you feeling?” at the start of the meeting. A common response is: "I don’t know how I’m feeling. Can I see the wheel?” because they know I’m expecting more of an answer than “well,” “fine,” or “good.” This is where the feelings wheel comes into play. 
Picture of a parent sitting down and spending time with their child.

Nurturing Your Child in Today's Busy World

With so many things competing for our attention these days, it is more important than ever to be intentional about nurturing your child’s wellbeing. Wellbeing consists of healthy physical, mental, cognitive, and social-emotional health and there are many ways to support it. 
Mother and daughter organizing the family calendar

How You Can Manage Stress in Your Daily Life

As we try to navigate the events of the past year, it is no wonder we are all experiencing added stress in our lives. Managing stress takes work, but if done regularly, you will feel like the stress coming in your life is more manageable. The goal is not to eliminate stress, but to deal with it more effectively through small shifts in your thinking, actions, and behaviors.
Picture of a foster parent comforting a teenager

Fostering Through the Toughness

I am a foster parent. I was given all the training and tools my brain could absorb about development, trauma, how to build relationships, how to repair relationships, ways to manage difficult behavior, and tips for self-care. I love to learn, and I love putting new information into practice. I feel like I parent well. And yet on the toughest of days, there are times I wonder, “What are we doing? Are we even helping?” and, “What if nothing works?”
A parent comforting their teenager child.

Recognizing Depression and Anxiety in Kids

As a parent or caregiver, you anticipate and meet your child’s physical needs, such as hunger or tiredness, and are attuned to their mental and emotional needs. You can guess when your child feels sad, angry, anxious, or depressed. You can help identify why they are feeling this way. But how do you know when your child’s feelings won’t pass, and what meaningful actions can you take to help? 
Picture of a woman comforting a child who is sitting on a couch.

The Nurturer vs. the Buddy

The struggle I see most in this caregiver/youth relationship is the desire to become the “Buddy.” The Nurturer helps with the behaviors that arise along the way so they can continue moving forward with the day or task at hand. However, the Nurturer can very easily slide into the Buddy role. When a youth enters any sort of residential facility or new foster care setting, they often don’t know how to create or maintain healthy attachments to the adults around them. It is our job as professionals and caregivers to model what a safe adult relationship looks like. 
Picture of two people hugging

Reminder: Healing Isn't Linear

We fill up with sunshine when we see victory in our children’s lives, and the moment we start to let our shoulders drop in relaxation, another storm comes seemingly out of nowhere. But that does not mean healing isn’t happening. It means that it is layered and multifaceted and complex. It means that trauma goes deep, and so must healing.