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sitting by the lake and reflecting

Ending Summer With Gratitude

Labor Day has come and gone, and while for many this means the end of summer – we still have a few weeks left of sunshine and warm temperatures before fall truly sets in. If you are struggling with the idea of transitioning seasons like I am, maybe these practices will help you find your own gratitude and move into fall and winter more peacefully.
holding hands

A Responder's Perspective on Suicide Prevention

As a family responder, working with youth who struggle with suicidality (deliberately hurting oneself with an intent to die) is a routine part of my job. Parents are often not provided with the same skill set as mental health professionals, yet they are the “first responders” when it comes to their child’s mental health. In my years working with suicidal youth and their families, I’ve noticed trends in the information I share with parents.
Foster parent giving support to the child.

When the Only Solution Is to Just Be There

Some days feel full of doom and gloom, others are full of light and humor. As soon as we get used to what we think will become the “norm,” he reminds us that there is still a lot that he is silently dealing with. I have yet to find “normal” as a foster parent.  
A child arriving at school.

Back to School: Bubbling Excitement or Anxiety Provoking?

As parents, caregivers, or guardians, the aspect of going back to school is often exciting. While this can be exciting for students, too, anxiety often rears its ugly head. There are simple things parents, caregivers, and/or guardians can do to minimize the anxiety students feel about going back to school.
Picture of oxygen masks

Keeping Your Oxygen Mask On

One of the most important things I’ve learned as a mom to three sons is the oxygen mask metaphor. It’s second nature to put our children’s needs before our own. But that is a surefire path to burnout. Taking care of yourself so you have the resources (the oxygen) to be a healthy and effective parent is so important. 
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.