If you’re a parent and you’ve lost a child to suicide or injury, you’re likely in need of support. There’s no question that there will be a range of emotions that you’re going to go through including guilt, depression, denial, and anger. For instance, one mother living in the suburbs of Los Angeles recently lost her daughter. Her co-workers were concerned because she returned to work a week after her daughter’s funeral with the same smile and cheery personality she had prior to her daughter’s death. It was as though nothing had happened. She gave no indication that she had just experienced a major loss.
However, if you’re aware of the stages of grieving or if you’ve experienced grief yourself, you might expect this sort of reaction. For this 38-year-old mother, she was exhibiting the classic first stage of denial. The psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, developed the stages of grieving described below. Initially, she formulated these stages as a result of observing adults suffering from a terminal illness. Later, she found that her theory also applied to anyone who has experienced a major loss, such as a death of a loved one, loss of a job or income, divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, or other losses, even minor ones. Continue reading
The Center for Reflective Parenting, located in Los Angeles, is an organization that uses a significant psychological theory as its foundation. In the last 40 years, attachment theory has become a major contributor to the way that mental health professionals explore the functioning and the well being (or lack of well being) in their clients.
The theory’s main premise is that an infant must develop a strong bond with at least one primary caregiver in order to appropriately develop socially and emotionally. In order for this bond to become secure between infant and caregiver, the following must happen:
- The caregiver must be responsive and sensitive in the way that he or she responds to the infant.
- The child must be able to consistently rely on the caregiver for soothing in times of stress.
- The caregiver must remain a constant in the child’s life from the 6 months to approximately 2 years of age.
As children develop they will begin to use the attachment with their caregiver as a secure base from which they will move away to explore their environment and then later return. The way that caregivers respond to their children during this process can lead to distinct patterns of attachment, which in turn, lead to an internal model for that child, which he or she will unconsciously use in later relationships. Continue reading
Over the last 100 years, there have been many resources that support mothers and their children. Typically, mothers have been the caregivers while fathers are the breadwinners. However, more and more experts in the field of psychology are recognizing that the father plays a significant role in the development of children.
Although fathers have been out of the parental picture as far as resources go, there are a number of organizations, both in Los Angeles, as well as throughout the country that are focusing on men and their role as parents. Part of this initiative was prompted by the need to curb domestic violence as well as abuse of children. However, studies are also that children without fathers are more likely to live in poverty, participate in substance abuse, experience truancy from school or drop out, develop emotional or behavioral problems, or be incarcerated. With the presence of participating fathers who are nurturing and loving in a family structure, children have more of a chance of thriving and living in health. For this reason, community resources are looking at ways to strengthen the relationships within families, both between parents as well as the relationship parents have with their children. Continue reading
In the past there was no question that you’d send your children to the nearest public school for his or her education. However, that is becoming less of an immediate choice, and instead, parents have more and more options for educating their children, including alternative schools and homeschooling.
In Los Angeles today, there are literally hundreds of options available to parents. There are public, private, and charter schools. There are small independent schools and online schools. And there is always the homeschooling option too. With all of these options, it might be hard to know which one is right for your family and for your child in particular. Continue reading
We all need support when it comes to parenting. And if it’s not support, it’s a place to vent, to express celebrations or get energized when faced with challenge! And what better to find a community of parents with similar passions than in Los Angeles.
It should also be noted that parents need outside help. Although they are the strong foundation for their children, it’s important that they get the help they need especially when they need it. For instance, Laurence Steinberg, psychologist at Temple University found this to be true in his 1994 study. That year, he studied 200 families and explored how parents managed the great transition of their child entering puberty. He found that 40% of parents experienced a decline in their mental health once their first child entered puberty. Parents reported feeling low self-worth, a decline in libido, and increase in physical symptoms due to stress. Continue reading
Sometimes, families feel the stress of everyday life building and building. Parents, you’re working a lot; you’re trying to find the time to spend with your children and spouse. Children and teens, you’ve got responsibilities too and at the same time you might be feeling your needs for attention, love, and care from your parents. When emotional needs are being met and when the demands of everyday life are weighing on the family mood, it might be necessary to take a break from everything. It could be time to lighten the family stress and try out the following suggestions. Continue reading
As a parent, it might time to find the right parenting balance. However, using intuition and gut instinct often leads to finding that balance. Mike Linderman, author of The Teen Whisperer: How to Break Through the Silence and Secrecy of TeenageLife, wrote, “Parents’ gut instincts are right on the money.” Likely, you’ve been with your child for his or her entire life, and the bond you have with your child can facilitate finding the right amount of involvement.
Lisa Boesky, a child and adolescent psychologist from San Diego and author of the book, When to Worry, says of parents: “Either they’re too strict, which brings about more rebellion, or they’re too hands-off, and the child gets into trouble because of lack of supervision.” She continues to say that ideally parents need to find the balance between the two in order to monitor and supervise their child’s life without being overly involved. Continue reading