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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Blog Has Moved....

Our blog has moved to a new location. Check out our NEW blog at http://blog.pcwhi.com/.

All of the blogs have been transferred over and our new ones are posting there. See ya at our new address!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Resilience Through Adversity: Gaining strength from life's hardships


Last week I attended a conference held by a pharmaceutical company for leaders in the bleeding disorder community. Many of the leaders were parents of a child with a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or von Willebrand’s. Others had the diseases themselves and all were learning how to "tell their stories" in order to mentor and inspire others living with the disease. These folks came from many different backgrounds including ethnicities, geographical locations, and socio-economic situations. Yet, we were all bound by two things in common: our resilience in the face of medical adversity and our passion to help others cope well. It was an amazing experience.

Photo by PhotoStock
While working toward my masters degree, I was reading from a Walsh’s text “Strengthening Family Resilience” at the time of the conference. Everything that I was reading I was witnessing right in front of my eyes. For example, on page 7 she says: “As researchers have discovered, resilience is forged through adversity not despite it. Life crises and hardship can bring out the best in us as we rise to meet the challenges.” She quotes a study on resilient adults by Higgins (1994) that showed they “became more substantial because they were sorely tested, endured suffering, and emerged with strengths they might not have developed otherwise. They experienced things more deeply and intensely, and placed a heightened value on life. Often this became a wellspring for social activism, a commitment to helping others overcome their adversities; in turn they experienced further growth through these efforts." This was clearly apparent in the eyes and the hearts of the courageous and amazing people I met within the bleeding disorder community -  these are amazing people…



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Lisa C. Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, a certified parent coach, parenting educator, and public speaker. She is also the co-author with Foster Cline, MD of the award-winning Love and Logic® book “Parenting Children with Health Issues.”  For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com


Monday, April 30, 2012

Parenting Mistakes: We are only human!


After having an argument with my teenage son this morning, I was kind of feeling like a parenting failure. I lost my cool. Raised my voice. He stomped out the door. Pretty typical parenting story, especially with a teenager in the house! The difference is: I am a parenting educator. I am supposed to know better. And I do! And so I felt like a failure. How can I teach parenting skills including not responding with anger if I can't even do it myself?

Photo by PhotoStock
But then, a few minutes later, I thought: “Wait a minute. Just because I know what to do doesn't mean I will always do it. It's the human condition. In fact, even Paul in the Bible struggled with this: “I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” -Romans 7:19

So as I'm pondering this, I'm feeling kind of bad. But then I realize, knowing good parenting and communication skills doesn't always mean that things are going to turn out perfectly. Life is messy and unpredictable.

What it does mean is that even in the face of things going badly, I know what to do (even if I don’t pull it off perfectly). I know how to turn it around later today, after we’ve both cooled off. I know that the limits I set with my son are right (this is what caused his frustration and argument). And, I know that even if things don't turn out well in the long run, I did it right as a parent. Most of the time. :) 


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Lisa C. Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, a certified parent coach, parenting educator, and public speaker. She is also the co-author with Foster Cline, MD of the award-winning Love and Logic® book “Parenting Children with Health Issues.”  For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Be a Contagious Encourager!

When times are tough or when children face tough times, it’s natural to feel discouraged. However, both encouragement and discouragement are the most contagious of emotions. Effectively showing encouragement will help our children better cope with their health issues. 
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you know what the opposite of encouragement is? It is generally the showing of frustration. Frustration creeps in as children grow older and parents start to realize they can’t control their children’s responses to their illnesses but somehow still think they should!

Show your children encouragement by the pleasure you display when you turn over increasing responsibility for healthcare to your children.  Start with small, steady increments in the early elementary years. “Wow, I bet you feel pretty good about the job you did on that!” Or, “How are you feeling about the decisions you are making?”  Correct wording such as this puts the problem on the resistant child while providing the child a sense of accomplishment for making healthy decisions. 
                       
As noted, the positive attributes of Encouragement are contagious. Simply saying, “I bet you are proud of how you remember your medicine” is more effective than saying, “I’m proud of the way you take your medicine.” Effective communication is easily learned and especially effective for kids with special healthcare needs. We give many examples in our book, Parenting Children with Health Issues.

Praise and encouragement are very different. The better the parent/child relationship, the better praise works, but praise can be used to manipulate both sender and receiver. Encouragement through questions puts the healthcare issues and results directly on the child. Questions promote a high self-image and allow the adult to express both joy and disappointment while encouraging the child to think. 

Love and Logic, a popular parenting program, teaches that curiosity and interest about self-care issues almost always trump worry and concern, just as ideas and thoughts trump advice, suggestions, and pleading. Questions give resistant children less adult emotion to manipulate but do show curiosity and interest. For example, asking a difficult child, “How do you always manage to remember to take your medicine?” is generally more effective than, “Good job on remembering your medicine.”

Descriptive phrases help children focus on and evaluate their accomplishments, treatment decisions, and results rather than provide the child with outside judgments. Resistant children can easily negate non-descriptive praise for a number of reasons. “I notice that…” is a good way to begin a descriptive phrase.

So use descriptive phrases, ask lots of questions, and keep your frustration from showing. Your children will feel good about themselves from the inside out rather than needing your approval to feel successful and encouraged.  
                                                           
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Visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com for articles, Ask Dr. Cline, and free audio. The book Parenting Children with Health Issues: Essential Tools, Tips and Tactics for Raising Kids with Chronic Illness, Medical Conditions and Other Special Needs by Foster Cline, M.D and Lisa C. Greene is available online and in bookstores. 


Dr. Cline is a well-known child psychiatrist, author, and co-founder of the popular Love and Logic parenting program. Lisa Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis and a family life educator.






Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Successful Transitions: Focusing on Medical Tasks

We have been blogging for several weeks about how to increase the odds of raising children with special medical needs who are responsible, confident, and independent in all areas of life including around self-care issues. Now let's look briefly at the subject of shifting the responsibility of medical tasks.


Knowledge of Disease, Medical Requirements, and Medical Tasks


Happy Family Photo
Photo by PhotoStock
There are many medical details around managing a long-term, serious, chronic illness including nuances that can only be learned over time. Even medical professionals don't always know the "right" thing to do when things start to change.


In addition to medical knowledge, there are also the financial, insurance, and legal details that go along with it all. The average eighteen-year-old, unless properly trained for years, will not be prepared to manage it all without substantial help. That's why starting a phased, methodical training program at a young age is crucial.


Some medical clinics have "transition plans" written out to help you know what types of medical knowledge and tasks should be taught at the different ages and stages of your child's development. Others clinics don't or are working on it but it takes time, even years, for medical institutions to start a new program. In the meantime, your child is getting older.


If your child is age eleven or older, start working on this on your own. If your clinic doesn't have a transition plan, check around at other medical centers.  There are also good resources available for transition in general. Here’s a link to one of our favorites from The Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida: 
http://hctransitions.ichp.ufl.edu/hct-promo/


With some planning and parenting education, parents can massively increase the odds that their child will be ready to move up and out into the adult world. Not only is this good for the child, but it's also good for parents and medical professionals.


Everyone wins when a hopeful, optimistic, young adult goes out into the world with confidence and says: "I can do it! I recognize this world because we practiced for it at home!"


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Many of these concepts are from the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues" by Foster W. Cline M.D, child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic, and Lisa C. Greene, mom of two kids with cystic fibrosis and parent educator. Visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com.





Thursday, March 29, 2012

Successful Transitions: Harnessing the Power of Example

One of the easiest ways to help children learn responsibility, make good choices about their bodies, and pave the way to a successful transition/transfer is using the power of example. Kids learn far more from the examples we set than from the words and lectures we give them. The concept of example is so simple yet so powerful once we know how to use it properly. 


Children learn how to behave by watching and copying us just like we learned from our parents. Kids will do what we do, not what we say. So, as parents, we need to take good care of ourselves. This includes taking some time for ourselves, taking good care of our bodies, and making sure we are getting our own needs met. It’s not selfish to take good care of ourselves; it’s healthy and necessary. 


Along similar lines: if we want respectful, responsible kids who are pleasant to be around, then that’s how we need to be. We can never ask more of our kids than what we are willing to give of ourselves. 


This includes not only how we treat them but also how we allow them to treat us. So if we allow our kids to be disrespectful to us, then they are learning by our example to allow others to treat them badly. And they are not learning- from our example- how to set healthy boundaries with others. 


Many loving parents spend a lot of time concerned with: “How can I make my child happy? How can I make sure my child has a high self-image? How can I do more for my child?” Such parents often live in a child- centered universe where the atmosphere in the home becomes polluted by the entitled little kings and queens of the estate.  


Entitled children are often unpleasant to be around. Well, aren’t we all at times?! Yes, but we should certainly be pleasant most of the time and we have a right to expect that from others including our children. And when children are routinely unpleasant, many parents wonder what they can do to make their children more pleasant… how can they “happy the kid up?”

When children are unpleasant to be around, many parents resort to demands focused on the child’s behavior. So what comes out of the parents’ mouth is something like, “Stop it” or “Quit that” or “Shape up” or whatever. If only it were that simple but you know better. Here’s where setting an example comes in.

Setting the example means that in a loving way we take good care of ourselves. We talk about ourselves (not how bad the child is behaving) and we focus on what’s good for us.  We show that we feel good for our children when they succeed and make wise decisions. And we respond lovingly but firmly when they make bad decisions. Our message is always: “Sweetheart, I love you no matter what but I won’t allow you to treat me badly.” When we set that type of example, the child grows and, in a healthy way, focuses on what’s good for him or her. They become more immune to peer pressure and less likely to tolerate unwise relationships.

Here's an example: If things aren’t going well, after a brief exploration of the situation (keeping in mind that all children have a right to protest until it slides into downright obnoxiousness), a fed-up parent might say, “Stop it!”  


But it’s so much more effective to set the example and take good care of yourself by lovingly saying something like: “Honey, I’m not feeling very good about the way you’re behaving right now. I can understand why you’re frustrated but your whining and complaining about checking your glucose level is hurting my ears. Why don't you go hang out in your bedroom for a little while. Feel free to come back as soon as you can talk nicely.”


You might be thinking: “What?! Are you saying that I should dismiss my children from my area simply because they are not being pleasant to be around?!!!”


We are. And so will your child’s first spouse if that behavior doesn’t change. Isn’t it better for children to learn that life lesson from loving parents?


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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parenting educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health issues."  For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com


Parenting Children with Health Issues Book



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Successful Transitions: Building Hope and Resilience with Encouragement


In our last couple of blogs in our transition series, we have talked about how to respond to children with medical issues when they make mistakes or poor choices. This week, we’ll talk about how to respond to children when they make good choices and decisions particularly where their bodies are concerned. 

When children do something well, most adults respond with praise: “Good job!” or “Good girl (or boy)!” While this sounds fine on the surface, praise like this can cause problems. 

The challenge is that praise is really an external judgment of the child’s performance and can backfire if a child is resistant, doesn’t feel like being judged, or doesn’t particularly like the parent (or praiser) at the moment. And, of course, false praise almost always leads to disrespect. Children tend to catch on pretty quickly when adults are giving undeserved praise or trying to manipulate with praise or flattery.

So use encouragement instead! Be specific and positive with encouraging phrases when you speak to children. Encourage them to evaluate and think about their choices and the consequences of their actions. Encourage them with questions so that they are proud of themselves for making good choices.  This motivates them to continue to take good care of themselves.
Don’t say, "I'm glad you listened to me and didn't go camping with a cold." Or “Good job staying home and taking care of yourself!”
Do say: "Do you feel good about your decision to stay home and take care of yourself?" or “How do you feel about your decision to stay home?”
Don’t say: "I am proud of you for remembering to take your medication on time.”
Do say, "Wow! You must be proud of yourself for remembering to take your medication." Or “How do you manage to remember to take your medication on time?”
Of course, a big part of encouragement is having a positive “You can do it!” attitude ourselves, as parents. Remember the importance of example or modeling. 

Are we saying that you should never use praise? Of course not! Praise can be effective with young children who are learning a new task or good habits. However, don’t overdo praise or you risk turning a child into a praise junkie! 

Effectively showing encouragement will help your children better cope with their health issues, make good choices and build hope. Your children will feel good about themselves from the inside out rather than needing your approval to feel successful. 



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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parenting educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health issues."  For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com


To learn more about encouragement, see the book "Parenting Children with Health Issues" on pages 88-93