Guest Post: 6 Ways You Can Help Your Kids Learn To Practice Self-Care By Anya Willis

I rarely do guest posts but this one by Anya Willis from https://fitkids.info is important as the world situation is continuing to be so stressful. Children must have self-care coping skills. Enjoy this new blog post!

Image via Pexels

Self-care is an important part of your overall well-being. Learning to prioritize your mental health can start at an early age. Consider these six ways you can teach your children to practice self-care.

1. Give Them a Peaceful Space at Home

A stress-free home environment helps children feel safe and comfortable. You can create peace in the home in multiple ways. For example, disciplining with a gentle approach allows your children to learn respect without fear. How you plan your home aesthetic can also affect stress levels. For example, decluttering and having plenty of natural light help relieve anxiety. Bring in houseplants to purify the air and use oil diffusers to create a relaxing aroma. A zen home helps kids focus and relax.

2. Prioritize Quality Time

Prioritizing quality time lets your kids know how important they are to you. That translates into feeling important themselves. Quality time doesn’t have to include an elaborate plan. It can be as simple as making a nighttime routine or letting them help you with the chores around the house. Having a normal routine quality time takes the pressure off you to overcompensate. Research shows that kids who spend quality time with their parents have fewer behavioral issues and better mental and physical health overall.

3. Keep an Open Dialogue About Mental Health

Make discussing mental health a priority in your household. If you notice your kids feeling stressed or anxious, talk to them about getting help. You can access therapy virtually to provide a secure, private experience for your children, and it requires less commitment than going in person. Also, you have more professionals to choose from online, and it’s often more affordable. You can typically even schedule a free consultation with multiple therapists to ensure you are a good fit with the one you choose.

4. Teach Them To Enjoy Alone Time

Learning to spend time alone is an important part of building confidence. Allow your children some privacy in the home. Knock on their bedroom door before you come in and respect their response. If they feel in control of their alone time, they’ll learn to enjoy it more.

5. Nurture Their Interests

When your child expresses a new interest, encourage them to explore it further. For example, if they love painting or drawing, take them shopping for supplies and display their artwork around the house. Hobbies are a great way to practice self-care, and it’s a very personal experience. You may not always love the things they do. For example, collecting bugs may give you the creeps, but if your child loves it, let them know you’re happy for them.

6. Remind Them To Be Grateful

Show your kids how to be grateful by example. If you practice thankfulness in your daily life, your children will pick up on that as well. The best time to be grateful is when things don’t go to plan. It’s easy to shift to the negative when things don’t go your way, but if you show your children a positive attitude, you can affect how they approach life.

When you keep the lines of communication open with your children, you give them a way to express themselves and talk about how they feel. When you validate their feelings, they learn confidence at an early age. The more confidence they have, the more likely they are to prioritize self-care.

Can You Be Pro-life And Still Not Approve Of The Overturning Of Roe v. Wade?

I believe that the answer to this question is a whole-hearted yes! As I write this blog post, I am sickened by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Just a few years ago I would have celebrated it, but watching the world situation the last few years, and opening up to the other side of abortion has changed my beliefs about this. Plus, Covid has shown me that the very people who are supposed to be pro-life aren’t at all. They won’t do anything to protect themselves and others from this serious virus that is causing harm and death to millions of people around the world daily.

According to this article, somehow the Supreme Court used this case to overturn Roe v. Wade. “The court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upheld a law from Mississippi that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, roughly two months earlier than what has been allowed under Supreme Court precedent dating back to Roe.

In siding with Mississippi, the court’s conservative majority said the Roe decision was egregiously wrong in recognizing a constitutional right to an abortion, an error the court perpetuated in the decades since.”

To be honest, I truly don’t understand how they went from an appropriate limit on abortion to completely overturning the whole law. I personally believe in limiting the abortion to 12 weeks gestation unless it’s a medical emergency.

I hate abortion! However, watching how the world is so inconsiderate of other people, and how a former president who is horribly narcissistic even tried to overthrow the election, I see now that the “pro-life movement” is truly just pro-birth. They don’t want to do anything to help women, men, and babies.

Here are some of my own definitions regarding abortion and pro-life. Again, these are based off my own observations and opinions.

Pro-birth

Pro-birth: Just getting the baby born without doing much to support families and teenagers during and after the pregnancy. Going through the states on this website, it seems like the states that are outright banning abortion only allow it for a medical reason. And some of them are trying to do away with the Plan B pill.

“What does Plan B exactly do?

Plan B One-Step is a type of morning-after pill that can be used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Plan B One-Step contains the hormone levonorgestrel — a progestin — which can prevent ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730

Some states are limiting access to emergency contraceptives such as Plan B because they equate it with the abortion pill, but this isn’t the abortion pill, and it’s outright dangerous for rape/incest victims, people who don’t have the ability to care for the baby for any reason, and people with disabilities who are seven times more likely to be raped and/or sexually assaulted! They are not capable of handling pregnancy and the emotional trauma of having the baby taken away is tremendous.

Thankfully, in the midst of getting this post edited, President Biden signed an executive order to protect emergency contraceptives, abortions that are to save the life of the person who is pregnant if the child can’t also be saved, and beef up the Obamacare mandates of providing contraceptives. See this article as well as this one for more info about these protections.

I also worry about forced sterilization for people with disabilities and other people who are “different” because some of these pro-birth people are also White Supremacists that might try to limit who should be allowed to have children.

Pro-life

Pro-life aims to protect the life from conception to natural death. It recognizes that there are times when abortion is necessary for the woman who has a medical issue, the baby is dying, rape, incest, and people who are unable to carry the baby. It’s being willing to choose as much life as possible without having to deny that the baby is a baby.

Pro-life: Being willing to help stop an abortion through providing free support, birth control, health care, family health care, family leave longer than 6 weeks, free lactation consultants, help for child care, high quality child care, more sick days, access to healthy food for the entire family, classes on child care, and mental health care.

Some of these people call themselves pro-choice. I don’t have a problem with that as long as they truly believe in giving people the information they need to make the appropriate decision for the women and family. Many of these people want limitations on abortion and don’t believe it should be done after the first trimester unless it’s a medical emergency and the doctors try to save both the woman and the baby.

Abortion is a hard word because sometimes the baby is so wanted but he/she is found to have a condition that is slowly killing him/her and hurting him/her. In these cases, if these babies are viable, they simply have the woman deliver the child and hold the baby as he/she naturally passes away. This should never be prohibited! Unfortunately, this type of humane treatment is also called “abortion.”

On the opposite side, to abort a baby just because he/she has a certain condition that is livable is totally wrong! We deserve to live.

Pro-abortion

Pro-abortion: Not always wanting limitations on abortion. Not always wanting to make sure that the people are informed about what they are about to do. Also, some of these people are fine with partial birth abortion. Partial birth abortion is sick and murder!! There’s absolutely no reason to have a partial birth abortion. No!

I’m pro-life. I want children to live in a world that protects them long after birth. I’m sorry that there are times abortion is necessary, but it is. I would love to see it become more humane and respectful if the baby is removed from the womb closer to the 12-week-mark of pregnancy.

I’m very concerned about a number of topics that I have already covered. I think that this is a horrible precedent to set. And the fact that these judges lied under oath in order to get a position on the Supreme Court is a travesty!! So does that mean judges are free to lie under oath without any consequences? What does this mean for the justice system? It is already messed up with racism and other corruption, so now it may become even more corrupt.

Along with the majority of Americans, I am worried about the rights of the LBGTQ community that is already under fire. Please see my previous blog post about this. I’m worried about the rights of Black people, various other minority groups, disability rights, and the falling of our nation because of people who are narcissistic, right-wing extremists that want to stop progress and go backwards.

Yes, this is a truly scary time for the country!

Talking to young children about this

Finally, I would like to share a few tips for talking to young children about this.

  • Explain to the children that a woman has the ability to grow and deliver a baby. It is a wonderful thing!
  • However, sometimes the woman can’t keep growing the baby and that is sad.
  • When a woman is unable to grow the baby, the baby is removed from her body by a doctor and it’s traumatic, but necessary for her well-being.
  • The baby goes to Heaven (or the version that is appropriate for whatever spiritual beliefs that the family has).
  • The government is trying to take this away which will really hurt women and their families.
  • We want to protect this and protect babies from suffering.

This is a very complicated subject and emotional. I wish people could come together and set appropriate limits on abortion and prevent unwanted pregnancy from happening. Reversing Roe v. Wade isn’t a win for anyone. More will die because of this and that is NOT pro-life!!!!

Child Abuse In The Disability And LBGTQ+ Community

With the current laws being enacted in Florida and Texas as well as other conservative states to stop the LBGTQ+ community from being able to live their lives, it got me thinking about how I used to believe some of the same things until I started really listening to these people. I have many friends in this community now and I am heartbroken over how they are treated.

Many LBGTQ+ children are kicked out of the house when they come out to their parents. Some are subjected to horrible “conversion therapy” to try to “convince” them that they are not gay or transgender. These children are very likely to be abused and murdered by their family or people in the community who don’t want to understand that they are people too.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are over-represented in foster care, where they are more likely to experience discrimination, abuse, neglect and the risk of harm. A 2019 study found 30.4 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ and 5 percent as transgender, compared to 11.2 percent and 1.17 percent of youth not in foster care.”

https://www.childrensrights.org/lgbtq-2/

In Texas, a law was recently passed making it “child abuse” for parents to give their transgendered children care that would allow them to have the body that their brain is telling them they are. As of now, a judge has partially blocked the law. I believe that the exact opposite is true. It is abusive NOT to allow these children to have the gender affirming medical care they require. They are at a high risk of suicide for not being allowed to have transitional gender affirming medical care and psychotherapy.

People like to shrug off the suicide issue of transgender children, but according to Forbes from 2021, “52% of all transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020. More than half thought it would be better to be dead, rather than trying to live with rejection, isolation, loneliness, bullying and being targeted by politicians and activists pushing anti-trans legislation.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dawnstaceyennis/2021/05/19/terrible-time-for-trans-youth-new-survey-spotlights-suicide-spike—and-hope/?sh=712121d2716e

These children have to deal with so much discrimination from conservative policymakers. They are banned from using the correct bathrooms with which they identify. What do we think happens when a trans girl is forced to use the boys’ bathroom and vice versa? They look like the gender with which they identify.

And banning them from playing on the team of the gender with which they identify because people think they have an advantage over the other team is wrong. We might as well ban anyone “different” from playing sports because I can guarantee that transgender children don’t have any advantage over their peers. Everyone is talented in different ways!

Finally, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida enacted by Governor DeSantis is horrible! As an early childhood professional, sex and gender identity isn’t a main topic in the curriculum unless we have a child with gay parents or a child who is struggling with this issue. These children deserve support and compassion. Teachers need to teach children to accept these differences. The LBGTQ+ community is in no way trying to get children to be something that they’re not. They are just trying to get acceptance and support to stop the horrible discrimination they face daily. I believe in having developmentally appropriate discussions and books that include the LBGTQ+ community in the classroom.

I am so grateful that President Biden is taking action to try to help protect everyone in the LBGTQ+ community by taking executive action to stop the use of conversion therapy and help keep the rights and lives of this group as safe as possible. The amount of bigotry from the religious, right wing is absolutely disgusting! And it’s only getting worse!

There’s another group of children and adults who live with a higher than average risk of being abused: The disabled.

“Child abuse and neglect is reported in 3% to 10% of the population with disabilities. The rate of child abuse and neglect is at least 3 times higher in children with disabilities than in the typically developing population.”

https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/147/5/e2021050920/180813/Maltreatment-of-Children-With-Disabilities

Children with disabilities have higher needs and require more care. They often have unique behavioral issues that typical children don’t. For some children with disabilities, these behaviors may last well into adulthood because their brains aren’t able to mature like typical people. They are so reliant on others for care and help that they are prime candidates for all types of abuse.

As someone with a severe disability, I can attest to the abuse. I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by my dad because I couldn’t control my muscles. I was emotionally and verbally abused by other family members and people at school. Just because life with a child who is disabled can be very stressful and frustrating at times doesn’t excuse abuse.

Like LBGTQ+ children, there’s a stigma that comes along with being disabled. We live in an ableist world. For a long time, people with disabilities, starting in young childhood, were locked up in institutions and forgotten. These institutions were absolutely horrible and many children died from abuse and inadequate care. There even used to be laws that prohibited people with disabilities from being in society. Similarly with the LBGTQ+ community, the disabled have a higher risk of being murdered.

Here’s an excellent article about the history of ableism.

As the article above points out, many religious groups believe that disabilities are due to “sin,” thus, causing people to treat them badly and abuse them. Let me be clear: No disability is due to sin!

Another thing that the article on ableism points out is that the medical community often treats the disability as a “problem.” But people with disabilities have absolutely nothing “wrong” with them. They are just different and deserve quality medical care, and yet, they often don’t receive it. The cost of medical care is even higher than that of typical people and people with disabilities also usually require adaptive equipment and therapy to be able to live the best life they can!

Unfortunately the Americans with Disabilities Act hasn’t helped all that much because most public places only do the minimum requirements. Many employers don’t want to have the responsibility of helping people with disabilities work in their work places. And people with disabilities don’t get “free money.” If they are on SSI, they can only have $2,000 if they are single and $3,000 if married. We’re trying to get this changed.

Being told by parents, teachers, employers, and society in general that “You’re worthless, a burden, a problem, a liability, and your life doesn’t matter” leads to isolation, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Covid has really bought out just how ableist the world is, especially the United States. Many people feel that their lives are more important than others who are still vulnerable to serious consequences of getting Covid. It’s all-too-often just laughed at while believing that it is perfectly fine for people who are high risk to remain locked up for the rest of their lives. This is going back to the days when children and adults were forced to remain locked up and out of society. This is abuse!

There is no excuse for abuse of any child or adult, especially if they are different. We are all equal and worthy no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and/or disability. We need to stop going backwards and start moving forward to become a kinder, more accepting world. No child should be hurt. It is also abuse and ableist to expect any child to be someone that he/she isn’t or to expect children to be able to do things that they are not yet able to do!

Where are you Christmas?

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With the pandemic still raging on and the new variant, it feels like it will never end.  Children ages 5-11 are, as of this writing, finally able to get vaccinated against Covid.  Sadly, the same arguments are continuing and getting worse from the anti-mask and anti-vaxxers crowd.   They are not able to think about the common good.  I have lost all hope for humanity.  I guess this could be a product of generations of spanking as research has shown that corporal punishment can have a negative impact on the development of empathy in children.

The world is in disarray and we’re all tired of it.  The children are stuck in the middle of the arguments, and are being fueled by the adults to act out. I am only getting glimpses of the true Christmas spirit.

In fact, I keep hearing the toxic message from Christians that “this is from ‘God'” and that “God will spare the righteous.”  It is so sad that they don’t understand that this is not from God.  Children have died from Covid.  Devout Christians are dying from Covid.  Jesus never intended for all of this confusion and toxic teachings from the church.

Spirituality is so simple and we weren’t supposed to know it all. Jesus was trying to teach so much more, but because our human minds are so limited and prone to boxing everything up, and man’s desire to control people who are different from them, has led to religion being toxic and oppressive instead of promoting true spiritual freedom. And it’s ruined love for one another. I just feel so bad for humanity; we’re truly stuck in hell of our own making.

We’re losing so much with this pandemic. Grief is horrible for many people this year again.  I know it’s pretty bad for me.

My message to everyone is to grieve together, and think of other people more than ourselves. Seek truth, Science, compassion, and true love.  May children stay safe and learn true empathy.  Or, may we learn it from them!  Peace and love through the holidays!

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Guest Post: How to Support Your Pregnant Loved One During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Emily Graham

Emily Graham is from Mighty Moms. I hope you find this helpful.

Photo via Unsplash
Photo via Unsplash

Do you have a friend, sister, or relative who has been trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while pregnant? There’s no denying that pregnant women have dealt with many unexpected challenges during this pandemic. Whether your loved one is looking for helpful parenting resources like Disciplining With Gentle Firmness or guidance as she aims to protect her health (and her baby’s!) during this difficult time, these tips will allow you to give her the support she truly needs.

Memorable Milestones

Has your loved one cancelled celebrations because of the pandemic?  You can mark these milestones with virtual events!

  • Bring your friend’s baby shower online by planning a virtual shower with her — you can still celebrate while social distancing.
  • Has your loved one considered calling off her gender reveal party?  Host it over video chat instead!
  • If your loved one wants maternity photos, help her stay on the safe side with suggestions for a DIY photo shoot.

Outlining a Birth Plan

Your loved one may be wondering whether or not she should plan for a hospital birth with the ongoing pandemic. These resources can help her decide.

  • Is your friend considering a home birth because of the pandemic?  Research the pros and cons to see if it’s a smart choice for her.
  • Will your friend be heading to the hospital when the big day rolls around?  Help her go over the precautions she should take to stay safe.
  • Remind your friend that no matter what she decides, her unconditional love for her child is what matters most.

Giving Gifts

Nothing will cheer up your loved one like a thoughtful gift. Check out these ideas to find the perfect present.

  • Put together a basic postpartum gift basket, which you can drop off at the hospital or your loved one’s home.
  • Before her due date, give your friend a cozy labor and delivery gown so she can stay comfortable during labor.
  • Cook up healthy meals for your loved one, which she can reheat when she’s too tired to cook after the baby arrives.

Pregnancy isn’t always smooth sailing, especially for mothers-to-be who are trying to avoid unnecessary risks during this pandemic. If you have a pregnant woman in your life, now is the time to lend a helping hand. She will definitely appreciate having someone to lean on!

Interested in learning about effective disciplinary methods that don’t involve spanking? Sign up for one-on-one parent coaching with author and parent coach Stephanie G. Cox today.

Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Mental Health, And Helping Children.

The past few months have been really difficult for me with the Covid-19 pandemic and being super high risk. It has made me struggle with dealing with my own trauma, trying to do what is right and safe regarding the trauma of having a mother who can’t give me what I need, but still wanting her and my other biological family to remain safe. I have felt isolated and anxious and depressed. Being so high risk due to my asthma and severe Cerebral Palsy (CP) has made me angry when I finally realized how serious this virus is for many and seeing how people just don’t want to do what we need to do to be safe!

Life with CP is limiting and even though we find a way to do stuff that I want to do, it’s not easy like typical people who are able to just jump in the car and go. My state is in Phase 3 of reopening and I got my first non-essential, non-medical outing this week to my tattoo artists and chosen family to finish my Samoset kitty tattoo that was started before the outbreak and lockdown started. I was only able to do it because they locked the door and my husband and I were the only ones in there besides the artists. Masks were worn and sanitizer was used even more.

844129F8-4D70-4689-83DD-2AC66EF7AA15 Samoset tattoo by Todd Bass at Triphammer Carbondale.

Throughout this pandemic, I have been aware of all the different aspects of it. My mental health as well as others have suffered due to isolation, people are losing everything, suicide is up. There’s so much to this pandemic and it is so sad that some elected officials are not doing everything they can to prevent this from being so out of control.

I know children and parents are struggling. I think the best thing to do for children is to create routines that are flexible and, if they are old enough, allow them to have a say in the routines. And as I’m sure you have already heard, answer questions honestly but briefly depending on their age and development.

This is scary for the children too. They have lost a lot and they may not be able to understand why. So I have heard a lot of regression in children’s behaviors have been happening from parents. This is so hard because I know parents are stressed out too. I recommend reassuring the children and finding an activity such as meditation or reading or yoga to help calm stress and fear. This is not an easy time for anyone.

Now we have a horrible murder of a black man, George Floyd, that has set off protests and riots in the midst of a pandemic. It is so scary and sad. Racism has got to stop!

I used to say “all lives matter” and even wrote a blog post in which I used “All Lives Matter” for the title of the post that covered every race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and, of course, children mattering.

Having a severe physical disability made me question, “what about other minorities?” I was a Republican slowly making my way towards Libertarianism at the time. I am now a Libertarian and while I still love Jesus, I’m no longer into mainstream Christianity anymore due to the legalism, bad church doctrine, and abuse, and hate.

I now understand the Black Lives Matter movement and right now this group of people desperately need our support, validation, and LOVE! Saying “all lives matter” doesn’t do this for black people who are hurting badly. Jesus immediately went to the people in desperate need no matter who they are. Jews didn’t hang around Samaritan people but Jesus did.

I know many Christians and conservatives won’t hear me because I was the same way about this topic and I had to figure it out for myself. But I am embarrassed by my ignorance even though I was trying to be fair and supportive and was trying to validate everyone but I was wrong. I support Black Lives Matter and peaceful protests except for the Coronavirus concern. I hope my story helps someone moving away from ignorance to validation and love over being “right.”

Our children are watching everything and need to be taught kindness and acceptance for all. There has also got to be a major change because most black families experience so much pain and violence in their lifetimes and parents of black children are even more likely to spank/hit and harshly punished because they fear that if they don’t teach strict obedience to authority that it could be their child that is murdered by a bad cop. But this spanking and hardship make the children more likely to act out and get into crime.

And while police lives also matter, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many good cops of all races and they don’t deserve to suffer. On the other hand, white cops need to remember that at the end of the shift, they are like everyone else. But black people still have to deal with the racism and can’t hide from it.

Please be safe and get tested for Covid-19 if you participate in the peaceful protests and quarantine yourself because we can’t make change can’t happen if we’re sick and in the hospital or dead.

May we strive for kindness and love and create this in our children. May peace, love, and light reign in our world!