Surviving the Final Six Weeks: It’s Not Over Yet!

No more pencils,
No more books,
No more teachers’ dirty looks

Alice Cooper looked forward to summer break for many reasons, unfortunately some of our own kids do not respond to that long awaited break with the same rock-n-roll angst.

School is almost out for summer, and as an instructional specialist in an elementary school and a mother of two, I am surrounded by excitement, fear, anxiety and burnout all day long during this time of the year.

Just this week, students are coming into school in tears and on edge in response to the smallest things. Teachers are burnt-out, they have given all their energy and time to their students, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the year is not over and the all-important state tests have not even started.

Why are they so emotional?

Many of our children (especially mine) thrive on the structure that school brings that summer just does not have. Monday through Friday, their friends surround them and adults talk with them, listen to them, read to them, and play with them. School also provides, for many of my students, two hot meals a day. Sometimes the stress of knowing just one of those things might go away can bring on anxiety.

My son cannot handle change very well, he relies on a schedule; over the summer, he will wake up and create our ‘To Do’ List every morning and if I veer off that schedule he will call me out on it.

The end of the school year transition can bring many unwanted emotions that can be difficult to deal with. My advice is:

Do Not Ignore It

Acknowledge this time of year as difficult for all of us. Talk about the feelings that it is bringing to your child or student. What we see on the surface of each of our children is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Allow your child to express how they are feeling. When we ask our children to deny their emotions or we belittle their feelings the ‘iceberg’ can flip- beneath the surface becomes visible. In return, we get tantrums, tears, lashing out, or other harmful responses.

I suggest talking to them about the memories they have had from school. Talk to them about what they are looking forward to next year, during the summer break, and set goals. One of my friends creates a Summer Bucket List with her daughters. I actually just printed one off from TheBestIdeasForKids.com, and we have it hanging proudly next to our calendar. https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/?s=summer+bucket+list

Here are a few more tips on finishing the school year strong…

1. Set goals with your student:

This is the time of year that state testing and reading level assessments become the classroom focus, but also a time of year when behaviors in the classroom start to get a little uncharacteristic. Set a goal with them AND help them create a plan of action to help reach that goal.

2. Update the Merch:

I am so guilty about this. My first grader’s binder is torn to pieces, and I have been promising him I would get him a new 3-ring binder. Even his shorts and pants are too short- he has grown so much this year, it is difficult to keep up. The school year is nearing the end, but his supplies and his SWAG do not need to look as defeated as I am feeling which can create a mindset that “the year is over, so who cares.” *It won’t hurt to send a few store bought pencils or Lysol wipes to the classroom teacher either at this time* (I am sure they will provide your child with a little extra love and care that day as well)

3. Lead by Example:

I will be honest, some days after work the couch, a glass of vino, and Netflix are all calling my name. Unfortunately, there is still homework; there are still goals we all want to reach – ABC’s for Henry, Math facts for Charles. If I talk about how excited I am about summer break, then their tenacity and focus gets depleted. Keep first things, first. I have to remember summer will come, but if I keep talking about it, if I keep thinking about it- the anxiety will get to all of us.

4. Routine:

Keep the routine, especially in the morning. At the beginning of the school year, it is easier to start your morning off early, maybe workout, throw lunches together, and eat breakfast together. Toward the end of the year, snoozing a few more times, a few extra minutes won’t hurt, right? WRONG! The moment you start to rush, is the moment your child begins to stress.

The most important thing to remember is to keep calm, talk about the transition and the important emotions that come with it.

** Original text by Aubrey Steinbrink. Aubrey is an Intervention Specialist at an elementary school in North Texas, avid education advocate, and mother to two young boys. Aubrey writes for her own blogs Teachingthetoughstuff.blog & Omnivore2herbivore.blog

I AM THAT GIRL

GIRLS MATTER.

Girls receive over 3,000 messages a day telling them what they aren’t and I AM THAT GIRL exists to help them celebrate what they are.  I am that girl is a movement inspiring girls to love, express, and be exactly who they are.

My Girl…You have a beautiful heart and a beautiful mind. I love you! Mom

They have several local chapters of forward thinking girls & women on High School and College campuses. These chapters work to shift girl culture in America, by raising the standards for how girls treat themselves, each other, and the world.

When I spotted this noble venture on line, I was reminded that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is rooted in exploring and challenging negative core beliefs individuals have about ourselves,  others, and the world. This type of therapy teaches the skills necessary to overcome negative & destructive patterns of thinking.

Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps to identify which factors are playing a role in maintaining a negative body image and works to address each one by teaching the skills necessary to allow healing to occur.

Once the negative thoughts have been identified and evaluated for truthfulness, it is time to replace them with positive, productive thoughts that create a favorable outcome. this involves practice and dedication but has been demonstrated to be extremely effective in breaking the cycle of negative thinking.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Maya Angelou

If you or someone you know suffers from body image problems, low self esteem, or body dysmorphic disorder, I would encourage you to contact a counselor in your area for guidance and support. Please take a minute today to visit I AM THAT GIRL.COM and take the pledge today!  I have done it…Now it’s your turn. http://www.iamthatgirl.com/

I, Angie Glancy, am that girl…

I have a brilliant heart and a beautiful mind. I am me, an amazing work in progress, and perfectly flawed. I promise to lift other girls up, have their backs, and make it safe for them to be exactly who they are. I’m on a mission to raise the standards for how we treat each other, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat the world. Every time I look in the mirror I’ll remind myself that I’m not alone, that my voice matters, and that I am enough.

 

https://instagram.com/iamthatgirl

NEW SCHOOL YEAR AHEAD! Preparing Your Child for Change: BEING POSITIVE

Last week I sent my daughter off to a new preschool. All anxiety, trepidation, and fear (on my part) was laid to rest as she went bounding into the room with a smile on her face, ready to take on the new adventure. In that moment I became very aware of two possibilities: either I am a very overactive nervous mommy OR I did a sufficient job preparing her for the change. Maybe both.

In my previous post we talked about preparing your child for the new school year through proactive prepping. Today we will focus on being positive in the face of change and all things new.

Now you might be thinking that in order to be a positive thinking parent you must be a positive thinking person. I am here to tell you, this is not true. You may, however, find that through some practice you will become a more positive person, and who doesn’t want that? I, by nature, am a skeptic. I’ve trained my brain to believe if I consider all the things that could go wrong I will then be able to prepare myself to handle it more successfully. Faulty logic, here. What actually ends up happening is I turn myself into a worrying, stressed, and irritable mess who’s actually less capable of handling the circumstances gracefully. Maybe a little positive, hopeful thinking is a worthwhile alternative to consider… I decided to give it a try.

Being positive doesn’t mean you ignore the negative. It means you include both potential pitfalls and potential successes by addressing them with a solution focused mindset.

Since we are talking about beginning a new school year, let’s take my son for example. He’s turning 5 next week and will be entering elementary school 4 days later. He’ll also be partaking in welcoming a new sibling within this exact time frame. 3 big milestones here!

My son happens to be a bit of a skeptic himself, thinking of what could go wrong before what could go right. Preparing him effectively takes a lot of positivity while still paying careful attention to his concerns. Again, we are not seeking to discount the supposed negatives here. How do I go about this delecate task? Let’s take a look…

How to be a Positive Parent when Facing Change


1). Listen Fully


As I reminded my son this morning that we were going to his kindergarten school to talk with the teacher, I could see the nerves creep up on him. “But why, mommy? I don’t want to. I don’t want you to leave me there. I will be scared.”

First, I needed to remind him what was actually going to take place. “I am not going to leave. I will be there the whole time while you talk to the teacher. We will be there for a little while then we’ll come back home.” (Proactive Prepping in action). “Oh, okay.”, he stated as his nerves soothed a bit.

It is crucial to listen to what your child is telling you, verbally and non verbally, so you can effectively respond. Being positive does not mean discounting the concern through statements such as, “It’s fine. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Don’t worry. Etc.” This causes your child to shut their fears inside where they remain unaddressed. Encourage them to let it out.

2). Validate their feelings.


“Honey, I know going new places and meeting new people can seem scary. It’s all so new! Let’s think of what you might do when you we get there. (More proactive preparing here).

3). Consider the Positives


Help your child consider the good things while validating the supposed ‘not so good ‘. “I bet the teacher will be so nice. And the classrooms – ooh man, I bet there are so many cool toys and crafts in there. You will have so many fun choices! What do you think it will be like?” “I think there will be computers?! And games?! Lots of things to color with?!” “Oh yeah! I bet you’re right! I can’t wait for us to go and check it out together!” This convo sounds like it’s taking a positive turn.

4). Let go….


There comes a time where you may need to release the grip and let your child see for himself that it really is “okay”. If you have a particularly anxious child, seeing is believing. After all your preparations and positivity they may still feel nervous, and that is okay. Having your positive belief that it really is okay will allow them to step forward in trust. There may be tears and little fists gripping your shirt that you have to pry loose with the jaws of life, but they can, and most likely will see for themself that it is okay. Better than okay even.

Monitoring your own anxiety is critical. If you’re child senses that you’re afraid, they will feel afraid. Remind yourself and your child that THIS IS A GOOD THING! You wouldn’t be doing this, on purpose, if it wasn’t.

Change can be daunting, or scary, but there sure are a lot of exciting things to be experienced on the other side. Have fun!

			

New School Year Ahead! Preparing Your Child for Change: Being Proactive

http://happymindhappyhome.com/new-school-year-ahead-proactively-preparing-child-change/

“I want to go to my new school!”, squeals my (almost) 3 year old. In a few short days she’ll be transitioning to a new daycare . My husband and I have been prepping her for this change for a couple months… and prepping ourselves as well. Due to multiple changes occurring within this month ahead (hello baby number 3, kindergarten here we come) we figured why not just throw in one more thing. Changes all around! No man left behind! Let’s go all in!


If you’ve read any of my most recent posts you understated that for me, change usually brings anxiety. But, we are not here to talk about anxiety today. I’m taking a break from anxiety for a while. Instead, I’m focusing on being proactive, positive, and peaceful. I’m keeping in mind that I can only control so much. The rest I must leave up to faith, hope, and trust. I have come to realize I really do know very very little about predicting the future. Psychic readings are not my calling. <huff>

Let’s take some time, shall we, to focus on these 3 “P” words: Proactive, Positive, and Peaceful. Given that there is much to be said on each one of these “P” words I am going to break it down to 3 separate posts over the next 3 weeks, which will be just in time for most of you as you get ready to send your kiddo off to a new school year. We’re going to start with the first, and most important, in my opinion –

Being Proactive:

Though I cannot know for certain how my children will adjust to their new schools, new friends, new teachers, new sibling, and all other things new, I can, however, prepare them for what to expect  (as best as I am able).

Let’s take my daughter for example. She has gone to the same daycare her whole life. This makes it difficult for my husband and I to move her somewhere new where she doesn’t know anyone. Somewhere new where we don’t know anyone. ** Now these two sentences here are important. Important because as parents we may have the tendency to project our feelings (anxiety or otherwise) onto our children. I may be feeling anxious, my husband may be feeling anxious, but my daughter, well that’s a maybe. All I know right now is she feels excited about going somewhere new. She likes new. She is an adventurous soul in this way. Me – not so much. All the more reason not to assume that I know how she’ll feel. I can know, with a little therapist background in my pocket, that preparing kids for changes is crucial no matter how fluidly they adapt to changes or not. We all like to know what’s ahead.

Proactive Prepping

So what is the best way to proactively prep your child for change? The number 1 rule I share with the parents I work work is:

Paint a Mental Picture for Your Child.
 

Not an actual picture, a mental picture. Children function through images. They develop understanding through seeing and doing as opposed to hearing. Learning through hearing is an acquired skill that develops more through development and growth. When children are young, they need to see and do in order to fully grasp ahold of a concept. This helps them feel empowered and in control.


With my daughter we’ve been driving by the school regularly, we made a visit to the school so she could see the classrooms, see the actual space she’ll be going to each day to play. This will help her feel a little safer when we return on her actual 1st day. Now, lucky for me I have the opportunity to bring her there for a trial morning in which she’ll get to return home with me after a couple hours versus a full day. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is more for my peace of mind or hers. Like I said, this is a change for everyone. I don’t know these people either!! I digress…. back to being proactive. If you don’t have the opportunity to physically see a change before it takes place, you can still very well assist your child in creating their mental picture. Most important is you want to speak your child’s language – play. Remember, they learn through seeing and doing.

Here are 3 simple ideas for how to do this:

  1. Draw a picture together
  2. Enact a scene using dolls and other toys.
  3. Dress up and act out a scene together of the first day.

How to get started:

  • Start out by reminding your child about the upcoming change.
  • Tell her that today you’re going to draw a picture/play a game together about the first day of school.
  • Allow her to select the materials to get started.
  • Ask questions along the way to help shape her mental picture, such as what will it look like, what colors will the room be, what will her teacher be like, what will she play with, what will she eat, etc. There are no limits really to how imaginative you can become. *It is important, though, that this picture be one grounded in reality. You want her mental picture to closely reflect what will actually happen.
  • Also helpful to include here is a play by play. “Mommy will bring you to school and walk you to your room where we’ll meet your new teacher. I’ll get you settled in your room then mommy will leave for work. After work I will come back to pick you up. I’ll be so excited to see and hear what you do on your first day!” Always great to end with something you can both look forward to.

All of these help shape your child’s understating of what will take place when this change occurs, aiding her in feeling masterful over what’s the come as opposed to feeling at the whim of the changing tides ahead.

Helping our children feel in control in a healthy way is the best way of preventing them to look for control in unhealthy ways. These little people deserve this help from us. And hey, you will likely find that it’s quite helpful for you as well!

I look forward to hearing how proactive prepping helps you and your child grow through change together. Please share. And come back next week for tips on a being a positive parent through change.

			

Mommy Mind Make-Over…The Cognitive Triangle Explained

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

This simple premise is the cornerstone of my work as a therapist.

I have found that the root of a client’s anxiety and/or depression is often directly related to his/her core beliefs about himself, others and the world around him. These beliefs, in combination with distorted thinking patterns, cause a great deal of emotional distress.

So it stands to reason that if we harness the power of our thoughts, we can directly influence our feelings & behaviors.  This idea is the backbone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving. Quite simply: changing your thoughts can change your life!

Sound too good to be true?  It’s not. With a lot of introspection and a little homework, you will be well on your way to mastering your mind.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will shed light on the core principles of CBT. Today, however, we will begin to explore  the foundation upon which CBT is built.

The first step in understanding CBT is to understand that feelings, actions, and thoughts are always connected.

Image result for CBT triangle

Here is an example of this triangle in action:

Situation:  I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…I’ll NEVER get this blog post done in time, I immediately feel ANXIOUS. This feeling of dread might cause me to avoid doing either task & instead, binge watch 1,000 episodes of Odd Mom Out.  

My negative (all or nothing-always /never) thinking in this situation led to anxiety and avoidance…Not to mention some serious mind sucking t.v. time…which does little to help me conquer the Everest of Underwear in the other room.

With a small mommy mind makeover, I will rewind this scenario & hopefully end up with a more productive outcome.

Situation:  I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…This blog post deadline is looming & so is the laundry. I’ve been in this situation before & I managed to get it all done. If I stay relaxed, I will be more productive.  As a result, I feel less ANXIOUS and more hopeful.  This new feeling of calm helps me to work on each task a little at a time and eventually get both of the tasks done. …Which in turn allows time for a glass of wine &  2 episodes of Odd Mom Out. 

This mind makeover is obviously a win/win for booze, BRAVO & Borax! 

Image result for quote about thoughts

Your homework this week is simple:

1) Put on your big girl panties… (Hopefully they’re clean!)

2)  Put a lot of thought into situations that trigger you to feel anxious, overwhelmed, etc..&  jot them down. 

3) Stay tuned….In upcoming posts, we will explore how to label these thoughts and (if they are irrational), change them.

 

Happy Mommin’ –

Angie Glancy

 

 

Breaking Up with Anxiety: 3 Steps to Freedom Through Mindfulness

I am no stranger to anxiety, but I wouldn’t say I’m his bestie either. Generally speaking I find I keep an adequate amount of space between myself and this worthy opponent, but late term pregnancy seems to bring out his guns, and trust me they come a blazing. What is it about impending change that conjures up the fierce fires of worry? Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it.

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Confessions of a Screaming Mommy Part 2: Acknowledging Your Child’s Feelings (without neglecting your own)

Today we’ll file under the “no good, very bad day” category in parenting land. My soon to be 3 year old daughter is rounding the bend towards “independence” which easily translates as defiance. My least favorite toddler trait of all. Defiance by her usually leads to screaming by me – again. How does one get a strong willed child to cooperate? Well, the answer is clearly not “exert your parental power until she claims defeat”. Nope, lesson learned on that one. Eventually she might give in, or give up, but I’m the one who ends up apologizing. What’s the lesson in that? Certainly not what I was going for. Have to recalibrate my parenting map once again and set forth in the right direction. First thing: determine my destination…

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Confessions of Screaming Mommy: 3 Steps to Regaining Control & Letting Go of “being in control”

Okay, you got me. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty, from time to time, of losing my temper and yelling at my kids. Okay, fine. Screaming at my kids, actually. I hate that I do it, it sucks when it happens, and I feel guilty for days following. Miserable, I tell you. Just miserable. Feeling this terrible about a behavior begs the question, “why don’t you just stop?” Well, just go ahead and make me sound like an addict, why don’t ya? Actually, maybe you’re onto something here….

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Control Freak Under Construction

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”- Steve Maraboli

Twas the 3 months before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring-namely my spouse. The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care & the tree was still boxed, in the attic somewhere.  My cherubs were nestled all snug in their beds, while holiday panic danced in my head…..(Doesn’t anyone realize that this whole house has to get decorated ASAP and in accordance with this year’s  holiday theme???)

I relay this Christmas rhyme (in May), not to demonstrate that I have lost my marbles, but to confess to you (and to myself) that I struggle with CONTROL ISSUES!!! I wish I could say that my control issues are “seasonal” or even “Christmas tree related”…they aren’t.

Turns out, my desire for control is a 365 day dilemma.

There….my secret is out. I am acknowledging my struggle…and acknowledgement is the first step toward change.

My second step led me to seek a solution. After all, I am in the business of solutions (sort of) & I can’t expect my clients to commit to meaningful life change, if I am not willing to walk that path myself.

So I started walking and walking toward change.. Walking is hard. Walking is really hard , and tiring, & it feels like I am walking in circles. Frankly, this path is crap & needs paving! .

Detours were ambiguously marked by anger, frustration, or anxiety.  Dead ends signs screamed TURN BACK NOW!!! THIS IS beyond YOUR control. 

So I set myself on cruise control & instead of wandering in circles, I found THE CIRCLE. I have explained it below in hopes it will pave the way for you too.

Is it in your circle? If the answer is no…LET IT GO!

As you chart your course fellow control freaks…please be kind yourself.  The journey is long & you are are not lost; You are “Under Construction”-Remember to conserve fuel by focusing only on what you have control over.  You’ll need more than your fair share of fuel for the twists & turns ahead.