Parent Café: Self-Care

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Hi, I am back with more helpful tips and hints, this time for the care providers.  We, as parents, are constantly reminded that our children/child comes first.  That is partially correct as parents; we must remember that our children will need us at peak performance most of the time.  Depending on their age group as to how much direct supervision and energy will be needed.  Albeit it’s hard to find personal time to refuel our energy. We know that spending time with our children helps them to socialize and learn the values of the family as well as community standards. We will not be able to carry out parental duties in an effective manner without self-care.

What is self-care?

 Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Though the question seems relatively simple of just how does a parent juggle all the tasks to do self-care?  Self-care often gets overlooked or dismissed to a later date, often a date that never happens.  Self-care is important for reducing anxiety as well as improving one’s mood. It is necessary for all people but especially for parents.

What isn’t self-care

Self-care is not a forced act or something we don’t enjoy doing.  A scholar once explained self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”  https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/

Below are a few helpful self-care tips:

  1. One of the main keys to not becoming overwhelmed by the steps in the process of developing a doable self-care plan. Keep it simple. 

  2. Developing a self-care plan that can help enhance one’s health, well-being and manage one’s stress. 

  3. Identify activities and practices that support your well-being as will assist you in sustaining a positive long-term self-care plan. Improving and increasing your life.

  4. Another crucial factor is that a self-care plan is personal to you.  Everyone’s approach will differ and should relate to the needs of you. 

  5. Self-care plans are useful for workplace/professional well-being, physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relationships.  Activities should be tailored to and meaningful to one’s self and intended goals. 

  6. Physical self-care should include a regular sleep routine, healthy diet, walk, and exercise. 

  7. Psychological self-care consists of reflective journaling, hobby, time away from emails and social media, relaxation, positive interaction with family and friends.

  8. Emotional self-care encompasses developing supportive frie­ndships, write three good things that you did each day, play your favorite sport, and talk with friends about how you are coping with life demands. 

  9. Spiritual self-care involves reflective meditation, walks, visit your church/mosque/temple, yoga, reflect with a close friend, download the 1 Giant Mind app, and learn mindfulness techniques and its benefits. 

  10. Once the plan has been drafted, keep it in a visible location, stick to your plan-practice regularly, and re-assess how you are doing and if it needs adjustments.

  11. Once you create your plan, do a cursory check for any barrier that might hinder you from moving forward.  Also, what can you do to remove these barriers?  If they cannot be removed, then one might adjust their self-care strategies. 

  12. Finally, relationship self-care involves making close relationships, e.g., partners, family, and children a priority attend dedicated events with family and friends, arrive to work, and leave on time every day.

Access the links below, to download and chart your self-care plan, it is really easy to do.

Another method of self-care that I want to reintroduce are the benefits associated with mindfulness techniques/exercises.  Let’s start with what mindfulness is:  The term mindfulness refers to a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, a mode of processing information, and a character trait. To be in step with up-to-date research, mindfulness means also “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment”  This definition can be found by clicking here.

Mindfulness-based skills can help both adults and children to cultivate emotion regulation, decreased reactivity, and increased response flexibility, and intrapersonal benefits.

 The 5 most common benefits of mindfulness are:

✔ Decreased Stress

✔ Decreased Depressive Symptoms

✔ Increases Self-Compassion

✔ Improved General Health

✔ Increases Positivity in Mental Health Outcomes

  • Deep Breathing (Mindfulness Exercise) promotes:

  • Breathing for Enlightenment-develops deep insight

  • Breathing for Relaxation-helps quieten and clear the mind

  • Breathing to Let Go of Negativity

  • Breathing for Inner Peace

  • Breathing to Learn about Your Body

  • Breathing to Connect Mind and Body

 Source: https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-and-breathing-benefits-of-mindful-breathing/

Incorporating mindfulness exercises into one’s self-care plan is an added benefit, a benefit that brings positive returns.  As this will, i.e., practicing mindfulness will engender a whole-body healing, relaxation, and a peaceful mind and spirit.  Therefore, one will likely return to the task at hand with an increase in their self-care toolbox, an arsenal of ways to bringing calm, peace, relaxation, and clearer thinking.


By Valerie Fluker, MA, APCC

All people come to counseling to relieve pain and suffering. They feel they have little to no hope left. What they have been doing isn’t working anymore or maybe never did. They feel out of control, scared, and do not know where to turn. Or they may need education in the form of Parenting or Co-parenting classes. Or some just need to work on relationship issues or manage anxiety. Regardless of what brought you to this website I can help. I am caring, understanding and I want you to feel better. I see great things happening for most people within a few sessions. These clients start to feel happy, gain more confident and report they are satisfied with their life. While I cannot guarantee you the same results, I have seen positive results with most clients.

I became a counselor because I wanted to harness great hope and positive energy and to help install healing for my clients. I consider working with people in therapy an honor and privilege to work with each client. In therapy, each person develops their positive mental wellness plan and great growth often takes place.  

I discovered my passion for counseling teens while volunteering for Riverside Youth Probation. I enjoyed seeing these teens learn and grow as they figure out who they will become. I also work with caregivers of dementia clients and I see the struggle to care for their loved one. I frequently work with people that suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma. I have specialized training in trauma, working with children and elder adults.

I am a member of the following professional organizations:

  • Purple City Alliance helps make The City of Riverside a Dementia Friendly City.

  • American Counseling Association (ACA).

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Active Parenting

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This blog will focus our attention on active parenting tips for our children to increase their confidence and responsibility.  What is active parenting?  First and foremost, active parenting help impart to our children values that help create high functioning children and great adults. Active parenting involves instilling:

1.      Courage

2.      Self-esteem

3.      Responsibility

4.      Cooperation

These are just a few of the skills necessary for children to learn survival and life skills.   When thinking about active parenting, a proactive approach works best.  In other words, do not wait until the child does something wrong.  Instead, instill values and morals that will serve as your child’s foundation-a building block for growth.  Many parents believe instilling values, morals, and socialization is the purpose of active parenting.  Find your child doing good and encourage your child by telling them how grateful you are that they did this (___________________) Something like I appriacate it when you help me put the dishes away or when you make you bed or when you are nice to your little sister. Find a way to let your child know that you care and are watching. Ask your child what do they like best about their drawing or their art project. These are just some of the ways to actively parent.

Let us take a quick look at the four basic blocks. 

  • Courage-when instilled as a foundation; children have the strength they will need to try and try again. This build resilience a great tool for life.

  • Self-esteem-that is to possess a positive image of self.

  • Responsibility-a child is more than capable of making decisions as well as accept responsibility for that decision.

  • Cooperation-parents encourage children to work together as well as with others for a positive end.  Cooperation is also an essential element needed to facilitate teamwork efforts.

The four basic blocks are important for every child to learn. As a parent; we will not be able to be there for everything our child does. Having our children to use decision-making, along with the courage to stick with his/her decision, is crucial.  Another important part of active parenting that revolves around protecting and preparing children to be equipped to survive and thrive in society.  Important to that end is for children to feel good about themselves and their decisions and act them out with confidence in everyday life.

For more information on Active Parenting click here

Most parents can agree that is parenting is a full-time job, with no instruction manual. Most parents are unaware of the pivotal role they play in shaping the people their children will eventually become.  Parents become teachers, role models, protector and confidante, and many hats, all to get their child/children to a safe place in life. 

Unfortunately, parents are  tasked with the job of telling your child a hundred or so times the same set of directives. This is needed to help your child’s brain fully understand and be retained in their memory.  Essential to effect communicative is a relationship with your child is a vital component in developing a healthy relationship between the parent(s) and children. 

Learning how to develop effective communication with your child engenders a stable and loving home life (which helps keeps parents sane).  Noting day-to-day activities, e.g., homework, meals, and bedtimes flow more smoothly. Effective communication may also improve your child’ long-term health and development.   Studies indicate that children who don’t feel or believe they have a good relationship with their parents are more likely to have low self-esteem, difficulties in school and emotional problems, and are a greater risk for using drugs and experimenting with risky sexual behavior [source:  Mental Health America].

Building a strong relationship with your child/children

1.      Be consistent with children.

a. Hour to hour, day to day, and week to week, in short, every waking moment remain consistent with rules and discipline

b. Parents must practice the following rules as well, or our children will not either

c. Focus on one key behavior (or misbehavior) that needs addressing

d. The behavior should reflect a reward or disciplinary action [source:  Family Education]

2.       Stay positive-remain calm, do not yell.  Always reward your child for their good behavior. 

a.  The only way to reverse negative behaviors is to make rules that you can keep and enforce.

3.      Be Patient-Even though one may desire quick results; people don’t change overnight.

a.  It took time for your children to master their misbehavior; it will take equal time to change them.

4.      Expect resistance-Never fear your children are going to test you, especially if you tried enforcing the rule with them before, but failed to follow through.

a.  Change can be challenging, and your children are not likely to embrace your new rules.   Nevertheless, do not give in or up parents you are likely to win.

5.      Stick with it-In order for change to stay long term; consistency is the key

a. Consistency will show your children the behaviors and values that are important to you and in turn, teach them self-discipline [source:  Family Education].

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A barrier to active parenting: when both parents must work and some parents must work two jobs for family upkeep.  Important to families wherein both parents must work is to choose quality over quantity.  That means, it is not how much time is spent, but the purposeful meaning embodied in that brief time. 

To this end, I am posting a summary of children’s rights as set forth by The UN Convention on the rights of the Child/ UNICEF for every child they list about 42; however, I will only list a few https://www.unicef.org.nz/child-rights

1.      Be Recognized

2.      Adequate care

3.      Parental guidance

4.      Life

5.      Live with their parents

6.      Freedom of expression

7.      Freedom of thought

8.      Freedom from abuse

9.      An education

10. Personal development, survival, and protection


By Valerie Fluker, MA, APCC

All people come to counseling to relieve pain and suffering. They feel they have little to no hope left. What they have been doing isn’t working anymore or maybe never did. They feel out of control, scared, and do not know where to turn. Or they may need education in the form of Parenting or Co-parenting classes. Or some just need to work on relationship issues or manage anxiety. Regardless of what brought you to this website I can help. I am caring, understanding and I want you to feel better. I see great things happening for most people within a few sessions. These clients start to feel happy, gain more confident and report they are satisfied with their life. While I cannot guarantee you the same results, I have seen positive results with most clients.

I became a counselor because I wanted to harness great hope and positive energy and to help install healing for my clients. I consider working with people in therapy an honor and privilege to work with each client. In therapy, each person develops their positive mental wellness plan and great growth often takes place.  

I discovered my passion for counseling teens while volunteering for Riverside Youth Probation. I enjoyed seeing these teens learn and grow as they figure out who they will become. I also work with caregivers of dementia clients and I see the struggle to care for their loved one. I frequently work with people that suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma. I have specialized training in trauma, working with children and elder adults.

I am a member of the following professional organizations:

  • Purple City Alliance helps make The City of Riverside a Dementia Friendly City.

  • American Counseling Association (ACA).

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

School Blues

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Summer is known for many happy moments. We celebrate the 4th of July, being off of work or school, National Watermelon Day (August 3rd), and having those lazy days by the pool that help us to unwind after a long week of work.

One thing that is so important about summer is all the smiles we see. Living in Southern California is not always “chill” but we do have beautiful weather that allows us to visit the beaches and swim in the pool. Growing up in socal can be wonderful and, every summer, we see kids and parents with smiles because summer time is the best time to stay connected with family.

Many children start school at a young age and, when summertime comes, they may lose interest or focus when they eventually start school again in August or September. Others may not like being without the school atmosphere for so long and may have behavioral issues. Both school and summertime are needed but, can a child have school in summer?

Parents may still work in summer and are forced to bring their children with them to work or send them to a family member or baby sitter which could lead to boredom, irritation, annoyance, and even depression. To keep your child occupied and interested during summer by trying some of these easy-designed summertime tips:

  • Make structure: children tend to like to have a plan of what is going on for the day/work- this provides a sense of relief or safety because they know what to expect. Start by making calendars, create a daily routine, and have special nights every once or every other week that involves them making decisions.

  • Help the child to find extra-curricular activities: find camps and day programs that help the child to both physically and mentally stretch. Learning new skills and meeting new people can help the child to have a sense of belonging. Meeting current friends and setting up play dates can also help the children to feel a sense of belonging. Also, family vacations or days away from home help too.

  • Listen: Many times, children just want you to listen. If they are sad are having a hard time adjusting to the changes, sit down and talk with them.

  • Give them purpose: As much as older children despise chores, they are still needed. This gives kids a sense of purpose and that they are contributing to the home or “team” as you might say. Also, let your children come up with creative ideas. You do not need to entertain them 24/7. They have minds, let them wonder. Volunteering is also a good way to show purpose especially if you do it with them.

  • Have fun: Remember to make time for your child and you to just have fun and to be with one another. Life gets busy, but children grow up faster than you know.

Make some summertime memories with these fun tips and your child will forever remember how fun and awesome it was to be with mom or dad while also staying both mentally and physically active. They will be prepared and ready for school after having an amazing summer!

 

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Janna is currently a paraprofessional at a charter school based out of Chino and is also a volleyball coach in Corona. She just graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently on her way to earning her Master’s degree in Education and hopes to keep pursuing her dream of working with children and families and eventually becoming a mother herself one day in the future.