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Author Topic: 8.63 | Meditation for children under stress  (Read 10467 times)
blackandwhite
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« on: May 17, 2010, 08:49:26 AM »

TOOLS: Meditation for children under stress

Children who have a parent with a mental illness are at risk for social, emotional, and behavioral problems for reasons those of us here can all easily understand. Often the lives of children with a BPD parent are chaotic, and the child has to cope with scary and other highly emotional situations on his/her own. Such children are also frequently parentified, and have to become the parent, taking care of their ill mother or father when they should be receiving care themselves. Or they are over-controlled, and their every move is watched for signs of disloyalty, defiance, or simply normal self-interested survival; such children become very guarded and lose the freedom of self-expression and access to their own emotions. They only feel the emotions they are "allowed" to have.

As much as we all wish we could magically make these situations go away, usually our power is limited by the legal context (custody), the child's own desires to have a parent/see that parent in a positive light, and relationship (such as being a step-parent or grandparent).

Yet it is possible to increase the resiliency of children under the stress of parental mental illness:

Excerpt
Protective Factors [for children with a mentally ill parent]

Increasing a child's protective factors helps develop his or her resiliency. Resilient children understand that they are not responsible for their parent's difficulties, and are able to move forward in the face of life's challenges.

Protective factors for children include:

  • A sense of being loved by their parent


  • Positive self-esteem


  • Good coping skills


  • Positive peer relationships


  • Interest in and success at school


  • Healthy engagement with adults outside the home


  • An ability to articulate their feelings


  • Parents who are functioning well at home, at work, and in their social relationships


  • Parental employment


  • A parent's warm and supportive relationship with his or her children


  • Help and support from immediate and extended family members

From Factsheet: When a Parent Has a Mental Illness:

From Risk to Resiliency--Protective Factors for Children
by Mental Health America (Alexandria, VA)

 https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=93196.0


Some of these resiliency factors are outside your control, but others you can influence. This workshop explores ways to increase the coping skills of the child(ren) in your life through mindfulness. We'll look at:



    • What mindfulness is and how to apply it to kids


    • Common stress indicators for kids--signals that kids need more coping tools or other help


    • Our experiences using mindfulness ourselves and with the children in our lives


    • Examples of mindfulness exercises you can try right away


    • Resources (books, CDs, other workshops, etc.)


    [/list]
    « Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 01:18:03 AM by Harri, Reason: fixed link » Logged

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    marlo6277
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    « Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 11:14:51 AM »

    B&W  xoxox

    So glad you decided to tackle this workshop! I think this is a worthwhile and much needed topic to discuss and will prove to be educational and very well utilized in our every day lives with our children!

    Not only things that are 'stressful', but events that are traumatic for children.  In some instances, you may look at an isolated incident and the children are coping really well - a death of a great aunt or uncle, an earthquake in another part of the world, but when you accumulate various events over time and the healing, understanding and comfort portion of the recovery is absent or not well enough equipped, then a build up can occur and have a greater impact on a child in the long run.

    You can look at it like fresh laid cement - the death of a distant relative - might have an impact on the child of about a 3 (out of 10).  The child takes their cues from their parents.  If the child never really knew the relative, then they might not be that impacted and a recovery is good and builds them back up again.  But if a child has experienced other factors - The relative died in a car crash and the child recalls a car crash that they were in and it makes them think of their own mortality, then this impact might rate higher on a scale of 10 - perhaps a 5.  So the child must then recover from their own realization of potential mortality and deal with the death of a relative.

    So looking at the picture as a whole will also help us to determine the amount of recovery that may be needed for the child and what role we can play in helping them recover.

    Common stress indicators for kids--signals that kids need more coping tools or other help

    Some examples of recognized trauma events

    Abandonment

    Rejection

    Witnessing violence

    Incest

    Bodily Injury

    Death

    Witnessing death

    Family Disaster

    World disaster

    Multiple traumas

    Molestation

    Sexual abuse

    Neglect

    Verbal Abuse

    Physical abuse

    **Perceived threat to the life of a Primary Caregiver - either through an accident/illness or threatening the child "I'm going to send you away to live with strangers!"

    Stressful events that can also be trauma

    Substance abuse

    Parental separation

    Sibling loss

    Breakdown of relationship

    Life threatening illness

    Attachment difficulties resulting from behaviour of a parent or inconsistent parenting (eg due to access visits being limited by one parent or the other) and parental alienation.

    ***************

    A child's behaviour is not learned in isolation.  Children spend most time in their homes, and this is wehre they are most influenced.  Some families have suffered from the same debilitiating symptoms for generations, or through continuous breakdowns, because the contribution of the child-caregiver relationship has not been adequately assessed and utilized.

    No one needs prerequisite parenting skills to become a caregiver.  On the contrary many caregivers may not understand how the past contributes to their relationhsip with the child.  To earn the trust of children who have had their trust shattered many times in profound ways, adults must prove that change is possible by changing the way that they meet their child's needs.   Many of us caregivers cannot deal with the situation of our children without first understanding the meaning we've found in our past, and present life experiences, and showing our changes to our children.  When we understand ourselves and build coping skills, we will have the energy and awareness to make the next step to guide our children through the same process.

    With this connection made between us as a facilitator of strategies and emotional support, empowerment is found.  The consistency of an emotional and physical bond with us - the caregiver - is the best way to give a child a chance to develop healthy self worth and a bright future.  We can only achieve this goal by being committed as an invloved caregiver.  For children, the consistency provided by parents working on the same therapeutic activities means that they are being guided as they need to be in all aspects of life.

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    « Reply #2 on: May 17, 2010, 11:24:33 AM »

    I also think that a lot of nons feel overwhelmed as well... .like what good can they honestly do when week in and week out, the parent with BPD seems to undermine and undo everything good that the non has been attempting to do for their child?  And I think our own feeling of helplessness for the situation plays a factor as well. And we can begin to feel beat before we even leave the starting gates.

    However!  Even if only one parent is willing to actively participate in their child's well being, it will only serve to benefit the child compared with having neither parent actively involved.

    It is so important for us to examine our own history of the family, in it's entirety, so that we can truly understand the life and belief system of a troubled child.  In many cases, patterns that are played out in the home are repeated generation after generation.  

    A study shows that parents of anxious children can unconciously encourage anxious responses, by modeling fear and avoidance.

    Muris, P., Steerneman, P., Merckelbach, H. and Meesters, C. "The role of parental fearfulness and modeling in children's fear" Behavioural Research Therapy, (1996) Vol. 34, p. 265-268.

    Parental disorder and marital discord have also been associated with psychological problems in children such as depression and personality disorders.

    Shealy, C. Ibid

    I think it's important for parents to be cognitive of their own thoughts and feelings to a situation.  This will also help to understand where the child's perspective is.  Taking an objective look at our own selves and our own "tapes" that we play in our head will lend to either helping or impeding the recovery and healing process of the child.  Knowing that our own views are often extremely different than that of our children as their relationship with the person with BPD is different than the one we had with the person with BPD is also very important in helping us be mindful of the children.

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    « Reply #3 on: May 17, 2010, 11:52:21 AM »

    I actually remind my S that if for some reason he doesn't feel like he can talk to me, that he can always talk to the school counselor.    That our home life is not a big secret, that no adult should ever tell him it is a secret between him and said adult, that it is wrong for an adult to say you can not tell anyone.  We don't necessarily tell everyone everything... but you can always go to the counselor... this is the person you can tell anything to.
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    Do. Or do not. There is no try.


    « Reply #4 on: May 17, 2010, 11:58:26 AM »

    Yes, blackandwhite, excellent Workshop.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

    marlo, you bring up some really good points. What can be done when it seems like the other parent just doesn't seem interested in the proper caretaking of the little ones?  I also agree that we can also be guilty of contributing to the tension and the strife when we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed as well.  Kids aren't little adults but they can learn as well to advocate their own survival and coping techniques. My oldest stepdaughter has learned to deal with her mom's behavior in some pretty significant ways. Part of what helps is her ability to know how to remain calm in situations, looking at the bigger picture and similar abilities to keep her stress levels down. She's inspiring indeed.  xoxo

    I think that's where I really like the idea of helping the kiddos in regards to their own resilience. When there is constant exposure to what these kids deal with when having a mentally ill parent, reactions can get trapped into the nervous sytems and cause the stress that we sometimes see in our kids. They can be their own heroes if they can learn to release some of that tension I think.  

    I wanted to add some common stress indicators (especially in the younger ones who may not be able to convey it verbally) of how to know when the kids are stressed. Some behavior is otherwise normal (considering) while others may require professional intervention. It helps to know what to look for:

    Common Stress Indicators: (Multiple sources)

    YOUNGER CHILDREN



    • Bed-wetting


    • Fear of the dark, monsters, or animals


    • Clinging


    • Whining


    • Nightmares


    • Difficulty leaving you


    • Toileting accidents, constipation


    • Loss or increase of appetite


    • Fear of being left alone; fear of strangers


    • Confusion/indecision


    • Testing behavior or refusal to be cooperative


    • Nail biting or thumb sucking



    PRE-ADOLESCENTS AND ADOLESCENTS



    • Irritability


    • Loss of interest and poor concentration in school


    • Withdrawal from peers


    • Regressive behavior (reverting to past behaviors)


    • Headaches or other physical complaints


    • Increase or decrease in energy level


    • Indifference


    • Depression


    • Lying


    • Overreactions to minor problems





    Checklist when to possibly seek professional help: (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Pyschiatry)

    YOUNGER CHILDREN



    • Marked fall in school performance


    • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard


    • Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, go to sleep or take part in activities that are normal for the child's age


    • Frequent physical complaints


    • Hyperactivity; fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing with or without difficulty paying attention


    • Persistent nightmares


    • Persistent disobedience or aggression (longer than 6 months) and provocative opposition to authority figures


    • Frequent, unexplainable temper tantrums


    • Treats to harm or kill oneself




    PRE-ADOLESCENTS AND ADOLESCENTS



    • Marked decline in school performance


    • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities


    • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits


    • Extreme difficulties in concentrating that get in the way at school or at home


    • Sexual acting out


    • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death


    • Severe mood swings


    • Strong worries or anxieties that get in the way of daily life, such as at school or socializing


    • Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs


    • Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight, excessive dieting, throwing up or using laxatives to loose weight


    • Persistent nightmares


    • Threats of self-harm or harm to others


    • Self-injury or self destructive behavior


    • Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression


    • Repeated threats to run away


    • Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism


    • Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors




    ~DreamGirl
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    « Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 12:07:33 PM »

    DG ~ I just wanted to add that a lot of the behaviours you mentioned in the "pre-adolescents and adolescents" section of your post were exhibited by my Oldest SD when she was only 7 yrs old.

    I attribute it to the fact that she was forced to grow up way faster than she should have.  And in turn, now I am seeing an exhuberance of these factors that are becoming a multitude.

    At age 7 she was exhibiting almost all of the behaviours you mention, including acting out sexually.  (in her own way - lifting her skirt on the bus to expose her behind and genitals and asking boys if they wanted to 'play' with it.)

    When asked, she explained that mommy had explained the birds and bees to her in a way that she understood that when boys 'like' you, they want to 'play' with those parts.  It was not appropriate, and mom went so far as to explain how mom's boyfriend enjoys 'playing' with those parts on mommy. 

    All at the ripe old age of 7... .so leading up to those behaviours, I also think it's important to analyze how the messages were sent to the children.  :'(

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    « Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 10:00:13 PM »

    Excerpt
    In some instances, you may look at an isolated incident and the children are coping really well - a death of a great aunt or uncle, an earthquake in another part of the world, but when you accumulate various events over time and the healing, understanding and comfort portion of the recovery is absent or not well enough equipped, then a build up can occur and have a greater impact on a child in the long run.



    Well put, marlo. And often life with a BPD parent doesn't allow for nearly enough recovery, as the trauma and stress piles up. Anything we can do to help kids create their own islands of calm within them will be very beneficial.

    Thank you and DreamGirl for your excellent lists of signs of stress and traumatic events. So many of these will unfortunately be in the daily life of a child with a BPD parent, especially if the parent is not pursuing treatment.

    I actually remind my S that if for some reason he doesn't feel like he can talk to me, that he can always talk to the school counselor.    That our home life is not a big secret, that no adult should ever tell him it is a secret between him and said adult, that it is wrong for an adult to say you can not tell anyone.  We don't necessarily tell everyone everything... but you can always go to the counselor... this is the person you can tell anything to.

    Very helpful reminders, dsnutt. Not having to keep secrets also helps greatly with reducing stress. Holding it all in takes a lot out of a child.

    A lot of the terror I felt as a child of a uBPD mother was experienced as I lay in my bed at night. I coped by escaping and reading during the day, when I could, but at night I didn't have anywhere to turn, and my mind would flood with fear and reactions to the events I'd witnessed. My uncle happened to teach me a little relaxation meditation once. It was a purely offhand thing for him, something he'd learned and showed me on a rare visit. But I remembered it and did it often as I was fearful in my bed. It was really simple, relaxing various parts of the body from my toes up to my head and talking (in my mind) to myself in a soothing way. If I did a few rounds of this, I could often quiet my fears and put myself to sleep.

    It was a small thing, but it made so much difference to me.

    What is Mindfulness?

    Here's a brief description from Karen E. Hooker, PsyD and Iris E. Fodor, PhD from their paper, "Teaching Mindfulness to Children" (see www.gestaltreview.com/Portals/0/GR1201Hooker&Fodor.pdf):

    Excerpt
    Mindfulness, which features focused awareness training, is increasing in

    popularity among mental health professionals. Mindfulness training emphasizes

    focused attention to internal and external experiences in the present

    moment of time, without judgment. While mindfulness interventions

    have been used in treatments for stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression,

    borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and addiction, researchers

    suggest that this type of training also can be beneficial in everyday life.

    They go on to outline the key features of mindfulness (emphasis mine):

    Excerpt
    We can teach children to begin to pay attention to those things in the present moment

    that they never noticed before through a process called mindfulness. Mindfulness

    is defined as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the

    present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experiences moment by

    moment” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003, p. 145). The first part of this definition expresses the idea

    that mindfulness is an active process; it involves active attention which leads to awareness.

    The second part of the definition highlights that it regards the present, rather than

    the past or future
    . The third part emphasizes that the attention is nonjudgmental and

    accepting
    , without thinking that the experience of the present moment is good or bad,

    right or wrong, important or not. It involves attending to the external environment

    such as sights, sounds, and smells, as well as to internal bodily sensations, thoughts,

    and feelings. In practicing mindfulness, one becomes aware of the current internal and

    external experiences, observes them carefully, accepts them, and allows them to be let

    go of in order to attend to another present moment experience
    .

    To a child learning from experience that their own needs do not matter (as the BPD parent's needs are paramount) and that they have little or no control over their environments (because their actions do not matter in the midst of the chaos or inconsistency and/or because their every move is watched and controlled), the idea that they can gain inner control and balance can be lifesaving. Another aspect of growing up with a BPD parent is that the parent's shame (and shame is a key component of the disorder) is usually passed along to the child. When a child is abandoned, physically or emotionally, he or she feels shame, a debilitating sense of being wrong, ugly, unworthy, nothing. Learning to attune to your internal life and accept it without judgement is a powerful way to overcome toxic shame.

    Relevant resources:

    TOOLS: Practicing mindfulness - how to do it

    Mindfulness has tremendous benefits to our physical and mental health. It clears our minds and leaves us refreshed and calmer--mental space many of us desperately need given the chaos and emotional dysregulation that characterize the BPD relationships in our lives. This workshop provides simple explanations, exercises, and strategies for getting started with practicing mindfulness.

    https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111031.0

    US: Toxic shame--what is it and what can we do about it?

    Shame can become "toxic"--a pervasive feeling not about anything we do, but about who we are. John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You and other works, and many others have suggested that toxic shame forms early in our lives. Many raised in a BPD environment, as well as others, carry toxic shame that is expressed as addictions, perfectionism, and codependence and limits our own fulfillment and relationships. Learn more about toxic shame and what to do about it:

    https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=117309.0
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    « Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 01:20:10 AM »

    WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT WE CAN LOVE AND CARE FOR OUR CHILDREN?

    Trust and Respect

    Acknowledge children's right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions

    Promote independence

    Allow for privacy

    Respect feelings for the other parent

    Believe your children

    Provide Emotional Security

    Talk and act so that children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves

    Be gentle

    Be dependable

    Provide Physical Security

    Provide food, shelter, clothing

    Teach personal hygiene and nutrition

    Monitor safety

    Maintain a family routine

    Attend to wounds

    Provide Discipline

    Be consistent

    Ensure rules are appropriate to age and development of child

    Be clear about limits and expectations

    Use discipline to give instruction, not punish

    Give Time

    Particpate in your children's lives - activities, school, sports, special events and days, celebrations, friends

    Include your children in your acitivities

    Reveal who you are to your children

    Encourage and Support

    Be affirming

    Encourage children to follow their interests

    Let children disagree with you

    Recognize improvement

    Teach new skills

    Let them make mistakes

    Give Affection

    Express verbal and physical affection

    Be affectionate when your children are physically or emotionally hurt

    Care for Yourself

    Give yourself personal time - You deserve it!

    Keep yourself healthy

    Maintain friendships

    Accept love

    All of these steps will lay the foundation for a healthy, meaningful relationship with our children.  In turn, they will trust us and turn to us to look for protection and safety when they are feeling threatened.  

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    « Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 10:58:54 PM »

    I really like that list, marlo!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

    Teaching mindfulness seems to fit in well, as it:



    • shows trust and respect ("acknowledge children's right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions" by giving children mental space to experience their own inner life without judgment


    • provides emotional security ("be gentle" by giving children a way to comfort themselves even when you're not there


    • encourages and supports by teaching a very useful new skill




    "Mindfulness" can seem a little weird and off putting, but it can be pretty simple. A way I used it, instinctively, as a child is that I would turn to our cats for comfort. When things were rough, I could go curl up with a cat and tune into the cat's purring. I even carried that sound around with me and would summon it when I needed comfort later.

    With my daughter, I've tried various things, but one of the easiest and most effective is simply breathing with her. She can get shy and anxious about being on the spot; when she had to give a presentation and was truly a full of anxiety (crying and not easy to comfort, unlike her), I sat with her quietly and simply breathed in a smooth, deep, calm way for a while. Her breathing started to match my own and she calmed down a lot. I also named the feeling for her, "what you're feeling is anxiety; it feels awful but it will pass."

    Some food for thought:

    What does your child tune into for comfort that might become part of a mindfulness practice? (TV, computer, video game, etc. are distracting and can provide comfort, but what about things that can calm more from within?)

    Have you had success in helping a child observe his/her thoughts and feelings without judgment (or modeling that with your own thoughts/feelings)? How? What are some experiences/tips?

    Are there opportunities in your child's life to learn mindfulness skills, such as through sports? My daughter's school incorporates yoga into PE. Martial arts often include elements of mindfulness.

    B&W




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    « Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 05:49:44 AM »

    This is an excellent topic. For us nons trying to raise our children after separating from our bp's, it is perhaps the most important issue.

    Frankly if it was just me, I'd be ok, I'd go NC and I'm big enough to take whatever rubbish bpxw tries to dish out. But my children are so vulnerable and I worry for their short and long term health.So much of my pain has been watching them suffer.

    The things set out in this post are excellent. I recognise many of the behaviors and strive to achieve many of the parental strategies to build and maintain my childen's resiliance.

    But I guess one thing I would really like to know is how others have applied these strategies in their lives. Have others got examples of what they did and what worked. I know I need to set boundaries for my children but are there any tips or suggestions as to what works and if something works better than something else.

    For example, I need to give my children an opportinity to relax (call it mindfulness, taking a break or just winding down after the maelstrom of time with their bpmum), B&W's suggestion of full body relaxation is a good one (I've tried that and it works quite well for my very excitable, hyper-energised S7 as he tries to go to sleep - he thinks its fun but it does seem to work).

    I guess my point is this : I understand the theory. I would really like to know what has worked for others (especially having regard to marlo's list) in practice ?
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    « Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 12:02:49 PM »

    I have tried different things with my SD9.

    We have spent some time just stretching. She seems to really like this - since she is a bit of a gumby kid - she can contort herself in all weird ways (thanks gymnastics!)  Being cool (click to insert in post)

    Her and I have sat out on the porch in the morning or on a warm evening and just done some stretching to relax ourselves and take some time to breathe.

    She seems to get most anxious at night - right when it's lights out time for bed.  Sometimes I think it's a ploy to stay up that much later, but overall, I think she is just thinking through some things in her head since she is alone with her thoughts and I know what it's like to not be able to sleep while you are sitting there playing over the day's events and it is preventing you from sleeping.

    So with her dad, she likes him to tickle her back and talk out her thoughts. With me, she likes to lie there, eyes closed and get her to focus in on her heartbeat.  Then I get her to see if she can 'feel' her heart beat (pulse) in the ends of her toes - make her concentrate on that, then work her way up - can she feel it in her fingers? Then I get her to focus in again on her heartbeat and pay attention to it slowing down. Taking long slow breaths, keeping her eyes closed.  She lets me know when her heart beat has slowed down.

    Then I get her to think of something good - I can get pretty imaginitive... .think about what you want to do for your birthday party, who you will invite, what sorts of things do you want to do? What will you wear?

    She, too is very imaginitive and so I say to her "Let's pretend that you don't have to worry about what things cost... .if you could picture anything, what would you do with that?" 

    That usually has her in deep thought about other things and then I say to her to let me know in the morning what she thought about but she has to keep her eyes closed while she thinks about it so that she can get the 'full picture'.  By morning, she usually can't really remember all the things because she drifted off... .

    She loves to read, so that provides a good distraction for her as well... .except she reads so much and so fast that my pocket book has a hard time keeping up! (it takes her 2 days to read a full blown novel! OY VEY)
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    « Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 04:44:38 PM »

    Marlo, that's excellent. Thanks. I'm going to try those this weekend if the kids are stressed. The "heartbeat" one sounds really good for S7 - I think he'll really like that.
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    « Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 12:42:46 AM »

    I just had another thought about physical touch... .it seems to play a big factor in releasing some anxiety with children:

    We also play this game - drawing a picture on each other's backs... .I'll draw a sailboat with my finger and see if they can guess it.  My SS likes to do the alphabet and words.

    Also there is this game we play with our arms... .I get them to look away and they give me their forearm.  I rub their forearm from wrist to elbow several times.  Then I begin at their wrist and with my finger work my way up slowly to their elbow.  I do it in loops and circles - tiny circles. And they have to guess when I am at their elbow. It's really neat because when you are about 1 inch from the elbow, it feels like you are on the inside of the elbow.  So it's a 'trick'. But they love playing that forever. And it seems to calm them down and take their mind off their worries... .even if just for 5 minutes. 
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    « Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 07:22:41 AM »

    Excerpt
    Are there opportunities in your child's life to learn mindfulness skills, such as through sports? My daughter's school incorporates yoga into PE. Martial arts often include elements of mindfulness.

    I enrolled my son in a self-defense martial arts.  He is so unconfrontational in the first place, so most sports are out of the questions.  He would come home because his friends (two are brothers) would start fighting.  I am really starting to notice his self-esteem is improving.  He is also on the shy side.  

    And of course he is also a people pleaser... .which is a constant... and I have been working with.

    But because of where we live, my child has more flexibility than most... .he can ride (S10) to the rec center to meet friends... .go to the park... .ride to a friends.  Its not uncommon for parents to call around the neighbor... at dusk... .is my son there... nope you try here... .they left here was going...

    My H has issues... like the grass getting matted... which is letting go... its funny he will watch them through the window... saying honey... .one step in your flowers...  I will just yell out... .watch the flowers guys.  I can tell when he starts to get antsy... .and tell the boys... why do ya'll get the football and go to the park.

    Excerpt
    She seems to get most anxious at night - right when it's lights out time for bed.  

    My son was always like this... until I adjusted his bed time... this is was I was living by myself... .so it wasn't because of my H.  At 9:00 we would start getting ready for bed... .this was the time he liked to talk ... .by 9:30 in bed to read story... Lights out by ten.

    My H now has issues, but one he can't win and he knows it... If my son gets cranky he goes to bed earlier... .if I have trouble waking him he goes to bed earlier.  We always talk about the importance of sleep, if we have a big thing going on to bed earlier.  I will tell him you seem to be letting the little things get to you, or you seem a little stressed... why don't we go to bed a little earlier you know it might be you need a little extra sleep.  He actually we go to bed earlier on his own sometimes now.

    I use to try what everyone else told me was best... .it was to stressful on him and for me... .I adjusted it to his normal time.  (must be a night owl like his mom)

    I don't know if it will help... .but my son's high time with stress is more related to his mental health growth...  I call these mental growth spurts, he will also revert to a more childish manner.  I use this as a cue that his awareness / emotional level has changed.
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    « Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 08:30:49 AM »

    little doggy, I put your question about specifically what to do out on the coping with relatives board to give some adult children of BPD parents a chance to weigh in. Here's a link and some quotes from the responses:

    Wow, great workshop. 

    - Time away from mom really helped - it was really peaceful and calm without her around. 

    - I really appreciated affection - one time as a teenager I acted out and did something bad (I don't even remember what) and I was so angry and sad and my dad came in my room to talk to me and I just started sobbing and he gave me a hug and just held me until I cried it all out and felt better.  It was so great to receive that kind of affection and support even when I had done something wrong.

    - I also liked just long conversations with him, about all kinds of things.  He was a smoker and would go outside to smoke and I would go with him and talk to him while he was smoking - was nice to have some time to talk just the two of us. 

    - We would have a lot of philosophical debates and animated conversations about political topics (I guess this would fall under the category of let kids disagree with you) whereas mom wasn't interested in anything outside of her own feelings.  It was great to have some relief from that.

    - Believing your children was a big one, too.  Dad was the only one who thought I could be trusted, and would listen to me - and I was often right.  It's basic, but so important. 

    I'm getting teary-eyed, remembering this stuff.  I'll try to write again when I remember more. 

    I think what saved me especially in my earlier childhood was living near nature as my parents were both absent/unavailable for various reasons, I was able to connect with the beauty and wonder around me.  I loved exploring in the forest or the ocean and nearby rivers, even my back yard although that was a little too close. Although I was unaware of the dangers and somehow avoided disaster,  I experienced freedom and it was like a refuge to me and helped me see that the world was a lot bigger then my mother's house. 

      As for people in my life, another adult, that was rare but one thing that I'm grateful that my mother gave me was, she put me in Girl Guides.  We were always moving and so I can't remember having any friends before this but I made friends for the first time and the things I learned from belonging to this organization was just amazing.  I went camping and skiing, other firsts and I loved doing these things.  The way the air smelled and how everything sounded differently up on the mountain, it was a peace that I never experience before.  It was so much fun bunking down with my friends and being a part of something that felt so good because it was like I was in another world. 

    On other camp outs, I learned to start a fire and cook a meal over that fire and even after a seagull stole my pork chops, my Guide Leader still gave me a pass for my cooking badge. I have some very special memories from those days and those experiences added some balance to my life and let me see the other side, what life could be like. 

    justhere

    I also wanted to share a visualization that my daughter and I have done right before bed sort of in lieu of a bedtime story. There's a kid at her school who is being sort of mean to her, so I wanted to give her some control over that situation. During the visualization, she was lying comfortably. I asked her to imagine there was a light in her chest and to picture the light and what color it was. She had a very detailed image of a sort of rainbow disco light, LOL. Then I asked her to imagine the light pouring from her and growing around her, creating a sphere, getting as big as her bed, as big as her room, maybe even bigger. At first it was only as big as the bed but after she was willing to grow it a bit. Then I talked about the light as being protective to her, a shield of sorts. She could let in anyone or anything she wanted and keep out anything or anyone she wanted--it was her safe space. She decided who came in and wanted to be sure the light wouldn't hurt the kitties' eyes. When I reassured her that the light was gentle, she brought them in. I talked to her about how this sphere of light could surround her, and she could let things that were not so nice, maybe a mean comment, hit the outside of it and slide right off. Then we slowly pulled the light back into her. She actually wanted it to remain folded up in her right by her mouth--perhaps she associated it with being able to have her say.

    B&W
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    « Reply #15 on: May 20, 2010, 10:59:46 PM »

    Here is an article I found on Mindfulness and the benefits of doing it in a 'green environment':

    www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8654350.stm

    'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health' 

    Green space is important for mental health

    Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim.

    There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being.

    In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

    The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people.

    The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail.

    The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes.

    With longer periods of time exercising in a green environment, the positive effects were clearly apparent but were of a smaller magnitude, the study found.

    Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the young and the mentally-ill.

    Green and blue

    A bigger effect was seen with exercise in an area that also contained water - such as a lake or river.

    Study leader Jules Pretty, a researcher at the University of Essex, said those who were generally inactive, or stressed, or with mental illness would probably benefit the most from "green exercise".


      We would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate

    Paul Farmer, Mind

    "Employers, for example, could encourage staff in stressful workplaces to take a short walk at lunchtime in the nearest park to improve mental health."

    He also said exercise programmes outdoors could benefit youth offenders.

    "A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely."

    Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said the research is yet further evidence that even a short period of green exercise can provide a low cost and drug-free therapy to help improve mental wellbeing.

    "It's important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate."

    Mind runs a grant scheme for local environmental projects to help people with mental illness get involved in outdoor activities.


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    « Reply #16 on: May 22, 2010, 08:52:45 AM »

    Oh marlo, giving kids "green" experiences is so helpful. The quote from justhere about her finding salvation in nature is very powerful. I mentioned in the thread on "coping" that I linked to earlier that despite living in places where nature wasn't that accessible, as a kid I always found a green place with some water and turned it into a hiding/recovery spot. Something as simple as playing Frisbee in a city park on a regular basis can be beneficial.

    Being aware of your environment in a focused way is a mindful strategy. Some exercises, from the Hooker and Fodor paper:

    Excerpt
    A way to introduce the concept of mindfulness to children is through directing their

    attention to things in their environment. The following exercises can draw children’s

    attention to their surroundings, and illuminate the need for mindfulness by revealing

    what they are and are not aware of.

    Awareness of an Object

    This first exercise is adapted from an activity presented in Fontana and Slack’s

    book, Teaching Meditation to Children (1997):

    [DRAWING MEDITATION]

    Ask the child to select an object to draw. Examples of objects might be a

    telephone, a shoe, scissors, or a clock. Tell the child to draw a picture of

    their object. Remind them that the activity is not focused on their ability to

    draw, as this could cause frustration in some children, and to simply do the

    best job they can. Then the child should spend time looking at the actual object,

    paying attention to smaller and smaller details. If this exercise is done

    in school or some other setting, it may be a homework assignment to spend

    time looking at the object. Then the child should draw the object again.

    Compare the drawings, and ask the child to identify the details missing

    from the first drawing that they remembered in the second. In most cases,

    the second drawing will be more accurate and life-like. Ask the child what

    it was like to spend time really looking at the object that might otherwise

    have been something they never took time to notice.

    Awareness of Self in the Environment

    The second step in mindfulness training with children is to guide their awareness

    towards their own experience in the environment; in other words, to focus on the attention

    they are paying (or not paying) to themselves. You want to help the child to pay

    attention to both the environment and his or her actions, rather than moving through

    the day like a robot. These exercises should be fun. They could be presented by telling

    the child that he or she is a camera whose lens is focusing on all the details about his or

    her own experience, and playing it back as it is happening. Or, the child could pretend

    to be a newspaper reporter and write down in a journal their experience of their day.

    In keeping a journal, ask the child to write down, step by step, what they do in the

    morning when they wake up.

    If the child is younger, he or she may tell you to write it

    down for them. Then, pay attention each morning, repeating the exercise and adding

    to what they had noted the previous day. For example, the first morning, the child may

    report that he or she woke up, went to the bathroom, got dressed, had breakfast, and

    went to school. The second day, he or she may add steps such as washing his/her face,

    combing hair, brushing teeth, and packing lunch. The third day, the child may add

    details of what was eaten for breakfast and smaller steps, such as pouring the cereal.

    By the fifth day, the child should aim to include the smallest steps and details, such as

    opening his/her eyes, sitting up and putting feet on the cold floor, walking eight steps

    down the hallway, entering the bathroom, feeling the difference in flooring underfoot,

    closing the door, going to the bathroom, flushing, turning on the water at the sink, feeling

    the warm water under his/her hands, and so on. If child has difficulty at any point,

    encourage him or her by asking what the very next step is, and cue attention to details

    by asking how something feels or smells.

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    « Reply #17 on: May 25, 2010, 11:41:49 PM »

    A few more exercises and resources... .

    Meditation for Children--3 Simple Exercises

    source: www.examiner.com/x-9293-LA-Emotional-Health-Examiner~y2009m6d11-Mindfulness-for-children

    Excerpt
    A. Drawing Meditation

    1. Sit down with your child in a quiet, comfortable spot

    2. Allow your child to pick one object in the room to focus on

    3. With your child, look at the object and describe what you see

    4. Have your child draw the object as best she/he can

    5. Together, descriptively compare and contrast the drawing and the object

    6. If your child seems finished with the exercise, then you are done—if not, continue... .

    7. Now, choose a different place in the room to sit

    8. Look at the object again from this alternate location

    9. With your child, look at the object and describe what you see

    10. Repeat the exercise until you feel your child feels like she/he is finished!

    B. Reporting Meditation

    1. Toward the end of the day, sit with your child in a quiet, comfortable spot

    2. Ask your child to go through the day in his/her mind

    3. Next, have your child narrate the story of his/her day

    4. Help your child identify the order of events chronologically

    5. Repeat back what your child has detailed and allow him/her to clarify, correct, or confirm

    6. When the conversation feels complete, you are finished!

    C. Body Meditation

    1. Lie down with your child in a quiet, comfortable spot

    2. Ask your child to name the parts of her/his body, one by one, from foot to head

    3. As your child names each body part, have her/him describe how that particular body part feels

    4. After you each say how your body feels, move/wiggle/twitch/shimmy that body part in different ways

    5. Help your child identify each major body part as she/he moves up the body

    6. For each part, complete all three steps: naming, feeling, moving

    7. When your child and you have reached the top of your heads, you are done!

    Books and CDs

    Ziji - The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate

    Zen Shorts (and the rest of the Stillwater series) by Jon Muth

    Still Quiet Place: Mindfulness for Young Children by Amy Saltzman M.D

    A very nice CD--good to play in the car or before bed (for the more relaxing exercises). You can listen to a sample at amazon.com.

    For adults to better understand how mindfulness actually reshapes the brain and encourages mental health, I recommend Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Dr. Dan Siegel.
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    « Reply #18 on: May 25, 2010, 11:52:08 PM »

    I find this workshop very helpful.

    I've got nothing to add but it's been very good reading it,

    Cheers!
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    Do. Or do not. There is no try.


    « Reply #19 on: May 26, 2010, 02:30:42 PM »

    Excerpt
    B. Reporting Meditation

    1. Toward the end of the day, sit with your child in a quiet, comfortable spot

    2. Ask your child to go through the day in his/her mind

    3. Next, have your child narrate the story of his/her day

    4. Help your child identify the order of events chronologically

    5. Repeat back what your child has detailed and allow him/her to clarify, correct, or confirm

    6. When the conversation feels complete, you are finished!

    This one is really easy to do.  xoxo

    Focusing on details... ."We went to the yarn shop with Grandma" can become a story about colors, sounds, textures, etc.

    Yesterday, my youngest and I spent a half an hour describing her new dress that she is to wear for her mom's wedding. It was a really nice and relaxing close to a particularily difficult day for me. We both seemed to benefit from this one. Smiling (click to insert in post)

    ~DG
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    « Reply #20 on: August 15, 2010, 03:46:06 PM »

    I just wanted to add some other Signs and Symptoms from Hope and Healing: A Caregivers Guide to Helping Young Children Affected by Trauma

    https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=125807.0

    Excerpt
    Signs and Symptoms

    1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event through



    • Posttraumatic play


    • Preoccupation wtih the traumatic event


    • Triggers that remind the child of the trauma


    • Nightmares and sleep disturbances




    2. Hyperarousal

    3. The child shows withdrawn behaviour, avoidant behaviour or both

    4. The child may exhibit sexualized or aggressive behaviours

    5. The child is fearful

    6. The child may regress or fall behind in development and behaviour

    7. The child may develop physical symptoms

    8. The child's relationship with parents or other caregivers may suffer

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