Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Adventurous Review of 2015

It is a difficult job to try and objectively compare one year of adventure to another because each of our adventures are unique and each year we explore new areas and try to build new skills. We enthusiastically added outdoor rock climbing to our repertoire this year and it definitely elevated the quality and variety of many of our trips. And with several generous snow storms already blanketing our mountains we are on track to head out of 2015 with some big shoes to fill for next year.

The 2014/2015 ski season was one for the record books, just not the record books we generally want to associate with. While it is hard to complain about skiing and snowboarding in general, much of the western United States received record low snowfall and we definitely felt that here in Utah. We pushed on however and rode as much as we could while mixing in yurt trips, snowbiking adventures and snowcave building instruction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Guide to Giving Consequences That Teach

I am always looking for information on how to better parent, both for my personal life and professionally.  I recently had an article shared with me and it is a short but effective reminder.  Enjoy!

The link is:

There is a disturbing new parenting trend for "creative consequences." Surely you've heard of the dad who shot his daughter's laptop, or the "Ohio Mom" who posted an X on her daughter’s face and shamed her on Facebook, or most recently the step-mom who made her daughter wear embarrassing clothing to school so that she would be bullied. 

What is truly shocking is the number of people supporting public humiliation by parents as a punishment or discipline tactic! 

But is shaming children really the way to go? Is it effective?

Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW has spent the last 12 years researching shame, guilt, and vulnerability. She states:
"Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows."

and very importantly
 “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

Giving consequences with the intention of shaming, hurting, or humiliating your child is damaging.  Sure, they may "work," but at what cost?

The purposes of consequences, however, should not be to make us famous or earn us a pat on the back from other parents, but to teach the child in a constructive way.

Shame and humiliation create fear, and research indicates that the brain operates differently under fear. Under this threat, the brain reacts with increased blood flow to the survival centers of the brain and decreased blood flow to the higher thought centers. When the brain goes into this "survival mode," it becomes less capable of planning, receiving information, classifying data, and problem solving.

Becky Bailey wrote this in her book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline:
"Children under threat make choices that are biologically driven. Over time, this approach creates impulsive children who resist change and lack the ability to solve problems constructively."

1. Give consequences with the intention of teaching, not the intention of punishing or making the child feel bad.  Intention is important because the intention you have in your mind will influence the language and tone you use when you deliver the consequence. Be sure to be empathetic when delivering the consequence. Empathy calms the brain, removes the threat, and allows a person to take responsibility for this own behavior.

2. Let natural consequences happen where appropriate. Often we try to either rescue our child from the natural consequences of their actions OR we compound it by adding additional punishments on top of it. Let's say your child left her toy in the driveway and it got ran over. Rescuing would be buying her a new toy immediately. Adding additional punishment would be grounding her for leaving it outside. The natural consequence, however, is simply that now her toy is broken. If she wants to replace it, she can earn the money to do so by doing extra chores.

3. Imposed consequences should be related to the offense. If your child hits his brother, then taking away his iPad for a period of time doesn't teach what he should do when he hurts his brother. A related (or logical) consequence would be to have him problem solve a way to repair the relationship with his brother (write him a note, make him a card, etc) and to talk about ways of handling his frustration or anger so that he has tools besides hitting (deep breaths, walking away, clapping, hitting a pillow).

4. Problem-solving is a great way to teach children how to be accountable and responsible. The more involved they are in the process, the more they learn. Most times, problem-solving is the best way to go. Teach your child the process of righting wrongs and repairing rifts in relationships. These skills will serve your child all of his life.

5. Don't bring it up. After the consequence has been given or the problem has been solved, it's over. Don't rehash the incident, but get on with a pleasant day.

6. Connect. Make sure your child knows it was her behavior you didn't approve of, not HER. Find ways to reconnect. This models for your child what you were just teaching; how to repair relationships.

For more on consequences, visit What's the Deal With Consequences.

Ultimately, our goal is to raise responsible children. Teaching through natural or logical consequences or problem solving isn't going to get you any media coverage, but it will get you a responsible child who doesn't resent you for years to come.

Sean Maynard, CMHC

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gratitude at the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once more, and thankfully so. As my family and I went in to Salt Lake City last weekend to look at the beautiful holiday lights that are a yearly tradition on Temple Square (headquarters of the LDS/Mormon Church), we passed by a homeless man who had positioned himself on a corner not too far away from the happy crowd in the hopes of gleaming charity from others better off than he. He was older and the grizzled look on the craggy face he owned told a story of having endured many hard years with much of that being on the streets. As I stopped briefly to gladly give this man what little money I had on me and wish him a Merry Christmas, it hit me like a reindeer kick in the side of the head: that I need to be much more appreciative of what I do have in my life, instead of thinking about what I could use receiving as a present from someone else. In other words, I simply need to be much more grateful for what I do have.

National statistics show that suicide rates climb by as much as 40% during the holiday season. While I don’t wish to dwell on the negative at this time of year, I feel it’s very easy to let depression set in, especially for parents of students at Logan River Academy who may be having a hard time dealing with their child’s placement at a residential treatment facility in general, and more so for those few whose child may not be able to return home at the present time to visit. In times when I need inspiration and uplifting, there’s been a powerful speech that I go back to time and again which really resonates with me, and it’s my hope that it might do the same for you this time of season despite it’s unconventionality as it relates to the holidays.

Coach Jim Valvano (“Jimmy V”) was the head coach for the North Carolina State men’s basketball team. For those of you familiar, he’s the coach shown in highlights running around the basketball court looking for someone to hug after his team won the national championship in 1983. Or perhaps the phrase “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” will ring a bell. Ten years after winning the national championship, he was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and passed away in April of 1993, less than two months after giving a famous speech at the inaugural ESPY awards where he received the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. His tombstone reads: “Take time everyday to laugh, to think, to cry.”

It’s my hope that during this holiday season, whatever your circumstances may be, that you might find inspiration in the words of this man who was grateful for every moment of his life in the face of a terminal diagnosis that would shortly end his life.

Brandon Bailey, ACMHC