Making parenting mistakes since 2008

Category — resources

Lunch Wars

I just finished reading Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa and to brutally honest I was astonished at what I read. I live in Canada in a province that recently passed a law that means school can only have a minimal amount of  junk food in their cafeterias, a law that says that even pizza needs whole wheat crust and low sodium sauce. It is a step in the right direction even though it does not solve all our food problems it puts us miles ahead of what I read about in Amy’s book.

I had no idea that schools in America where allowed to serve children the amount of processed, packaged, fried, sodium laden food that they do. The only thing I knew about American school cafeterias was what I saw on Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution and I must admit that I thought a lot of it was just reality TV taking something small and making it huge. I have learned that this is not the case, that the reality is that thousands of children everyday are eating food that I would not feed to my pets.

I believe passionately in the expression “you are what you eat”, I think this even more true for children.  I believe that kids behaviour is effected by the food they eat and that it is really tough for kids to learn if their bellies are not full of food that is going to give them the energy they need to get through the day. I believe that food should as often as possible be locally sourced and organic. I feed my kids this way ( we pack lunches) and if my school was feeding my children I would expect that they were doing the same.

If you are a parent or and educator who wants to help change the way schools feed children Lunch Wars and Two Angry Moms is an excellent place to start.  Not only does in provide concrete facts about what American children are eating but it also has fabulous suggestions about how to begin to get things to change and shares examples of others who have begun to make those changes in their communities.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own


October 7, 2011   1 Comment

Help for the Adoption Journey – Therapy

As a society one of the biggest mistakes that we make is to tell people to pull up their socks and get on with life. Sometimes life is really hard, things go wrong, people get hurt and the last thing that we need to do is minimize a persons suffering. It is hard for a lot of adults to admit that they need help. It is hard for adults to admit that they can not just pull up their socks and move on, that the pain is to great and that they need someone to help them.

Let me tell you this now, I will say it as many times as you need to hear. Therapy is a really, really good thing.

I have heard all the excuses in the book that people have to avoid going to therapy. They are really good excuses….
I tried it, it didn’t work.
or how about – They asked me to swing naked from the chandelier to help with my depression and I just could not do it.
or – I can’t afford it.
or – we went 3 times and nothing got any better.
or – it won’t help, I just need a thicker skin.
or – they won’t understand what it is like to parent a kid with ____ ( RAD, ADHD, Autism, etc.)

Let me say it again, therapy is a really, really good thing.

There are a few things that you need to remember though ( I am not an expert but I have been in therapy a really long time and my husband is a therapist)

– you may not click with the first therapist you try, you may have to try out a whole bunch of them before you find the right one who you feel comfortable with and who can help you with your issues.

– There are lots of types of therapy and not all therapists are trained in all methods, most specialize in one or two things. If you want to talk about trauma and PTSD do not go to someone who specialized in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy unless they also have trauma experience and skills. Do not be afraid to question someones training because not everyone is honest.

– Yes it can get really expensive, really quickly. We find the money. We eat out less, we rent movies instead of going to the theater and we are generally really frugal about a lot of things to find the money for us both to have our own therapists. I go every three weeks, that is enough for me at this point in my life, when I was in university and depressed I went every week, sometimes twice ( I still have debt from those years)

– Many therapists have a sliding scale, talk about your money woes, be honest and see if they are able to help you out. It may seem like a lot of money per hour but remember it is about the same amount of money your mechanic charges for an hour of work. Therapists go to school a long time and are always taking courses to improve their skills, they do not make a lot money, trust me.

– Therapy is not just for kids or really broken adults, many people benefit from therapy once they find the right therapist. Sometimes it is a short term thing and other times it takes years. Few things can be dealt with in less than about 10 sessions though because you need to build a relationship with the therapist, work through the issue and then bring closure to the relationship.

Let me say it again, therapy is a really, really good thing.

There are lots of people out their who say that they are specialists in one type of therapy or another. I thought I would fill you in on some that language because it can get a bit overwhelming.

Certified Counsellor – not all therapists are PhD’s, some have a master’s degree but they should belong to college or governing body. It is different in every state and province but look into how it works where you live and ask if they are members of the local college/governing body for their field. Social workers can be counsellors in some places and they belong to a different college than psychotherapists… it can get really confusing with all the different systems but check credentials of whomever you see.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  is a method of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress – taken from EMDR International Assoc. Homepage

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy type that encourages the client to become aware of the behaviours that reinforce psychological distress. It is useful with issues like anxiety ( and related issues), OCD and panic disorder. You can find more information here

Gestalt Therapy – focuses on gaining an awareness of emotions and behaviors in the present rather than in the past. The therapist does not interpret experiences for the patient, instead the therapist and patient work together to help the patient understand themselves. There are many aspect to Gestalt and you may hear it referred to as the “two chair” method. You can find more information here

Therapy for you to do with your child
Our kids often need therapy, it is much more useful if you attend all therapy sessions with your child. There are many reasons for this that a good therapist can explain to you but it is about attachment and your child’s relationship with you, not with the therapist. If you can not find someone who will encourage your active participation then keep looking until you do.

Attachment Therapy – Is a really great thing to do with your kids if they have attachment issues. (This is not holding therapy. If someone wants to do that with you and your kids please run screaming from the room) There are lots of great ways to foster attachment with kids and none of them involve any holding except having your child sit on your lap sometimes. Dyadic Developmental Therapy is great place to start with and then you can look for therapists who are trained in that method or similar methods within your community.

 Art/Music/Therapy –  these use a medium to get the therapeutic process going. You can find more information on Art and Music therapy by following those links. I have grouped them together here but they both have very different approaches and very different outcomes.

Play Therapy – A therapy style that speaks to children in the language they speak best, play. It is useful for kids with a variety of issues including trauma.  There are lots of different techniques used in play therapy including sand tray, puppetry and story telling. You can find a longer definition here

Do not be afraid of therapy, it can be a really, really good thing and just like everything else in the world, there are bad therapists out there. Do not let them shade your view because there are also lots of great ones who can help.

Let me say it again, therapy is a really, really good thing.

May 14, 2010   5 Comments

Help for the Adoption Journey – Adoption 101 or what no one ever told me.

A conversation was started last week by Living with RAD about the journey of adoption and how we live and survive in world that somedays overwhelms us and that many of us had no idea we had signed up for. A number of other bloggers have weighed in over the past few days. Take a minute and go read Essie, Jennie, and The Accidental Advocate who discuss the journey that we are on, then go read Corey, Tudu and Mom in the Trench who are brutally honest about just how hard doing this each and every day can be.

I wanted to weigh in as well but in a different sort of way. When I started this journey with P, two years ago I had no idea just how hard it would be. I did not know that my life would be filled with anger, rage, poop, sadness, longing, fear and developmental  and cognitive delays that could of been prevented.

I knew it would be hard but no one told me it would be this hard.

No one told me because no one I spoke to had ever adopted kids like ours. There is not worker at our local agency who has adopted older kids. There is no one in my town and none of my friends had done it either. We stumbled through as best we could for the first 6 months. We had hope that it would ger easier. It didn’t.

We got therapy for Calvin ( P and I already had are own therapists), we learned about Beyond Consequences, we started using it. We read every book we could find and then one day I found J and through J her Mom Lisa. Lisa saved me. Reading Lisa’s blog was like looking into my living room and seeing my life from the outside. I learned that I was not alone. There were other parents waging the same battles that we were each and everyday.

Bloggers became my lifeline, I started spending hours reading and learning from other parents experiences. I started to see that they might be a light some where in this darkness that was parenting these children. I shifted and changed along with my children, learning to be the kind of parent that they needed. There were no instructions, it was all trial and error and most days I am still flying by the seat of my pants. I have learned so much from other parents and from their blogs along the way. They are in my sidebar, go meeat them, they are all strong and passionate people who are doing their best to make it through each and every day.

If you are new to this parenting journey may I suggest that you get your hands on the following:

Wounded Children Healing Homes – I can not say enough good things about this book. Kari turned me on to it and then Jayne ( one of the authors) left a comment on my blog. It is the first time that I have seen a book that talks about all the things we have all been saying about Adoption this week. It goes through just as brutally hard this can be while providing hope and help for the future with your children. I think it should be required reading.
Beyond Consequences – I talk about Heather a lot here. It helps you to understand your kids, it provide amazing insight into why the behaviours exist.
Deborah Gray, Daniel Hughes, Gregory Keck, and Denise Best are all amazing authors who provide hope, insight and some light for the journey.
When you know what a theraputic parent is, go and meet Christine, watch her videos, absorb her brillance.

Know that if you are just starting out on your adoption journey, half way through or feeling like you are drowning that you are not alone. There are lots of us out here, we have lived through intense challenges with our children. We continue to have new challenges, we are learnig and growing and changing.

I will not tell you that it is getting easier because that would be a lie but I can tell you that I am better person and parent than I was two years ago when I started this journey. I find hope in the little things and if I can get these two children to adulthood with some sanity still in tact then I will of been successful.

March 31, 2010   5 Comments