Posts Tagged ‘depression’
From time to time, I hear or read about parents who shame their kids in public as a way to “teach them a lesson”. I think Shaming kids is a very bad idea.
Shame is one of the most debilitating feelings. It can make people, young and old do horrible things. Many grownups I work with are trying to overcome a combination of guilt and shame which is impacting their lives. These feelings are born in childhood, when parents use this combination as an incentive, thinking, “If I shame you enough, you will feel guilty and the guilt and shame will prevent you from doing it next time”.
I grew up in a house that thought where shaming kids and using guilt were major tools in the parenting tool box. If parenting practices are the tools, my parents used a hammer. Yet my parents grew up with parents of their own who used this hammer as an educational tool. They thought that if they just didn’t hit it as hard as their parents did, that makes them better parents. Their attitude was, “I am better than my parents” because of this. As a child, when a hammer hits your head (metaphorically speaking), the thought that your parents had their heads hit harder does not make the pain go away. Funnily enough, telling me how much shame and guilt they felt growing up did nothing to ease the pain either.
As a child, I was ashamed of my grades. My parents thought that shaming me would make me want to do better at school, but rather than working harder, I diverted all my energy away from learning and succeeding and towards hating them for it.
Postnatal depression and other mental health problems related to pregnancy and childbirth are recently getting a lot of attention.
Many mothers become very sensitive while going through the stressful period of pregnancy and childbirth. They are much more susceptible to mental health challenges such as postnatal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
For many years, these disorders were linked to hormonal changes and the trauma of the birth itself. Recently, this view has begun to be criticized. It puts a lot of pressure on mothers and does not examine other reasons for the mental challenges women go though after pregnancy and giving birth.
A study done by researchers from North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Colombia wanted to check the relationship between partner abuse and women’s postpartum mental health. They measured various types of abuse, including physical, psychological and sexual, and mental health disorders, including depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. They discovered big correlations.
Sleep is one of the key ingredients for success. I have the perfect example to illustrate the point.
My son Tsoof is 18 years old. As his mother, I am slightly biased, but he is very smart and talented. He is in his third year of university and is excelling in everything. He is taking extra subjects, plays in three bands, he teaches two music classes and is simultaneously composing music and working on producing a show..
This week, I read an article that explained one of the reasons why Tsoof is so successful. He sleeps a lot.
Sounds funny, right? Keep reading to see what I mean.
The article I read talked about the damage of not getting enough sleep. Tsoof, from a very young age, was a good sleeper. When other kids in day care did not need to take an afternoon nap, he still slept in the afternoon. Later on, when he was in primary school and even in high school, no matter what movie was on or what he had to do for school, he slept an average of 10 hours a night. Our two daughters consider sleep to be a waste of time, but Tsoof never needed to be “encourage” to go to bed. Today, he is busier than ever before and he still averages over 9 hours a night.
Let’s continue with our tips on how to be happy and feel good in life. In the first post, I shared the science of endorphins – the “feel good” hormones. Chapter two was about the science of smiling. In the third chapter, I explained how taking time off can help us improve our mood, feelings and functioning. In this fourth chapter, I will explain how a good night’s sleep can improve our health and well-being and make us feel good.
Sleep is essential to our health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, many people do not get enough sleep or do not sleep well. A survey conducted in the years 1999 and 2004 found that 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. When we are asleep, the brain goes through our impressions of the day in a process vital to memory formation.
Good sleep impacts our nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolism and immune system. Imagine what impact bad sleep has!
In over 1,100 posts on this blog, I have covered a lot of topics that lead to happiness. Today, I want to talk a little bit about the flipside of happiness – depression, because depression is a big issue for many families these days.
There are many depressed couples, depressed parents and more and more depressed kids. The most concerning of these are parents who suffer from depression, because they often raise kids that cannot handle life very well.
Some say depression runs in families. That is not surprising because I think if you take a perfectly normal and healthy child and raise them in a house where one or both parents are depressed, they will definitely grow up to be troubled.
Depression is something people do not like talking about. I know many families in which the depressed parent is dragging the whole family down but no one says anything. It is very much like having a parent who is alcoholic or terminally ill. Everyone walks around on eggshells but tries not to say anything. Not always because they are afraid, but often because they have given up trying to speak up.
Alfred Adler (1870-1937), was a philosopher and psychiatrist who believed that humans have two basic needs: to belong and to feel significant. In the early 1900’s he started addressing the issue of quality parenting and the importance of parent education. If you are reading this blog and realize that we focus on empowering parents, we want you to know that Adler did this over 100 years ago.
Adler developed a theory that was very holistic at its core. He believed that when we are encouraged, we feel capable and appreciated. This contributes to a feeling of connectedness and we are more likely to be cooperative. When we are discouraged, we withdraw, give up and feel depressed.
Adler’s theory was very much relevant to parenting because he believed that our lifelong coping strategies depend on how connected we were to our parents and how significant we felt in our family. Based on Adler’s theory, every person is an individual who was created in early childhood, by his or her early life experiences, which are made up of his or her relationships within the family. Adler thought that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. Instead of trying to put pressure on the child to change their undesired behavior, you should help them feel valued, competent and special.
Guilt and shame are siblings in the family of feelings. Despite certain similarities, there is a clear distinction between them. Guilt is feeling bad about something you have done, while shame is feeling bad about who you are or a part of you. One is about behavior and can be changed. The other is related to your sense of identity and therefore harder to change.
In the ever evolving phases of parenting styles, the shift from physical punishment to shame was intended to use guilt more effectively than before, in the hope that it would teach children how to behave when their parents were not there. A bit like a GPS. Parents decided “guilt” was better than smacking because it worked even when mom and dad were not there. The purpose was still to monitor and control emotionally, but with good intentions; to create lasting discipline.
I have clients who are perfectionists and they know they are perfectionists. They have been to some form of counseling or have seen psychologists and they claim that things have become worse since they discovered their perfectionism. The label “Perfectionist” has allowed them to justify their behavior and that has increased the friction in their relationships even more.
Most of them came for life coaching when they reached rock bottom in their relationship due to their high demands when their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, friends, work colleagues or even boss said, “Get lost!” and kicked them out of the relationship or left them.
In the previous post on perfectionism, I wrote about ways to assess whether you or your children are perfectionists. In this chapter, I will give you some tips to help perfectionists. If you want to use them to help a child, remember that your goal is to plant those thoughts into your child’s mind or create circumstances that will help them overcome the fear that is associated with things not happening exactly the way they want them to.
I hope these tips will help you help your perfectionist child and if you need the help yourself, translate them into adult vocabulary and your own circumstances and make perfectionism a period in your life, not a lifestyle.
As a life coach promoting happiness, I find myself talking a lot about perfectionism as an obstacle on the way to a happy life. After researching the science of happiness and seeing thousands of clients, including many parents and children, I can tell you that happiness and perfectionism cannot live in the same body. They are like the good and the bad wolves living in your body and when you feed one, the other one starves.
The problem with perfectionism is not only that perfectionists are not happy but also that those who are close to them are not happy either because of it.
Many grownup perfectionists started out as perfectionist kids. In my kids’ assessments, I can tell if a child has a tendency towards perfectionism from age 3. Most people believe this cannot be helped. Some kids are born perfectionists and that is that, but I think this attitude makes our life much harder, because repeating this mantra guarantees there is nothing we can do about it.
Much like any other “disease”, perfectionism can be cured and the best time to do it is during early childhood, before the child develops strong behavior patterns that are hard to change.
I also believe that the best people to cure child perfectionism are parents, because their love for their child will help them overcome the resistance.
I love summer. I could bathe in the sun the whole day. When it is very hot and people wish for a breeze or seek the comfort of the air conditioner, I still prefer the heat. It makes me happy.
When Gal and I lived in Thailand and the humidity was extremely high, I never complained. I take a shower with such hot water that it is too hot for Gal. I have lived in Texas and loved it. I have lived in California (that was OK), Thailand and Singapore (loved it), and now I live in Brisbane, Australia, doing my best to forget the 3 miserable years in Melbourne, Australia, because I was so cold there.
There is a joke that says Melbourne has 4 seasons in one day, because the temperature changes dramatically every couple of hours. I found that to be true, but the only 4 temperatures I recognized were “cold”, “very cold”, “extremely cold” and “freezing cold”. Maybe I have different temperature receptors. I just love the warmth and the heat, and it boosts my health and wellbeing.
Our emotional state is very much like our body temperature. Everyone has different receptors and a different optimal temperature. It is important to understand that we have different ways of reaching our optimal temperature.
In the same way we adjust our water temperature and volume in the shower, Gal and I use different ways of coping with situations in our lives. Gal prefers to talk about the situation and analyzing reasons and options, while I prefer doing things that will make me happy and distract me, at least for a while, until I calm down and consider the situation from a distance and come up with solutions. It is very important to note that both of us, although we use different methods, are trying to reach happiness within.