Tag Archives: children

Time for a Self Care Reality Check

Bird pic

It’s been a few weeks now…

Do you need to check in with other parents and caregivers who are also raising children who experience mental health challenges? 

Please join our Online PCLG Coffee & Conversation

Saturday, April 25th, 10:30am

  • What’s working in your household? What’s not?
  • What challenges do you have? What do you wish social services, providers and schools knew?
  • What self-care activities have you found that actually help?
  • What resources have you found that you’d like to share with other families?

To participate, please RSVP to hcpclg@yahoo.com for Zoom password info.

Feeling Socially Isolated?

Want to know how other parents are surviving?

Overwhelmed parent

Join  PCLG’s Parent Support Group ONLINE.

Meeting: Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00pm

This support group offers a safe place where you can share the ups and downs of parenting a child with mental health challenges – Connection and support is especially important in these challenging times!

Here’s how to participate:

  • Topic: Parent Catalyst Leadership Group
  • Time: Apr 2, 2020 07:00-8:00 PM Central Time
  • Join Zoom Meeting
  • https://zoom.us/j/198376991 (Cut and paste the link into your web browser, you do NOT need the app to join the meeting but you do need to approve the “launching” of the meeting.)
  • Meeting ID: 198 376 991
  • One tap mobile for cell phone or tablet use:
  • +13126266799,,198376991# US (Chicago)
  • If you computer doesn’t have audio, call the number below:
  •         +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • Meeting ID: 198 376 991

Can’t make this date/time? Join our 24/7 private support group on Facebook and let us know what works best for you! Hennepin County PCLG Support Group 

PCLG Coffee & Conversation with CANA

coffee-conversation

  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
  • 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Creekview Recreation Center, Multipurpose Room
  • 5001 Humboldt Avenue North, Minneapolis

Are you raising a child who faces mental health challenges? We want to hear from you! Join the Center for Africans Now in America (CANA) and Parent Catalyst Leadership Group (PCLG)  for a chance to connect and converse over coffee and refreshments. All are welcome!

We will talk about interacting with your child’s school, working with health providers, and accessing services through the county.  What are the special challenges facing families new to our region?  

  • Free, but we ask you to RSVP.
  • Interpreter will be provided.
  • Children are welcome, but please let us know how many and what ages.

For more information, contact:

 

Coffee and Conversation with PCLG

coffee-conversation

We want to hear from you!  Join PCLG Parents next month for coffee, refreshments, and conversation. Learn about the opportunities for advocacy, connections, and training available to parents who choose to become PCLG catalysts.  Bring your questions about interacting with your child’s school, finding providers, or accessing services through the county. We especially want to hear from parents of preschool and grade school children, but all are welcome!

  • Saturday, August 12, 2017
  • 10 – 11:30 am
  • Augsburg Park Library Meeting Room (NOTE: New location!)
  • 7100 Nicollet Ave, RichfieldFree, but please RSVP.  Children are welcome, but please let us know ages and how many to expect!

Secondary Trauma and Self Care

Raising children is challenging enough when everything is in place, but if a child has emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities, our lives can be very complicated.  We love our kids and delight in their strength areas, but outbursts or other difficulties might also frame our lives and those of our other children. Families may struggle from the effects of secondary trauma and stress, and balancing the needs of all of our children while still taking care of ourselves is a challenge.

carol-siegel Dr. Carol Siegel, PhD, LP, is a licensed clinical psychologist who sees both adults and children in her practice.  Her primary clinical focus is parenting. Her diverse experience includes expressive arts, autism, neuropsychological assessment, and child neuropsychology.  She focuses on how parents navigate the developmental challenges of childhood and how parents’ experiences affect the development of their children.

  • April 5, 2017
  • 6:30 -7:45 pm  Workshop & Discussion
  • Hosmer Library, Meeting Room
  • 347 East 36th Street
  • Minneapolis, MN

This event is free, but please register online or email us at hcpclg@yahoo.com.

Am I working with a licensed Mental Health Professional (MHP)?

It’s a simple enough question, but there are many types of therapists and counselors out there, so it’s a good idea to check the credentials of the therapist who is working with your child or family.  Here is a list of most credentials that are used in Minnesota:

  • LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • LICSW – Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
  • LPCC – Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
  • LP – Licensed Psychologist
  • MD – Psychiatrist

Don’t be afraid to ask.  It’s your right, and in your child’s best interest.

Normal or Not Normal? Part 2

ImageWhen Parents of School-Aged Kids Should Seek Help

Parenting children through their school-aged years can be exciting and fulfilling, but also frustrating.  You may delight as you watch them grow, but you may not always know how to help them through challenges. Remember that childhood is not always rosy, and our kids can be confronting difficult issues like bullying, problems with schoolwork, and peer pressure.

How our kids are responding to the normal stresses of elementary and middle school years is important to know.  The guide below should help parents to consider what types of behavior are considered normal and when behaviors should be of concern.

NORMAL FOR SCHOOL AGED KIDS

NOT NORMAL FOR SCHOOL AGED KIDS

Sometimes not wanting to go to school
  • Actively and continually resisting going to school;
  • Routinely crying about school or having tremendous anxiety about school.
  • Skipping school
Not excited about schoolwork
  • Declining school performance
  •  Getting very behind in schoolwork
  • Easily distracted or unable to pay attention
Growing awareness of and some anxiety about external peer and school pressures, as well as broader issues such as spirituality and world events.
  • Extreme, obsessive or long-term anxiety that interferes with eating, sleeping, or other daily living activities.
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches that don’t seem to have a medical cause.
Body changes and awareness of sexuality
  • Sexual acting out that is inappropriate for a child’s age
Some mood swings
  • Having “up” or “down” moods that last for several weeks at a time;
  • Experiencing a dramatic personality change;
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Talking about death or suicide
Testing out behaviors and taking risks
  • Displaying patterns of lying, cheating and/or stealing
  • Aggressive or hurtful behavior, fighting or bullying
  • Recklessness to the point of endangering self or others
  • Substance abuse

Sources: Minnesota Department of Human Services; University of Maryland Medical Center

Summer Camp Is Not Off the Table

I was curious to see what options families have for sending their children to summer camp this year, even if the child has special needs or mental health issues. ImageHere’s what I found out:

Camp Buckskin (Ely, Minnesota) – has been helping young people with ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Aspergers or those who have been adopted learn and grow for over 50 years.

Camp Hand in Hand (Autism Society of Minnesota) AuSM-trained camp counselors and experienced program staff carefully plan and maintain a very well-run, relaxed and rewarding camp experience at Camp Knutson in Crosslake, Minnesota.

Camp Noah (Lutheran Social Services) The camp curriculum is specifically designed to help children process their experience with disaster and grief in a safe, supportive, and caring atmosphere that also offers fun and recreation at a time of intense stress.

Camp Character works to develop life and social skills for children with special needs ages 7-18. It is an overnight camp that will build confidence and behavioral skills.

Friendship Ventures – has several resident camps, including:Camp Adventure for children 6-15 with ADD/ADHD and other academic and/or social skill difficulties and their siblings; and Asperger’s Camp for children and young adults with Aspergers.

Need Financial Help? Many of the camps offer scholarships or financial aid for your child to be able to afford camp.  In addition, you might investigate some of these other options:

  • Churches and synagogues sometimes offer partial scholarships
  • Check your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of local civic organizations, such as Rotary, Elks or Lions Clubs that could offer funding.
  • Adoptive parents can sometimes get funding from state adoption agencies.
  • Metro Friendship Foundation offers scholarships for children with ASD to attend social skills camps, like Camp Hand in Hand.

Next, I’ll try to look at options for day camps and other recreational activities closer to home.

On the Problem of Avoiding

ostrich-head-in-sand1

When it comes to mental health issues, lots of people avoid them.  Teachers and school staff don’t want to bring up touchy subjects with parents, so they speak in vague, indirect terms, rather than confront the issue more head on.  Instead of saying, “Allison seems sad,” and stopping there, teachers should keep going. They may need to add, “The fact that Allison cries every day, does not seem to have any friends, and falls asleep in class regularly really concerns me.”  From there, a teacher might need to advance to: “You might want to have your child get an evaluation,” or “Your child may benefit from seeing a therapist or counselor.”  If possible, a teacher could offer a list of therapists or low cost clinics that a parent could call.

Of course, this type of honesty has to be offered in a framework of caring and concern.  Even if the topic is introduced thoughtfully and gently, teachers still may experience major blowback from parents.  After all, navigating a child’s mental health issues is a very emotional experience and carries with it an implicit set of blame for the parents. No parents want to hear that their own kid has a problem.  But they need to.

If teachers don’t say anything or coaches or pastors or principals, then parents can continue to tell themselves that their child’s behavior is somehow normal. Avoidance can last for years, often until a devastating crisis occurs.  Here’s a new approach: let’s focus on avoiding crises instead.