Monday, September 25, 2006

Preparing Your Children for Adolescence

If you have children in the fourth to sixth grades in your home, you are most likely seeing a lot a changes in them mentally and physically. This can be a very important time in your children's life, as they explore their interests and strengths. During this time they will also develop their self-image, of who they are as reflected by their peers. This can be a very challenging time as children will try to assume the morals and values of their peers over what they have been taught in the home by their parents.

There are several resources for parents to read for guidance to help their children during this time. Two series that are written for parents are, Focus on the Family and Family Life Today. These books discuss tough topics like authority, peer pressure, puberty, and dating from a biblical perspective. You can modify the information to meet your family's morals and values.

There are several other things you can do to stay connected to your pre-adolescent. Plan family activities together, eat your evening meal together, and listen to their issues on friendships. Then invite those friends over so that you can get to know them and they can see your family's lifestyle. Don't get discouraged if your children are not receptive to these ideas. Be persistent as they do want their parents involved in their lives.

Good luck!


Monday, September 18, 2006

Healthy Stress

There have been several studies done over the last ten years that have reported that stress can ruin our health. Doctors report that stress can increase our blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Studies have also linked stress to immune suppression which can put us at risk for colds and flu. What the news hasn't reported is that short-term stress can give our immune system a boost and the additional energy boost needed in those life or death situations.

Other studies have reported for years that 30 minutes of exercise daily can boost our immune system and relieve stress. But prolonged exercise that becomes to intense can also weaken your immune system. Marathon runners are always fighting colds and their defense systems can take months to resume normalacy after a race. Studies have also reported that the long distance bicycler will not suffer from this depletion of the system.

Moderate exercise for senior citizens can slow the aging of their immune system. Combining movement, meditation, and special breathing which is practice in Tai Chi has been known to lower the risk of heart disease, and even change the growth of neurotransmitters to improve our mood.

So making time for short-term stress on our bodies can be healthy for us. Make time in your schedule for you and live a balanced life. Choose activities that you enjoy and do them in moderation. It will be the best gift that you ever gave yourself.

Take care


Monday, September 11, 2006

Preventing Suicide

Living with a loved one that suffers from depression is no simple task. Even if they are taking an anti-depressant, there will still be times when they will feel depressed, sad and withdrawn. For these individuals it will be very important that they live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. They will need to eat healthy, exercise, maintain an average of eight hours of sleep and nurture their spiritual life. Sustaining this lifestyle takes structure and dedication that many people have difficulty perserving.

Individuals that suffer from depression often have a pessimistic viewpoint of life. They will obsess about wanting to die, abuse drugs and alcohol and make choices that will deliberately harm themself and the people that they love. If you are concerned about someone suffering from depression there are some steps that you can take.
  • Let the person talk about their feelings.
  • Be accepting of them and try not to judge.
  • Ask them if they are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Take all suicide threats seriously.
  • Do not swear to secrecy. Tell someone.
  • Contact a counselor, pastor, or your local mental health helpline.

There are several websites that offer more informations and support.

It is important to address all warning signals that a depressed person may share with you. You could be saving a life.

Take care and I will write to you again next week.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Teaching Money Skills with an Allowance

Your children are back in school and it is time to become more consistent with your schedules and responsiblities. This will be an adjustment for your whole family and it leaves little time for relaxing together unless everyone is helping. When everyone in the family works together to complete daily tasks it teaches your family unity and responsiblity in helping one another.

You may want to start paying an allowance to your children. An allowance is one of the best ways to teach children how to manage their money. It helps them to distinguish their needs and wants and gives parents the opportunity to teach their children how to save for their wants. Some parents like to pay their children for good grades. The author of "Raising Money Smart Kids", by Janet Bodar states that buying grades is distracting to children from the real reward of earning grades, and the accomplishment they should feel when they have earned their grades.

An allowance is still one of the best ways to teach money managing skills. Create a work schedule with your children and discuss their responsibilities. Give them an annual review on job performance and allowance increase as their responsiblities increase. If your children do extra chores for your discuss incentive pay for those chores and how much money that would be for them. You could also match their savings to incourage them to save more than they spend.

Some parents feel uncomfortable in sharing the cost of items with their children. This is a very important life lesson they must learn so that they are able to manage their money as an adult. When eating out at a restuarant share the cost with them and discuss how much the tip should be for that service. As you fill up your car with gas share with your children how much it costs to drive a car per month and how you must budget every expense.

Your children are always learning from your example and guidance. Teaching them about money is another way to prepare your children for that step into adulthood.

See you next week.