Saturday, March 29, 2014

Relational Aggression at School

Today the social appropriate term for a “bully” is relational aggression.  This is a major concern for most of our children in school.  The movies today that focus on child development will have scenes where a group of students will be aggressive toward an individual by playing spiteful tricks and saying or writing cruel things behind their back.  These behaviors are intended to be cruel and humiliate the targeted individual. 

Proactive and reactive aggression 

There are two types of relational aggression, proactive and reactive.  Proactive is focused toward the victim with the purpose to exclude, ignore, gossip, taunt, tease, and intimidate.  Reactive aggression is the victim’s response to the provocation.  Most people assume that boys are more aggressive than girls because boys will generally act out their aggression physically by hitting, shoving or kicking.  While girls usually utilize more subtler or passive aggression by gossiping, group exclusion, cyber bullying and rumor spreading. Both types of aggression are equally harmful and can cause long-term issues for their victim. Victims can suffer self-esteem damage and are usually lonely, anxious children.  Unfortunately, the aggressor usually suffers from the same concerns and will try to control their environment with aggression. 

Parental intervention 

Parents can help by monitoring their children as they play when they are learning how to make friends, share and take turns.  If there is an argument while the children play together, explain the other child’s perspective on issues as they occur. Help them look for a compromise or move on to play something completely different. This can help children develop empathy for others, trust, cooperation, and respect.  Guiding your child through the process of conflict resolution also teaches them healthy social skills that guide them through the turbulent adolescent years.  When your child is faced with relational aggression listen to their story and be supportive. You should always contact school administration when necessary and seek professional counseling as needed.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

As we all experience the daily stress of life with family, work and personal relationships there are many individuals struggling to sleep uninterrupted through the night. When suffering with anxiety and depression or under extreme duress our mind will start processing our concerns while we are trying to fall asleep or wake us up after sleeping for a couple of hours.  It is very difficult to perform daily tasks effectively or problem solve concerns if we are fatigued and irritable. 

Natural ways to enhance sleep 

Prevention magazine reports simple steps that everyone can follow so that they can “sleep like a baby.”

  • Make breakfast your heaviest meal.
  • Cut out the caffeine after 2 PM.
  • Go outside when it is sunny to reset your awake-sleep cycle.
  • Drink your eight, 8 oz. glasses of water each day.
  • Exercise every day, preferably in the morning.
  • Take a 15 minute nap when needed.
  • Go to bed when you are sleepy.
  • Move the television out of the bedroom.
  • Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Try herbal teas instead of sleeping pills.
Sleep disorders 

If you have difficulty falling asleep and have for several months you could be sleep deprived.  You may need an assessment to determine if you have a sleep disorder that should be treated such as sleep apnea, insomnia or restless leg syndrome. Inadequate sleep can affect your hormone levels, mood stability and weight concerns. Practice good self-care daily and seek professional help when needed to have the quality of life that you deserve.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Music Soothes the Soul

Music has evolved over the centuries to become an important part of our culture.    Archaeologists have found a variety of musical artifacts that were used for entertainment and in important ceremonies or rituals in all parts of the world. Today music continues to be a form of expression for the artist and the listener.  Music contributes to weddings, graduations and funerals along with the daily enjoyment of listening to the radio, favorite CD or iPod tune selections.

Health benefits 

Researchers have been consistent to report the benefits of music and how it can affect our mood.  Music can reduce stress and bring peace to the mind and body.  If you are having trouble sleeping you might want to play a lullaby before bed.  A lullaby has been found to  lower your heart rate and slow down your respiration for a night of uninterrupted sleep.  Playing lullabies as you prepare yourself and your children for bed will benefit everyone. 

If you are working out at the gym or on your own, music can stimulate your energy level and help your endurance for a longer workout.  Studies report that including music to your workout promotes verbal fluency and lung performance. 

Affects mood 

Listening to music of your choice will lower your stress hormone cortisol and increase your endorphins that support your immune system.  Your personal taste in music can either lift your mood or bring you down.  Music can improve your optimism or bring you joy and peace.  It’s a wonderful tool to give our mind, body and soul a break from the hectic pace of each day.