Secrets of Successful Step-Families: 10 Tips for Blended Family Bliss   While blended families are incredibly common, the adjustment of merging two households is never easy. About 65% of remarriages include kids , and terms like step-parent, step-sister, or step-brother may not feel warm and fuzzy at first. But with time, understanding, and tact, step-relatives can begin to feel more like “bonus-relatives,” providing an extra source of support, mentorship, and love.   So what can parents do to strengthen the blended -family bond?     1. Consider the kids’ perspective   If your kids are acting hostile,   defiant  , or downright mean, it can be hard to   keep your cool   with them. When you feel frustrated, remember that your kids are experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions as they adjust to their new family. A remarriage emphasizes that there’s no chance of their bio-parents reconciling, and that can be very hard for them to accept. Remember that your kids may feel a mix of sadness, anger, grief, fear, and confusion that will lessen over time.    2. Prepare a parenting plan   Unlike couples who become parents together, those who remarry are often more set in their parenting styles. It’s important to discuss parenting philosophies and get on the same page early on. If your new spouse tends to be stricter than you are, discuss ways that you can meet in the middle. Set a few family rules that you can both agree on. Consequences and rewards may vary a bit if the kids are different ages, but try to keep consistent with enforcing rules and granting privileges for teens and young kids alike.   3. Let discipline wait   As you develop your parenting plan, keep in mind that it’s generally best for step-parents to take a less disciplinary approach for the first year or two. This doesn’t mean they need to be walked all over, but they can keep the other parent informed and allow them to take the lead in enforcing consequences. As your child or teen adjusts to the new family dynamic over time, the step-parent can gradually take on a more authoritative role.     4. Involve your ex if possible   Sometimes it isn’t safe or possible for kids to have relationships with both bio-parents. If it is feasible, your child will probably adjust better if they’re able to maintain a positive relationship with both their parents. Do your best to put aside differences for recitals and sporting events and try to plan visitation schedules in ways that don’t disrupt your child’s schooling, activities, or friendships. If your kid lives with you most of the time, keep the nonresidential parent informed of what’s coming up .  If you are the nonresidential parent, express to your child that even though they don’t live with you,   you are dedicated to supporting them   .     5. Avoid badmouthing bio-parents   Even if your ex acts like a complete four-letter-word, try to take the high road by not speaking badly about them to your kids (but feel free to shamelessly vent about them to your friends!). If you continue to show your ex respect and civility, they’ll be more likely to return the favor down the line. Remember that positive co-parenting is crucial in putting your child’s best interests first. Speaking badly about the other parent can damage your kid’s self-esteem and cause them to resent you.    6. Treat each sibling as special   The more siblings there are, the more mom and dad’s attention becomes divided. This can make kids feel resentful toward their new brothers or sisters. Assure each child that both parents are dedicated to quality time with them. If you share custody, plan family vacations and activities when all of the kids can attend. Keep lines of communication open and make your kids   feel comfortable to talk about their feelings  .     7. Honor all traditions   Kids may resent having to go along with someone else’s traditions, so try to find a middle ground that respects both sides’ practices. For example, if your family always opened gifts on Christmas Eve, and your step-kids are used to doing everything Christmas Day, compromise by opening a few special gifts on the 24th and opening the rest on the 25th. Create new traditions together as well, such as sledding, baking, or volunteering at a toy drive together.     8. Give safe spaces   Merging families means merging space which can make kids feel territorial. For this reason, it’s often ideal to move into a new home where your family can have a fresh start. If that’s not feasible, clear out all drawers, closets, and bedrooms and start dividing up space from scratch so that each family member has a clear idea of what space is theirs. Create a schedule for things that need to be shared such as computers and bathrooms. Remember to praise your kids for sharing and compromising.   9. Nurture your marriage    For the first few years, a lot of your focus will be on helping the kids adjust. This can make your marriage take a backseat. While it’s important to tend to your kids’ feelings,  they’ll benefit from your marriage staying strong and connected. Plan occasional kid-free date nights and make time to talk alone on a regular basis. Celebrate family wins and talk openly about concerns and challenges.    10. Get support   Blended families can take several years to fully adjust, and younger kids  often adapt quicker than older ones. Sometimes, however, it can feel impossible to make your new family feel stable and connected. If you or your spouse is struggling to get along with the kids or if family challenges are straining your marriage, our specialists can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment 
with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Bray, J., Ph.D. (n.d.). Making Stepfamilies Work. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stepfamily  DeAngelis, T. (2005, December). Stepfamily success depends on ingredients. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/stepfamily  Hanson, R. (n.d.). Blended Family Problems. Retrieved from https://family.lovetoknow.com/about-family-values/blended-family-problems  Lingenfelter, K. (2019, July 12). How You Overcame Struggles with Blending Your Family [E-mail interview]. Blended Family with Step Children and Half Siblings  McPhail, K. (2019, July 11). How You Blended Your Family Successfully [E-mail interview]. Blended Family with Children from Previous Marriages  Morin, A., LCSW. (2019, June 24). Solutions to the Biggest Challenges Most Blended Families Overcome. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/biggest-problems-blended-families-face-4150230  Robinson, H. (2019, June 17). A Blended Family United: Tips for Overcoming Issues  Together. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/blended-families/navigating-the-challenges-of-blended-families/  Segal, J., Ph.D, & Robinson, L. (2019, June). Blended Family and Step-Parenting Tips.  Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/step-parenting-blended-families.htm  Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips to Calm Your Kid While Keeping Your Cool. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-calm-your-kid-while-keeping-your-cool   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is So Defiant – Is It My Fault? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-is-so-defiant-is-it-my-fault   Shinn. M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   
Wong, B. (2017, December 07). 5 Tips For Blended Families Struggling To Keep The Peace. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/blended-family_n_5659647   How to Cite This Blog Article   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Secrets of Successful Step Families: 10 Tips for Blended Family Bliss. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/secrets-of-successful-step-families-10-tips-for-blended-family

Secrets of Successful Step-Families: 10 Tips for Blended Family Bliss

From Cinderella to The Parent Trap, movies often portray second marriages in a negative light. In reality, step-parents & siblings often provide a tremendous source of love, support, and mentorship. Check out this week’s blog to learn 10 tips for achieving blended family bliss.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Grandparenting: A Labor of Love 8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families   Whether grandparents live close and are involved on a daily basis, or if they’re far away and share their love via Facetime, grandparents play an important family role.  We wanted to share 8 ways that the contributions of grandparents benefit kids, parents, and families as a whole.   So what are the many ways that grandparents improve our lives?    They improve our kids’ behavior   Studies have shown that kids with a high level of grandparent involvement tend to have less emotional problems, reduced behavioral issues, and fewer challenges with peers. In fact, healthy grandparent relationships lead to less depression in both grandparents and children.   1. They offer accessible childcare   Whether or not you pay your parents for babysitting, grandparents usually charge a lot less than the local “elite academy for gifted newborns.” Even if you send your kids to formal day care, grandparents often help out in a pinch, such as caring for your sick kid while you run to a meeting or handling after-school pickup so you can finish your workday. And let’s not forget the occasional night out – grandparents help to keep your kids occupied so you can enjoy some well-deserved adult time!   2. They step up when needed   Sadly, a growing number of grandparents are finding themselves responsible for   raising their grandkids  . This is due to a variety of causes preventing some parents from keeping their role, such as substance abuse, incarceration, chronic illness, or untimely deaths. Whatever the case, grandparents offer a safety net for children if their parents are unable to meet their needs.    Are you a grandparent struggling with the challenges of raising your grandkids? Click below to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to learn how one of our specialists can help      


   
     
      
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      3. They increase lifespans   Cultures with involved grandparents experience less infant and childhood mortality, as grandparents often provide financial and emotional resources that improve their family’s quality of life. And great news for grandparents: their role doesn’t just benefit the kids - it also helps grandparents live longer too! Research has shown that involved grandparents lead longer, more fulfilling lives and stay more mentally sharp as they age.   4. They give undivided attention   Making lunches, folding laundry, signing permission slips - with so many responsibilities, parents can have a hard time removing distractions and fully engaging with their kids. Grandparents on the other hand, tend to have a lot less responsibilities for the grandkids, so they’re able to devote more attention to   playing   ,  teaching, and listening. These enriching interactions can remove some of the guilt that parents may feel for being spread thin throughout the day.   5. They hand down heritage   Many grandparents find importance in sharing traditions and heritage with their grandkids. They might teach them age-old holiday customs, religious practices, and ancestral stories. They may teach them skills that younger generations no longer practice, such as making cultural crafts, cooking traditional meals, or speaking in their native language. These warm, nostalgic lessons increase the bond and positive memories between grandparents and grandkids.   6. They offer experience   While younger generations can teach their grandparents all about cool new trends, grandparents have plenty of knowledge to pass down as well. By sharing their wisdom on relationships, values, financial management, and major life decisions, they equip the next generation to overcome challenges and achieve success.   7. They can be a confidante   Grandparents often serve as a trusted confidante for grandkids, as they’re aware of the family’s ups and downs but are less directly impacted. For example, if a child is struggling with their parents’ divorce or remarriage, they might feel more comfortable opening up to their grandparents since they’re less involved in the situation than their parents are.    Want a better grandparent relationship?    A Grandparent’s value can be immeasurable to our lives, but sometimes family issues prevent grandparents from being involved. If arguments, in-law drama, or any other challenges have prevented your family from enjoying a healthy grandparent relationship, our specialists can help.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Albernaz, A. (2015). Study: Close grandparent-grandchild relationships have healthy benefits.  Boston Globe.  Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2015/12/13/close-grandparent-grandchild-relationships-have-healthy-benefits/kxL8AnugpVBKknDuzHZDKO/story.html  Gay, O. (2006) The Changing Role of Grandparents.  Australian Institute of Family Studies . AFRC Briefing No. 2. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/changing-role-grandparents   Grandparents Contribute to Children’s Wellbeing. (n.d.). University of Oxford. Retrieved from www.ox.ac.uk/research/research-impact/grandparents-contribute-childrens-wellbeing   Smith, P.K. (2005). Grandparents and grandchildren. The British Psychological Society. Vol. 18, pp. 684-687. Retrieved from https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-18/edition-11/grandparents-and-grandchildren   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-parents-guide-to-play-9-tips-to-ignite-your-childs-learning   Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Sifferlin, A. (2016). Be Nice, Because People Who Care for Others Live Longer.  TIME . Retrieved from https://time.com/4618363/longevity-care-grandparents-research/   The Ties that Bind: Grandparents and their Grandchildren.  Association for Psychological Science . Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/the-ties-that-bind-grandparents-and-their-grandchildren.html   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Grandparenting: A Labor of Love 8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/grandparenting-a-labor-of-love-8-ways-grandparents-impact-families

Grandparenting: A Labor of Love
8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families

This Labor Day, we wanted to celebrate the contributions of grandparents and the many ways their efforts improve our lives. Check out this week’s blog and tag a grandparent you love!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Balancing Work and Motherhood: Can Moms Really Have it All?   Women have made tremendous contributions to our country’s workforce, but being a boss lady has its challenges – especially for women who want to advance their careers while raising a family. Balancing work and motherhood can feel overwhelming, impossible, and downright exhausting. The good news is, families can benefit greatly from having a working mom. Though you may never feel perfectly balanced, there are ways to make your dual roles a little easier.    So what can working moms do to balance their careers and motherhood?     1. Make mornings easier   Mornings are especially hectic for working moms – getting everyone dressed, fed, cleaned up, and dropped off, all before you have to clock in. While you can’t completely avoid the morning chaos, you can decrease the stress by preparing the night before. Make lunches right after dinner, lay out clothes for the next day, fill up on gas if needed, and fully stock backpacks and briefcases before you go to bed.   2. Talk with your employer   It can be scary to ask your boss to accommodate your family’s needs, but many of today’s employers realize that being family-friendly is essential for employee retention and growth. Brainstorm some ways that you could better balance your work and home duties and present them to your employer for consideration.   A few examples:    Leaving an hour early to pick the kids up from school, knowing you may have to answer some emails from home after bedtime        Scheduling meetings early in the day so you don’t miss family dinner    Allowing you to work from home when your child is sick    Designating a private place in the building where you can pump every few hours    Allowing you to keep your cellphone on your desk in case of calls from daycare     3. Make “away time” special   There are ways to make your child feel that you are with them even while you’re away. Put sweet notes or corny jokes in their lunch box, give them a “good luck charm” from mom to carry throughout their day, or consider buying one of those recording storybooks so your child can hear their favorite story in your voice while you’re at work.   4. Get real about guilt   As a working mom, you’ve likely felt guilt about missing your kid’s soccer game or skipping family dinner for a conference call. You may think, “If I didn’t work, I’d be a better mom.” But remember that stay-at-home-moms also feel guilt, just for different reasons. They may feel inadequate for not contributing financially or being unable to constantly keep the house clean and the kids entertained. Keep guilt in perspective by remembering that with or without a career, no mom can give 100% in each area of life at all times.   5. Aim for quality over quantity   While some believe it’s best for moms to be home, there is no scientific evidence that a mother’s employment negatively impacts her child’s development. Factors that are influential are your   family’s emotional stability   and the quality of childcare your kids receive. Rather than fretting over not spending every moment with your kids, aim to make your valuable time together special.   Some fun ideas include:    Reciting positive affirmations together before you start your day: “I’m going to do great at work/school/dance/camp today!”      Singing “car karaoke” on the way to drop-off     Dance parties or other    active play      Nightly story-time    Having your kids help with making dinner     Backyard bonfires on the weekend    Practicing   mindfulness       exercises together to release stress     6. Prioritize relationships   If you’re married or in a committed relationship, make an effort to connect with your partner on a regular basis. You may feel guilty for going on occasional date nights when work already keeps you from your kids a lot, but children benefit tremendously when their parents enjoy happy, fulfilling relationships. The same goes for friendships – even if it’s just once every few months, get a girls’ day on the calendar from time to time. Feeling the support of loved ones can reduce the stress of juggling work and motherhood.   7. Believe in the benefits   Working moms may envy the time stay-at-home-moms get with their kids, and stay-at-home-moms may envy the fulfillment of building a career. While there are unique benefits to each lifestyle, try to focus your attention on the many advantages of being a working mom, including:    Modeling a strong work ethic for your kids      Less financial stress     Allowing your kids the social & educational benefits of childcare     Empowering more    independence    in your children     Being less prone to   depression than stay-at-home-moms         Getting a break from your kids, making it easier to be patient and engaged when you’re with them    Daughters of working moms are more likely to achieve higher education, supervisory roles, and higher incomes    Sons of working moms tend to spend more time caring for their family members when they grow up    Your house is probably cleaner – no one’s home all day to mess it up!     8. Take comfort in “temporary”   Whatever your situation is today, remember that it’s temporary. Maybe you’re working long hours to advance to the next stage in your career, but this sacrifice will mean more financial security and time with your family down the line. Or maybe you turned down a promotion to be there for your kids, and feel some regret over not fully “leaning in” to your career. Remember that today’s sacrifices are temporary and things may change drastically as your kids grow older and you progress in your work.   9. Look inward for acceptance   Regardless of how much or how little you work, there will always be someone out there who will tell you you’re doing it wrong. Stay-at-home-moms and working moms are both the victims of judgmental jerks from time to time, so it’s important that you reflect on whether your lifestyle is what  you  believe is best for your family. It can be difficult to let others’ opinions go in one ear and out the other, but remember that what’s best for someone else is not necessarily right for you.   10. Get support   Let’s face it, mommin’ aint easy! Whether you are a working mom, stay-at-home-mom, or work-at-home-mom, there are many challenges that can make you question whether you’re giving your kids your best. If you’re struggling to balance the demands of your family and career, our specialists can help you decrease your stress and support your family.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Gerdeman, D. (2018). Kids of Working Moms Grow Into Happy Adults.  Harvard Business School . Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/kids-of-working-moms-grow-into-happy-adults  McGinn, K. L., Ruiz Castro, M., & Lingo, E. L. (2019). Learning from Mum: Cross-National Evidence Linking Maternal Employment and Adult Children’s Outcomes.  Work, Employment and Society ,  33 (3), 374–400. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017018760167  Miller, C.C. (2015). Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers.  The New York Times . Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/mounting-evidence-of-some-advantages-for-children-of-working-mothers.html  Norr, S. (2015). 10 Ways Moms Can Balance Work and Motherhood.  Parents . Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/parenting/work/life-balance/moms-balance-work-family/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). Am I An Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost Their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq   Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Unexpected Loneliness of a Stay At Home Mom.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-unexpected-loneliness-of-a-stay-at-home-mom   Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Can My Family Master Mindfulness?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-can-my-family-master-mindfulness   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   DeWolf, M. (2017). 12 Stats About Working Women.  U.S. Department of Labor.  Retrieved from https://blog.dol.gov/2017/03/01/12-stats-about-working-women   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Balancing Work and Motherhood: Can Moms Really Have it All? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/balancing-work-and-motherhood-can-moms-really-have-it-all

Balancing Work and Motherhood: Can Moms Really Have it All?

Are you a working mom? If so, you know how hard it can be to balance being a career driven boss-lady AND a hands-on mother.
Check out this week’s blog on 10 tips for balancing work and motherhood.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”   Back-to-school can cause a variety of concerns for parents. Will my kid like their teacher? Will they have to deal with bullies? Will they reach their potential? But back-to-school can be particularly worrisome for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Whether your child has diabetes, asthma, seizures, heart problems, allergies, or any other condition, it can be scary to entrust your child’s health to school staff for 6+ hours a day.    So what can parents do to ensure their kid’s health is cared for at school?     1. Learn risk factors   Before considering your child’s needs, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors that chronic illness can present. Chronic illness can contribute to emotional, behavioral, and academic problems including:      Falling behind   from excessive absences      Increased   anxiety   from trying to “catch up”    Fatigue and irritability     Depression    Social isolation    Low-self esteem    Understanding these risks will help you determine the best course of action to guard against them.   2. List their needs   Start listing an inventory of needs that you believe would help your child overcome obstacles and succeed at school. Include your kid in the conversation and ask for their input. Some examples might include:    Being able to leave class without permission when symptoms arise      Accepting late work     Sitting near the door    Receiving support with making friends     Allowing rest breaks as needed    Having summer course options to reduce their school-year class load    Teacher trainings on emergency responses, such as using an EpiPen      Being allowed to complete some schoolwork at home     Regular check-ins with the school counselor     3. Request education support   Set a meeting with the school to discuss your child’s needs and to see if they qualify for   accommodations      through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be the right tool for them. If their condition greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine which educational resources will work best for your child.  Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with  Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and Special Education Consulting       4. Communicate consistently   Frequent communication with the school will increase the staff’s ability to stay informed of your child’s progress and respond to their challenges. Establish regular check-in meetings to keep the faculty and your family on the same page. Build relationships with teachers, administrators, and the school nurse, so everyone is aware of your child’s unique needs.   5. Support self-management   Prior to your child starting school, you may have done the heavy lifting in tending to their medical needs. Running for the steroid cream each time a hive pops up, grabbing their inhaler when they start to get winded, or calling friends to cancel plans when they look a little pale. Encourage your kid to start taking   responsibility     for their own care before they start school. Teach them how to recognize their symptoms before they get out of hand, administer self-care, and express their needs to teachers.   6. Calculate come-backs   Depending on your child’s condition, they may have medical supplies, such as ostomy bags or glucose meters, that other kids might be curious about. Hopefully your kid won’t be faced with   bullying  ,     but it can be helpful to have them rehearse a few comebacks in case of peers being rude or annoying.    Examples:   “Ew, look at her pricking her finger – what are you, a vampire?”  “Yes actually, but don’t worry – you’re not my type. I’m only into B+.”   “It’s not fair - why do you get to leave class all the time?”  “Because I’m Batman. The world isn’t going to save itself.”    7. Inspire motivation   Chronic pain and symptoms can make it challenging for your kid to focus on schoolwork. Frequently remind your child to think about their goals to help them stay motivated. Ask them about their passions, have them create vision boards, and tell them stories of celebrities who achieved success despite chronic illness, such as Sarah Hyland who has kidney dysplasia, Nick Jonas who has diabetes, or Selena Gomez who has lupus.    Check out our blog on    fostering passion & persistence    in your kid       8. Help them connect   Help your child think through obstacles that hold them back from extracurriculars and time with friends. If their symptoms prevent them from playing football, could they   work   in the ticket booth or concession stand? If they’re too tired to go to afternoon band practice, are there clubs that meet during lunch? If they have to miss school often, can they Facetime their besties after school hours? Helping them maintain connections with peers will reduce their risks for depression and low self-esteem.   9. Consult a Specialist   Taking a chronic illness to school can be tough on both students and their families. Fortunately, your family doesn’t have to face this alone. Our specialists are experienced in helping students overcome obstacles, achieve their potential, and ensure a supportive school environment.        
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Ball, M.F., Bayliss, D.M., Glauert, R., Harrison, A., Ohan, J.L. (2016). Chronic Illness and Developmental Vulnerability at School Entry.  Pediatrics , 137, 5. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/137/5/e20152475.full.pdf  Chronic Health Conditions (Students with): The Role of the School Nurse (n.d.).  National Association of School Nurses.  Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-chronic-health  My Child Has a Chronic Illness. What Do I Need to Tell the School? (2014).  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Chronic-Conditions-and-School.aspx  Schulman-Green, D., Jaser, S., Martin, F., Alonzo, A., Grey, M., McCorkle, R., … Whittemore, R. (2012). Processes of self-management in chronic illness.  Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing ,  44 (2), 136–144. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01444.x  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe with Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations on the SAT/ACT?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might Be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Should I Let My Teen Get a Job? 10 Things Parents Should Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-i-let-my-teen-get-a-job-10-things-parents-should-know    When a Kid Has Long-Term Illness: How to Deal with School (2010).  Education.com.  Retrieved from https://www.education.com/magazine/article/Chronic-illness-schools/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Taking Chronic Illness to School: 9 Tips to Stay Safe & Healthy.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-has-a-chronic-illness-how-do-i-prepare-them-for-school

“My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”

From asthma to diabetes and epilepsy to cancer, 1 in 4 children go to school each year with a chronic illness. If your kid has a chronic illness, check out this week’s blog for 9 tips to ensure their health and success as they go back to school.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It   Since their debut in the early 1970’s, video games have been an iconic form of entertainment. While most people can enjoy gaming as an occasional diversion, a growing number of youth seem to be pushing aside family, friends, and activities to spend more time in front of computer screens. Nicknamed “digital heroin,” video game addiction is a growing concern and has been classified as a mental health disorder by The World Health Organization.   So how do parents know if their child’s fantasy world is starting to take over their real life?     Warning signs of gaming addiction     Gaming 4+ hours a day      Playing for increasing amounts of time    Thinking or talking about gaming during other activities    Quitting other hobbies    Lying to friends or family to conceal gaming    Alienating themselves from family, friends, or romantic interests    Becoming irritable or miserable when they can’t play video games    Neglecting daily responsibilities    Declining academic performance    Showing physical symptoms including dry eyes, carpel tunnel, weight loss or gain, headaches, or back and neck problems    Ignoring personal hygiene    Depression, anxiety, or social phobias     So what can a parent do about it?    If you are concerned your child or teen may have a gaming problem, try these tips:     1. Start a log   Before you talk to your child about your concerns, start documenting their behaviors in a log. Write down how many hours a day you notice them gaming. Also, write down negative consequences you are noticing, such as them skipping out on soccer practice or avoiding family meals. Also, record how they react when they have to stop gaming.   2. Communicate with love   When you talk to your child about your concerns, do so from a place of patience and love. In many cases, children use gaming as a form of relief from feelings of sadness or worry, so being stern or critical may only worsen their negative self-image. Talk to them about their good qualities and the things you love about them – share your log with them and express that you are concerned that their gaming is getting in the way of them living their best life.   3. Organize a detox   Like with any other type of addiction, complete abstinence is necessary for success. This can be a bit tricky since computers are so prevalent in our society, so your child will need to adjust to using computers without gaming. Set boundaries and rules regarding computer use, such as only allowing them to use it for school projects during certain times of day. Remove game consoles, block gaming websites, and keep the computer in a highly visible area in the house for easy monitoring.   4. Prepare to be patient   As your child is detoxing, they may be irritable, mopey, or just downright mean. When they are on your last nerve, walk away and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Not only will this help you keep your cool, it will model healthy emotional regulation to your child, as opposed to burying emotions with gaming.   5. Make Reality More Exciting   You may think your kid is only interested in high speed pursuits or battling mythical creatures, but the truth is that real life experiences will be much more rewarding to them than any video game could ever be. Get the whole family involved in more physical activities – hikes, backyard baseball, or activities with other families. If they are old enough, encourage them to get a part-time job to boost their self-worth. Activities, hobbies, and responsibilities can both boost their mood and distract them from the lure of gaming.   6. Use a reward system   It can be hard for gamers to see why their addiction is a bad thing. A reward system can incentivize them to stick with their detox, even if they don’t fully agree with it. Try using a points system by giving them “10 points” for every day they go without gaming and have them lose 20 points each day that they cave in and play video games. Let them know that when they reach 1000 points, they get to go to an amusement park, have a sleepover party, or some other fun activity.   7. Seek support   Addictions of all types are complex and challenging to overcome, but there is hope. A qualified specialist can help your child address underlying mental health issues that may have led to their addiction. They can teach self-control techniques and tools to help your child find happiness and self-esteem away from the computer screen.       
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Online Article: Video Game Addiction No fun - Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD    	Keith Bakker, certified interventionist; and director, Smith &   Jones Addiction Consultants. Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director, Center   for On-Line Addiction; professor of psychology, St. Bonaventure University;   and author,     Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet   Addiction -- and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. WebMD Feature:     Internet to Sex: Defining Addiction. Howard, project manager, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,   Center for On-Line Addiction: "Are You an Obsessive Online Gamer?" and   "Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Addiction."

“Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It

Most people can enjoy video games as an occasional hobby, but what happens when the fantasy world starts to become more appealing than reality? Check out this week’s blog to learn how to identify and prevent video game addiction in children and teens.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”   Ahhh summer… the freedom, the sunshine, the world of opportunity. The kids look forward to it all year.   Notice we said “the kids.”   Parents on the other hand, tend to be a little wary of the school-free season. While all parents love spending time with their children, summer means 3 whole months without the time consumption and mental stimulation that school provides. It means having to come up with activities for the kids yourself, which often translates to spending a lot more money. If both parents work, it can also mean having to find reliable child care and camps that aren’t exactly in the budget. So what’s a parent to do?   First of all – relax! That’s what summer is for   Many parents go into summer concerned that their child will be bored out of their minds. Research suggests, however, that constructive boredom is not only healthy, but essential for a child to develop their creativity, discover their personal identity, and explore ways to foster their own mental stimulation. If parents are always doing the heavy lifting in filling their child’s time, their child gets robbed of the opportunity to contemplate their own thoughts and interests and explore new ideas.   Here are 9 tips for giving your child a fun and stimulating summer, without scheduling every second:    1. Brainstorm beforehand   Foster your child’s creativity by having them make a list of things they would like to do over the summer. While they may choose a few unrealistic items such as riding a dragon or traveling to Hong Kong, their list will probably include many attainable goals such as going on hikes, having a picnic, or running through the sprinklers. When they complain of boredom over the summer, tell them to revisit their list for ideas to fill their time.   2. Structure Unstructure   By now most of us have heard of the damage that excessive screen time can pose to children. Too much TV or video game consumption can contribute to obesity, low self-esteem, social disorders, and decreased academic performance. When your kids are home all summer, it’s easy to let them binge watch cartoons when you need them out of your hair so you can clean the house or pay the bills. Remind yourself to limit screen time by establishing a few hours every day that will be used for “unstructured play.” Let the kids know that after lunch, they’re on their own until 3 PM – no gadgets allowed!   3. Let them make a mess   This tends to be a tough one for many moms, and it’s understandable. Keeping a halfway clean home takes daily diligence, and having kids can feel like there are tiny tornadoes spinning around behind you every time you tidy up. In the summer, try to stretch your patience toward the mess-making. You can set boundaries, like limiting messy projects to the tiled kitchen and away from your off-white rug, but let them do some experimental baking, indulge in some glue-heavy art projects, or create a mad scientist’s laboratory. Giving them the freedom to make messes will encourage innovative ideas.   4. Make summer about self-reliance   Since the 1960’s, American schools have shifted away from teaching basic life skills to focusing almost exclusively on academics. The additional time with your kids in the summer is a great opportunity to teach them what they aren’t getting in the classroom. Have them plan and prepare meals with you, teach them how to do laundry, have them create a savings plan for the new gadget they’ve been wanting, or teach them how to safely refuel a vehicle at the gas station. Summer is a perfect time to foster your child’s sense of self-reliance.   5. Commit to learning a new skill   A wonderful aspect of summer is that it gives kids time to pursue ideas and activities that they feel inspired to chase. As the school year comes to an end, ask your child to pick one new thing they want to learn over the summer. Even if they say something like, “Kung Fu,” you don’t need to invest in expensive lessons. Watch online tutorials a few times a week to empower them with some basic skills. Letting your child take the lead in what they pursue will excite them about learning and help their brain to “decompress” from the constant frontal lobe focus during the academic year. Don’t forget to choose something for you to learn over the summer as well! This will model creativity, persistence, and the importance of life-long learning.   6. Reduce the dreaded “brain-drain”   Many parents fear that summer will drain their child’s brain of everything they learned the prior school year and make it difficult for them to adjust in the fall. While a small regression is not the end of the world, it can be helpful to maintain some academic activity over the summer. Buy a grade level workbook for them or invest in some occasional tutoring in a subject they’ve struggled with. Just be conscious not to burden them with too many textbook obligations over the summer – they have the school year for that! Remember that there are academic benefits to recreational activities as well. Swimming, for example, is not only a fun total body workout but also a science in understanding the different ways our bodies are able to stay afloat.   7. No cost, no screens, no problem!   It can feel like there aren’t many options for summer fun that don’t break the bank. While there’s nothing wrong with splurging on an occasional trip to the zoo or amusement park, don’t feel guilty if most of your summer days are a bit simpler. Encourage your child to use their imagination by turning their favorite book into a play, making a “pretend” carnival in the backyard with a ticket booth and concession stand, or take on a family project like planting a garden or repainting a fence.   8. Find ways to help others   Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, and summertime is a great opportunity to engage your children in looking outside of themselves and into the community. Look into different volunteer opportunities – drive meals to seniors as a family, bring care packages to terminally ill children in the hospital, or join a pen-pal program with orphans in third world countries. Volunteer activities will foster compassion in your child and add meaningful memories to summer that go beyond having fun.   9. Join the fun   During the school year, parents don’t get to participate in many of the fun and explorative activities their kids experience in school. Take advantage of this time by making sure to set time every day to act like a kid. Squeeze into that blanket fort, believe that the floor really is lava, and give an Oscar worthy performance as the villain in their puppet show. The memories you will share with your children will be worth far more than anything money can buy.   Variations can help   If you would like additional support in learning ways to stimulate your child’s mind and foster their creativity, Variations can help.       
	 Click here to find a specialist who can help 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).   See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Biddle SJH, Asare M Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews  British Journal of Sports Medicine  Published Online First: 01 August 2011. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090185   Gasper, K. & Middlewood, B.L. (2013) Approaching novel thoughts: Understanding why elation and boredom promote associative thought more than distress and relaxation. Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA   The Benefits of Boredom. Melboune Child Psychology. Retrieved Online. https://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/the-benefits-of-boredom/  Tremblay, M.S., LeBlanc, A.G., Kho, M.E., Saunders, T.J., Larouche, R., Colley, R.C., Goldfield, G., Gorber, S.C. Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth (2011) International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 20118:98 https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-98   Wahi G, Parkin PC, Beyene J, Uleryk EM, Birken CS. Effectiveness of Interventions Aimed at Reducing Screen Time in ChildrenA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.  2011;165(11):979–986. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.122

“How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”

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