Pardee Hospital

WIN 2016

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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9 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m W I N T E R 2 016 S P I R I T O F W O M E N F A M I L Y S T Y L E By Stephanie Thompson SHUTTERSTOCK computer," she says. Often, offering a good "sensory diet" that includes time in nature, music and movement can help children regulate their mood swings. TEMPERING TANTRUMS But even the best-laid plans can sometimes fail to prevent an earth-shattering explosion of bad temper. "Talk about the outburst, and give kids the vocabulary to express how they feel during or after," says Neiman. Often, kids will respond angrily or shut down when they aren't given choices, says Mim Kohn, an adjunct professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Building independence and self-confidence, starting with something as simple as allowing toddlers to be able to hang up their own jackets, can go a long way toward helping children regulate their moods. "If children feel they can control the environment, they don't have to control people," says Kohn. • B eing a parent can sometimes feel like being a Hollywood director managing a cast of highly dramatic actors. But for the most part, all that moodiness from toddlers to teens is normal, say the experts. "Mood swings are as natural as the tides," says Daniel Rechtschaffen, a San Francisco-based marriage and family therapist and author of "The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students" (W. W. Norton & Co., 2014). While he acknowledges the need for children to "learn to regulate their emotions to be functional members of society," he is adamant that suppressing emotions can lead to becoming "deadened, depressed or anxious." FINDING A BALANCE As caregivers, parents have to learn to help kids balance between controlling and honoring their impulses, which often requires us to look at our own state of mind, says Rechtschaffen. "Adults need to learn to be compassionately present to children's emotions, and help them learn how to care for themselves," he says. Barbara Neiman, a New Paltz, N.Y.-based occupational therapist and author of "Mindfulness & Yoga Skills for Children and Adolescents" (PESI Publishing & Media, 2015), suggests paying attention to the sensory personality of each child and taking preemptive steps to avoid emotional overloads. "Some kids are over-responders who get triggered easily by things like sounds, while some are under-responders who are easily lethargic if they spend too much time on the If you do notice an extreme shift in mood, where a cheery engaged kid suddenly starts becoming quiet or sullen, or your child begins to engage in risky behavior, trust your gut and investigate, including enlisting a mental health professional if necessary, says Trish Trivinia, a New Jersey-based counselor. "It's better to deal with a problem from the start than try to fx something that went on far too long," she says. Extreme COPING with kids' mood swings M O O D S

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