Emotional Building Blocks for the Youngest Explorer

How often do we really think about how busy a baby is? The human infant is a marvelous package. If all goes well, the newborn emerges on their birthday with a wonderful set of equipment for exploring, acting on, and adapting to the world they enter. Vision, although initially limited, gradually expands to colors and to greater distances. Hearing may be a bit muffled at first, but gradually improves. The basics of taste, touch, and smell are also there.  Combined with what appears to be aimless exuberance in wriggling arms and legs, these senses and motions make an infant as busy and as great an explorer of a new world as any we learned about in history. This exploration involves not only the physical world, but also the emotional and social world. Lately, many have focused more on school-aged children and the demands and crises they face.  However, it’s important to remember that to cope with difficult times in life, all children rely on emotional lessons they started learning from the day they were born. It’s important that in those early days parents, caregivers, and other significant people in infants’ lives be loving teachers, guides, and models for the skills that babies are developing, even if it’s hard to see that development from day to day. Here are some important [...]

2021-11-18T16:36:31-05:00December 1st, 2021|Family & Youth|

Remembering Life: Infant Loss and Grief

One of the toughest questions I have to answer often as a mother is, “How many children do you have?” I never thought such a simple question could turn my world upside down. If I am in a good place mentally, I might reply, “Do you want the real answer?”   I was one of those people who did things according to plan: met a great guy, dated for a while, got engaged, got married, and then got pregnant… quickly. Everything was going according to my plan. I now look back at those times and cringe because I was so innocent and unaware. Life is not always simple. It doesn’t always go according to plan.  I was about to learn some hard truths in a real way.  We planned a family gender reveal for the night of my 20 week anatomy scan, expecting the sex of our baby to be the focus of the appointment. But during the scan, a leg abnormality was found on my son.  I didn’t want to rob our families of the excitement of finding out the sex of the FIRST grandbaby, so I masked my fear at the party that night. Thinking back, this was when my journey of strength truly began. While I wanted to lay in bed and cry, I pulled it together. I [...]

2021-10-01T09:30:40-04:00October 1st, 2021|Family & Youth, Women's Health|

Managing Teen Stressors and Anger

While adolescence can be an exciting time of growth, it can also be filled with social and mental health struggles. Teens face huge decisions about who they want to be and what they want to do in their lives, while also dealing with a storm of new emotions and experiences. They may rebel at the restrictions left over from childhood, while also feeling nervous about the new responsibilities they must take on. It’s a time filled with new freedoms but can also be a scary and uniquely stressful one. Given the complex developmental circumstances of adolescence, it should come as no surprise that many teens struggle with anger. Anger is an emotion we all feel, although we express it in different ways.  Anger can be a completely normal and understandable response to what teens are going through – but how do you know when it’s too much, or when it’s a sign of an underlying problem? And what can both teens and parents do when that anger rears its head? If you or your teen is struggling with constant irritability and anger, or anger that seems to come on with no apparent trigger, it could be a sign of mental health struggles such as anxiety, depression of a reaction of traumatic events.  If you have concerns about a teen, you [...]

2021-08-30T12:13:45-04:00August 4th, 2021|Family & Youth, Mental Health|

Hope

by Margaret Pelleriti, DBHIDS Suicide Prevention Task Force What does it mean to have hope? Hope means a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation very much. Hope carries us beyond the current hardship so that we may have a better future. In today’s world, it seems that hope can be hard to come by and this tends to be the case for anyone who has lost someone to suicide. My name is Margaret and several years ago, I lost my son Michael, then 16, to suicide. Prior to my loss, suicide never really affected me. To me, it was always other people who faced that tragedy. Not something that would affect myself or my family. When I lost my son to suicide, he was in the 11th grade and did not present any clear warning signs or clues. When he died, I genuinely believed that I would die also. There would be no way that I would be able to survive. I knew that I had to get up each day and do the same routine as before. I was still a wife to my husband and a mother to a 13-year-old daughter. It felt like family and friends expected me to return to some sort of normal. I had faith from [...]

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