self-care: 5 Articles

When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part Two

Parenting a child with a chronic medical illness poses unique and enduring challenges. Two mental health professionals marshaled their clinical and personal experience and insights to create a book for parents with a chronically ill child. Frank Sileo, PhD, and Carol Potter, MFT, answer questions about writing When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: A Guide for the Parenting Journey. This is part two of their interview. Magination Press: Is there a need for mental health wellness for families that have continuing medical issues to address? Frank Sileo: Absolutely! That’s why we wrote this book!  In our book, we discuss many mental health concerns for all who are affected by chronic medical illnesses. When parents or individuals receive a medical diagnosis, they seek out the best medical care. What’s common is that they may have strong feelings and other mental health needs that are treated as normal and expected and are often minimized or dismissed as less important than medical concerns. This may be true for parents but also for the child with the medical issue and their siblings. In our book, we present the research, our clinical experience and speak about the importance of not neglecting the mental health of a parent or child.   MP: You use a driving metaphor of going on a journey throughout the book. Why did you choose that? FS:  I love the images and metaphor of a journey. When I was organizing the book, I spoke with Carol and the development team at APA to use a journey as the backdrop of the book. We are all on some type of journey. When you have a child with a chronic medical illness, you begin an unplanned one.  It begins with the diagnosis and the journey can follow many roads. Some are straight and relatively smooth, while others are bumpy, curvy, and at times frightening. In our book we discuss all aspects of parenting a child with a chronic medical illness such as feelings that arise, engaging in self-care, dealing with siblings, grandparents and other caretakers, and how to communicate with the school and medical staff. We discuss how to handle difficult procedures and hospitalizations for a child.  We touch upon when the journey may end in death and how to cope. Just like a snowflake, we emphasize that no two diagnoses are the same, no two journeys are alike.  MP: Carol, you have also had a career in Hollywood, starring as mother Walsh on the hit long-running series Beverly Hills 90210. What was it like juggling an acting career and a professional one in therapy? Carol Potter: My school schedule was very flexible, so I was able to continue auditioning and working while I was at school. Post-graduation, as I was getting the 3000 hours of experience required by licensure, I was very fortunate to work on another Spelling production, a daytime soap opera called Sunset Beach.  They were able to work with my schedule, so that I had enough advance notice to let clients know

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When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part Two 2021-03-15T19:25:24-04:00

When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part One

Parenting a child with a chronic medical illness poses unique and enduring challenges. Two mental health professionals marshaled their clinical and personal experience and insights to create a book for parents with a chronically ill child. Frank Sileo, PhD, and Carol Potter, MFT, answer questions about writing When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: A Guide for the Parenting Journey. This is part one of their interview. Magination Press: What inspired you to write When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: A Guide for the Parenting Journey? Frank Sileo: I was diagnosed with a chronic gastrointestinal disease called Crohn's disease back in 1989. It’s a chronic, autoimmune disease that’s a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Following receiving the diagnosis, I wrote my first children's book, Toilet Paper Flowers: A Story for Children about Crohn's Disease. After I wrote this book, I was invited to speak about how chronic illness impacts children and families. I also started receiving referrals to my clinical practice of kids and families struggling with chronic medical issues. I have always wanted to write a parenting book that would include the advice, research, and psychological coping skills I lecture about and share with my patients in my practice. I wanted to create a tool that parents can have on hand to refer to on their parenting journey. Having this book published is a huge dream come true moment for me! MP: Do you have experience with parenting a child with chronic illness? Carol Potter: My son Christopher did not have a chronic medical issue but did have some learning issues beginning in elementary school, so I am familiar with some aspects of this situation. There were searches for the appropriate professionals to help, testing with a psychologist, working with the schools and teachers trying to get them to understand what he needed, and additions to his schedule that he just didn’t want to do. Fortunately, I never had to worry about his health, or about the kinds of emergencies these parents have to deal with, but being a mom I can begin to imagine how scary it must be when your child’s health threatens their ability to make friends, attend school, or even their very life. All parents worry about their children; the worries of parents whose children have chronic medical illness, though, include concerns about survival, which I know must add immeasurably to the stress they already feel. MP: How did you end up collaborating on this project? FS: I know Jason Priestley, who played Brandon Walsh on the show Beverly Hills, 90210. Jason has reviewed some of my children's books. When I wrote my children's book A World of Pausabilities: An Exercise in Mindfulness for Magination Press in 2017, he told me that his 90210-television mom, Cindy Walsh, played by Carol, is a marriage and family therapist. I looked her up on the web and saw she practices mindfulness with her patients and has a personal practice. I reached out to her

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When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part One 2021-02-22T17:10:35-05:00

COVID-19: Strategies to Support Your Young Child and Yourself

We're months into the COVID-19 pandemic now, and it looks like the concerns, complications, and uncertainty it has created will be with us for a while. As we head into the fall, children, parents, and caregivers alike are suffering from a kind of pandemic fatigue. Caring for our children and ourselves has taken on a new dimension, and we all could use some strategies to handle these ongoing stressors. In May, Magination Press published two free resources to support kids during the pandemic: A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus, by Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW, and  Julia Martin Burch, PhD, created for kids ages 3-8, (now also available in Spanish) and Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic, by Bonnie Zucker, for kids ages 13-18. Both have a note at the end, providing specific strategies for coping with the anxiety, uncertainty, disappointment, and emotional roller coaster created by the pandemic. This excerpt from A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus Note to Parents and Caregivers provides six tips for parents to help themselves and their young children through this challenging time. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for children and adults alike. Yet within great challenges lie opportunities for growth, bravery, and resilience. Provide Just Enough Information Strike a balance between oversharing information, which may lead kids to worry about aspects of the crisis they need not be worried about like the economy, and under-sharing. Too little information can send active imaginations into overdrive. Provide your child with limited, age-appropriate facts about the virus. Focus on what they can do to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe, like wearing a mask and washing hands. Validate and Name Emotions It's normal for children to have a range of emotions in response to the pandemic: anxiety, fear, or anger, for example. No matter the emotion, it is important to validate it—to communicate to your child that their emotion makes sense and is okay for them to feel. For example, "I can understand why you're feeling worried. There are a lot of changes happening right now." It is also helpful to label the emotion your child is feeling; research demonstrates that naming an emotion decreases its intensity. In a difficult moment, taking the time to say, "I see that you are really sad" can be incredibly soothing to your child. Focus on the Present Moment Worried brains tend to focus on the future, predicting all of the scary things that might happen. Teach your child how to gently bring their mind back to the present moment by practicing mindfulness. Being mindful simply means that you are purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judging it as good or bad. Try playing a mindful "I Spy" in which you count all of the objects of a certain color in the space around you. You can mindfully eat, dance, walk, listen to music—the sky is the limit! Create a New Routine Flexibly following a consistent plan day-to-day provides

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COVID-19: Strategies to Support Your Young Child and Yourself 2020-08-14T16:04:11-04:00