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Jennifer Klepper is an ex-corporate attorney turned PTO president, volunteer child advocate and stay-at-home mom of her two kids. She is the author of the Monday Morning Math CWISTs on www.Cwist.com. Read more »
On a family vacation to the ocean this summer, my daughter gleefully reached down into the dark water and down to the sea floor to pull up the goopiest, slimiest sea creature I've ever seen. It filled her two hands, its gelatinous body spilling through the gaps between her fingers. My daughter looked at me with a bright smile, beaming as though she had pulled up a sunken chest full of gold bullion. I looked at her and thought, "This girl isn't going to be afraid of anything."
Noted author, blogger and advocate of Ashoka's Ashoka’s "Start Empathy" Initiative, Amy Julia Becker has written several books, articles and essays about her experiences raising a daughter with down syndrome. Read more »
We were perusing our local nature center last weekend, and my seven-year-old daughter Penny abruptly stopped walking. Ahead of us were twin girls, probably three or four years old. One used a walker to support herself. Penny didn’t say anything, but her eyes grew wide as they passed by. Today in school my younger daughter, Marilee, who is two, had a similar response to a girl with a crutch propped under her arm.
We see kids and adults with physical aids all the time—the young woman in the wheelchair at church, the little boy at the dentist with the special lift in his car that helps him get up and down, the man with the knee brace, the girl with a cast on her arm. Sometimes their situation is permanent, other times it is temporary. But either way, my kids are inclined to stare and then to ask me what happened.
For a long time, I didn't know what to say.
Jamie M. Howard, PhD, is Child Mind Institute's Director of the Stress and Resilience Program; Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center. Dr. Howard has extensive experience providing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to children, teens, and young adults suffering from a range of anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read more »
Whether it's a major traumatic event (a school shooting, a hurricane, or getting hurt in an accident) or chronic daily hassles (poor day care, poverty, test-taking or bickering between caregivers at home), kids can have a hard time coping with some of the challenges they face. When children feel overwhelmed and unable to manage situations, it can undermine their ability to do their jobs as kids. Their jobs, of course, are to go to school, concentrate, and learn to the best of their ability; to make and keep friends; and to discover what they enjoy and engage in the activities that are fun to them. It can be troubling for adults to see children struggle to manage situations that tax their ability to cope. The good news is that there are certain things that parents, teachers, and other important grownups can do to help kids cope with trauma and stress. Here are some ideas to help your family cope.