Top Stories

Grid List

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

U.S. Foreign Policy

by | on July 29th, 2020 | 0 comments

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Energy & Environment

by | on July 29th, 2020 | 0 comments

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

U.S. Foreign Policy

by | on July 14th, 2020 | 0 comments

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

If you're experiencing constant chest pain or pressure, difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, an inability to wake up or stay awake, or have bluish lips or face, call 911

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

Science fiction author Arkady Martine holds a PhD in Byzantine history, which she puts to good use in her first novel A Memory Called Empire. The story is inspired by the

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

The Dark Ages were rife with plague, fanaticism, and accusations that Jews secretly fed off the blood of children. In 2020, we too are beset with plague, rampant

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Divorce is an unhappy and stressful time for both parents and their children. Many down-to-earth and practical topics related to divorce will be discussed in this blog: addressing divorce issues with your children; research on healthy and dysfunctional families; hiring an attorney; the legal process; psychological issues in divorce; psychiatric disorders and divorce; and many more.

Mental health issues abound in divorce and child custody cases. This is where psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professions play an important role. We will talk about these different professionals and how they can impact the divorce process.

Child custody is an important topic because children’s mental health is at stake when couples decide to divorce. Divorce can bring out the worst in parents. Anger, disappointment, fear, jealousy, and vindictiveness can come to the forefront. All of these emotions impact a child. We need to make sure that children’s well-being is our primary concern. This is complicated when you have parents, attorneys, a judge, grandparents, teachers, and others involved in the case. Unfortunately, the process is almost always adversarial. I hope this blog can help explain and navigate many issues related to child custody.

Trying to avoid an adversarial divorce is really important. I will provide some tips in this area.

Alleged physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse comes up in my clinical work in divorce cases. Abuse does occur, but the allegation of abuse can also be used by one parent to try to gain leverage against the other parent in court. Allegations of abuse can turn the whole divorce process upside down. Attorneys and judges are not well-equipped to deal with such allegations. As such, these allegations of abuse can take on a life of their own very quickly. We will discuss many issues related to allegations of abuse.

Alienation is another phenomenon that I encounter frequently in divorce cases. It is defined as one parent trying to sabotage the other parent’s relationship with the child. Alienation is behavior that can be overt or covert. Sometimes it is difficult to detect. Almost always the alienating parent denies it. So who gets hurt most in cases of alienation? The child. The child gets hurt in many ways that can be long-lasting. Alienation is a topic we will explore at length.

I will also address many topics related to parenting. These topics will include healthy boundaries, discipline, narcissism, stepfamilies, and many more. We all strive to be good parents. We will discuss what children need from us, and how we can meet their needs.

I look forward to sharing this blog with you. I hope we can tackle many topics together in a way that is both informative and helpful.

Please shares your comments. My email address is [email protected] I will try to respond to your questions, comments, and requests.

Divorce and Child Custody: Let’s Make it Real

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

It is this nurturing and reflective outer familial / social environment that allows our inner environment (our developing sense of self-hood) to flourish and continue to grow and unfold towards increasing levels of ‘self and other’ (relational) awareness and integration. In a ‘good enough’ (not perfect) familial and social container, the child feels valued, reflected, ‘held’, nurtured, understood, accepted, seen, and cared for.

When an infant or child repeatedly experiences ‘empathic breaks’ with those it is dependent on to meet its basic needs (including their psycho-emotional needs), a ‘survival personality’ develops in response to what is experienced as an uncertain, unstable, even rejecting environment.

Specifically, when a child’s caregivers are unable to empathize and respond to a child’s needs, i.e., when the child is treated like an object versus a conscious human being, the child is, in a fundamental sense, dehumanized and becomes an “it.”

It should be noted that a scapegoated child suffers tremendously via this process of being dehumanized because they are not seen for who they really are – they are instead trapped in a family role that they cannot escape from. In such cases, the pain resulting from such a deep primal wound may be extreme, which is why many scapegoated children / adults suffer from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Via this process of dehumanization, an empathic break occurs as a consequence of the child’s developing personhood (or self-hood) being invalidated and even violated. As societies become increasingly individualistic and fractured, even the best intentioned parents / caregivers will have blind spots, in that no person is able to perfectly mirror the totality and innate wholeness of another – even the most loving and attentive parent is incapable of such constant and ‘perfect’ empathic nurturing.

It is this break in empathic connection that will often result in the relational trauma that constitutes the primal wound: “It is the absence of adequate attunement and responsiveness to the child’s painful emotional reactions that renders them unendurable and thus a source of traumatic states and psychopathology” (Stolorow and Atwood, 1992, p. 54)

Later in life, the primal wound will often manifest as depression, anxiety, existential angst (e.g., a sense of impending doom; a sense of meaninglessness); complex post-traumatic stress disorder-type symptoms; other emotional and/or behavioral difficulties (e.g., addiction, codependency, and attachment / intimacy issues).

If the primal wound goes unrecognized, a person’s sense of self, self-esteem, and self-worth may be negatively impacted throughout his or her entire life and a variety of psycho-emotional, behavioral, and relational difficulties may develop.

According to Firman and Gila from their book The Primal Wound: A Transpersonal View of Trauma, Addiction, and Growth (1997), “a fundamental trust and connection to the universe is betrayed, and we become strangers to ourselves and others, struggling for survival in a seemingly alien world. In psychological terms, our connection to our deeper Self is wounded. In religious and philosophical terms, it is our connection to Ultimate Reality, the Ground of Being, or the Divine that is broken. No matter how we elect to describe it, the fact remains that this wounding cuts us off from the deeper roots of our existence.”  [p. 2].

So how can adults heal from the experiential reality of a primal wound? When a child or adult has no access to a nurturing, accepting ‘other’, a competent, attentive therapist may serve as an empathic outer environment, providing an emotionally “safe enough” container for awareness, integration, and healing to take place.

Therapy that allows for sensitive, in-depth psycho-emotional exploration can act as a unique, individualized ‘holding environment’ in which a client can rediscover their intrapsychic woundedness via facing painful realities and awarenesses, versus running away from the pain via maladaptive or even self-destructive coping mechanisms.

Naturally it takes a good amount of commitment and courage to explore such deep, intrapsychic wounding, given that there may be an unconscious fear that the wound, if opened up and consciously looked at, may be too overwhelming for the psyche to withstand.

The ego’s fear of pain must be overcome via the commitment to the therapeutic process in service of the greater good: The eventual re-emergence and integration with one’s whole, authentic Self (also referred to as the Transpersonal Self; the True Self; the Christ-Self; Buddha Nature; etc).

While we can heal our primal wounds through the process of self-discovery work within an empathic container, the invisible scars marking the source of our original pain will remain. Yet, it is these very scars that allow us to have compassion and empathy for both ourselves and others as we each struggle imperfectly toward our own ‘Self’ healing and our ever-unfolding journey toward the experiential awareness of our innate ‘unbroken’ intra-psychic wholeness.

References

Stolorow, R.D., & Atwood, G.E. (1992). Contexts of being: The intersubjective foundations of psychological life. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.

Firman, John, & Gila, Ann. (1997). The Primal wound: A transpersonal view of trauma, addiction, and growth. Albany, NY: State University of New York.

If you related to anything in this article, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What you share may help others in their own recovery!

Have you been impacted by Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)? Find out more by visiting my website (link included in my profile, below, along with a link to purchase my introductory eBook on FSA.  -Rebecca).

Articles of Interest

What Family Scapegoating Abuse Survivors Need to Know About C-PTSD

16 Experiences Common to Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

The Invisible Wounds of the ‘Family Scapegoat’

You are welcome to reprint this post with the following attribution:  

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MFT, specializes in recovering from the negative effects of being raised in dysfunctional / abusive family systems. She served as Core Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is a pioneer in defining and describing what she named (for research purposes) Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA). Today she focuses on helping family scapegoating abuse survivors navigate the unique challenges they face.

A Betrayal of Trust: Understanding the Primal Wound of Childhood

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

For Asperger’s/autistic children/teens and young adults, those with NLD, ADHD and for children generally, this “new normal” is confusing. The rules are sketchy at best, even adults don’t seem to understand them, and the rules and cautions seem to change almost weekly if not daily.

The flexibility needed to handle this unpredictability is particularly difficult for children who need clarity, who tend to be inflexible, and who depend on predictability of rules to manage their behavior. Parents face the challenge of helping their children manage the added stress of having to go out into this world in flux when they may be stressed, confused or frustrated themselves.

My sliver of a silver lining is this: it’s a time when we have the opportunity to let our children know that we take their thoughts seriously, and to model the skills needed to think and to get through the challenges we will all face.

I’m including self-care and self-calming skills as necessary skills. What self-calming skills do you use in general to handle an inherently stressful time? Are your children aware of self-calming skills, and are they practicing and developing them? Self-calming skills are like muscles – they develop with practice. If you do something over and over, muscle memory helps you do it automatically when you need it.

How do you handle stress in the moment – the moment when you run into something unexpected and have to decide what to do on the spot? Talking about those moments and how you react and asking your children to think about their possible reactions is instructive. You can talk through different possibilities and their outcomes.  What situation did you encounter? Did you act instinctively or did you have time to step back, take a breath and think the situation through? Different situations provide different opportunities. I practice meditation regularly, so I can take breaths and stay calm when I’m social distancing while others aren’t.

In talking through situations and responses, we will be dealing with problem solving, big picture thinking, and handling the unexpected. We can share questions with our kids, and respectfully fully listen to their points of view without criticizing or judging. We can then present an alternate point of view if we have one and ask how we can compromise. What you’re teaching is executive functioning (organizing, planning, problem solving and flexibility) as well as social thinking.

I’m not suggesting that we force children to talk about COVID19, what’s happening and what we might face. For some children, this is just too stressful and overwhelming, and they want us to present clear ideas and rules,  At the least, we can share these ideas by having casual conversations with the family about how WE think, how we problem solve, how we have to think of the big picture, and how we try to be flexible.

For example, one problem is understanding the rules. Where do we look to find the most reliable version of what the rules are? Our kids who are computer researchers might be good at that, or we can talk about where we looked.  How do we plan to observe the rules? If your children are on the autism spectrum or NLD, they are likely to be rule followers, and will be upset if you don’t agree with following rules. Respect their thinking.  For example, if a rule is to wear masks, talk about whether and when your family wear masks, and how you go about being careful. Honor the validity of your children’s concerns.

How do you handle situations where others don’t follow the rules you follow? What do you do if you encounter other people not wearing masks, if you feel that it’s important to safeguarding your health?  What do you do if you run into people wearing masks if you don’t  choose to wear them? If you think of the points of view and needs of others, you and your children might realize that others may be at high risk or have someone at high risk at home.  You  have to think about the big picture: Where are you? What are the needs and feelings of others?  This is actually teaching social thinking. You’re teaching big picture thinking – who’s around, what is the situation, and how do you take everyone into account?

A second area for decision making is understanding what’s opening up, with what precautions, what your comfort zone is, and planning how what you’ll do.  Again, your children may have ideas. They might be eager to go to outdoor restaurants or they may want to avoid them entirely. How do they feel about getting a haircut? Going to buy clothes in a store? What do they think about you doing these activities, and how do you address their concerns? This is problem solving and anticipating outcomes. There’s a plan A but there usually has to be a plan B if plan A isn’t working.

How do you plan family trips or family outings? Do you bring your own food and utensils as many states recommend? Do you maintain social distancing, and how do you accomplish that?  Do you bring outdoor chairs, or paper plates and cups?  You’re teaching planning and organizing materials.

What can you and your children anticipate about summer programs and school? How do you and how do they feel about imagining what they will be like? They may have any reaction from excitement to anxiety, as might we. They may be disappointed that something they love won’t happen. How do you deal with disappointment, and how can they? You’re identifying emotions, validating them and talking about emotional control.

You may also be teaching the executive function of  inhibition if your child has ADHD or if in eagerness to have friends, your child will follow the lead of others. How will your child remember the rules if other children are doing something different that looks like fun? How will they feel about doing something different and missing out?  What strategies does your child think will work?

How do children handle these situations when they’re on their own at school and facing these dilemmas? Do they solve these problems on their own? Do they turn to teachers? Do parents get involved and talk to other parents? It doesn’t seem fair to leave younger children on their own, but are parents comfortable bringing difference to other parents? Can these conversations be civil? Children will face the same problems in terms of how others react to them.

Again I want to stress I’m not suggesting imposing this discussion process on unwilling participants. This kind of teaching needs to be casual, as ideas or situations come up.  Humor can help make it less preachy. (“Everyone’s going to think I’m a nerd, but..”) You can talk through your process if they will tolerate it; at the least, you can let them know that when you are faced with ambiguity you have a process of thinking through the big pictures and the options, and it’s an ongoing process as new information comes in. This is the flexibility part – having to take in new information and incorporate it into your thinking, planning and strategies.

There are issues of the “new normal” not immediately (but secondarily) about the risks of COVID19. Apparently, nationally kids haven’t been getting their well child pediatric care and vaccinations, which puts them at risk for other diseases. How do you work out with your pediatrician or doctor a process that feels safe? How do you prioritize what you do?

This current situation is potentially very challenging. We don’t know what kind of school schedules to plan for – online? Small staggered classes? No field trips or extracurricular activities that our children look forward to? All of these require that we and potentially our children use our executive functions of planning and strategizing, our social thinking (how to stay in touch with friends, having playdates) and our flexibility if the anticipated rules change. We will make it through this, and we have the opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons, to a certain degree.

Small Silver Lining for Parents of Asperger’s & NLD Children/Teens/Adults Going Forward

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

The wait is over, Beyoncé is back! Her new visual album, Black Is King, officially premiered on July 31 exclusively on Disney+ and the queen has gifted us with fashion and beauty

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Ring the alarm. Black Is King is finally here! The highly-anticipated adaptation of The Lion King is now available for your viewing pleasure on Disney + or DSTV (because Beyoncé made

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Anti-racist and anti-police-brutality activism is currently receiving unprecedented levels of public support, which history has taught us will inevitably lead to strong backlash from conservative white America.

The well-documented history of

Advertisement

Finance

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

If you're experiencing constant chest pain or pressure, difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, an inability to wake up or stay awake, or have bluish lips or face, call 911

Read more ...

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

Science fiction author Arkady Martine holds a PhD in Byzantine history, which she puts to good use in her first novel A Memory Called Empire. The story is inspired by the

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

The Dark Ages were rife with plague, fanaticism, and accusations that Jews secretly fed off the blood of children. In 2020, we too are beset with plague, rampant

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Divorce is an unhappy and stressful time for both parents and their children. Many down-to-earth and practical topics related to divorce will be discussed in this blog: addressing divorce issues with your children; research on healthy and dysfunctional families; hiring an attorney; the legal process; psychological issues in divorce; psychiatric disorders and divorce; and many more.

Mental health issues abound in divorce and child custody cases. This is where psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professions play an important role. We will talk about these different professionals and how they can impact the divorce process.

Child custody is an important topic because children’s mental health is at stake when couples decide to divorce. Divorce can bring out the worst in parents. Anger, disappointment, fear, jealousy, and vindictiveness can come to the forefront. All of these emotions impact a child. We need to make sure that children’s well-being is our primary concern. This is complicated when you have parents, attorneys, a judge, grandparents, teachers, and others involved in the case. Unfortunately, the process is almost always adversarial. I hope this blog can help explain and navigate many issues related to child custody.

Trying to avoid an adversarial divorce is really important. I will provide some tips in this area.

Alleged physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse comes up in my clinical work in divorce cases. Abuse does occur, but the allegation of abuse can also be used by one parent to try to gain leverage against the other parent in court. Allegations of abuse can turn the whole divorce process upside down. Attorneys and judges are not well-equipped to deal with such allegations. As such, these allegations of abuse can take on a life of their own very quickly. We will discuss many issues related to allegations of abuse.

Alienation is another phenomenon that I encounter frequently in divorce cases. It is defined as one parent trying to sabotage the other parent’s relationship with the child. Alienation is behavior that can be overt or covert. Sometimes it is difficult to detect. Almost always the alienating parent denies it. So who gets hurt most in cases of alienation? The child. The child gets hurt in many ways that can be long-lasting. Alienation is a topic we will explore at length.

I will also address many topics related to parenting. These topics will include healthy boundaries, discipline, narcissism, stepfamilies, and many more. We all strive to be good parents. We will discuss what children need from us, and how we can meet their needs.

I look forward to sharing this blog with you. I hope we can tackle many topics together in a way that is both informative and helpful.

Please shares your comments. My email address is [email protected] I will try to respond to your questions, comments, and requests.

Divorce and Child Custody: Let’s Make it Real

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

It is this nurturing and reflective outer familial / social environment that allows our inner environment (our developing sense of self-hood) to flourish and continue to grow and unfold towards increasing levels of ‘self and other’ (relational) awareness and integration. In a ‘good enough’ (not perfect) familial and social container, the child feels valued, reflected, ‘held’, nurtured, understood, accepted, seen, and cared for.

When an infant or child repeatedly experiences ‘empathic breaks’ with those it is dependent on to meet its basic needs (including their psycho-emotional needs), a ‘survival personality’ develops in response to what is experienced as an uncertain, unstable, even rejecting environment.

Specifically, when a child’s caregivers are unable to empathize and respond to a child’s needs, i.e., when the child is treated like an object versus a conscious human being, the child is, in a fundamental sense, dehumanized and becomes an “it.”

It should be noted that a scapegoated child suffers tremendously via this process of being dehumanized because they are not seen for who they really are – they are instead trapped in a family role that they cannot escape from. In such cases, the pain resulting from such a deep primal wound may be extreme, which is why many scapegoated children / adults suffer from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Via this process of dehumanization, an empathic break occurs as a consequence of the child’s developing personhood (or self-hood) being invalidated and even violated. As societies become increasingly individualistic and fractured, even the best intentioned parents / caregivers will have blind spots, in that no person is able to perfectly mirror the totality and innate wholeness of another – even the most loving and attentive parent is incapable of such constant and ‘perfect’ empathic nurturing.

It is this break in empathic connection that will often result in the relational trauma that constitutes the primal wound: “It is the absence of adequate attunement and responsiveness to the child’s painful emotional reactions that renders them unendurable and thus a source of traumatic states and psychopathology” (Stolorow and Atwood, 1992, p. 54)

Later in life, the primal wound will often manifest as depression, anxiety, existential angst (e.g., a sense of impending doom; a sense of meaninglessness); complex post-traumatic stress disorder-type symptoms; other emotional and/or behavioral difficulties (e.g., addiction, codependency, and attachment / intimacy issues).

If the primal wound goes unrecognized, a person’s sense of self, self-esteem, and self-worth may be negatively impacted throughout his or her entire life and a variety of psycho-emotional, behavioral, and relational difficulties may develop.

According to Firman and Gila from their book The Primal Wound: A Transpersonal View of Trauma, Addiction, and Growth (1997), “a fundamental trust and connection to the universe is betrayed, and we become strangers to ourselves and others, struggling for survival in a seemingly alien world. In psychological terms, our connection to our deeper Self is wounded. In religious and philosophical terms, it is our connection to Ultimate Reality, the Ground of Being, or the Divine that is broken. No matter how we elect to describe it, the fact remains that this wounding cuts us off from the deeper roots of our existence.”  [p. 2].

So how can adults heal from the experiential reality of a primal wound? When a child or adult has no access to a nurturing, accepting ‘other’, a competent, attentive therapist may serve as an empathic outer environment, providing an emotionally “safe enough” container for awareness, integration, and healing to take place.

Therapy that allows for sensitive, in-depth psycho-emotional exploration can act as a unique, individualized ‘holding environment’ in which a client can rediscover their intrapsychic woundedness via facing painful realities and awarenesses, versus running away from the pain via maladaptive or even self-destructive coping mechanisms.

Naturally it takes a good amount of commitment and courage to explore such deep, intrapsychic wounding, given that there may be an unconscious fear that the wound, if opened up and consciously looked at, may be too overwhelming for the psyche to withstand.

The ego’s fear of pain must be overcome via the commitment to the therapeutic process in service of the greater good: The eventual re-emergence and integration with one’s whole, authentic Self (also referred to as the Transpersonal Self; the True Self; the Christ-Self; Buddha Nature; etc).

While we can heal our primal wounds through the process of self-discovery work within an empathic container, the invisible scars marking the source of our original pain will remain. Yet, it is these very scars that allow us to have compassion and empathy for both ourselves and others as we each struggle imperfectly toward our own ‘Self’ healing and our ever-unfolding journey toward the experiential awareness of our innate ‘unbroken’ intra-psychic wholeness.

References

Stolorow, R.D., & Atwood, G.E. (1992). Contexts of being: The intersubjective foundations of psychological life. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.

Firman, John, & Gila, Ann. (1997). The Primal wound: A transpersonal view of trauma, addiction, and growth. Albany, NY: State University of New York.

If you related to anything in this article, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What you share may help others in their own recovery!

Have you been impacted by Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)? Find out more by visiting my website (link included in my profile, below, along with a link to purchase my introductory eBook on FSA.  -Rebecca).

Articles of Interest

What Family Scapegoating Abuse Survivors Need to Know About C-PTSD

16 Experiences Common to Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

The Invisible Wounds of the ‘Family Scapegoat’

You are welcome to reprint this post with the following attribution:  

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MFT, specializes in recovering from the negative effects of being raised in dysfunctional / abusive family systems. She served as Core Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is a pioneer in defining and describing what she named (for research purposes) Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA). Today she focuses on helping family scapegoating abuse survivors navigate the unique challenges they face.

A Betrayal of Trust: Understanding the Primal Wound of Childhood

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

For Asperger’s/autistic children/teens and young adults, those with NLD, ADHD and for children generally, this “new normal” is confusing. The rules are sketchy at best, even adults don’t seem to understand them, and the rules and cautions seem to change almost weekly if not daily.

The flexibility needed to handle this unpredictability is particularly difficult for children who need clarity, who tend to be inflexible, and who depend on predictability of rules to manage their behavior. Parents face the challenge of helping their children manage the added stress of having to go out into this world in flux when they may be stressed, confused or frustrated themselves.

My sliver of a silver lining is this: it’s a time when we have the opportunity to let our children know that we take their thoughts seriously, and to model the skills needed to think and to get through the challenges we will all face.

I’m including self-care and self-calming skills as necessary skills. What self-calming skills do you use in general to handle an inherently stressful time? Are your children aware of self-calming skills, and are they practicing and developing them? Self-calming skills are like muscles – they develop with practice. If you do something over and over, muscle memory helps you do it automatically when you need it.

How do you handle stress in the moment – the moment when you run into something unexpected and have to decide what to do on the spot? Talking about those moments and how you react and asking your children to think about their possible reactions is instructive. You can talk through different possibilities and their outcomes.  What situation did you encounter? Did you act instinctively or did you have time to step back, take a breath and think the situation through? Different situations provide different opportunities. I practice meditation regularly, so I can take breaths and stay calm when I’m social distancing while others aren’t.

In talking through situations and responses, we will be dealing with problem solving, big picture thinking, and handling the unexpected. We can share questions with our kids, and respectfully fully listen to their points of view without criticizing or judging. We can then present an alternate point of view if we have one and ask how we can compromise. What you’re teaching is executive functioning (organizing, planning, problem solving and flexibility) as well as social thinking.

I’m not suggesting that we force children to talk about COVID19, what’s happening and what we might face. For some children, this is just too stressful and overwhelming, and they want us to present clear ideas and rules,  At the least, we can share these ideas by having casual conversations with the family about how WE think, how we problem solve, how we have to think of the big picture, and how we try to be flexible.

For example, one problem is understanding the rules. Where do we look to find the most reliable version of what the rules are? Our kids who are computer researchers might be good at that, or we can talk about where we looked.  How do we plan to observe the rules? If your children are on the autism spectrum or NLD, they are likely to be rule followers, and will be upset if you don’t agree with following rules. Respect their thinking.  For example, if a rule is to wear masks, talk about whether and when your family wear masks, and how you go about being careful. Honor the validity of your children’s concerns.

How do you handle situations where others don’t follow the rules you follow? What do you do if you encounter other people not wearing masks, if you feel that it’s important to safeguarding your health?  What do you do if you run into people wearing masks if you don’t  choose to wear them? If you think of the points of view and needs of others, you and your children might realize that others may be at high risk or have someone at high risk at home.  You  have to think about the big picture: Where are you? What are the needs and feelings of others?  This is actually teaching social thinking. You’re teaching big picture thinking – who’s around, what is the situation, and how do you take everyone into account?

A second area for decision making is understanding what’s opening up, with what precautions, what your comfort zone is, and planning how what you’ll do.  Again, your children may have ideas. They might be eager to go to outdoor restaurants or they may want to avoid them entirely. How do they feel about getting a haircut? Going to buy clothes in a store? What do they think about you doing these activities, and how do you address their concerns? This is problem solving and anticipating outcomes. There’s a plan A but there usually has to be a plan B if plan A isn’t working.

How do you plan family trips or family outings? Do you bring your own food and utensils as many states recommend? Do you maintain social distancing, and how do you accomplish that?  Do you bring outdoor chairs, or paper plates and cups?  You’re teaching planning and organizing materials.

What can you and your children anticipate about summer programs and school? How do you and how do they feel about imagining what they will be like? They may have any reaction from excitement to anxiety, as might we. They may be disappointed that something they love won’t happen. How do you deal with disappointment, and how can they? You’re identifying emotions, validating them and talking about emotional control.

You may also be teaching the executive function of  inhibition if your child has ADHD or if in eagerness to have friends, your child will follow the lead of others. How will your child remember the rules if other children are doing something different that looks like fun? How will they feel about doing something different and missing out?  What strategies does your child think will work?

How do children handle these situations when they’re on their own at school and facing these dilemmas? Do they solve these problems on their own? Do they turn to teachers? Do parents get involved and talk to other parents? It doesn’t seem fair to leave younger children on their own, but are parents comfortable bringing difference to other parents? Can these conversations be civil? Children will face the same problems in terms of how others react to them.

Again I want to stress I’m not suggesting imposing this discussion process on unwilling participants. This kind of teaching needs to be casual, as ideas or situations come up.  Humor can help make it less preachy. (“Everyone’s going to think I’m a nerd, but..”) You can talk through your process if they will tolerate it; at the least, you can let them know that when you are faced with ambiguity you have a process of thinking through the big pictures and the options, and it’s an ongoing process as new information comes in. This is the flexibility part – having to take in new information and incorporate it into your thinking, planning and strategies.

There are issues of the “new normal” not immediately (but secondarily) about the risks of COVID19. Apparently, nationally kids haven’t been getting their well child pediatric care and vaccinations, which puts them at risk for other diseases. How do you work out with your pediatrician or doctor a process that feels safe? How do you prioritize what you do?

This current situation is potentially very challenging. We don’t know what kind of school schedules to plan for – online? Small staggered classes? No field trips or extracurricular activities that our children look forward to? All of these require that we and potentially our children use our executive functions of planning and strategizing, our social thinking (how to stay in touch with friends, having playdates) and our flexibility if the anticipated rules change. We will make it through this, and we have the opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons, to a certain degree.

Small Silver Lining for Parents of Asperger’s & NLD Children/Teens/Adults Going Forward

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

The wait is over, Beyoncé is back! Her new visual album, Black Is King, officially premiered on July 31 exclusively on Disney+ and the queen has gifted us with fashion and beauty

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Ring the alarm. Black Is King is finally here! The highly-anticipated adaptation of The Lion King is now available for your viewing pleasure on Disney + or DSTV (because Beyoncé made

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Anti-racist and anti-police-brutality activism is currently receiving unprecedented levels of public support, which history has taught us will inevitably lead to strong backlash from conservative white America.

The well-documented history of

Read more ...

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

But the recent mobilization came only after two months of silence about Taylor's death. There are many reasons her story took so long to arrive on the national stage. For one,

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Brennan opens the interview by asking Pelosi if she feels that the CDC “let the American people down?” Pelosi replies by noting that the president recently cut the CDC’s budget and that

Read more ...

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

“When you look at the health disparities in Indian Country—high rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma and then you combine that with the overcrowded housing situation where you have a

Read more ...

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

“Gold is skyrocketing with the price climbing to its highest in seven years. Dovish comments from the Federal Reserve and concerns about the stock market have lifted bullion,” wrote Carlo Alberto De Casa, chief analyst at ActivTrades, in a daily research note.

Gold for June delivery on Comex GC00, +0.90%GCM20, +0.90% climbed $14.50, or 0.8%, to $1,770.80 an ounce, putting the metal near its highest settlement since 2012 if it holds its current level. Prices for the most-active contract are around their highest since April 14, according to FactSet data. For the week, gold gained 2.5% based on the most-active contract at Friday’s close.

Read more ...

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

“As unemployment numbers rise and household finances become more desperate, Americans are naturally becoming more vulnerable to scams,” said Jack Gillis, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America in Washington,

Read more ...
Advertisement

Finance