Mindful Parenting – Key to Happy Healthy Family

Start of the School Year

Summer’s Over and the Kids are Back to School

Congrats parents! You made it to the first day of school. Now you can relax…

On second thought, while you are now off full-time parenting duty, it’s likely that your busy, chaotic weekdays are back in full swing. We forget over the summer that having kids in school equates to hectic mornings, homework to check, extracurricular activities to attend, and all the same regular errands to run. No matter how well you balance life’s challenges, life gets stressful, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.

As a parent, the list of ‘to dos’ feels never-ending and always being updated by so many priorities. Rushing from first thing in the morning until we with luck falling asleep in our bed instead of the cozy warm pile of laundry.


Stress effects our bodies causing the rational part of our brains take a back seat. We start relying on bad habits like yelling, threatening, and issuing ultimatums. The longer we are stressed it can lead to being short-fused, irritable, impulsive,  and actually changing the structure of our brains.

Ignoring stress allows the effects to compound until it finally spills over into our lives impacting:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Jobs
  • Health

Q. How to address this parenting rut?

A. Mindful Parenting

Mindful parenting is about being aware, acting with intention, and accepting the reality of any given moment. It means being in control of our emotions and how we respond to our children. The magic of this approach is that it validates that none of us are ‘perfect’ or immune to getting angry or frustrated. We simply choose to do the best we can, at any given time. Mindful parenting empowers us to stay calm, see challenges as opportunities, and have fun with our kids. Best of all, it fosters deeper connections, leading to happier, healthier families!

Sounds amazing, right?

Join me the first 3 Saturdays in October for a Mindful Parenting
  • Location: Cuyahoga Falls Office
  • Dates: October 6th, 13th, and 20th
  • Time: 10am – 12pm
  • Cost: $150 for the 3 sessions

This 3-week workshop is designed to introduce and discuss the following:

  • Mindfulness and mindful parenting practices
  • Ways to foster, grow, and sustain resilience in children
  • How to connect, create joy and have fun with your children

Click Here to Register for this workshop, space is limited.

Check out these excellent articles for more information!


By: Rachael Muster M.Ed., LPCC-S

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Talking to Your Child About School Violence

That pit in your stomach you get when you hear about yet another school shooting and the anxiety you feel sending your child to school is normal. So what do you say when your child asks what to do in the event of a school shooting at school? How can you possibly explain this to your kids and how to do you talk about it? What if your child is feeling anxious going to school, what can you do to help? All of these questions come to mind.

Here are a few strategies:

Support system and coping skills

First, you as a parent must take care of yourself first and rely on your support system. It’s like that metaphor of the airplane oxygen mask…you must put your own mask on first before helping others. Talk to friends, family or other parents about your own concerns or feelings of anxiety…you are not alone! Daily rituals like meditation, yoga or exercise to de-stress and improve your mental health is essential and will be beneficial both for you and your child.

Let your child lead the conversation  

Since, like many parents you may not be sure where to begin, ask your child what questions they have about this event and other difficult situations. This ensures you are answering their questions, while not sharing too little or too much.

Talk regularly with your child

Talk to your kids one-on-one about school and anything else on their mind. Have a safe space for children to trust they can share their concerns. A good time to do this may be in the car on the way to/from school, extracurricular activities or at bedtime. Have screen-free family time for example at dinner (where everyone puts their phones or laptops aside) and talk openly about what’s on their mind. Say things like “How was school today?” or “What did you do at school today?”  

Teach your child coping skills to de-stress

Practice coping methods like deep breathing and grounding exercises while in a calm state, so it’s easier to do when your child is feeling anxious. Hot Cocoa Breathing Technique or Figure 8 Breathing can be very effective and used anywhere if your child is feeling anxious. A grounding exercise can also be useful to practice and decreases anxiety.  

Encourage your child to acknowledge their feelings

Encourage your child to express their feelings. The reality is with social media children are exposed to more information than ever before. They are on snapchap, youtube and instragram. Ask them how they feel about what’s posted there, and if they are having any strong feelings about them. Ask if they are feeling overwhelmed, worried, sad or scared about anything and if they would like to talk about it.

Limit exposure to media

In this day and age this is difficult, but if you can limit the amount of violence your child sees in the news, TV show or social media. Research has shown often young children when watching something on TV believe it is actually reoccurring.

You cannot mess this up if you love your child and talk with them

There is no manual on how to talk to your child about school violence and there is no right or wrong way to do this…just talk to them. Show them you love them and empower them to focus on what they can control instead of what could happen.

Know the warning signs

Most children are resilient and will return to normal after exposure to violence in the news, however children with anxiety may need more help. If your child worries excessively, does not want to go to school, has difficulty sleeping, displays changes in school performance, changes in relationships with peers and teachers, or losses interest in activities they once enjoyed they may be experiencing anxiety or trauma it may be helpful to seek professional help by contacting tycounseling.com.



By: Allison West Kaskey  M.Ed., Eds., LPCC-S

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Technology and Mental Health

Teens, Technology and Mental Health

I bet you’ve seen a lot in the news lately about the impact of technology on the mental health of teens.  If so, like so many of you I’m trying to make sense of it all. Several articles referenced generational research by  Jean Twenge. Who in 2011-12 saw something shocking in her research that “scared her to the core.” More than 50% of teens had iphones, therefore creating the iGen. The iGen, born between 1995 and 2012, have never known life without smartphones!

One article, included alarming statistics on technology:

  • 1 in 5 children has a mental health condition
  • 43% increase in ADHD
  • 37% increase in clinical level depression in teens
  • And even more alarming a 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old

Additionally, for at-risk teens technology can be linked to problems with attention, behavior and self-regulation, according to a 2017 Duke study.

Some say, this generation is on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades!!!

However, it’s not all so bleak. The positive impact of technology for the iGen was reported in an article stating this  generation is physically safer, they drink less, drive later, and are waiting longer to have physical relationships with significant others.

For adolescents, 11-15 of lower economic status, a study found technology also had a positive impact. For example on days when teens spent more time using technology they were less likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Possibly meaning, the short term impact of technology is beneficial, but not long term. In this study, teens spent approximately 2.3 hours a day using technology and sent 41 texts a day on average.

What can we do about it, a few tips:

  • For parents hold off as long as possible getting your child a smartphone.
  • If your kids need a phone to call for rides, emergencies, etc…get them a basic phone.
  • Set ground rules and monitor usage (no technology while eating dinner, etc.)
  • If all else fails, there are apps to control the amount of time and restrict viewing.

What else?

  • Model appropriate use of technology (I know it’s tough, I can’t put down my ipad!)
  • Limit your technology distractions while your kids are home.
  • Talk to your kids and encourage they to come to you if something is wrong, say it daily!


I know it seems overwhelming and scary, but you are not alone and we can help! 


By: Allison West Kaskey  M.Ed., Eds., LPCC-S

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Time-Out: A Different Approach to a Classic Consequence

We have probably all said it as parents-“Go to your room!” “You’re in timeout!” Our intention is that our child will sit and think about the bad choice they made, possibly ponder ways to make better choices, or make the connection between poor behavior and missing out. But what if the room you send them to is full of toys and electronics? And what if they really wanted/needed a break from the activity they were just removed from?

For some kids, especially older ones, a timeout can actually be a reward. This can lead to an association between acting out and getting what they want-a seed no parent wants to plant. It might be helpful to offer this sort of “break” as a proactive solution before your child actually acts out. When you first notice your child’s cues that they are heading for a meltdown, suggest a place or two they could go to relax, regroup, or whatever you want to call it that will appeal to them. Remind them of some activities they could do there to help them center themselves-color, read, listen to music, crumple paper (or any other healthy coping skill that works for them.) This helps them learn a healthy way to get some down time.

What if this doesn’t work? What if your child continues to escalate and makes a bad choice? Let me introduce you to time-IN. This type of consequence acts as a way for your child to “give back” for their poor behavior. Older kids can benefit from additional chores for specific infractions, like cleaning a bathroom for swearing or taking on a siblings’ chores for the day if they were mean to that brother or sister. Younger ones often respond well to writing/drawing an apology letter or picture. Always keep in mind that the consequence needs to be age appropriate and realistic. A four year isn’t going to write a two page letter just like an eleven year old isn’t going to clean your gutters. It’s about the effort they put in.

As we all know, every child is different. For some kiddos, time-outs are sufficient and for others, time-ins are ineffective. Keeping expectations and consequences consistent is the key.



By: Torrie Giovinazzi, M.Ed., LPCC, NCC


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