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10 Tips to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay for Young Adults

Holidays bring fun and joy – and also a fair amount of stress! Decorating, holiday visits, and shopping for gifts can be overwhelming for all family members. You may notice that your adult child with special needs is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out but they are having trouble articulating how they are feeling. It can be helpful to have a conversation about how feeling anxious during the holiday season is a very common experience.

WHAT IS STRESS?

Something you can’t see or touch but can definitely feel.

The name for Tension in your mind and body.

A Reaction to things that are new, different or overwhelming.

It’s Especially common during the holiday season.

A Source of headaches and stomachaches.

Something you can learn to handle!

A little stress isn’t bad. Sometimes stress is good because it can energize you to get up in the morning and get to work or school on time. But too much stress can make you feel sick, tired, sad and worried.

The following are strategies when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out:

STRESS MESS: Everything annoys you and you want to scream

STRATEGY: Take some time alone, put on headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are in your favorite place in the world.

STRESS MESS: Your feel restless, frantic and jumpy.

STRATEGY: Do something positive with your energy; go for a run or a long walk. If you are at work or in school, take a bathroom break or get a drink of water.

STRESS MESS: You can’t stop worrying, even about unrealistic things.

STRATEGY: Do something creative like draw or paint, bake cookies, listen to music, go for a walk.

                        10 DAILY WAYS TO KEEP STRESS AT BAY:

  1. Be active – exercise lifts your spirits and helps you feel relaxed.
  2. Eat healthy foods – a healthy body fights stress better.
  3. Avoid caffeine – it makes a person feel more edgy.
  4. Get enough sleep each night – you will feel more relaxed when you wake up.
  5. Laugh!
  6. Be neat – being organized helps you feel in control.
  7. Express your feelings – unlock your voice and unlock your stress.
  8. Be a planner – it will help you feel in control of your day.
  9. Talk to someone about your problems – you will feel better.
  10. Take a moment each day to feel gratitude.
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5 Reasons to Join ALA’s Parent2Parent Support Group

Joining a support group is a wonderful way to practice self-care. A support group can be a source of information as well as a safe place to share your experience with other people who are in similar circumstances.

 

Here are 5 reasons to join Advance LA’s Parent2Parent (P2P) Support Group:

 

  1. It’s Nice To Have Your Very Own Focus Group

The other parents in P2P can be a sounding board for you to talk through a decision that may be worrying you. Other parents can provide input and help you problem solve.

 

  1. Being With People Who Understand Without Having To Explain

Connecting with other parents of adult children can be a source of support. It feels good to talk and share with people who “get it” without you having to explain everything.

 

  1. Do You Know Anything About…..?

We are all always looking for good doctors, therapists, recreational ideas, and volunteer opportunities. A support group is a great place to ask about other people’s experiences with various professionals, organizations, and activities.

 

  1. You Have Valuable Insight For Others

You have valuable experiences that are helpful to someone else. When you share your story, you give support, encouragement, and helpful tips to others.

 

  1. You Like To Play Mahjong Too?!!

When you get to know the members of your group, you may find out that you have common interests outside of your parenting experience. Come join P2P and make a new friend!

 

Please join us for our Parent 2 Parent Support Group on October 26 at 5pm. Our on-going P2P (Parent to Parent)  group is a free, monthly meet-up for parents and caregivers facing the challenges of helping their young adult transition to greater independence. 

And have your young adult attend club l.a.’s Halloween Party while you are attending the P2P support group. It’s a win-win!

To inquire about future P2P meetings, email xbooker@thehelpgroup.org.

 

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS
Life Skills Coach & Director of Community Outreach
Advance LA

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Strategies for Avoiding the Homework Battles

Homework. Just the sight of that word is enough to make some parents weep with frustration.

One of the most frequent issues that arise in parenting counseling is the afternoon battle over homework. There is usually a vicious cycle at play: your child procrastinates about getting started, you start nagging, and your child becomes overwhelmed and shuts down.

It might help to remind yourself that there is actually a reason for doing homework. Homework gives your child a chance to practice what she has learned in school. Further, homework helps children develop age-appropriate discipline and independence with respect to schoolwork.

But what often happens is that the kids who need the most practice have the hardest time completing homework. Parents should never assume that a child who resists homework is just “lazy.” Children inherently want to do well in school and they generally want to please their parents. If you know that your child has the intellectual potential to work independently yet says that he “hates school” or “hates reading” you might want to explore having your child evaluated for the presence of an attention or learning issue.

For children with learning challenges, doing homework is like going on a hike with 20 pound weights around your ankles and big blisters on your heels. It is possible, but painful and difficult. So of course your child will look for ways to postpone such a painful and discouraging task.

So, what to do? Appreciate that homework is frustrating for your child and put into place a plan that will help your child learn to work through frustration and develop self-discipline.

A Homework Plan:

  1. Set aside a time for homework that works for your family. For most kids, they do not want to do homework after doing school work for eight hours. Afterschool is a time for hobbies and exploring possible new interests in sports, dance, art, robotics, cooking – whatever your child enjoys. Try having homework time after dinner or while dinner is cooking to see if that works better for your child.

 

  1. Choose a spot for homework that works for your child and family. Some kids like to be at the kitchen table while others prefer a desk in their room. Parents should be available to help, offer encouragement, and answer questions.

 

  1. Talk with your child’s teacher about the expected length of homework time. If your child is unable to finish in the expected time frame, have him write a note to the teacher that states he worked for the amount of time and note the assignments he was able to complete. This information is helpful for your child’s teacher to see how long it takes your child to do homework and determine if modifications need to be made.

 

  1. Begin with a reasonable amount of work time. If your child can only focus for 10 minutes and then needs a break, then that is the starting time. Try 15 minutes the next week and support your child as they gradually become able to focus for longer amounts of time. If your child needs frequent breaks, try to work up to 20 minutes of work followed by a five minute break.

 

  1. Choose your words carefully. Instead of “if you don’t do your homework you won’t be able to…” try a language of opportunities like, “as soon as you finish your homework we will have a chance to play a quick game of Jenga!”

 

Some more tips: acknowledge all efforts, no matter how small. Provide positive and frequent encouragement. Praise effort not innate ability. Do not compare to siblings who may have an easier time doing homework.

It isn’t always easy to stay calm when your child is melting down about homework. If you would like to talk further about ways to avoid the homework battles, please feel free to reach out to me at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org. I am here to help!

 

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS
Life Skills Coach & Director of Community Outreach
Advance LA

 

Article originally posted at http://www.jerirochman.com/blog/.