Raising Healthy Kids

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The following is a guest post by Dr. Barbro Brost of The Brost Clinic.

A healthy child is a happy child. As parents we are entrusted to protect and care for our children as they navigate through their childhood towards a happy, productive life as adults. They need shelter and warmth, food and water, advice and guidance, but most of all lots of love!

Raising a child in today’s world takes a lot of attention as a parent. There are many new dangers that the previous generations never had to worry about. Many come seductively packaged with bright colors and sparkling lights. Tobacco, street drugs, bad TV shows, computer sites unsuited for kids are pretty obvious things you want to avoid in your kid’s lives, but what about the less obvious hidden dangers lurking everywhere?

Fast food, food processed with unhealthy chemicals, genetically modified foods, foods sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, foods that make your kids sick instead of nurturing them. Foods and drinks that are marketed by giant corporations to be fun and “normal.”

It takes some strong parenting to stand up against that; it is much easier to “go with the flow” and give in to your child’s cravings for sugar and junk foods. We need to teach them about healthy food and healthy habits. A healthy breakfast with good protein, like eggs, before school in place of a sugary cereal. Extra vitamins for strong immune function. A healthy snack after school and a healthy dinner together as a family whenever possible (sports and other after school activities can be a challenge here).

Encourage play time outside instead of plopping down in front of a TV or computer. Set aside plenty of time for homework to avoid late nights and a set bed time to allow adequate sleep. Preschool and elementary-aged kids need 10-12 hours per night. If they don’t wake up by themselves, they didn’t get enough sleep! There is strong research showing that all the above sets the stage for better health and better performance in school and sports.

Unless in the case of a medical emergency, like a fractured leg or severe bacterial infections (remember antibiotics have no effect on viruses), children are best treated naturally. If they get a cold or flu, rest and fluids with a lot of immune boosting vitamins is the best cure. If they have falls or injuries take them to the chiropractor!

If you stop and think about it we all take our kids to the dentist regularly to avoid cavities. If their teeth aren’t perfectly lined up, we pay for years of orthodontics. Doesn’t it make sense to take as good care of their spine, which is crucial for optimum function of the body? You can replace teeth, but you can never replace your spine!

The Prisoners’ Dilemma

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Two prisoners are held in separate cells and questioned by police. There is insufficient evidence to convict either prisoner. The police offer both prisoners the same deal: if one testifies against the other and the other remains silent, the betrayer is freed, and the silent prisoner is sentenced to a 10-year term. If both prisoners remain silent, they each are sentenced to only six months in jail. If each betrays the other, they each must serve a two-year sentence.

A bit of reflection will lead to the conclusion that the prisoners would be best off if they cooperated with one another by both refusing to testify against the other. However, because the failure of one prisoner to cooperate results in a sentence of a 10-year prison term to the cooperating prisoner, each prisoner has an incentive to “defect” (or take an aggressive stance) out of fear that the other party will “defect” first.

This is the dilemma that leads parties to litigate in court, jeopardizing their ability to achieve the best overall outcome.1

If you are seeking a divorce or believe you may find yourself in a divorce that you don’t want, consider how you will divorce. How you divorce will impact you for years to come.

Collaborative Law is a settlement divorce process, where the intentions of the both parties are known from the start, thereby maximizing their abilities to engage in a cooperative problem-solving effort rather than a more destructive competitive effort.

At the commencement of a collaborative case, spouses and their respective attorneys review a participation agreement describing the fundamental principles underlying the process principles which are based on values of honesty, integrity, cooperation, dignity and respect. The negotiating framework used in the collaborative process is unlike that used in the traditional court process or in more common every day events such as buying a used car. In the collaborative model, great attention is paid to the interests and needs of each party and exploring creative resolutions for meeting the needs and interests of each party.

A respectful divorce is possible. If you find yourself in this situation, take the time to explore how divorce is conducted by those with whom you are consulting. You are entitled to a dignified process– know that it is possible.

1 ROBERT AXELROD, THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION (1984); Ronald J. Glson & Robert H. Mnookin, Disputing Through Agents; Cooperation and Conflict Between Lawyers in Litigation, 94 COLUM. L. REV. 509 (1991).

It’s Not Failure!

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Failure is not a word that fits for much of life thanks to the judgment that oozes from it.

Have you ever heard someone say they felt like a failure because they were in the process of divorcing? Have you ever felt like that yourself?

Maybe you are, or were, in a marriage that didn’t work and couldn’t last.  Maybe you tried desperately to keep it together or felt for a long time that something wasn’t right. Or maybe you were blindsided and shocked when your partner announced they were leaving and it was over.  However your divorce began, you may have found yourself overwhelmed by pain, fear, grief and confusion.

Why would anyone judge this as if it were a grade on a report card? This is a situation where human beings are struggling to find their way. It is not a failure. It’s life and life is filled with choices and change, with loss and grace.

Often people say things happen for a reason. I would encourage you to take this one step further and create a reason for what happened. When you have sufficiently recovered from your divorce (or any life trauma), you can choose to grow, to learn, to make a difference in some way. You can make the choice to be more compassionate with yourself and with others and strive to heal and look to the future.

We are always falling down and getting up. We are always bumping into old thoughts and certainties that no longer fit us. The more we experience life, the more we reevaluate and change our perspectives.

It’s not failure. It’s growth, it’s change, it’s a gift.

Honor Your Story

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On Sunday I went the book launch of “Watershed Moments,” a compilation of stories from individuals who had overcome dramatic events that changed the course of their lives.

The events the authors described were filled with pain, fear, and anguish. Each shared how these seemingly “end of the world” experiences were simply the end of one world and the birthing of a new one.

If you’ve ever given birth or watched someone give birth, you know there is nothing simple about it. It’s not easy. It’s painful. It takes time to heal and to understand the magnitude of the miracle that has come into your life.

It was true for each of these authors. Their transitions were definitely not easy and often painful. It took time for them heal and to understand that a miracle had occurred and that their future was once more, or for the first time, filled with hope and possibilities.

I’ve heard people say we need to give up the stories of our past so that we can write a new one. After reading this book, I believe we should not give up these stories. They are a part of our history, and we need to honor them, for they have impacted who we have become. We may have found or regained our power, our voice, our courage. We may have deepened our faith. We may have become more authentic. We now stand as the heroine of our own story and in the process inspire others to do the same.

The Gift of Community

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I really didn’t want to write about Valentine’s Day this week, so I decided to write about last Saturday instead! I went out to breakfast with a group of kind, supportive women friends. We greeted each other with laughter and hugs, sat down at a large table, ordered our food and started talking. We shared stories of joy and grief, of clarity and confusion— conversations women have been having with each other for generations.

We had become a small, compassionate community sharing a meal.

Research shows that being part of a community helps us stay healthy and live longer, but often during divorce friends feel they have to choose sides and may drift away from us. Our community becomes fragmented and breaks apart, and we wonder if we will ever find a new one.

How do you find a new community?

The first step is to participate in life, even for short periods of time. Do something you love. You may want to take an art class, join a ski club or volunteer for a cause you believe in. If you are more adventurous, you will certainly want to try something new!

The second step is to be discerning. No matter how charming someone may be, trust your instincts, and don’t pursue a friendship with anyone you wouldn’t want to meet for breakfast and share heart-felt stories.

My Saturday morning might not have included the traditional Valentine’s Day chocolates or roses, but there was the sweetness of laughter and the fragrance of friendship which smelled a lot like fresh brewed coffee and great hash browns.

Does Worry Limit You?

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My dream Sunday night was filled with such intense worry that I woke up overwhelmed by the feeling. I had been on a high bridge. There were people in the water far below struggling to stay afloat and those on the bridge were jumping in to help them. I decided to do the same, but at the last minute got very scared. It was a long way down and when I looked, I rationalized that I didn’t see people in the water, but just a large school of fish.

I jumped anyway.

Meanwhile another part of me stayed safely on the bridge and watched….and worried. “How could I do this? I wasn’t prepared. What had I done? I should have stopped myself from making this disastrous decision.”

Then I woke up, but the dream stayed with me.

I understand that sometimes I jump into things not fully prepared. I understand that when I get scared, I’m good at looking for excuses not to jump.

Like everyone else I have a strong voice in my head dedicated to protecting me. To that voice I say, “Thank you very much!”

But when does that voice block us from moving forward, from following our dreams, from jumping into the unknown?

How many of us decide to do something that we know is right and then doubt ourselves and spend all our energy worrying, rather than pursing the choice we have made. How can we remain whole and be informed by our worry without being limited by it? How do we keep the lines of communication open with ourselves?

I believe it begins by sitting quietly with ourselves and having one thoughtful, honest conversation at a time.