January 14, 2021
Hi, I’m Cindy Lopez and I’m happy to welcome you to our Voices of Compassion podcast series, where we hope you’ll find a little courage, some connection and a whole lot of compassion. This year has upended our lives in ways we couldn’t even have imagined. As hopeful as many of us were to begin a new decade, little did we know back in March, how much our world would change. And as times are continually changing we’re somewhat forced to accept what’s out of our control and we’re learning to adapt to a novel way of living. When we launched our new podcast series back in October, we learned that many podcasts don’t make it beyond the 10th episode. So today we’re excited to tell you that we’ve launched 12 episodes and we’re going full steam ahead. To all of you, thank you so much for listening in. It’s a privilege to be able to bring this podcast to you and our community. So, it’s appropriate today to take a moment and reflect on our Voices of Compassion podcast series, take a rewind and look at some of our top episodes featuring highlights from our clinical experts here at CHC who specialize in mental health and learning for children, teens and young adults.
So, way back on our first episode back in October, our guest was Liza Bennigson and she talked about being a mom who hasn’t been alone since March. Like so many of you out there, Liza is also trying to balance working at home, schooling at home and keeping her sanity. In the middle of it all, she’s able to see some of the positive things that have come out of that. And here’s a quote from Liza in that episode:
We don’t really resemble what we looked like before, which has been really nice, to kind of get to know each other and know our kids as they are and not who we want them to be.
What a great little nugget of truth and experience from Liza. We know that everyone is experiencing more stress this year and Liza noted that in her episode too. So we also know it’s important to consider strategies to help us reduce stress. In episode five, one of our CHC Occupational Therapists, Jennifer Salomon, offers some helpful mindfulness strategies to reduce stress. If you haven’t been able to listen into episode five yet, it might be a good time to do that. Jennifer describes mindfulness in this quote from that episode:
Jen Salomon, OTD, OTR/L:
Mindfulness, if we want to put it simply, it’s really just our ability to take a second and recognize what’s going on around us and to identify and validate our own emotional experience.
There’s so much talk about mindfulness today and especially to reduce stress. So it was really nice to hear just a simple kind of explanation about what that is. And along with mindfulness we’re also more aware of compassion.
So moving on to our sixth episode, which is on Raising Compassionate Kids, we were fortunate to have a conversation with Kendra Fraka, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Vibha Pathak, Occupational Therapist, both here at CHC. They were able to offer advice, not only from their own clinical experience, but also from their experience as parents. It’s so important to think about how to help your kids understand differences and have compassion for differences. They noted many tips about how you might build compassion in your kids, including this one about creating something together. Kendra said:
Kendra Fraka, LCSW:
There’s something cathartic about creating something…and it reminds me again, just kind of more of those core things that are important when everything feels overwhelming.
So speaking of compassion, it’s important for all of us to not only have compassion for others, but also to exercise a little self-compassion.
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In episode seven, Dr. Joan Baran, Psychologist and Clinical Director at CHC, spent some time talking with us about parenting. One thing she said that has really stuck with me:
Dr. Joan Baran:
I have a COVID mantra and it is, “My good enough is good enough. And I can only control what I can control.”
That’s so important for all of us to remember right now. My good enough is good enough. Really wise words for all of us today. Also as parents, it’s important for us to empathize with our kids and have compassion for them. So not only think about how we can cultivate compassion in them, but also how we model that and how we have compassion for our kids.
They are trying to do their best in this unique situation, especially kids with ADHD. I was fortunate to be able to talk with Dr. Glen Elliott, Chief Psychiatrist and Medical Director at CHC and he’s also an internationally known expert regarding ADHD. With regard to kids with ADHD especially with distance learning he said,
Dr. Glen Elliott:
In general what we know works with kids with ADHD is frequent positive feedback. And also again, depending on if hyperactivity is an issue, frequent breaks.
So, especially for kids with ADHD, distance learning can be very challenging. Getting up and moving around is an important part of their routine that can help them be successful. And for you as parents, just finding things, seeing things that you can be giving them positive feedback about, those are two big things for kids with ADHD.
And finally, a couple of highlights from two of our most recent episodes: Fostering Mental Health in Children, and Family Dynamics. In both of these episodes, number 10 and number 11, our guests focus on the relationship between parents and children. Tony Cepeda talks about several strategies to encourage mental wellness in your child.
If possible, I would encourage parents to play with your child as well and engage in that together. So, some ideas for that: color together, play a card game or a board game with each other, play outside, play basketball, badminton, play tennis with each other, dance together, you know just spend more time having fun.
Wise words again for all of us, it’s important right now to take that time to be with your child and engage in some fun ways. And then in episode 11, Jennifer Leydecker talked about the dynamics of families all under one roof, 24-7. It can be challenging to say the least. She noted that a big piece of getting along is our communication. No surprise there, right. But listen to what she says,
Jennifer Leydecker, LMFT:
I think communication is really key and age appropriate communication. So really kind of talking through things and being open to the emotional side of that, that communication. So we all experience emotion, some of us process and work through them differently and it is really important to recognize that.
So keep on talking to each other and talk to your kids and find ways to be with them and have fun with them and keep talking to your significant other or your spouse and think about ways to exercise compassion, not only for your friends and family, but also for yourself.
So that’s a wrap for today. It was really valuable to look back at highlights from our first episodes. There are so many nuggets of valuable advice, solid content, insights, strategies and tips. Maybe listening to some of these highlights made you think that you want to go back and take another listen to a specific episode. We hope you do and we hope that as you do you find some courage, connection and a whole lot of compassion. Thank you for listening and we look forward to connecting with you again in the new year.
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