Hello FRA Families,
We are excited to share the latest edition of our monthly Wellness Newsletter. Our goal is to support this community on and off campus, and one of those ways is to regularly provide you with helpful tidbits for every age and stage. We hope that you find these articles useful and relevant, aiding you with some of the guidance necessary to wade through the trials of doing life together. As always, we would love to hear how we can support you further, what topics you would like to learn more about, and any concerns you may have. We are here for you!
Your FRA Counseling Team
Hey Millennial Parents, It’s Time To Bring Back 90s Summers
by: Alexandra Frost
The days were long and the years were... also long. In the morning I’d fill my bowl with Frosted Flakes and stare at the tiger, wondering what he had in store for his day, while my mom chatted on the phone with the neighbors, standing near the wall where the cord allowed her just three feet of walking room. She’d yell after me as I bounded outside to find my neighbor friends: “Stay where I can find you!” She meant somewhere in the neighborhood — at least four streets and maybe 30 houses worth of territory. She wasn’t worried. After all, she knew someone would throw a peanut butter and fluff sandwich my way at some point, and if I was skinned up bad enough, I’d limp home.
The ’90s were a different time to raise children, and to be raised. It wasn’t all perfect, and in some ways it was much worse. People with mental health struggles were told to hunker down, power through, suck it up, and keep plugging. We drank a lot of sugary soda and ate way fewer berries. We definitely hadn’t ever heard of chickpea pasta. But we also didn’t have phones that needed security settings or coding camps clogging up our summers. Instead, we had the great outdoors at our fingertips and endless unstructured days.
And this year, I’m trying to channel a little bit of that 1990s energy into my own parenting. Here are the lessons I’m trying to apply, gleaned from remembering my own parents’ efforts back in the day.
Help Your Teen Learn to Adult: 20 Life Skills They Need
By: Morgan Hill
Though my kids will always be my babies, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a mom if I didn’t help them learn to “adult.”
Sometimes, that means tossing them out into the world to figure a few things out on their own.
Sometimes, it means stepping back when they ask for my help and saying, “Give this a shot yourself… I’m right here if you stumble.”
Sometimes, it means holding my tongue when they’re attempting something on their own and resisting the urge to jump in and do it for them. (Oh, that’s so hard, sometimes!)
But what I do now, in my kids’ teen years, matters. In fact, it matters a lot. My gentle pushes of encouragement to take the next step on their own is exactly what they need to become more confident and independent, to be a better roommate, partner, friend, employee and perhaps even a boss one day.
I can’t teach them every life lesson, (some things they’re just going to have to learn on their own), but what I can do is check a few things off the “Adulting 101” list so they don’t step out into the world totally blindsided. Help your teen learn to adult. Here are 20 life skills they need.
How to Prevent Your Kids From Losing What They Learned in School During Summer Vacation
By: Ashley Austrew
Summer break is typically a time for kids to kick back, indulge in a little extra screen time, play outside, and embrace the kind of freedom that only comes with being young and having zero responsibilities. However, all of this free time can lead to the summer slide, a regression in academic proficiency due to summer break, and experts warn it is hindering kids’ progress when they head back to school.
The good news is that basic skills aren’t hard to maintain over the off-season! There are a number of ways to keep kids engaged in reading and math over the summer.
Six tips for setting up a summer routine
By: Eleanor Mackey
Summertime is a lovely, relaxed time of year when kids enjoy getting out of the usual grind. However, as tempting as it is to have a fully carefree summer, this is not great for children. It is important to set up some routines and structure in order to maintain happiness as well as good eating, physical activity and sleep to keep them healthy. Here are some tips for setting up summer routines.
14 House Rules to Make Summer with Your Teens Less Stressful (and More Fun)
By: Raising Teens Today
I love summer! After months of keeping up with a rigid schedule, it’s exactly what my family needs to unwind and regroup before everything kicks into high gear again in the fall.
But as relaxing and chilled out as summer is with my kids, it also brings added stress having them home. Without our typical schedule to keep us “on track,” everyone is going in different directions and my kids tend to push a few boundaries in hopes that the chilled-out vibe of summer will apply to my rules as well.
To keep our home life running on an even keel, I have a few simple summertime house rules to make life far less chaotic and so much more fun! They’re not iron-fist rules… after all, it is summer – just a few guidelines I need my kids to follow to make life easier for them and me.
Seven Tips for Better Relationship Conversations
By Marc Lesser
My 33-year-old daughter and I were on a walk together through the hills of Missoula, Montana. It was a clear, cold, crisp afternoon. My wife and I were visiting her, her husband, and their two-year-old son in their new home after they had spent the previous year and a half living in our home in Northern California. As we walked along a trail just wide enough for us to be side by side, I had a strong feeling that my daughter had some residual feelings of anger toward me and her mother.
Several months earlier, during the time they were living with us, some serious miscommunication and misunderstandings had taken place. At that time, she had voiced that she was processing a lifetime of feelings, a lifetime of family dynamics she was frustrated with. At one point, she said she felt that her childhood role was to smooth out family difficulties to make it easier for her parents and her older brother.
Now, as an adult and the mother of a young child, she wanted to change this pattern. She was working to heal her painful feelings from the past and transform them to improve her own well-being and create healthier family relationships. We came to a place on the path that seemed like a natural stopping point. The views of snow-covered mountains were spectacular. As we stopped, I turned to her and asked, “How are we doing?”
I wanted to better understand what she was thinking and feeling. In particular, I wanted more clarity about gaps—the differences in her experience and mine—and how we might find more alignment in our relationship.
There can be gaps between how things actually are and how we want them to be in the closeness of our relationships with a partner, children, and parents. There can be subtle—or not-so-subtle—differences between our own experiences, emotions, and needs and the experiences, emotions, and needs of others. Sometimes it feels like our only choice is to give up and not do or say anything so we don’t make things worse. Is it any wonder when we let anxiety rule, stop truly listening to each other, and at best give our conditional commitment to a relationship?
There is another way, which is the practice I call “mind the gaps.” That means not avoiding gaps or the discomfort they cause; it entails being curious about them, dropping your stories, and listening more closely. Gaps and discomfort will appear, sooner or later—and there are skillful and effective ways to address them and improve our relationships.
Structure Summer Days to Keep Away the "I'm Bored" Blues
By Jennifer Hill
Who is over kids wanting to spend their time with electronics, playing video games, or watching TV? I know my hand is up. I totally get needing a few days to veg out and relax after the school year ends, but how can we keep it from taking over summer break?
I've found a solution that has worked wonders for my family! This summer we added some structure and routine to our 9- and 10-year-olds days so they know exactly what is expected of them before they have screen time and they don't need to constantly ask me what they should do next. Here's what works for us!
Tips and Tricks to Help Your Teen Fight Cell Phone Addiction
Written by parentingteensandtweens
Recently, a friend took in her 13-year-old niece for the summer because her parents fell on some rough times. At first, she gave the young teenager quite a bit of grace with her cell phone behavior. She recognized how overwhelming it must be to leave your home and temporarily move in with someone else.
She said nothing when the teen sat on the couch for hours, scrolling and scrolling. She didn’t pipe in when the young girl walked around the house with her nose in her phone. She tried not to scold her when she repeatedly said, “Wait just one minute,” so she could finish a text instead of responding to a question. Finally, when the girl tried to bring her phone to Sunday family dinner, my friend had enough. She told her niece to leave her phone at the counter for mealtime.
One Thing Parents Can Do To Strengthen The Relationship with Their Child
By Becky Mansfield
If you could add one thing to your day that would make your child feel loved and valued… would you do it? One thing to make your child feel important while also helping you connect with your child – no matter their age?
It all boils down to you giving them your attention. Learning to UNplug to plug in… sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Why is it so hard?
6 reasons children need to play outside
Here’s something really simple you can do to improve your child’s chance of future health and success: make sure he spends plenty of time playing outside.
There are many ways in which this generation’s childhood is different from that of the last generation, but one of the most abrupt contrasts is the degree to which it is being spent indoors. There are lots of reasons, including the marked increase in time spent interacting with electronic devices, the emphasis on scheduled activities and achievements, concerns about sun exposure — and, for many families, the lack of safe outdoor places to play. It’s not just children; adults are spending less time outdoors as well.
10 Interesting Ways You Can Take Action to Get Unstuck
From: A Life in Progress
I launched excitedly into chatting about and writing this post. And then I got stuck. There are moments I wish I didn’t have to actually live what I teach. But it was here, feeling stuck, that some eye-opening revelations opened up to me and the very cool thing is that no matter where we’re at on the journey, there is always so much more to learn.
Beneficial or not, feeling stuck is uncomfortable and you don’t want to stay there forever.
If you’re feeling stuck, you have work to do. You’re being called to wake up and pay attention.
Because living awake and aware and doing the hard inner work feels messy and uncomfortable, scary even, many people choose, instead, to run or numb. I’ve done my time. Yet resisting the process sucks you in deeper and keeps you stuck longer.
The only way over to purpose, health, and joy is into the muck and through.
Choosing to get unstuck will lead you down the path of honesty into the messy middle of inner work where you shed what no longer serves and build new habits and mindsets and that will you bring you up onto the other shore of alignment and purposeful action. Safe and sound.
Now you know that I believe that feeling stuck is actually a happy thing and that the only way to get unstuck is through the messy inner work. But don’t worry; I’m not leaving you hanging here.
I’d like to now offer you 10 ways that you can do this work – the work of finding your way over to alignment and purposeful action, along with a boat-load of resources that have served me well.
Each of the following action steps require a little digging in and potentially a learning curve. Don’t get discouraged. Pick one area to focus on each week or even each month and remember, slow and steady is my favorite speed.