Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 25, 2006
Approximately 15 million children, ages 9 to 17 in the United States have a serious mental or addictive disorder, but their parents are largely forsaken by the nations mental health system. One woman is determined to help those stressed-out parents find inner peace.
We took our adopted son to 22 different mental health care professionals over 11 years before he was finally diagnosed and treated for Reactive Attachment Disorder, which was tearing our family apart, says Janet Alston Jackson, who is now teaching parents how to manage their anger and frustrations. Jackson says her work is solely about supporting the parent, and not how to raise their children which she leaves to child experts.
Jackson and her husband Walter, are like many parents of children with special needs, who have traveled for miles to get help, and waited years searching for the right doctor, before they ultimately found help in Texas. Many dont find help especially in rural communities. Millions of parents struggle with their childs behavioral and health problems feeling isolated and hopeless.
Good parents are burned out and have to nurture themselves as they travel this discouraging and scary mental health maze, says Jackson author of A Cry for Light: A Journey into Love, whose memoir spotlights a growing problem. Child Psychiatry doctors is one of the most severe labor shortages among all medical specialties. Every child psychiatrist in the country has a waiting list, and the widening gap between the number of doctors and the needs of patients has become the priority of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Parents have to find ways to nurture themselves and find that inner peace while trying to deal with their children because it can be years before they find help, says Jackson, a former court appointed child advocate for the Los Angeles Childrens Superior Court. Jackson says she saw too many good parents lose custody of their children over stress related incidents. Jackson found ways to keep herself balanced and calm even though her son was becoming violent and she feared for her other two childrens safety.
The mother of three who is a behavioral consultant, owns Self Awareness Trainings with her husband. The couple who have been giving workshops since 1993 to teachers, parents, prison management and entertainment executives, teach their clients to live in the moment, the non-religious technique of living mindfully to reduce stress.
Our new workshops are for parents who have tried everything for their children, and still have not found the help or results, says Jackson. They are not for people looking for an excuse to skirt their responsibilities as parents, and are selfishly satisfying their own needs while neglecting their child. They are for parents who are exhausted from trying everything to help their child, and are on the edge of a breakdown because they dont see a light at the end of the tunnel. When these parents learn how to stay calm and balanced by living in the moment, they can tap into their inner wisdom and strength to direct them to help their child. They will become better, more patient parents.
The Jacksons upcoming book, Nurturing Myself: The Inner Peace Survival Guide for Parents and Child Professionals, will be published in the fall of 2006.
TEN PRACTICAL TIPS FOR BUSY PARENTS TO NURTURE AND CALM THEMSELVES
By: Janet Alston Jackson
1. Deep Listening, without judgment or analyzing helps focus and calm the mind. When feeling out of control, listen deeply to the sounds around you. If you are in your car, listen to the motor and to other passing cars. Deep listening takes you out of the worry and the fear, and immediately calms the mind. Use the every day sounds around you to keep balanced such as the washing machine, the dishwasher, or simply the running water in the sink.
2. Walking meditation to reduce anger . Count your steps walking around your home, doing errands to calm yourself. Count one through twenty, then start over. Or count how many steps to each breath.
3. Get up half an hour before the child, and sit and focus on your breathing to prepare you to deal with your upcoming tasks and the children. Count your breaths to stay focused: Breathing in One, Breathing Out One. Breathing in Two, breathing out two. When you get to ten, start over again.
4. At Work: Take advantage of lunchtime as alone time. Sit in your car and listen to self help tapes, or relaxing music instead of commiserating with gripping co-workers about the job. Or walk during the lunch hour to release stress and keep fit. Take your iPod.
5. Burn incense, and keep relaxing music on around the house to set a relaxing tone for the family.
6. Exercise. Steal any time you can from your busy schedule to exercise to reduce stress.
7. Read self-help and spiritual books that inspire you. Carry the book everywhere to lift you.
8. The car can be a time to communicate with a child, but also a hotbed for sibling arguments. Train your child to have car quiet time to decompress from rushing to get somewhere. Tell them its quiet time until we get to the store. (Dont use this for the entire outingjust for a ten minute destination, or less depending on the childs age. Talk on the way home.) Children tell parents about their day when they first see them after school. Dont use this as quiet time.
9. Tune into your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Just be aware of the sensations in your body, and the thoughts you are telling yourself without analyzing. Accept them all.
10. Connect with nature as often as possible to reenergize yourself. Garden, or take a walk in the park.
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