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The great gift of being allowed to have feelings

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When I entered the Hanna Perkins preschool in the 1970s, I was more than a little afraid. I’m sure I clung to my mother as you might to a tree in a tsunami. My father had just died, and throughout my childhood a separation or an unfamiliar place would often stir up a tragic feeling.

The first thing I remember about Hanna Perkins is that I had no need to hide such feelings there. Like the big world into which I ...

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The Colorado STEM school shooting: What your children need right now

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Another school shooting has occurred, and for at least a little while, it be all over the news and social media.

Except for the very youngest children, you won’t likely succeed in sheltering them from it. They will seek to understand what they see and hear, trying to put it into the context of what they know about the normal and expected.

The amount of information children need from parents in such situations differs depending on the child and, of course, his or ...

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Young children notice everything – absolutely everything

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He didn’t even notice!

We often dismiss our young children’s observational skills this way. Did our young daughter notice that she was the only white (or black) child on the playground? Of course not! Did our son happen to observe that all the women in the shower room were naked? Didn’t seem to. How about the man without legs in the wheelchair? Well, she started to stare, but we distracted her and she forgot all about it.

Well, he didn’t say anything

Perhaps ...

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The other thing about Easter: Scary church stories

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In a previous Easter season, a worried mother sent this note:

One of the kids at my son’s preschool told him about the crucifixion, and what happened, with all the exact details and he was horrified. Telling him about Easter Sunday did not make him feel better. He has been crying about this at night and is afraid of regular pictures of Jesus in a book. I hope it’s OK to ask this question because it’s about religion and everybody has ...

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The importance of talking with children about feelings

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The situation: Four-year-old Michael was misbehaving. The teacher, Mr. Carpenter, was speaking quietly to him, helping with feelings the young boy could not express verbally.

“Michael, if you are missing mommy and feeling sad, we can talk about her, think about her and make her a picture,” Mr. C said. “You can miss mommy and still feel like a big schoolboy who can manage and be safe.”

Nearby, Alex had been watching this interaction out of the corner of his eye while ...

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10 postpartum symptoms new moms should know

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in-blue-1251227_Marinela Prodan_freeimagesOf all medical complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth, postpartum mental health difficulties are the most common.

Up to 80% of new mothers experience symptoms usually referred to as the baby blues. But as many as 1-in-5 new mothers suffer more severe symptoms that should be evaluated and possibly treated as postpartum anxiety or depression.

With May being designated National Maternal Depression Awareness Month, ...

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Learning to apologize

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Joel and Andrew, 4-year old friends, were playing with Lego when suddenly, Andrew howled, “I was just going to use that—it’s mine!”

Joel had snatched one of the pieces Andrew had in his pile beside him. When Andrew protested, Joel knocked down his building and Andrew began to cry. Joel looked at his mother wide-eyed.

What To Do?

“Oh, no,” thought Joel’s mother. Normally, he was not a selfish boy, but lately he’d done some very unkind things. What should she do this ...

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An alternative to punishment for misbehavior

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The Situation

Five-year-old Thomas sat in his chair at morning meeting. During the “Days of the Week” song, Thomas rocked in his chair to the music. He knew it was against the rules because it wasn’t safe; chairs tip over easily. But when no one seemed to notice or comment on it, he did it again. Still, nobody paid attention.

When morning meeting ended, the children were free to choose an activity. Thomas chose puzzles, his favorite. But when he couldn’t get ...

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