August 3, 2023

By Courtney Wise

Hello MindSite News readers! In today’s Daily, how to help your children build meditation skills to manage ‘big feelings.’ Plus, the potential benefits (and drawbacks) of ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ for your teen, how a breaking news editor turned off his phone and took a vow of silence for a few days, a useful list of “back to school reading” for parents, and why some parenting influencers are scrubbing their children from their social media feeds. And more.

Teaching young children how to manage ‘big feelings’

Meditative breathing exercises don’t only work for grownups. Much as Mr. Rogers taught generations before, big feelings can be tough to understand and navigate, but consistent reinforcement of healthy emotional regulation skills can help students work through new school year jitters – and whatever else they may be experiencing at home. According to this oldie-but-goodie article from the Edutopia archive, those practices may include deep breathing exercises and helping young children create their own ‘peace corner’ where they can retreat to calm down. 

Although directed at teachers for use in the classroom, such skills translate easily into the home. Key to teaching children how to focus on calm is modeling calm under stress as an adult. How might that look? Be honest with yourself and the children around you when your own feelings are overwhelming. Use some simple techniques, including naming your feelings and narrating your intention to take five deep breaths to help ground yourself, just before you do them. Nurture a peaceful environment with warm lighting and calming scents through essential oils or incense. (When your small children need to calm down,  you might try blowing soap bubbles together – that way they’ll do some deep breathing while having fun)

Each of these practices, when engaged regularly, support your efforts as a parent by teaching children how to manage their emotions. And remember to do the exercises consistently, even when you’re all feeling fine. That way, the habits will already be in place and accessible when they’re needed. 

Lucky Girl Syndrome and why you should know about it

At the start of this calendar year, ‘lucky girl syndrome’ trended on TikTok. If you know anything about Rhonda Byrne’s megahit book The Secret, then you know what this syndrome is all about.  It’s the latest term teens are using to describe manifesting one’s reality. “Lucky girl syndrome [refers] to the belief that you are the luckiest girl in the world and that the universe is conspiring in your favor,” licensed clinical social worker Jeanette Lorandini explained to Parents magazine. “It is when somebody believes that everything will go their way just because the belief they are lucky attracts good things.” 

In some ways, it’s not the worst thing to believe. People expecting good things tend to find them, even in tough situations. The idea is as old as time, as evidenced by The Traveler, an enduring West African folktale that teaches the power of attitude and mindset to affect your experiences. Plus, positive affirmations and optimism are both good things shown to boost confidence and enhance overall wellbeing. 

But thinking lucky isn’t all smiles and rainbows. Trusting solely in positive thinking to make good things happen can cause one to assume that negative events are brought on by negative thoughts – or even worse, victim blaming in the face of someone else’s struggle. But experiencing a range of feelings and emotions is human, and therefore, divine. “Coping is about a balance,” said therapist Lee Philips. “Feeling our emotions, such as anger, can be healthy. We can learn from them and process them in a way that can be calming and soothing through a series of using emotional regulation and distress-tolerance skill building.” In addition, The Conversation cautions, “Studies have also found that connecting with others and sharing our hopes for the future can lead to better goal attainment and personal success. So instead of sitting alone manifesting, get out there and share your dreams with others.”

“I’m not usually an overprotective parent, but…”

Slate magazine had some sage advice for a worried father who would like to put the kibosh on his young daughter’s first romance and keep her from ever seeing 13-year-old boy she met at summer camp, who lives 20 minutes away from them. Find out what advice columnist Allison Price had to say about it.

In other news…

Check out these parent influencers who are actually keeping their kids’ identities private: In this week’s On Parenting column from the Washington Post, readers meet parents who built entire careers posting their children online, who now – for their children’s safety, privacy, and enjoyment of life – rarely do so. Grant Khanbalinov said that his breaking point was taking his children to Disney World and realizing they wouldn’t allow themselves to enjoy the visit. They were too busy waiting for a camera to turn on and to receive instructions on what to say and do. “Why can’t my kids be kids,” he remembers thinking. “Oh my God, what am I doing?’”

We’re now solidly in the first week of August, and some schools across the country have already welcomed students back to school. Kids aren’t the only ones getting useful study guides, though. Just in time for this season, Fatherly published a list of 9 Essential Parenting Books to Help Your Child Thrive in School. They include well-known bestsellers like The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, and How to Raise an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, plus newer, more irreverent tomes like How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent by Carla Naumburg. Happy reading!

Earlier this year, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared the nation is experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. One way to combat it may be to look next door. Axios previously reported that most Americans these days don’t really know their neighbors; today they report those relationship gaps may present the ideal opportunity to forge new and potentially beautiful connections

The gift of slowing down, even for a few days: Here’s a tale I never thought I’d read: A New York Times breaking news editor turned off his cell phone for an entire week. It wasn’t on a whim; he did it while on a vow of silence during a meditation retreat. It took some adjusting: what kind of breaking news editor isn’t glued to his phone and the news?  But ultimately, the break paid off. “Unchained from the internet, I wandered the grounds and woods and stared up from a hammock at treetops more vividly green than I had ever noticed,” wrote Patrick LaForge. “Slowly, with enough practice, you learn skills that allow for greater focus.”

Getting stressed out because you’re trying to return something big you bought for the kids and get your money back, all without success? You might check out No No No, a 5-star consumer advocacy and complaint escalation service that charges a tiny fee to take on your problem. Consumer reviews (and one editor’s personal experience) suggest that the service is not just easy to use, but it actually works.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect in English or Spanish. If you’re a veteran press 1. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing dial 711, then 988. Services are free and available 24/7.

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Type of work:

Courtney Wise Randolph is a native Detroiter and freelance writer. She is the host of COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience, a 2020 project between WDET and Documenting Detroit which won an Edward R. Murrow...