Parenting with Laughter as the Best Medicine

As every parent knows, parenting like many jobs, has its ups and downs. Unlike many jobs though, it can be a thankless occupation leaving parents asking themselves, “Now, why did I want children?” The reward of child rearing is certainly not monetary. However, its’ rewards come while watching the children grow and turn into productive citizens. In the meantime, when your child is throwing food at the dinner table or telling your personal business to strangers at the supermarket, your best defense and coping mechanism will be to laugh it off.

Laughter has a way of reducing stress and making us feel better by elevating our mood. According to some studies on laughter, laughing relaxes your body and minimizes problems that are related to high blood pressure and ulcers. I recently wanted to pull my hair out when one of my children said he wanted to play fireman as he grabbed a hose and proceeded to wet the other kids at a birthday party. On this occasion, all the other parents and I could do was laugh as we changed everyone’s clothes.

This trick can also be used on your children when they decide they would rather throw a temper tantrum than abide by the rules. When your child is having a meltdown it helps to use the technique of distraction. Why not let laughter be your tool of distraction? One night, a mother was trying to get her child to get in the bed but he kept kicking and screaming. So, she began to sing and tickle his feet. Before she knew it, he had calmed down and drifted off to sleep with a smile.

Of course this technique is not foolproof. Nobody will find humor in your child screaming at the top of his lungs at a restaurant while you sit there and laugh in an attempt to relieve the tension you are then experiencing. For the most part, it works well and is worth a try.

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One of my articles was featured in the Southern California’s Riverside County fire department’s Health & Safety-Wellness Newsletter for December 2008. They send their newsletter out to about 100 other fire stations and I was honored when they asked if they could use one of my writings.
Keeping Your Sanity During the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, many people are getting more and more stressed because they are taking on more than they can handle. I’ve been there, done that and it’s not worth it in the end. Now, I sit back and watch other people get stressed out and fight over the last toy in stock or the closest parking space. If you are one who gets excited over traveling and shopping during the holidays here are a few suggestions I think you could use to help you have cheerful, memorable holidays this year.

Suggestion One: Be Frugal

The biggest advice you may hear these days from finance gurus is to limit credit card use. After the holidays, reality along with depression sets in for many. They end up with more bills than they can handle and all on high interest credit cards. A lot of these high interest cards are opened after a store offers a 10% discount or more on merchandise for new accounts. This is too good to be true. The stores know there is a big chance these cards will not be paid off before interest accrues. More money for them, more bills for you. With interest rates as high as they are you’ll also be paying more than the item is worth. In most cases, you’ll still be paying for an item that is no longer being used, like a child’s toy, which may possibly be broken by the time the New Year rolls around. Calling people can mean more than mailing an expensive gift. I’m a bit old-fashioned and not big on text messaging, but I have learned to appreciate the fact that people take time to send a quick “Happy Holidays” even if it was sent to everybody listed in their phone. It’s the thought that counts right? LOL

Suggestion Two: Be Nice

Being around family during the holidays can work some people’s nerves. A lot of personalities are gathered around during these times. A shared history may dredge up bad memories. Alcohol often brings down inhibitions making it easy for most people to be no longer guarded. When drama starts raring its ugly head try letting comments roll off you like water on a duck’s back. Easier said than done, but possible. Be bold and try some assertiveness as opposed to aggressiveness-an action that will only make matters worse. When all else fails, remember and remind everyone of the good times. Keep your sense of humor when everyone loses theirs.

Suggestion Three: Be Thankful

Not to end on a sad note, but a large number of people didn’t make it this far into the year. My 89-year-old great-grandfather passed away a few short weeks ago. An acquaintance of mine lost her cousin last weekend. Lastly, my spouse’s old co-worker and friend has been in the hospital for a month with no health insurance. Regardless of how many presents I receive this Christmas and regardless of what my drunk uncle says at Thanksgiving that might offend me, I am going to make the conscious decision to be thankful that I am healthy and in my right mind.

Now, as you begin this holiday season in the weeks to come, I hope you remember this article. Think about how putting those presents on credit will affect you two or three months down the road. You might be better off making simple, yet thoughtful telephone calls. Try showing family more love with kind words-a soft answer turns away wrath. Most of all, take time to slow down and be thankful. Hopefully, these three tidbits of advice will keep you sane during this holiday season.

Reprinted with permission: TookesWilder Guidance 

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