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Shuffling The Deck - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 22, 2016

How do parents, siblings, and families fare after a child leaves for college?

Ushering a child off to college is a landmark event, but most people tend to focus on the new college undergrad and not the family they left behind. How do they redefine their new household now that one member has left the nest? In order to navigate this special time in your family’s life, here are some common myths and the real science to dispel them.

Lets look at mom and dad first:

Myth: Women fall apart when the children leave

Are you picturing a woman sitting forlornly at the kitchen table drinking her third glass of wine before noon? Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most women reach new heights once they are released from the daily grind of taking care of children. Leading researchers say that most women already have a defined role separate from the family – perhaps a career, in the community, at church, or even in a PTA or a neighborhood association. They often come into their own as leaders and decision makers once the kids go off to college.

Myth: Men are always strong and sturdy once the kids depart

The days of distant dads are gone! According to research, fathers struggle more than mothers when the kids leave home. In contrast to their wives, men don’t prepare for or process the changes to the household until it’s too late. With that “stiff upper lip” mentality, they remain stoic and strong until the reality hits them all at once. Their precious son or darling daughter is now an adult and won’t be home for dinner. If it really hits them hard, they can even withdraw into a significant sadness or even depression about what could have been or how they should have handled things differently.

Myth: Marriages suffer once the kids are grown

Marriages “after children” tend to reset. Understand that child rearing has dominated the marriage for decades, and now they can revert back to focusing on their relationship and dating! In fact, these marriages are often closer since they have achieved an important landmark in life and withstood the test of time. Now they have time to engage in all those activities and hobbies that have been on the back burner. Marriages often become more romantic and may return to the earlier patterns of adventure seeking and carefree fun that was more typical of early courtship and dating.

How do siblings fare when big brother or sister hits the door?

Myth: Without their older siblings, most kids are lost

Most of the time, the younger siblings fare pretty well. In fact, they often come into their own and develop a new role within the family. Now that their older sibling no longer overshadows them, they can fully define their new identity, interests, and life direction. Naturally, they often receive much more time and attention from mom and dad than before. However, this can sometimes backfire. Greater scrutiny can cause more tension and conflict to come to the surface, especially if there were already underlying problems that have never been addressed.

Myth: Undergrads often return to find the family exactly the same

The family may seem very different to a returning student. When any family member leaves, the family must renegotiate the household roles. We revisit who the mediator will be, how decisions are now being made, and even the division of household chores. Left behind family members do tend to either become closer or more distant depending on how each family member behaves. Either way, “home” will be very different.

Myth: Younger siblings always have their own independent path

Watching your older sibling rocket into a new phase of life makes most of us consider our own next steps. Younger siblings who are close with their departing brother or sister embrace them even more. They are much more likely to emulate their older sibling’s fashion sense, political views, and career choices. They may even choose the same college. In fact, a study from Harvard University and the College Board found that 69% of younger siblings enrolled in the same type of college as their older siblings while 31% of younger siblings actually applied to the exact same institution. Surprisingly, about 20% of younger siblings went to the exact same college when it was time for their decision.

So, what can parents do for younger siblings left at home?

A Teachable Moment

Use this change in your family as a teachable moment. We always want to show our children that change is not necessarily a bad thing. More importantly, the changes that come in the life of a family are inevitable and can lead to wonderful new opportunities. Children need to see their parents approaching difficult or sad situations as something that is temporary and focus on the next exciting step for the future.

New Rituals of Connection

When a sibling leaves for college, the entire family is in state of redefinition. Using the new freedom of parents and the remaining siblings, the family can now embark on new family adventures, explore different hobbies together, and bond around a new family identity. Discover new restaurants, explore new travel destinations, try paintball, check out a new museum, or even have a “stay-cation” to finally enjoy a family night of baseball out at the ballpark. Families now have an opportunity to bond in an unprecedented way and try out new methods of connection. Maybe the departing older sibling wasn’t a baseball fan!

A Growing Circle

When the children begin to leave the nest, parents and kids have an opportunity to expand their social circle. Research shows that mom and dad often reconnect with their own siblings, extended family, and long lost friends at this important time. Younger siblings also have an opportunity to create a closer bond to their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and community at large. Again, the family relationships realign and reset to encompass a community that may have been overlooked during the busy years of child rearing.

For More Information:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr03/pluses.aspx

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/09/19/research-suggests-relationship-between-siblings-college-enrollment-choice

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/galtime/college-bound-the-impact-on-the-siblings-left-behind_b_3721334.html

https://www.noodle.com/articles/helping-younger-siblings-cope-when-your-child-heads-to-college

How To Build A Team In "Evolve" - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Watch Chris and Dr. Sylvia describe how you can build a successful team for video games like Evolve, DOTA 2, and League of Legends or even just for a project at work! click here.

Christian Grey's Need For Control In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss why Christian Grey has such a desperate need for control in the new hit film, "Fifty Shades of Grey" - txt to link goes here.

Trauma and Romantic Relationships In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Monday, February 23, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss how trauma affects romantic relationships in the new hit movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" - click here.

Christian Grey's Childhood Trauma In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Friday, February 20, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss the role of childhood trauma in the new hit film, "Fifty Shades of Grey" - click here.

CBS 11 - Corporal Punishment - How Much Is Too Much? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discussing Adrian Peterson and how to discipline your child effectively - click here.

CBS 11 - Corporal Punishment - How Much Is Too Much? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discussing Adrian Peterson and how to discipline your child effectively - click here.

Childhood Depression - Can Exercise Prevent Childhood Depression? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 08, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how exercise can help prevent depression in your child - click here.

Weight Loss - Resisting Self-Sabotaging Thoughts About Eating - By Chris Gearing

Monday, July 21, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe some of the most common self-sabotaging thoughts about eating and how you can stay on track to your weight loss goals - click here.

Over the years, I’ve become convinced that the chief reason diets fail is that we don’t really understand the psychology of dieting.

We are usually competent at a million other things—our work, our marriage, parenting our kids. But the task of really taking care of our bodies and regulating our food is often left for another day. Now here are some important things that you can do to dispute your negative thinking about dieting:

Plan, Plan, Plan

In Dr. Judith Beck’s best selling book, she reminds us that planning for dieting is essential. We know that a clearly defined path bolsters successful change. Without a dedicated food plan, exercise regimen, and proper psychological tools, dieting will be much more difficult.

Disputing Hopelessness

Dr. Beck’s brilliant method of response cards can help you dispute the negative thoughts that float through your mind and undermine your resolve. With each negative thought, write a positive reply that reinforces reality. For example, if you say to yourself that dieting is hopeless, reply that you’ve done harder things before and there is always a choice in what you eat.

Meditating For Success

Dr. Beck recommends using the skills of mindfulness to calm your mind and prevent overeating. Try taking slow, deep breaths for ten minutes while you allow your body and thoughts to slow in pace and intensity. Taking the time to calm your mind will help you establish full control over your food choices.

Savor The Moment

Dr. Beck also recommends using mindfulness techniques when you are eating. Slowly and carefully chew each bite while sitting. Allow your body to consume the food without stress or hurry. Taste each bite completely and focus on how full you are feeling. Redefine your concept of feeling full and when to stop eating.

Self Congratulate

Once you begin to lose weight, make sure to acknowledge your accomplishment. Most of us forget that positive self talk is the fuel to keep us going. Taking a moment to congratulate yourself will help you hit the next weight loss goal!

For the best and most comprehensive guide to successful dieting using the power of cognitive techniques, read Dr. Judith Beck’s books on the Beck Diet Solution.

If you know someone who is struggling with the emotional and psychological aspects of weight loss, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Beck Diet Solution" Series by Dr. Judith Beck

Weight Loss - Identifying Overeating Triggers - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how you can identify triggers that may cause you to overeat even when you're dieting - click here.

In order to control your eating effectively, you have to identify your own triggers to overeating.

Here are some of the most common overeating triggers:

Environmental Triggers such as being near food or seeing food online or on a TV show.

Mental Triggers like thoughts about a meal or a particular type of food.

Emotional Triggers such as when we use food as a coping tool to manage our stress, anxiety, or depression. However, food can also be used to express happiness, excitement, or even for a celebration.

Social Triggers are one of the main ways that many of us struggle. We love to eat out with friends and family, and its hard to turn down family cooking too.

Another important step is to identify your self-sabotaging thoughts:

Denial: We deny how important it is for us to regulate our food.

Hunger: The discomfort of deprivation can be difficult to withstand.

Feeling Full: Some of us insist that we feel full at the end of a meal rather than learning that tolerating some slight hunger is normal and acceptable.

Emotional Eating: The most common sabotaging thought and the most difficult to regulate since it can be so entrenched.

Shame and Self-Loathing: Often these thoughts can lead us into despair, which can lead us to excessive eating.

Entitlement: Witnessing the eating habits of others who can eat without worry and not gain weight is difficult. We often feel angry and resentful that our bodies are not similarly wired.

If you know someone who is struggling with the emotional and psychological aspects of weight loss, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Beck Diet Solution" Series by Dr. Judith Beck


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