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mum

SEND YOUR POEMS TO:poetreecreations@yahoo.com

CHECK OUT MORE POEMS AT poetreecreations.org

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Preparation time

less than 30 mins

Cooking time

10 to 30 mins

Serves

Serves 1

Dietary

Vegetarian

By Gino D’Acampo

Ingredients

For the roasted mango ‘hedgehog’
½ mango, stone removed
4 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the sauce
200ml/7fl oz coconut milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp caster sugar

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2.For the roasted mango, score the mango flesh in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife and gently press out from the skin-side until it resembles a hedgehog. Place the mango hedgehog onto a baking sheet, drizzle over half the honey and then bake for five minutes, or until slightly caramelised on top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the rest of the honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.

3.For the sauce, place the coconut milk, cinnamon and sugar into a saucepan and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened.

4.To serve, pour the sauce over the mango hedgehog.

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scan

  • First credible study of effect of violent gaming on brain
  • Test group of 22 young men showed ‘clear’ differences in MRI scans after one week of gaming
  • Areas effected seem to be those that control cognitive function and emotional control

Games such as Assassin’s Creed feature a huge amount of physical violence – and MRI scans demonstrate that playing such games DOES have an effect on the brain

Violent video games and other computer entertainment have long been criticised for damaging youngsters’ brain.

But activists such as Oxford Professor Baroness Greenfield have often presented little science to back up their allegations.

However, extensive research into the subject has now provided worrying results that support her claims.

‘Screen technologies cause high arousal which in turn activates the brain system’s underlying addiction,’ the neurologist said last month in an attack that accused games of causing ‘dementia’ in children.

‘This results in the attraction of yet more screen-based activity.’

And now the first genuinely scientific attempt to analyse the emotive subject has thrown up astonishing results that suggest she is right.

Differences in brain activity between young men who played violent games and ones who didn’t were visible in a randomly assigned sample in just one week.

A presentation at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America told how fMRI scans were used to analyse the effects of playing violent videogames on brain activity.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKE A COMMENT TELL US YOUR STORY ?

 

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snacks

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to prepare food for a birthday party. In fact, its the opposite! All you need to win a child over is simple and fun party food. Being creative can be easy. Kids taste with their eyes first. If the food doesn’t look appealing then good luck getting them to eat it. Try creative and decorative food. If it’s bright orange or looks like bugs they’ll probably eat it!

Some other great kids party food tips:

1) Keep the food familiar and simple. A party is not the time to try something new. Keep it familiar.

2) Creative naming is always a great way to get kids to eat. Taste is not most important, fun is what kids want, even in food. Fun names are a great way to get them interested.

3) Finger friendly food eliminates the need for utensils which helps to minimize accidents. Plus kids love to play with their food!

4) Make the food interesting. Fun shapes and colors are attractive to kids. Kids are more likely to eat when the food is appealing to their eye. Remember, appealing to THEIR eye is the key, not your eye.

 

Great Kids Party Food recipes to follow!

Check back often, we’ll be updating this Kids Party Food page often!

 


Hotdog Worms – (Excellent to use as a kids Halloween Party Food)

Ingredients:

Hotdogs
Hotdog buns or hamburger buns
Condiments – Mustard, ketchup, relish

 

 
Directions:

1) Cut hotdogs into thin slices and score the edges (a couple cuts per slice).

2) Boil the hotdogs. They will curl while they boil.

3) Serve the squiggly worms on buns (hamburger or hotdog buns will work) with the condiments.

If you’re throwing a Halloween party then check out these creepy, crawly, FUN Halloween Party Food Recipes!


Worm Ice Cubes (A fun and entertaining kids party food)

Ingredients:

Gummy Worms
Water
Icecube tray

Directions:

1) Put the gummy worms in the ice cube tray and fill with water. Be sure to have the worms spilling out of the top of the water.

2) Freeze into ice cubes.

3) When serving drinks use the worm ice cubes.

Note: You can also do this with Jell-O. Follow the same directions except use Jell-O mix instead of water and set Jell-O in refrigerator instead of freezer.


Chocolate Frozen Bananas

Ingredients:

Bananas 
32 oz semi sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sprinkles or Coconut, or peanuts (or topping of your choice)
Popsicle Sticks

 

Directions:

1) Take 1 firm, ripe banana and cut 1 inch off both ends.

2) Insert the popsicle stick into the cut end, pushing the stick in halfway.

3) Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place the bananas on the sheet pan and freeze for 1 hour.

4) Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally.

5) Once the banana’s are frozen take one at a time and dip it in the chocolate to coat.

6) Then roll the banana in the sprinkles or topping of your choice.

7) Return the dipped bananas to the sheet pan and freeze.

8) Once bananas and chocolate are frozen they are ready to serve.


Birthday Party Fruit Punch

Ingredients:

1/2 part Hawaiian Punch
1/2 part Ginger Ale or 7Up
1 quart of your favorite sherbert

Directions:

1) Mix the fruit punch and soda together. Then add the sherbert.


Tropical Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 Kiwi in chunks
1/3 cup mango in chunks
1/3 mango juice
1/3 plain yogurt
Add ice cubes (around 5)

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender for a couple minutes and serve.


Yummy Kids Party Food Mix

Ingredients:

12 oz package of corn and rice cereal
5 oz toasted slivered almonds
6 oz toasted walnuts
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
M&Ms (how much you desire)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2) In a bowl, mix cereal, almonds and walnuts.

3) In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and mix with the dark corn syrup and light brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the cereal and nuts mixture. Stir and shake to coat.

4) Pour the coated mixture onto a baking sheet. Cook 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. 

5) Remove from oven and break apart while warm and then let cool completely. 

6) When cool add M&Ms.


Classic Rice Krispie Treats (a classic kids party food!)

Kids party Food

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter 
1 (10 oz., about 40) pkg. regular marshmallows or 3 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:

1) In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. Remove from heat.

2) Stir in the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal coating them well.

3) Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, press the mixture evenly into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan which has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with wax paper. Allow to cool.

4) When cool cut into squares or rectangles.

Note: If you want to add a twist to the classic Rice Krispie Treat then drizzle with melted white or brown chocolate or frost.


Candied Fruit

Ingredients:

16 Grapes
16 Strawberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Water
Any color food coloring
Sprinkles
8 Wooden Skewers

Directions:

1) Line two baking sheet pans with aluminum foil. 

2) Slide 2 grapes and 2 strawberries on a skewer, be sure to cover one end with the fruit. Repeat until you use all the fruit and skewers. 

3) Combine sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir with a wooden spoon. 

4) Bring to a boil over medium heat, stop stirring and continue boiling until a candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer then drop a small portion of the sugar mixture into a bowl of ice water and if it becomes hard the sugar mixture is done. Will take about 7 minutes. 

5) Remove from the heat and stir in a few drops of the food coloring. Carefully dip the skewered fruit into the sugar to cover completely. Transfer the dipped fruit to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sprinkles if desired and allow to cool completely before serving.


Cheese Tacos

Ingredients:

Corn Tortillas (soft)
Cheddar, Jack or American Cheese
Mild Salsa

Directions:

1) Shred or slice cheese. 

2) Soften the tortillas in the microwave in the following way: layer the tortillas on a plate with a moistened paper towel between each layer, microwave for approximately 30 seconds or until tortillas are soft. 

3) Place cheese on 1/2 of each tortilla and fold. Microwave until cheese is melted.

4) Open tortillas and add salsa.

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helphelp

In these modern times, many individuals across the country suffer from a wide variety of eating disorders. Whether we are referring to anorexia, bulimia or an addiction to food itself, these illnesses can severely affect quality of life and                          some can even be deadly. Some recent new stories illustrate how prevalent these conditions are in our society.

The Main Types of Eating Disorders

Most medical professionals divide the types of food-related illnesses into three classifications. While each is different in its nature, it is important to appreciate that self-esteem, body image and mental health are all the primary contributing factors.

Anorexia

The first type of illness is known as anorexia. This condition is characterized by extreme food restriction, a distorted body image and the compulsive fear of gaining weight. Sufferers will severely limit their food intake while never being satisfied that they are thin enough. More information on this condition is available on the Advice 4 Consumers’ anorexia page.

Bulimia

Bulimia is another common illness. This mental health disorder is defined by an individual eating large amounts of food (known as binge eating) only to subsequently purge this food in the form of vomiting. Once again, one of the underlying causes is the irrational compulsion to lose weight. Side effects will not only be the insufficient uptake of nutrients but the possible erosion of the oesophagus and increased rates of tooth decay. Further information on bulimia is available on our bulimia page.

Compulsive Eating

On the other end of the spectrum, some individuals engage in compulsive eating. This food addiction causes a sufferer to ingest unhealthy portions of food at one sitting. The result can be massive weight gain, unhealthy levels of cholesterol and potential heart problems. Note that binge eating can also fall into this category.

Symptoms

Some common warning signs that someone may suffer from these conditions can include:

  • Sudden, unexplained weight gain or loss.
  • Poor dental hygiene due to the teeth being exposed to stomach acid during purging sessions.
  • A disproportionate amount of importance placed on outward appearances.
  • A severely lowered immune system.
  • Feelings of malaise or depression.

Eating Disorder Treatment Options

As these types of mental health disorder may have significantly different causal factors, there are several methods available to restore a healthy balance to one’s life.

The first option is seeking traditional therapeutic counselling. This can be done on a face-to-face basis or in a group setting. Counsellors will provide tools and skills that can help patients cope with their fears, re-establish a positive body image, establish a healthy diet and realize when they may be slipping back into a negative habit. Sessions tend to be quite effective although they may take time to show results. Avoid mental health centres that seem overly expensive and yet come with few objective recommendations. Instead, perform an online search of any practitioners in the area and determine whether they have received positive reviews.

A second option is the administration of certain carefully monitored medications. Such forms can include tricyclic antidepressants or other medications that can properly regulate certain chemicals in the brain that may be imbalanced. These can only be prescribed by a psychiatrist and the patient will concurrently see an eating disorder specialist.

Another popular option is to attend eating disorder groups such as Overeater’s Anonymous. These groups offer a robust support system where individuals in similar situation can relate their experiences, gauge each others’ progress and offer much-needed advice when necessary. Such groups are free to attend and are administered by a licensed therapist; he or she most likely having suffered from a similar ailment in the past.

If someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, talk to the person suffering from the illness and explain that they need the help of a trained doctor who can provide the correct type of therapy to help them overcome their battle. Try to begin to have them understand that conditions such as food addiction or bulimia nervosa do not represent a weakness of character but rather a true medical condition. Finally and perhaps most importantly, it is essential that the sufferer is comfortable with the doctor they are seeing, as otherwise the help received may be ineffective and they will rebound into their old habits.

Three of the most effective eating disorder treatment techniques are:
  • Personalized counselling.
  • The administration of certain types of medication.
  • Group sessions.
  • Talk to the sufferer and support them through their treatment.

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 mountain

At the Store

1. Shop smart. Plan meals, use grocery lists, and avoid impulse buys. This way, you’re less likely to buy things you don’t need and that you’re unlikely to actually consume. Buy items only when you have a plan for using them, and wait until perishables are all used up before buying more. Check out these apps for extra-easy meal planning.

2. Buy exactly what you need. For example, if a recipe calls for two carrots, don’t buy a whole bag. Instead, buy loose produce so you can purchase the exact number you’ll use. Likewise, try buying grains, nuts, and spices from bulk bins so you can measure out exactly what you need and don’t over-buy (Just note that there’s a difference between buying in bulk and buying from bulk bins; the first one can actually create more waste if we buy more than we can realistically use). Bonus: This tip will save some cash, to boot.

3. Be realistic. If you live alone, you won’t need the same number of apples as a family of four (unless you really like apples). If you rarely cook, don’t stock up on goods that have to be cooked in order to be consumed (such as baking supplies or dried grains and beans).

4. Buy funny-looking produce. Many fruits and vegetables are thrown away because their size, shape, or colors don’t quite match what we think these items “should” look like. But for the most part these items are perfectly good to eat, and buying them at a farmer’s market or the grocery store helps use up food that might otherwise be tossed.

5. Have a Plan B. Let’s say you buy Camembert to make a fancy dish for that fancy dinner party — and then the dinner party is canceled. Don’t toss the cheese! Instead, come up with a backup recipe and use it in a different dish (or just eat it plain, because c’mon — it’s cheese).

At Home

6. Practice FIFO. It stands for First In, First Out. When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.

7. Monitor what you throw away. Designate a week in which you write down everything you throw out on a regular basis. Tossing half a loaf of bread each week? Maybe it’s time to start freezing half that loaf the moment you buy it so it doesn’t go stale before you’re able to eat it.

8. Take stock. Note upcoming expiration dates on foods you already have at home, and plan meals around the products that are closest to their expiration. On a similar note, keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime.

9. Designate one dinner each week as a “use-it-up” meal. Instead of cooking a new meal, look around in the cupboards and fridge for leftovers and other food that might otherwise get overlooked.

10. Eat leftovers! Brown-bag them for work or school for a free packed lunch. If you don’t want to eat leftovers the day after they’re cooked, freeze and save them for later (just remember to note when you froze them so you can use them up in a timely fashion).

11. Use it all. When cooking, use every piece of whatever food you’re cooking with, whenever possible. For example, leave the skin on cucumbers and potatoes, sauté broccoli stems along with the florets (they taste good too; we promise!), and so on. Bonus: Skins and stems often have provide additional nutrients for our bodies.

12. Store better. If you regularly throw away stale chips/cereal/crackers/etc., trystoring them in airtight containers — this should help them keep longer (or, of course, just buy fewer of these products).

13. Repurpose leftovers scraps. Use vegetable and meat scraps in homemade stocks, and use citrus fruit rinds and zest to add flavor to other meals. Want more ideas? Check out these resources for using up food scraps.

14. Check the fridge. Make sure it’s functioning at maximum efficiency. Look for tight seals, proper temperature, etc. — this will ensure that the fridge keeps food fresh as long as possible.

15. Preserve produce. Produce doesn’t have to be tossed just because it’s reaching the end of its peak. Soft fruit can be used in smoothies; wilting vegetables can be used in soups, etc. And both wilting fruits and veggies can be turned into delicious, nutritious juice.

16. Donate what you won’t use. Never going to eat that can of beans? Donate it to a food kitchen before it expires so it can be consumed by someone who needs it. Check out this resource to locate a food bank near you.

17. Donate the gross stuff, too! Many farmers happily accept food scraps for feeding pigs or adding to a compost heap. To find farms near you, check out one of these resources.

18. Store food properly in the fridge. Learn how and where to store specific products in the fridge, and they’re likely to keep longer (hint: they don’t call it the “produce drawer” for nothin’!).

19. Store things properly in the freezer. Same as above: How and where westore products in the freezer makes a difference in how long they’ll last.

20. Can it. Got more fruit than you know what to do with? Try canning it so it’ll last for months to come. (Plus, who doesn’t love eating “fresh” peaches in winter?)

21. Pickle it. Both fruits and vegetables can be preserved through an easy pickling process.

22. Understand expiration dates. Turns out those expiration dates don’t always have to do with food safety; rather, they’re usually manufacturers’ suggestions for peak quality. If stored properly, most foods (even meat) stay fresh several days past the “use-by” date. If a food looks, smells, and tastes okay, it should be fine. If any of these elements are off, then it’s time to toss it.

23. Compost! Hate potato skins? Don’t feel like turning wilted vegetables into soup stock? No worries; food scraps still don’t need to be tossed. Just start a compost pile in the backyard or even under the sink, and convert food waste into a useful resource.

During Mealtime

24. Check in with your belly. Here it is, ladies and gentlemen: The solution to the “clean your plate!” issue. Simply take a moment to ask your body what it wants to eat, and how much — and then serve yourself that. Or simply start with less food on your plate. If you want more, you can always go back for it — but this way you won’t find out that you’re full and still have a heap of food in front of you. In fact, one study found that reducing portion sizes is an easy way to reduce food waste [1].

25. Split the dish. If eating out, split a dish with a friend so you don’t waste half of the giant portion sizes found at many restaurants.

26. Take home leftovers. Even if you’re not into splitting meals, those portion sizes don’t have to be wasted. Just ask to take leftovers home (bonus eco points if you bring your own reusable container!), and you’ve got yourself a free lunch the next day.

27. Share. Made a quadruple recipe of a casserole you ended up disliking? Gift it to friends, family, or neighbors — they’re likely to be grateful for the saved money and time.

28. Go trayless. When eating in a cafeteria, skip the tray. Doing so is associated with a reduction in food waste, possibly because it’s harder for people to carry more food than they can actually eat.

29. Educate other people. Sure, nobody likes a Debbie Downer at the dinner table. But turns out simply being aware of the issue of food waste can help make people more attentive to wasting less [2].

How do you save on your weekly food bill?  Send your tips. Share with us. Make a comment.

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These eight pieces, which explore schooldays and the mysteries of childhood, will be included in Carol Ann’s latest collection of children’s poems, to be published this coming autumn by Faber.

 
Carol Ann Duffy (pic: Getty)
Carol Ann Duffy (pic: Getty)

Carol Ann Duffy has been acclaimed as the first poet laureate for the whole family with her brilliant poems for children.

New laureate Carol Ann – who edits our Poetry Corner column – has given us an exclusive preview of her latest work to share with Daily Mirror readers.

These eight pieces, which explore schooldays and the mysteries of childhood, will be included in Carol Ann’s latest collection of children’s poems, to be published this coming autumn by Faber.

THE MAIDEN NAMES

I got a shock

hearing the grown-ups talk

to find that my Grandmother’s name

wasn’t her name at all,

only her married name.

I listened hard

till I heard

that the same was true

of Grandmother Two,

who had nearly been left

on the shelf

long ago

when she was called something else.

The maiden names

were their real names.

I spoke them aloud-

Mary Wallace, Agatha Hart,

Mary Wallace, Agatha Hart

and saw them as maidens, lassies, girls

in their lost young worlds

with their own names.

Language inside me flared, burned,

then to my Mother I turned.

HIS NINE SYMPATHIES

were for the mothers,

listening to flute scales stop and start;

and for the fathers,

whistling their tired ways home in the dark;

for younger brothers,

sent with the jingling cows to market;

or for eldest daughters,

hymned up the aisles till death did them part;

for orphans,

led by a piper out of a pretty park;

and for paupers,

scraping their fiddles for small change in a hat;

for old ones,

tapping their sticks on the twisting path;

for soldiers,

stamping their boots on a victory march;

and for the lovers,

the broken chords of their hearts.

YOUR SCHOOL

Your school knows the names of places-

Dhaka, Rajshahi, Sylket, Khulna, Chittagong

and where they are.

Your school knows where rivers rise-

the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Thames-

and knows which seas they join.

Your school knows the height of mountains

disappearing into cloud.

Your school knows important dates,

the days when history turned around

to stare the human race

straight in the face.

Your school knows the poets’ names, long dead-

John Keats, Rabindranath Tagore, Sylvia Plath –

and what they said.

It knows the paintings hanging in the old gold frames

in huge museums

and how the artists lived and loved

who dipped their brushes in the vivid paint.

Your school knows the language of the world-

hello, namaskar, sat sri akal, as-salaam-o-aleykum, salut-

it knows the homes of faith,

the certainties of science,

the living art of sport.

Your school knows what Isaac Newton thought,

what William Shakespeare wrote

and what Mohammed taught.

Your school knows your name-

Shirin, Abdul, Aysha, Rayhan, Lauren, Jack-

and who you are.

Your school knows the most important thing to knowy

ou are a star,

a star.

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite drink Italian wine.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite smell is turpentine.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite jeans by Calvin Klein.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite herb is lemon thyme.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite fruit a Tuscan lime.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite art Venetian mime.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite tree a creeping vine.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite statue free of grime.

Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim,

favourite poem has to rhyme

with Peggy, Peggy Guggenheim.

SAFE SOUNDS

You like safe sounds:

the dogs lapping at their bowls;

the pop of a cork on a bottle of plonk

as your mother cooks;

the Match of the Day theme tune

and Doctor Who-oo-oo.

Safe sounds:

your name called, two happy syllables

from the bottom to the top of the house;

your daft ringtone; the low gargle

of hot water in bubbles. Half asleep

in the drifting boat of your bed,

you like to hear the big trees

sound like the sea instead.

NIGHT WRITING

Only a neat margin of moonlight

there at the curtain’s edge.

The room like a dark page.

I lie in bed.

Silence is ink.

The sound of my breath dips in

and out. So I begin

night writing. The stars type themselves

far out in space.

Who would guess,

to look at my sleeping face,

the rhymes and tall tales I invent?

Here be dragons; children lost

in the wood; three wishes; the wicked

and the good.

Read my lips.

The small hours are poems.

Dawn is a rubber.

GLAD

Glad we don’t have to bark.

Glad we don’t have to cock

one leg and wee on a lampost.

Glad we don’t have to cluck

or lay an egg. Glad we don’t

have to moo, neigh, baa, eat grass

or hay, be milked, fleeced, ridden.

Glad we don’t have to hoot, hang

from the thread of a web, sting, slither.

Glad we don’t have to mew, eat mice,

peck, breathe through gills, dwell

in shells or form a chrysalis, hiss,

hum, hover. Glad we don’t

have to kip upside down in the dark, bark.

VENEZIA

Here today

Gondolier tomorrow.

 

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harmxxxxxxxxxxxx

Self-harm, or inflicting physical harm onto one’s body to ease emotional distress, is not uncommon in kids and teens.

In fact, according to clinical psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, in her book Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, about 15 percent of kids and teens engage in self-harm.

There are many forms of self-harm, including cutting, scratching, hitting and burning. Many kids and teens who self-harm also struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, physical abuse or other serious concerns or psychological disorders.

These kids “don’t know how to verbalize their feelings, and instead, act them out by self-injuring,” Serani writes. Kids might self-harm to soothe deep sadness or other overwhelming emotions. They might do it to express self-loathing or shame. They might do it to express negative thoughts they can’t articulate. They might do it because they feel helpless.

 

Research has found that self-harm is an addictive behavior. “Clinical studies link the role of opiates. When a child self-harms these feel-good endorphins flood the bloodstream. The rush is so pleasing that a child learns to associate self-harm as soothing, instead of being destructive,” Serani writes.

Self-harm is called non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) because there’s no intention to commit suicide. However, as Serani cautions in her book, self-injury can lead to deliberate suicide.

If you notice signs of self-harm, take your child to a therapist for a professional evaluation. A therapist will determine whether self-harm is suicidal or non-suicidal by administering a suicide assessment (and ascertain if other concerns are present). They’ll also teach your child healthy techniques for dealing with painful emotions or situations.

In addition to taking your child to see a mental health professional, there are other ways you can help them reduce the urge to self-harm. In Depression and Your Child, Serani lists these valuable tips.

1. Create a coping kit.

Put positive and uplifting items in a shoebox or another container, which your child can use when they get the urge to self-harm. This can be anything from a journal to art supplies to upbeat music to photos of friends, family or their heroes. Include anything your child finds calming or inspiring.

2. Model positive imagery.

Visualizing a beautiful, serene place is a great way to reduce anxiety or painful emotions. When you practice positive imagery in front of your child you help them strengthen these skills. Serani suggests talking aloud as you describe a soothing landscape – like a beach – or positive memories of a place you’ve been to. Use vivid details in your descriptions.  

3. Talk about triggers.

Help your child better understand the types of situations and stressors that trigger their negative feelings. As Serani notes, “If it’s a test coming up in school, a social event or a dentist appointment, talk about how the days leading up to it can feel stressful.” This helps your child be prepared and have the necessary skills at their disposal. Also, talk about your personal triggers and the healthy ways you cope.

4. Suggest using less severe behaviors.

If the urge to self-harm is still present, Serani suggests “using less severe activities,” such as “holding an ice cube, tearing paper, shredding a sheet, snapping a rubber band, sucking a lemon peel and pounding a pillow.”

5. Suggest engaging in physical activities.

According to Serani, the rush of adrenaline in physical activities, such as running, dancing and playing chase with their pet, actually produces the same chemical surge that self-injury does.

6. Be compassionate about setbacks.

Stopping self-harming behavior isn’t easy, and it’ll take time. Your child may have setbacks. The best approach if a setback occurs is to offer nonjudgmental support. “Research shows that shame, criticism, or overreaction when parents see a wound causes children to withdraw back into self-harming behaviors,” Serani writes.

Again, if you think your child is self-harming, make an appointment with a therapist for a professional assessment, and support them in practicing healthy coping strategies.

Overcoming self-harm isn’t easy, but, with effective intervention, your child can stop these behaviors and get better. The key is to get help.

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1st

With all of the (super hectic) planning that goes into orchestrating baby’s first birthday, it is beyond easy to throw manners to the wayside and just hope to have a Pinterest-perfect day. Despite the rumors, adhering to baby’s first birthday etiquette is both simple and satisfying for everybody involved. Here are my top 4 tips to remember when planning the festivities.

1.     How Inviting!

Invitations and announcements will be your best friend and first foyer into the birthday-protocol realm. Do you want guests to bring gifts? If you don’t, but have an alternative (such as a charitable donation that can be made in lieu of a present) say so on the invites. Besides the event date, time (I’d suggest 2-3 hours max), RSVP-by date and gift situation, make sure to list any other pertinent information (like bring a swimsuit!).

Do you have long distance family/friends that you know won’t be able to attend? I suggest sending them an announcement (Look who’s turning 1!) rather than a formal invite. This way, they don’t feel 1) guilty for not being able to attend and 2) like you are trying to sucker a gift out of them (if, by chance, you are accepting presents). This leads me to my second tip…

2.     The Present Situation

If guests take the time to pick out, purchase, and wrap a gift for your baby’s special day—open it in front of them! It’s a given that the little ones won’t know what’s going on, but the adults that brought the presents sure do. This will give you an opportunity to issue a verbal thank you while offering the giving-parties the chance to see your (favorable—of course) reaction. Make sure to allow for ample time and room to do this; otherwise, don’t accept gifts.

3.     May the Odds be Ever in your Favor(s)

Favors are the golden standard at every celebration from weddings to baby showers. Your little one’s first birthday is no exception; guest favors must make an appearance. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to accommodate any budget. Sacks with homemade cookies, crayons and coloring books, and more nifty ideas (like these ones here) are all perfectly acceptable ways to give your guests a special thank you. Have fun with favors by incorporating them into your theme (if you have one) and make sure to make a couple extra!

4.     What do you say?

A verbal thank-you is not sufficient; it is imperative that you take the time to write a thoughtful thank-you note. Designate somebody at your baby’s big day to keep track of gifts (who it’s from and what it is) so that nothing gets lost in the moment. This is a common courtesy that, unfortunately, isn’t always very common. Leading by example is a fantastic way to perpetuate this form of gratitude, and as your baby grows, don’t hesitate to incorporate them into the process until they (one day) will do them all on their own.

Though these steps seem simple (and easy to gloss over) they will make a positive impact on your guests, and pave the way for your up-and-coming future generations.

 

Gwendy Taylor is a first-time mom discovering that no matter how many times she double checks the diaper bag, she always forgets something important. When she’s not trying out the latest homemade baby food recipes, you can find her writing about family life.

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respeck

It’s easy to take our parents for granted. We forget the sacrifices they ’ve made for us, and the effort it takes to raise happy, healthy children. Respect is foundational to love, and one of the best ways to show your parents that you love them is to treat them with respect. Small habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine, and a loving and positive attitude will make them feel loved and respected, and proud to have you as their child.

Parents and children always will have some level of conflict, but mutual respect helps minimize hurt feelings and animosity resulting from family tensions. Children should respect their parents authority, but parents should also respect their children’s value and age-appropriate choices. When parents and children avoid harsh words, belittling comments and loose tempers, conflicts can often be resolved quickly and effectively.

 

Equality

Mutual respect encourages equality in the home. Even though parents know more because they have more life experiences to draw from, and they have legal authority in the home, they shouldn’t use their elevated positions to dominate their children. Children have intrinsic value and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, without feeling as though their parents control every move they make. According to Lane Community College, mutual respect is the key to improving relationships between parents and children. Creating a system where parents and children work together to establish ground rules, promote healthy communication habits, encourage age-appropriate decisions and share household chores can lead to a happier home life. Parents might need to enforce the rules, but children respond to fair and consistent expectations.

Closeness

A family that encourages mutual respect is likely to be a close family. According to Brigham Young University professor Larry Nelson, a parenting style that blends love, high expectations and respect for a child’s autonomy lasts for years, long after the child moves out of the home. Specifically, dads who promote mutual respect enjoy closer relationships with their children, and their children have higher levels of self-worth, according to the Psych Central website. Mutual respect shows a child that you respect his independence, personal interests and time. Most importantly, it teaches a child that you love him unconditionally and find value in his existence.

Healthy Communication

Healthy communication reinforces mutual respect between parents and children. The Empowering Parents website encourages parents to listen to their kids and strive to reconcile if their children feel mistreated. Parents can demonstrate respect by asking their kids to forgive them if they say something that’s harsh, critical or unfair. According to the site, healthy communication creates mutual respect because it gives children the opportunity to see their parents as flawed human beings who make mistakes. Parents and children who ask for forgiveness, express honest emotions and show compassion create a respectful atmosphere.

Conflict Resolution

Mutual respect leads to quick and effective conflict resolution. If a respectful parent says, “I’m disappointed with your actions, but I’d like to know what’s bothering you,” a child might soften, knowing that the parent truly cares. If a respectful child says, “I don’t understand why I can’t go to the party, but I trust your judgment,” a parent might use the opportunity to share her concerns about the child’s peers or questionable activities. Mutual respect means both parents and children get to express their feelings, and both are willing to listen to the other’s point of view.

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ADOPION

Pros and Cons of Adopting Children 

The effects of adopting children will be different for every couple, as will be the same for the adopted child.  Every adoption will be different for a variety of reasons and circumstances.

Personally, we adopted our son when he was five months old.  When they brought him out to see us, he had such a beautiful smile that we melted on the spot.  We told the woman not to bother coming back, as we would definitely be keeping him.

To this day he was always our little man, and has never been treated any different to our daughter, and he is nearly forty now.  We have never regretted our decision to adopt for a moment.

 
 

To Tell or not to Tell

 

Honesty Pays in the long run.

Do you tell the new family member that he/she’s adopted or not? In my opinion, we did the right thing. We told him from day one, that we chose him. We also explained to our natural born daughter that she was our special little girl and he was our special little boy. Even though he could not understand what the word adoption meant, as he grew, we explained in more detail.

Others have decided against telling their child. To me, this was wrong, someone we knew, adopted their child. She overheard another friend talking about her being adopted, when she was a teenager. She rebelled, simply because others knew and she found out through listening to gossip. That is a cruel and senseless way for the child to learn the facts of her birth. It caused so much distrust, and strain on the family.

Too much information (overheard)

Two young boys were arguing in the park, one said he was dopted the other said he was doctored. It came to blows, until an intervention allowed parents to explain they were both right.

The one saying he was dopted meant he was adopted. The other one saying he was doctored had been circumcised. Lifes little problems do have a humerous side.

 
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Reasons to Adopt

There could be a number of reasons, why couples go through the process of applying for an adopted child. The couple may have tried unsuccessfully for many years to have their own child, without success. Some of these could have medical reasons for not falling pregnant, while others may not have fertile sperm.

For whatever reason, when a couple applies to adopt a child, they have to go through a lengthy process to be successful. Their screened as to their income, medical backgrounds, age, as well as both wanting this. Sometimes couples may apply although one just goes along with it to keep their partner happy. This is not a suitable situation for a healthy adoption. Years ago, it was a lot easier, as it was a disgrace for the parents, whose daughter becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Therefore, the daughter was virtually forced to move away, have the baby, then return home, to avoid a scandal in the household.

These days, so many girls have babies, purely to receive the baby bonus of thousands of dollars to bring that child into the world. The money is supposed to supply them with the essentials, like pram, bassinet, nappies, and clothes for the newborn. Most of the money more often goes for drugs, entertainment or similar, without the child receiving any benefit for the money.

 

            Overseas children

 

The older child

 

There are many ways of Adopting a child

Overseas Adoptions

Many people look to adopt overseas, agreeing to bring a newborn in from a less wealthy country. The long waiting lists and unavailability of adopting in their own country is the reason why.

Adopting the older child

Successful older adoptions depend entirely on many circumstances that the child and the adoptee parents need to be aware. Some children have suffered from abuse of many sorts which will naturally cause lots of mental, and behavioral problems.

There have been many success and failure stories, under these circumstances, although problems are not entirely due to the ages of the adopted child.

 

 

The Adopted Child

It is very important for this newborn baby or child to be living in a safe and healthy environment. If for any reason this is not so, the adoption should not, be allowed to continue. We have always given our son the option of finding his natural parents. We gave him all the details that we had regarding his parents, and offered to help him find them if that was what he wanted. In fact, we encouraged him to follow up on this, although he refuses to do it.

This has to be his decision and his alone. We will not try to influence him either way, except to say that it would be good for him to try to contact them, for his own peace of mind. We also explained that, his parents would not have given him up without good reason, especially if they had seen his mischievous little smile.

We tried to adopt another child. And, as the woman explained, we have two beautiful healthy children, why not be satisfied, because there are so many people still trying to adopt their first. We therefore had to withdraw our application for another child.

Have we ever regretted, adopting a child? Never, we would do it all over again, mind you any child has his/her good and bad moments, and we have certainly had some of those with both of our children.

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