Hope for Arkansas children and families facing emotional and behavioral challenges.

Summer Sibling Health

June 23, 2017

  Every kid looks forward to summertime because it means some time off from school, but it has the potential to be much less exciting for parents of multiple children. Playtime can quickly turn into arguments, which can escalate into screaming and crying. Summertime arguments between siblings leave everyone unhappy. If you have a close relationship with a sibling, you know that the friendship between siblings is something special. Ashley Petray, therapist at Methodist Family Health, has put together a few activities to help foster these friendships in your own kids and keep them from bickering all summer.   Encourage teamwork Your kids are most likely to bond when they’re working together towards a common goal. This can happen in a number of ways – through work and play. Give your kids specific tasks in joint chores they have to complete together. Washing and drying the dishes, tidying up the living room, washing the car – whatever the task, it will require cooperation to get done, and they’ll want to get it done as quickly as possible. Plus, it means a little less work around the house for you. Teamwork can be fun, too. Give your kids structured games or let your kids get bored together – get them away from screen time and encourage them to make their own fun. Kids are often the most creative when they’re allowed to use their imagination, and the games they come up with when creativity is encouraged are often some of the best ones.   Practice respect and fairness “That’s not fair!” A phrase parents of little ones hear all too often. From an early age, kids start to pick up on how their relationships with their parents compare to those of their siblings. With this in mind, it’s important not to treat your kids exactly the same, but to make sure your kids believe that your treatment is fair. Sibling relationships are more positive if they feel that their parents show them similar levels of affection, praise and discipline. Sibling relationships can also benefit when kids are taught how to identify, monitor, evaluate and relate their emotional reactions to their siblings. Parents can help their children express themselves appropriately by helping them identify feelings when conflict occurs. When their siblings start to push their buttons like only siblings can, they won’t react as intensely. They’ll also be better communicators and will therefore have a more positive play experience.   Be together Set aside time for regular family discussions. Eating meals together without electronics or phones is a great place for this. Being together as a family creates opportunities for everyone to speak up about their grievances as well as their celebrations. This helps your kids find solutions to their problems in a much calmer and easier way than arguing it out and encourages healthy communication between siblings. It also strengthens your kids’ relationships when you set aside time to just be together as a family. Whether it’s something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood together or going on a road trip, family time encourages your kids to work as a team and makes them feel like valued members of the family.   Ashley Petray is a registered therapist with Methodist Family Health. Methodist Family Health’s emotional and behavioral healthcare services are designed to help children, adolescents and their families. Methodist Family Health offers inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for children ages 3 to 17; outpatient counseling clinics; grief counseling services; psychiatric residential treatment centers and more. 

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Purposeful Parenting

June 19, 2017

With kids being home in the summer, it’s the perfect time to practice purposeful parenting! Parenting can be difficult at times – it takes courage, commitment, and consistency. It is being flexible when necessary and understanding that even with misbehavior, children are trying to communicate their need for help. Discipline is to teach, so it is important to understand positive intent in order to help children be successful. A child’s purpose in life is to grow, develop and learn.  A child must learn how to make sense of the world around them, communicate fully, discover and develop all bodily powers, deeply connect with people, and understand how everything works! Your purpose as a parent is to provide a safe environment with loving guidance in which children can grow, develop, and discovery the world. So, how do we set our children up for success? Spend TIME with them. T – Talk with them, not at them, and listen to what they have to say I – Instruct them by setting clear expectations M – Monitor them to keep them safe E – Encourage them with praise and loving guidance Give acceptable choices that encourage problem solving. Set limits and boundaries based on their current stage of development and temperament. Use positive reinforcement. Praise and notice the positive behavior and attempts at good behavior. It will encourage more of the positive behavior. Use an assertive parenting style that sets clear expectations with positive consequences. This encourages positive behavior and negative consequences and helps children change the negative behavior. Say what you mean and mean what you say! Be a good role model for your children. If you want your children to be kind, you must be kind. If you want your children to show empathy to others, you need to be empathetic, etc. Remember that how you handle problems in front of your children when you are upset gives your child permission to do the same. Nurturing and showing unconditional love. With words – “I love you to the moon and back.” With actions – Meet their physical, mental and emotional needs. With touch – Give hugs and kisses. Remember, how you parent directly impacts who your children are and who they will become. It’s okay to ask for help! Click here to submit your questions to our experts and we will get back to you as soon as they can. [Judy Green, CIT, is a Parenting Educator with Methodist Family Health’s Arkansas CARES program.]

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Bright Night

May 26, 2017
Bright Night Family Fun Night

We are excited to announce a brand new event taking place on August 4 at Big Rock Fun Park – BRIGHT NIGHT! With a night full of mini golf, laser tag, go-karts and more, Bright Night will mean brighter days for children and families served by Methodist Family Health! Tickets are $30 per person in advance or at the door. Click here to purchase! Contact Denise Luft at dluft@methodistfamily.org or 501.906.4201 today.

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Help, hope and healing for grieving children

May 8, 2017

More than a million children nationwide will lose a parent by age 15. Many more will lose siblings, other relatives, caregivers, and close friends. These profound losses affect daily lives, academic and social functioning, and growth toward adulthood. Furthermore, research shows that adult depression, schizophrenia, drug problems, and alcohol use may all be linked to childhood bereavement.

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April 5, 2017

According to the Office of Adolescent Health, approximately one in five adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly a third show symptoms of depression. Yet a recent study revealed that less than half of adolescents with psychiatric disorders received any kind of treatment in the preceding year.

Clearly, there is a gap in care. But why? Here are four of the biggest obstacles preventing adolescents from accessing mental health services:

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Upcoming Events

August 4, 2017 - 5:00PM
Bright Night event benefiting Methodist Family Health