21 December 2013

Casual Sex linked to Depression

Turns out the hook-up culture may have some down-sides to it. Of the 10,000 teenagers interviewed, those that had casual sex were more likely to report depression, and that of that group some would even later consider suicide.

But as the lead of author of this study says, it is a two way street:

"This study provides evidence that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health."

20 December 2013

Give the Gift of Time

The Holiday Season is truly upon us. Some people have completed their Christmas shopping, while the rest of us are envious of them. Especially as we spend our precious resource of time waiting in lines buying that 'perfect' gift.

And it is hard not to want to meet the expectations of that perfect gift when we are bombarded with heart-warming, well marketed, videos. Such as the WestJet video where they got their passengers their top wish-list item.

But couldn't that resource that we all have in common, time, be used more efficiently? We are going at frantic pace spending our time here and there, not really investing it anywhere. We should slow down and take our time and invest it around us during the holiday season.

Take time to go carolling.

Take time to visit an elderly individual in a care home.

Take time to volunteer at a soup kitchen or foodbank.

Take time to call family that live far away.

Take time to play with your children.

Take time to help organize and deliver a hamper.

Take time to notice the beautiful season.

Take time to enjoy the sounds of the season.

There is even a movement happening on social media where some parents are encouraging their relatives not to buy gifts for their children, but to take the time to take them to the zoo, a movie, or some sort of other outing.

Research has shown that when it comes to our relationships with our family, that it just isn't about quality time, it is also about quantity time. And not to mention that one of the factors that contributes to well-being is engagement, and being engaged typically leads to meaning. And what a good way that is to invest our time in.

As we take the time to invest our time, we will realize the many ways we can spend our time instead of just trading it in for money and then spending our time in long lines waiting to spend our time-earned money.

19 December 2013

Children who were spanked were more likely to break the law

There appears to be more and more research showing that spanking, especially as a form of punishment or correction, is having a negative impact. Especially in this latest study that surveyed 11,400 participants from 15 countries.

But what I found most interesting is the second last paragraph:

“In most of the 15 nations, two-thirds of university students said they were hit when they were age 10, and among those who were hit, they said it typically was between once and twice a week. If university students were hit by only one parent, more often than not the mother was the parent carrying out the punishment.”

First it is sad that by age 10, 66% of children surveyed have been spanked. But secondly, what is more interesting is that mother’s are the likely candidate of lone parenting spanking, which I think goes against the grain of societal perceptions. Which is that dads are more likely to hit. I think that is the bigger deal.

17 December 2013

Consistent Bed time & Wake time tied to Physical Health

This is an interesting study that came out of BYU. Now, I should note that this studies participants were only women aged 17-26, so don’t be too quick to generalize the findings. But the interesting statistic for me was that getting less than 6.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours of sleep was correlated with higher body fat.

16 December 2013

“The Whale”–Japanese commercial encouraging imagination

I have always loved this commercial, because I believe it shows how imagination can be limitless. It is unfortunate that when imagination occurs outside of the socially acceptable realm, that we treat people the same way as this boy:

15 December 2013

Sometimes knowing the diagnosis is beneficial

I have met people who are adamant in wanting to know “what is wrong” with them, and once they know, they can move on. While for others it doesn’t work out that way. But for Susan Boyle, knowing that she as Aspergers provided great insights for her.

14 December 2013

Creating Secure Infant Attachment

Unfortunately it isn’t a video that I was able to embed, so visit helpguide.com to watch the video on forming attachment with an infant.

12 December 2013

Uncovering a ‘superimposed’ galaxy

I always get excited when I see astronomy research come out of the University of Manitoba. I will admit it was a career path that I seriously considered. But I came to the conclusion that I am an “arm-chair” astronomer.

Any way, one of the profs that taught me one of my Astronomy courses, Jayanne English, found that using radio waves, they were able to learn about a galaxy that was hiding behind another, and also learn about the galaxy in the front. It’s pretty neat!

11 December 2013

07 December 2013

10 compliments husbands need to hear

From Family Share

  • I’m so glad I married you
  • I love how you provide for our family
  • I’m so proud of you
  • You’re such a great daddy
  • You’re so hot
  • Thanks for fixing the broken….
  • Thanks for the help around the house
  • You can make me laugh
  • You’re so strong
  • I love spending time with you

06 December 2013

Ten risks happy people take

  • They risk the possibility of being hurt
  • They risk being real in front of others
  • They risk missing out on something new, so they can appreciate what they have
  • They risk helping others without expectations
  • They risk taking full responsibility of their own happiness
  • They risk the consequences of taking action
  • They risk bearing the discomfort of growth
  • They risk the possibility of failing
  • They risk being disappointed by accepting the truth
  • They risk letting go and starting new

For more, read the break down on these ten risks.

03 December 2013

Maybe there is such thing as “mommy’s favourite child”?

It turns out that moms do favour a child. However it is not necessarily the most successful child. It turns out that mothers favour children who remind them of themselves and that shared the same beliefs. So if you want to be your mom’s favourite child, start sharing the same beliefs as her!

30 November 2013

New Evernote Windows Features

Evernote is my brain, I use it for everything. I have even taught a college continuing education course on it, called ‘Going Paperless’. Here is a nice diagram of some of the latest changes to windows desktop version (click to enlarge):

Vaccines & Autism

The other side of the argument

29 November 2013

The rate of students using protection

I know this is a little out of the norm of topics I post about, but I found the results posted in this article very intriguing.

  • Only 51% of college students surveyed admitted to using a condom.
  • Of those that used a condom, 54% were motivated to use it as birth control, 38% were motivated to use it as birth control and STI prevention, and only 6% used it for STI prevention.
  • 56% of the participants were not concerned about getting an STI.
  • Even though 62% of participants thought they had an excellent or very good sexual knowledge, 74% of participants scored 5/10 or lower on sexual health related quiz.

Happy Friday! #TGIF

27 November 2013

A Dad’s Twitter Response To Bullying

This is probably one of my favourite ways to counter cyber bullying that I have seen. The girl in this story probably can be related to so many teenage girls out there who are anonymously bullied. I believe this also fits in the category of not responding with anger and parading to the principal’s, and instead doing something creative to let your child know that you love them.

26 November 2013

25 November 2013

Bring Back Home Ec!

As the #SaveHomeEc movement grows in Manitoba, there was a great article written in the Boston Globe about the need to bring back Home Economics courses into schools.

23 November 2013

Non-Medical Stomach Pains Treated with Talk Therapy

Medical stomach pains, such as acid reflux and celiac disease can be treated through medical means. However, those cases that have no medical explanation, most likely due to anxiety, can be treated through talk therapy. The article showed that CBT has a 60% success rate.

22 November 2013

Add some good bacteria to improve mental health

It is because of this study covered on the CBC that I have been recommending to people to eat yogurt. Some bacteria found in yogurt produces a happy signal (GABA) that can counteract depressive symptoms. So start adding some yogurt to your day.

20 November 2013

Early dating more likely to have problematic behaviours. Or is it the other way?

While I do appreciate correlational studies, it is sometimes frustrating to see them broadcast as a causation. I do wonder if this is the case with a recent study that connected early dating with problematic behaviours. Could it be that problematic behaviours cause people to date early? Typically problematic behaviour issues are connected to an environmental concern (usually at home or school), and therefore couldn’t those who aren’t finding love in their home or school environment search for it by dating early? I think so. So let’s just be aware that there may be other factors at play.

19 November 2013

Social media can be early indicator of suicide ideation

Teens may have difficulty expressing their feelings about suicide to their parents, but it appears easier to express online. Hence that recent research has found that posts on Twitter and Facebook can be early signs and predictors of a teenager considering suicide. It would be great to see social media used a prevention tool.

18 November 2013

Who Knew Kids Could Make You Happy?

I did! But I also know they are one of life’s greatest challenges, but also one of life’s greatest joys. And recent research from the Pew Research Center shows this because they finally asked how parents felt about their duties.

15 November 2013

Shifting to look at ‘what is right’ instead of ‘what is wrong’

Sometimes when we think of counselling or therapy, we think of Sigmund Freud, one of the founders of psychotherapy. One of Freud’s original beliefs is that something is wrong with a person when they come to therapy, and they need to figure out what is wrong and fix it.

This perspective continues to this day, that a counsellor needs to assist in helping a client fix things. However, there is a new approach that asks a different question. That is, what is right? What are your strengths? And how can we build upon those strengths?

This is often called positive psychology. Positive psychology has five beliefs, or pillars, that hold up and point to well-being.

First is positive emotions. Positive emotions are those feelings, or things that are a resource to and in your life. Then there are negative emotions, those feelings and things that are a load or burden to life. The goal is to have more positive emotions, or resources, than negative emotions or load.

Second is engagement. Being engaged in your community, church group, school, or reading club is correlated with being healthier and cheerful and with an increase in alertness. I can remember times as a scout that I did not want to go out and volunteer, but always after completing the service I felt great.

Third is positive relationships. Often, depending on upbringing, it is difficult to tell actual positive relationships from negative ones. John Gottman, the guy who can predict if a marriage will be successful or not, has established a litmus-type test to see if a relationship is positive or not. He found that couples that said at least five positive things to each other for every one negative comment had a positive relationship. That just goes to show how sharp a negative comment is, that it takes five positives to overcome it.

Fourth is meaning. Kelly McConigal in her TED talk Make stress your friend said this about meaning: “Chasing meaning is better for your health, then trying to avoid discomfort…. Go after what creates meaning in your life, and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

Fifth is positive accomplishment. These can be large or small, such as putting the load of laundry that has been washed three times in the dryer, to finishing a class. When our self-efficacy, the ‘belief that we can succeed’ part of our self-esteem, is high we are more likely to set goals, expend effort to reach them, persist at attaining them, and bounce back when the goal needs adjusting.

An example of applying positive psychology would be like this. Think of a time when you overcame a great challenge in your life and succeeded. Then think of which strengths you used to succeed. Then consider how those strengths can be used with a challenge you are facing now.

And that’s how we can begin to start looking at what is right with us, and building on that, instead of focusing on the negative.

09 November 2013

05 November 2013

02 November 2013

Removing Shame from the Classroom

I have to admit I am a bandwagon, Brene Brown fan. Ever since her TEDTalk, I have been a fan.

26 October 2013

Open Letter Regarding Faculty of Human Ecology

The following is a letter that a colleague and friend of mine wrote regarding the status of the Faculty of Human Ecology at the University Manitoba.

Please take a moment to read an open letter to: President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, Dr. David Barnard, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, Dr. Joanne Keselman, esteemed members of the University of Manitoba Senate, Dean of Human Ecology, Dr. Gustaaf Sevenhuysen, Ms. Marcie Marcuza, CBC Radio host Information Radio, Ms. Marilyn Mackie, CBC Radio host Radio Noon, Honorable Members of the Manitoba Legislature: Mr. James Allum (Minister of Education and Advanced Learning), Ms. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Jobs and the Economy), Ms. Kerri Irvine-Ross (Minister of Family Services and the Status of Women), friends and supporters of Human Ecology/Home Economics;

My name is Christie Crow, and I am a graduate of the FACULTY of Human Ecology, I graduated in 2009 with an Integrated Degree from the Faculties of Human Ecology and Education. I am a teacher of Foods and Nutrition for grades 7-11. Every day, I count myself fortunate that I get to do what I love to do. I have the opportunity to talk to and teach my students about food, the benefits of healthy cooking and eating and quite simply, how to cook. My love of and passion for food, of cooking, and of nutrition doesn’t stop at the 27 faces in my classroom, nor is it limited to the students who are registered in my classes. The students who do take my classes talk about it in the hallways, they talk about the new technique or new ingredient or about grocery shopping or about how much Ms. Crow HATES energy drinks and what’s in them, they take that same information home and talk about it there AND in many cases take an active role in cooking at home.

With the rise in a variety of health concerns (a list that grows every year) that stem from poor nutritional habits, convenience foods, or a simple lack of cooking and nutritional literacy. The skills that my students leave my classroom with are skills that will AND DO last a lifetime because they are LIFE skills. In an era when so many of YOU are concerned about the longevity and health of the next generation, their ability to look after their own health and that of their families’ wellbeing, it seems counter-intuitive to dismantle a Faculty that focuses on life-long learning for individuals, families, and communities. Whose graduates are professionals in the fields of Human Nutritional Sciences, Family Social Sciences, Textile Sciences and of Interdisciplinary Health Studies.

While I teach Foods and Nutrition, I call on my Family Social Sciences and Textile Sciences background weekly, if not on a daily basis. I am good at what I do because of where I come from. I come from a faculty centred on, and which prides itself in, interdisciplinary teaching and learning. I come from a faculty that focuses on a wholistic approach to learning and prevention, that teaches us to see the strengths in others and to help build on those. I come from a faculty that always taught us to not only look at the big picture but to examine all the pieces of the puzzle, how they fit and work together, and how we can help make the whole stronger. I come from a faculty that preached community, but who more importantly, practiced it on a daily basis. If you dismantle the faculty, if you break apart its many facets, you not only take away the strength of our whole faculty but you will lose the strength found in each of its parts. You will devalue the history of our professional practice, you will devalue its current dynamic practice, you will devalue MY profession and my calling. You will eliminate jobs, because at the very base level of this argument who is going to hire anyone from a Faculty that was dismantled for value of its scrap, with a degree that the President of that same University didn’t value enough to even consult those that hold it.

I do what I do everyday, because of where I come from, I COULD NOT DO what I do everyday without my foundation of Human Ecology. The heart and soul of what I DO and who I AM is centred in Human Ecology, MY heart and soul is centred in Human Ecology. It defines my job, my career, it has helped define me AND my values, my approach to teaching and my approach to life. It would be a tragedy and a terrible loss to the University of Manitoba (as a founding faculty) as well as to the province of Manitoba if the Faculty of Human Ecology was lost, it would also be a great personal tragedy to the many professionals who proudly call themselves graduates of the Faculty of Human Ecology who are spread across this province, this country, and around the globe using the skills and knowledge that we learned and earned from the Faculty of Human Ecology.

I am asking you, friends and family, if you value what I (or another Home Economist) do for you , as a colleague, as a professional, as ME, SHARE and LIKE this letter, forward it on to listening ears. I am asking you Minister of Education and of Higher Learning, take a look at what is about to happen at the University of Manitoba without meaningful and public consultation with alumni or stakeholders, I am asking you, members of the media, you need to ask questions because the leadership at the University of Manitoba isn’t answering ours.


Christie Crow, B.H.Ec, B. Ed
Graduate 2009
Faculty of Human Ecology and Education
University of Manitoba

25 October 2013

Creating a bond as a step-parent

Being a step-parent is hard. Children are conditioned from a young age that step-parents are cruel and mean, thanks Disney. So when you become one, the odds are already stacked against you. And add to it that there has been no bond or attachment made between you and your step-children as there is typically with children you gave birth to, so parenting step-children can be very difficult.

Plus, let’s be honest, if you have your own biological kids, the only reason why they are still living is because you deeply love them and have bonded with them. If anyone else’s children were crawling into your bed and kicking you throughout the night, their existence may be very short.

With step-children, there isn’t that same connection. Therefore, you have probably taken other measures to protect them from you on stressful days. Don’t get me wrong, a bond can be formed with step-children that can be strong.

Often step-children have different interest and likes than their step-parents, which can make it hard for step-parents to engage in an activity with the child. However, children are usually interested in new activities and may be willing to engage with you on an activity.

Think of it like parallel play, not doing something together, but side by side. Doing something you like beside someone can be the start of a bond, as you are associating or conditioning yourself with a positive feeling around that step-child.

To do this, make an exhaustive list of things that you like doing, from arts and crafts, to sports, to walking, and so on. After you have completed your list, select an activity or two that you can do parallel, again emphasis on the parallel, with your step-child for 5-15 minutes a week. Start small. This task can be daunting and overwhelming. Do this for a couple of weeks, and then add 5-10 minutes each week.

Again it’s parallel play, but over time it may morph into something else, such as doing something together. Allow it to grow.

A bond will not instantly be formed. If you are a mom, you developed a bond with your biological children for nine months while they grew inside of you, and then you have been with them since. For men you had the time since your child was born to love them and watch them grow. It has been years of bonding to your biological children. So it can be expected that it may take just as long for you to form a bond with a step-child.

Being a step-parent is a challenging role, but you can do it, one day at a time, for a few minutes a week.

24 October 2013

Pill to help forget terrible memories?

I must admit this is fascinating research that researchers at MIT have honed in on Tet1, as it appears that gene is the door to terrible memories, and that maybe one day a pill (with therapy) could block that memory. But I am not sure how healthy it is to have memories blocked out of our mind by medication. I think it is different if the brain has blocked out memories as a way to cope.

A therapy that I have found useful for dealing with traumatic memories, and decreasing their potency is EMDR.

23 October 2013

MAHE Town Hall Meeting on UManitoba Faculty Restructuring

The Manitoba Association of Home Economists will be holding a free Town Hall forum regarding the proposed academic restructuring by the University of Manitoba that will impact the existence of the Faculty of Human Ecology. Everyone is welcome!!


Wine & Cheese Reception to follow

Date: 25 October, 2013 (Friday)
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Caboto Centre (1055 Wilkes Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Cost: FREE
Registration: To RSVP online, please click here OR contact Amy Yonda  at amyyonda@gmail.com or (204) 918-4464. (Due date of registration; 22 October, 2013)

To view MAHE's complete position: please click here!
To view HESO's complete position, please click here!

19 October 2013

Home Economics and its Importance to Students

Whether you call it, home economics: human ecology, or family studies, or consumer sciences, or home economics; this post on the University of Michigan makes some great points about the value of this area of study to students’ future. I would agree with this, as it is preventative in its approach and teaches skills that are important to life.

11 October 2013

Sincerely Express Gratitude this Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, where we gather with family and friends and think of all the things we are grateful for in our life. We might sit down around a table and share a meal, or do an activity together, but most of all we just enjoy our time together regardless of what we are doing.

One of the ways Thanksgiving came to existence was in the 1800’s as a way to be grateful and celebrate the year’s harvest. It morphed into celebrating or reflecting on a special event in one’s life; to now where we take time to enjoy the season and company, and are grateful for what we have in life.

However, expressing gratitude is difficult to do in our fast paced world. We are often too busy or don’t know what to say when it comes to gratitude. We hope that a little thumbs up, ‘thanks’, or emoticon will be enough to express our appreciation.

So when was the last time you actually expressed gratitude? I mean truly and genuinely expressed gratitude to someone? We often go through our day saying ‘thanks’, which is great, but when was the last time you shared your true, even vulnerable, feelings of gratitude towards someone? It may have been some time for some of us.

How about we express some gratitude, and let’s do it, NOW.

I want you to think of someone who is important to you, someone you are the most grateful for or who inspired you the most. And let’s thank them for their contribution to your life.

Grab a pen and paper, or a stylus and tablet, and begin writing a letter or note to this person about how much you appreciate them. Make it as long or short as you want, but most importantly take your time doing it.

When you are done writing consider sharing it with them, and to make the experience really vulnerable and intimate, give them a call and read it to them. If that isn’t an option, send it in an email or post it. If the person has passed, read it aloud, and consider bringing it to their burial site.

I can almost guarantee with certainty, that even though the experience may be awkward and uncomfortable at first, that afterward, you will feel true gratitude and feel happier. Because, do you want to know the cool side effect about expressing gratitude? It turns out, according to research on Positive Psychology in 2005, and a short experiment done online, that expressing gratitude increases your own happiness, almost immediately.

So pick up the phone and be vulnerable, and give that friend or family member a call, and take time this Thanksgiving to truly express gratitude.

Why are we making parenting harder?

Maybe more the expectations of parenting. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

I blame pinterest. That’s why I love pinterest fails, those are real life situations.

But let this mom share her five ways that we are making parenting harder.

09 October 2013

Want your child to eat their lunch at school?

Let them help make it. It seems that children who help make their lunches are more likely to enjoy their lunch.

I have tried this at home and observed that when my child helps or has input on what goes into the lunch box, there is more eaten items than none. So if this has been a struggle. Try letting your child help.

05 October 2013

What is Divorce? Sesame Street

Sesame Street has created a new webpage called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce” to provide children who are experiencing divorce with tools. Here is one of the video clips from the page:

27 September 2013

Bullying, Providing Support for your Child

Bullying isn’t something new, it has always been around. Instead of nasty texts when I was in school, it was notes passed around in class. However, what makes bullying in the 21st century so different, is that those notes wouldn’t follow me home, or I wouldn’t be sent new ones at home. Today, texts, messages, tweets, and posts follow where ever one goes. Our children are so connected with their friends and peers that they seem to be always communicating, even when home from school.

Now, I am not saying throw out the cell-phone, delete Facebook and Twitter accounts. It just seems that we as parents, when we hear that our child is being bullied at school, we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction. That is we go into the “rescue our child from harm” model; and we contact the school principal, the teachers, and sometimes even other parents. We want to see, and take action to protect our children or teenager from further danger.

What’s even more unfortunate is that sometimes we don’t hear about bullying until damage has been done. Typically what is happening is that we are not there when our children are ready to talk about bullying, we expect to hear about it during the scheduled after school drilling: “What did you do today?” “What did you learn today?” “Who were you with?” But often teenagers and children are still decompressing what happened at school and are not ready to talk about it.

Plus, I have often heard that teens don’t want their parents to put on the suit and cape and protect them, they want to be heard, listened to and loved. So here are some ways for parents to provide opportunities for their child to be heard, listened and loved:

  • Try to have a meal together. It has always been popular to say have dinner together, but having breakfast together as a family is better than not having any meal together.
  • Take time each day to listen to your child when they are ready to talk. If you are busy when they are ready and you can’t drop everything to listen, schedule or setup a time with them immediately afterward to chat.
  • Let your child know that you love them, in their love language. Some children like to be hugged, others told that they are loved, while others want to do things with their parents.
  • Understand their world. Don’t control their world of social media, but learn why social media is important to them so you can journey with them through the internet.
  • Be involved in the bedtime routine, in an age appropriate way. A lot of open and vulnerable conversations can happen at night.

But remember most of all; be there for your children. When they need a shoulder to cry on, be there. When they need someone to talk to, listen. When they need to yell about life, hear them. When they need to know that they are loved, let them know.

17 September 2013

Stomach Aches in Children may Lead to Anxiety in Adult Years

51% of the participants in a study who had experienced a stomach pain as a child later experienced an anxiety disorder as an adult. Also, 40% of the children who experienced stomach aches also had depression.

I bet that those children who experienced stomach pains as a child may have also been experiencing anxiety at that time, as a symptom of anxiety is stomach aches. So this may be more of a case where the anxiety disorder went undetected during childhood and adolescents and was later diagnosed as an adult.

16 September 2013

Potential Divorce Preventer: Siblings

Apparently the more siblings you have, the less likely you are to have a divorce. The study showed that people who came from homes with siblings were less likely to divorce than an only child.

I do wonder if this has merit, or if this is just another case of attacking the “only child” again. But nonetheless, it seems to be another protective barrier against an unsuccessful marriage.

13 September 2013

What does your reaction to the VMA’s say about you?

Now that it has been sometime since Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke took to the stage at the Video Music Awards, the dust seems to have settled. During the event, 10.1 million watched on TV and then took to social media, generating over 18 million tweets, the literal meaning of ‘going viral online’. Then the blog posts followed some praising, many calling out Cyrus. A couple days later, the married Thicke started getting attention. Everyone wanted in on the discussion, having Thicke or Cyrus as a tag, I am sure, helped increase traffic to their site, because there were over 12 million searches for ‘Miley Cyrus’ a week after the VMA’s. It is also interesting that Thicke and Cyrus have bookended this performance with Album releases; Thicke released his album in July and Cyrus is releasing hers in October.

Many parents are upset about the performance because their once reliable and family friendly character, Hannah Montana, has now changed. But it’s ironic that her performance did not stop people from watching, there was a 66% increase in viewership this year, the bulk of the viewership were 12-34 years olds. If parents were so appalled by this performance, why wasn’t there a drop in viewership? Why was there such a spike in the twitter-verse? How come there has been such an interest in online searches? And why have parents been using Thicke and Cyrus as examples of what not to be? Doesn’t saying don’t be like them bring attention to them anyways?

There have been and are several avenues to take with this subject, one is that we as parents need to be better monitors of our child and teens programming. We need to realize that people do change, for better or worse. Another is that by saying “don’t do this” only peaks interest in what not to do. But the avenue I wish to take comes from, I must admit, a comedian named Paul Aldrich. In one of his parody’s he does a cover of an Adam Sandler song. A line in the song goes: “I’ve made millions of dollars acting like a fool, but you’ve paid millions to watch me. What’s that say about you?”

Even despite our outrage over the performance, we still tuned in. We as a society have continued to search for the clips on YouTube and Facebook. We have gone out and searched for the ‘dear daughter, don’t be a Mily Cyrus’ or ‘dear son, don’t be a Robin Thicke’ internet letters, and then shared them. What does this say about us?

If we were truly appalled by their performance, we should have turned the TV off. We should not search them out or use them as topics. We should not support their new products. Instead, go out and find performers on YouTube that encourage the behavior’s you want to see, and are role models for your children. Go through your own music collection and see if you are contradicting yourself to your children. Check your own website history. What does what you have surfed online say about you? What do you watch and listen to say about you? Are you conveying the message to your children that you want them to see?

We need to start pointing towards examples of what to do, instead of what not to do.

01 September 2013

Tyler Haws: A Work In Progress

Current BYU star and sparingly used Team USA player, Tyler Haws, is a part of a Mormon Message about the importance of dedication to work.

28 August 2013

30 Things to do for yourself

Marc And Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Learning recently gave 30 tips to start doing for yourself, to compliment their 30 things to stop doing to yourself.

I want to highlight a couple of things to start doing for yourself today that stuck out to me:

  • Spend time with the right people
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Be genuine
  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Help those around you
  • Nurture your most important relationships

27 August 2013

Benefits of Mindfulness

I have to admit that I am new to this whole mindfulness movement. But once I read Calming Your Anxious Mind, a self-help book that teaches mindfulness theory and techniques, I was sold. Huffington Post recently published an article listing 20 benefits of mindfulness practice, I wish to list a few here.


  • lowers your perceived stress levels
  • may increase your marks at school
  • helps us to get to know ourselves
  • makes moments, such as listening to music, better
  • is a protective factor during cold season
  • lowers depression risk
  • improves sleep
  • overall, makes you a better person.

26 August 2013

Gender Stereotypes in Pornography

Research has frequently shown that 9 out of 10 males have viewed pornography at some point in their life, and about 4 out of 10 women are exposed to it. I wonder if this is actually true, and well, it all depends on how we define pornography.

For the most part pornography is interpreted as visual stimulation, images and videos, that are found in magazines and online. What constantly gets over looked is books. Books, and most notably 50 Shades of Grey, can still be "mentally pornographic" and as indicated by a recent report, it may be more abusive, or hardcore, than just sexually stimulating.

But apparently reading material that is sexually stimulating is more acceptable, especially among women. If a man was caught watching a video that was the portrayal of a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, there would be turmoil in that couple. But a woman caught reading it, all is well.

I believe this comes down to gender differences. As the saying goes, men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers. Men get stimulated by clicking through clips on a website and women get stimulated by slowly turning the pages of a book.

So when we say that 9 out of 10 males are exposed to the gender stereotyped pornography of images and videos, I wonder if we should too say 9 out of 10 females are exposed to their gender stereotyped pornography of reading.

24 August 2013

Seven Myths About Autism

The Autism Support Network recently wrote an article combating seven common myths about autism.  These myths are:

  1. Autistic people are all alike
  2. Autistic people don't have any feelings
  3. Autistic people don't build relationships
  4. Autistic people are a danger to society
  5. Autistic people are all savants
  6. Autistic people have no language skills
  7. Autistic people can't do much of anything
I agree with the author that these myths need to be blown away. For me, all of these boil down to not treating someone who is autistic as an individual person, or as a human being, period. If we would get to know someone with autism, and I mean truly get to know them, you would see they are an individual, who has feelings, who wants relationships, who can communicate and can accomplish a lot of things.

23 August 2013

Is there such thing as a ‘normal’ family?

I have been frequently told that the population I work with is only a portion of the actual world, and that the families I see are of the 10% that are experiencing mental health concerns, typically in their children, and that not all families are going through this kind of experience. And that those other families are normal. But then again what is ‘normal’?

Is a normal family the family where dad works 9-5, mom stays home and children are graceful and obedient? They eat dinner together each night and have family activities together? They are able to pay the bills and put their children in activities? Well, it turns out that the ‘normal’ family, or the ideal family for some, is actually abnormal in our society.

If we judged families by what we would consider the ideal, 96% of families would be considered dysfunctional in some sort of manner, making 4% of families living the ideal family lifestyle.

The definition of normal as a noun is something that is the average, usual, or typical. Why is it that what we consider normal in a family isn’t actually the usual family, the typical family or the average family?

Why do we strive daily for a dream that some of may not achieve, or only may attain for a period of time?

I believe that families can achieve that desired state of normalcy, but I also believe life is meant to be challenging and that it throws the occasional curve ball. We go through tough times like job loss, poor grades, unpaid bills, societal demands, health issues, jobs away from home and other events that disrupt our daily lives and routine and impact our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

I do feel the need to distinguish between trials and challenges in our life that are unpredictable, and the trials and challenges that are self-inflicted due to choices.

I also feel that families need to be less judging of themselves through their expectations, and come to love and accept who they are and what they can do. We sometimes get caught up in what we can’t do and our weaknesses that we forget to see our strengths. We especially get caught up in comparing ourselves and our family to others.

As individuals and families we have immense potential, and maybe in order to reach our potential we need to have periods in our life that build character. So let’s be proud to be part of the 96%.

And maybe those families that I see are actually normal, average, usual and typical. They are just like any other family, experiencing a challenging point in life.

Romantic Dog Owners

It's time for me to get rid of my dog. According to a survey of Canadians on Match.com showed that dog owners are more likely to have had a one night stand, 55% to be exact. However dog owners are also more romantic in the sense that they are likely to spend $40-50 on a first date, and that 77% believe in a soul mate.

21 August 2013

When does anxiety become problematic in a child’s life?

Anxiety has been the number one issue for clients I have been seeing. What has been interesting, however, is that the anxiety being reported, which they are truly experiencing, is normal experiences by the body and not abnormal or clinical.
Anxiety is the body’s natural way of preparing itself to respond to a perceived, or actual, threat or fear.  When this threat has been identified, the body is then able and ready to react in the flight, fight or freeze responses.
Children experience anxiety in many different ways. Some of the physical symptoms are: increased heart rate, nausea, shortness of breath, stomach aches, sweating, headaches, dizziness, muscle tension, insomnia, diarrhoea and restlessness to name a few. In the brain, anxiety may provide less access to memory, a decrease in verbal comprehension, and lead to poor planning abilities.

19 August 2013

Communication Basics

Psychology Today recently published a piece on communication. When you look at the communication diagram, and add that research shows 93% of communication is non-verbal coding, I can understand why there is a lot of miscommunication in our world, and especially in digital messaging.

18 August 2013

LDS Missionaries Playing Basketball

It truly looks intentional that they miss the warm up shots, but still, this is great to see.

16 August 2013

Taking the Temperature of the family

I am someone who believes in methods that Virginia Satir and John Gottman propose, in that if families cannot talk about surface topics calmly they cannot talk about deep desires and hopes.

Gottman has a questionnaire that is often found in his books or as a deck of cards, called the love map. Couples ask each other basic questions about favourite trees, food, ice cream, and moments. This is sometimes done in with a counsellor and they observe whether or not the couple can communicate at this level. If they cannot, interventions are done to get the couple to communicate on that level before going deeper. If couples can talk about surface topics, they are more likely to be able to go deeper and discuss hopes, wishes, and desires.

However, the love map, while effective, may not be family friendly. Satir developed something called a thermometer reading of the room. In which there are five levels of family communication depth which can help determine how a family is functioning. But better yet, this thermometer can be used to help families get to the core and discuss.

These levels on the thermometer are:

Appreciations or Excitements. This is a time when a family member can share what they are excited about, who or what they appreciate, or who they want to thank.

Worries, Concerns or Puzzles. Families can wonder together about certain puzzles that are occurring within their family system, or concerns that they are seeing in an individual or a trend.

Complaints and Possible Solutions. This level is tricky, as all members in a family have something to complain about. But this section is complaints and possible solutions, which can be tied to the worries, concerns or puzzles. At this level I prefer to structure the sharing with ‘I don’t like…. And I would lie to change that by…’

New Information. This is a chance for family members to share something that is new to them, a new decision, a new goal, etc.; whatever is information that will be new to the family.

Hopes and Wishes. Just start statements with ‘I wish that…’ or ‘I hope that…’ When families can get down to their core hopes and wishes, it influences what they appreciate, worry about, complain about, how they solve problems, and what they are willing to share as new information.

As families learn to take the temperature of their family unit, the better grasp they will have on how everyone is feeling and doing within the family system. I would encourage weekly or biweekly check-ins, or at least once a month to allow members of the family to share their perspective.

Hunger Lives Next Door

Visit Food Banks Canada for more information

14 August 2013

Jimmer Fredette vs Sheri Dew

Sacramento Kings player, and former BYU star Jimmer Fredette played a game of H-O-R-S-E with previous LDS Relief Society President Sheri Dew.

13 August 2013

The Battle Over Housework

A study showed that Swedish women do 66% of the housework. In Greece women do 80% and in the United Kingdom women do 70%. In Canada, according to a Stats Canada study, women do about 58% of the housework.

This takes me back to a previous post about labour division, where I pointed out the quantity of hours worked by males is higher than females. But I think this time it would be worthwhile to break it down to percentages.

Looking at 20-29 year olds of the baby-boomers, gen x, and gen y, this is the break down:

  • Baby-boomers:
    • Women did 73% of housework, 42% of paid work = 115%
    • Men did 27% of housework, 58% of paid work = 85%
  • Generation X
    • Women did 67% of housework, 43% of paid work = 110%
    • Men did 33% of housework, 57% of paid work = 90%
  • Generation Y
    • Women did 58% of housework, 43% of paid work = 101%
    • Men did 42% of housework, 57% of paid work = 99%
It is almost on par for Generation Y in terms of an equal distribution of labor. So I find the new study around housework, while an issue overseas, isn't as much of an issue here in Canada, and we should celebrate it.

12 August 2013

The Importance of infant attachment

One of the first key developmental crisis for humans is to attach to a caregiver, primarily a mother. Sometimes that secure attachment doesn't occur, and then there are toddlers, children, teenagers and even adults still seeking for that security. New research found that infants who spent one night a week (or more) away from their primary caregiver (typically a mother) were less attached and therefore have an insecure attachment.

11 August 2013

Mormon Men Perspective

LDS Living recently did a survey on mormon men, and they are currently releasing their findings.  For me, I found the first article the most fascinating where they looked at what LDS men look for in a spouse.

I was however, amazed at some of the comments, regarding physical attractiveness being so low (9 out of 15). I think I get were some women are coming from, that if they have been perceived as not-attractive by a man those other top 8 categories may not compensate for physical attraction. LDS men are not shallow, they are like any other man when it comes to courtship, however, eternity is at stake, that's why other factors rank higher, but they still need to find a spouse that is attractive to them. It's hard to propose marriage, have children with, and be together for eternity with someone you are not attracted to.  I think it would have been fun to see what LDS women would have listed as the priorities for men in a wife.

LDS Living has published five articles so far:
  1. We keep it to ourselves
  2. We don't want unrighteous dominion
  3. I can't keep my wife happy
  4. Women have more options than we do
  5. What do mormon men want in a wife?

10 August 2013

Childhood Injuries Caused by TV's

In 1990 there were 5,455 TV-related injuries. In 2011 there were 12,300 TV-related injuries. This is the result of a new study looking at TV-related injuries. I feel one just needs to consider how TV's are stored today compared to 1990. TV's in the early 90's typically sat on the floor, or on a sturdy table (atleast in my house), with all the weight resting on the table. In 2011, TV's are being mounted to walls or stands, where the point of connection is the piece between the TV and the wall. Sometimes it just takes a bump for TV's to become ajar from their mount and fall.  Better make sure if you have a little one, that the TV is stored safely!

09 August 2013

Sleep instead of Sex

There have been several articles and studies done saying that new mothers would rather sleep than be intimate. New research is indicating that sexual desire declines for both new parents. It appears that priorities change as the couple works together to care for the baby, and therefore are tired, stressed, and fatigued by days end. So sleep becomes the priority, because you never know just how much sleep you will get each night with a newborn.

08 August 2013

Changes in Young Adult living arrangements.

Living arrangements of those 18-31 have sure changed since 1968. I am not at all surprised at the slight increase in living at home, nor the "other" living arrangements. With more and more of this generation going to college and university (and the cost associated to that), it is cheaper to live at home, or to share costs of living with roommates.

07 August 2013

Write a letter to the Eating Disorder

The Kids Help Phone has released a cool page to their website where visitors can write a letter to the eating disorder.

This is what the opening page says:

This letter building tool is intended for people who identify as having an eating disorder and want to get better. The purpose is to help point out the impacts of the eating disorder on your life, and to help pull out some of your strengths and to reflect on what keeps you going.
Some questions might be hard to answer, and that's okay. It might help to have support from someone in your life, like a caring adult or a counsellor, as you go through the letter. It's okay if you only get partway through – it might take more than one sitting to complete the whole thing.

06 August 2013

Dealing with children's emotions after a divorce

The Huffington Post has a great article of how parents can help children through a family breakup. Parents can help their child by:

  1. Reassuring them that they are not to blame for the divorce
  2. Letting them know you will not leave them
  3. Reminding them that they are special
  4. Expecting unpredictable behaviour from
Just to name a few things.

03 August 2013

31 July 2013

Preference for sons

....atleast for unmarried men. In an interesting study, unmarried fathers are more likely to acknowledge paternity to sons then they are to acknowledge daughters. But this number is sight, only 4%, so it isn't exactly statistically significant in my mind.

30 July 2013

One woman's crusade against the evils of porn

Doug Robinson of Deseret News recently wrote a column about a woman's, Amy, sojourn through her husband's pornography addiction.  This is an example of the effects that pornography can have on a relationship, especially in religious couples.

29 July 2013

Joys of Marriage

Those of the LDS faith. Here is a nice info-graphic on the Joys of Marriage.  It was a nice reminder for me of the things that I can do to make my marriage joyful.

21 June 2013

The many ways to say, ‘I love you’ to a child

In the moments of frustration, exhaustion, and sheer busy-ness of life, it may be difficult to find time to show or say “I love you” to our children.
There are also parents right now who may have never had parents themselves, or didn’t have parents say or express love to them. So it can be really difficult to find the words or the ways to show love to your child, if you have never experienced it.

14 June 2013

Ways to start living in the moment

Have you noticed that a lot of movies, games and TV shows have a Zombie theme to them? From the TV show The Walking Dead to the new movie World War Z to the never-ending Zombie attacks that happen in Call of Duty or Trenches or Resident Evil.

17 May 2013

Tips for establishing an effective bedtime routine for your children

I am noticing a trend with some of the parents I am seeing in my office. A lot of them report that the day starts well with their children, but by the end of the day there is frequent arguing, pushing against limits, and they (the parents) are exhausted and want nothing more than to have their child go to sleep. It would also be fair to note that the children are exhausted by the end of day too, so their tolerance level is running low as well.

17 April 2013

16 April 2013

Heroes in the Boston Marathon

I always enjoy hearing the stories of heroes in such tragic events.

You can also go to these two news articles for more info:
The Atlantic Wire
Alabama News

07 April 2013

Allow them to be themselves

I think if we could let our children and youth frolic in the fields throughout their upbringing, we would see child and youth mental health issues decrease. I have been noticing an interesting trend amongst the children and youth I am working with. Typically a child or youth is referred to the centre I am at when there is something going awry at school, but during the breaks there are few referrals.


Read rest at:

03 April 2013

Square box, many shaped personalities

I think if we could let our children and youth frolic in the fields throughout their upbringing, we would see child and youth mental health issues decrease. I have been noticing an interesting trend amongst the children and youth I am working with. Typically a child or youth is referred to the centre I am at when there is something going array at school, but during the breaks there are few referrals.

The school system tends to be rigid where you sit at your desk for said amount of time to learn math, get recess here, sit back in the desk to read and write. And as parents and society we panic when something isn’t going right at school. However, we sometimes fail to take into account the individualism of each student, and try to stuff everyone into this box that is our education system.


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28 March 2013

Let your child have a voice that can be heard

I have now seen on one too many occasions, parents who are trying to live vicariously through their children. Here are just a couple of examples. Parents who sign up their teen in a hockey school so that they can receive the best hockey coaching in the country so that they have the best chance of making the NHL. Or other parents who have put their child into every diving competition there is, because that is what mom used to do. Living vicariously doesn’t just happen with sports, it can also happen with art, academic pursuits, fashion and so on.


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27 March 2013

Perceptions and relationship satisfaction

Mark Young, a counselling professor at Gonzaga University, did research around what makes couples “healthy” and “happy.” He found there were key themes in the healthy couples he interviewed. These themes were security, perceptions, expectations and interactions. However, there seemed to be the most emphasis on perceptions.

Ones perception of the relationship informs and influences the expectations of the relationship. The expectations of the relationship influence how one interacts in the relationship. Interactions then confirm the perception. Or the interactions may reject the perception, but couples may discount the interaction to maintain the perception. The perception needs to change when the interaction disconfirms the perception, but that is an uncomfortable process.


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20 March 2013

Teaching values over value

It’s been sometime after Hurricane Sandy. This hurricane did an estimated $50 billion worth of damage to the United States, making it the second costliest hurricane in the history of the United States. However, it was not deadliest. It is unfortunate that we measure the “cost” of a hurricane by the damage it causes to human made structures, not the loss of human life. What has been under reported about Hurricane Sandy is that approximately the same amount of lives that were lost in the United States, were also lost in the Caribbean days before the storm even hit the East Coast. Why is that?


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