30 January 2015

Bedwetting, how parents and caregivers can help a child

Before I get too into this subject, I need to apologize to my son, who I am sure at some point in his life will see this and be embarrassed that I am sharing this experience with the public.

I had a dream once that I was playing and splashing around in warm water, and then suddenly a storm came in and dumped cold rain, leaving me feeling chilled and damp. When I awoke, I was indeed damp and chilled. My four year old son had come into my room for cuddles and wet the bed.

He’s been day-time potty trained for some time now, but is still adjusting to waking up and going to the bathroom. Since he wakes up knowing something isn’t right, he comes and seeks comfort. Many times he is so sneaky coming into my room that I have no idea he is there until I awake, which sometimes is too late to avoid his bedwetting accident.

I have found though that there are preventative tips can help a child who is struggling with bed wetting.

First and foremost, do not embarrass or shame your child. The experience is uncomfortable enough with having to change pajamas and sheets, that pointing it out more with anger will just add to the discomfort. Simply acknowledge with empathy that accidents happen. If you as a child struggled with bedwetting, be brave and share.

Limit, not eliminate, fluids after dinner. Eliminating fluids is trying to avoid the problem; as with all things, avoiding the problem does not fix the problem. Limiting fluid intake is risk reduction.

Take your child to the bathroom at the beginning of their bedtime routine and at the end of it, just before hopping into bed.

When you go to bed, if you haven’t already fallen asleep putting your child to sleep, take your child to the bathroom.

If there seems to be a consistent time when your child is waking up after wetting the bed, take them to the bathroom prior to that time. For example say there is a theme of a 3 a.m. bedwetting, wake them up at 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom.

These are all preventative measures. If these problems persist with your child for a prolonged period of time, consider taking them to the doctor to rule out anything medical.

As for me in my house, it has been about two weeks since I have had a cold dump of rain alter my dreams.

29 January 2015

Top BlackBerry 10 (BB10) Apps for Counsellors and Therapists

I have been a die hard fan and a power user of BlackBerry devices for almost a decade now. I now own a Passport and love the device, especially since it is great for emails, calendars, contacts, and, of course, BBHub.

However, I have noticed that a lot of the apps (and rightfully so) focus on the business world... and I am not a traditional business person, I'm a counsellor. With that comes a different demand for the device, outside of the traditional apps. So I am compiling a list of apps that I found useful as a counsellor, therapist, mental health worker, etc. that uses a BB10 device. (Note that these apps will be found in either BlackBerry World, 1Mobile, or Amazon)

Counselling Related

  • RelaxBook Nature - plays relaxing nature sounds for a timed interval.
  • MindShift - made by AnxietyBC, this app provides information, tracking, calming tools, and mindfulness strategies.
  • 3D Brain - informative and interactive app for learning and understanding parts of the brain
  • PTSD Coach - information on PTSD, tracking symptoms, and ideas for symptom management
  • Psych Drugs - simple information on psychiatric medications; including names, dosage, side effects, and class.
  • Chatoms: Conversation Starters - great and simple way to build relationship, or to help with social skills.
  • Take a Stand Together - anti-bullying app aimed at creating safe and supportive environments.
  • Sesame Street: Divorce - designed for parents to use with their children to help explain and normalize feelings around divorce.
  • EyeMove 1 - simple eye-movement app for EMDR trained therapists.
  • Toxic Thinking - learning about unhelpful thoughts, feelings and actions related to mental health
  • iTouch iLearn Feelings - developing emotional and feelings language for pre-schoolers.
  • Know Yourself Personality Tests - all informal, but informative questionnaires.
  • Solar Explorer - exploring the solar system can help (some) put present struggles in perspective. Or it is soothing.
  • Days Lived - fun app that lets you know how many days you have lived, and time spent doing certain activities.
  • TED - TED talks are awesome and inspiring.
  • Evernote - it's my brain, everything is stored here. Workshop materials, recent research, webpages, etc. (I interchange between using the Android & Blackberry app)
  • Dropbox - all my 'working'/'in-progress' documents are here. Access to my files anywhere at anytime.
  • Workwide - allows for multi-tasking (great for Passport users) by using two windows simultaneously.
  • Tilt - after it's latest upgrade, this app provides instant information at the tilting of the device. Can see recent emails, upcoming events with having to man-handle your device.
  • RSS Savy - all your feeds, one location.
  • BB Bridge - I still rock the Playbook, so this app is great for using my phone as a slide changer.

    • 7-minute Workout - pretty easy to find seven minutes to work out.
    • Phone Abuser - track how much time you have spent actively using your device, a nice reality check
    • Countdown - counts down to certain holidays, and also custom dates like birthday's, vacation, etc.
    Webpages on Home Screen

    I use these self informative tools to help increase my clients Johari Window so that they can understand themselves better, and so I can assist them better as well.

    20 January 2015

    Happy Wife, Happy Life

    You know that saying "Happy Wife, Happy Life"? Well, it turns out it is true! A predicting factor for the longevity of a marriage is how content the wife is, regardless of the content level of the husband. The article suggests that there tends to be a greater impact on the husband when the wife is happy in the marriage, compared to if it was the other way around.

    14 January 2015

    Home Economists Respond to Health Canada Re: Proposed Nutrition and Food Labelling Regulations

    by Clarey Hodge, P.H.Ec.

    Health Canada (HC) called for public response to its proposed revisions to nutrition and food labelling regulations in July 2014. The consultation consisted of five separate documents to address each of the cornerstones of nutrition and food labelling in Canada.
    The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) convened a committee of eight Professional Home Economists with diverse areas of practice to help HC achieve its objective of improved food labelling in Canada. Evaluation included individual review, citation of published studies and sources of pertinent information, analysis of the pooled responses, identification of patterns of agreement or disagreement, group discussion, capacity for dissenting opinion, and, engagement with HC.

    The following recommendations were made on behalf of OHEA:

    Core Nutrients in the Nutrition Facts Table 
    HC proposed replacement of Vitamins A and C with Vitamin D and potassium, and, retention of iron and calcium, and separately proposed a declaration of “added sugars”, under the declaration of “total sugars”.

    OHEA supported the addition of Vitamin D and potassium and the retention of iron and calcium as required micronutrients. However, concern was expressed regarding the proposed elimination of the mandatory declaration of Vitamin C, citing cases of scurvy in some low-income neighbourhoods, and a need to remind consumers of the importance of this essential nutrient.

    HC’s rationale to remove the mandatory declaration of Vitamin A was not accepted by all OHEA committee members. OHEA recommended the mandatory declaration of the predominant top four of the following six micronutrients – Vitamins A and C, minerals calcium and iron, plus the proposed Vitamin D and potassium.

    OHEA agreed that an “added sugars” declaration could result in more nutritious food selection.  Strong concern was expressed regarding the need for accuracy and the complexity of enforcement. The OHEA Committee acknowledged the need for considerable consumer education to ensure better understanding of “total sugars”, “added sugars” and “naturally-occurring sugars”.

    Daily Values
    HC proposed a revised Daily Value (DV) for most of the essential vitamins and minerals; a revision to the DV for total fat; a first-time DV for each of trans fats and total sugars; removal of a mandatory DV for dietary fibre and removal of a DV for total carbohydrate.

    Unanimously, OHEA agreed with all proposals, except a voluntary DV for dietary fibre and removal of the DV for total carbohydrate. OHEA found the HC argument regarding the mathematical determination of the DV for dietary fibre to be lacking in consideration of the many health benefits of the nutrient. OHEA defied expert opinion that dietary fibre is not an essential nutrient and deemed that removal of a mandatory DV for dietary fibre would infer that it is not a necessary component of healthy eating.  

    While OHEA accepted a DV for total sugars, it is not prepared to do so without a mandatory DV for total carbohydrate, citing the many types of carbohydrates beneficial to human health, and, the folly of a Nutrition Facts Table (NFt) focused solely on sugars. Lastly, OHEA informed HC that % DV’s is a confusing concept for consumers, and challenged HC to consider a term which reflects desired behaviour such as “Maximize Intake (MI)” or “Daily Need” in place of DV.

    Display of Nutrition Information
    HC proposed re-grouping of the Nutrition Facts Table (NFt) information such that nutrients for which consumption should be curtailed lead under the caption “limit intake of” followed with the shortfall nutrients captioned as “consume enough of”, along with the necessary formatting and graphics to facilitate the messages. Consequently, HC proposed to move dietary fibre from the carbohydrate section and declare it with protein and the micronutrients. HC also proposed fundamental changes to the List of Ingredients, which includes minimal-sized black font on a white background, bulleted separation of ingredients, and moreover, parenthetical grouping of all sugars.   

    OHEA regarded the notion of re-grouping nutrients in the NFt, as an improvement over the current grouping by nutrient similarity. Still, OHEA expressed caution with this approach, and advised that dietary fibre be declared in the carbohydrate section. Unanimous support for the re-formatting of the List of Ingredients was expressed. OHEA took the concept of grouping sugar sources into one declaration to a stronger recommendation that would see sodium sources, and separately, fat sources grouped together. The Rationale is that all three are nutrients of public health concern. Readers of a food label cover a diverse set of dietary needs, and moreover, consumers would be better informed when an ingredient is identified as source of sugar, fat or sodium.

    Reference Amounts
    Reference Amounts are pre-determined portions of foods which are currently used to verify certain health claims. HC proposed not only a longer list of Reference Amounts, but also that these be determined by consumption data and used to standardize serving sizes of food in NFts.

    The OHEA Committee expressed the propensity for large Reference Amounts to serve as a tacit endorsement of larger serving sizes, resulting in over-consumption-related health issues. In response, OHEA identified Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) serving sizes as a scientifically-validated reference point and valuable nutrition education tool in Canada. Lastly, OHEA encouraged HC to develop ways of determining Reference Amounts, other than the often-unreliable consumption data.

    Serving Sizes
    HC intends to standardize serving sizes in the NFt through the application of Reference Amounts (consumption data), and to that end, proposed three separate guidelines to assist the food industry in doing so. 

    While OHEA wholeheartedly agrees with the need for standardized serving sizes, Professional Home Economists could not accept that the public will be better served through this approach. Instead, OHEA recommended incorporation of CFG’s serving sizes as a consistent point of reference, and in the absence of a CFG counterpart − the Reference Amount.

    Dual format NFts were also recommended, consisting of a CFG serving size and the manufacturer’s serving size, allowing consumers to more easily compare similar foods. Lastly, if the incorporation of a CFG serving size into the NFt is not acceptable to HC, OHEA recommended a footnote disclaimer to the effect of “this portion size does not reflect a Canada’s Food Guide serving size” and inclusion of the CFG website.

    A common thread throughout OHEA’s response to each of Health Canada’s consultation documents was citation of the current role played by OHEA at large, and by individual members, in educating the public about improved dietary selection through improved food literacy, including how to read a food label. 
    The final revised legislation governing food labelling in Canada will have a profound impact on new packaging for industry, new food labels for consumers and new education programs for communities – all with the intent to enable consumers to make more informed and healthful dietary choices.

    OHEA looks forward to future collaboration with HC in the design and implementation of food labelling and nutrition education programs to optimize mutual objectives of both organizations.


    Clarey Hodge, P.H.Ec., is a Professional Home Economist and member of the Ontario Home Economics Association.

    Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA), a self-regulated body of Professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.

    12 January 2015

    Listening to your own and your partners gut feeling

    During the holiday break my wife dragged me back to Winnipeg to visit her family. On our trip we passed Elie, a small town outside Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada. In 2007 the town was rocked by a tornado. I'll never forget that night, not because I was there, but because of what happened that night to me when we lived in Winnipeg.

    Not aware of the swirling cloud just west of us, my then pregnant wife was afraid that our lawn chairs would take off in the wind. Of course I was not willing to argue with a pregnant woman, so I complied and went outside and braved the thunderstorm. I tried my best to gather the chairs, until I heard not a thunder clapping sound but a crunching sound. Spooked I ran back inside and confessed to my wife that I got scared and didn't feel safe getting the chairs and hoped that she valued my life more than the chairs, and she did.

    The next morning we awoke to find the neighbours tree had fallen into our backyard and was smothering the lawn chairs that I was asked to retrieve. I learned two things, if not more, from this experience.

    First is to trust your own instinct. Whether you call it your gut, Jiminy Cricket, heavenly promptings, or inner voice, trust it and listen to it. I have learned that if you don't listen to it there is a backlog and you won't hear from it. Like a physical muscle you need to use it or it will weaken.

    Second is to trust your spouses instinct. If they mention discomfort or fear, listen to them. For example, recently my wife felt like our daughter shouldn't attend an extra curricular function. I agreed to follow her instinct. Of course nothing extraordinary happened; there was no fire, peanuts were not served, and there was no storm. Neither did anything happen at home. Of course we will never know if anything would have happened, nor should I chastise my wife for expressing fear over something that didn't happen.

    If you haven't been listening to your inner voice, start to. If you haven't been listening to your partners voice, start small. It's different to follow your own gut feeling to that of someone else's.

    What if your gut feelings disagree, discuss it. Understand each others history and context, and try to understand the feelings from your partners perspective. See if doing such a thing will help you become one in your relationship.

    As you start to listen to your own and each others you'll be surprised how it will impact each others relationship.
    And who knows, if I didn't trust my gut feeling that night and my wife didn't respect it, that could have been me buried and smothered by my neighbours tree.

    One woman’s story of life with Alzheimer’s

    My mom was on Global Regina sharing her story, you can read the article here.

    08 January 2015

    Are they bullying or is it just being mean?

    I really enjoyed this article by Ellen Kennedy-Moore about differentiating between whether your child is being bullied, or whether it is just being mean. We are so quick nowadays to use the bullying label, that we need to understand that being mean and being a bully are two different things.

    I also recommend taking the questionnaire at the end with your teenagers so they can gauge how they are to their peers.

    06 January 2015

    Have a student with behaviour issues? Try the 2x10

    For ten days, spend 2 minutes of uninterrupted time with the student of concern. The experiences thus far by some teachers have been intriguingly positive.