The Best Way to Reduce Stress: Start Young - By Zach Brull
Would we, as adults, be so reliant on drugs and anti-depressants to get
us through the day if we had learned how to effectively cope with stress when we
were kids? Dr. Nadeane McCaffrey, PhD believes that the dependence on anti-depressants
exhibited by many adults has a lot to do with the lack of life skill training they
received as children.
?Most people never learned practical coping skills for reducing the anxiety caused
by their daily stressors.? says Dr. McCaffrey, ?As a result they turn to outside
sources for relief. What they don?t know is that with the right techniques, a person
can look inward to simply, naturally, and effectively reduce and cope with stress
on a daily basis.?
Dr. McCaffrey, a Sports Psychologist for the past 15 years, has co-developed
a program that aims to teach these natural coping skills to children. The idea,
of course, is to show kids how to use their minds and bodies as natural stress fighters,
and reinforce these skills so the children will carry them into their adult years.
Aptly titled the Feeling Great Life Skills Program, any child or teen between the
ages of 5 and 16 can benefit. The program lasts 90 days and uses both an Instruction
and Activity book, plus two CDs filled with exercises and games to get the message
across. A parent, teacher or healthcare worker acts as an instructor, guiding the
child through the program. However, kids in their teenage years may opt to participate
in the program by themselves.
The program?s development goes back nearly 20 years. At that time, Dr. McCaffrey?s
only daughter, Danielle, was undergoing treatment for Leukemia (ALL), and the daily
stress her daughter endured as a result of the treatments was agonizing. Tragically,
Danielle succumbed to her fight with Cancer, but Dr. McCaffrey did not forget about
her daughter?s fight, and felt that other children would benefit if they learned
techniques to help them cope with the inherent anxiety of treatment. Drawing on
her experience as a Sports Psychologist, Dr. McCaffrey co-developed the Program,
employing the techniques of the best of the best in sport, medicine, the arts, and
aerospace. She felt that if children could develop a more positive mind-set and
find a constructive way to cope with the necessary treatments, they would ultimately
heal better and more quickly, and would ultimately suffer less from the treatments.
Over time, Dr. McCaffrey recognized that the techniques her program taught were
inherently universal, and could be used by children from all walks of life, not
just oncology patients. From there, the program was adjusted to incorporate exercises
that emphasized goal setting and greater visualization skills geared towards achievement,
while maintaining the original goal of helping children deal effectively with their
daily stressors, thus decreasing the amount of anxiety they felt. The result was
the current Feeling Great Life Skills Program.
The Feeling Great Life Skills Program was tested on over 3000 kids in the Ottawa
(Canada) Elementary School system in the mid 1990?s, and the results were fantastic.
The students, as well as the teachers, found the program helped them relax. Moreover,
the children had fun with the activities and exercises, and this encouraged them
to practice the techniques the program demonstrated. Through their feedback, Dr.
McCaffrey discovered that the program helped many of the children feel better and
reduced their worries and overall stress levels. Best of all, the teachers found
that the program had a wonderful ?settling? effect on the children and improved
their ability to focus on their school work and calm themselves when presented with
a stressful situation, such as tests, presentations, performances, and competitions.
The Feeling Great Life Skills Program is currently available on the web at www.EmpowerKidsToExcel.com.
The site provides plenty of information about the program as well as the years of
study and research that went into it. It is Dr. McCaffrey?s hope that as many children
as possible will get the chance to experience the program, so they may learn skills
that will help them in their childhood and adult years for improving their Quality
Dr. Nadeane McCaffrey was born
in Cobar, Australia in 1953 and ?attended? School of the Air (radio) while living
on a large sheep station (250,000 acres) in the Outback of New South Wales. In 1961,
her father, a World War II veteran, was allocated a farm outside the town of Esperance,
in Western Australia. Nadeane completed her primary schooling there before going
to boarding school in Perth to finish her secondary education.
Nadeane?s university degrees include a BPHE (Hons) from Laurentian University
in Sudbury, Canada, a Master of Science (Sport Psychology) from Ottawa University,
Ottawa, Canada, and a PhD (Education) from the University of Western Australia,
Perth, Australia. Her doctoral thesis research was based on the development and
evaluation of a Stress Control Life Skills program for children with cancer. The
results confirmed the program?s success in reducing oncology childrens? daily stressors,
and verifed that adherents were empowered to enjoy an enhanced quality of life.
Nadeane?s doctoral thesis also received the Honour of Distinction, making her only
the third University of Western Australia graduate in the last 75 years from the
Faculty of Education to receive such an award.
Since the mid 1980?s Dr. McCaffrey has consulted with athletes from Canada, the
United States, and Australia. On several occasions she has worked with the Canadian
Military then stationed in Lahrs, Germany, assisting with their mental training
skills for Boeslager and CAT competitions. She has lectured at the University of
Ottawa, teaching a course in Sport Psychology. From 1992-1998 she founded and directed
children?s camps in Ottawa, which focused on building confidence, and teaching life
skills and mental training to approximately 400 youngsters each summer. The three
different camps, Free to be Me, Future Pro (Golf skills), and Feeling Great, all
proved to be highly successful in teaching children how to be ?The Best You Can
Be?. During this same time period, Nadeane was the research coordinator for a large
educational Stress Control Program involving over 3,000 students from various schools
under the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Board of Education.
Following the death of Danielle, her only child, to cancer in 1985, Nadeane dedicated
her studies and work towards helping oncology children and their parents to better
cope with their daily stressors. She has conducted countless workshops for children,
teachers, parents, and hospital professionals, introducing them to the Stress Control
Program, and to the techniques employed to achieve an improved quality of life.
Dr. McCaffrey is the co-author of the Feeling Great Lifeskills Program Guidebook
and Logbook, and the Feeling Great CDs. She has recently developed a teen/adolescent
version, which has been incorporated into the Feeling Great Lifeskills Program,
which is similarly geared to helping individuals reach their Human Potential, to
Enjoy Life to the Fullest, and to be ?The Best they can Be?. Nadeane and her Canadian
husband presently divide their time between Ottawa and Perth.
Developing a Successful Joint Custody Arrangement - By Reena Sommer, Ph.D.
You`ve finally got your divorce decree and you feel you can now breathe
a big sigh of relief. You may even be thinking, "no more divorce attorneys, no more
divorce negotiations and no more custody battles!! - I can finally get on with my
life without my ex."
For the most part, you are right - your professional relationship with your divorce
attorney is over, and you are now in a better position to make decisions about your
future. However, here is the rub! As a parent in a joint custody arrangement, your
relationship with your ex-spouse will continue as long as your children are part
of both of your lives.This reality check often comes as a huge shock to parents
who are newly divorced. After all, the reason they chose to end their marriage was
because they didn`t get along and wanted to get away from each other. What now!
Well, there is life after divorce, even for a joint custodial parent. The challenge
for couples is to redefine their relationships and to develop cooperative co-parenting
plans based on their shared concerns for their children.
In redefining a relationship, former spouses need to make some important shifts
in thinking and feeling. An area of difficulty for many couples is making the shift
from being emotionally married to being emotionally divorced; moving from a relationship
based on intimacy to one that is more businesslike in nature.
The major problems lie in the area of personal boundaries. People make the mistake
of feeling that they still have the same call on each other as they did while married.
For example, an ex wife may feel she is still entitled to know with whom her ex
husband spends his time or how he spends his money. Likewise, an ex husband may
feel he can still comment on how his ex wife parks the car or wears her hair. Once
divorced, these issues should be of no concern to either ex partner. In essence,
they are simply "none of each other`s business". When couples are able to make this
shift in thinking and feeling, the old buttons that could be pushed, no longer
work.. The emotional divorce is then complete.
In developing an effective and cooperative co-parenting plan, the following should
* Each parent must recognize the other parent as being competent to care for
the children and to have their best interests in mind
* Each parent must be willing to give the other parent full authority to care
for the children while they are in his/her care
* Each parent must recognize that any criticism of the other parent made in the
presence of the children is destructive and detrimental to their well-being
* Each parent must be willing and able to put their personal feelings aside when
communicating with the other regarding the children
* Each parent must put their children`s need for love, safety and security above
their own needs.
When people are able to meet these challenges, they will experience the following
benefits of being a joint custodial parent:
* Having the peace of mind that their children are being cared for by someone
who loves them and will place their interests above all
* Having the time to devote to one`s own personal interests without being concerned
about the well-being of the children
* Knowing that there is someone to share problems and concerns that may arise
regarding the children
A joint custody arrangement can transform a once flawed marital relationship
into a productive parenting effort where neither person feels that he or she is
a "single" parent.
Copyright Reena Sommer 2000
Dr. Reena Sommer is an internationally
recognized divorce consultant and author. She was featured on CTV National News
and was recently a consultant to the Rick Sanchez Show in South Florida.
Children articles index
- Brains on Fire: The Multimodality of Gifted Thinkers - By Brock Eide
- laying Baby Computer Games ? The New Parent-Child Tradition? - By Emma
- Book Excerpt: Einstein Never Used Flash Cards - By Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph
- Putting Fun Into Parenting - By David Stoepker, Psy.D., & Erin Brown Con
- Preparing Your Child for a High-Tech Future - By Sue Sato
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Predominantly Inattentive
- Abandonment - By Sonya Green
- Explaining Suicide to Children - by Tracy Pierson
- Our Children`s Needs - by Robert Elias Najemy
- How to Develop Self-Esteem in Children - By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.
- Helping Children Overcome Stress and Fear - By Debbie Milam
- Do you Shout at YOUR children? - By James Middleton
- Book Excerpt: Helping Children with Autism Learn - By Bryna Siegel,
- SPEED SPELLING: Another way to use speed reading skills for "schoolwork&q
- Children and Stress - By Laura Silva Quesada
- Boundaries- Why Are They Needed? - by Derek Randel & Gail Randel M.D.
- Juggling Home
- Explaining World tragedy to Children - By Chick Moorman and Thomas Ha
- Children and Pessimism - By Carol Tuttle
- Loving Yourself, Loving Your Children - By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
- Social Manners for Children - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
- The Sexual Abuse of Children - By J. Bailey Molineux
- A Few Simple Truths About ADHD and Stimulant Drugs - By Steve Edelman1,
- DYSLEXICS and A.D.D. KIDS BECOME GIFTED SPEED READERS - by George Stanc
- Using Feng Shui for Better Behaved Children - By Kathryn Weber
- Book Excerpt: Helping Children with Autism Learn - By Bryna Siegel,
- Five Keys to Raising Nonviolent Children - By Tammy Cox, LMSW
- The Best Way to Reduce Stress: Start Young - By Zach Brull
- Your Child?s Self-Esteem is in The Cards - By Susan Howson
- Calming Tips for Hyperactive Children - By Jeannine Virtue
- What is ADHD? - By Jeannine Virtue
- Talking to Your Children About Sex - By Jan Andersen
- How Our Children Really Learn And Why They Need To Play More And Memo
- HOW DO WE PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM PREDATORS? - By Linda J Alexander,
- Teach Children Positive Self-Image Through Fitness - By Lynn Bode
- No Invitation Needed -- Part 3 of 3 Sacred Children Series - By Skye T
- Helping Our Children Feel Good About Themselves - By Dr.Barbara Becker Hol
- Unidentified Stepfamily Zones - Discoveries Made at a Stepfamily Confer
- Divorce and Children: Things To Consider When You`re Staying Married
- Six facts you should know to empower your teaching. - By Emmanuel
- Are You in an Abusive Situation? - by Colin Gabriel Hatcher & Randall
- The Divorce Revolution Has Failed - By J. Bailey Molineux
- Is Your Child Well-Mannered? - By Mary Jesse
- Jesus` Birthday -- Part 2 of 3 Sacred Children Series - By Skye T
- Empty Nesters: What Should You Do Once the Children Leave? - By Mary Guar
- We should celebrate the diversity of children and adults - By Robyn M
- How to Cope with Back to School Stress - By Debbie Mandel
- HIS KIDS: BECOMING A W.O.W. STEPMOTHER - by Julie Donner Andersen
- ADD / ADHD Children : Being Your Child`s Best Friend - By Kate Hufst