A Few of My Favorite Things
by Christy Byrne Yates
I've accumulated a lot of information over the years working in various fields. Plus, I read a lot! Thus, my emphasis is on learning. The internet is fantastic, and I go to search engines quite often to get started. Although going deeper by looking into research, taking classes, attending seminars and lectures, is a great way to sort through the trendy bits - the sound bites - and develop useful and applicable knowledge. Here are some of my favorite books, websites, topics and passions right now.
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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping
(Shameless Promotion Alert!) There are a lot of folks out there who provide EFT. One of my favorites, if of course, my husband, Brad Yates. (www.TapWithBrad.com). With over 700 free videos online, Brad combines his skills in EFT and Hypnosis with compassion, authenticity and a fantastic sense of humor. Check it out!
Peta Stapleton. PhD. is the leading researcher in EFT. She is conducting cutting edge research into the effectiveness of Tapping. Her book, "The Science Behind Tapping: A Proven Stress Management Technique for the Mind and Body" explores the evolution of EFT and the growing body of clinical studies supporting its use.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindful.org is a great place to start. This site has a lot of resources and information. There is a ton of information out there, and some of it looks pretty heavy and intimidating, but this site is very user friendly. There is also great resources for meditation here, as well. https://www.mindful.org/
As an educator, I REALLY like Mindful Schools! I have taken some of these courses and know many other educators who have as well. Very good site! https://www.mindfulschools.org/
I have been journalling for a very long time. it has looked different in various stages of my life, but always been a benefit to peace of mind. I write every morning for a minimum of 5 minutes and it is the last thing I do before I go to bed. Every morning. Every night. At one point in my life, journaling was a very spiritual practice and I wrote letters to God as my form of prayer. At times journaling has been a "Dear Diary" sort of recording of events. However I have used the practice, it has been a way to get thoughts and ideas out of my head, a means of sorting through events, a method of finding clarity. There really isn't a "wrong" way to journal, and I love that! I like pen and paper, but for those with physical challenges with pen and paper, a voice recorded journal can serve the same purpose. Drawing is also a great way to get out of your head and find clarity. Check out some of these articles on journaling:
One of my favorite authors and researchers is Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. He has brought the very complicated science of neurobiology and neuroscience into the mainstream with books that are heady but surprisingly accessible. If you haven't grabbed it yet, check out Mindsight as a book or on Audible.
I have been a personal development junkie since before it was called personal development! I really do love this work, and there are many who are putting forth really great wisdom and content. I appreciate those who put forth positive energy, science backed messages and who are not putting down others and are seeking to empower. Here are some of my favorites:
Brené Brown https://brenebrown.com/
Brendon Burchard - he brings it all together with a science backed, holistic approach, plus he was a one-time Resident Advisor and as a long time "Residential Lifer", I am a fan! https://brendon.com/
Jen Sincero - she is a hoot!! https://jensincero.com/
Tim Ferris - I love his blog! https://tim.blog/
There is so much to say in the area of Education. I have some favorite folks I enjoy and some sites I read often. But what is most important to me at this time is how are we creating environments in our public schools that are safe, equitable and supportive of all children.
Trauma Informed Care is gaining some traction in education at this point, but the foothold is slight. Trauma is something we do not always know about, but we see the signs and are learning more about its very detrimental effects. I highly recommend the work of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris at the Center for Youth Wellness.
In terms of school "discipline" - we need to do much better. Suspensions and expulsions do not change behavior. And, "NO" - I don't believe the answer is to just let kids do what they want and interfere with the learning of others. We need systems in place in our schools and frameworks for thinking through developing positive environments for all students. It is my experience that schools that weave both positive behavior systems with restorative practices will better support the whole educational environment from students, to parents to teachers and other staff. Here are a few sites that address Restorative Practices, Nonviolent Communication, Positive Behavior systems.
The PEW Research Center estimated in 2013 that 47% of Americans had children living in their home - even adult children - and also had a parent over the age of 65 and in need of some kind of support. The Baby Boomer generation was one of the largest in recent history. You don't get a name like Baby Boomer for no good reason! And the Millennial Generation (roughly those born in the 1980's - early 2000's) are equally as populous. So many of us are caught in the middle.
The National Caregivers Alliance also provides a great deal of information and resources. This website is not specifically for Sandwich Generation parents, but it definitely addresses many of the concerns of people caring for aging parents or others with special needs.
Family and Parenting
There are as many parenting education programs and websites out there as there are parents and children. And no wonder - our children are not born with directions!! Honestly, one the most important duties of society is raising the next generation, and there are no specific instructions. We can download handbooks on how to grow tomatoes, but the difference in opinion on how to raise children is exponential. I don't have a parent program to promote, but will say, I appreciate those that encourage love and support along with healthy, appropriate and loving boundaries. As a school psychologist, I have often encountered parents who are, in effect, being raised by their children. Part of growing up is learning and moving from a place of absolute dependency to independence. A young child's awareness is much different from a toddler's and a teen's or a young adult's, so it stands to reason that as parents, we need to adjust our parenting accordingly.
I also know that there has not been a parenting handbook or program that I feel is always spot on. I've read lot of them and not one has been perfect. It is important to trust our instincts about our own children. It is also important to forgive ourselves when we figure out we could have done this or that better, and to be less critical of other parents.
Certainly when we see abuse, we need to address it, but I know it is all too easy to just think that parent is just "wrong" when we see what we think of as bad behavior.
We never know why a parent might act in a certain way, or why a child might act in a certain way. So let's be gentle out there!
There is value in exploring programs and reaching out for support. But you may find you can take some of one and some of another. Trust your love for your child. But also know, you must be willing to "play the long game" in parenting.
Julie Lythcott Haims - I love this woman's work. I had the pleasure of attending one of her speaking engagements and was hooked.
Love and Logic - I was a Love and Logic Parent trainer and really liked the balance of support and boundaries and allowing life to be the teacher. This program is not for everyone, but it might be for you.
Dr. Jane Nelsen's work is also very good.
One more resource that is important, is being aware of media consumption. Common Sense Media is an excellent first stop in finding appropriate devices, videos, games, apps and even books based on age and needs.