Mind Matters: Parenting, caregiving, and creativity

Okay, there are a pile of books stacked at my desk that are begging to be reviewed so here goes: some summaries of hefty reality beach reading to sneak in between the light escape mystery and romance novels.

Let’s start with parenting, with a new book, “Brain-Based Parenting” by Daniel A. Hughes and Jonathan Baylin. This is not a parenting text in the traditional sense, but one in which the authors want parents to deepen their connections with their children by understanding how parental neurobiology (brain) affects the child’s neurobiology and behaviors. We are shown here how loving care and responsiveness to our children is dependent on ongoing processes in our brains that we can learn to regulate. From this brain-based perspective, we discover why and how to be emotionally responsive to our children’s needs.

We can learn to comfort children when they are stressed, rather than escalating their stress with our own. And we can learn, say the authors, when to allow children to be challenged and face struggles so that they develop their own resilience. Most importantly, we learn how important is the regulation of our own emotions, so that we manage our stress to remain “the adult in the room.”

Leaning Into Sharp Points: practical guidance and nurturing support for caregivers” by Stan Goldberg is also, in a way, about being “the adult in the room.” Often, after our parents have raised us, we become the caretakers of our parents: the ultimate role reversal. Of course, our caregiving may be also for another family member or spouse or friend. This book can help caregivers lean into the “sharp points” of life. That is, rather than avoiding what we most fear—aging, illness, dying—we need to move closer to them. This book gives both practical information (about paratransit services, meals, etc.) as well as emotional guidance.

So, from parenting and caregiving, we move to creativity with “Creating Time” by Marney K. Makridakis. Now this book might actually replace an escape beach read because it is a fun and interactive exploration of time management. Makridakis invites us to use “creativity to re-invent the clock and reclaim your life.” She combines science with art assignments that can break old patterns of negative relationship with time—or lack thereof. This book is an invitation to the reader to take on adventure—a mystery tour of time.

Maybe with this book, time at the beach will seem less fleeting.

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or 610-388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com.

 

About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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