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An Ode To My Cellphone: How Can I Miss You If You Were Never Really Gone

By Diana Garber JD, LCSW

Cellphones!! Is it always glued to your hand? Whether you are scrolling, texting or tweeting, when you are on your phone,  you are not engaging with other people.  This month, my blog post is about the struggle I personally faced regarding leaving my phone out-of-sight. When I am at home with my family, I want to be present and yet my “to-do list” keeps my phone in my hand.  The people in my life deserve more.

Although this article focuses on the impact my phone has on my young baby, so many people face their issue.  Teenagers texting at the dinner table, friends out to dinner with their phone with their phone by their fork or couples who rarely look up during date nights— these are all examples of times people ignore the person across from them for virtual connections of others.  This blog posts talks about the importance of face-to-face interactions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Silence the “Shoulds”

By Diana Garber JD, LCSW

 

So many of my clients are pulled by obligations and “shoulds” in their lives.  Many report that they often feel eclipsed by expectations and never get to focus on what they want or their own needs.  In my recent article for the San Francisco Mom’s Blog, I talk about this conflict and give a few ideas on how to notice the “shoulds” and re-prioritize your to-do list.

 http://sanfrancisco.citymomsblog.com/mom/taking-care-of-others-starts-with-taking-care-of-ourselves/

Taking Time for Yourself

By Diana Garber JD, MSW

 

Taking time for yourself is often the hardest thing to do.  Often work, family and social obligations take top billing, leaving very little left for “me” time.  Although my blog post was written for a mother’s blog, this is an area that many of my clients struggle with and often falls off their radar.  Taking time for yourself and decompressing can have many physical and psychological benefits.  My latest post provides suggestions on how to build “me” time into your schedule.

 

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How to Fight: What Productive Disagreements Can Teach Your Child

By Diana Garber

This month I was quoted in an article on Parent.co written by Rebecca Perez Lang.  The article talks about what happens when children witness their parents arguing.  I provide information about what happens when children are exposed to disagreements between their parents where there is a “rupture” and “repair” in the argument and what that could teach young kids.   I also talk about what arguments could feel unsafe for children.

You can check out the article here:

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The Other Side of the Holidays: How December can be the Loneliest Month.

By Diana Garber

I recently wrote about how many people feel lonely during the holiday season due to over commitments and being separated from their family.  In this post, the discuss unwanted feelings that can creep up as the year ends.  I also discuss ways to manage feeling irritable and down as well as discuss ways to feel more connected to others.

You can read the blog post here: http://sanfrancisco.citymomsblog.com/mom/the-other-side-of-the-holidays/

 

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Election Depression Is Real: How to deal with your feelings and talk to your kids

By Diana Garber, JD MSWdepression following 2016 election results

 

This article was going to be about sibling rivalry.  Last week, I sketched out my thoughts and multiple times, I sat down at a blank screen trying to write the words.  It didn’t happen.  Frankly, I just wasn’t there emotionally.  And, I can imagine that many of you feel the same way.

I know many are dealing with intense feelings, struggling to manage them while also being a parent.  I know many parents are wrestling with what to say to their children.  Here are my thoughts on how to do both:

  1. Your emotions are real. Many of my clients this week have shared feelings of loss akin to losing a loved one or being laid off.  Many have felt unheard, despondent and helpless.  Living in San Francisco, I have noticed these pervasive feelings among neighbors, colleagues and family.  Try to acknowledge these feelings.  Many people are afraid that when they admit a feeling, it will intensify it.  The opposite is actually true.  Giving words to your emotions can lead to a sense of relief because you aren’t ignoring that gnawing feeling and pushing sadness away.
  1. Laundry can wait. Many people who experience intense feelings try to jump right back into routine and push the feelings aside.  It is ok to have a quiet weekend–or two.  Grief and depression are a little like a hole in a dam.  If you acknowledge that the feelings are there and deal with the problem, the dam will be just as strong as before.  However, if you ignore the hole, at times, a crack or another hole can form, creating a bigger problem down the road.I know many feel that there is a lot to “do.”  Feeling your emotions and even slowing down your pace for a few days is not contrary to that.  I believe acknowledging feelings allows many to be more connected and eventually make more thoughtful and productive decisions.  So when you do act, it’s thought out and not reactive.
  1. Don’t neglect all aspects of your life. Many people struggle with acknowledging negative feelings because they are afraid those feelings will overtake them.  Remember, feeling a certain way is not being a certain way.  Most of the time, acknowledging and leaning into negative feelings for a short while will allow you to re-calibrate to your normal state more quickly.If you notice that you are neglecting your daily life for an extended period and continually feel overwhelmed, please reach out for additional support from friends, family or mental health professionals.
  1. Seek out small things that bring you happiness. This weekend my husband and I are pouring hot apple cider into giant mugs and carving pumpkins with our neighbors.  We knew that while we did not want to take on too much this weekend, we needed some event to let go of the heaviness of the week, if just for an hour or so.
  1. Focus on family and friends. Seek out people who you feel understand you, who can validate your feelings.  We generally feel stronger when we connect with others.  Spend quiet and quality time with the important people in your life.  The upcoming holidays can be a perfect time to recharge.

Understanding and processing personal emotions can allow parents to clearly express themselves to their children.  Here are some points to consider during those conversations:

  1. Explain your feelings to your children. Children from a young age are very perceptive.  They hear snippets of conversation whether it be from the news, other kids or adults.  Most importantly, children are attuned to their parents’ emotional states and can sense feelings of sadness or uncertainty.For that reason, it is important to acknowledge your feelings to your children.  Tell them a little of why you are having this reaction.  Acknowledging that you are having an emotional time teaches children that emotions are real, it is ok for you, and ergo them to have such reactions.
  1. Remind your children that they are safe.  Remind them that our basic liberties are secure.  Remind them that your job as a parent is to protect them.
  1. This can be a great opportunity to talk about your family values.  Many children, especially school age, have some awareness that the country has chosen a person who has said negative things about certain people or groups.  Their confusion is totally understandable.  Talk to them about what you believe in.  Reiterate that these core values haven’t changed.
  2. After the hard conversations, lighten the mood.  Take your children to the park, on a hike, out for ice cream.  Try to help them put this week’s events in context, especially after talking to them about safety and values.

And next month, I’ll share my thoughts on sibling rivalry.

 

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A Difference of Opinion: Supporting Individuation

p_iStock_000005553829By Diana Garber, JD, MSW

This month, I wrote about individuation of toddlers and teenagers for the San Francisco Mom’s Blog.  This theory was first developed by Margaret Mahler and called Object Relations theory of Separation-Individuation. Individuation is the process of becoming aware of oneself.  While individuation occurs throughout most of childhood, it is most noticeable with toddlers and teenagers.  Both stages highlight children thinking for themselves, focusing on what they want and at times, rejecting their parent’s wishes.

For a parent, as much as you want to see your child blossom into her own person, new parenting obstacles arise.  Check out my blog post below to learn about things to keep in mind:

 

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Walk, Talk and Feel: How to Promote Emotional Development in Toddlers

By Diana Garber JD, MSW

My recent blog post for San Francisco Mom’s Blog talks about how important emotional growth is for toddlers. However, emotional development often gets overlooked as children learn physical and verbal skills.  It is easy for parents to overlook how important it is for toddlers to try to solve and manage problems are important as children gain independence.  Learning how to regulate emotions and develop a sense of self starts at a young age.  My article talks about how parents can promote emotionally skills along with more traditional toddler growth.

Promoting Emotional Development in Toddlers

 

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No Body is Perfect

teenage body image

 

By Diana Garber JD, MSW

Back-to-School shopping can exacerbate negative teenage body image especially in adolescent girls.  Many parents find it hard to support their daughters during this stage without being shut out.  Check out my post at San Francisco Mom’s blog to discover ways to promote healthy body image during these critical years.

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Millenials are not the Naughts

Millenials are not the Naughts

Written By: Diana Garber, JD, MSW
Millennials face real struggles when starting their career or when they find they are not on the right professional path as recently reported in the New York Times.  In my private practice, I often work with 20-somethings and 30-somethings that feel “stuck” but are unsure of their next move.  In our work together, we often uncover that strong environmental pressures –family, peer group and financial stressors—make it hard for people to discover what they want, what they love and what works for them.

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