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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Depression Is Not Just in Your Head!

posted by Linda Mintle

Could it be that depression is an obvious symptom of deeper problems within the physical body?

Researchers are asking this question as they look at stress and depression in new ways.

Long-term depression, it appears, changes chromosomes the same way that aging does! So researchers are study the cellular changes of people who have suffered long-term depression.

This look at cellular changes is important because long-term depression seems to bring on more serious forms of physical illness that are often seen in older people (e.g., dementia, stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc). The phenomena is known as “accelerated aging” and is now being studied at Duke University, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and other academic institutions.

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The idea is that as we age, the end of our chromosomes (called “telomeres”) shrink. Research suggests that depression also shrinks this part of the chromosome. In other words, depression makes the cells age prematurely, putting people at risk for diseases usually associated with aging.

Important questions are: 1) How much of a person’s life experience versus genetics is involved in age-related diseases? 2) Can the physical impact of depression be reversed? 3) Why do some people do worse than others when it comes to physical problems and depression? 4) Are there factors that protect certain people?

One study at UCSF found the personality trait of pessimism related to changes at the cellular level.

Now before you become more stressed thinking about the damage you could be doing to your physical body if you are depressed, researchers believe it takes years for these physical changes to occur.

So get help now in order to prevent more physical problems later. And be optimistic, depression is treatable!

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Is It Normal for Children to Lie?

posted by Linda Mintle

I write for a parenting magazine and this is a question I frequently get asked, “Is it normal for children to lie?”

While the answer is YES, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to lie. It is not, and parents have to deal with this behavior.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath,  a troublemaker in the family.

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Children begin to lie around the age of two. The reasons they lie vary with developmental age. For example, two to three-year-olds often lie to avoid getting in trouble. Four to seven-year-olds usually lie to avoid punishment or hurting others. Teens can lie to keep their parents from really know what is going on in their lives. Other reasons for lying include not feeling safe and wanting special attention.

Interestingly, when researchers at the University of Virginia studied lying in adults, they noted that most adults lie once a day. So the message from parents can be that you do not always have to be truthful. Therefore, make sure you are not setting an example of lying yourself.

Researchers also tell us that harsh punishment for lying doesn’t work well with children. A better approach is to address the lying, give the child a chance to come clean and then give a consequence. Basically, you want to create an atmosphere in your home where truth is valued. So next time that adorable little child looks at you and tells you a lie say, “We all do things we shouldn’t at times, but it is not OK to lie about them. I need the truth now.  Here is a chance to tell the truth. And the consequence will be lighter if you come clean.“

Parents we have to lead by example in this area and then teach our children that lying is wrong.

If lying becomes a persistent pattern, it can indicate other problems such as conduct disorders and should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

 

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Fatal Attraction: Death by Adultery!

posted by Linda Mintle

Jared secretly meets his girlfriend at a local hotel room over his lunch break. Jared’s wife has no idea that this torrid affair has been going on now for a few months. The girlfriend is quite a few years younger and meets with Jared weekly for their sexual encounters. Jared is in trouble, not because the woman is stalking him or cooking his family pet in a pot on the stove (see Fatal Attraction).

One day, during the act, Jared had a heart attack and died. Surprisingly, the stoppage of his cheating heart has been studied and is know as “sudden coital death.”

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Apparently the death of your marriage is not the only thing at risk when it comes to adultery. A study published in the Journal for Sexual Medicine concluded that men who are unfaithful have a higher risk of cardiovascular events.

If you have sex with your wife at home, you have a better chance of living! Stay faithful, stay alive!

Have an affair with a younger women away from the home, and you are more at risk for heart attack than those  faithful men according to Italian researchers. Apparently attraction can be fatal!

Researchers attribute the stress of keeping the affair secret, wining and dining with excessive alcohol and eating, and keeping up with a younger woman as contributing factors but aren’t exactly sure why death by adultery occurs. When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention looked at autopsies of over 5500 people, they found extramarital affairs among those who died in sex to be a factor 75% of the time.

So, if you need a reason to end that affair and be faithful to your wife, how does avoiding cardiac death sound? Your cheating heart could lead to a stopped heart!

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Are Bullies and Victims the Same?

posted by Linda Mintle
Alex’s mom is tired of Alex being bullied on the playground. One way to help Alex is to understand the profiles associated with bullies and victims.

In 2010, the *APA published a study where researchers reviewed 153 studies on bullying over the past 30 years. What they found was that bullies and victims share similar traits. Both lack social problem-solving skills and feel awkward and uncomfortable among their peers. When you add poor academic skills to the mix, a bully, rather than a victim, is likely to emerge.

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The study additionally profiled bullies with these traits:

1) Negative attitudes and beliefs about others

2) Negative self-image

3) From families with conflict and poor parenting

4) Negative school perceptions

5) Negatively influenced by peers.

The study also noted that victims are usually aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, are problematic in social skills and solving problems, isolate, are rejected by peers and come from negative family, school and community environments.

So the take away here for parents is to address these issues:

To deal with a bully:

Get behavioral parent training. Years ago, I taught such a program in the Chicago area schools. Problematic children were identified by the schools because of their acting out. I traveled to their homes, observed their interactions with their parents and trained the parents in more effective parenting skills. In addition, children and parents practiced specific ways to handle bullying and problems. Both learned better problem-solving skills, and ways to lessen family conflict.

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To help the victim:

Involve other children in standing up to the bully. The technique is called The Swarm. Basically, a group of bystanders swarm the bully and tell him or her to back off. There is power in numbers and bullies will often back down when confronted with a group that pushes back on them.

 

 

*Reference: “Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Investigation,” Clayton R. Cook, PhD, Louisiana State University; Kirk R. William, PhD, Nancy G. Guerra, EdD, Tia E. Kim, PhD, and Shelly Sadek, MA, University of California, Riverside; School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.2

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