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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Coping, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 4 of 4
1. Coping: What To Do When Life's Too Much

First, a note. This is not the blog post I had planned to write. It was inspired by Margo’s post, Book Birthdays, Sick Kids, and Selling the House. She asked what we do when we feel overwhelmed by our good fortune. How do you cope when there is just too much going on in our personal lives and our writing careers?

Here is what works for me:

  1. Admit you are overwhelmed. Good things, bad things, it doesn’t matter. Stress is stress and writing moms can only handle so much. Let your partner know that you are at your wits end. Seriously. My husband will pitch in and take over any number of tasks – if I ask. Otherwise, he buys into my Superwoman routine and assumes I’m coping just fine. Spot someone who will help, give them something to do, and . . .
  2. Let them do it. This means not micromanaging or insisting that something be done your way. When I’m up against a deadline, my fifteen-year-old will make dinner. I taught him to cook about five years ago and at fifteen I’ll let him take charge. He’s baked Christmas cookies, made pasta for lunch and even brings me chocolate when things get intense. Whether the task at hand is decorating for your book launch or putting a meal on the table, let someone else do what they can.
  3. Turn the electronics off. Between our computers, tablets and I-phones it is way too easy to be connected 24/7. For this reason, I don’t have an I-phone. I don’t do e-mail on Sundays. And when I go out of town? Yep, I’m gone. The lake we visit in Southern Missouri has truly wonky connectivity. In the winter, you can get a cell phone signal anywhere in the lodge and at our cabin. When the trees are leafed out, you can still sometimes get service at the lake. At the lodge, you have to stand on the roof of an SUV or pick-up or stand in one square foot space in the parking lot. When I’m on vacation, I’m truly out of touch. Three days without e-mail can be a glorious thing.

Good time, bad times. They can both be stressful. When it happens, ask for help, accept help and periodically disconnect to recharge. What you do to recharge will depend on you. I read and knit and walk, walk, walk. What do you do to recharge?


Find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards’ writing at her blog,One Writer's Journey. Sue also teaches our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session of this course is scheduled to begin on April 7.

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2. How to help your children cope with unexpected tragedy

By Brenda Bursch

Children look to their parents to help them understand the inexplicable. They look to their parents to assuage worries and fears. They depend on their parents to protect them. What can parents do to help their children cope with mass tragedy, such as occurred this week with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut?

The first thing that parents can do is to calm themselves. Remember that your children will react to your fear and distress. It will be reassuring to them to see that you are calm and not afraid to discuss the event with them.

Next, parents can consider limiting their children’s exposure to media coverage and to adult discussions of the shooting. Young children may have particular difficulty understanding what they see on news stories and what they overhear from adult discussions. They may also have difficulty assessing their own level of safety.

It can be helpful for parents to check in with their children in order to learn about their thoughts and emotional reactions to the shooting. After carefully listening to their children, parents can then determine if it is necessary to correct distressing misunderstandings, answer questions, validate feelings of anger or sadness, and remind their children about how their family members and others, including police officers, help to keep them safe.

Most children will not be traumatized by their media exposure to the shooting, but they may have questions or concerns. Some children will be fearful about returning to school or have other signs of distress, but will adjust with the support and reassurances provided by parents and others. Children who are especially sensitive, those who have a tendency to worry, those with little emotional support, and those who have been previously traumatized, may be more vulnerable.

Trauma symptoms among children vary, but include talking about the event, distress when reminded of the trauma, nightmares, new separation anxiety or clinginess, new fears, sleep disturbance, physical symptoms (such as stomachaches), and more irritability or tantrums. Children may regress, that is, soothe or express themselves in ways they did when they were younger. For example, they might want to sleep with parents or they may wet the bed. Parents might notice an increase in behavioral problems or a decrease in school functioning. If these symptoms don’t improve in the coming weeks, such children may benefit from professional assistance.

Children are reassured by calm and supportive adults, by their normal routines, and by age-appropriate information when they have questions or misconceptions. For those children with ongoing signs of trauma, effective treatments are available. For additional information, parents can access information from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website.

Brenda Bursch, PhD is a pediatric psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Science, and Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is co-author of “How Many More Questions?” : Techniques for Clinical Interviews of Young Medically Ill Children.

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The post How to help your children cope with unexpected tragedy appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Review: Everything is Fine

Actually, everything is anything but fine in Mazzy's world as she struggles single-handedly to take care of her mother who is in deep depression. I love the style and organization of this book. It is written in short, terse segments that are more like staccato rat-a-tat-tats than paragraphs. In each one of these titled segments, Mazzy's story unfurls in bursts of understanding and we are gradually enlightened to the details of her story.

Mazzy creates a series of coping strategies that manage, for most of the book, to keep the world at bay, including her father and well intentioned neighbors. It's clear from the beginning that Mazzy's mother is practically catatonic in her depression as Mazzy talks to her, cares for her, and pretends that Mom is just a little tired. Considering that Mazzy is a young teen and obviously coping alone with issues beyond her age to understand and control is probably more understandable than at first glance. She does an excellent job of keeping people at bay, out of her house, and away from her mom.

Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis is a page-turning, heart-breaking story about a family tragedy, how the family processes and copes with that tragedy, and tries to find their way back to each other and a shared future. You can't help but love and root for Mazzy. This is a girl with determination and grit. Mazzy is revealed to us in the short riffs of prose as she becomes revealed to herself. It's a marvelous story and I highly recommend it.

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4. Helping Children Cope with Death

Death. It's a nearly universal theme for middle school and YA literature (see my No More Happy Endings discussion at the English Companion Ning), but not one of the more popular themes for picture books. But for those who teach units or novels dealing with loss, life cycles, generations, war, or even seasons, the topic of death is likely to emerge. More important to consider, however, is that your students will also lose people in their lives: siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, teachers. Picture books can provide a delicate and appropriate means of discussing the loss of loved ones.

Audrey Penn, the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Kissing Hand has written a simple yet thoughtful picture book on the topic of coping with death. In Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories, Chester anxiously tells his mother that his friend Skiddil Squirrel won't be returning to school because of an accident. But he has no understanding of what that word accident means, nor does he understand what the teacher meant when she said that Chester had died. Mother explains these things to Chester, and then suggests "making a memory" so that Skiddil won't be forgotten.

Although this book is meant for audiences younger than those I typically teach and write for, I recommend this book because it will help students to understand the positive purposes behind memorial services. Audrey Penn has skillfully structured the narrative to include a blueprint for any teacher or parent helping a child to deal with loss.

First, Mrs. Raccoon helps Chester to understand the nature of death as frankly and clearly as possible. She compares it to experiences he has already known, such as the passing of old Mr. Beaver.

Second, Chester finds comfort in the company of friends. I read over twenty picture books on the topic of death before writing this post, and several of them portray children trying to sort through their feelings about lost loved ones with no direction from adults or friends. I would hate for children to think theyre alone in a time of crisis. In Annette Bley's And What Comes After a Thousand, for example, young Lisa is upset that mourners at Otto's service are so quiet and morose; that's not what her old friend would want. Fortunately, she is able to confide in her friend Olga, who he

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