As Parent’s we are Role Models
Have you ever noticed how a little extra stress in your already busy life, can tend to throw your system into a tizzy? I had a classic example of this occur this morning.
I had come to the end of a most remarkable conference on the Naturopathic treatments of psychological and neurological Medical Conditions in Berkeley, CA. Being the only Hawaii doc there, I had the luxury of staying an extra night hav-ing an early morning departure.
I consciously structured my last evening and morning so that everything would be smooth, relaxed and efficient getting to the airport. I took a nice, hot bath, listened to soothing music, packed up so that I knew exactly where everything was that I would need, got up early and even did some yoga in my room. I was relaxed, on time and cruising. It was at the very moment when my driver said the simple words “Aren’t you cutting it close?” that my body felt a tinge of panic. I started doing the math once she told me that she estimated a 40 minute ride, and planned to stop for coffee. Feeling a surge of anxiety, I thought about my options and decided to hop in the alternate shuttle who quoted me 20 minutes, even though it would cost me double the fare. During my short ride, I analyzed what had happened. How quickly my state had changed. I went from cruise control to panic instantaneously. I was grateful that I had options at that point, which enabled me to graceful opt out of a potentially stressful situation to one of ease.
What had occurred in my body, and what occurs in all of us during stressful moments is that our body suddenly begins to prepare itself for “fight or flight”. Stress hormones from our adrenal glands flood the system enabling us to run for our lives, should we need to.
It reminds me of a story of a 95 year old woman who had lifted a car off her grandchild’s leg, who had been run over. In the interview she stated, “had I known what I was capable of, I would have done so much more with my life”.
The down side of the secretion of cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine flooding the system, is that it taxes the body – it uses up the reserves leaving one fatigued and spent. The extra moments of anxiety, or hours for some, results in cellular aging, overwhelm, disturbed sleep and impaired hormonal functioning.
Other common scenarios that spike our cortisol levels occur for the busy mother who not only forgoes her own breakfast, she often even skips lunch, In these instances, cortisol is released as an alternate to proper fuel causing accumulative stress and wear and tear on the endocrine system. When we get burned out, stressed, depressed or hormonally out of control and seek help, chemicals to further complicate our system are commonly prescribed.
How about with our children? Our precious babes are not only absorbing all of our stress, but the stress in their environments. From T.V., the radio, the grocery store, traffic, and chaos in the home. When we as parents are at our wits ends, the kids are reasonably attempting to unload their stress by acting out – running wild, screaming, shouting, and wrestling. What then so sadly often occurs, is that our kids are labelled as hyperactive and placed on medications. The “standard of care” for a hyperactive kid is a stimulant. Yes Ritalin is a routinely prescribed form of speed. Though it is thought to help a kid focus, these medicines can lead to a lifetime of addiction to other forms of speed, often street drugs promising the same or stronger highs.
As parents, we are our children’s role models. They see how we manage our lives, in all our frantic glory. They also see how we cope. If our medicine chest and counter top are filled with prescription medicine, there is a good chance that your child will follow in your footsteps.
Nature provides safe, effective natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medicine. The key if to seek health within the cells of the body, even the cells of the nervous system or neurons. Doing so will actually set one up for the prevention of dementia, alzheimer’s and strokes. The less chemicals we pollute our bodies and minds with, the greater the health of our whole being. We are therein preventing chronic and degenerative disease from an early age – it is never too late.
I have the great pleasure of working with the elderly parents of many of my patients and even making adjustments in their supplements (which are often filled with toxic additives), can make a world of difference in how they feel, communicate and enjoy their lives.
With our children, we have a greater responsibility. However, the dividends are far greater than the quick fix of drugging up. Knowing that you are doing the very best for your child by addressing their physiological imbalances, addressing the cause and treating in a non-toxic fashion will ultimately give you greater, long-term comfort and satisfaction. For you, you will feel the difference and never revert back.
What can we do immediately? Stop, sit, close your eyes and take three deep breaths in through your nose and all the way down into your belly. Go ahead and do it now. Sit with your child and connect from your heart several times a day, so he or she feels safe and calm. Instill this habit of non-punished time-out, for all of you.
As a parent, I recognize the importance of maintaining a sense of balance, calm, loving energy – despite whatever else is going on in my work or personal life. It can be challenging being a parent, and when we recognize that our health and well-being, and that of our child is #1, we are already on the path for a more sane, stable and peaceful journey through this amazing life.