How I Manage the Stress of Retiring to Write Full Time.
By Susie E. Caron © 3/29/15
I am retiring from one career, so I can do more of another...
I am ready to become a full time author. I want to write more books. I want to write children's picture books, parenting books and others. (Currently, I'm sitting on about 20 titles and topics.) I want to produce my parenting podcasts, continue creating for HiWatt Writers, and more. I love posting my parenting articles for you here on Between You & Me. I enjoy meeting you on FaceBook and Twitter. But right now I'm a little bogged down.
Lately, life is getting in the way of all the writing I want to do.
So I thought, "Maybe you'd like to know what this author is up to?"
My life has become busier than usual lately for several reasons.
1. I am planning to retire from my private practice in psychotherapy by July 1, 2015. So I am saying "Goodbye" to clients and closing my books over the next several months.
2. At the same time, our building is for sale. It was our home until 2006 when we bought a smaller home in preparation for our retirement, in a few years. (Or so we thought.)
After the housing market crashed, in 2007, and we had already moved into a smaller home, so I left my rented offices and set up a private practice in our former home treating children and families. There I acquired colleagues, and supervised interns for several years. But now it's time to stop and start a new part of my life. (What do I do with a house full of stuff?)
3. In the past few months we brought a beloved member of our family home to live with us.
4. Everything seems harder to do because this winter just doesn't seem to want to end here in NW Vermont.
Perhaps you wonder if I am complaining? Maybe a little. (I didn't enjoy my childhood and my teen years were awful. Is that why I was a pretty good parent and successful therapist?) I do believe all those years help me to write articles and books for children and for you.
In addition, over my 47 adult years (and even before) I believe that God has taken care of me and my family in ways I'd never dreamed possible. The road was often rocky, but when that happened I learned to do these three things:
1. I pray for wisdom and patience.
2. I sing "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart." until I feel it.
3. And, I remind myself, "I am not ashamed...for I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day." 2Tim 2;12.
What do you do, when life is unpredictable and stress threatens to bring you down. Contact me and let me know. We are, after all in this life together and we really do need each other.
Twee' does Mean You & Me
Susie E. Caron
Are your kids starving.....
by Susie E. Caron © 3/22/2015
Are your kids starving....for relationship? Before you say "No", you may want to:
Answer these questions:
1.Do you know how many hours each day your kids focus on their electronics?
2. How many of those electronic hours are actually spent doing homework?
3. How many minutes, hours and days are really spent by your kids doing something "for fun", on their cell phones, iPods, tablets, computers and TV supported games?
Can you answer this question?
How many hours, on most days, do your children spend in face to face activities - with you, their parents, with grandparents, siblings, or friends? (This answer may surprise you.)
What's the Danger?
I asked you these questions because I want you to become aware of a very real danger to our children: Suddenly, as never before in history our children are receiving less and less exposure and experience in beginning, developing, struggling, and living with long lasting flesh and blood relationships. Instead, we are offering our children phony relationships and facsimiles of friends via social media, chats, email, internet games, and other electronically based activities. (We adults even call our acquaintances on Facebook "Friends".) Real relationships are key ingredients in our lives, our society and future. Real relationships cannot come through electronics. They must come "in person."
Why are real relationships so important?
As human beings we require a solid community of people to survive. We simply cannot live individually. To survive as human beings we need real relationships. Part of the challenge of parenting is to teach our kids how to develop and sustain them. We all know that infants cannot even survive without face to face, skin to skin contact with caregivers. We even have a name for what happens to them: "Failure to Thrive." But as soon as they begin to crawl we've started looking for the best 'tablet' to focus them on, in order to help them 'get a good start' intellectually. However, what is gained in early intellectual growth is sacrificed in emotional and social well being if you don't continue to spend personal time with kids and provide kids opportunities to spend time with family and friends, (without engaging in electronics).
How to limit the use of electronics.
I am not advocating that we toss out all electronics nor do I believe you need to take them away from kids. permanently. Those devices along with new ways of communicating are here to stay. However, I believe too much of a good thing can be really bad. What we need to do is to curtail the use of electronic gadgets by our children. Besides limiting how kids use them, set up rules about when and where they can be used. Provide an #Electronics-Basket where everyone deposits their gadgets as soon as they come home. Set a timer when family members want to play electronic games, chat with friends, check email, etc. Make certain electronics do not go to bed with children. (This is a very dangerous time for teenagers who stay up late on social..) Take them to the parents bedroom to be 'recharged' overnight. Return them only when kids comply with parents requests about preparing for school etc.
How to give kids relationship building opportunities.
More important than limiting the use of electronics, create ways to increase the time that you and your children spend with family and friends. There are so many ways to do this. Read together, take hikes, bike rides, go bowling, do yard work, chat and have a snack, shop together, go to the neighbors and visit. Model relationship, talk about your friendships and how you met and kept up the relationship. Show them, help them and teach them well. Your children's social and emotional wellness and the future of society depends on how well they learn to develop, sustain and maintain real flesh and blood, face to face relationships.
What do you think? Please leave a comment or question and share this article on social (but remember to set the timer!)
Twee' means you and me,
Watch Out for Social Media
by Susie E. Caron © 3-15-15
Usually I write my "Between You & Me" articles with parent-child relationships in mind. I love to help you to understand your children better, so you can enjoy them more and gain their cooperation in daily life. However, today I need a break. It seems that the very thing I taught other health care workers to avoid is weighing on me. It’s called compassion fatigue and it came by way of social media.
Simply put compassion fatigue results when anyone (but especially those in the ‘helping roles’) are overcome by two factors:
1. Hearing about the problems, difficulties and trauma of others, which may result in secondary trauma.
2. Working really hard to help others who struggle, which may result in burn out.
Secondary trauma, and burn out, each have their own difficult symptoms. However, together their symptoms cause a double whammy. Here’s how it crept up on me.
First, I noticed that I could not watch tragic parts of the news. I also started feeling really sad. I felt tired a lot more than usual on my days off. However, I was sleeping well at night, so I didn’t suspect depression. I knew I couldn’t possibly ever have enough time and energy to do everything I wanted to do; like spend more time with my family, take on more clients in private practice, go shopping, write books, take day trips, and attend to social media. So I thought I was just really busy and had too much to do.
I tried to cut back on ‘non-essential’ activities. However, I began to find myself less and less motivated to do anything creative, like write that next book. Even when I’d wake up aware of a new topic, article or book, I dismissed it as ‘not that important.’ I caught myself thinking, “it just doesn’t matter” or “no one really cares.”
This morning, after putting it off for days, I needed to write a new blog article. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not settle on the topic. I wondered, “What’s the matter with me?” As I lay in my bed thinking about this I began to realize, somewhat to my startled amusement, that I was showing signs of compassion fatigue. It was only funny to me because I have actually taught others how to recognize and avoid it. However, the evidence made it very clear. For the past few weeks I’d found myself saying, “I’m not really tired, I’m just tired of…” When my husband asked me, “Of what?” I’d say, “Oh, of just everything.” But I really had no idea what I actually meant. Until this morning.
As a caring psychotherapist, I recognize that what I do in private practice is to leave my clients' troubles in my office, every night. It’s something I’d learned very well to prevent secondary trauma. However, I’d become caught up in social media marketing after I wrote three picture books. That’s when and where I discovered a whole new population of wonderful people that I could help.
Over one year ago I began to share with you and others, through social media, my knowledge and understanding of children and parents. I love reaching out to you and to thousands of others - parents, teachers and counselors. My gift and my joy comes through restoring relationships between parents and their children, and I want to continue.
I'm not quitting. Instead, now that I recognize the problem, I have to do what I know to do to take really good care of me, so I can continue to share great information with you. First, I have to do with social media sharing what I learned so well to do when I leave my private practice every evening – I have to turn it off. I have to set time limits for my social media hours and stick to them. Then I have to take care of me. I have to go outside and play with my dog. I have to spend more fun times with my husband, and our grown up kids. I want to go out for coffee with friends, call my favorite Aunt and reconnect with friends from long ago. Relationships- in person relationships with myself and others, is the real key to happiness, contentment and health. Social media relationships have their place, but they do not fill the need we all have for the physical presence of flesh and blood people in our lives.
I love sharing with you and I will continue. However, I highly recommend that you do what I’m about to do, and set times for attending to social and stick to them. In between, spend time and attention on the people you love, those living with you, those next door and those who you enjoy. I desire for you to experience a world of happiness, contentment and health always in loving relationships.
Twee’ means you and me.
Susie E. Caron
Twee' and ARC of NWVT
To Help Kids and Families
By Susie E. Caron © 3/8/2015
I love sharing my trilogy of evergreen picture books, about little Twee’.
This Saturday, I had the special pleasure of delivering 3 sets of my signed books to Victoria, a member of the nonprofit,
ARC of Northwestern VT, located in St. Albans, VT. This organization purchased my books to donate them to 2 local schools, the St. Albans' City School, and Fairfield Elementary School, and the Fairfield Town Library, in memory of Barbara Branon, founder of ARC of NWVT.
A.R.C of Northwestern Vermont’s mission is “to advocate for the rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families,” so they can have “opportunities to participate in their communities as value citizens.” It was established “over 50 years ago by Barbara Branon and a group of parents, who wanted equal rights for their children with developmental disabilities.” I had not previously known about this nonprofit organization. However, as a psychologist treating children and families, I agree with their mission.
I actually met Victoria many years ago at my doctor’s office. As we chatted I mentioned the publication of my first book Twee’ and I showed her a copy. (Don’t all authors carry copies of their books???) Victoria subsequently bought several copies of each book as soon as they were published and gave them to her grandchildren.
Last month, when I saw Victoria, she asked me if I would sell signed copies of my books to the A.R.C. Of Northwestern VT. She explained that her organization wanted to donate three complete sets of Twee’ books to local schools and a library. When she described her organization and their purpose, I said, “Yes. Of course!” Then I asked “Why do they want to donate my books?” Victoria explained that the nonprofit organization A.R.C. of Northwestern Vermont was founded in 1956 by Barbara Branon. When Barbara passed away, the group wanted to honor her and decided to donate books by a local author. Victoria, who loved my books, told ARC about them and the members chose to purchase 3 sets of Twee’, I Am Twee’ and Twee’ for Two.
I felt honored, humbled and excited. By selecting my books, ARC's donation also provided access to Twee’ for many more children. I was helping ARC, and they were also helping me. So I told Victoria I would reduce the cost for them, write the dedication on the inside cover book plates, and sign each one.
This past Saturday I met with Victoria to turn over the 9 books. We sat at a little table at Duncan Donuts, drank coffee and chatted more like old friends. I learned about ARC of Northwestern Vermont, and Victoria mentioned that they needed more active members. I volunteered to feature the organization and our transaction here on my blog to try to help them to gain much needed exposure.
Below you can read more information about A.R.C. of NWVT, how you could help and links to connect with them.
Help A.R.C.: Join, Donate, and Volunteer.
A.R.C.(which stands for Advocacy, Resources & Community) of Northwestern Vermont is looking for more members and volunteers. They host and provide many annual events and fundraisers, all of which benefit the people with developmental disabilities living in this rural area. Besides their community Liason, who provides guidance and support for individuals and their families, they also provide social and educational events for people with developmental disabilities. This is a wonderful organization, so help them out in whatever way you are able.
If you want more information, or would you like to become a member of ARC of NWVT, or if you have a need for the services of A.R.C. of Northwestern Vermont, you can
Visit their website: http://www.arcnwvt.org./
Call: Monday & Tuesday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
To send a tax deductible donation,
please make your check out to A.R.C. of NWVT
and mail to:
ARC of Northwestern Vermont
PO Box 978
Saint Albans, VT 05478
Thank you for reading. Remember to comment below
and always share social.
Twee' Means You & Me
Working Together To Build Great Kids
Susie E. Caron
Parents can’t and shouldn’t solve all their kid’s problems.
By Susie E. Caron © 3/1/15
As a parent, you will undoubtedly address lots of problems and issues, in your kid’s childhood. These may range from difficulties in education, or safety, to helping them prepare for adulthood. However, you must not attempt to solve all your children’s problems. It wouldn’t be good for you to do so. It is actually important for your children to learn how to handle many of their own difficulties and decisions. That’s one way they begin to exercise their 'responsibility muscles’, so necessary for their mature development.
Your children need your help, to learn how to solve their problems and make decisions. Additionally, there are benefits for you both when you take the time to teach them.
Here are the three reasons why they need your help to learn how to problem solve:
1. When your children bring you their problems, you have an opportunity to connect with them more deeply and to develop trust in your parent-child relationship.
2. This deepening bond and trust are the essential foundation for your kids to be able to become independent and responsible as they grow up.
3. That’s how they can be better equipped to exercise their own ‘responsibility muscles.’
Below I list 5 steps that you can begin to practice, anytime and with children of all ages. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the benefits can be felt immediately and last a lifetime.
Your children really need you to listen when they talk about their problems and the decisions they face. As you practice these steps you will find children communicate with you more often and more freely, trust you more, and even more often cooperate. When you help them develop their thinking skills within the safety of your parent-child relationship, without the application of an ‘adult’s quick fix solution’, they become better able to use their ‘responsibility muscles’ on their own. With practice along with your implied or expressed belief in them, they become better prepared to tackle tough situations and choices later in their lives. This improved communication, connection and trust also means better relationship between you and your children for now and in the future.
Here are 5 steps for you to practice, anytime, but especially when your child seems upset or brings up problems he/she faces.
1. Listen with your heart without any inclination to fix it (problem, content, other.)
2. Try to guess what the child is possibly feeling. Ask your child, “I wonder how that made you feel?” (You want the child to think about his/her feelings and try to label them)
3. Offer validation for your child’s feelings,along with a chance for the child to agree or offer a different feeling. Try this, “Oh, so you feel (or felt______.”
4. Ask what the child might like to do. Or what he/she might do in the future in the same situation.
5. Hug and thank your child. You could say something like: “I know this was _________(use a feeling word such as : hard, scary, sad, etc), and I’m glad you told me about it.
With practice these 5 steps become second nature for you. This is a very respectful exchange between you and your children and can go a long way to improve not only their problem solving skills, but also deepen your relationship. That almost always means more cooperation and fun!
If you found this parenting article helpful, why not email the link to a friend? Also comment below and let me know what parenting issue you struggle with and I may write an article about that in the near future.
Whatever you do, enjoy your kids and have fun with them. The benefits can last a lifetime.
Twee’ means you and me.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!