Is Your Child Exhausted?

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We all know the signs and repercussions of our own exhaustion– careless mistakes, not being able to express your thoughts clearly, crankiness. You may very well like biting someone’s head off if asked to do something, anything.

If you’re a parent, do you know when your child is exhausted? And I’m not talking about the obvious drowsy heads like when you’ve had an 8-hour day at Disney.

Did your child wake up at an ungodly hour to accommodate your work schedule and then head to school, after-care, dance class, piano lessons, homework time, and finally, Dad’s house for dinner?

Think about your child’s weekly schedule. How much time a day is spent on instrument practice, sports practice, homework, religious instruction, and chores. As they get older, there is the addition of test prep, college applications, tournaments, and perhaps a part-time job.

What happens when Mom and Dad are divorced and there is back and forth between homes, possible step-siblings, and parental tension?

According to Dr. Laurie Hollman, author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence and a psychoanalyst for 30 years, these are the ten signs to look out for:

  1. Increased crying and tantrums
  2. Acting out in school
  3. Not getting enjoyment out of certain activities they used to love
  4. Loss of appetite or overeating
  5. Telling you they are tired or bored when they’ve had enough sleep
  6. Increased fears
  7. Withdrawing into their rooms for too long
  8. Erratic sleeping or wanting you to sleep with them
  9. Losing interest in friendships
  10. Seeming to lose a sense of pleasure and vigor in general

According to Dr. Hollman, enriching your child’s life with violin lessons or art classes is not the problem at hand. The problem is not giving our children enough time to just be kids– to play, act silly, build bunkers under the dining room table, and as they get older, hang with their friends. Dare we say—do what they want to do.

“We’re so goal oriented,” says Dr. Hollman, “everyone in the house needs time with no agenda. Additionally, parents need to curb their own anxieties about their children’s performance in their various activities.”

How should a parent handle their child’s extracurricular life? Here are six tips for listening to your child about their life outside of school:

  1. Don’t scrutinize and judge your child’s performance on their activities.
  2. Watch what you say about school activities, so you don’t push for a competitive edge too hard.
  3. Make sure they have free time to do what they want to do.
  4. Take a step back and don’t react immediately when you see puzzling behavior (“How can you know what to do about a misbehavior before you understand it?”)
  5. Collaborate with your child about which extracurricular activities they prefer.
  6. Value your child’s thoughts, opinions, points of view, and desires by listening carefully to them without interrupting until they are really finished with what they have to say.

Provided by Laurie Hollman, PhD. • lauriehollmanphd.com

Posted in Featured Articles


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  1. 2nd Annual Lighthouse Point Festival

    September 23 @ 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    National Lighthouse Museum
  2. Autumn Moon Festival

    September 23 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Snug Harbor Cultural Center
    Enjoy traditional Asian music and dance, storytelling, tours, demonstrations of martial arts and Tai Chi, food, lessons in Chinese calligraphy, and more at the annual Autumn Moon Festival. The Autumn Moon Festival spotlights Snug Harbor’s NY Chinese Scholar’s Garden and
  3. Edible Plants Hike

    September 23 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Clay Pit Ponds
    What could you eat to survive if you were lost in the forest? Identify edible plants and their ethnobotanical uses.
  4. Intro to Tai Chi

    September 23 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Staten Island Museum
    Improve balance (literally and figuratively), get exercise, improve mindfulness, and gain energy. Join us every other Saturday to learn the full form of Tai Chi movements. Walk-ins welcome.
  5. Cinema Saturdays

    September 23 @ 3:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Watch the library become a movie theater and enjoy a film on the big screen!
  6. Knitting Social

    September 23 @ 3:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    South Beach Library
  7. Movies Under the Stars: Thor: Dark World

    September 23 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
    Clove Lakes Park
    Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film. Know Before You Go: You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit
  8. An Irish-Italian Wedding of Song and Dance

    September 23 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
    Noble Maritime Collection
    Concert of everything from opera to Irish step dancing. Admission $15 in advance, $20 at the door, children under 10 free Spend an evening enjoying the music and dance of traditional Irish and Italian weddings minus the bride and groom!
  9. Stargazing in Great Kills

    September 23 @ 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm
    September 23, 2017  |  8:30 pm - 11:00 pm
    Great Kills Park
    Go stargazing with the S.I. Amateur Astronomer’s Association. Inclement weather will cancel this program.
  10. NYRR Open Run

    September 24 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
    September 24, 2017  |  9:00 am - 10:00 am
    The Conference House
    Participants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the run and to leave their valuables at home – bag check is not provided. No need to do anything before the run, just show up. Open to all