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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book News - Mindful Parenting by Kristen Race



Dr. Kristen Race is a nationally recognized expert in child, family, and school psychology and founder of Mindful Life. In her new book, Mindful Parenting (St. Martin's Griffin; January 7), Dr. Race uses brain science research to explain how today's technology and over-scheduled kids increases anxiety and impedes proper brain development through the overuse of the amygdala. The book discusses the realities of raising a family in our fast paced and often frenetic world and provides hundreds of easy-to-implement solutions, both for parents and their children, to help them manage stress, create peace, and live happier lives.

Here's an excerpt from Mindful Parenting:

It’s not that adults didn’t work a lot when I was growing up. They did. My dad worked hard every weekday at his job as an attorney. He’d leave the house at 7:00 a.m. sharp and return around 6:00 in the evening. When he got home, my mom would have dinner ready for us, even though she had coached my soccer practice and driven my sisters and me all over town that day. But for my dad, that was it. He’d pour a cocktail, listen to us talk about our day, and eventually make his way to the TV, where he hoped to catch a rerun of a John Wayne movie. Or he’d pick up a book and sit and read. The next day, he’d get up, retrieve the morning news- paper from the front stoop, read it (crazy, right?), then drive in to work while listening to the radio. When he walked past the receptionist, she’d hand him a slip of paper with a few messages on it, and he’d start his workday.

Today, that same attorney drives to and from work talking to clients on the phone, wakes up and reads the news on his tablet while hearing the ping of the e-mails that came in overnight, and by the time he gets to his office, is inundated with the e-mails that came in while he was in transit, from clients wondering why they have not gotten a response yet.
My mom’s world would have been dramatically different to- day. The Saturday soccer game and one midweek practice have been replaced with a soccer club that is now a soccer business. This means she would have driven me to three practices during the week, a game an hour away on Saturday, and a tournament every other weekend. She would be inundated with e-mail reminders from teachers and school administrators, and on the way to school pickup, she would have five calls from me wondering why she was two minutes late.

The demands, the stimulation, the constant buzz—all have created, quite sadly, Generation Stress.

The reality is, I am Generation Stress. (If you read the introduction, you’ve probably gathered this already.) The irony is that I spend my working life researching stress and the brain, and creating solutions to help families become more resilient to the stress- ors in their lives. I have personally struggled with every topic presented in the pages that follow, which may have you thinking, why would I want to take advice from her? Certainly experience with my own stress has influenced my work, but my solutions are de- rived from brain science and grounded in my belief that small changes can make a big difference. I try to be intentional about practicing what I preach, and many of the solutions outlined in the chapters that follow come from trial and error in my search for ways to reduce stress and alleviate bad behaviors in my own family and in the lives of the many families I have worked with over the years.

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