Healing takes time

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 26 February 2014

Dr Cowan's 8th insight is about giving children time to heal, but I think it is a tip the adults in the family could benefit from. 

8. Healing takes time

The most alternative medicine I practice these days is taking time. As a society, we're addicted to quick fixes because we have no time to be sick anymore. As a doctor, I was trained as a kind of glorified fireman, looking to put out emergencies quickly and efficiently.

In emergencies, strong medicine is often necessary to save lives but most health problems in childhood are not emergencies. In those instances it takes more than strong medicine to get better; it takes time. I realize that taking another day off from work because a child has been sent home from school with a runny nose can add real stress to our already stressful lives. But children have taught me that healing is a kind of developmental process that has its own stages too.

When we don’t allow time to recover, we rob our children of the necessary stages they need to learn from if they are to develop long-lasting health. When we take time to recover, illness becomes a journey of discovery, not just a destination; we begin to see our health and illness as two sides of the same coin.
 

Posted in: healing from sickness stressed children growth and development symptoms  

Be Prepared

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 19 February 2014

Dr Cowan's 7th tip for you:

The one phrase from the Eagle Scout motto that stuck with me since I was a boy was Be Prepared. This is a state of readiness that can be fueled by confidence or fear.

These days I practice what I call “preparatory medicine” rather than preventive medicine, so that getting sick is not seen as a failure. Being healthy does not mean never getting sick. Life is a journey of ups and downs and the growing child lives in a constant state of flux. A resilient immune system is one that learns how to get sick and get better. Living too clean a life robs us of the information necessary to be fully prepared to recover.

Rather than living in fear of illness, there are natural ways we can support our children to recovery from illness quickly and efficiently: good nutrition, hydration, probiotics, rest and exercise. But the most important? Rather than focusing on how often your child gets sick, celebrate how often she or he gets better.
Posted in: parenting tips  

A symptom is the boy's way of letting us know something has to change

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 12 February 2014

This week we are up to Dr Stephen Cowan's 6 th tip:

Good medicine asks what is the symptom trying to accomplish? Rather than simply suppressing it. Our body has its own intelligence and yet so much of pharmaceutical advertising tries to convince us that there is something wrong with feeling symptoms. Much of my medical training was focused on stopping symptoms as if they were the problem. (This is like telling the body to shut up. It’s rude!) We don't trust the body’s intelligence. We think too much and tend to be afraid of feelings in our body.

But children have taught me that a symptom like fever is actually not the problem. Whatever is causing the fever may be a problem, but the temperature is simply the body’s way of trying to deal with what’s happening.

Take, for example, the child with a fever. What other symptoms does the child have? If he is playful, you may not need to suppress the fever. It means the body is trying to make metabolic heat to mobilize the immune system. To help it do this, you can give warm (not cold) fluids so it doesn’t dry out and nourishing foods like soups to fuel the fire.
 

 

Posted in: parenting tips stressed children symptoms  

Pushing your buttons is a spiritual practice and children are are spiritual teachers

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 5 February 2014

Dr Stephen Cowan's 5th insight for parents is:

You don’t need an expensive spiritual retreat to become enlightened. Your little sage-teacher is right in front of you, offering you true wisdom free of charge!

Children watch our every move when they're little, studying our inconsistencies as they try to figure out this crazy world. And they will call you on it. When a child pushes your buttons, remember: they are your buttons, not theirs. Take the time to listen to what your child is trying to teach you. One of the secrets of parenthood is our willingness to transform ourselves out of love for our child. When you're willing to look at your buttons, you open up a deeper self-awareness that is transformative for both you and your child.

 

Posted in: parenting tips  

Encouragement is not the same as indulgence

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 29 January 2014

Hello and welcome to Paediatrician Dr Stephen Cowan's 4th insight.

4. Encouragement is not the same as indulgence

We are not in the business of raising little kings and queens. Kings don’t do well in our society. Recent studies have shown that indulgence actually weakens your child’s powers to survive, deflating motivation and diminishing feelings of success.

Encouragement means putting courage in your child, not doing things for him. Create a supportive context that will open up a path without pushing your child down it. Unconditional love is the scaffolding that encourages your child to take chances, to experiment, and to fail without judgment. Sometimes being an encouraging presence in your child’s life means standing a little off in the background, there to offer a compassionate hand when circumstances call for it, but trusting in his innate ingenuity.

There is spaciousness in encouragement. Indulgence, on the other hand, limits freedom by inflating a child’s sense of entitlement and reducing the patience needed to work through obstacles when he doesn't instantly get his way. Indulgence leads to small-minded thinking.
 

 

Next week's post is: Pushing your buttons is a spiritual practice, and children are our spiritual teachers.

Regards,

Meg 

 
info@thriveparenting.com.au