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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

March 22, 2013

Flipping Our Lids

Suki: Brain Awareness Week
Science with Christine: Backwards Evolution?

27th Annual Santa Cruz PaddleFest
This Week
Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre In Concert
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(Photos General) California_AlmondTrees.jpgWhile driving in the central valley and enjoying  the almond trees in bloom, I listened to a radio show featuring Wendell Berry in the role of Thomas Jefferson being interviewed by a contemporary journalist on topics of then and now. Delightful perspective on history and its influences into the present! Next he was interviewed about his life as Wendell Berry, prolific author on all manner of topics --agrarianism, politics, life in small towns, nature, philosophy, people's stories-- but what intrigued me most was his discussion of what constitutes "home". He spoke of searching for "home", of living in Kentucky for a long time, in exotic cities all over the world, and finally looking for home in Idaho where he grew up but now did not quite fit in, of regional cultures, of contrasts between cities and wildernesses.

(Photos General) California_Hills.jpgI was stimulated to think of what's "home" for me. Physically it has been in the three C's" -Connecticut, California and Colorado and back to California, my favorite of the three. California, --land of contrasts, deserts, redwood forests, mining towns, beach communities, sophisticated cities, farm communities-- it's huge and varied. For me, home is walking on the beach, finding seaglass, watching Katie Dog do her joy dance when she hears the words "walk along the creek", the sound of bees in the pepper tree, mocking birds' endless songs, lemons growing outside my kitchen, spending time with friends, sketching a scene or flower, pursuing my passion for quality education with like-minded compatriots, sharing thoughts and information with you that might spark your own approaches for parenting. My children are grown and live all over the (Photos General) California_SeabrightBeach.jpgcountry, so an important part of "home" for me is being with them in spirit mostly, also visiting, talking, texting, emailing, sharing and marveling at their journeys.

I imagine getting into the camper and driving the boundaries of our shores, checking out beaches and waves, with forays inland to see friends and family, towns I've read about, museums to explore, architecture to enjoy. Home is truly where I am.

How does this relate to parenting?  Everything we do as parents creates "home" for our children --physical, social, spiritual.  If we can be "home" where we are, be present in the now and model this for our children we are giving them a positive anchor in this world  --or is it the other way around?  Do our children, playing or crying so passionately in the moment, model for us how to be present, in the "now".

Be there; be home,  Parmalee

  Flipping Our Lids

by Kelly Bartlett

Learning neuroscience is certainly not on every parent's agenda. But what if a little insight into your child's brain could diffuse at least one tantrum a day? Dr. Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell, authors of Parenting from the Inside Out, developed a simple demonstration to help parents understand where kids' outbursts come from so we can respond effectively.


(Graphics) FlippingLid1.jpgMake a fist with your thumb tucked inside your fingers. This is a model of your brain; your fist is the brain and your wrist and forearm are the spinal cord.


Your thumb, tucked in the middle of your fist, is the midbrain. This is where our emotions and memories are created and processed, as well as where the fight-or-flight reflex is triggered. The midbrain is our "emotional brain."


The back of your hand and fingers, encasing everything, is the cerebral cortex. This is where higher functioning occurs. This part of our brain allows us to think logically, act with kindness and empathy, and it houses our reasoning and problem-solving abilities. The cortex is our "rational brain."


The brain is set up to communicate with itself. It sends messages from section to section about what our bodies are feeling and needing. So, when a child screams, "NOOOO!" and lashes out to hit because he is angry, a parent's brain interprets this data as, "Hmm, I don't like this, and I need to be treated differently." Only we don't always react so calmly, right?


(Graphics) FlippingLid2.jpgTake another look at your brain-fist. See where your fingernails are? This is the logic and reasoning part of the brain that kicks into gear when we have a problem to solve. But sometimes the emotional brain (thumb) and the rational brain (fingers) don't communicate so well. The emotions of the midbrain are simply too overwhelming, our fight-or-flight reflex triggers, and we "flip our lids." Now make all four of your fingers stand straight up. Flip.


See your fingertips now? See how far away from the midbrain they are? When we "flip our lids," our rational brains have a very poor connection with our emotional brains. Our feelings are intense, and we're not able to access the logical, problem-solving part of our brain. In order to restore our rational brain to its coherent state, we need to calm our anger and ease our fears (close fingers over thumb again).


Of course, our brains don't actually change shape like this, but this simple demonstration is a valuable tool in understanding how they function during emotionally charged situations. Both children and adults experience flipped lids. But as the human brain isn't fully mature (all parts communicating effectively) until the mid-twenties, children flip their lids much more often. They need a lot more help "re-connecting" the rational brain with the emotional brain-that is, calming down-and learning how to respond to strong emotions.


Parenting Through Flipped Lids
So, what can parents do when emotions run strong? Dr. Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline, offers a few tools that help during "flipped lid" moments:


Hugs. When your child flips her lid, a hug may be the last thing you want to offer. But it might just be the thing she needs most. The mirror neurons in her brain assess the emotional state of the people around her and influence her reactions. When her brain picks up on the loving composure in a hug, its chemistry begins to return to a calm state; her "flipped lid" begins to close.


Positive Time Out. This is perfect for when either you or your child has a flipped lid. Before reacting to your misbehaving child or your favorite collectible that mysteriously broke, take a few minutes alone to calm down and restore your brain chemistry. The problem-the one that triggered your flipped lid-will still be there when you're feeling better. Communication will go much more smoothly when you have access to your rational brain. With time and practice, you can also teach your child how to take a positive time-out for himself when he's upset and needs to calm down.


Focus on Solutions. This is for when you're about to flip your lid, or have just calmed down after one. Yes, there's a huge mess on the floor. Yes, your two-year-old is bothering his older (and now very annoyed) sibling again. Yes, someone lost an important item again, or someone else is dawdling to get ready...again. But rather than get mad and yell (again), focus on practical solutions to these problems. Instead of thinking, "What can I do to you so that you'll learn?" think, "What can I do to help you succeed with this? What solutions can we come up with?"


Apologize.
For those times when you do flip your lid, a sincere apology helps to emotionally reconnect you and your child. Tell your child, "I'm sorry I yelled. I'm sure that must have hurt your feelings. You were upset, and you needed to feel better, not worse. I'd love to hear your ideas on how to fix this."


So, flipping your lid, while not ideal or sometimes even avoidable, does provide an opportunity to model and teach some valuable skills to our children: cooling off, self-control, problem solving, and, probably most importantly, emotional recovery and reconnection after a hurtful situation.

Kelly Bartlett is the author of "Encouraging Words For Kids." She is a Certified Positive Discipline Educator and freelance writer with a focus on child development, family relationships and discipline. You can find more of her work at www.kellybartlett.net

 

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  Suki: Brain Awareness Week

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I just found out that it's Brain Awareness Week, and brain awareness - a 21st century awareness if ever there was one - has its own Facebook page.

And just in time for BAW, a little bit of the gifted community squeaked into mainstream psychology with Allen Frances's post entitled "Giftedness Should Not Be Confused With Mental Disorder." Those of you who don't know much about the politics of giftedness probably think that it would be, ahem, crazy to think that a brainy person would be confused with an insane one. However, research shows that gifted children are at a great disadvantage - they are more likely to be diagnosed with disorders they don't have, and less likely to be diagnosed with disorders they actually do have.

The important book, Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults, by Webb et al offers a detailed analysis of how this happens, but check out Frances's blog for Marianne Kuzujanakis's shorthand version of why this happens. Kuzujanakis is a pediatrician and a Director of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), an amazing organization that is fighting for the mental health of gifted children and adults. Since by definition gifted children are a minority (depending on where you draw the line, from 1 to 10% of the population), it's not surprising that they don't get much attention from mainstream psychology and psychiatry.

But what attention they do get is quite shocking: Gifted children are more likely to be misdiagnosed with such disorders as ADHD, bipolar disorder, and autism because of the unusual characteristics that may accompany their giftedness. A gifted child, for example, might become belligerent when bored... and might be bored often in our modern test-obsessed educational system. Or a gifted child might exhibit what gifted psychologists call psychomotor overexcitability - in other words ... Read more>>>>>

  Science with Christine: Backwards Evolution?

(Photos General) Christine_Evolution_Whale.jpgThere has been a lot of noise about backwards or reversible evolution in the news recently. This is a case where some scientists get something in their head and can't let go. Scientists are human, too.

There is a "law" among some evolutionary biologists (Dollo's Law)that says evolution proceeds in a "forward" direction and can't ever go "backward." In other words, if a creature adds some highly specialized trait, it won't give up the trait. Hogwash!!

Evolution is a creature's response to the environment where it lives. The creature changes in order to give it the best possibility of survival.  Read more about how evolution really works and why...>>>>>>

Click here for more science with scientist and mom, Christine Cockey.

 
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  27th Annual Santa Cruz PaddleFest

27th Annual Santa Cruz PaddleFest


Adventure Sports
An event of these epic proportions needs lots of volunteers and spectators!
Date: Every day (Mar 22-Mar 24)
Admission Fees: Free

Welcome to the 27th Annual Santa Cruz PaddleFest (SCPF), the most renowned paddle surfing event on the globe.  It is plotted for the weekend of the 22nd through the 24th of March, 2013, with pomp and circumstance that only a surf town as famed as Santa Cruz can muster.

(Photos General) ASU_Paddlefest1.jpgThis SCPF has one of the best venues you can imagine; perched in a park on the cliffs virtually on top of a world class surfing break, Steamer Lane.  Every facet of the event, judging, media center, spectator/food pavilion, information center, and manufacturers displays, are staged on the cliffs next to the break. We have striven to envelope the spectator with the best paddle surfing in the world with comforts, excitement of the moment, and knowledge of the essence of the sport. We grease the action with interviews with international competitors and town parties where everyone can share in the action.

We have enacted several facets to make the 27th event even better. The 2013 SCPF will be the final event of a group of west coast contests called the Pacific Paddle Surfing Series (PPSS). We will crown the west coast champion at the completion of the SCPF.

(Photos General) ASU_Paddlefest2.jpgWith the added excitement created by this series we have revamped the Santa Cruz event into two contests; the Elite Steamer Lane and the Cowell's Classic.

Our objective with the Cowell's Classic is to have a two day contest in a milder break to help the novice and intermediate paddler get into the fun of paddle surfing. We have structured the event with water ambassadors and jet skis to make their experience enjoyable.

The SCPF Elite Steamer Lane event, running concurrent with the Cowell's Classic, will also be the final event to choose the paddle surfing athletes to represent the US West in the Australian world championships in July of this year. There should be plenty of stoke for this happening.


Location: 303 Potrero Street #15, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (831) 458-3648 •website Santa Cruz

  This Week

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Check the Events Calendar for More Events!

 

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School Corner

 Spring Hill School K-8, Kindergarten Tour 3/27

 

Gateway School K-8, Ocean Friends and Family Day 3/28

 

Santa Cruz Children's School K-6, Open House 4/2


Chartwell School K-8, Reading Program Components 4/10

 

SC Waldorf K-8, Morning in the Kindergarten 4/13

 

Gateway School K-8, Open House 3/16

 

Mount Madonna School Pre-12, Tour Day 3/17

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Summer Camp Guide is coming in April!  Email us for information!

Internship for Teens!

Summer Science Field Trip
Assistants

Help in a fun summer science program that teaches kids real physics and chemistry activities in the multi-sensory outdoors. Science knowledge is helpful but not necessary. Join some wonderful teaching assistants and kid helpers for science field trips.

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Check our website,

osefun.com

for activity summaries, locations and dates. June 10-July 12

I am a Master Teacher at the top of this field and Director of the nonprofit Outdoor Science Exploration & Classroom Science Fun. Our shared goal is to help the kids learn about science and themselves. I also have an extra goal of doing as much as possible to develop your chosen strengths and goals.

Irvin Lindsey
info@osefun.com
(831) 423-5925

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 Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre In Concert


Santa Cruz Ballet Theater
Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre In Concert - featuring a collaboration with Watsonville Taiko
Date: 03/23/2013 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Ages: All ages Admission Fees: $12 - $24
Special Instructions: Purchase tickets online via www.cabrillovapa.com or by calling the Cabrillo Box Office from noon-4 PM on Thursdays and Fridays

(Photos General) SCBT_Taiko_Spring2013.jpgSanta Cruz Ballet Theatre performs In Concert at Cabrillo College's Crocker Theater.

The program features contemporary ballet premieres choreographed by guest artist Shayla Bott, and by Artistic Director Robert Kelley in collaboration with Watsonville Taiko.

For classical dance enthusiasts, there is Swan Lake Act II, a time-honored classic that has retained its delicacy and precision for over 100 years.


Location: Cabrillo Crocker Theatre, 6500 Soquel Drive , Aptos Map
Phone: (831) 479-6154 •website

Sing the Song of Home
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Parks and Beaches Cleanup
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  Parks and Beaches Cleanup
State Park Rancho del Oso
Date: 05/04/2014 from 9:00am to 12:00pm
Details: Join Rancho del Oso and Save our Shores at Waddell Beach for California’s
Special Instructions: 18 miles north of SC on Hwy 1
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 427-2288 view all details >>
     
Santa Cruz PaddleFest
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  Santa Cruz PaddleFest
Kayak Connection
Date: Every day (Mar 24-Mar 26)
Details: An event of these epic proportions needs lots of volunteers and spectators!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai's 2nd Annual Summer Bonsai Sale
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  Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai's 2nd Annual Summer Bonsai Sale
Santa Cruz Bonsai
Date: 08/17/2013 from 9:30am to 11:00am
Details: World renowned bonsai artists demonstrate their craft
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831-476 6424 view all details >>
     
Sing the Song of Home
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Circus Arts
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  Circus Arts
Orchard School
Date: Every Tues from 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Ages: K-6
Details: Pick up a skill in juggling, unicycling, stilt walking
City: Aptos Phone: (831) 688-1074 view all details >>
     
Scotts Valley 4-H Club Meeting
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  Scotts Valley 4-H Club Meeting
SV 4-H
Date: The 2nd Mon of every month from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Ages: 5-18
Details: Monthly Club Meeting
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
     
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