Gender Stereotypes – What’s A Parent to Do?

By Tracey Lipsig Kite, LCSW, Educator and Trainer, Jewish Child & Family Services

“Do girls abandon our bodies because that’s where we’re shamed and boys abandon their emotions because that’s where they’re shamed? Little boys: Don’t feel. Little girls: Don’t hunger.” Glennon Doyle Melton in Love Warrior

Our culture today (often unconsciously) pushes girls and boys into separate boxes, and handicaps them emotionally. Despite our efforts to the contrary, we continue to tell girls, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that being nice, beautiful, smart and successful are expected; expressing anger is not OK. We tell boys that being tough, strong and a leader are important, and the only emotion that is OK for them to express is anger. To further complicate things, most people aren’t aware of having taken in those messages, so we may be passing them on to our kids without meaning to. Two JCFS parenting sessions of particular interest over the past two years are: Girl Drama and Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys.

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Promoting Self-Care for New Mothers

by Elizabeth DiMaggio, Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Extern, Psychological Services

Having a new baby is an exciting time in a caregiver’s life. There is a brand new person to love and care for. While it can be an exciting time, becoming a new mother can be difficult and potentially draining. Focusing on a new infant might lead to the mother putting her own needs aside. While focusing attention on a new infant is extremely important, it might cause a mother to ignore her own self-care and signs from her body to take time for herself.

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Keep Your Child Happy and Healthy This Winter

By Ingrid Kenron OTR/L, Integrated Pediatric Interventions at JCFS

The colder air and gloomy winter skies can sometimes cause children to be temperamental.  An inconsistent schedule due to holidays, weather delays and school closings may also spike anxiety and onset challenging behaviors. Occupational therapists can help create tools such as social stories and visual supports to help children understand these changes. Here are some simple ways to keep your child happy and healthy this winter season.

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Sibling Relationships

by Erica Aten, M.A., Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Intern, Psychological Services

Although parents are typically a child's first source of human connection, sibling relationships are also an important factor in development. As of 2010, 82.22% of youth lived with at least one sibling(1). Sibling bonds are unique in that they often last a lifetime and are typically people’s longest relationships in life(2). Sibling relationships are influential in many ways.

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Tips for a Sensory Friendly Holiday

by Rachel Goode, Occupational Therapist
Integrated Pediatric Interventions at JCFS

The holiday season can be frustrating and confusing for a child with common sensory sensitivities.  Bright lights, loud music, new foods, crowded rooms, gift giving and different expectations can cause meltdowns and other disruptive behaviors.

We have some tips to help prepare your child for the excitement of the season, and a joyful December!

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month

by Marsha Raynes, Manager, Project Esther: The Chicago Jewish Adoption Network

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. For over two decades, this month has been designated as a time to shine a light on adoption and to bring attention to the number of children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families. It is also a good opportunity to recognize the different options couples and individuals have to help build their families.

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Help Your Child Prepare for the Holidays

by Jennie Marble, M.A., CCC-SLP, Assistant Director of Integrated Pediatric Interventions at Jewish Child & Family Services

The holidays are often a time to gather with friends and family to share a special meal, but for children with eating challenges a change in routine and environment, along with the sights and smells of new foods can be overwhelming. 

Preparation for the holidays is helpful for any child, but is particularly important for children with feeding and swallowing disorders. Talking about what to expect during the family visit, and looking at pictures of food and exploring scents beforehand can go a long way.

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Stand with Refugees: Become a Congregational Co-Sponsor

by Jessica Schaffer, HIAS Chicago Director

Today, over 65 million people are displaced around the world – of those, more than 25 million are refugees. Various conflicts across the globe, including in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, have created the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II.  In the face of this crisis, many countries and states and institutions have closed or threatened to close their doors to refugees, unable or unwilling to provide the critical support necessary to help them rebuild their lives.

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How Glick Family Camp Has Inspired Me

by Melissa (Mimi) Goldberg

At Jewish Child & Family Services’s Glick Family Camp, parents, their children with disabilities and siblings enjoy a family-oriented, nature-filled camp experience – together! The camp is offered once each spring at Jewish Community Youth Services Camp Henry Horner/Camp Red Leaf in Ingleside, Illinois. The weekend is filled with a variety of social, creative, recreational and supportive activities. A family camp worker is assigned to each family.

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