How? You can start with talking about it.

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1.  Be affectionate to your children.

Parents who are affectionate during childhood support long term well being in their children, well into adulthood… mitigating some of the damage of childhood bullying.

According to research conducted by Darcai Narvaez at the University of Notre Dame, adults who reported that they received physical affection from their parents and felt supported by their parents, as well as did things as a family both inside and outside of the home, had lower rates of depression, lower rates of anxiety, less stress in social situations and a greater ability for empathetic behavior.

So today, to give you tons of ideas on how to parent for the well being of your child, I’ve written an entire book dedicated to presenting the latest medical information and uplifting positive parenting ideas to support an entire lifetime of optimized well being in your child.  I wrote it and offer it to you absolutely free, just to help support you during that exhausting, often overwhelming job of parenting.

2.  Let your child adopt a pet

I strongly suggest if at all possible, you allow your child to have a favorite pet during childhood.

Having pets has not only been found to cut asthma rates in half (as published on November 2, 2015 in JAMA Pediatrics) but it gives them many psychological benefits such as:

  • giving children a very healthy exposure to unconditional love
  • providing stability and continuity during times of unavoidable stress in the child’s life (such as during a move to a new home, entering a new school, or a change in the family dynamics such as a death or divorce)
  • providing a framework to talk about holistic and important topics such as death (as inevitably pets have a shorter life span than humans and often the death of a pet is a very healthy introduction to speaking about death before it pertains to a human family member such as the loss of a grandparent) and reproduction (my kids saw many a baby being born by their guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens, even hand bottle fed baby birds and helped house train all their puppies!)

Loving and caring for a special pet is a priceless, priceless gift during childhood.

3.  Encourage positive, uplifting connections with others

It turns out, children are actually more open to positive mood states than to negative ones.  And as a this study shows, teenagers in particular are more likely to be uplifted by being around others who are in a positive mood than to be brought down by being around those in a negative one.

Supporting and encouraging positive friendships in your teen’s life has the effect of not only boosting their mood, but of significantly reducing over all risk of clinical depression as well as doubling the probability of recovering from existing depression:

  • Using the same models that are used in preventive medicine to assess the spread of infectious disease, researchers evaluated over 3,000 teens enrolled in US high schools.
  • Mood was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
  • Followed for 12 months, there was a statistically significant *transmission* of health mood for teens who were surrounded by friends with a positive mindset.
  • Teens with 5 or more healthy friends had half the risk of developing depression, and teens with 10 or more healthy friends were twice as likely to recover from a depressive episode.
  • And happily, there was no statistical significant *transmission* of depressed mood for teens surrounded by friends with a negative mindset.

This is a hugely effective intervention — encouraging healthy friendships is a healthy, natural, holistic, non-medicinal way to create resiliency in your teen.

I find it incredibly interesting that positive, healthy mood states fit into mathematical statistical models… spreading and replicating via human contact… while negative mood states do not.

So… is a good mood a contagion?  Yes!  Turns out, positive mood spreads in a similar way to a contagious or infectious exposure.  So worry less and support your teen’s friendships and joy more… that’s the bottom line from this study.

If you are concerned about your teen’s mind-frame, encourage them to get connecting:

  • play sports
  • join clubs
  • connect with friends
  • connect with family
  • connect with their community
  • and connect with therapists or other supportive mental health professionals if necessary…

…because medical studies prove that being around others with a good mood helps not only in the short term (transforming the energy of that interaction) but is protective over time to help decrease both incidence and prevalence of depression.


I hope these ideas helped give you some ways to help support your own beloved child as they navigate these incredibly difficult times.  Childhood trauma is no joke.  It is held by the body and internalized and affects our health down the road.

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