Posts Tagged 'family support'

What is support?

"Support" spelled out in Scrabble letter tiles

image credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery. CC license.

Support is unconditional. It is listening, not judging, not telling your own story.

Support is not offering advice. It is offering a tissue, a touch, a hug. It is caring.

We are here to listen, not to work miracles.

We are here to help parents discover what they are feeling, not to make the feelings go away.

We are here to help parents discover their own strength, not to rescue them and then leave them vulnerable.

We are here to help parents discover that they can help themselves, not to take responsibility away from them.

We are here to help parents learn to choose, even when the choices are difficult.

– Unknown

At the Beaumont Parenting Program, we are happy to support and educate first-time parents who deliver at Beaumont. We offer specialized support for single mothers, parents experiencing postpartum depression, families of multiples, and families with a child in the NICU.

For Postpartum adjustment support, we offer weekly drop-in groups. Read more about postpartum adjustment.

For families who lost an infant during pregnancy or as a newborn, Beaumont offers the “Looking Ahead” Bereaved Parents support group.

However, Beaumont Health offers a wide range of support groups depending on your need, from cancer care to eating disorders to women’s pelvic pain and more. Check out the complete list of Beaumont support groups.

When a sibling has cancer

Father and daughter holding hands

Cropped image. Spirit-Fire, CC License.

The word cancer invokes a plethora of emotions and questions. The impact is wide and affects the family, friends and community of the person diagnosed. Cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to manage and treat. However, there are advances made in medicine daily and the prognosis and survival rates are improving. This can be encouraging news for parents with children who have cancer, but what about the siblings?

Children who have a sister or brother with cancer experience a range of feelings and how these feelings are expressed is going to depend largely on their age and developmental level. Younger siblings may have more tantrums as they witness the changes in the family dynamics, whereas older children and teens may experience anxiety and depression as they begin to grapple with the awareness of their own mortality. Below are some helpful tips to consider.

Share information

Tell the siblings about the diagnosis and changes that will likely take place. Even younger children can sense that things are different and will fill in the missing pieces with wrong information, which could increase their anxiety. Use age-appropriate language and allow siblings to help when they can. Allowing siblings to help and keeping them informed can decrease feelings of jealousy, anger and attention-seeking behaviors.

Consistency is key

When a sister or brother has cancer, things can seem consistently chaotic for the entire family. It is important for the siblings to continue with their school and extracurricular activities as much as possible. Routines help children feel safe and secure. Sometimes other family members or friends may help with caretaking responsibilities, such as picking up from school or making dinner. Letting your children know about these changes and who they can expect when will help.

Make time

It is important for siblings to have individual time with their parents, especially if other family members are caring for them. Try to carve out time to spend with your healthy children; engage in a fun activity and inquire about their day. This will be a stress reliever for all and it teaches children how to cope and have fun in the face of adversity. Encourage your healthy children to talk about their feelings or worries, and feel free to share your own thoughts and feelings. This can help you stay connected with your healthy children and gives them a safe outlet to express themselves. Validate their feelings, even negative ones, and show unconditional love.

When to get help

Sometimes you can do the best that you can but it isn’t enough. Either healthy siblings or the whole family needs help coping with all of the changes. If you notice prolonged uncharacteristic behavior or changes in mood such as poor grades, disinterest in favorite activities or ange,r feel free to reach out to the clinical psychologist within the Oncology Department of your nearest children’s hospital.

– Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, PsyD, ABPP, Pediatric Psychologist with Beaumont Children’s Hospital Divisions of Hematology/Oncology & Gastroenterology

Empty arms: The complicated grief of perinatal loss and how Beaumont can help

 Lots of lit tealight candles

Today, October 15, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

For many parents, the moment they learn they’re expecting, they begin to attach to their baby. They begin planning. Dreaming. Thinking about all they want and hope for their yet-to-be born child.

The greatest heartbreak is when there is a pregnancy loss. This loss is often devastating because it’s not only the loss of a child, but the loss of all the hopes and dreams parents had for their child. Intense grieving often follows.

Many parents who’ve suffered the loss of their baby find much comfort and support in Beaumont’s Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group, a group specifically designed to meet the needs of parents who’ve lost a baby.

How our group can help

Our support group focuses on the very specific loss involved in pregnancy, stillbirth or death of an infant. Our members find the group particularly helpful because they’re with others who’ve experienced a similar loss. Parents can really express the intensity of their loss openly.

Tips for your support system

Often family, friends and co-workers may mean well with their comments and reactions, but sometimes these are hurtful as well. Comments like “Your baby’s an angel in heaven now,” “It’s for the best,” “You’ll get pregnant again soon,” “Why are you still so sad?” are upsetting.

Instead, it’s best for family members and friends to just listen and be non-judgmental. The best response is often as simple as “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

It’s also helpful to recall and remember the baby who died. Refer to the baby by name. One of the greatest concerns that grieving parents have is that their child will be forgotten. Grieving parents want and need acknowledgment that their baby existed. That they are parents and their baby mattered and is remembered.

Join us

Our Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group is a drop-in group, so pre-registration isn’t necessary. Parents can come to just one group, or attend monthly. The group is facilitated by Judy Kotzen, LMSW, a medical social worker at Beaumont Health.

  • When: The second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in the Administration Building West (AB-West) at 3601 W 13 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073. Enter in the Administration Building’s main entrance, then follow the signs to the private dining room on the first floor.
  • Parking: Park in the South Deck (green)

For additional information

Please contact Judy Kotzen at (248) 898-7219.

Lil’ Sprouts: A Parent/Child Educational Program

Offered by the Beaumont Children’s Hospital Center for Childhood Speech and Language Disorders, Lil’ Sprouts is a 10-week course designed for parents/caregivers with their children. The goal of this program is to teach parents/caregivers how to increase speech and language within their home environment. Children enrolled may be developing at a normal/average rate or may be delayed in speech and language development. Children are between the ages of 18 months and 2½ years. Due to limited space, we request that siblings do not attend the Lil’ Sprout sessions.

Session Format

  • We meet for 10 consecutive Tuesdays from 5:00 – 5:50 p.m.
  • The first 25 minutes of each session: We discuss our topic and teach you and your child how to complete a task related to our topic.
  • The next 10 minutes are spent at a table for a snack. During snack time, the clinician will help the children use word approximations, sign language, or simple words to request for food.
  • The final 10 minutes: We do a circle time activity and sing a song related to our weekly topic.

Each week your family is given a handout with home program ideas and ways for you to increase your child’s speech and language development at home. Please feel free to interact with other families in the group. This is a time to find out what works for other families and try ideas out on your own!

Summer Term Schedule

  • Week 1: First Day! Speech and Sound Development and Sign Language
  • Week 2: The Development of Receptive Language Skills (Part 1 of 2)
  • Week 3: The Development of Receptive Language Skills (Part 2 of 2)
  • Week 4: The Development of Expressive Language Skills (Part 1 of 2)
  • Week 5: The Development of Expressive Language Skills (Part 2 of 2)
  • Week 6: The Interaction of Play Skills and Communication
  • Week 7: The Interaction of Sensory Skills and Communication
  • Week 8: The Interaction of Oral Motor Skills and Communication
  • Week 9: Idea and Toy Exchange
  • Week 10: Last Day! Wrap Up and Review and Recommendations

Enrollment Information

  • The summer term runs June 16 – Aug. 18, 2015.
  • Sessions will be held at the Beaumont Health Center in Royal Oak and the Beaumont Medical Office Building in West Bloomfield. Please contact one of the locations if youare interested in enrolling for the summer term.
    • Royal Oak: (248) 655-5975
    • West Bloomfield: (248) 855-4480
  • We will be taking payments during the first class. If you need to set up a payment plan, we will do so during the first visit. There are no refunds for this group program.

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