Weekend Reading | Sept. 12

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Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below is a collection of various blog posts meant to encourage, inspire or educate. Grab a steaming mug of hot liquid this weekend and steal away to a quiet corner for some quick reads.

Abuse Casts a Long Shadow by Changing Children’s Genes

Increasingly, scientists are coming to realize that people’s experiences exert a strong influence on their biology by silencing genes or turning them back on, significantly changing the way a cell functions without changing its DNA sequence. It’s a phenomenon known as epigenetics. “Epigenetics makes the genes tick,” explains Moshe Szyf, a professor of genetics and pharmacology at McGill University. Epigenetic changes modify DNA to keep genes from being expressed, and they can explain dramatic differences between cells with identical DNA—for example, how stem cells can turn into either liver cells or heart cells, or why only one of a set of identical twins gets cancer. It’s also, Pollak found, why children who grow up in abusive homes have physical and psychological problems that haunt them well into adulthood.

“Mind in a Jar”: Mindfulness Practice for our Little Buddhas

Frequently, when I implore my children to “Calm down!” {yes, the exclamation point is ironic} or “Breathe!”, those are the responses I get. I’ve written before about the importance of teaching our children how to calm their bodies and settle the swirl of thoughts and emotions in their minds. I read about this “Mind in a Jar” exercise in both Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds and Kerry Lee MacLean’s Moody Cow Meditates. So a few weeks ago my children and I made mind jars as an afternoon art project.

Why Is My Child Acting Out? (Inducement)

You are not going crazy. You are feeling the feelings that your adoptive child has been carrying around inside them. Inducement is used to test the commitment of a family. When a child has abandonment issues, they may find it difficult to truly believe that their forever family will last. This is one reason why they will induce these terrible feelings, and act out in general. They are testing to see how much it will take before the family gives up on them, sends them back. Adoption disruption, unfortunately, does sometimes occur as a result. By being forearmed with the knowledge that inducement is a stage in the process, parents can be better equipped to hang on through this difficult period.

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