REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Family gatherings stressful?

Sadly, according to a new study, many families the first argument starts just after 10.13 on Christmas morning – with four or five more before the day is over! This can happen in families who don’t see each other very often and are then all together at Christmas. Christmas is a big focus, but other times like Easter or weddings, funerals and other family get-togethers can bring about pressure points erupt into family arguments. And the little things that trigger rows can be simple perhaps even the preparation of lunch, when a cook is trying to prepare a delicious meal and resents doing all the work or the other family members interfering too much. Couples often get into arguments because one or both has had too much to drink. Its particularly difficult where there are stepchildren. A couple may have different ideas about how to bring them up, and big decisions of how much to spend on the Christmas presents can cause disagreements.Six ways to stay close when your children leave home

Blended Family Matters

Blended families with step children can be part of the challenges faced during a Christmas festivity. If you have children from a previous relationship and your partner does not, you might disagree over the children’s behaviour. Or, if your partner does have children who are with the other parent for a big occasion like Christmas or a holiday, the presence of your children can cause resentment. The disciplinary lifestyles can be different and each parent may be softer in dealing with own child. It is good to be self conscious and aware of a child’s needs to treat them equally well.

Repairing family relationships

In the cold light of January try to make up with the family members you have fallen out with, even if you think it’s not your fault or that they might not react well. Pluck up courage and talk to them, face to face if possible, or by telephone or letter. Here are a few tips.My secret to feeling great at 56? Just do it!

  • Don’t restart the argument, wait until the person you need to talk to is in a good mood and then tell them that it is so nice when you do get on together that you would like it to be like that more of the time.
  • Tell them how much you regret the argument, that you are sorry if you upset them and that you love or care about them. It takes courage to say you are sorry.
  • Tread sensitively, no angry voices or unkind words, and make the person feel listened to and hopefully they might respond in a similar manner.
  • Ask what they need from you and say what you need from them.
  • If they don’t feel the same way, avoid another row and say, ‘I just wanted you to know that I am sorry we argued.’
  • Don’t be afraid to go to counselling if things seem really bad, it could make you happier in the long run.
  • Finally, make it your January resolution to think about how you would like life to be different, whether that includes drinking or spending a little less, or to have better relationships with the ones you love.”
  • DIY hair care tips for when you’re starting to go grey
  • Share the work

    babyhk20/11/2016

    Some people like cooking but if all avalanche on you over Xmas I have had to be honest so.I keep Xmas day for my husband and children as I explain i can only cook and cope with so many .Boxing Day is a running buffet which I top up with mainly cold food or things I can cook in 20 mins that just need throwing in the oven. I get decorations together and others sort out the tree . If anyone wants special food or find them something missing ot can shop for it.

    Be Close to kids who left home

    Yes it’s the end of an era, but your children moving out can sometimes bring you closer than ever. Keep in touch with each other daily. It easy if you know how. Meet up regularly if possible and Skype, telephone, visit.

Title of your comment*
Your message*
Advertisements

EARLY ADOLESCENT KIDS

kids-circleAdolescence starts earlier in modern generations than previous ones lasting twice as long as it did in the 1950s. So children are hitting puberty earlier than ever before said Psychology professor Laurence Steinberg who explained why to BrainwavesAdolescence is a period of life between starting puberty and becoming stable, independent adults. This time is being extended because some children begin puberty earlier.Kids-Diverse-1

Adolescence is three times as long as it was in the 19th Century and it’s twice as long as in the 1950s.
Professor Laurence Steinberg

According to Professor Steinberg, in the western world adolescence runs from age 10 or to about age 25. Professor Steinberg attributed this phenomenon of lengthening of adolescence to several surprising factors as follows:youth-world-header-large

Obesity & Man-made Chemicals

The first and most important is obesity. The kids who are fatter go through puberty earlier than the leaner kids he said. Man-Made Chemicals. There are other factors as well. One has to do with the exposure of children to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the man-made environment. The chemicals are not just in food, they’re in cosmetics, they’re in plastics, they’re in pesticides they’re ubiquitous.” “When people are exposed to these endocrine disrupters it alters their hormonal development and many chemicals lead to earlier onset puberty mostly in girls.”hot

More SunLight exposure

The third factor that’s been discovered fairly recently has to do with exposure to sunlight.” It turns out that kids who grow up near the equator go through puberty earlier than kids who grow up near the north or south pole and that’s because, when you grow up near the equator, you have more exposure to sunlight over the course of childhood years.” While it may not be of too much concern to parents in northern Europe, recent research suggests a final factor which applies to many children here.

“Scientists discovered recently the light emanating from tablets or smartphones or computer screens can affect onset of puberty by disrupting brain’s melatonin system. Kids who spend more and more time in front of these screens especially in front of the blue light emitted by the devices probably contributed to earlier puberty as well. Light from the phones impacts brains of kids and adults.“World-Population-889x591.jpg

Adolescent Brainwaves

Brainwaves of the adolescent brain as Pennie Latin examines is relatively a young field of teenage neurology. It has revealed lack of frontal cortex ability to understand risk and consequences. And so although adolescent children may hit puberty earlier, they may not be able to handle the harsh realities of the trauma of war years, distress, rations, famine, lack of tough physical life forced upon previous generations. They worked in factories, chimney sweepers, railway as tracks as children making them more mature. They develop faster on growth spurt but face challenges of the modern generation.

GIRL’S PUBERTY & PERIODS

maximum-win-when-puberty-goes-right_o_4965805Girls of puberty age face discrimination in society so says the news again. Some banned from crossing river because of monthly periods. Interestingly, God put period in girls for reproductive cycle to be fruitful, multiply to replenish earth according to Bible. Functions of human body are God’s creation so people need proper education to learn to understand these female conditions. Modern times show deataile scientific knowledge on menstruation. So schoolchildren learn biology so know scientific explanation of periods. Period means a girl’s womb is prepared for child-birth each month. The girl’s body waits through ovulation cycle when egg is released to receive the seed/s to become pregnant and to have children. But since girls are too young to bear children and still in education they are not ready to give birth yet. So each month the egg from the fallopian tube is released waiting for conception in the womb. Since no pregnancy takes place, egg and womb linings are shed as the ‘period’ in preparation for repeat of this cycle each month. After birth a womb is still busy continuing monthly cycle until menopause when period stop. A natural of fertility cycle of girls is being used as religious discrimination against young innocent girls. The tradition of outhouse for periods exists in cultures all over the world to keep girls in a special hut.

hqdefault (1)

The concept of sacred ground of homes and rivers is used to put girls in special huts for exclusively the periods. Elderly women train girls in personal hygiene and after periods they go back to family compounds. The idea is found in Bible too so women are considered “unclean” from sacred spaces during periods. And must have purification baths and must abstain from intimacy during periods. In some places menstrual cups, pads or special cloth is used by women during periods. For those not going through the periods they are allowed to cook, clean and do chores. Those in periods cannot enter the family compounds until after periods. In places where a girl is safe, warm and nearby home period is time of “break and rest” for the girls. Those isolated in places exposed to elements is unsafe, cold, some are at risk from the elements and animals roaming around. Girl’s education is interrupted so do not go to school. If they to ask teachers to be excused from classroom to change in school toilet, i can be embarrassing to tell male teachers such details by girls. So it was concluded by some societies to exclude them during periods. Education is not continued and so school work lags behind when in the hut. No lessons or homework given for missed classes and some it is assumed must not touch other things to ‘contaminate’ it. This why girls in periods are banned from the homes and school still an issue in some places. Other issues of sanitation or washing of cloth or disposing of used pads in home is of concern too. Often a sight of blood is considered sacred to must not touch or taint home or certain holy places. It is necessary to educate people periods are like any normal health experience. Talking-To-Boys-About-Puberty-Periods-And-Girls

Homeschooling during period if this is possible can be set up by the schools to ensure education of these girls are not compromised. Homework can be given but this idea is not popular so girls are affected. The elders making laws need to understand value of a girl’s education often misconstrued as waste of time or money. They say, after all girl’s just end up in kitchen so less education thought as easy way to control girls. This issue has several underlying causes needing to be addressed for the human rights of girls to have periods without attack on their education. In addition the societies can learn from others in other parts of the world on how a girls’ periods does not interrupt education. To some extent social stigma is attached to periods so a natural mood swings and mood changes or pain responded to as ‘oh it’s that time again.’ On other occasions, even if girl is not in their periods is assumed they are always daily going through the periodic cycle. Girls not allowed to touch certain objects in extreme cases even the Bible considered too Holy if in period. Periods-in-Developing-Countries-Header-1Period matters need to be dealt with very carefully in harmony with views of community which associated, interprets lack of rain or good harvests as results of human actions and behaviours. The people who are aware notice changes in the girls during periods so may feel it is inappropriate to socialize in that state. It is awkward for some men unaware of real meaning of a girl’s monthly cycles. Whatever methods girls choose or are available to that society, the well-being of girls must be ensured. Organisations can support by donating their essential personal hygiene items too expensive to buy in some places. The disposal must be done discreetly so the used pads not dragged by dogs from local damp sites. These needs are beyond young girls to meet by own efforts. So discrimination against girls must be reconsidered to stop ‘gods’ harrassing girls to realise God  ALMIGHTY created girls in HIS IMAGE to reproduce on earth.

hqdefault

Psalm 115:5 says gods have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes but not see so are just man-made idols in Habakkuk 2:18, 1 Kings 18 :26. God ALMIGHTY in the heavens demands veneration by people. Psalm 135:16 says gods have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but not see. A born again Christian believer in Christ is to practice WORSHIP of God only. Christ Shed His precious Blood to cleanse all people including girls in their periods. Believers cannot partake in any idolatry of gods or heathen practice if they claim to be saved. In the 21 century education available to bring an awareness and the relevant knowledge. This issue must be resolved properly to stop picking on the girls going through periods. It is not the fault of girls to put up with natural cycle tolerated monthly with no choice or any control over natural period issues.2-infographic-education God’s plans and purpose for girls is for birth of mankind so must be celebrated not punish girls for being in periods. In addition, a community’s actions are also known and seen by God who will hold decision makers accountable. So read Revelations 19:15 about God’s dealings with leaders in society. Isaiah 44:18 says gods know nothing, understand nothing their eyes do not see. They do not know or understand anything. God shuts their eyes so they cannot see; and so have no knowledge. Those who carry about their idols or pray to gods are like them. The Bible in Psalm 115:5 says those who are praying or praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, stone do not know Jehovah God. Children’s rights activists hit out at traditional leaders banning girls from crossing river while they are menstruating from going to school._99558170_b239af05-8ed2-4257-8153-64b56e998a53Yet Krobo girls in Somanya Ghana are dressed and taken to the riverside for Dipo bath rites. Any girl who dresses in this way is identified as ‘dipo-yo.’ On the Saturday morning the girls have ritual bath (aya-pa) at the riverside. The girl’s calabash contain sponge so proceeds to Srendor (stream) for spiritual bath. The chief priest is told when girl has period for the first time and grouped together with other girls. They are checked to be ensure they are virgins. After that they have a ritual bath in the river and are dressed beautifully in expensive kente, beads on head and around body. The point here is the Dipo god seems to not mind puberty girls in river they literally are bathed in. Later paraded in town to celebrate them by the whole town. This great source of tourism and hospitality attracts people from all over the world. Books are written about this practice. kroboIMG_20180112_103548But in the central region Ghana girls have been banned from crossing the River Ofin by traditional leaders, who say they are enforcing what they call a “directive” from a river-god. Children have to cross the river to get to school in Kyekyewere, in Upper Denkyira East district in the Central Region of Ghana. This means girls cannot attend school while they are on their periods. It is not on period days: a second order from the river gods bans all girls from crossing river on Tuesdays.  Remember Jehovah created rivers and oceans so all are free to cross it. Unicef’s menstrual hygiene ambassador Shamima Muslim Alhassan told BBC directive violates girl’s right to education and freedom of movement.

It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they? Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”

Picture4-300x247

PeriodTalk-Cloud-600River Ofin serves as boundary between Ashanti and Central Region. Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan given indications to coordinate with Ashanti regional minister to find solution. In Madagascar some females are told not to wash during periods and in Nepal some women are forced to sleep in huts away from the rest of the family. Girls in other cultures face this problem since education is becoming compulsory in many countries. Many cultures have myths and taboos around menstruation globally. This must be demystified and debunked to intervene on behalf of young girls to benefit from education. Kweggir Aggrey said if you educate a boy or man you educate an individual but if you educate a girl or woman, YOU EDUCATE A NATION. And behind every successful man is woman so men must listen to women at home, community or in corporate boardrooms for the greater good of society and girls. Stop harrassing young girls all over the world and study reproduction biology. Elijah told people to follow God only not any idols in the Mount Carmel contest by calling fire down to burn sacrifice of Yahweh the real true God. God proved to the people HE has greater power than the idols. Again Gideon was also told to cut down idol shrine grove to build new altar for God and sacrifice cow to God on the new altar. Almighty God does not share His Glory with idols so demands a complete total loyalty because HE IS A JEALOUS GOD. He wants to be the only one people worship not a bit of God and a bit of idols. So school girls must attend school daily in their period, given pads, personal hygiene kit, discreet changing rooms facilities and water to wash with.  

 

EXPRESS MARRIAGE TRENDS

Sophy on her wedding day in traditional attireWith Valentine day approaching people are looking for love and romance for a form relationships. So couples celebrate established meaningful, love fulfilling a family bond. Others also ready to settle down prepare and advertise for love in new ways using social media, Facebook post and was married six days later. The marriage took place quite quickly than the normal traditional longer process of a family searching and taking years for the marriage to be finalised. CHIDIMMA AMEDU, did exactly that advertising for love and marriage on Facebook. He found a beautiful wife who said, ‘he is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.” Those who use Facebook come across pretty strange posts in their time. But this time however the random friends requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags allows “friends” to marry. Others clog up timeline with posts or photos you don’t necessarily want. But a Nigerian man took it to a whole new level posted unusual advert. Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking women interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.Chidimma Amedu on his wedding day

The proposal

“Am of age to and I am ready to say I do and am wasting no time. “Send in your applications – the most qualified will be married on January 6, 2018. Application closes 12 midnight 31/12/2017 he posted. He followed up with subsequent posts. ‘Am serious about this oh and don’t say you did not see it on time Good luck.’ He received a couple of responses, but one from Sophy Ijeoma is someone special who caught his attention. She wrote in her reply “Am interested, just DM me… lols,” her post read. At first, she thought it was a joke and she simply replied to keep thread flowing. A direct message from him to her inbox, followed by a Facebook call, would change her life’s trajectory. Chidimma placed the advert initially as a joke but became optimistic when Sophy said she was interested. So two days after their first conversation, he travelled some 500km (300 miles) from his home in the northern city of Abuja, to Enugu in the east where she lived. She had been waiting for him outside a retail store and in true fairy-tale style, “it was love at first sight”, she recalled. “He is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.”The couple on their wedding day in Igbo attire

After 2 hours of awkward conversation, he asked her to go to meet an uncle who incidentally is also resident in Enugu. So he asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said she thought it was all a bit of a joke but was excited about it and thought Chidimma was also quite an interesting character. “We got to the uncle’s house and he said: ‘Uncle, meet the woman I want to marry.'” Like Chidimma his family don’t seem to hang about when it comes to getting things done because uncle gave his approval. The couple are friends on Facebook for over a year but never spoken to each other before the advert. Getting family backing for your choice of spouse is an essential part of Igbo culture. Whereas picking your future wife from dozens of respondents to a Facebook marriage advert and marrying her in six days is decidedly not. At this point in their day-old relationship, it was beginning to dawn on Sophy that this fellow was not playing, but how do you commit to marrying someone you only just me. She would not comment on whether they had even shared as much as a kiss at that point, but maintained she was captivated by how focused, determined her new fiancé was. “When I saw him for the first time, I definitely found him attractive, but what I didn’t know was how serious he was about marrying me. “It was after we met the uncle and his wife, I realised that this could actually happen and I wanted it.”A family member felicitate with the couple

The engagement

It was now her turn to worry about how she was going to get the approval of her family to marry a guy she had just met on Facebook. But they had momentum going for them. Having met and fallen in love at first sight, or first message, if you like, and getting Chidimma’s uncle’s approval, couple decided to complete the cycle by visiting Sophy’s family the same day. Approval from the family is essential in Igbo tradition and Sophy recounted how she relayed information to her mother. Her dad passed away, and her mum said she did not have a final word in terms of giving approval for her to be married, so up to Sophy’s elder brother to give his blessings. It appears the odds firmly in their favour as Sophy’s brother gave his blessings too. So after a few questions from her brother it became official. Chidimma and Sophy were engaged to be married in six days.The happy couple cutting their cake

On the rebound?

Last year Chidimma was engaged to another woman and the wedding was scheduled for December, but then that relationship fell apart in March leaving him dejected. As December approached, the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his dream of getting married made him put up the post, he said. In wedding it was a blend of old and new “I had the desire to get married, had date in mind, but no bride, decided to place an advert as a joke, but I was open and up for it.”  Asked whether she knew about earlier engagement and her thoughts on how this seemingly rushed marriage might be seen as a rebound, Sophy dismissed any suggestions that her relationship was not well thought through. “I don’t care about that when you see what you want, you go for it.” They are friends on Facebook for more than a year, but had never met or spoken to each other until the advert. Am interested just DM me… lols” was all it took for the union to be formed. Sophy admitted her friends were sceptical about the whole thing, while some are still in disbelief, but as she said: “When you see the one, you will know he is the one.” And they got married on 6 January in a traditional Igbo ceremony, and posted photos of wedding day on Facebook of course to the amusement of the social media community. Chidimma put up a post saying people may have thought he had been joking but clearly wasn’t. And as expected there was mixed reactions, but mainly a lot of support for the couple. They hope to have a church wedding in April and honeymoon somewhere nice.

GUILTFREE WAYS TO SAY NO

Saying No for the Sake of Your Wallet

Request: A friend in need asks for loan.
What you should say: “I wish I can but as a rule, I don’t lend money to friends.”
Why it works: So its clear you did not single out this person as untrustworthy.

You shouldn’t feel guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause problems, says the communications trainer Don Gabor. It changes nature of relationship if the person doesn’t pay you back.”
Avoid the situation in the future: Never lend money to friends, you won’t get reputation as a Mobile Bank ATM. 9f8eab4c34bbdd4065c5809378443d16

Request: A coworker wants you to chip in $25 for gift for colleague you would not recognize at the watercooler.

You should say: “Oh, I’ve never really had a conversation with Ian. I think I’ll wish him a happy birthday in person.”
Why it works: Chances are, the person taking donations has no idea how close you are (or are not) with the intended recipient. By clarifying nature of your relationship emphasises intention to get to know the person better. So you come across as thoughtful rather than cheap.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: A gift is not a gift if an obligation, says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: If workplace gift giving is getting out of hand, take the lead in restoring sanity by circulating a card before someone can break out the gift-donation plate. Make sure others know you don’t expect anything on your birthday.How-to-say-no-to-your-boss-politelyRequest: Your third cousin asks to bring her boyfriend-of-the-month to your $150-a-plate wedding reception.

What you should say: “We’ve already had to make so many tough decisions to get the guest list down to size. We really can’t squeeze in/afford another guest. But I would love to have you two over for drinks sometime so I can meet him.”
Why it works: If you illuminate some of behind-the-scenes planning, cousin may get clue of inappropriateness of request.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: It’s your party and your pocketbook, says author Patti Breitman.
Avoid the situation in the future: Make calls before you put together the guest list to see the new additions you should consider as you plan.sayno

Saying No for the Sake of Your Time

Request: You are offered a promotion that you don’t want. Though it means more money, it demands more hours or more of what boss calls responsibility and you call tedium.
What you should say: “I’m flattered that you want me, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on. Perhaps in a year from now things will be different. Can we talk again if my circumstances change?”
Why it works: If in enviable dilemma boss will understand you have personal priorities that take precedence.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: By saying no to more time at the office, you’re saying yes to other things you cherish, long walks alone at sunset or evening time with your children.
Avoid the situation in the future: “If a position opens up at your workplace, you could let it be known that you are not in the running,” Breitman suggests. Being forthright saves your manager the trouble of pursuing a candidate who isn’t interested.maxresdefault (4)

Request: You are asked to coordinate bake sale again at your child’s school.
What you should say: “I know I am going to disappoint you, but I’ve decided not to volunteer this year, because I will feel stressed. Is there any way to get some of the other parents to step up?”
Why it works: People feel manipulated into doing something like The ice cream social won’t happen without your help! If address the problematic pattern of one person’s doing all the work, you sidestep manipulation. If you say no, it force others never get asked to say yes.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: “You’ve done your fair share, and now others can do this job,” says Robinson.
Avoid the situation in the future: Encourage school leaders to present the problem to all parents,” says Robinson. “If people know an important program may fail, usually remedy situation.maxresdefault (3)Request: If invited to distant relative’s annual Lobster Lua, 14th year in row.

You should say: “I’ve really had fun in the past, but I can’t make it this year. That week is already packed for me.”
Why it works: “You’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t sound like a personal rejection,” says Robinson. “And you’ve asked for understanding, based on your need to take stress out of your schedule. Everyone can identify with that.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You have only so much free time―and so much tolerance for flying lobster goo. “Don’t R.S.V.P. yes, then back out at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all,” say Izzo and Marsh. “That is the least decorous way of handling invite.”
Avoid the situation in the future: In a note, thank the relative for thinking of you and explain that because you tend to be busy at this time of year, he should feel free to take you off his invite list.maxresdefault (2)

Request: Boss asks you to supervise this season’s intern last seen with feet up on a desk, iPod on, Gameboy in hand.
What you should say: “Wow, that’s an interesting project. I’m really busy with the ABC assignment right now, so let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.”
Why it works: “Asking boss to prioritize tasks for you means so do not have to actually say “no,” Breitman says. If told to just squeeze the new task in, then do it. But keep a list of all the extra work you’ve done for your next review.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: You really do have enough work to do as it is.
Avoid the situation in the future: If extra tasks keep getting dumped on your desk, ask your boss for a meeting. Explain that the added assignments are making it hard to do your primary job properly. Ask if she wants to review your job description and renegotiate your salary while she’s at it.  AAEAAQAAAAAAAANxAAAAJDczZjg2NDEyLTE1Y2QtNDllNi1hNjIwLWY2MzgyYzc0YTA2Mg

Say No for the Sake of Your Sanity

Request: A friend asks to borrow car because own in shop to repair dent got while driving, talking on phone, and unwrapping juice-box straw.
What you should say: “I do not lend anything worth more than $1,000.” Try to avoid “I don’t have insurance for a non-family member, insurance policies cover the car, not specific drivers. If friend got into accident, it could make your premium go up. If you have time, offer her a ride instead.
Why it works: “Avoid blame on you,” explains author Patti Breitman. “Don’t indicate you don’t trust the friend.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “Your car is probably the first or second most valuable thing you own,” says Breitman. “You’re protecting a big financial asset.” Plus, if friend gets accident relationship might be totalled, too.
Avoid the situation in the future: Let your friends know that while you’re typically a generous lender (“Of course you can borrow my snorkeling gear!”), your car is off-limits. Say-NO-pic

Request: A guest offers to bring seven-layer dip to party. But doesn’t really go with Greek theme you planned.
What you should say: “What a kind offer thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about? Be nice and ask to bringing something, like bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.
Why it works: Acknowledging the offer of generosity let person know did all they could. If the person has dietary restrictions so cooking difficult for you, relent and let bring a dish to eat.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Person offered to be courteous. Saying no, you gives license to relax, enjoy hospitality.
Avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).thumbs-down

Request: Future sister-in-law wants to throw baby shower you don’t want fuss.
What you should say: “I really don’t want a party, but thank you so much for offering. Why don’t we splurge on visit to a day spa instead?”
Why it works: “Not everyone likes a party in honour or wants to be center of attention with a paper plate of bows on her head,” says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh. Unless she has her own agenda, she should understand.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “If you decline, you are taking away pleasure from the people who care about you, but it is occasion to shout about or be quiet about,” say Izzo and Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: Announce what you would prefer to do instead of a shower before anyone offers to throw one.

 

COCONUT OIL SUPER FOOD?

CoconutsCoconut oil classified is considered a superfood according toCoconut oil is high in saturated fatSales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from halitosis to digestive disorders. Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well. The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists. Coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%). The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL is known as “bad cholesterol” because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, saturated fats – which are particularly bad for you – also tend to raise HDL, “good” cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype? Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims. So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I’m a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial. The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics. With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels. We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil – that’s about three tablespoons full.

Type of oil or fat Polyunsaturated (%) Monounsaturated (%) Saturated (%)
Coconut oil 2 6 86
Butter 3 21 51
Lard 11 45 39
Goose fat 11 56 27
Olive oil 10 76 14
Rapeseed oil 28 63 7
Sesame oil 41 40 14
Corn oil 54 27 12
Sunflower oil 65 20 10

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy. And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons. The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks. On the other hand others think that Coconut oil ‘as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’ so the Diet debate: Is butter back and is sat fat good? They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight. Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and HDL (the “good” cholesterol) The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four. So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.Olive oil

Early Stages of Studies

But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, up by 15. On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is seen as particularly healthy. I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened. “I have no real idea,” she candidly replied. “Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans.” So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food? “I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects” she said. “This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted.” This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage. So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature. But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.

The new series of Trust Me I’m a Doctorcontinues on BBC2 at 20:30 GMT on Wednesday 10 January and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

DEPRESSED MUMS SINGING

Mum singing to babySinging speeds up’ recovery from post-natal depression. Singing helps mothers recover from post-natal or post partum depression more quickly study suggests. Researchers found women who took part in group singing sessions with their babies experienced much faster improvement in their symptoms than those who did not. The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 134 mothers with post-natal depression. Early recovery is seen to be crucial to limit effects on mother and baby. Post-natal depression is estimated to affect one in eight new mothers. And previous studies have indicated singing can help improve the mental health of older people and those with dementia, but this is the first controlled study of its effect on post-natal depression. The women were placed into three groups:Mother and baby music group
  • one took part in group singing
  • another took part in in creative play sessions
  • a third group received their usual care, which could include family support, antidepressants or mindfulness

The singing workshops saw the mothers learning lullabies and songs from around the world with their babies and creating new songs together about motherhood. And those with moderate to severe symptoms of post-natal depression reported a much faster improvement than mothers in the usual care and play groups. All the groups improved over the 10 weeks, but in the first six weeks, singing group already reported an average 35% decrease in depressive symptoms. The Principal investigator Dr Rosie Perkins said the study, although small, was significant because it was important to tackle the symptoms as quickly as possible. “Post-natal depression is debilitating for the mothers and their families. As research indicates some women think accessible singing with their baby helps speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” she said. The lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt at University College London, said singing is another useful therapy to offer women. babies with musical instrumentsMany mothers have concerns about taking depression medication whilst breast-feeding and uptake of psychological therapies with new mothers is relatively low,” she said. “These results are really exciting as suggests something as simple as referring mothers to this community activities could support their recovery.” Dr Trudi Seneviratne, who chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Perinatal Faculty, said: “It’s exciting to hear about the growing evidence base for novel psychosocial interventions like singing to facilitate a more rapid recovery for women with post-natal depression. “I look forward to more work in this area in the future, as it will be enjoyed by both mothers and their babies.”Since the study, Breathe Arts Health Research has started running singing workshops in partnership with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for women with post-natal depression across the south London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Community and socialising helps overcome isolation and loneliness of new mothers. The feel good factor of singing with the babies is definitely a win- win situation lifting the mood and going out of the home helps to lift their spirit too. Isolated mothers can organise own singing sessions with friends in communities and their babies benefit too from a calm, happy, relaxed mother. If child raising is recognised or considered as a valid hardwork and to celebrate mothers and carers the world will become a better and safer place. So families must be prioritised and to help mother’s like Finland pays both parents to raise their children. Depression is caused by loneliness, pressure, stress of modern living without extended family support and children become depressed too. So it is good news to help mother’s and also to improve motherhood as an honourable collaboration with God’s idea to multiply to replenish the earth.