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Everything is not fine: Kids can tell when parents suppress their stress

New research finds that parents suppressing feelings of stress around their kids can actually transmit those feelings to the children.

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Photo by Juliane Liebermann from Unsplash.com

Stress is common in a family setting, especially when people are spending so much time together under stay-at-home measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. New research finds that parents suppressing feelings of stress around their kids can actually transmit those feelings to the children.

In a paper published in Journal of Family Psychology, Sara Waters, assistant professor in Washington State University’s Department of Human Development, and her colleagues studied interactions between parents and children between the ages of seven and 11. They found that children had a physical response when parents tried to hide their emotions.

“We show that the response happens under the skin,” said Waters, the corresponding author on the paper. “It shows what happens when we tell kids that we’re fine when we’re not. It comes from a good place; we don’t want to stress them out. But we may be doing the exact opposite.”

The researchers studied 107 parents, nearly half of whom were fathers, and their children. They first got baseline measurements from both parent and child, and asked each to list the top five topics that caused conflict between them. Then, they separated the parents from children and asked each parent to perform a stressful activity, like public speaking, to activate the physiological stress response system.

Next, with the parent suitably stressed, they brought the child back in and asked them to have a conversation about the topic that ranked highest on both of their conflict lists. Half of those parents were asked to suppress their emotions during the conversation.

The interactions were all filmed and scored by third party viewers who didn’t know which parents were in which group. The parents and children also had sensors on their bodies to measure the physiological responses.

They found that for the groups suppressing emotions, both parents and children were less warm and engaged with each other.

“That makes sense for a parent distracted by trying to keep their stress hidden, but the kids very quickly changed their behavior to match the parent,” Waters said. “So if you’re stressed and just say, ‘Oh, I’m fine’, that only makes you less available to your child. We found that the kids picked up on that and reciprocated, which becomes a self-fulfilling dynamic.”

In the study, mothers in the control group did not transmit their stress to their children. But, for mothers asked to suppress their emotions, their children exhibited more signs of stress, both physiologically and externally. It wasn’t the same for fathers.

“We found that moms and dads were different,” Waters said. “We were looking for a physiological response, but there wasn’t one in either the control or the experimental condition where dads transmitted stress to their kids.”

“We think that fathers not transmitting their suppressed stress may be because, often, fathers tend to suppress their emotions around their children more than mothers do,” Waters said. “The kids have experience with their dad saying things are fine even when they’re not. But it was more abnormal for kids to see their mom suppressing their emotions and they reacted to that.”

The more out of control parents feel, and during a global pandemic that feeling is likely exacerbated, the stronger they have an impulse to reassure their kids that everything is ok.

“Research shows that it’s more comforting for kids to have their feelings honored than just be told ‘It’s going to be fine,'” Waters said.

For instance, if a child tells their parents it sucks not to see their friends anymore, don’t immediately try to fix that problem, Waters said.

“Just sit with them and give them a chance to regulate those emotions on their own,” she said. “Try not to show that you’re frustrated with them, or solve their problem. And try to do the same for yourself, give yourself permission to be frustrated and emotional.”

Waters said her biggest fear with this study is it will cause parents more stress.

“We don’t want this to be another thing that parents stress out about when raising their kids,” she said. “It’s not that you are screwing up–but honor your feelings and your child’s feelings. Be brave enough to look at it. Kids will work their way through it; they’re good at it. Giving yourself permission to feel opens up your mind to more and better problem solving. It’s a good thing.”

Waters published the paper with Tessa West of New York University, Helena Karnilowicz of the University of California, Berkeley and Wendy Mendes of the University of California, San Francisco.

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DKSH, LEO Pharma partner to deliver products, solutions to people with skin conditions, thrombosis

DKSH Business Unit Healthcare, a leading partner for healthcare companies seeking to grow their business in Asia and beyond, has partnered with LEO Pharma to bring high-quality therapeutic products for dermatology and thrombosis to patients across Asia.

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DKSH Business Unit Healthcare, a leading partner for healthcare companies seeking to grow their business in Asia and beyond, has partnered with LEO Pharma to bring high-quality therapeutic products for dermatology and thrombosis to patients across Asia.

Partnering in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the two companies seek to solidify brand presence, grow market share, and ultimately improve patient health outcomes in the region. Skin diseases can cause serious physical and social discomfort for millions of patients around the world whereas thrombosis can affect anyone regardless of their age, race, gender, and ethnicity.

DKSH will support LEO Pharma by building dedicated sales and marketing teams on the ground in Asia and managing logistics and product distribution in these markets. The firm’s experienced teams and broad distribution network will ensure LEO Pharma products reach modern trade, traditional trade, hospitals, clinics, and other medical channels, as well as patients in need across the region.

LEO Pharma is a global company dedicated to advancing the standard of care for the benefit of people with skin conditions, their families and society. With decades of research and development to advance the science of dermatology, LEO Pharma now offers a wide range of innovative treatments and therapies for all skin disease severities as well as thrombosis.

Khalid Aouidat, Vice President, responsible for commercial activities in Southeast Asia at LEO Pharma commented: “At LEO Pharma, we are dedicated to changing the standards of care for people with skin diseases by bringing new innovative treatments forward and making them easily accessible. Supporting this ambition, we are delighted to be partnering with DKSH. Their experience and strong regional footprint in Asia, as well as their marketing and sales expertise will help to further strengthen LEO Pharma’s brand and its continued growth.”

Bijay Singh, Head of Business Unit Healthcare at DKSH, said: “We are committed to enriching people’s lives and improving healthcare for all. The partnership with LEO Pharma strengthens our ambition to become the preferred partner for clients to help patients in Asia to have better access to high-quality and innovative products and solutions. While we drive their growth across the region, LEO Pharma can focus on researching and developing products and solutions for people with skin conditions.”

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Epson partners with WWF, launches mangrove restoration project in Palawan

Epson, which has previously supported the development of WWF-Philippines’ virtual museum Museo Kalikasan, is now supporting the Mangrove Restoration Project in the municipalities of Balabac and Bataraza, Southern Palawan.

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Epson Philippines’ partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines for marine ecosystem restoration has officially kickstarted with a ceremonial launch in Balabac, Palawan. Supported by project stakeholders such as the European Union delegation to the Philippines and local government officials, the project launch highlights the importance of rehabilitating mangrove sites, recognizing their critical role in marine biodiversity and protecting coasts from erosion and storm surges.

Epson, which has previously supported the development of WWF-Philippines’ virtual museum Museo Kalikasan, is now supporting the Mangrove Restoration Project in the municipalities of Balabac and Bataraza, Southern Palawan. As part of the wider European Union-funded Ocean Governance Project—an initiative focused on strengthening habitat resilience through restoration in the Sulu Sulawesi Seascape that covers the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia—the joint mission in Palawan aims to boost local capacity in taking care of the mangroves, as well as address other critical issues such as plastic waste management. With Epson as a key partner, the Mangrove Restoration Project was able to expand beyond Balabac and into the neighboring municipality of Bataraza. In addition, the growing relationship between Epson Philippines and WWF-Philippines only further drives Epson Philippines’ commitment to support sustainable innovations and initiatives to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

“Corporations have a shared responsibility in sustainable development,” said Eduardo Bonoan, Epson Philippines’ General Manager for Marketing Division, who shared his remarks virtually during the project launch. “As Epson continues its commitment to sustainable innovation and environmental responsibility, we believe in forming critical partnerships with organizations that are aligned with our values—such as WWF-Philippines.”

To further the goals of the Mangrove Restoration Project, WWF-Philippines will continue to work with local government and key stakeholders such as Epson Philippines to establish a ‘Community Learning and Innovation Hub’ that aims to bridge knowledge gaps and strengthen coastal communities’ experience in resource management, thereby helping to build local capacity.

“It is important that we continue to protect and manage Balabac’s valued mangrove forests to boost our efforts in keeping a healthy environment and supporting local livelihoods,” said Balabac Mayor Shuiab J. Astami, who officially launched the project in Balabac Island.

“We are excited to be part of this multi-stakeholder effort that will restore critical mangroves in Balabac, Palawan and improve the way their coastal resources are managed for the long haul. We strongly hope that this project will succeed and serve as an example for many other communities,” said Executive Director of WWF-Philippines, Katherine Custodio.

Moving forward, Epson aims to continue setting a more sustainable example for corporations across the region.

“Working alongside governments, local champions and conservation organizations, we are proud to be part of this public-private partnership that is aligned with our renewed Epson 25 Corporate Vision—which aims to enrich communities and help realize a sustainable society,” concludes Bonoan. ”We hope that this opens up a path for more sustainable partnerships in the future.”

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SM Green Finds is going beyond shopping

SM Supermalls President Steven Tan acknowledges that “People already know about the importance of sustainability. Their question is ‘What can I do?’ SM helps them find a way to make a difference.”

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When it comes to challenges as big as climate change, businesses and communities have to work together and consumers need to have concrete, practical options that can allow them to go green in their everyday life.

SM Supermalls President Steven Tan acknowledges that “People already know about the importance of sustainability. Their question is ‘What can I do?’ SM helps them find a way to make a difference.”

SM, the country’s largest retailer, is taking the lead in offering accessible eco-friendly options to their consumers through the recently launched Green Finds. Consumers simply need to spot items and products with a Green Finds badge.

The SM Green Finds initiative helps customers develop a sustainable lifestyle through affordable and easy-to-find eco-friendly products showcased in convenient pop-up stores.

These kiosks feature several green shopping options from 22 participating brands which includes SM Home, SM Fashion, Watsons, The Body Shop, Kultura, Baby Company, Ace Hardware, Supplies Station, Sports Central, Toy Kingdom, and Signature Lines.

Supporting local businesses

Many products featured in the Green Finds pop-up stores are made by local businesses. This is part of SM’s long-standing commitment to support Filipino small and medium enterprises—driven by its origins as a small shoe store in downtime Manila in 1958.

Today, SM works with almost 25,000 small and medium enterprises representing 27% of the total SMEs in the country. Aside from helping them reach consumers through several retail channels, it also gives free training on sustainability and social and environmental topics through the Green Movement Sustainability School.

Empowering consumers

SM is also offering multiple channels where consumers can pick out green items: from brick-and-mortar stores to online spaces.

“As the country’s largest shopping platform—with malls nationwide, the ShopSM website and app, and services like Personal Shopper and Click and Collect—we are in a unique position to make it easier for people to spot green finds,” says Cathy Ileto, VP for Corporate Communications, SM Retail.

“Our platforms empower consumers by giving them more choices, which drives the movement towards a green lifestyle.”

Community Engagement through the SM Green Movement

The SM Green Finds is part of a comprehensive program called the SM Green Movement, which brings together the customers, suppliers and partners, and communities in a joint effort to help protect the planet.

“The goal of the SM Green Movement is to get everyone involved in the effort to stop global warming and protect the planet,” Tan further stated.

For several years, SM has engaged the local communities in environmental programs. This includes recycling programs like Trash to Cash Market, SM Electronic Waste Collection, and coastal cleanups.

SM has also encouraged customers to use more eco-friendly transportation, through bike lanes and electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations in several of its malls.

Join the Green Movement

The SM Green Movement is a collective effort of SM, its customers, communities, and partners to promote green living, green culture, and a green planet. For more information, visit this website.

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