KBR Mom and social worker
Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe, MSW, LCSW
618-402-4400 kbradcliffe@gmail.com

KBR Mom and social worker

We all need the challenge

by Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe on 10/14/15

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to face down a challenge I had set for myself- an Olympic distance triathlon. While I felt firmly entrenched in my active lifestyle, having run a few half marathons and plenty of Sprit distance races, I had known a few months before that I needed something more. I wept tears of relief and joy when I finished well under my goal time, carried over the line by these two amazing kids. I pushed myself in a way that I never thought I could before. It is exactly what I aim to do to each and every person, adult and child, who is brave enough to bring themselves to my office. We all need a challenge to grow, blossom and become a better version of ourselves. I am thankful I had this as one of mine. 


by Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe on 05/27/15

Our children, young people, even ourselves are existing in a world where our accessibility to information, our ability to connect is constantly evolving and changing. The 24 hour news cycle, the lack of ability to escape is complicated to say the least. But as a counselor with many young people, I see a level of complication that is more profound than I think many of us realize. Yes, there are positives in people being able to find  their "tribe" no matter the time of day or night, no matter geography; but there's also a truly negative side. I won't belabor the point that bad things can happen when people hide behind the anonymity of the internet. I chose, here, instead to share the amazing Rachel Simmons Commandments. I wish I could take credit, but I implore you to simply read and absorb. Whether we be teenagers, young people or parents existing in this world, we can learn from these.

1. Thou shalt be the same decent person online that thou art offline. If you wouldn't walk up to someone and say, "Your hair looks crazy," don't type it either. 

2. Thou shalt never judge someone's appearance negatively in a comment, even as a joke. 

3. Thou shalt not post photos of people that they don't know about, don't want you to post, or might find embarrassing. If you are asked to remove a photo, do it immediately. It doesn't matter if you think it is funny. 

4. Thou shalt remember that "JK" can be just as hurtful online as it is offline--"OMG your vacation looks so boring haha"--and people are way less likely to think you were kidding when they can't hear your tone of voice. 

5. Thou shalt realize when you post something online, everyone sees it and it doesn't go away. It's like walking into a crowded cafeteria with a bullhorn and a poster size photo. Don't want to do that? Kay.

6. Thou shalt remember that everyone worries about getting likes. You matter more than the number of likes you get. Promise. 

7. Thou shalt not crop others out of photographs to exclude them, unless they are your Mom and you want to post a cool photo of yourself. 

8. Thou shalt never create anonymous handles or jack anyone else's account. Untag yourself from rude photos or comment threads. 

9. If thou art in middle school or younger, keep your settings private and only accept follows from people you know. 

10. Thou shalt not ost photos that share body parts normally covered by bathing suits. However, thou shalt rock your selfies early and often, accept compliments without putting yourself down and enjoy celebrating the fabulousness that is you. 

Thank you, Ms. Simmons. May we all pay attention. 

15 Things for 2015

by Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe on 01/12/15

As the moment of 2015 opening are upon us, the second semester of school begins for kids and winter is baring down on so many of us, I found myself deep in thought on many issues, some bigger than others. In the early days of this barely here year, I saw so many posts, blogs, etc. pointing to resolutions for 2015. Not being one for resolutions, per se, I thought I would put out instead a list of things at the forefront of my consciousness- and what I want us to talk about and deal with all year long. So, albeit a bit random,  here goes. 

1. I want to be a better, more patient mom. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff with W and K. 
2. Anxiety is REAL and is not simply about someone choosing not to refusing to do something. It is debilitating and deserves our respect and attention. 
3. All kids could use more social/emotional resources in schools. I tend to think we do a pretty good job, locally, with the kids who require special education services, but less for those who wouldn't meet those criteria. 
4. Another half marathon on my calendar doesn't mean I am gunning for greater speed, gearing up for a full marathon or planning to advance in Tri distance. Just another way to show my kids I can do something that scares me. 
5. Depression is REAL and is not simply about a lack of motivation. It is debilitating and deserves our respect and attention. 
6. Women can be better to each other. We can all judge less, accept difference regardless of age. 
7. OCD is not always about clean hands. It is far more complicated, and should be treated that way. 
8. Junior high and middle school are legitimately some of the ugliest times in a person's life. We as adults should be paying attention, be aware and hold kids accountable. 
9. We and our children could all do better about taking responsibility for our behaviors and accept consequences of our choices. Life happening is not always someone else's fault. 
10. "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." Maya Angelou
11. "Today, me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant then me will eat a cookie." Cookie Monster
12. Let go of the toxic and be more than you think. 
13. Quality can be (and usually is) far more important than quantity, especially in relationships. 
14. "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite." Nelson Mandela
15. We can make every day amazing, even if the amazing moment is small. 

Make this year another year where we all embrace our best selves and live every moment to its fullest. What others think is not important- what we feel about ourselves is what matters. 

What we need to be talking about

by Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe on 09/30/14

As I sit and wait for my evening's clients, I am listening to the calming voices on NPR. While the voices aren't grating, the content is. Ferguson, Ebola, ISIS.... disheartening. And while I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of issues such as these, I want to ensure we are not forgetting the real issues in our own back yards. 

First, the social emotional needs of kids are paramount to their readiness to learn. So much is going on in the lives and heads of young people, that rigid rules and strict adherence to Common Core standards can be incredibly stressful and anxiety provoking. Can we really expect kids to be ready to learn when their self esteem is in the toilet, a parent is inconsistent and often absent, or they are managing a significant mental health diagnosis? 

Second, Robin Williams' death gave us a gift. Silver lining in a tragic situation. He highlighted how even those who seem to have it all may be fighting with their own demons. We MUST continue the discussion of the seriousness of mental health as much as we do cancer. 

Third, there should be no shame in asking for or admitting the need for help. A parent who struggles with managing and responding to their child's anxiety shouldn't have to be ashamed that they or their child are talking with someone about it. No, I am not advocating for broadcasting our personal business, but there should not be judgment in the face of acknowledging a problem that is there. The idea of stigma needs to go away. 

Fourth, not everyone with the same diagnoses should be treated the same. People who are dealing with depression, may all be considered as fruit, but the flavor and experience are not the same for each piece. Apples and Oranges. 

Fifth, discussing mental health issues in schools will not automatically assume that it will lead to greater numbers of certain issues. Talking about self harm will not make someone self harm, acknowledging depression and anxiety will not make people more anxious or depressed. The pressures of youth are there, we need to do better by acknowledging them. 

I need to do better by sharing and reflecting on the issues I see every day in this practice. Call it a school year goal, but I pledge to do better. 

Panic at the bus stop

by Kristin Beckstrom Radcliffe on 11/13/13

This morning, the second in a short week, Wynne awoke continuing to nurse her nasty cold (here's hoping the rest of us don't get it). Bravely setting out for the bus, she donned her heavier coat, hat and gloves for the 28 degree temps. I found it curious she didn't protest as "the cool kids" didn't wear jackets, let alone hats and gloves to stay warm. Made me smile as I watched her turn and wave, first one side then the other. 

Returning back inside to get her newly 8 year old brother ready for his day, I snuggled him and got him into his now daily morning shower. Being upstairs, I didn't hear my phone and her panicked message left. After nearly 30 minutes, the bus had not yet shown up. As I listened to the message, she walked in the door, full of anxiousness about getting to school on time. 

For the record, think what you will, but this is one of those times I am glad she has a no frills cell phone. It gave her an ability to connect with me, to hopefully ease her worry. Alas, that didn't stop panic from setting in. As quickly as we could, Kaeden dressed and brought his pop tart to the car, getting us there in plenty of time. 

Every day, the unexpected happens. Curve balls are thrown in our days. This is just one of those moments where I realize for Wynne, the mental angst that occurs in seemingly small changes, is different than you or I. She projected at her brother and me, but was able to regroup enough to not let the incident disrupt her entire day or lead to a truly debilitating bout with anxiety. Progress has been made, but today, there was still panic at the bus stop. 

Willow Wonders