THE COUNSELING MOMENT
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THE COUNSELING MOMENT
(article) blog was featured as one of the:
See this link for details.
It’s sad but true—most of us will embarrass our kids at some point in our lives. Some relationships will be unaffected, as many teens just shrug off the goofy things parents do, but others will suffer because of your teen’s fear of what you’ll do next, and that’s what’s really at issue here.
If you fit into any of the following categories, please give these ideas some thought. You might want to consider some lifestyle improvements, teen style.
1. Yelling at them in public. If I were going to suggest you change any one thing you’re doing, I’d suggest you change this one. When you yell at your teenager in public, you do a great deal to damage their young hearts and minds. Your goal, I assume, is to raise a confident, successful person, and yelling at them and belittling them in public is a surefire way to create a weak, depressed, and dysfunctional adult.
You usually yell because you feel powerless, and that shows your teenager that you are out of control. So maintain your composure. If you feel like you’re going to explode, you should excuse yourself, take a break, and talk to them when you are more in control.
2. Dressing less than fashionably. This is a hard one. You’re busy; you don’t have time to keep up with all the fashions and shop till you drop. I understand, but if you are still wearing clothes you bought more than 10 years ago, you might just be causing your fashion-conscious teen to blush. It’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and judging appearances is so superficial, but it’s how we think as human beings. Whether you realize it or not, how you dress tells people how you want them to think of you.
3. Trying to be “cool.” A lot of parents hate the fact that they are getting older, and in order to forget it or to hide it, they act like teenagers themselves. Or at least they try. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a really cool mom or dad. But that means a parent who isn’t embarrassing and who is kind, friendly, non-invasive, and loving. It doesn’t mean a parent who dresses and talks like they’re still 22.
If you find yourself trying to entertain your kid’s friends or spending every weekend with the gang, then perhaps you’re trying too hard to be the kid and not the parent.
4. Being too loud and drawing attention to yourself and them. This is often closely related to wanting to be “cool.” Loud parents are an embarrassment because they are trying to draw all of the attention to themselves. This makes the child feel like they are being either upstaged or humiliated. When you draw attention to yourself by being loud, you are really saying to your child and the world, “It’s all about me! What about me? I need some attention.”
5. Being too affectionate in public. Adolescence is the time when kids are exploring the world. They are learning how to function as individuals, and when you are overly affectionate, you make them feel, and look to their friends, like a little baby. For teens who are learning to grow up and fend for themselves, this is a huge embarrassment. So save the affection for the privacy of your home, and help them make the giant step into adulthood by giving them their space in public.
6. Treating them like a little kid in front of their friends. When your child was a baby, you would wipe their face because they couldn’t do it themselves. But when you do that and other babying-type things now, you make them feel like they aren’t big enough to care for themselves. And as I’ve been saying, this is the time in your child’s life when they need to practice leaving the nest and flying solo. If they can’t take care of themselves now, then how will they ever do it when they are truly out on their own? So control yourself. Resist the urge to treat them like they are a kid in front of their friends.
7. Grilling their girlfriend or boyfriend—This one is totally understandable. When your teenager has a date, it’s good for you to know who they are dating. I don’t want to tell you not to do this, but it can really embarrass your teenager. Frankly, I think it’s something they’re just going to have to learn to live with, although there might be ways of doing it that are, say, more sympathetic than other ways.
8. Saying something stupid in front of their friends. This one is almost unavoidable … at least I know it is for me! Sometimes you’re going to put your foot in your mouth, no matter who you’re with. Just do your best not to be too unguarded with your word selection in front of the friends.
9. Drinking too much or doing drugs. This one seems obvious to most, but some parents feel like they have a right to keep on doing the things they’ve always done, including mood-altering substances. If this is you, I encourage you to get help. If you want successful teens, then consider the fact that if you continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, you will more than likely soon be estranged from your teen, who is at great risk of taking on the same behavior as you.
10. Not taking care of your body. No one said parenting was easy, so why would you be shocked that it might also include taking better care of yourself? Giving your child the gift of your health is priceless. If your body draws attention to your teenager, then I can almost guarantee you that they are embarrassed. Teens desperately hope to avoid situations that will make them look odd, and that includes having an odd parent.
Depression is a serious issue.
However, if we look at depression through a different perspective, especially a comic perspective, we can see another light side of it. I hope you find it inspirational. It sure has helped me see a new side of depression. Be sure to seek help when you need it. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you aren’t perfect. I just hope you can find some hope and inspiration through this as depression is not easy to deal with.
SOURCE: Living Free/Jimmy Ray Lee
People are usually not aware they are becoming codependent. They are trying to help, but too often they feel guilty because their efforts are not good enough to make the person they love change. Seeing that their efforts have not cured the person’s life-controlling problem, they just try harder. The misbelief they can “fix” other people leads to a painful cycle of failure and loss of self-worth. Codependent people can also feel guilty because they believe they did something to cause their loved one to go out of control. Children are especially vulnerable to this distorted, guilt-ridden thinking.
Christians can be unusually susceptible to codependency. We want to help. When trying to love others as Christ has commanded us, we sometimes slip into enabling behaviors that lead to codependent relationships.
In the above scripture, the apostle Paul teaches that the body of Christ should be interdependent. We are to be devoted to one another in love and honor one another, but we need to find balance. God does not want us to be codependent and center our lives around our loved one’s problems. But neither should we be overly independent and concerned only with ourselves. The healthy balance is to be interdependent. Christ is the key to finding a healthy balance in our relationships. We can keep our balance by making Jesus and his will central, by loving others, and by caring about them.
Be concerned about what is happening in the lives of others, but rather than entwining your life with their life-controlling problem, serve Christ and focus on him.
Lord, I want to help others, but sometimes I go about it the wrong way. Help me to find balance in my life. Teach me to have only healthy, balanced relationships, always keeping Jesus central in my life. In his name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Close—But Not Too Close by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.
“Ages and stages” discipline is based on normal changes in your child’s growth and behavior. Children’s behavior changes just like their bodies change—in predictable patterns.
Stages of growth build one upon another, like the circles in a “slinky” toy. Each child grows according to his or her own genetic “time plan,” moving forward toward maturity. As they grow, children switch back and forth between “comfortable” ages or stages and “uncomfortable” ages.
The comfortable stages come when they take in all they’ve learned—all the new and old pieces seem to fit together well. Uncomfortable stages are times of rapid growth and change. Change, for most of us, causes stress and anxiety—discomfort. A child in a time of discomfort may have trouble coping with day-to-day life, may seem extra-sensitive or may argue more.
However, some children are naturally more relaxed. They are easier to discipline, even if they’re at an “uncomfortable” stage.
Other children may be more difficult. They may have more stress at a certain stage of growth.
The Difference Between Discipline and Punishment
Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is about guiding children in ways that support their development of self-control. It is respectful, accepting and comforting. It enhances self-worth. Punishment is used to hurt. It focuses on the child rather than on the act or behavior.
Discipline is ongoing. It is the way you talk to your child, the way you treat your child, the way you live. It is how you help your children respond to the day-to-day events in their lives.
Examples of discipline for very young children include child-proofing cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom to keep children safe or putting fragile items out of reach.
For school-age children, making sure they have a good snack after school is an example of discipline that helps both them and you cope better with end-of-the-day fatigue.
Base Discipline on Your Child’s Development
Children change very quickly, especially in the years before they start school. Discipline that works at one stage may not work at another. A child of 2-1/2 is very different from a 3-year-old. At 2-1/2, many children are in an “uncomfortable” stage. They can be very aggressive one minute and withdrawn the next. A key to disciplining a 2-1/2-year-old is to use routines and avoid giving the child choices. By the age of 3, however, many children have reached a much more “comfortable” stage. Discipline at this stage can be much easier and relaxed.
Yet by 3-1/2 years the child may enter another “uncomfortable” time. He or she may have difficulty with changes.
The more you know about normal developmental changes, the more you’ll be able to guide children well. Knowing more about what they are going through also takes some stress off you as a parent.
Roadblocks to Good Discipline
The six biggest roadblocks to effective discipline are
The Effect of Negative Behavior Correction
If you treat your children with the same respect and kindness you offer a close friend, they will learn positive behaviors. Negative methods of behavior correction such as sarcasm, hurtful teasing, verbal abuse, humiliation and physical punishment do not help children learn positive ways of acting. Rather, they create angry children who do not feel very good about themselves.
Tips for Effective Discipline
Punishment is not a recommended way to teach children self-control. Here are some tips to help you discipline in an effective manner and avoid punishing actions.
Consequences can be natural or logical. Natural consequences let children learn the natural order of the world. For example, “If you don’t eat, you will be hungry.” Logical consequences are consequences that are arranged by the parents. For example, “If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the hamper, you won’t have clean clothes to wear to school.”
Consequences are used to teach responsibility and decision-making. The situation itself provides the lesson and helps to develop a sense of accountability.
Any kind of punishment done calmly is more effective than that done in anger.
Using Effective Discipline
Implementing effective discipline is not always easy and takes some practice. Don’t get discouraged! Remember, if you don’t get the results you want, think the situation through and try again.
Discipline is a positive experience that helps children learn to set and follow behavioral limits and develop self-control.
Discipline that Works: The Ages and Stages Approach
|Age||Development of Emotions|| Tips
|Infancy||Stable, well-balanced periods occur around 4, 16, 28, 40 and 52 weeks. Periods of imbalance occur often around 8, 20, 32 and 44 weeks.|| No discipline needed.
|18 Months||Acts on impulse. Is insistent, demanding. Not much trouble with own emotions, but has trouble with other people’s. Wants own demands met here and now. Not very adaptable or cuddly. Easily frustrated; attention span extremely short. Loves the outdoors and carriage/stroller rides.
| Doesn’t easily obey direct commands. Get attention by doing something child likes and wants to share. THINGS TO TRY: Pick up and put child where wanted. Distraction.
|21 Months||More demanding and less adaptable. Dependent. Has strong needs and demands, but cannot communicate them. May resist being touched.
| Need for great patience and wise assessment of capabilities; discipline is not the important thing at this age. Arrange to just get smoothly through the day. THINGS TO TRY: Most successful are physical; rearrange the setting to avoid problems. Talking to them usually doesn’t work.
|2 Years||Less demanding. More adaptable. Tends to be quiet and calm. Willing to cuddle and accept affection.
| Take advantage of child’s rituals, especially at bedtimes; use security items the child likes (thumb, blanket, etc.). THINGS TO TRY: Distract them or change the scene.
|2 1/2 Years||Great imbalance. Moves between extremes of aggression and withdrawal. Bossy, rigid, selfish, possessive, jealous. Likes sameness, repetition, predictability; changes are very hard, even minor ones; toys, etc. all have a “proper place.”
| Age of opposite extremes. THINGS TO TRY: Avoid giving choices. Avoid questions that can be answered by no. Use routines. Talk and work fast so child will be doing what is wanted before she or he has time to think and rebel. Anticipate difficult times or situations and avoid if possible; do not expect your child to wait for things or to share easily.
|3 Years||Often time of emotional calm. May be happy, contented much of the time. Gets along well with others. Likes others and wants to please them.
| THINGS TO TRY: Enthusiasm, good-will and common sense.
|3 1/2 Years||Difficult age. Is uncertain, unsettled, insecure, yet is stubborn, demanding, unwilling or unable to give in or adapt. Tends to be fearful, unhappy. Child’s big emotional struggle is with his/her mother (she is the only worthy opponent); enjoys talking/conversation; time of great motor uncertainty and fluctuating fine motor capabilities. At this age, children are much better with almost anyone other than the principal caregiver.
| Difficulty making changes. May be good in long periods of play, but very poor at changing from one activity to another. THINGS TO TRY: Simplify changes as much as possible. Avoid head-on clashes. Let him know he is great — the best child ever; emotions may be very fragile; may express fears or anxieties about the dark and animals — support these but do not encourage; use an imaginary companion to help get things done; heavy use of positive phrases: “let’s,” “how about,” and “maybe you could.” Give in when things aren’t important. Change subject or distract by bringing in something nice so child forgets to object.
|4 Years||Energetic, out-of-bounds. May go to extremes to test self against others. Often enjoys own impish, humorous ways. May be selfish, rough, impatient, loud. Loves adventure. Socially silly and larger-than-life manners may annoy adults.
|Delights in upsetting adults. THINGS TO TRY: Ignore profanity, boasting, super-silly way of talking, if possible; enjoy her silliness and participate; usually likes and respects boundaries and limits; bargaining works well; surprises are good motivators; whispering very effective; praise and compliments work wonders as does the simple art of conversation. Make few rules, but enforce these strictly.
|5 Years||Tends to be calm, quiet, well-balanced. Pulls in and usually tries only what he knows he can do, so is comfortably well-adjusted. Friendly, loving, appreciative, wants to please and do the right thing; wants and means to be good; not yet able to admit to wrongdoing and as much as he tries, does not always tell the truth.
|Let them know what is and is not reasonable to expect. Many things parents consider bad are often simplyimmaturities. THINGS TO TRY: Prevention is much better than punishment. If you punish, do so calmly. Child’s wish to be good and do the right thing is strong. With luck, there should be relatively little need for punishment.
|5 1/2 to 6 Years||Highly emotional. Not in good balance. Loves one minute, hates the next. Much confusion and trouble between self and others. May demand, rebel, argue, fight. When in good mood, is cheerful, energetic, enthusiastic. Needs much praise, but behavior often merits criticism. This only makes behavior worse. Not able yet to tell the difference between mine and yours.
|Age of extreme imbalance. May be very rude, resistant, defiant. Thrives on head-on clashes. Punish if absolutely necessary, but calmly. THINGS TO TRY: Patience and skill. Ignore refusal or be impersonal when child answers commands with “I won’t.” Praise — it may not be easy to find something to praise but try hard; avoid resistance and head-on collisions; sidestep issues if possible; bargain; give in on occasion.
|6 1/2 Years||Behavior quiets down for a few months. Usually relates strongly and warmly to adults close to them. Brief periods of being happy with themselves. Money is becoming of real interest both as an allowance and as a reward. Eager for more possessions.
|THINGS TO TRY: Small rewards for little chores or even eating a good meal. Give them “chances” to get a request done. Consenting and bargaining also work well.
|7 Years||Quiet, rather negative emotions. May be serious, self-absorbed, moody, worrisome, or suspicious. Very sensitive to others’ emotions. May feel disliked by others and that they are critical or poking fun.Procrastinates, has a short memory, and is easily distracted; often completely tunes out the outside world.
|Obedience problem may be because child is sidetracked. THINGS TO TRY: To have a simple chore done,tell child in advance. Be sure they heard the directions. Remind the child before he or she forgets and does something else.
|8 Years|| Vigorous, dramatic, curious, impatient, demanding. Not as moody as 7, but still sensitive. Very demanding of parents, especially mother; strongly influenced by her wishes and desires; wants time, attention, affection and approval; beginning to think abstractly; interested in and concerned about own possessions. Easily disappointed if people don’t behave as wished. Can be quite critical of others and self. Argumentative.
| Easily disappointed if what an adult says or does isn’t what the child wants. THINGS TO TRY: Give commands in ways acceptable to the child. Money is a good motivator, as are time, attention and approval.
|9 Years||Quieter than at 8. Seems to be independent, responsible, dependable, cooperative. May sometimes be temperamental, but is basically reasonable. May be age of considerable rebellion against authority; tend to go to extremes; will take criticism fairly well if carefully phrased; great interest in fairness; group standards may be more important than parental standards. Demanding of others, but likely to be as critical of self as of others. Very involved with self and may not hear when spoken to. May appear absent-minded or indifferent. Shows anger at parents, but is also proud of them, is loyal to family, friends. May show concern for others.
| Interests are beginning to spread beyond home and family. May resist feelings of being a little child and of being told what to do. THINGS TO TRY: Save direct commands for big important matters.
|10 Years||Emotionally direct, simple, clear-cut, usually well-balanced, yet still childlike. Less anxious and demanding than at 9. Most often good-natured and pleased with life. But may show sharp, violent temper. Can be very affectionate. Not a worrying age, yet a few earlier fears remain. Enjoys own humor, which may not be very funny to others. Happy age.||Tricks or specific and special ways of approaching a child are no longer particularly useful; involve the child’s ability to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong, truth from untruth; best technique is to know what is reasonable to expect.|
Source: Ames, L.B. (1992). Raising Good Kids: A Developmental Approach to Discipline. Rosemont, NJ: Modern Learning Press.
SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Living Free
“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” Song of Solomon 2:15 NLT
Sometimes it’s not big things that hurt a marriage. Your spouse may not have been unfaithful or abusive.
Any of this sound familiar?
You can probably think of a dozen things you wish your spouse would do differently. So how do you handle your frustrations? Do you calmly express your feelings to your spouse and talk it out? Do you let the little annoyances go by, forget them, and move on? Or do you keep track?
Don’t let the little foxes gnaw away at your marriage relationship.
Ask God to help you see things from your spouse’s perspective. Be open to talking out your differences. Don’t pick up on every one of your spouse’s “misdeeds.” We are all human. We all blurt out hurtful words without thinking. We all become me-focused at times. Learn to overlook the little irritations. Try to resolve the bigger ones. And in it all, walk in forgiveness.
When something happens that irritates you, think of it in light of your love for your spouse. Ask yourself, “Is it worth making an issue of this?” If the answer is no, choose to forgive and move on.
Catch the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of love!
Father, I know that in my marriage relationship I am sometimes too quick to respond in anger or frustration. Sometimes I find it easy to indulge in self-pity. Help me to have a more mature love. Give me wisdom in each circumstance. Help me know when to let go and move on. In the more serious situations, guide my actions. In every situation, help me walk in forgiveness. Help me not to allow the little foxes to spoil the vine. In Jesus’ name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Committed Couples: God’s Plan for Marriage & the Family by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.
SOURCE: Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 148.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave
your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to
your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
If you learn that someone has something against you, God wants you to take the initiative in seeking peace — even if you do not believe you have done anything wrong.
Q: What if I had no idea that I had offended Jim?
A: If you had no idea, then you’re not responsible. But if you learn or overhear or even get a vague sense that things aren’t quite right between you and Jim, then you are responsible.
Q: So I’m responsible to do what? Talk with Jim? Confront him? What?
A: We must remember that taking the initiative always has a goal — seeking peace. Peacemaking may begin with conversation and progress to confrontation. Then again, it may involve extending kind words or clarifying hurt feelings. There are many different facets, but the gem is called making peace. And the first step is to “go.”
Q: But what if I haven’t done anything wrong to Jim? To take the initiative seems so counter-intuitive.
A: It’s all a matter of obedience. The heart of the matter is not, “Were you right or wrong?” but “Will you be obedient?” God asks you to take the initiative in seeking peace. In this way, you are imitating God himself, who took the initiative to seek peace with you. Yes, it may feel counter-intuitive, but the ways that seem right to us oftentimes lead to death. God’s ways lead to life. It’s not just because He said so. It’s because He loves us so.