Saturday, September 26, 2020

Choosing Growth Rather Than Resistance to Reality Shifts

Reality shifts can happen slowly like the seasons changing or quickly like an earthquake. Either type of change can leave you feeling disoriented and unstable. How do you handle these uncomfortable feelings? How do you help your kids embrace the new reality?

Kids benefit from stability and structure. For example, having a consistent schedule creates structure in their days. Knowing what they will be doing and who they will be with each day provides a level of comfort.

What happens when their stable platform is rocked? It might be rocked by things like a new sibling, a move, a new school, a pandemic, or a divorce. How do you help your kids navigate through these changes? 

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Healthy Limits, Healthy Kids

One life skill all kids need to learn is how to set limits for themselves. You are their first teacher in how to set healthy limits.

While your kids may complain about your limits, these parameters provide a sense of safety. Your kids know where the boundaries are. They know you are strong enough to enforce those boundaries.

Setting limits is necessary in your role as a parent. Your kids will push back and resist at times. At this point some parents give in to avoid the stress of enforcing the limits. These parents have reported undesirable results like:

  • 3-year-old who regularly goes to bed at midnight
  • 5-year-old who only eats goldfish crackers and macaroni and cheese
  • 8-year-old who is obese
  • 11-year-old who is addicted to watching porn
  • 13-year-old who is up until 4:00 AM on the internet
  • 14-year-old who does not help around the house
  • 16-year-old who is failing classes

All these situations developed over weeks, months, or years. You can occasionally bend the rules. However, problems develop when you consistently don't enforce healthy limits. You experience the immediate relief of your child being satisfied but is it worth the future consequences?

Setting Essential Limits

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Raising Responsible Anti-racist Kids

Deeply rooted racism underlies many tragedies suffered by blacks. How are you responding to these tragic events? How can you raise your kids to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem?

Police brutality against blacks has long plagued the United States. Blacks are routinely ruthlessly murdered by police and armed white supremacists. Often these people get by with murder.

Black families are forever changed with the loss of their loved ones. Their lives are changed while the systems that permit whites to get by with murder remains the same.

Awakening to the Depths of Racism

The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 triggered a landslide of rage against police killing blacks. Floyd was being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. The police officer handcuffed Floyd and then knelt on his neck. Despite Floyd’s pleas for mercy. Despite Floyd repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. He knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes until Floyd died.

Watching the video of this horrific evil shook many people awake. Awake to the severity of blacks abused by the police and judicial system. Awake to the impact of systemic racism. Awake to the necessity of coming together and demanding change.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Being Reshaped Through Crisis

How is your family being reshaped by the pandemic? The pandemic has shaken apart what once seemed solid and left a mess of broken pieces. Schools and daycares have closed. Some work has migrated from the office to home. Jobs have ended. Lives have been lost.

Times of tremendous upheaval produce a rollercoaster of feelings. Hundreds of webinar participants were asked how they were feeling during this pandemic. The responses ranged from anxious, exhausted, numb, surviving to hopeful, adapting, learning, grateful.

How are you feeling right now? What’s going on when you feel your best? What are you doing when you feel your worst?

Paying Attention to Your Feelings

Feelings provide powerful information about what is going on within you. Your feelings follow your thoughts. When you are thinking about how much you love your children, you are likely to feel gratitude and appreciation. When you are focusing on the chores your kids haven’t done, you may feel anger and irritation.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Being Calm Amid Uncertainty

How good are you at being calm during times of great uncertainty? For most of us it’s not easy. It’s hard to remain calm when you are faced with financial challenges, a scary health diagnosis or a global pandemic.

Your thoughts about the situation effect your feelings. When there’s uncertainty, your thoughts can project a terrifying, horrendous future. Dwelling on your scary thoughts is a recipe for feeling overwhelmed, not calm.

Noticing Your Thoughts

What are you saying to yourself? Are these thoughts helping you or making things worse? Noticing your repetitive thoughts is the first step in altering them.

Whatever you focus on expands. Do you know what you are spending your time dwelling on?

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Carving Out Time for the Most Important Things

Being a parent means your days are filled to overflowing with all the tasks that are required to keep your family running: making meals, doing dishes, driving kids to activities, washing clothes and working. These daily duties can leave you with little time for doing fun things with your kids.

It’s easy to say things like:

  • “I’ll play a game with the kids tomorrow.”
  • “We’ll go fishing together soon.”
  • “I’ll bake cookies with the kids next week.”

The things that are the most important are also often the ones that are the easiest to postpone. The problem is that sometimes the delay is so long that you miss the opportunity. Your children will not want to have a tea party or play catch with you forever. They quickly grow up. If you want to share special times with your children, you must intentionally carve out the time to do these things.

Remembering the Good Times

Parents attending a seminar were asked to think back to their own childhoods and remember someone who loved them. They were asked how that person showed their love.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Responding Based on Emotional States

Recognizing emotional states is key to good communication. You need to know both your own emotional state and the emotional state of others. This would be a lot easier if people’s emotional states weren’t constantly changing!

Have you ever had a terrible morning because your child became upset over something? Perhaps your child felt rushed, couldn’t find the completed homework or didn’t want to go to school. Situations like these can spiral downwards quickly as tempers flare.

If you don’t recognize your child is not in a calm state, you can accidentally add more stress. It’s especially easy to ignore or misread your child’s emotions if you are not in a calm state yourself.

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