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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Are You Practicing The Best Parenting Style?

posted by Linda Mintle

s child sleepParenting is on John’s mind now that his second child has arrived. John was raised by a father who was harsh and demanding. John often felt as if he could not live up to his father’s expectations. Now a father himself, John is aware that his parenting style is becoming all to similar to his dad’s. He wants to make changes and asks, “What is the best parenting style?

Parenting styles tend to fall in one of four categories: (1) Parents who are authoritarian. These parents have high expectations. Rules are expected to be followed. Authoritarian parents don’t usually give children options and can lack warmth and nurturing. Their approach is, “Do it because I told you so.” (2) Authoritative parents also expect children to follow rules but are much more responsive and democratic in the process. Discipline is supportive rather than punishing. (3) Permissive parents have few demands for the child and rarely discipline. These parents act more like the child’s friend than parent. (4) Uninvolved parents have few demands or involvement. They can also be rejecting or neglecting of a child’s needs.

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Researchers have found that parents who are more authoritative in their parenting style have kids with fewer behavior problems, higher academic achievement, and less depression and anxiety. They tend to fare better overall.[i] This means the type A parent’s push for order and getting things done should be balanced with fun, encouragement, and support. The driven type A parent has to be careful to show compassion along the way and understand that success can look different for different kids. The danger with pushing too hard is that children begin to feel they aren’t accepted for who they are and learn to conform to your dreams, not theirs. The best thing is to understand your child’s temperament and help him reach his potential and passion, using a balance of pushing and accepting.

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Adapted from We Need to Talk by Linda Mintle (2015, Baker Books)

[i] D. Baumrind, “Child-care Practices Anteceding Three Patterns of Preschool Behavior,” Genetic Psychology Monographs 75 (1967): 43–88.

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Are You Genetically Predisposed to Worry?

posted by Linda Mintle

anxietySusan feels she can’t stop worrying no matter how hard she tries. She’s beginning to wonder if she is a born worry. She is asking, “Can worry be genetic?”

In 2007, Yale researchers found a gene variation associated with chronic worrying and what they call “overthinking.” The discovered “worry gene” is the result of a genetic mutation that predicts a tendency to ruminate (obsess over negative thoughts).[i] In fact, parts of the brain associated with planning, reason and impulse control show increased activity in worriers. [ii]

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Areas of the brain are linked along a circuit. The way the brain is wired regulates our response to danger and threatening events. For some people, that circuitry is more activated and causes more anxiety and frustration. This is the case with people who are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Swedish and German scientists also believe that two genes account for the development of fears that are not easily overcome in some people.[iii] Without overwhelming you with science, the point is that our genetic make-up interacts with the environment, causing some of us to be more susceptible to fear and anxiety.

Knowing this should help you worry less about why you worry! Having said that, I do not want you to worry about your susceptibility to worry! For those of you who do possess those now discovered anxiety genes, it still takes stressful life events to bring worry to the forefront. Having a tendency towards worry does not mean you will automatically become Chicken Little! But you may need to be more intentional when it comes to sending worry packing.

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Excepted and adapted from Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle (Harvest House, 2011)

[i][i] Melinda Beck, “When Fretting is in your DNA: Overcoming the worry gene,” Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2008, Health section, Online edition. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120035992325490045.html (accessed March 10, 2010).

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[ii] Stefan Hofmann et al., “The Worried Mind: Autonomic and Prefrontal Activation During Worrying,”Emotion 5, no. 4 (2005): 464.

[iii] Tina Lonsdorf et al. “Genetic Gating of Human Fear Learning and Extinction: Possible Implications for Gene-Environment Interaction in Anxiety Disorder,” Psychological Science, 20, no. 2, (2009), http://pss.sagepub.com/content/20/2/198.

 

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Does God Hide in Times of Trouble?

posted by Linda Mintle

worryWhen Christians are being beheaded in the middle east, when a man shoots people praying in a church, when young girls are taken and forced into sex slavery, when you are falsely accused or ridiculed for your beliefs, it often feels like God is in hiding. The psalmist wondered the same. He begins Psalm 10 by asking, “Why do you stand afar off, Oh Lord? Why do your hide in times of trouble?”

The psalmist sees the wicked prosper, the greedy renounce God and the absence of any thought of God. It appears the Lord is absent. I have felt the same way at times in my life–a diagnosis of cancer, the death of a brother, the wrath of an insecure boss…we could all come up with a list of times when God feels absent.

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During seasons of adversity, our trust is tested. It is during those times of adversity that the darkness of our heart is revealed and we appreciate God’s grace even more. Our thoughts are revealed–do we secretly wish harm to the person who is doing the injustice? Is our attitude one of wanting to take the person down or hurt back? Do our emotions of anger and hate get the best of us? Is forgiveness far off?

During trouble, our heart is exposed. Will we respond differently than those who do not claim Christ? Or will we trust God and allow Him to do the work needed in us?

Psalm 10 says that the Lord doesn’t hide or forget us in times of trouble. And while he may not deliver us from the adversity, he observes our troubles and grief and is our helper. He hears our cries and does “justice to the fatherless and the oppressed:that the man of the earth may oppress no more (v18).”

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The promise is for His justice. Everyone will answer to God one day. All wrongs will be righted!

So when it appears God is absent, remind yourself He is not. He is working on your behalf even though you don’t see the full picture. Only God has the full perspective–one reason it is so difficult for us to trust. And we prefer to focus only on the people doing the injustice, rather than the work God is doing in our own heart. Yet that is part we control and and can conform to the image of Christ.

 

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Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?

posted by Linda Mintle

secretI was in the grocery store and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well.

I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner or a friend. The answer to this begins with a question. How does it feel to find out a secret after the fact? For instance, do you really want to be surprised with a secret ten years into a marriage, especially one that may have impacted your decision to marry in the first place? Or do you want to hear about something very personal from a stranger in a public place? Revealed secrets become gossip fodder in the wrong hands.

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In my experience as a relationship therapist, keeping secrets usually backfires. Yes, secrets are difficult to bring out into the light, but keeping them sets the stage for heartache down the road. The hidden thing often surfaces later. Then the reaction is even more intense because now it is associated with dishonesty. Dishonesty makes the impact worse.

We keep secrets for all kinds of reasons. We may be afraid of disapproval. We may want to protect someone from hurt, or we may worry about their reaction. While you don’t have to reveal every thought in your head, keeping secrets about important issues is not recommended. Self-disclosure actually helps relationships and builds intimacy.

In our tell-all culture, where privacy is seriously lacking, discretion is needed. Be wise. Talk to the people involved in your secret, work on repair, and then carefully pray about whether or not this is something that needs to be shared with others.

Except from We Need to Talk by Dr. Linda Mintle (Baker Books)

Previous Posts

Are You Practicing The Best Parenting Style?
Parenting is on John's mind now that his second child has arrived. John was raised by a father who was harsh and demanding. John often felt as if he could not live up to his father's expectations. Now a father himself, John is aware that his ...

posted 7:00:20am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Genetically Predisposed to Worry?
Susan feels she can’t stop worrying no matter how hard she tries. She’s beginning to wonder if she is a born worry. She is asking, "Can worry be genetic?" In 2007, Yale researchers found a gene variation associated with chronic worrying ...

posted 7:00:57am Jun. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Does God Hide in Times of Trouble?
When Christians are being beheaded in the middle east, when a man shoots people praying in a church, when young girls are taken and forced into sex slavery, when you are falsely accused or ridiculed for your beliefs, it often feels like God is ...

posted 7:00:35am Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?
I was in the grocery store and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well. I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner or a ...

posted 7:00:25am Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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Happy Father's Day! I know not everyone has a great relationship with his or her father. However, this Father’s Day, I encourage to think about your father and find one thing he gave you as a gift. Some of you will think of many things, others ...

posted 7:00:16am Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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