Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Ways To Help You Deal with the Connecticut Shootings

posted by Linda Mintle

I’m sure we all feel somewhat traumatized and emotionally exhausted from the events that took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Our hearts go out to parents and loved ones who will begin to bury their children and friends due to those unthinkable events. Most of us are still trying to process how someone could do what was done.

So many questions have been raised.

How do you send you child off to school this morning given the events that just occurred?

1) Evaluate your anxiety as a parent. If you feel highly anxious, you will pass that anxiety on to your child. So get yourself together emotionally, calm yourself down and continue your normal routine.

2) Help yourself and your child with worried thoughts. If your child expresses worry, help him or her take that thought captive (What to Do With Worried Thoughts). The blog will go into more detail but basically you do this by acknowledging the worried thought, then replacing it with a biblical thought or scripture. For example, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Then pray for God’s peace. In my book, Letting Go of Worry, I have included a number of scriptures on worry, anxiety and fear.

How do you talk to your child about death and violence?   This blog offers specific strategies. 24 Ways to Help Children Deal with Fear

1) How much does your child know? If you child is unaware of the violence, you do not have to talk about it or only talk about it minimally.

2) Let your child take the lead. How much does he or she want to know? Allow him or her to ask questions and follow the lead. You will have much more information than your child so be careful not to go into details your child doesn’t want or need to know.

3) Consider the developmental level of your child. Young children may not grasp the finality of death or are just getting to understand the idea that someone is not coming back when dead. So you have to deal with the appropriate developmental level of your child in terms of explanations.

If you lost a child or an adult, know someone who did or lost a child at another time and this incident is triggering that loss again, read this blog: Coping with the Sudden Death of a Child.

To help with worry, anxiety and fear:

Peace During the Storm

Worried and Can’t Sleep

Scriptural Meditations When Terror Strikes

 

 

Coping With the Sudden Death of a Child

posted by Linda Mintle

The death of a child is one of the most difficult life events: Children are supposed to outlive their parents.

The painful loss of a child by sudden death is not something any parent ever wants to experience. It’s out of sequence and interrupts the normal family life cycle. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. However, when tragedy strikes, parents often find themselves asking specific questions. These questions are normal and part of the grieving process. Perhaps the most difficult questions for any person with faith is, “God, why?”

Children are the most important emotional focus in a family. They are extensions of us, representing our hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations. We want to give our children all that we can. We love and esteem them, and we can’t imagine our lives without them. Nothing can be as painful as losing a child, an event made even more horrible by the aspect of sudden death.

Most people view the death of a child as one of life’s greatest tragedies and challenges. Children are not supposed to die before their parents; it’s out of sequence. We expect to help our children grow and to launch them into the world. When they die suddenly, that launching never occurs, the family life cycle is interrupted and our dreams come crashing down.

The sudden death of a child brings on intense and prolonged emotional pain. Adjusting to a child’s death is more difficult than any other family life-cycle transition.

All members of the family are shaken and affected by the tragedy, and with sudden death, there is no anticipated grieving. Siblings are frightened, feeling lost and confused, and marriages come under tremendous strain. Sudden death raises apprehension about the future, brings on a sense of insecurity and is hard to grasp because of the overwhelming pain. Families who experience the sudden death of a child commonly ask several questions:

Did it really happen?

It takes time for the full impact of the loss to register. The initial reaction is disbelief, shock or numbness.

Could I have done something more—or differently?

“If only…” It’s normal to rehearse various scenarios in our minds as to how we could have prevented the death.

Am I worthy of living?

“What did I do to deserve to live?” This is known as survivor’s guilt.

Who can I blame?

When we experience anything out of our control, we want to blame someone or something as a way to make sense of it.

Why do I have to deal with all the medical and legal authorities?

At the time of a sudden death, no one wants to deal with questions from police, coroners, doctors, investigators and other officials. We feel they are invading our private moments of grief, and they are. Yet sometimes these intrusive questions are vital to obtaining needed information. We also feel a sense of morbidity when we deal with funeral directors, the county coroner and others trying to make funeral arrangements. These people are accustomed to murder and death. Sometimes they appear insensitive and uncaring.

Why can’t I talk to him or her one more time?

Obviously you can’t prepare for sudden death because you don’t know it’s coming. The last thing said may have been pleasant and loving. Maybe you were able to give a last hug, smile at your child or tell her you loved her. Maybe you had an argument, were hurried that morning, didn’t speak or had to discipline. Regrets and unfinished business are normal. Don’t dwell on them. It serves no purpose.

God, why?

It’s OK to ask this, and you will, many times. There is no easy answer. You may never know, and that’s the toughest part of saying goodbye.

5 Tips to Fight the Holiday Blues

posted by Linda Mintle

The holidays can bring overwhelming demands, over commitment, worries about finances, and unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, as a reaction to all the busyness, we find ourselves feeling down or little blue.

So how can you fight those down feelings?

1) Think balance and moderation. Excessive demands, extra commitments, overeating, little sleep and no exercise can all bring you out of balance and lead to feeling tired and irritable . Bring balance to a busy time by pacing yourself and slowing down enough to exercise self-care.

2) Don’t isolate. Make sure you don’t isolate yourself. A trigger for depression this time of year is isolating and avoiding people. Stay in touch with friends, people in your church and loved ones.

3) Participate in uplifting holiday activities. Go to a sing along, a caroling night, a church performance of the Messiah, a play. Churches have a lot going on this time of year. Attending the festivities will uplift your spirit.

4) Give to others. One of the best ways to feel better is to give. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take toys to the underprivileged, help with decorations at a school or church, offer to collect money for a charity, etc.

5) Monitor your thoughts. You can feel down if your thoughts begin to go negative. Don’t grumble and complain. If you focus on what is wrong versus what is positive, you will feel down. Take your thoughts captive. Think of things that are good, count your blessings and stay positive.

 

 

Healthy Strategies to Handle Marital Differences

posted by Linda Mintle

Joe and Rachel were fighting over a common parenting issue. Of course, both were convinced they were right because of the way they were raised. Differences noted, but they had to come to some agreement as to how to actually discipline their teen.

Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. But the way conflict is handled is important. Here are 6 ways to cultivate a healthy relationship when it comes to handling differences:

1) Identify your way and your spouse’s way of handling differences. For example, do you tend to rationally go at a problem and he tends to avoid? Joe wanted to listen to his teen daughter’s reason for disobedience before he decided her punishment. Rachel felt the reason was unimportant and was ready to levy the consequence. Both realized that their different styles had to be acknowledged. Then it was up to the couple to decide what to do.

2) Develop a compatible style of handling differences. An avoider and a fighter don’t do well together. If both of you avoid, you may do well because the styles are compatible.The same is true of two fighters, but when a fighter and avoider get together, accommodations in style differences will need to be made.

3) Choose a biblical model for handling differences. For example, look at Matthew 18: Go to the person, address the problem, bring in another person if you get stuck, etc.

4) Practice anger management. Review the guidelines in my Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness book. Anger is not wrong, but you can sin in the way you handle anger. For example, no shouting, name-calling, holding on to unresolved anger, etc.

5) Choose to forgive and move towards reconciliation.

6) Agree to disagree over the nonessential differences. Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply allow the differences. For example, rolling toilet paper up or down is not a life sustaining difference. if your partner does it differently, is it really that big of a deal?

Remember, differences are normal. How they are handled is what is important.

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