Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

24 Ways to Help Children Deal With Fear

posted by Linda Mintle

After the Columbine shootings and other horrific events that can raise fear in children, I wrote an article that included  24 ways to help children deal with fear. In light of recent events, this may be helpful to parents.

Coping With Children’s Fears:

  1. First know how you are coping. You will communicate whatever emotions you have to your children verbally or nonverbally.
  1. Do not overburden your children with too much. Make your discussions age-appropriate, listen and answer their questions.
  1. Don’t avoid talking about world events and how they impact us. This is your opportunity to present a biblical world view.
  1. Talk about good and evil from a biblical context. Children have been taught relativism which is anti-biblical. There is good and evil traced to two sources–God or Satan. The devil is real, his minions are real and there is a war with principalities and powers.
  1. Provide the hope God gives us to overcome evil through His son Jesus Christ.
  1. Pray for protection. Read Psalm 91 as a family, daily and claim that Word over your household.
  1. Engage in daily prayer times with your children. The stronger their walk with God, the more peace they will have.
  1. Teach your children where their confidence and hope comes from –read scriptures)
  1. Give your children a practical spiritual way to combat fear and worry–prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and then request (Phil 4:6-7)
  1.  When fear enters their mind, renew it with a verse– 2Tim 1:7. Tell the enemy you won’t listen to his fearful thoughts, tell him to leave and speak the name of Jesus. Fear will have to flee.
  1. Keep routines and structure going. These make children feel safe.
  1. Encourage creative expressions of feelings though music, art, dance.
  1. Take action. Send letters to firefighters, supplies to the homeless,etc. Show the love of Christ in tangible, sacrificial ways.
  1. Reassure them that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe and that God’s presence is always with them. They can call His name anytime they feel afraid.
  1. Limit exposure to trauma. Exposure to graphic images can cause psychological damage.
  1. Share feelings at youth groups and with fellow Christians who understand how to have overcome fear, hope in Christ, and pray for spirit-led direction and protection.
  1. Take care of your physical body with sleep, eating well, exercise and vitamins. Stress taxes the immune system. If you are an anxious person, cut out caffeine and stop smoking.
  1. Be physically affectionate with your children. Touch is reassuring and makes them feel connected.
  1. Continual renew your mind and theirs with the Word of God. There are so many scriptures (see attached) that help us cope and trust God in difficulty.
  1.  Practice relaxation exercises if you find yourself constantly tense. Then make time for laughter and play with your children.
  1. Talk about all the people who are helping and do good.
  1. Given all the talk about anger, you need to discuss that emotion and how to handle angry feelings. Anger is a God-given emotion but should never be used to hurt people.
  1. Also talk about forgiveness of those who hurt us. This doesn’t mean we agree with what they did or won’t try to stop them from hurting us more, but we can’t harbor unforgiveness in our hearts and must allow God to heal us.
  1. Watch how children play in the coming months. Young children tend to act out their feelings in play. You can redirect those negative feelings to appropriate responses.

 

Shame on ABC News! Making Tragedy Political

posted by Linda Mintle

Shame on ABC News for trying to make the horrific shootings in Aurora Colorado into a political issue.

Reporter Brian Ross on Good Morning America this a..m..

Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.

Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

If you don’t know, then why would you say such a thing and possibly risk an innocent man’s reputation?

Basic journalism 101 demands that a reporter verify at least three sources to corroborate facts.

I don’t usually get political on my blog, but I was so taken aback by these remarks, I had to write something. The deranged acts of a deeply disturbed individual should not be grounds for anyone’s political agenda–left or right.

Right now, 12 families are dealing with the unexpected, horrific deaths of loved ones! I can’t imagine how they are coping with the shock of their losses. The person who killed them was deeply disturbed. No sane person could premeditate such a crime, kill people and sit in the parking lot.

As the story unfolds, maybe news media could be less speculative and more factual–a refreshing change from the usual political language that both sides like to use to inflame tragedy.

Right or left, it doesn’t matter. Stop rushing to judgment and start reporting news!

Are Weight Loss Drugs Worth the Risk?

posted by Linda Mintle


This week, another weight loss drug, Qsymia, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug is a combination of a stimulant (Phenetermine) and an anti-seizure medication called topiramate. The stimulant decreases appetite and the anit-seizure medication has the side effect of weight loss.

This medication is approved for adults who have a 30 or greater body mass index (BMI) and those with a BMI of 27 or greater with one weight-related condition. So we are talking obesity, not just 10-20 pounds overweight.

And of course, there are the side effects– fast heart rate and metabolic acidosis (creates highly acidic blood that can end in coma or death in severe cases;  damage d  bones and  kidney stones; heart damage and birth defects–pregnant women should not use this medication).

So here is the question:

Is it worth the risk to take a medication to lose weigh? Here are four reasons to consider:

1) The risk is high. I’m been working in the area of weight loss for almost 30 years now and this makes me very uneasy. Medication approaches to weight loss have come and gone, many with serious side effects. I remember the fen-Phen scare because I was in practice and we had to decide if we were recommending this as a weight loss approach. After looking at a year or two of the data after the drug was released in the market, my practice opted not to use these medications. We made the right decision because the drug was eventually pulled from the market place because of  serious consequences.

I know the argument is that there are risks from obesity but these are known risks and can be worked on in treatment. I helped a 600 plus pound man lose over 300 pounds with therapy, exercise and nutritional guidance. It was very tough but it can be done.

2) Medications  do not continue to work once the person stops taking them. What I have seen in practice is that once the person stops the medication, the weight gain typically returns.

3) You still have to learn to modify your diet and exercise. Weight loss is a total person venture. You must address body, soul and spirit for long term maintenance. Anyone can lose weight but keeping it off is another story.

4) You still have to learn how not to use food in unhealthy ways and develop a healthy relationship with eating. This is the message of my book, Press Pause Before You Eat.

So the bottom line for me is that I will not recommend this approach right now. And while we are constantly looking for the magic pill that will make those pounds melt away, medications continue to pose serious risks. There are too many unanswered questions about long-term affects for me. But everyone has to make up his or her mind.

 

Click here to watch the interview I did on CBN News:

 

 

 

Telling Kids You Are Divorcing

posted by Linda Mintle

Reader Question:

My husband and I are separating and will most likely divorce. We have two young children. I am wondering how to tell them about the divorce. I am really dreading this because I know how upsetting it will be.

Without trying to put extra guilt on you, divorce is tough on children. If there is any way you and your husband can go to therapy and work things out, please try or try again. Most marital problems can be solved and fixed if both partners are willing, submitted to God and work with a marital therapist.

If this isn’t the case, then this is what I recommend. Be prepared for your children to be sad, angry and anxious. Because they are so young, they will probably act out these feelings rather than talk about them. Thus, you will need to be firm but loving.  Draw out their feelings by asking questions. Then validate their feelings. When they misbehave, don’t ignore it because you feel guilty. Do what you would normally do to correct the behavior.

In terms of telling them about the separation, it is best if both parents tell the children. Give them as much detail as they need and no more. As soon as you know, tell them of your plans to live apart. Don’t blame, be angry or get into conflict in front of the children. Be civil and ready to answer tough questions. Most important, assure them that this decision is not their fault. You will have to keep doing this because kids believe divorce is their fault no matter what parents say.

When told, some children become immediately upset and others will show little emotion at first. Keep communication open so they can talk later when reality hits. This is a major loss and they will need to grieve. If they don’t, they can develop emotional problems later. So help them sort out their emotional feelings of loss. Encourage them to be honest and not say things just to please you.

Your children will want to know how this will immediately change their lives. So outline specific upcoming changes, e.g., daddy won’t be in this house to tuck you into bed; he will have another bed for you to sleep in when you are at his new house, etc. Keep it simple and factual.

Keep their lives as consistent as possible during the time of separation and divorce. Routine is important. Make sure they have one on one time with each parent. And don’t talk about divorce until you are certain it will happen. Many people continue to work on their problems during separation and reconsider divorce.

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