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Doing Life Together

mom teenWe’ve all done it. Many of us grew up with it. But should we?

Your teen walks in 30 minutes past curfew. You’ve been worried sick and have worked yourself up. The minute she comes through the door, you yell, “Where were you? It’s 30 minutes past curfew and we thought something terrible happened to you. You are in trouble now!”

The above example isn’t harsh , but is could be depending on the tone. And that is what you want to be careful to avoid–harsh, verbal discipline that involves yelling, screaming, insulting or name calling. Had the parent added, “You are an idiot” or something along that line, that would have been worse.

Why is this a big deal? Haven’t parents been yelling at kids for years? Yes, but yelling at anyone isn’t terribly effective as a discipline method. Now and then, yelling isn’t a problem, but when it becomes your discipline method, it is. Even when yelling is done “in love” to help the teen, it backfires.

Harsh verbal discipline can cause depression and will increase the risk of the teen misbehaving. So the very thing you are yelling and screaming about  could increase! Harsh verbal discipline does not work as an effective discipline tool.

A study published in the journal, Child development, found that over a two year period of study, parents who used harsh, verbal discipline had teens who were more depressed by age 14. They also showed problems like vandalism, misconduct , anger and aggression. Exposing kids to ongoing harsh discipline can fuel relationship difficulties and rebellion.  And physical discipline of teens is really problematic. It tears at the respect you need to develop for each other.

The better option?

Educate, don’t humiliate with constructive consequences. For example, curfew violation could require a grounding for a few weeks. Late homework could equal the removal of a tech device for a short period until the homework is in on-time again. The idea is to teach responsible behavior, not scream at the problems.

So stay on them, but also praise often. You have to build up the positives in the relationship in times of non conflict. When you do encounter a problem, use “I” statements, explain your concerns, problem-solve and negotiate and set consequences. Think about keeping the relationship positive so you can work on problems together, not humiliate the person. This is good advice for any relationship!

 

 

Source: “Longitudinal Links Between Fathers’ and Mothers’ Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents’ Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms” Child Development is scheduled to appear in the March/April 2014 print issue of the journal

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stressed teensAs Dana was grabbing her purse to fly out the door, she couldn’t remember where she put her car keys. She was already late for class! “Mom, where are my keys.” “Your asking me,” Mom yells back. “I can’t find my glasses.”

Most of us who are older chalk these moments up to aging. We jokingly say we are having a senior moment.

But a national poll by Trending Machine found millennials (ages 18-34) to have those senior moments as well. You don’t have to be aging to be forgetful. In fact, 39% of Americans have forgotten or misplaced something in the past week.

What do we think is behind all this forgetting and misplacing?

Stress!

All that multitasking and lack of sleep may be doing a number on the younger generation.

The poll also found that women are more likely to misplace an item or forget than men. And that there is more forgetfulness in the Northeast than the more relaxed country of the West.

So if your a young woman, living in the Northeast, with a lot on your plate, get out the sticky notes to remind yourself of your TO DO list!

Or maybe slow down a bit, take a deep breath, carefully place your car keys on a hook by the door and enjoy the moment!

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angerbn2Tony insisted he doesn’t have an anger problem. Yet, by all accounts, people say he does. I asked Tony to answer these 10 questions. After taking the quiz and talking with me, he changed his mind.

See how well you do at understanding anger. Answer True or False to each question.

1) As long as I don’t look or sound angry, I am not.

2) If I ignore anger long enough, it will go away.

3) If I punch something or throw something, I will feel less angry.

4) Anger is shameful and not part of a healthy person.

5) It is OK to keep the peace. That is what God wants.

6) If I express anger, my relationships will be in danger.

7) Women don’t get angry, just upset.

8) Christians should not get angry.

9) God understands that sometimes I just lose control.

10) As long as I didn’t mean to get angry, it is OK.

 

If you answered TRUE to any of these questions, you need to rethink what you know about anger. All the answers are FALSE.

For more help with anger, click on my book, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness–a small book that is packed with help. This book has sold over 100,000 copies. Get one today.

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Letting Go of Worry -- WebI was on a national radio program last night talking about anxiety. A caller asked a great question. “What is the difference between worry and anxiety?”

Anxiety is that uneasy feeling, apprehension, a feeling of danger, doom or misfortune. Clinically speaking it a response to a perceived threat or danger. It is often produced by  anticipating future events.

Anxiety as a feeling is different than anxiety as a disorder. You can feel anxious and not have an anxiety disorder. And anxiety can be a symptom of other psychiatric disorders as well.

Anxiety is usually prompted by fear. Fear is a warning system built into our bodies as a natural reaction to danger. It is healthy to feel fear when real danger is present. But when fear goes beyond real danger and lingers in our minds, it becomes anxiety or worry. It is often prompted by uncertainty and feeling out of control, a reality we all have to learn to handle.

Anxiety as a psychiatric disorder relates to confronting a feared object or situation. It is excessive and prolonged and often involves worry. It interferes with every day life.

There are several types of anxiety noted in the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)–Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is an overall feeling of being anxious that seems general;  Simple Phobia which is the most common and is related to persistent anxiety over specific objects; Social Anxiety which is anxiety around social functions; Panic Disorder which involves feelings of panic in which you feel or think something terrible will happen.

Worry is the mental part of anxiety. Worry has to do with anxious thoughts.  ‘What if…”

Thoughts, however, influence your feelings and behavior. So getting control of worried thoughts is important. For help with letting go of worry, check out my book, Letting Go of Worry. It will walk you through how to let go of worried thoughts and not allow anxiety to rule the day in your thought life.

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