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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

6 Tips to Stop Over Scheduling Your Kids

posted by Linda Mintle

During a national TV interview, I was asked to give six tips to help families stop over scheduling their children. Here they are:

1. MOST PARENTS WANT THE BEST FOR THEIR KIDS, BUT ARE THEY LOSING SIGHT OF WHAT’S REALLY BEST? Yes, we are too competitive and worry we won’t have the edge we need. Giving kids opportunities doesn’t mean they have to be overscheduled. Decades ago, our parents were not so focused on accomplishment but on learning the value of family and connection. We don’t want to lose this. Value connection over busyness.

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2. IS THAT AGE-OLD PHRASE, “MOM, I’M BORED” SUCH A BAD THING? No, it’s a good thing. Kids need to learn how to be still, quiet, read a book, and just look at a rock and start thinking about it creatively. I remember when I was a child, we lived near a ravine with a field of straw in it. I spend hours playing in that field, using my imagination to build houses and forts. It was magical.

3. IF YOU’RE A CRAZY/BUSY FAMILY, HOW DO YOU START SETTING LIMITS? You take control of the calendar and say NO to things.

4. WHAT ABOUT HAVING “FAMILY NIGHTS”, OR EATING DINNER TOGETHER? This is extremely important. We know that families that eat dinner together have kids who get better nutrition, do better academically and are less likely to act out with drugs, alcohol and sex.

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5. HOW CAN PARENTS LEAD BY EXAMPLE IN CUTTING DOWN ON STRESS AND OVERACHIEVING? It’s interesting that when you pole kids, they say their number one stress is parents who are stressed. So the more we model how to take care of ourselves by eating well, exercising, taking time to meditate on God, control our emotions, feed our spirits, etc. the less stressed we’ll be and the better we lead by example.

6. DOES IT HELP TO CONNECT WITH OTHER PARENTS ON THIS FOR SUPPORT? If you can find other parents who will support the idea of slowing down, encourage each other. Usually it’s other parents that lead us to feel more competitive –we think we have to have the edge with our kids. So find a few friends who will agree to slow down the activity and keep the schedule reasonable.

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Answering Parent Medical Concerns Regarding Tattoos and Piercing

posted by Linda Mintle

With so many teens wanting tattoos and piercings, many parents have asked about medical issues involved. Medical concerns should factor in to any decision.

In this blog, I am not dealing with should a teen tattoo or pierce. That is the subject of another blog.

This is not  an endorsement of these procedures, but a response to the many comments I received regarding medical concerns. I am in no way advocating a position, but I also don’t want to put my head in the sand when parents ask for help. My intention here is to help parents who may be dealing with a teen who wants to tattoo or body pierce, or who has recently done either. Apart from how you feel about these procedures, parents and teens need to be informed regarding medical issues.

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Because I am affiliated with a medical school, I was able to take this  information from a newsletter I received from the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter. Pediatrician, Dr. Bolduc, provides this information for parents concerned about tattoos and piercings. Here is a summary of Dr. Bolduc’s remarks. He practices with Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Medical Group in Newport News, Virginia:

  • Tattoos can put your child at risk for contracting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis. Risk is decreased if the shop is clean, safe and professional.

 

  • Tattoos can bring on skin infections such as impetigo, dermatitis and possibly an allergic reaction to the tattoo pigment.

 

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  • Risks associated with piercing involve: chronic infections, prolonged bleeding, scarring, hepatitis B and C, tetanus, HIV, skin allergies, abscesses or boils, irreversible holes, chipped or broken teeth, choking and speech impediment.

 

  • Piercing a tongue can breed bacteria.

 

  • Eyebrow skin is extremely sensitive and thin.

 

  • Cartilage at the end of the nose can wither away because blood can’t get to it properly when the nose is pierced.

 

  • Ear lobes are usually OK to pierce medically they are made of fatty tissue that allows for good blood supply after the piercing. This helps ward off infections.

 

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  • Piercing shops should use an autoclave to clean needles and instruments.

 

  • Shops should use single service equipment–all needles and tubes are individually packaged, dated, sealed and autoclaved.

 

  • The person who tattoos should use guidelines created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the handling of body fluids.

 

  • The person doing the tattoo or piercing should wear gloves.

 

  • Don’t pick or tug on the area of piercing or tattoo. Clean with soap not alcohol.

 

  • Tattoos are sensitive to sun and need sunscreen protection of SPF 30 to protect.

 

  • A new tattoo needs to be dressed like an open wound with antibiotic cream for several days.

Along with your feelings and beliefs about tattoos and piercings, parents should also discuss these medical concerns involved. This information is not typically discussed, but can impact health.

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Closing the Book on Complaining

posted by Linda Mintle

I admit, it is easy to complain when things don’t go right. Our nature is to jump on the negative. The children of Israel knew this well. No matter what the provision, they continued to grumble and complain. And God was not pleased with that behavior.

What happens when we complain? Do we feel better?

Maybe for the moment but the negative contributes to a downward spiral. It darkens our perspective. Then, more complaints slip out of our mouth and we feel even more negative.

So how do we put on the brakes when our natural tendency is to complain?

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We can train ourselves to stop the negative and comment on the positive side. As long as we don’t live in denial and avoid dealing with real problems facing us, it is good to find the upside in any situation. But to really conquer complaining, we have to cry out to God for help in this area. The absence of complaining requires a complete trust in God. It means facing all circumstances with the faith that God is in them and working them for our good. At times, this perspective feels unnatural, even irrational. Why would I give thanks in the middle of a crisis? Because my thanks isn’t about the crisis. It is about God’s continuous presence, His watchful eye, His moving on my behalf and my trust that what He allows will be used for my good and His glory. This is a perspective I need to remind myself of regularly. I’m not saying this is easy.

But trusting and thanking God even when things go wrong is part of what brings His peace. So today, I am practicing putting on the brakes, taking the high road, and trusting in God’s unfailing love.

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Another Birthday? Embrace Aging!

posted by Linda Mintle

Today is my birthday and another reminder of the aging process. Our bodies change as we age. We may not like all the changes; I mean, who looks forward to an extra two to ten pounds with menopause? Who enjoys the thickening of her waist? But it happens! It’s not the end of life as we know it unless we overvalue youth and undervalue maturity.

Aging is a natural process in which the body does breaks down. It brings aches and pains and a change in beauty, but it doesn’t mean there is no beauty.

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We can be vital and attractive at any age. So the next time you see an older woman, take time to look at her body. Study her and notice the changes that naturally occur. Then notice other things—her grace of movement, the brightness in her eyes, the spring in her step, the passion of her work.

There is far more to our value than just our bodies, our shape, our skin, and our hair color. A quieted mind, the capacity to love deeply, spiritual maturity, passion, and wisdom are just a few benefits of aging. In fact, an old proverb tells us to seek wisdom above all else. Wisdom will make your life glorious, garland your life with grace, and festoon your days with beauty.

Begin each day with a healthy respect for what your body has been through and accomplished. Thank God for what works and still functions. And remember that there is great purpose in your life as long as you live and breathe.

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For one day, focus on things of value rather than looking younger and see if you don’t feel better. Maybe that day of refocused priorities and a happier you will turn into a week, and then a month, and then a year. If it does, you will have successfully conquered the Mount Everest of the woman’s world- anti-aging. And if you do reach the summit, write me so we can celebrate together!

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