Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

2 anxious childYou’ve heard it said — face your fears. Well there is more truth in that sentiment then you probably know.

You don’t overcome anxiety by avoiding whatever makes you anxious. You overcome it by gradually facing it.

Children are no exception. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 18 million children under the age of 18 struggle with anxiety disorders. Sources of anxiety include bullying, problems at home, and personal coping styles. Anxiety can be so debilitating that it effects every day living. Parents try to protect a child by taking him or her out of the anxious situation. But is avoiding anxiety the best solution?

No, it is better to face the anxious situation rather than avoid it.

By slowing exposing him or her to things that make his/her anxious, the fear lessens.

Try this with your child:

1) Tell your child to take a small step towards facing whatever fear is present.

2) Allow your child to make a decision about how he or she will face that fear, e.g., walk towards it, get nearer to it, engage in part of it, etc.

3) Encourage the child to take a step in that direction and allow the anxiety to come.

4) Praise him or her once the step has been taken

5) Move on to the next step until more of the fear is faced.

Eventually, the child will engage in the behavior and not be so anxious because he or she has gradually been exposed to the fear.

 

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child and screenI’d love to hear from you on this question!

According to a survey conducted by Northwestern researchers, most parents answered, YES!

Despite the number of hours spent with TV, tablets, cell phones, computers and other devices, only 30% of the 2326 parents surveyed were concerned that their young children consumed too much media. Yes,parents acknowledged that all these screens are not good for physical activity, but most didn’t see screen use as a source of conflict in the home and are OK with overages.

Also TV remains a popular way to divert or reward kids.

Could it be that the reason the concern is not there is that parents are also heavy users? Parents do have control over very young kids and in many cases, TVs are in the kid’s bedrooms along with other screen devices.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics says this is a NO NO and strongly recommends screen time be zero for children 2 and under and only 2 hours a day for older kids.

It doesn’t appear that every family is following that advice. Some think the AAP is out of touch with reality, but the organization is basing its recommendations on evidenced-based practices. So parents, decide for yourself if you want to get those kids off screens and more active.

Maybe the answer is that the entire family needs to rethink how they use screens.

Maybe we all need to be more active.

Maybe we just won’t care and will continue to be heavy media consumers.

Your thoughts?

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smaller sports coupleDo you like to roller skating?

How about hiking?

Maybe consider taking cooking classes or release that inner artist by painting.

You could be on to something and discovering one of the secrets to keeping love alive.

When couples try new things together, it helps prevent relationship boredom and complaining. In fact, new experiences tap into the brain’s reward system, flooding it with powerful chemicals that boost pleasure and bonding.

Novelty is good for relationships and makes people happy.

But that novelty needs to be SHARED by you as a couple in order to get this relationship benefit.

So here is what I suggest. Think about what your partner likes to do. Could you be a part of that? For example, my husband was an avid soccer playing and fan. I was not, but when we married, I figured I should get into the sport and share his passion. Going to see professional soccer and watching our campus team are fun and  activities we can share together. I, on the other hand, being raised in the north, loved to snow ski. My husband, raised in the tropics, had no clue. But he strapped on a pair of skis and gave it the college try. And while he wasn’t skiing the black diamond runs, I gave him lots of praise for joining me in an activity that I really loved. And that is another important point–give your partner praise for joining in and trying your interest or passion.

So think about each others passions and give the interests a try. The novelty will bring you closer together. Maybe there is something you both want to do that you have never tried. That too would get the brain chemicals flowing in a positive direction.

Want to keep love alive? Do something new together and explore your interests!

 

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2 codBrian isn’t doing too well with his parents’ divorce. Lately he’s showing more aggressive behavior. His divorced parents, Sam and Sue, are concerned about his behavior and seek help. The therapist tells them that their unresolved conflict is causing Brian problems. They have difficulty talking about their son without blaming and fighting each other. They can’t parent because they are too busy demolishing one another’s character.

Divorce didn’t solve their conflicts and Brian is still caught in the crossfire of two people who haven’t learned be civil to one another despite their differences. Brian’s behavior is a response to their constant fighting.

Most of you are concerned about the effects of divorce, separation and remarriage on the adjustment of your children. You want to do whatever possible to help them adjust. You already feel guilty about putting children through the ordeal of divorce.

A good place to start is to reduce the conflict between you and your ex-spouse. I know you are thinking, “ If I could do this, I wouldn’t be divorced!” Possibly, but you still have to work on it for the sake of your kids.

So how do you work on conflict reduction with a difficult parent partner?

1) Both agree that your unresolved feelings for each other must get resolved. If this means you need to see someone in therapy, do it. Your child’s adjustment is at stake.

The surprise for many couples is that divorce didn’t make all those negative feelings go away. The feelings stayed. You just left. Conflict between you and your ex must be resolved because it affects your ability to parent. It is very difficult to make rational decisions concerning your child when you feel negatively towards your ex-spouse. It is no secret that parents unconsciously fight with each other through their kids despite knowing they shouldn’t do this.

My suggestion: Work in therapy with a marital therapist who will help you exercise grace and forgiveness towards your ex. It’s time to bury the multiple hatchets. It doesn’t matter how wrong you’ve been treated. God tells us to forgive and let go. He forgives you when you don’t deserve it. Now do the same with your ex.

2) Remind yourself that no matter how you feel about your ex, he/she is your child’s parent. That fact doesn’t change. Help your child see you can have positive exchanges around parenting issues.  It will help build positive feelings in the child as well.

3) Always keep in mind that you are doing this to please God and help your children. Your walk with the Lord is of utmost importance. If you hold on to old stuff, you’ll create roadblocks in your intimate relationship with God and others.

4) Humility is often needed. Putting your needs aside for the sake of your children may require sacrifice. With God’s help, you can do it.

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