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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Stressed? One Way You Can Stop It

posted by Linda Mintle

“Sure I’ll cook for the spaghetti dinner.”

“Yes I can baby-sit your children for the day.”

“Yes, I can chair another committee.”

“Since no one else will volunteer, I guess I’ll do it.”

 

Do you ever find yourself saying these things and then realize you’ve taken on too much? You’ve committed to doing more than you can realistically handle. As a result, you are stressed and kicking yourself for not saying no.

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When we don’t say NO is usually because we are afraid to speak up; don’t feel we have the right; need to please others; want to be loved for what we do; or think we have to be super person and do it all! Time to turn in your cape! Learn to say “No” and not feel guilty. You’ll reduce the stress in your life.

Saying “No” to things requires assertiveness. Assertiveness is behavior that falls somewhere in the middle of giving in and aggressiveness. It is not giving in to the wants of others or keeping silent and expecting people to read your mind. It is also not yelling at people and demanding your way. It is a practiced skill that helps you manage stress. Contrary to popular thought, you don’t have to be angry to be assertive. In fact, I prefer you stay calm.

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There are two parts involved in being assertive: 1) know what you want 2) say it.  One of the reasons we don’t practice being assertive is because we don’t know what we want. We allow others to manipulate us in to doing things and then feel resentful because we have too much to do. Or we feel guilty and don’t believe we have the right to speak up.

When you address problems as they occur, you won’t build up anger and hold on to things that can grow into resentment. Often times, this is the root of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

The benefits from speaking up are improved physical and psychological health. Your relationships will improve and you will better manage stress. In addition, you will gain respect from people. They may not like your stance, but they will respect you for taking one.

 

 

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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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