Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Is It Normal for Children to Lie?

posted by Linda Mintle

I write for a parenting magazine and this is a question I frequently get asked, “Is it normal for children to lie?”

While the answer is YES, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to lie. It is not, and parents have to deal with this behavior.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath,  a troublemaker in the family.

Children begin to lie around the age of two. The reasons they lie vary with developmental age. For example, two to three-year-olds often lie to avoid getting in trouble. Four to seven-year-olds usually lie to avoid punishment or hurting others. Teens can lie to keep their parents from really know what is going on in their lives. Other reasons for lying include not feeling safe and wanting special attention.

Interestingly, when researchers at the University of Virginia studied lying in adults, they noted that most adults lie once a day. So the message from parents can be that you do not always have to be truthful. Therefore, make sure you are not setting an example of lying yourself.

Researchers also tell us that harsh punishment for lying doesn’t work well with children. A better approach is to address the lying, give the child a chance to come clean and then give a consequence. Basically, you want to create an atmosphere in your home where truth is valued. So next time that adorable little child looks at you and tells you a lie say, “We all do things we shouldn’t at times, but it is not OK to lie about them. I need the truth now.  Here is a chance to tell the truth. And the consequence will be lighter if you come clean.“

Parents we have to lead by example in this area and then teach our children that lying is wrong.

If lying becomes a persistent pattern, it can indicate other problems such as conduct disorders and should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

 

Fatal Attraction: Death by Adultery!

posted by Linda Mintle

Jared secretly meets his girlfriend at a local hotel room over his lunch break. Jared’s wife has no idea that this torrid affair has been going on now for a few months. The girlfriend is quite a few years younger and meets with Jared weekly for their sexual encounters. Jared is in trouble, not because the woman is stalking him or cooking his family pet in a pot on the stove (see Fatal Attraction).

One day, during the act, Jared had a heart attack and died. Surprisingly, the stoppage of his cheating heart has been studied and is know as “sudden coital death.”

Apparently the death of your marriage is not the only thing at risk when it comes to adultery. A study published in the Journal for Sexual Medicine concluded that men who are unfaithful have a higher risk of cardiovascular events.

If you have sex with your wife at home, you have a better chance of living! Stay faithful, stay alive!

Have an affair with a younger women away from the home, and you are more at risk for heart attack than those  faithful men according to Italian researchers. Apparently attraction can be fatal!

Researchers attribute the stress of keeping the affair secret, wining and dining with excessive alcohol and eating, and keeping up with a younger woman as contributing factors but aren’t exactly sure why death by adultery occurs. When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention looked at autopsies of over 5500 people, they found extramarital affairs among those who died in sex to be a factor 75% of the time.

So, if you need a reason to end that affair and be faithful to your wife, how does avoiding cardiac death sound? Your cheating heart could lead to a stopped heart!

Are Bullies and Victims the Same?

posted by Linda Mintle
Alex’s mom is tired of Alex being bullied on the playground. One way to help Alex is to understand the profiles associated with bullies and victims.

In 2010, the *APA published a study where researchers reviewed 153 studies on bullying over the past 30 years. What they found was that bullies and victims share similar traits. Both lack social problem-solving skills and feel awkward and uncomfortable among their peers. When you add poor academic skills to the mix, a bully, rather than a victim, is likely to emerge.

The study additionally profiled bullies with these traits:

1) Negative attitudes and beliefs about others

2) Negative self-image

3) From families with conflict and poor parenting

4) Negative school perceptions

5) Negatively influenced by peers.

The study also noted that victims are usually aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, are problematic in social skills and solving problems, isolate, are rejected by peers and come from negative family, school and community environments.

So the take away here for parents is to address these issues:

To deal with a bully:

Get behavioral parent training. Years ago, I taught such a program in the Chicago area schools. Problematic children were identified by the schools because of their acting out. I traveled to their homes, observed their interactions with their parents and trained the parents in more effective parenting skills. In addition, children and parents practiced specific ways to handle bullying and problems. Both learned better problem-solving skills, and ways to lessen family conflict.

To help the victim:

Involve other children in standing up to the bully. The technique is called The Swarm. Basically, a group of bystanders swarm the bully and tell him or her to back off. There is power in numbers and bullies will often back down when confronted with a group that pushes back on them.

 

 

*Reference: “Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Investigation,” Clayton R. Cook, PhD, Louisiana State University; Kirk R. William, PhD, Nancy G. Guerra, EdD, Tia E. Kim, PhD, and Shelly Sadek, MA, University of California, Riverside; School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.2

What’s Missing From Lady Gaga’s Born This Way?

posted by Linda Mintle

Since I finally had a chance to watch the panel meeting with Lady Gaga at Harvard University where she launched her foundation, Born This Way. Lady Gaga was very engaging, passionate about helping create better communities that embrace kindness, love and acceptance. She has a great message and appears very genuine in her love for people. And she is looking for people to partner with her to bring that message to multiple communities. She admits, she has few answers to the problems of hate, violence and cruelty to fellow man, but wants to bring awareness to the need for cultural change.

She has amassed a host of experts, media personalities like Oprah, author Deepak Chopra, and others to bring awareness to the idea of supporting systems to build confidence in youth, empower them to be brave and kind. Her message: Stop the hate, violence and meanness and try love, kindness and acceptance.Who can’t get behind this idea?

But while all the experts have a wealth of understanding on violence, bullying, hate and other factors that contributes to tearing down the confidence and esteem of a person, few solutions are working. Why is that?

Lady Gaga believes that we will transform the hearts of people through acts of kindness and bravery, one person at a time. She is on to something, but how to change hearts is what is missing in this conversation.

True transformation of the heart is found in Ezekial 36: 25, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” The Holy Spirit in us motivates us to pursue holiness and gives  extraordinary power to love under the most difficult circumstances. Christ in us causes us to be brave, to empower, to love, to have empathy, and to be kind. Jesus’ commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself.

Spurgeon said that a man’s heart is not easily softened and that hearts that are not softened grow harder and harder. We live in a culture of hardened hearts—the hard hearts of cruelty and meanness. But as Spurgeon notes, a heart of flesh is tender towards the suffering of others. It brings a tenderness of conscience, the very thing needed to make change.

So while I applaud Lady Gaga for aiming high to make a shift in the culture– from violence to love, the missing ingredient is God’s ability to change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. This change requires spiritual surgery on the heart. He takes out that heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. Then, we are empowered to truly love one another.

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