There is no place like home for the holidays unless it is filled with family members who seem to have nothing better to do then criticize or complain. So to maintain a little peace on earth, think about how you want to respond to the family digs. Here are a few examples:
1) Does Rachel ever sit still at the table? “I know, she is really excited this year. Normally, I would be on her but it is a holiday so I’m giving her a bit more leeway.”
2) Ricky is eating a bunch of cookies. Don’t you want to stop him? “Thanks for your concern but it’s only one day out of the year. It’s OK today.”
3) I noticed that your children didn’t say thank you when they opened their gifts. “But you did notice that I told them to say thank you. I think they were very excited and just needed a reminder today.”
4) Are you still single? “I am but the good news is that I am not going through a divorce or having marital problems!”
5) You know, our tax dollars are paying for your unemployment. “And I appreciate that. I am really trying to find a job and if you know of any leads, please let me know.”
6) Haven’t you been in school for a long time? “It seems like forever. But I am determined to get my degree. Keep me in your prayers!”
7) You might want to think twice about taking that second piece of pie. “I am. Being intentional about what I eat is one of my goals. So if I eat this now, I will need to cut back later. What is your weight loss strategy?”
8) Are you and Jim having marital problems? “That’s really personal and I’d like to focus on the holiday. But thanks for your concern.”
9) I would never allow my dog to be on the furniture. “People have really different ideas when it comes to their pets. I’m glad you see that!”
10) Are you really going to use paper plates? “I am. I have dishes but I thought this would make clean up easier and give us more time together. Thanks for understanding.”
Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been two years and I miss her! And today, families are burying their loved ones in Connecticut. Grief can overwhelm but we can get through it.
Grief is a normal reaction to loss and trauma. Check how you are doing.
Although we tend to believe grief passes through consecutive stages, it doesn’t. Grieving is a process in which a number of emotions and behaviors are revisited several times. There is no right order, and people tend to go back and forth with varying feelings. Grief is an automatic process in which a period of denial helps buy time to process the loss.
We respond with numbness, shock, denial, intense sorrow, pain, anger, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, isolation, physical symptoms, irritability, fantasy, restlessness, disorganization and hopelessness.
Grief is a time of stress that taxes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. During grief, try to eat nutritiously and get plenty of rest, even though you are not thinking about self-care and will have difficulty doing these two things. Physical symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, dizziness, heart palpitations, numbness, and insomnia. The overall feeling is one of body exhaustion caused by the intensity of emotions.
Grieving comes and goes in intensity. Some days you are doing well, and other days are just hard to get through. At times, you will be surprised at how the most insignificant thing can bring on an outpouring of grief. At other times you will be amazed at your strength. Through it all, you’ll discover that His grace is sufficient to meet all your needs. Hear Jesus say to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9, KJV). His strong arms surround you with comfort and love.
It’s important to watch for more severe signs of grief that may create deeper psychological problems, such as:
–Chronic psychosomatic complaints
–Wanting to die and join the person who died.
–Morbid preoccupation with worthlessness
–Inability to get back into a routine after a significant period of time
–Overly intense reactions when the deceased is mentioned
–Isolation from normal relationships
–Feelings of intense hostility or irritability
If your physical symptoms, or any of the problems above, linger for more than two months and are interfering with your daily functioning, you may need to talk to a grief counselor. This time frame is only a reference. You will know if you are stuck in your grief. If so, help is available.
I’m sure we all feel somewhat traumatized and emotionally exhausted from the events that took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Our hearts go out to parents and loved ones who will begin to bury their children and friends due to those unthinkable events. Most of us are still trying to process how someone could do what was done.
So many questions have been raised.
How do you send you child off to school this morning given the events that just occurred?
1) Evaluate your anxiety as a parent. If you feel highly anxious, you will pass that anxiety on to your child. So get yourself together emotionally, calm yourself down and continue your normal routine.
2) Help yourself and your child with worried thoughts. If your child expresses worry, help him or her take that thought captive (What to Do With Worried Thoughts). The blog will go into more detail but basically you do this by acknowledging the worried thought, then replacing it with a biblical thought or scripture. For example, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Then pray for God’s peace. In my book, Letting Go of Worry, I have included a number of scriptures on worry, anxiety and fear.
How do you talk to your child about death and violence? This blog offers specific strategies. 24 Ways to Help Children Deal with Fear
1) How much does your child know? If you child is unaware of the violence, you do not have to talk about it or only talk about it minimally.
2) Let your child take the lead. How much does he or she want to know? Allow him or her to ask questions and follow the lead. You will have much more information than your child so be careful not to go into details your child doesn’t want or need to know.
3) Consider the developmental level of your child. Young children may not grasp the finality of death or are just getting to understand the idea that someone is not coming back when dead. So you have to deal with the appropriate developmental level of your child in terms of explanations.
If you lost a child or an adult, know someone who did or lost a child at another time and this incident is triggering that loss again, read this blog: Coping with the Sudden Death of a Child.
To help with worry, anxiety and fear: