Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

A New Year’s Resolution: Dealing With Family Dysfunction

posted by Linda Mintle

If you made the familiar trek home to be with family this past holiday season but it turned out to be your personal survivor reality show, you are not alone. Unfortunately, most families don’t function like 1950s sitcoms. In fact, family get-togethers can create angst, leaving us with post holiday let down.

You know the feeling, “I love my family, but they drive me crazy!” Is it because we sleep in our old bedrooms or because nothing has seemed to change in 15 years? Whatever the reason, we return from our holiday visits stressed, fatigued, financially overcommitted, and way too self-reflective about past failures. Guilt seems to be the prevailing emotion. We are guilty for behaving badly, for not being more tolerant, and definitely need to work on staying calmer. Why did we get so upset when Uncle Bob repeated the same story for the fifth time? It was only a story!

We love to fantasize a more idyllic reunion in which we grab a cup of coffee and share stories. There will be great talks, intimate times, and fabulous memories. Then, this dreamlike trance is broken by a familiar voice, “Are you ever going to settle down with a real job like your sister?” So much for the wonderful life! The promise of seasonal cheer gave way to sleep difficulty, headaches, and overeating.

The culprit? Unrealistic expectations. Unless your family has been in intensive therapy all year, probably not much has changed. And unless they begin that needed therapy now, not much will be different next year. Don’t allow this reality to depress you. The good news is you can change. It begins with a resolution. I can’t change my family. But I can change my reaction to them. This year, decide to make a resolution you can keep. Otherwise, you face even more feelings of let down in the months to come!

Change your expectations. Add a little kindness and empathy. Practice more patience, forgiveness, and self-control when it comes to relatives. Make this your New Year’s resolution: I will work on my reactions to family issues and be a model of grace and forgiveness. This doesn’t mean you allow people to walk all over you. It means when people treat you poorly, address it, extend grace, and forgive. Don’t wait for them to do so first. And don’t allow offense and bitterness to take root.

Finally, choose one thing you will do differently this year that will help make things better. For example, “This year I am going to ignore Uncle Bob’s unkind remarks about politics.” Imitate Christ in all you do and ask the Holy Spirit to help you exercise self-control over your tongue. Your family may have problems, but your Christian character and Holy Spirit empowerment can help you live out the power of love. This new year, be more like Christ and love those who don’t always deserve it, family included!

ADHD Medications: Are They Safe?

posted by Linda Mintle

For years I have been treating children and adults with ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder).  An estimated 2.7 million children and 1.5 million adults are prescribed medications for this disorder.

The struggle for many parents is whether or not to medicate a child. For kids who truly have ADHD, medications can really help, but like with all medications, there are side effects and risks. Parents have to weigh those risks against the benefits. Typical side effects include decreased appetite, weight loss, slow growth in children, anxiety, sleep difficulties and modest increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

Among these side effects, heart concerns rank high. In 2005, there were about a dozen deaths from sudden cardiac arrest in young people who used Adderall. Even though Canada reacted by temporarily banning the use of Adderall, those deaths proved to be unrelated to the drug and the use of Adderall was reinstated. However, this raised on-going concerns about the safety of ADHD medications related to the heart. Then in 2008, the American Heart Association recommended children who used ADHD medications undergo cardiac screening and testing before they are dosed.

Two recent studies should bring a little peace of mind (see the Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA)on-line and the New England Journal of Medicine).

One study tracked 1.2 million children and young adults. The other followed 500,00 adults. Both studies found NO increased risk for heart-related problems in users of ADHD medications. Keep in mind that because these studies did not find an increase risk for heart problems, this does not mean the drugs are completely safe. But at least parents have data that shows that as far as we know, taking the medications does not increase risk for serious cardiovascular problems.

 

 

Battling Obesity, Spreading the Gospel

posted by Linda Mintle

This was the headline in our local paper a week ago. As someone deeply involved in preventing obesity, the headline caught my eye.

Five churches in the Elizabeth City, North Carolina area have decided to take action and be a part of the obesity epidemic solution. The churches noted that several of their members are diagnosed with diabetes due to obesity. Adult diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans. So the churches decided to band together and have their pastors lead the congregations to better health.

There is exercise, lessons in healthy cooking and portion size, fewer fatty foods at church socials and encouragement for members to participate in blood screenings and weight monitoring.

The awareness and attention to developing healthy eating patterns and lifestyle gets a praise from me.

Great idea pastors. Thanks for doing your part and showing that the church cares about the whole person!

 

Pastoral Care to the Elderly is Still Needed

posted by Linda Mintle

My 90- year-old father has always been an easy going person. It takes a lot to get him to a point that he feels he must confront someone.

A year ago, my mom passed away. She had been very ill and was in a nursing home and hospice for several months. During that time, my dad and others in my family had asked the pastor of their church to visit my mom–just a few miles from the church offices. No one ever came and I wrote a blog about this, Neglecting the Elderly.

So last winter, my dad took his pastor (my dad has been a member of his church for 60 plus years and has served faithfully) to breakfast. Dad confronted the pastor and told him that his lack of pastoral care was unacceptable. The pastor laughed uncomfortably, promised to do better and told my dad that he would treat him to breakfast next time. Dad thought his breakfast meeting would make a difference. It didn’t.

My dad attends church every Sunday and is active in his Senior group. The pastor has not called even once to check on him or taken him to breakfast as promised. It has been a year now and not even a phone call. The church is blocks from my dad’s home.

As a family, we’ve given up trying to change the lack of attention to the elderly in this church. My brother, also a pastor, has met with this pastor and also talked to him. I have confronted him. My aunt has begged him to visit once in awhile. And to all of us, he promises to do better but makes no behavioral change. And that is the disturbing part. Do not promise us, and especially my father, that you will visit and then never do it. It would be better to admit that you have no interest in this type of pastoral care.

What is sad is that it would take such little effort to brighten my dad’s day and feel cared about by his pastor. To his generation, this is very important. And the pastor knows how this older generation values his attention.It is a small town with people who have been in the church for generations and served faithfully.

I am thankful that others fill in the gap. So thank you to the elderly group who takes care of each other. Thanks to Oscar and Mart who every week send my dad meals because they prepare a little extra and feel it is a nice gesture. It means so much.

Thanks to Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold who come and help whenever dad needs something, to Phil who takes him all around town and goes out to eat–these are the people who take a little time during their day to care. And to dad’s former pastor of over 20 plus years ago, who still calls him to check on him, Pastor Raymond. He calls a few times a year, but it means so much to my dad. Dad brought his cell phone with him to visit me. Hours after getting off the plane, he said, “I brought my phone to call Pastor Raymond. He thinks of me during the year and I want to wish him a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Me too! Thanks Pastor Raymond for being someone who cares about the elderly. You  have a pastor’s heart and care about your people. And thanks to the community of believers who tangibly show their care for the aging. This is a group who needs our attention. And someday, we will be the ones who hope people don’t forget about us.

 

How is your church doing when it comes to pastoral care to the elderly? Any suggestions as to how to interest church leadership in this need?

Previous Posts

4 Ways to Cultivate An Attitude of Gratitude
There is a great deal of entitlement in our culture. Daily, we are reminded as to what we deserve. Humility seems to be a lost character trait in a celebrity culture. So how can you intentionally develop an attitude of gratitude? Try these ideas every day, not just at Thanksgiving. 1) Write do

posted 6:00:58am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

10 Ways to Encourage Your Partner to Go to Couple Therapy
"Our marriage needs help but my husband won't go to therapy." I've heard this statement often and it is usually filled with frustration, sadness and sometimes anger. A relationship is in trouble but one spouse refuses to get help. If a marriage is going to be helped, both people need to go t

posted 6:00:16am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Change Whining Into Gratitude
A mom asks: The other day I was so embarrassed because my child whined around when I was trying to talk to another mom. When our children whine, it really bothers us. We want to turn that whining to gratitude. How do we make that happen? When you want to extinguish one behavior and then replac

posted 6:00:32am Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

8 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Are you irritable? Difficult to live with because you are constantly tired? Time to look at your sleep habits and do something about them. If you are tossing and turning consider these 8 tips: Women take an average of nine minutes to fall asleep at night compared to 23 minutes for men. IF yo

posted 6:00:15am Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Do You Help Your Teen Too Much? Answer These 5 Questions
Julie was handed her biology test in class. While she studied for the test, the material was difficult. When she saw the red C at the top of the exam, she began to cry. Racked with anxiety, she couldn't believe she barely passed the test. The stress overwhelmed her. One has to wonder why? This is

posted 6:00:30am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.