Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

stressed womanIt’s 6 a.m. You begin your day with two cups of coffee, feed the kids, and grab a granola bar as you run out the door to meet the school bus. Then you make a mad rush to do errands. By 10 a.m., your blood sugar is dropping so you stop by 7-11 and grab a high caffeine drink and a couple of cookies. Then it is home to do laundry and clean up from the morning rush. You have a meeting at the school and the dog needs to be seen at the vet so you run by the fast food drive through, grab a burger and fries (you are really hungry now) and a Coke. The guy in the car in back of you cuts you off and you scream out your window—Jerk! And it is only noon!  If this is you, time to make major changes:

  • Slow down. If you are constantly on the run, something in the schedule has to change. Rushing equals mindless eating. Then the guilt sets in and you eat even more. Rushing also takes a toll on your physical body. You need a few moments of rest and down time.
  • Rethink all the activity in your household. Can you cut something out and rethink the kid’s schedules. They feel your stress and also need to play and relax.
  • Bring back the family meal. Work it in to the schedule. The benefits are astounding- better nutrition, academic performance, and lower risk for delinquent behavior – a small price to pay for big results. Dust off the crock pot and download a few 30-minute meals.
  • Get rest. To function properly, you need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Less than that equals weight gain and causes irritability.
  • Be a woman, not just a mom. Moms can get so busy doing, they forget they are women. If you end each day in a state of exhaustion with no time to check in with your spouse, re-evaluate the use of your time. Your husband needs your attention and you need his. Keep the marital bond strong in order to preserve your marriage.

You are important and need to function well in order to take care of others. First, you have to take care of your self. Make the minor changes and add a quiet time to spiritually refresh. Your family needs you!

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ID-10025694Everyday, we are exposed to new health findings in newspapers, blogs, on-line websites, and news feature. If you listen to them all, you will end up confused, and feeling like your family gets an “F” in health. And all of this information can create worry and tension. So if you find yourself yelling across the table, “Put down that six ounce steak!” you may need a day at the spa.

Seriously, we need to be careful not to allow the plethora of medical information available to us to make us crazy. We can worry ourselves sick and incorrectly diagnose those we love (this happens more than you think). 

When it comes to worry, the Internet is a blessing and a curse. You can easily find a disease or illness that fits any ache or pain. And with media telling us what is healthy and what is not, we need to get a grip on keeping health worries at bay.

In the worse case, worrying about health can become an obsession known as hypochondria, a psychological condition in which any physical symptom is interpreted as a serious medical problem. Even in the face of no evidence, a hypochondriac believes he or she has an illness. Doctors, friends, and families cannot convince a person preoccupied with sickness to think differently. Health anxiety is so excessive that a sore throat is throat cancer, a headache is a brain tumor, a fainting spell means diabetes, etc. This form of excessive worry needs professional help from a mental health provider.

For the less excessive worrier, health anxieties are dealt with like any other worry. You have to take the worried thought captive and bring it to he obedience of Christ. Biblically, we are instructed to be anxious about nothing. Trying to suppress worry thoughts does not work. It only makes you more worried. So the next time you see a lump and begin to panic, take a deep breath. Do not assume the worse. Check it out and do not allow your thoughts to wander into worried waters. Take your worries to God; leave them with Him and focus on His goodness and presence in your life.

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ID-10041666Terry slouched on my therapy couch and mumbled, “My mom has a new husband. She wants me to be nice to him, but I don’t feel like being nice. I’m sick and tired of not seeing my dad. I don’t like this strange guy walking around my house and telling me he’s my friend. He’s not my friend. He’s a stranger. I want my dad back.”

The challenge of living with a stepparent requires time and patience from all family members. Suddenly there is a stranger sharing the bathroom, giving directions, and checking your homework. Mom or dad is no longer exclusively yours. One parent’s daily presence is lost. Holidays become complicated. And what do you call this new person who shows up at the breakfast table with habits that annoy you? 

From the child’s point of view, his/her family has been torn apart and replaced with another. This loss and new arrangement were not by choice. Feelings of anger linger long after the parents’ divorce is final. If the child hasn’t openly worked through anger and unforgiveness towards the original parents, these feelings carry over to the blended family.

So, what can parents do to help children adjust to newly formed families?

1) Ask God for wisdom to discern the needs of your children. The remarried couple is delighted to put their former marriages behind them and is hopeful about the future. Children of divorce are not in the same place. Often their feelings of rejection intensify when strangers enter the family. Remarried adults must constantly ask, “What are the needs of the children?”

2) Blended families should not pretend to be a replacement family for children. The reality is that children lose a parent and parents gain a new partner. You must continually talk about this fact. Encourage emotional expression. Reassure the children that no matter what they feel, you can handle it and will deal with it. 

3) Be patient. While stepchildren need to be helped through the transition of blending a family, don’t force closeness. It takes time for a child to get to know a new adult and feel comfortable having him or her in the house. It is normal for a child to want the original family back so he/she doesn’t have to divide loyalties, visitation, and important dates.

4) Be careful to give children privacy when it comes to their physical bodies.  As stepparents, you did not change their diapers, tuck them into bed every night, and you are not biologically related. Therefore, you must be extra sensitive to appropriate physical boundaries.

5) Keep God the center of family life. He is your constant source of strength and healing. Be a family who prays and commits to working through even the toughest emotions and disappointments.

 

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According to a  study by psychology professor Timothy Jay at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the rise in adult vulgarity is being mimicked by ID-10054860children and teens. Jay says that swearing really takes off between ages three and four.

The reason for the rise in children who swear has everything to do with adults who swear at home. According to Jay, cursing is a form of coping, a way to reduce stress and vent anger. Adults who have rules against children swearing, but do so themselves, can expect children to model what they hear, not do what they are told.

What can a parent do if a toddler or older child begins to use foul language?

1. If a toddler curses, stay calm and do not laugh or react with horror. They don’t know what they are saying, but your strong reaction in either direction will reinforce them doing it again.
2. Set a good example. Do not swear. Control your own mouth.
3. If you slip, back track the word and say something like, “Fiddlesticks” or “Sugar” and say it with emotion.
4. For older children, set boundaries and rules for language in the home. Discuss why swearing is offensive, what the Bible has to say about the power of the tongue and the intent of the heart (Ephesians 4:29; James 3:6; Proverbs 15:4)
5. For older kids, have consequences for cursing.

Bottom line, cursing is not a good way to represent Christ to a broken world. It is important to look at your heart because Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).

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