Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

child footballHere we go again. Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms and now Friday Night Tykes. Yes, one more installment in the reality TV genre that leaves the viewer wondering if entertainment involves watching children being screamed at with profanity, then humiliated and embarrassed in order to motivate them towards some parent’s idea of greatness.

When I watch these shows, I see adults bully and emotionally abuse kids. This is not entertaining, it is sad.

Friday Night Tykes moves the positive side of sports to the dark side. For example, kids are told to rip off the heads of their opponents, hurt them with intentional fouling, and go for the helmets (banned in the NFL). Keep in mind these are kids under the age of 10.

Yes playing sports can build self-esteem, leadership skills, coordination, fitness, and cooperation, but when the method of coaching involve humiliation and overly aggressive tactics, kids can be physically and psychologically harmed. The line is crossed.

Humiliation of a child when his/her sense of self is in a state of developement does little to build esteem. It has the opposite effect. And why would any parent want a bully as a role model for their child?

Speaking of parents, a mother of one of players put it this way in Episode 2, “When your kids look bad, you look bad.” How sad that the child is expected to meet his mother’s expectation of greatness to make her look good. What about his needs? When he fails to score, makes a mistake, will he be stressed, anxious and worried because he is making his mom or dad look bad? Do we really want to put this burden on a child? In therapy, this is a negative dynamic called parentification of children –children expected to meet the emotional needs of their parents. It’s the child’s needs we are to be meeting as parents.

And when you push a child too hard and force him to play beyond any enjoyment, you create rebellious, resentful, insecure kids who can become depressed and anxious. So parents, ask, is this what your child really wants to do? Is the way the child is being coached instilling the values and leadership skills you desire? Is your child being taught skills? And is your child so talented that you would push him at any cost? What will this do to your relationship with your child? Does he have to win your affection through high performance?

Coaches should also be held accountable. These are not mini adults they are whipping in to shape for a Superbowl. These are kids who can be psychologically damaged by their profanity, berating and shaming. Kids whose physical bodies are still growing and can be damaged by concussions and broken bones when too much aggression and unsafe practices are used.

Friday Night Tykes is not entertaining. It is pathetic and irresponsible.

In an age when bullying is center stage, why would we give bullies a stage?

Time to call a time-out! Better yet, turn off those Friday night lights.

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  1. terrible twoI have a two-year-old and we are right in the middle of the “terrible twos.” I want to encourage her development but some days I feel like pulling out my hair! I need help with the frustration I feel.

There are so many rapid changes going on in the body of a toddler that it is as if they can’t keep up with themselves! One moment, they are loving and the next includes a terrible tantrum. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the volatility of the terrible twos.

  • Observe when and where the “terrible” occurs. If it is related to overstimulation, find a calm environment and consider doing less. When you can eliminate the tantrum triggers , do so.
  • Because of the need for attention, make sure you praise the positives and desired behaviors. This is often overlooked. The more you praise, the less you will need to deal with the negative. When a cycle of frustration intensifies, we often forget to catch them being good.
  • Ignore negative behavior unless safety is an issue. No reaction from you promotes powerful behavior change. You have to completely ignore or this strategy doesn’t work, but it is powerful when done correctly.
  • When she appears out of control, redirect her attention in a “time-in.” Bring her close to you and tell a story, read a book, sing a song, etc. This should calm her down.

Take a deep breath and remember the words of my mother-in-law, “This too shall pass.” This is a phase of development that will smooth out soon enough. Lots of patience, praise and realistic expectations will go a long way to calm both of you. And ask your husband for a break. Maybe you need to get out of the house, have coffee with a friend, window shop or walk through a park trail. A break leaves you refreshed and ready to re-engage. Mothers all over America survive the terrible twos and you will too!

 

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Do you have a secret? If so, you join more than 95% of people who do.

secretMost of us keep one fact or piece of information about ourselves from others. One reason for this is that secrets often involve shame. For example, when a secret involves infidelity, a teen pregnancy, an addiction or maybe a financial problem, we don’t like to admit to our wrongdoings and may also want to protect someone.

The problem with keeping a secret is that the one who keeps it is often stressed by it. And that stress does a number on the body.

Secrets also block your ability to build true intimacy. THey clutter your psychological landscape and interfere with building trust and intimacy in relationships.

So when you tell your secret, what is the best approach?

Even though it might be easier to hint at a problem or be indirect, don’t go the indirect route. Don’t tell a third party or create a hypothetical case.

Instead, stay calm. Begin by telling the person why you need to talk about this. Explain your motivation. Hopefully, it relates to building a relationship based on honesty. For example, “I don’t want you to find out this from someone else,” or “If I don’t tell you now, you might be more hurt later.”

Then, be direct. If the secret involves sin, wrongdoing, or bad judgment, confess and ask for forgiveness. Talk about your plan to repair the problem and offer solutions. If the secret is really difficult, you may want to go to a therapist and work through it with a third party.

Shame is not useful and keeps us stuck.

God doesn’t shame you. He wants you to feel conviction for sin, but not live in shame. If confession and repentance are needed, do both, but remember, Christ died to take away your shame. Nothing you have done will cause God to reject or abandon you. He loves you unconditionally and removes your sin once confessed. Shame is not on you, so don’t buy the lie! Let it go!

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eatingThe big game is right around the corner and people are planning their Superbowl menus. But what if your fan experience could make or break your weight loss efforts?

That’s right, if you are a big Denver or Seattle fan and feel they are your team, you are about to be more stressed than those of us who don’t care about either team. And that stress just might make you eat more.

Strong identification with a team increases the stress hormone cortisol. When you watch the game, feel passionately about your team but have no control over the game, you are on the edge of your seat, yelling at the TV, and jumping to your feet. During an interception, you fall back on the couch in disbelief. Your heart is pumping. Come on, let’s win!

But if you lose, you may lose self-control and find yourself arm deep into a bowl of potato chips and dip!

A study published in Psychological Science found that the consumption of saturated fat after a beloved NFL team loses increases. If your team wins,  the saturated fat consumption goes down. Psychologically, the winning team makes you feel good and optimistic for the future. When you feel good, you tend to be more motivated in your eating and exercise. When you feel bad, well, we find comfort in those fried fatty foods!

Personally, I’m looking forward to the game because I really don’t identify with either team. I guess that means I’ll have better control with the snacks this year.

So thank you Chicago Bears for not making me fat!

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