Don’t Worry. Be Happy

November 9th, 2019

What do you worry about? Job? School? Family? Health? Sooo much to worry about. Did you know that 80% of your worry is for nothing? This is called destructive worry. It's worrying about things over which you have no control. The weather, your boss's mood, the stock market. All you can do with these things is give up your worry. Go with the flow. On the other hand, 20% of your worry is for something. This is called constructive worry. This is worry about things over which you do have control. How well your presentation goes tomorrow. (prepare) What to give your bride for your anniversary (ask). Worries generally start with the question, "What if...?" How about replacing this worry with curiosity, "I wonder..." Then follow that wonder with a presupposional phrase, "I wonder how well I will do during my presentation tomorrow."  So, don't worry. Be happy.

Are You a Benevolent Despot?

November 7th, 2019

What's a benevolent despot? The two words seem to not go together. Despots are usually dictators, ruthless bad guys. When you are benevolent, you help others. You are kind and giving. How can a parent be both benevolent and despotic? Think of a king during the feudal Middle Ages. He had a castle with a big wall and moat around it. The villagers lived outside the walls of the castle. However, they were protected by the king. He showed them kindness and compassion, understood their needs and feelings. Because he was benevolent, the villagers shared their bounty with him, worked for him. As in a family, the benevolent despot parent is the final authority and has the final say. However, you take into consideration your children's needs and feelings when exerting your authority. Such families thrive and teachable moments abound.

How Do You Lead Your Family?

November 5th, 2019

Whether you are the mom, dad, or other parent figure, you lead your family unit. It comes with the job. How your children follow depends on how you lead. When we think of leadership, most folks are aware of the dominance or submission as leadership styles. The dominant parent declares "my way or the highway," and keeps the family in line with fear and power. The submissive parent says a lot of "yes, dear. what else can I do for you?" A fear of rejection often drives the parent to be submissive to the children. The submissive parent keeps the family in line by giving in, which generates a sense of entitlement in the children, an attitude of "I can do what I want without consequences." Wow!! No thanks. Lesser known is the parental leader of the family who presents as a "benevolent despot." You are in charge. You have earned authority in the family. What you say goes. That's the despot. Your leadership, however, is driven by empathy, compassion, and understanding of needs and feelings. That's the benevolent part. How do you lead your family?

Launching Our Teen into Adulthood

November 3rd, 2019

     The two most significant moments for us parents in our children's lives are that moment of birth and their launch from adolescence into adulthood. We prepare our children for adulthood through their teen years, letting go little by little. As they learn individually to make good choices, exercise responsibility, and be accountable, they are ready to launch. Just as in our space launches, we parents remain in ground control, while our teen/young adult is in his space craft. He occasionally makes mid-course corrections, as he charts his path to his destiny. These booster rockets come from our consultations with him, just as ground control stays in contact with the spacecraft. We move from advice-based parenting (I remember when I was your age and had similar difficulties) to consultative parenting (I have some thoughts on what you are going through. Do you want to hear them?). Always, we are on the lookout the proverbial emotional fever, to which we respond with active listening. We praise his successes and are allowed bragging rights. Mission accoomplished. Our teen/young adult is launched.

Problems? How Can You Tell?

November 1st, 2019

Isn't it interesting that you just know when your child is having a problem? It's like your "spidey senses" tingle. It's great that you are that tuned into her, but what are you drawing on to figure it out? You child gives off both verbal and nonverbal signals when something is wrong. There's no pattern here, except that what she is saying and doing is typically not like her. In fact, some parents just come right out and ask, "Sweetheart, this isn't like you. What else is going on?" This podcast tells you about BMIRs, that is, Behavioral Manifestation of Internal Response. BMIRs tell the rest of the story and then you get the whole package. Problems will happen. Sometimes our kids are reluctant to share. It's a good thing when your spidey senses are on alert. When you get permission from your child, use your active listening to calm her down and then encourage her proactive problem-solving to help her tackle what's up.

Tips for Family Stress Management

October 31st, 2019

      We all have stress, probably all the time. It's either distress or eustress. It's how our body and mind react to bad stuff and good stuff, respectively. As parents, we need to monitor our children's stress levels by being there to help them talk it out through active listening, and also by modelling how we effectively manage our own stress. The first step is to breathe deeply and meaningfully, to give our bodies immediate relief. The next step is to help our child think through ways to avoid such specific stress in the future. Finally, both model and encourage proactive stress management through good eating, sleeping, and physical conditioning habits. In these ways, stress management can lead to teachable moments.

Should You Fight Your Child’s Battles?

October 25th, 2019

As parents, our natural instinct is to defend our children, to fight their battles for them, to protect them at all costs. But is this natural instinct the most helpful for your child. The answer is, not necessarily so. Your response to your child's problems depends on the kind of battle and the age/stage of your child. However, as with any situation where you see his emotional fever spike, start with active listening, to bring the fever down. Then ask permission to give your thoughts about his conflict. Where some response from him is indicated, collaborate with him about what shape that response will take. Your overall message to him is, I love you. I'm so sorry you are going through a hard time. I have confidence in your being able to make sense of all of this and to work it out. I've got your back. Therein lies a teachable moment

Correction with Time-Out

September 27th, 2019

     You know, stuff happens. As the parent, you want to handle that stuff in the best, most effective way. Frequently, parents use time-out to handle stuff. However, how you use time-out is more important than that you use it. Some parents simply put their child in time-out "until I say so." This is unhelpful. It makes the parent feel good, feel powerful, but most children simply wait out their parent and don't learn what to do to avoid punishment in the future. Effective use of time-out is simply to give your child time and space to calm down. When they are calm, then they can hear you better. It also gives you time to think through how you want your child to benefit from the time out. If you see your child's time-out as his punishment, he reaps no benefit from it. It simply becomes a power game. When you sit and talk with your child after he has calmed down, using your active listening and defining accountability and responsibility, your relationship is enhanced and you both reap benefit, a magical moment.

Parenting is Lifelong

September 24th, 2019

       Do you ever stop parenting your child? Nope. You signed on for the long haul. In Proverbs 22:6, Solomon cautioned us parents to "raise your children in the ways of the Lord so that, when they grow old, He will not depart from them."  That's pretty daunting. What you say to your children, how you act, how you parent, will be with them for all of their lives, whether you are there in person or not. Just as there are stages of child development, so too are there stages of parenting. When your teen reaches adulthood, you shift your parenting from advice-based to consultative. He's grown and make his own choices, but you are available to impart your wisdom, if he asks. Be available. Beyond time and distance, your parenting is lifelong, and with your availability comes potential teachable moments.

Down Time, What A Blessing!

September 20th, 2019

       It's true. Indispensability is a curse!! If you have to be the one to do the job and get it done right, then you are failing as a parent :(  Doing it yourself may be a short relief and save you time and steps, but it is a longer term problem. How will your kids learn sharing, helping, and personal responsibility if you are doing it all for them? If you are indispensable, then you are doing too much.  Also, you can't be your best self if you are always doing for others. Jesus called us to love one another as we love ourselves. That is, take care of your own needs and feelings before tending to others. It's like the direction that airline attendants give passengers before takeoff. In case of a problem and the air masks drop down in front of you, put your air supply on yourself first, so that you can better help others around you. Build self-care into your time management and include it in family planning and calendar events. Don't give up on yourself, caring for your family at your expense. Down time is a blessing to all of you.

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