If you love your family and your friends and those who agree with you but hate one, two, or ten people who disagree with you, you are, by definition, still a hater. All your love for the others who are like you doesn’t stop you from being a hater. Even if you hate someone because they hate others, you are still a hater. You are joining in their cause. Satan doesn’t really care why you hate. He just wants you to hate. Whether your hatred is based on personal grievance, prejudice, political persuasion, or anything else, you are still, by definition, a person of hate even if you hate just one person. And that makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.
If you only hate Republicans or only hate Democrats, you are still a hater. If you only hate whites, or blacks, or men, or women, you still are a hater. No hatred is purer than any other hatred. Arguing that your hatred is justified for any reason is like members of the Ku Klux Klan arguing over who amongst them is most like Christ when their very membership, the cause that joins them, denies and mocks Christ our Creator. None of them are like Christ. There is no holy KKK alliance. And there is no holy hater.
When it comes to people, the only thing we should hate is hate. God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). For me to curse anyone, or wish ill on anyone, is for me to curse God’s plans, desires, and heart for that person. When hate enters my heart, I begin working against God’s will. I am no longer a God follower. I am, by definition, a God resister. Another word for this is antichrist....more
Kathleen Notes: God tells us to love instead of hate. Why? Because He knows how destructive it is to us mentally, emotionally, physically and especially spiritually. Here`s the best part...He enables us to do it with His strength!
The brain is by far our most precious organ–others are good, too, but they all pale in comparison to the mighty brain. Because the brain works so hard around the clock (even while we’re sleeping), it uses an extraordinary amount of energy, and requires a certain amount of nutritional support to keep it going. It’s high-maintenance, in other words. But there may be misconceptions about what keeps a brain healthy–for instance, there’s little evidence that omega-3 supplements or green smoothies would do anything above and beyond generally good nutrition. So what does science actually tell us can help our brains? Here’s what we know as of now. ...more
Kathleen Notes: If you knew what to do to give your brain an assist, you`d do it, right? Of course you would!
The false self develops as an adaptation that protects the individual and makes it possible for the “true self” to go into hiding. Often, the development of the false self is unconscious, and the individual may not be aware that this defense is protecting him (or her) from intolerable feelings. Over time, awareness may develop that the “me” who is acting in the world is “not me.” As these “not me” feelings get stronger, the feelings of being loved, being successful, deserving of recognition, etc., cannot be felt as me, or as the “true self.” It is, after all, “not me” who is loved, admired, or successful. This leaves no room for good self-feelings and frequently results in increased hiding to diminish the risks of being seen and known.
As the individual becomes increasingly aware of the false self adaptation, he (or she) is also aware that he (or she) may not know what will appear when the “true self” begins to emerge. It feels risky to be vulnerable and speak one’s feelings. How the person will be responded to is an unknown. The false self emerged early in development and was successful in protecting the person from intolerable feelings. Now that the false self no longer protects so well, it takes courage to begin to allow the true self to emerge. There are no assurances that the old shaming ways that required the adaptation to a false self won’t be repeated. Jeff’s relating of his early experiences with his parents, his shame, and his negative self-feelings were a brave expression of his “true self.”...more
Kathleen Notes: Being your "true" or authentic self is risky, especially if your sense of self is based on the opinions of others. You can`t truly be known (or understood) unless you take that risk.
A person who loves love doesn’t have to worry about being “caught” or overheard. When you act out of love, there’s tremendous peace. If you are “caught” speaking of someone else, it will only bring you closer to the one you are speaking about because you speak only encouragement and blessing.
A person who loves love has tremendous hope. Because you want the best for someone, and because you believe in God, there is never a moment when you “give up” on someone because you would never give up on God. If you want the worst for someone, you are betting against God, hoping that he fails to woo them, win them, and transform them. Pity the person who depends on God failing for them to be satisfied....
.....A person who loves love feels unusually close to God. “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16). You feel the favor of God, the fellowship of God, and the joy of God in seeing something good happen to and within someone. You align yourself with God and his aims and all the presence of heaven rejoices with you, increasing your own joy and happiness.
Indeed, one of the very best things about being a Christian is being freed from hate by living a life of love: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Eph. 5:1-2)...more
Kathleen Notes: The follow up to last week`s lead article. I love a happy ending...
“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…’” Luke 2:10
Want to know the absolutely best present you could give your spouse or family for Christmas this year?
You won’t find it on the ubiquitous “12 Best Christmas Gifts for Wives” or “Ten Gifts Your Husband Will Really Love” Internet lists that circulate this time of year.
The best gift you can give to each other and your children is a heart filled with Christ-inspired joy.
In a Christmas Day sermon, Martin Luther proclaimed, “Whoever preaches [Christ] rightly, preaches the Gospel of pure joy.”...more
Kathleen Notes: My wish for you this year, that the love and joy of Christ would be yours through faith. A Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones!
Radical acceptance is a concept used in dialectical behavior therapy (Linehan, 1993). It involves learning to accept reality as it is in the present moment. This does not mean we agree with or are happy about what is happening, but through acceptance, we avoid the suffering we would otherwise be subjected to.
A major part of our suffering is due to the negative thoughts we have about ourselves, as well as the situations we encounter in our lives. We may beat ourselves up for behaving in a particular way or believe we should not have to put up with frustrating events. We want to feel that we are able to influence what happens in our lives and we get upset when things don’t go our way or are out of our control. We become angry at the unfairness of the cards that life has dealt us, rather than accepting the reality of what is.
A few examples of situations that might trigger suffering or frustration include:
Kathleen Notes: What is in your control? What is outside of your control? Difficulties are a part of everyone`s life. Change what you can, accept what you must.
I keep seeing posts about “entitled kids” making the rounds lately. In fact, you don’t have to look hard before you see things written about how “lazy” and “narcissistic” and “downright terrible” kids are these days.
As a parent of younger kids, you read these articles and feel paralyzed by overwhelm and fear and mixed messages. What exactly is the right thing to do? Where am I going wrong? Should I give up and start a savings account for my kids’ future therapy sessions?....
......Change starts with one parent and one child at a time. You have a beautiful window of opportunity to build the foundation that your child desperately needs but also craves.
The foundation for things like
generosity, responsibility, appreciation, warmth, kindness, helpfulness
and hard-work ethic all starts during the early years.
Here’s the hard part.
It starts with us — the parents. Kids cannot even think at the maturity level needed to break a behavior cycle, let alone do anything about it. So, as the parents, it has to start with us. The foundation for well-adjusted kids always starts with us.
Kathleen Notes: Parents: you have tremendous power to help your kiddos to become happy, healthy adults. Don`t be afraid to take charge!
Anxiety can range from mild to overwhelming. It can be brought on sporadically by various work or relationship issues or other life experiences. Or it may be a chronic state. You may already have sought assistance from a physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional, and you may be taking medications to help manage symptoms. You may have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD). In general, these diagnoses are made when symptoms become excessive, when anxiety arises with little or no provocation, or when anxiety reactions seem exaggerated in relation to the situations that bring them on.
Anyone who struggles with anxiety can reap benefits from mindfulness and the practices offered here, regardless of diagnosis. If you struggle with anxious thoughts, worry, fearful anticipation of the future, or a sense of dread, mindfulness will be useful for you....more
Kathleen Notes: Mindfulness helps us to stay in the present moment. This in turn enables us to deal only with whatever emotions/events are happening at that time.
It is my job to push you through your comfort zones so you can grow and transform your life. Sometimes that means asking you to sit with painful emotions, thoughts, and experiences. It is also my job to help you develop the tools to be functional in between sessions. After all, there are many more hours spent outside the therapy room than in it.
It can feel a whole lot easier to sit with pain when there is a trained mental health professional around to help contain the overwhelm, someone to help you practice healthy coping skills so you can regroup and ground yourself. However, your brain keeps working and processing after you leave the therapy room, which means it is likely you will experience reminders, or actual discomfort, in between sessions.
This is one of the reasons I focus on coping skills when I start working with people. I need to know you know what to do during and in between sessions when things start getting uncomfortable....more
Kathleen Notes: TIP is an acronym for a set of distress tolerance skills that anyone can use. Read on to learn more...
The holidays can be a wonderful time of celebration and fun. But for children, our schedules and parties can quickly become times of over-stimulation and exhaustion. Maybe they are overwhelmed. Maybe they go into overdrive. Maybe the Sweets and Treats catch their stomachs off-guard. How can we help them through family gatherings, making the most of the season for ourselves and for them?...
.....God came to earth to claim us as his children. He has heard our needs and drawn us close. I want to teach my children that the parties are fun, but that hope is found in the reason our families gather together. It is hope that I cling to and hope they will need as they learn. May our holiday parties guide our children to know that are loved and seen and comforted in the midst of a raucous world....more
Kathleen Notes: Let the "gauntlet of fun" begin!! Feel free to back away from all of the busyness...you and your kids will benefit.
We have all been there. What you’re currently going through is a phase I call soldiering.
Before I dive into this, I want you to know that soldiering is not something negative.
There’s strength in keeping that steady momentum in order to get necessary things accomplished and/or help others around you. This oftentimes means sacrificing some of the things you want to be doing or putting yourself second for a period of time.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay because as you’re soldiering on, going with the ebb and flow of life, you know that this stage will not last forever. You know that your strength, your perseverance is what will carry you and others around you to a new chapter. You know that there will be a period of time when all of this will be over.
As you’re soldiering, as hard as this may be at times, I want you to keep these 3 thoughts in your back pocket:...more
Kathleen Notes: All people have times in their lives when they are just hanging in there and doing what needs to be done, even if it`s hard. Like all seasons, this too shall pass....
I really didn’t want to admit I was an interrupter. Then I read in The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts the that the average person doesn’t go more than seventeen seconds before interrupting the person talking.
Seventeen measly seconds? Really? I certainly wasn’t that bad. . . .
I decided to find out. I started by trying out waiting seventeen seconds during conversations with my husband and my kids, counting silently to seventeen before speaking my thoughts . . . and oh dear. I was shocked at how often I was ready to interrupt during that first seven seconds, let alone seventeen seconds. I discovered that frequently when I think one of my family members is done talking, he or she is actually just taking a breath or needing time to think before answering.
Encouraged by how powerful this pause was in conversations, I began to use seventeen seconds as a waiting time when I saw one of my kids struggle. Resisting the urge to jump in to fix something or give a suggestion, I waited. How could it be that in only seventeen seconds so much could happen?...more
Kathleen Notes: Wow...who`d have guessed? I`m going to pay more attention to my own interrupting for sure!!
Take a moment to read it again—as if for the first time, as if newly in love, with wonderment.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” . . .
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18–25)...
.....It is all stunningly good, beautiful, pure, and right. And they all lived happily ever after. The End.
Oh, that it were so.
Next verse: Now the serpent … (Genesis 3:1).
That phrase jolted me in my reading. So abrupt. So disruptive, falling as it does in the midst of such ecstasy. I ended up parked in this passage for the next several hours, meditating on the progression, contemplating its implications for my own life and marriage....more
Kathleen Notes: Fortunately for us, the Enemy is no match for our God....
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and colleagues have discovered how two brain regions work together to maintain attention, and how discordance between the regions could lead to attention deficit disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.
People with attention deficits have difficulty focusing and often display compulsive behavior. The new study suggests these symptoms could be due to dysfunction in a gene—ErbB4—that helps different brain regions communicate. The gene is a known risk factor for psychiatric disorders, and is required to maintain healthy neurotransmitter levels in the brain....more
Kathleen Notes: ADHD effects both children and adults. This article details some new research to help explain some of what goes on in the ADHD brain.
Article after article is about our daughters and how dire it is for us to raise them to be strong, self-sufficient, and capable.
How crucial it is that they are encouraged to use their voice, own and tell their story, and never cower in the face of a man -- one or many....
And when I do come across an essay on raising sons, it’s about how and why we need to raise our boys with particular values for the sake of the females and daughters of the world.
This is something I’m not entirely on board with.Yes, I’m a happy passenger on the train that drives our children to the destination off being “good” human beings, but I don’t agree with the idea that we should be raising our boys (because in a collective sense, children of the world belong to all of us) a certain way for the benefit of the females of the world.
Kathleen Notes: As the mother of 3 daughters, a step daughter and daughter-in-law, plus 2 granddaughters I am very invested in their being able to realize their full potentials in life. But...we don`t elevate women by ignoring or debasing men....said the woman with a step-son, 3 sons-in-law and 4 grandsons.
First of all, I apologize for the picture you see above. Why? Because it is emblematic of the pressure society puts on everyone throughout the holiday season. Commercials, ads, and depictions abound which show warm, happy families or beautiful people smiling with gifts.
We’re a loving, close family!
The pictures call out to us day after day.
As a specialist in Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), I see how this affects many people. There is no time of year when folks are under this much pressure to feel....more
Kathleen Notes: I think this is often difficult even if CEN isn`t a big player for you. For people with CEN, the difficulty is often knowing what the feeling is and is that feeling OK? Hint...whatever you feel is always OK, in fact it`s God`s way of helping you to navigate life.
In the 1980s, the true impact of abuse on children was finally recognized and defined. And since that time, the progress in understanding child abuse has been both significant and rapid.
But still, until recently, childhood emotional abuse and emotional neglect were combined in the minds of laypeople and mental health professionals alike. In fact, it was almost a catchphrase in research articles, books and professional writings, “Emotional abuse and neglect.”
Finally, since the publication of the first book that described the unique effects of pure Childhood Emotional Neglect (Running On Empty, in 2012), Emotional Neglect is, at last, being seen and defined separately from abuse.
I have spent the last 6 years working to help people understand the differences between neglect and abuse, and to see neglect as a unique entity that can happen on its own, and has separate effects from abuse. But in this article, I am going to take a step in the other direction, so that we can address another very important question.
Emotional abuse and Emotional Neglect have separate effects on the child throughout his or her adult life. So what are the effects on you if you grow up in a household where both emotional abuse and emotional neglect are happening?...more
Kathleen Notes: Both abuse and neglect are forms of trauma, combined they are a more complex form of trauma. As a profession, counselors are beginning to finally understand and address this. More education is needed by everyone in all stations of life if we are to be effective.
There’s some part in all of us that yearns to belong. This is our safety, our security. It means we can relax, that others are there to hold us, cherish us, praise us, and keep guard when we cannot. It means we matter.
When we’ve experienced a single relational disconnection, we generally recover. When it becomes a pattern—when someone who is “supposed to be there” for us finds ways to disengage or disappear on a daily basis—recovery feels intangible and unattainable. We make decisions about the self, saying, “I’m not wanted. I must be flawed.”...more
Kathleen Notes: This is foundational to Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Fortunately, our Heavenly Father is always there for us.
It is officially the holiday season! During this time of year there can be so much pressure that unfortunately the joy, magic, and meaning of the season is lost, often replaced by stress. Especially now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it is hard to ignore the almost instantaneous rush of frenetic energy that ensues as we near the close of the calendar year.
It is more than possible though to not only survive the holiday season, but to even thrive and connect to your particular observance in a deeper and more profound way. Here are some common stressors that pop up this time this year, and mindful antidotes to help you through the discomfort....more
Kathleen Notes: Many things can cause stress this time of the year. Check out this article for ideas to better manage it.
When in truth, they’re the exact same thing, like caring what everyone thinks and not carrying what anyone thinks are both super problematic. I mean when you care about what everyone thinks, you lose the willingness to be vulnerable and to put yourself out there. When you stop caring about what anyone thinks at all, you lose your capacity for connection because we’re hardwired neurobiologically to care about what people think. Our job becomes to get specific on whose opinions matter and find the people who love you, not despite your vulnerability, not despite your imperfection, but because of it.
Find the people who will say, “You know what, you’re right, the way you showed up and that meeting sucked, it was inappropriate, out of your integrity, you got to clean it up and I’ll be here supporting you while you do that and I’ll be supporting you again when you’re brave again, but right now …” Not yes people, but real people whose opinions of you matter and carry it with you, so when you’re trying to hack into the back end of Amazon to see who left a shitty comment about your book, you think to yourself, “You know what, you’re not on my list, think what you want, I’ve got my list of people whose opinions matter.”...more
Kathleen Notes: ....love this...
Anyone who has argued with an opinionated relative or friend about immigration or gun control knows it is often impossible to sway someone with strong views.
That’s in part because our brains work hard to ensure the integrity of our worldview: We seek out information to confirm what we already know, and are dismissive or avoidant of facts that are hostile to our core beliefs.
But it’s not impossible to make your argument stick. And there’s been some good scientific work on this. Here are two strategies that, based on the evidence, seem promising....more
Kathleen Notes: Part of being effective in getting your point across is realizing that the other person has an equally valid opinion and showing your respect for them. Only then can you make your facts relevant.
We honeymooned in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort that some would call a perfect vacation destination. We giggled as the electronically piped-in sounds of “nature” accompanied us along resort trails and decided over a game of 500 Rummy that we’d stick to freshwater lakes and mosquitoes. We returned to the US and settled into our first home in the Northwoods of Michigan.
That winter, we found out who we’d actually married.
I, the neat freak, germ phobic, private, independent woman did not exactly mesh with you, the relaxed, messy, forgetful boy whose mama cooked and laundered and cleaned up after him until the day we married.
Are you going to help me fold these towels?
You had been under the impression that a wife was a maid, and marriage a lifelong sex-fest.
I had been under the impression that a husband was someone who unclogged drains, and marriage meant someone else would help pay the bills for the clothes I wanted to buy and trips I wanted to take....more
Kathleen Notes: Great article about expectations in marriage and how to find the realistic ones.
The thought expressed by the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is as likely to give someone a knot in the stomach as a longing in the heart. The issue of how to handle family expectations for holiday gatherings probably came up early in your marriage, if not before. Where and how you celebrate may cause culture shock.
Barbara and I had to deal with this because both families have wonderful holiday traditions. We adopted a common solution; one year we celebrated Christmas with Barbara’s family, then went later to my folks. Next year, the schedule reversed.
But during my first Christmas visit to Barbara’s family, I was shocked that they did not open presents in the “correct” way! To me, the orthodox approach was for one person at a time to open a gift. Everyone focused on the person receiving the present and smiled when the gift was opened; the recipient dutifully looked surprised and pleased, and then came the next person’s turn. At Barbara’s house, they distributed all the presents, and then chaos erupted. The race was on to see who could open presents first. I thought, This isn’t right!...more
Kathleen Notes: When you marry, you form a completely new family. While loving and honoring the families that you both came from, it`s time to focus on your own family. The adjustment can be tough at first, but necessary and worth it!
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, offers an enriching life that He wants you to experience: "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10, emphasis added). An abundant life isn`t a bonus: It`s an essential part of the Christian life.
If we as Christians are neglecting ourselves, it`s like driving a car but never doing repairs on the vehicle. Cars need regular maintenance. Similarly, God designed people to need care emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Many of us don`t understand how to care for ourselves. Instead we cling to behaviors and patterns that wear us down....more
Kathleen Notes: As always, you cannot give what you don`t have. Self-care is vital in relationships of all kinds.
Kathleen Notes: Love and support coupled with responsibility and the freedom to fail.....a delicate balance but do-able!
Don’t judge or criticize your partner. These negative relationship behaviors are some of the most destructive. When you criticize your partner, they feel a sense of disapproval which puts them on the defense. They take in the message, “I’m flawed and need fixing” or “my partner doesn’t accept me.” No spouse wants to feel inadequate or not good enough and constant judgment or criticism portray that. Stay away from blanket statements like “you always” or “you never” or the instinct to scoff at your significant other’s new idea. Instead, state your needs using “I” statements (“I feel like you’ve been neglecting me when you don’t come home as promised”) and show support (“I love that idea! You can do it. I’m behind you.”) We all want to feel like our partner has our back and is on our side....
.....Listen to Understand. We often approach conflict right out of the gate with guns blazing. Unfortunately, this tactic leaves us feeling more at odds and hopeless as ever, especially if our partners fire back. Understanding must precede advice. Seek to listen first with empathy. See where they’re coming from even if you don’t agree. Common ground can’t be obtained without first seeing the situation from your spouse’s perspective. As you listen, refrain from building more ammunition for your difference of opinion. You end up hearing less of what they are feeling and instead, counter attack....more
Kathleen Notes:...and many more! Check out the article!
Besides the one with our Heavenly Father himself, there’s hardly a relationship that can compare with that of a father and daughter. For so many, the way a father interacts with his daughter is the representation that a young lady holds of her relationship with God for the duration of her life.
Even more important to note, little eyes are always watching and soaking up more than most of us as busy adults can imagine.
She watches the way you hold her mom’s hand, the way you kiss her good night, and the way you speak to her with words of love, respect, and adoration.
Daddies are often protective of who their daughters will date and how they will be treated — but with a world spewing all sorts of distortions of love at them, there’s no way to better represent the way she deserves to be treated than by serving your wife well....more
Kathleen Notes: Never say/do anything to your daughter that you wouldn`t like to hear/see her husband do to her someday.
Most people with ADHD have always known they are different. They were told by parents, teachers, employers, spouses, and friends that they did not fit the common mold and that they had better shape up in a hurry if they wanted to make something of themselves.
As if they were immigrants, they were told to assimilate into the dominant culture and become like everyone else. Unfortunately, no one told them how to do this. No one revealed the bigger secret: It couldn’t be done, no matter how hard they tried. The only outcome would be failure, made worse by the accusation that they will never succeed because ADHD in adults means they don’t try hard enough or long enough.
It seems odd to call a condition a disorder when the condition comes with so many positive features. People with an ADHD-style nervous system tend to be great problem-solvers. They wade into problems that have stumped everyone else and jump to the answer. They are affable, likable people with a sense of humor. They have what Paul Wender called “relentless determination.” When they get hooked on a challenge, they tackle it with one approach after another until they master the problem — and they may lose interest entirely when it is no longer a challenge....more
Kathleen Notes: I don`t see ADHD as a disorder but a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. However, it often runs afoul of how the rest of the world works. Learning more is really helpful in figuring out how to thrive.
For many of us, stress is a fundamental part of life. Perhaps we tend to overextend ourselves with work, social commitments, and our personal lives. Or maybe we never turn off our many devices, which can prevent us from being able to simply relax and enjoy each moment. As a result of this overstimulation, we often end up seeking out ways to self-soothe.
Food can be a source of comfort for many people. And while emotional eating can help us feel good in the moment, it can often have negative effects over time.
How can we know if we have an unhealthy relationship with food? Signs that indicate emotional eating may be having a negative impact can include:...more
Kathleen Notes: Holidays + stress and busyness = emotional eating.
I kept looking for the perfect solution to things like sleep, tantrums, eating . . . Each time I thought I had it figured out though, things would change, my kids would hit a new stage, and I’d be back to searching for another solution.
One day, I realized I was spending most of my time in survival mode, not enjoying the moment, enduring my kids rather than noticing them, and anxious the whole time that I was screwing it all up. I was worried I’d be filled with regret later if I couldn’t stop feeling so frantic and exhausted.
I needed a starting place to change how I was feeling. I didn’t want to spend their entire childhood in survival mode.
I thought about the brightest moments in my own childhood—they were often simple, like my mom teaching me to shuffle cards, or my dad teaching me to whistle with a blade of grass. I thought about the most treasured moments in our family life. Many of them were just as simple, and yet nothing like I thought they would be....more
Kathleen Notes: Oh goodness...I think almost all parents start out with a fantasy of who they will be as parents and with "fantasy children." The real ones are so much more interesting!
Since the 1980s, parents have been told by child psychologists, doctors, and other parenting experts that self-esteem is KEY to raising a successful child. But after about 30 years of everyone thinking they’re the best at everything because mom said so (and because they got a trophy for showing up), professionals are changing their tune. Desperate to raise kids who would become responsible, functional adults, and not liking what she was seeing in her four kids at home, mom Heidi Landes went on a search to find out what she was missing.
“How am I going to get them to college, when I can’t even get them out the door with two shoes on?” she asked herself....
.....So what should our kids be taught instead? Not self-ESTEEM, but self-CONTROL.
Why? Well, because studies have shown that kids who are taught to have self-control will grow up to be adults who are less likely to have drug and alcohol problems, commit a crime, or struggle financially. They go on to become adults who are more likely to be in good health, earn more and save more money, volunteer and give to charity, and be satisfied with their lives....more
Kathleen Notes: So happy to share this article, I`ve been "preaching" this point for decades! The foundation of good self-esteem is self-efficacy. Knowing that you have the ability to handle life`s struggles (because you have been able to previously) lends "waypower" to willpower.
That doesn’t mean we renege on our responsibility to guide our children by setting limits. No running into the street, no hitting the baby, no peeing on the carpet, no picking the neighbor’s tulips, no hurting the dog. But we don`t need to punish to set or hold such limits.
Are you wondering how your child will learn not to do these things next time, if you don’t “discipline” him when he does them? Then you’re assuming that we need to punish children to "teach a lesson."....
.....That`s not really surprising. If your boss criticizes, yells, humiliates, or docks your pay, does that make you want to follow his lead?
Being punished erodes the parent-child relationship so kids don`t want to follow our lead. It makes the child angry and defensive. It floods them with adrenaline and the other fight, flight or freeze hormones, and turns off the reasoning, cooperative parts of the brain. Kids quickly forget the “bad” behavior that led to their being punished; they just go on the defensive. If they learn anything, it’s to lie so they can avoid getting caught. Punishment disconnects us from our kids so we have less influence with them. Quite simply, punishment teaches all the wrong lessons....more
Kathleen Notes: Yes!!! There is a HUGE difference between discipline (to teach)and punishment (making people pay for having a problem). No one is EVER motivated to change through criticism and kids are people just like adults.
How do you prevent Emotional Neglect in your marriage? Fortunately, it’s quite easy.
But unfortunately, it’s also easy for Emotional Neglect to take over your marriage, leaving one or both partners feeling empty and alone. All it takes is for one or both of you to grow up with it in your family.
When Emotional Neglect happens in a marriage, it doesn’t look the same as other relationship problems, like conflict or fighting. Instead, it’s more likely to look like nothing.
Failing to notice when your partner is upset.
Failing to ask, “What’s wrong?”
Refusing to answer when your partner asks, “What’s wrong?”
Ignoring the problems between you in hopes they will go away on their own.
Keeping your festering anger to yourself.
Failing to notice or respond to your partner’s emotional needs....more
Kathleen Notes: Often emotional neglect starts with the child in their family of origin. As people, we tend to "do" relationships as we experience and see them in childhood. Later this manifests itself in marriage.
Holding space for someone in emotional pain is a concept many people are not familiar with but have nonetheless felt it, on some level, at some point. Holding space, or creating a container, can be especially helpful when someone is in deep grief, struggling with unresolved trauma, or in the throes of depression. We’ve all had the opportunity to feel the clear and pure attention of unconditional positive regard or the emptiness of its absence in a time of profound need.
So, what does it mean to “hold space” for someone? If needed, how does a person actually do this? The answers to these questions are quite simple in theory but complex in practice.
At one time or another, someone in our lives will need a space held that is loving, nonjudgmental, and empathetic. When that time comes, the relationship you already have will provide a foundation for building this so-called “container” in which you hold space for the other person. If you accept the challenge, your desire to be of service to the other person will be the first building block for holding that sacred space....more
Kathleen Notes: Being with someone in their pain while giving unconditional support and regard....
After years of schools reducing recess time and teachers using the threat of taking away recess as a disciplinary tool, experts are tsk-tsking them for doing so – and it’s about time. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently issued a comprehensive set of strategies for recess that highlights the benefits of recess and reminds parents and educators that recess shouldn’t be optional, nor should it be taken away as a punishment.
Not only is recess fun, but it serves a critical function in the learning process. Unfortunately, in recent years, many schools have been cutting recess time to keep up with stricter academic demands – with disastrous results. Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist who first wrote about the recess deficiency problem in the Washington Post in 2014, warned that when children are constantly in the upright position – as they are these days – they have an underdeveloped vestibular system (which is really just a fancy way of saying “balance”)....more
Kathleen Notes: Long time readers know that this is a major issue in my opinion. Schools need to function for the benefit of the children, not the other way around. Sitting in a desk for 7 hours a day is unnatural and harmful for the developing mind, body and emotions.
Deb of Canton, South Dakota, has grappled with memory problems for a long time. Names, appointments, even special events like her children’s birthdays—they all drift off to some Never-Never Land.
Of course, plenty of people have trouble finding their keys, keeping ahead of things at work, and remembering to pick up the dry cleaning. Yet researchers now know that glitches in recall, planning, and staying on task can be part and parcel of bipolar disorder. A growing body of evidence identifies what are known as “cognitive deficits” that predate diagnosis and persist through all mood states.
Luckily, there are ways to exploit modern technology and old-fashioned techniques—programming alerts into your smartphone, organizing your work space, choosing a spot to always keep your keys and wallet—to compensate for brain fog. For especially severe symptoms, it may be worth exploring rehabilitative training.
Deb’s mood swings have been well-controlled for the past eight years, but she still relies on workarounds for her forgetfulness and lack of focus....more
Kathleen Notes: Some good stuff here...
“You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” —Dr. Bruce Banner
Remember the story of The Incredible Hulk? Scientist Bruce Banner accidentally exposes himself to lethal doses of gamma rays, and his DNA is restructured. Afterward, in times of anger or extreme stress, the otherwise mild-mannered doctor morphs into a raging green monster known as The Incredible Hulk.
Dr. Banner desperately tries to control his rage and prevent the transformations so he won’t harm others; unfortunately, he fails. In the 82 episodes of the original television series, Dr. Banner transforms into the Hulk in every single one. As a parent, you may relate to the struggle to contain your anger… I know I have....
.....You may recognize that once the anger seeps in and the yell creeps up to your throat, it’s a battle to keep the scream from exploding out. And after you yell? Of course, you feel awful, maybe even ashamed; you vow it will never happen again; however, somehow, much sooner than anticipated, your inner Hulk rears its ugly head again....more
Kathleen Notes: I don`t know who said it first, but I like the expression, "Raise your words, not your voice."
My husband would agree that I am every bit an equal contributor to our family. Maybe I don’t offer much in the way of finances, but there is more to running a household than providing money. In fact, the contribution of money is really not the most important thing when you factor in all the other things it takes to raise a family....
.....If we truly want equality, then we need to recognize the value in unpaid work and the important contributions of that unpaid work. I may not get paid to stay home with my kids, but in doing so I have contributed to our family as a whole, and my children will grow up knowing how important it is to look at contributions not in terms of how much money they make from it, but in how much it benefits their family and their community....more
Kathleen Notes: Respect...the hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world...
Emotions are tricky things. They come in a variety of sharpnesses and
intensities, but there are no instructions on what to do with them or
how to make sense of them. Emotions such as fear, anger, shame, or guilt
can be like un-invited dinner guests that won’t leave even after you
started turning out the lights! Emotions such as love, joy, and peace
can be like an unexpected bouquet of flowers, showing up on a day when
you thought all was lost.
Emotions are messengers. They have
something to say to our body, soul, and spirit about how we`re doing as a
person. Before you can really hear the voice of the emotion and discern
its message, it helps to understand the origin of the emotion.
Kathleen Notes: I often use the analogy of a broken leg...what do you notice? Pain, swelling, bruising, etc. all tell the person that there is something going on that they should pay attention to. Emotions are like that.
Toddlers need order. They crave it. You might be ruining her brain with this mess.
You should get rid of more toys.
You should be telling her a story.
You should get the boys on a better schedule.
You should have made them clean up before bed.
You should have brushed her teeth, not let her do it on her own.
You should teach them better money sense.
You should make them write thank you notes more quickly.
You should eat dinner at the table every night.
Kathleen Notes: Yeah....don`t be so focused on the "shoulds" that it makes you feel stuck.
Misophonia, sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome, is sensitivity to specific sounds. Some common triggers include eating sounds such as chewing, throat sounds, nasal sounds such as a person blowing their nose, and repetitive noises such as tapping or clicking a pen.
While it is a potentially challenging symptom, misophonia is not a mental health diagnosis. A 2015 study of more than 300 people with misophonia found that only 2.2% had a mental health condition.
Misophonia can be extremely distressing both to the person with misophobia and their loved ones. It can cause conflict in relationships and make it difficult for couples to go to certain public places. In addition, sensitivity to the sounds a romantic partner makes may be hurtful and feel overbearing or critical....more
Kathleen Notes: Is this you or someone you love?
Did you know that the right brain develops first? It does so by the time children are 3-4 years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn’t fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recognized as such a critical period in child development.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein
The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy,
literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning,
busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored
in the pragmatic world, and in past and future. The right brain, on the
other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination and
creativity. It is where we wonder, dream, connect and come alive.
Through the right brain we dwell in the space of no-time, in being
absolutely present. While the left brain is more interested in outcomes
or product, the right brain cares much more about process—the journey is what matters, not the destination.
Kathleen Notes: Another reason why play therapy is so effective with children. The author make s a great point: "Being is primary; hence the right brain developing first; hence, human being, not human doing."
Springsteen also spoke about his late father, Doug Springsteen, who wrestled with his own demons and was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in his life.
"All I do know is as we age, the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier ... much heavier," Springsteen went on to say. "With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. ... Long ago, the defenses I built to withstand the stress of my childhood, to save what I had of myself, outlived their usefulness, and I`ve become an abuser of their once lifesaving powers. I relied on them wrongly to isolate myself, seal my alienation, cut me off from life, control others, and contain my emotions to a damaging degree. Now the bill collector is knocking, and his payment will be in tears."...more
Kathleen Notes: I applaud the courage it takes to be open about mental health struggles from "the Boss". The above quote is not only powerful, but accurate.
When the bond between a child and biological mother is broken, some children try to protect their hearts from further trauma; they resolve to never have another mom. They still need a cook and chauffeur, but fear emotional intimacy. The thought of losing another mother is simply too much to bear. Thus Mom becomes the target of her child`s rejection because she`s the greatest emotional threat.Countless adoptive parents experience this, yet there is hope! ...more
Kathleen Notes: A short but encouraging article. Adopted children (as well as those who have been in foster care) have endured many loses: family of origin, sometimes a home, a culture, friends, personal belongings, etc.
We all know the experience of vulnerability, even if we don’t call it by that name. It’s that feeling you get when you’re about to tell someone “I love you,” try out a new skill, or ask for forgiveness. When the risk of getting rejected, laughed at, or criticized is real.
In her research, University of Houston professor and author Brené Brown has explored some of the reasons why we shy away from vulnerability. While we often celebrate it as a strength in other people, she discovered, we tend to see it as a weakness in ourselves.
“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we are afraid to let them see it in us,” she writes. “Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.”...more
Kathleen Notes: To be vulnerable means being authentic. To be authentic means risking being rejected or criticized for who you really are. It`s also the only way to be fully present with who you are and the rest of your world. Scary stuff but sooo good!
A measure of the quality of a relationship — between individuals, between groups, and between governments — trust makes life more predictable and working with others easier. “I started to see their conflicts like a fan opening up, and every region of the fan was a different area of trust,” he explains. “Can I trust you to be there and listen to me when I’m upset? Can I trust you to choose me over your mother, over your friends? To not take drugs? Can I trust you to not cheat on me and be sexually faithful? Can I trust you to respect me?”
Many of these are subtle questions of betrayal, but trust can be eroded by minor acts of betrayal over time.
“Trust is built in very small moments,” says University of Houston
social scientist and best-selling author Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW.
Research shows that people trust folks who attend funerals, those who
ask for help, and bosses who ask how their employees’ family members are
Kathleen Notes: Trust is built over the little things that we often think don`t matter or are overlooked. Check out the rest of the article to learn more.
Self-care is not an indulgence. Self-care is a discipline. It requires tough-mindedness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a respect for both yourself and the people you choose to spend your life with.
For example, self care is:
Kathleen Notes: My clients (past and present) will tell you that I preach good self care as a method of emotional regulation. NOT optional !!
Let’s not sugarcoat it: Life can be hard for anxious kids. Even simple, everyday tasks can seem big and scary when they come with sweaty palms, a pounding heart, and the feeling that something — anything, maybe even everything — is about to go horribly wrong. Anxious kids may feel like it’s their job to stop a disaster from happening, or even like they’ve done something wrong and need to fix it. That’s a lot to shoulder at any age.
But they’ve done nothing wrong; in fact, those anxious feelings have some hidden advantages. It’s kind of like having a secret superpower. Here are 11 interesting ways that anxiety can actually be a good thing:...more
Kathleen Notes: Anxiety can come with increased ability for empathy and compassion, plus many others. Read on...
For the realtor, the world revolves around Location Location Location. But psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists everywhere know that what really matters is validation.
And the absence of it....
.....Imagine this little child trying to understand himself, his world, and all the other people in it. Imagine that he doesn’t feel he can ask questions when he needs help. No one notices his feelings or emotional needs. No one says, “Let me explain this to you.” No one says, “Your feelings are normal.” No one says, “I’m here for you,” or “I see your emotions,” either by words or actions.
This child is being sentenced to an entire life of seeking answers. An entire life of feeling like a non-person. An entire life of feeling less-than. An entire life of feeling angry or baffled or untethered, or all three.
An entire lifetime of feeling invalid.
Kathleen Notes: Validation equals spoken attunement...I see, hear and understand you. And that makes all the difference....
You may have heard that children who receive rewards are likely to stop taking joy in a job well done, because the extrinsic reward overshadows the intrinsic reward of internal satisfaction and pride. So kids who are given money for good grades lose their curiosity and desire to learn, instead focusing on pursuing the monetary reward, even to the point of being more likely to cheat.
The important insight from the Praise research is that praise has similar potency as a reward, so verbal praise has similar effects to tangible rewards. For instance:
Upsetting, right? Of course parents want to comment positively on reading, eating vegetables, sharing and other wholesome behavior!...more
Kathleen Notes: For 30+ years we`ve been told about how important our child`s self-esteem is. Finally we are hearing about the importance of self-efficacy and the correlation between it and a healthy sense of self.
In the eulogy George W didn’t mention once that his parents made sure he had organic food his whole life, or had Pinterest worthy birthday parties, or the perfect monogrammed matching outfits with his siblings. He didn’t mention that his parents made sure their week was planned with playdates and millions of extracurricular activities. He reflected over and over again about how much his dad loved and was dedicated to his mother.
I worry that we get so caught up in the minor things that we forget the major thing which is teaching our kids what unconditional love and loyalty looks like.
As a counselor, I see so many marriages falling apart and so much
strife and discontentment in life occurring because so much time and
attention is spent on the minor things. The results of this are broken
marriages, discontentment, lack of self-esteem, anger, addiction,
depression, anxiety, and in some cases suicide. All of the resources
given to the minor things in turn cause the major things to fall
Kathleen Notes:One of the best things you can do for your children is to love your spouse...and let them see it.
From childhood through adulthood, the ability to tolerate uncomfortable and unwanted feelings is essential for negotiating every kind of relationship. If we learn early on that we have the wherewithal to get through situations that make us uneasy, anxious, unhappy, angry, etc., we are in a good position to manage our lives. This is learned through repeated encounters with these feelings, the successes and failures of dealing with them, and finally the experience of oneself as competent to manage.
By running interference for uncomfortable feelings, Isabel has been depriving Molly of developing her capacity to regulate her own emotions by feeling them and developing comfort with them. This constricts Molly’s ability to relate and leaves her without the necessary experiences that promote resilience and competence with her anxieties. Instead, she must find ways to defend against these unwanted feeling states and/or remain dependent on others to make them tolerable....more
Kathleen Notes: Trust that your children are smarter and more resilient than you know! My mother used to say: "we teach our children to walk and ten we teach them to walk away"
Now about that goat. It was selected from the herd and sent forth into the wilderness for reasons having to do with the sins of others. The goat had done nothing to merit banishment. But once the ashes were cold on the rituals of dispatching it, the goat found itself alone in the wilderness, isolated from its herd, in unknown territory, suddenly forced to fend for itself. It faced dangers from predators; difficulty finding food, sustenance, and shelter; and it lived the constantly woeful insecurity of a herd animal without a herd.
This is the story of the scapegoat.
In dysfunctional families, for reasons similar to those Aaron devised, there can also be a designated person selected for the role of scapegoat. In a family system, the selection process is less overt than Aaron’s. It is done more by consensual and habitual shunning that becomes an unspoken code of behavior: one person is chosen to bear the brunt of any psychological discomfort experienced by the family as a whole. It is justified by repeating the stories that create and then reinforce the image of the scapegoat as being a person who is worthy of disdain and disparagement.
Like the strong goat Aaron selected, the target of family scapegoating is also often the strongest and healthiest member of the family. At first blush, this may sound counterintuitive. But think about it a little more.
Kathleen Notes: The family scapegoat must be the strongest emotionally in the family in order to carry the tremendous weight. But it`s no fun...
As a psychologist, I’m all too aware of the emerging and sobering
body of psychological literature showing the serious and quantifiable
emotional downsides to all this screen time, video gaming,
Netflix-bingeing, and social media scrolling. When I read that higher
levels of self-reported unhappiness and depressive symptoms are not
merely correlated with more hours in front of the screen but are
actually caused by more time in front of a screen it gives me pause......
Clearly, our phones have ahold of us. So, what can we do to loosen their grip and create healthier mobile habits?...more
Kathleen Notes: It`s OK to use technology, but not when technology uses us...
Do the sluggish days of winter have you feeling like you’re in “autopilot mode”? Perhaps you catch yourself living for the weekends, keeping them jam-packed and exciting—something to look forward to on the calendar. In contrast, on weekdays you may come home from work feeling uninspired and flattened, having barely seen daylight.
Here are five small changes that can impact your happiness and contentment on a day-to-day level, no matter the season....more
Kathleen Notes: Looking forward to the upcoming winter solstice...and the longer days that follow.
What I ask of the people I work with in therapy, and what I have found to be the most helpful in moving toward sustainable change, is to “rehearse” while in the room. It can be scary and difficult, certainly. But once there is some trust built up within the therapeutic relationship, I strongly encourage the person in therapy to let out, then and there, what they are thinking and feeling rather than “holding on to” or “taking in” a new revelation or introspective reflection.
It doesn’t need to be a fully formed thought. The emotion or feeling doesn’t even need to “make sense.” But processing it in the room gets us to some amazing places we might not otherwise arrive at, no matter how much home study gets done....more
Kathleen Notes: "Rehearsing" while receiving unconditional positive regard from the counselor provides a safe place to process difficult feelings and thoughts.
Each week I will collect and reflect on 5 to 10 relevant articles about important topics like parenting, marriage, relationships, and families. Within these topics I will address the challenges and joys, struggles and solutions from a Positive and Strengths-based approach. I am a strong believer in the power of relationships to grow, nurture and heal the human mind and spirit. I hope you find one or two of these articles useful for your practice, classroom or household. My opinions are open to discussion and even disagreement, as they are intended to facilitate the sharing of multiple thoughts and ideas! This publication is offered by In the Moment Child and Family Therapy, LLC, a Ministry of Resurrection Lutheran Church (WELS) in Verona and Monroe, Wisconsin.
I would really enjoy hearing your feedback if you care to give it at Kathleen@inthemomenttherapy.com
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