Welcome to In the Moment Notes

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A Surprising Emotion People With Childhood Emotional Neglect Often Feel

If you already know something about Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN and how it affects adults you may expect this article to be about guilt or shame. And indeed, despite having their feelings virtually walled off and inaccessible, most CEN people are still burdened by a pretty heavy dose of both of those two feelings in their everyday lives.

But there is one other feeling that also manages to break through CEN folks’ protective “wall” often. Most CEN people are not aware of this feeling, have never named it for themselves, and are frequently driven to act by it in ways that are not good for them. I am talking about the feeling of being responsible. Yes, “responsible” is a feeling!

I have noticed that the feeling of responsibility runs rampant in CEN adults. Some CEN folks feel so concerned that their friends are having fun at an outing that they are unaware of whether they themselves are having fun. Many CEN people become the “go-to” person at work because they are quick to take on more responsibilities with little thought about themselves. CEN people are automatic caretakers who others find it easy to rely upon.

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Kathleen Notes: I see this a lot in my practice.Try to remember that you are responsible TO people (to be respectful, kind, responsible, etc.) but not FOR people (their emotions, thoughts and responses). Just knowing that can make a big difference.

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5 Emotional Challenges of Valentine’s Day and How to Overcome Them

Is Valentine’s Day just one giant commercial created by the card companies? Actually, no, it is not. It’s a holiday that is rooted in ancient history. Valentine’s Day is thought to originate from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia that was held each year in the middle of February. It was a happy occasion which, in addition to celebrating spring, also included fertility rites and a lottery that paired men and women together based on the drawing of names.

Sounds fun, right?

Society has changed since ancient times, and Valentine’s Day has transitioned through the centuries into something quite different. It’s supposed to be a happy celebration of love and, for many, it is. But it also poses unique challenges to people married and single, dating or not dating, wishing for a relationship, or happy alone.

Let’s start by taking a look at the various challenges of Valentine’s Day. You may identify one, several, or even all as applying to you. Either way, no worries. There are answers!

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Kathleen Notes: Yes, there are definitely answers. Also, remember that Jesus loves you unconditionally....

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FREE Movie Night for Parents and Grandparents!!!
If you missed it last fall you have another chance!
Join us for a FREE showing of Like Arrows on Friday,
March 6, 2020 at 6p.m. at Resurrection Ev. Lutheran Church
6705 Wesner Rd., Verona, WI. For more information call 608-620-3486 or email Kathleen@inthemomenttherapy.com
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Kathleen Notes: “Like Arrows™ is an on-time, revolutionary call to biblical parenting. It inspires, entertains, and stirs us all to live a more Christ-centered life. Like Arrows has hit its mark and will no doubt create a ripple of lasting, positive change in families and individuals, as well as setting a standard for generations to come.” - Dove.org Review

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FREE Movie Night for Parents and Grandparents!!!
If you missed it last fall you have another chance!
Join us for a FREE showing of Like Arrows on Friday,
March 6, 2020 at 6p.m. at Resurrection Ev. Lutheran Church
6705 Wesner Rd., Verona, WI. For more information call 608-620-3486 or email Kathleen@inthemomenttherapy.com


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Kathleen Notes:“Like Arrows™ is an on-time, revolutionary call to biblical parenting. It inspires, entertains, and stirs us all to live a more Christ-centered life. Like Arrows has hit its mark and will no doubt create a ripple of lasting, positive change in families and individuals, as well as setting a standard for generations to come.” - Dove.org Review

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How Your EQ Determines Your Happiness in Marriage
One of the most important facets of marriage is highly overlooked—the idea of knowing yourself. Emotional Intelligence isn’t as innate as it seems.

Marriage is an adventure … an opportunity … a chance to love and be loved, to know and be known. But successful marriages don’t just happen. They take time and intentionality.

It’s interesting that one of the most important facets of marriage is also one of the most overlooked—the idea of knowing yourself.

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Kathleen Notes: Emotional Intelligence can be learned and increased through effort and awareness.

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Four Ways to Calm Your Mind in Stressful Times

Life throws chaos at us on a regular basis—whether it’s our finances, our relationships, or our health. In the work world, around 50 percent of people are burned out in industries like health carebanking, and nonprofits, and employers spend $300 billion per year on workplace-related stress.

In response, we just keep on pushing through, surviving on adrenaline. We overschedule ourselves; we drink another coffee; we respond to one more email. If we stay amped up all the time, we think, we’ll eventually be able to get things done.

But all that does is burn us out, drain our productivity, and lead to exhaustion.

There’s another way—a calmer way. Cultivating a more restful, relaxed state of mind doesn’t mean we’ll drown under all our responsibilities. Instead, research suggests it will bring us greater attention, energy, and creativity to tackle them. And science also points to simple ways we can tap into that calm state of mind to be more resilient in our chaotic lives.

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Kathleen Notes: A great list of emotional regulation skills, take a look and try a few out..

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How Every Feeling You Have Carries a Message and Has a Purpose

Have you ever wondered why we have emotions? In reality, our feelings are a more basic part of us than are our thoughts. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Neuroscientist, and author of My Stroke of Insight said:

“Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.”

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Neuroscientist, and author of My Stroke of Insight

Sure, scientists know. But most people do not! In fact, we have all kinds of ways of demeaning and belittling our own feelings and those of others. We call them sappy or sloppy or label them drama; we consider them insipid, tiresome, wimpy, sappy, or lame. These are some of the ways we convince ourselves and others that feelings are useless and in the way.

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Kathleen Notes: Your emotions don`t "run the show" as much as they "inform the show". Your emotions are vital to knowing who you are, what you value and why. Pay attention...

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What God Asks of Husbands

My love for Scripture is matched only by my love for Jesus, and the love of one is the expression of my love for the other. Everything I aspire to be as a husband is because of what the Bible calls me to be. And since Jesus was never married, I have to take the bulk of my instruction as a husband from the other words of Scripture, which I take to be as authoritative as the “red letters” of Jesus.


My fellow husbands, what I’ve found is that when I rightfully understand and seek to submit to all that God’s Word calls me to be and do as a husband, I don’t have any time left over to wonder if my wife is holding up “her” verses. So,  let’s look at what the Bible actually calls husbands to be. A “biblical” husband:

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Kathleen Notes: My home church (Resurrection Lutheran in Verona, WI)has been covering marriage in bible study for the last few weeks. This past Sunday the focus was on husbands so when I saw this article I thought it could be useful follow up. This Sunday the focus is on wives so I will try to find a good article for us ladies as well!

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How to Get Your Child to LISTEN!

One of the most common questions I hear from parents is: How can I get my kid to LISTEN to me?

Kids have a lot on their minds, from the history test to the soccer tryouts to the newest computer game. Parents can be dismally low on their list. Not to mention that when the brain is rewiring at age six, and again at age twelve, they can feel overwhelmed by outside stimuli and tune you out. Even toddlers are very busy, since their job description is exploring and tearing your house apart.

So kids have other things to think about. They also have different priorities, and they don`t understand at all why it`s so important to take their bath right this minute!

Of course, the parents who ask me how to get their child to listen aren`t really talking about listening. They`re talking about how to get their child to take in what they say--and take action! Here`s how.

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Kathleen Notes: I like that the author points out that with our children (and everyone else, really) what we want isn`t just listening but obedience. There`s a good chance they hear you already...

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10 Ways to Love the One You`re With
"Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom." -- Anonymous

If you`re like most parents, there are times when you`d like to submit your child to "Extreme Child Makeover." (That`s a reality show playing in a living room near you.)

Maybe you`re mortified about the way he clobbers the other kids at playgroup. Maybe you wish your shrinking violet would stop clinging to you when you drop her off at school. Maybe her shriek in public makes you cringe. Maybe you just always wanted a girl and you were blessed with two raucous boys.

But in honor of Valentines Day next week, let`s remind ourselves of one thing we know for certain about child development. Children who feel loved and cherished thrive. 

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Kathleen Notes: I think most parents had an image of their "fantasy baby" before their children were born but our kids need to know that they are loved and accepted for exactly who they are.

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How Disorganized Attachment Can Lead to Dissociation
Attachment may be understood as the relationship between child and caregiver (often a parent). This relationship is the most important in the child’s life, as the caregiver is the provider of all his or her needs. Not only is the child dependent on the caregiver for basic survival, but the child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development also take shape within this relationship.
In a secure relationship, the caregiver is able to recognize and respond to the child’s needs in a way that provides support. The caregiver’s behavior is predictable and stable. In a secure relationship, the child is more likely to develop healthy emotion-regulation abilities as well as a healthy view of the self and world. This is because when the child needs comfort and reassurance, they are available. Over time, the child develops a view of the world that when help is needed, it can be counted on. In addition, the child comes to see themselves as worthy of love and support. In a safe and secure environment, the child is better able to take advantage of important opportunities for learning and development.
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Kathleen Notes: Attachment is vital to the ability to have a healthy self view and relationships with others as an adult.

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The Squeaky Wheel of Anxiety: How to Stop Your Spinning Mind
Sometimes, anxiety feels a lot like riding too fast on a spinning carousel at an amusement park. It takes hold of a particular thought or fear and spins on it nonstop. It’s frustrating and exhausting, and it can feel out of our control.

The temptation in that situation is to do one of two things to feel better: (1) distract ourselves from the thoughts or (2) indulge them. Distraction maneuvers include watching television, calling a friend, taking a pill, or checking Facebook. Indulging behaviors might look like making endless lists and notes about anxious thoughts, researching whatever the issue is for hours, or calling people to talk through the same problems over and over.

The tough truth is that we can’t run from what’s bothering us, and we can’t necessarily “solve” it, either. If our minds are telling us to be very worried about a work meeting tomorrow, the answer is not to spend hours thinking about that meeting. This gives us the illusion of control—“If I can imagine every possible issue that could arise during the meeting, I’ll be able to handle whatever happens”—while keeping us tired out and high-strung. Trying to solve an irrational fear through rational thought is, as it sounds, impossible.

Instead, we have to do something that feels pretty counterintuitive: To keep anxiety at bay, we should sit with it. This means choosing actions that address the anxiety itself rather than dealing with the subject we think we’re anxious about. “Sitting with the feelings” sounds a lot harder; who wants to lean into feeling scared and worried? But we’ve already tried distraction and indulgence, so we know those are temporary fixes without any long-term gain. Once the fear about the work meeting is soothed, another problem will be waiting to frighten us, and we’ll have to start working feverishly again to calm that thought.

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Kathleen Notes: When I suggest that someone "sit" or "lean into" their uncomfortable feelings, they often either 1) look at me as though I`d taken leave of my senses (totally possible) or 2) give me "deer in the headlights" look. It seems all wrong but research has shown it to be highly effective once we develop some skills to help us to cope with those feelings. A counselor can really help with this!

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Why Women Need Other Women

About a month ago, I was asked to speak at a Mother’s Day Breakfast at my local church. I knew that the audience would be very diverse -- all women of all ages. This opportunity was an honor, but it was also a pretty big mountain that the Lord wanted me to climb. As I sorted through my thoughts for a message, one topic stuck out in my mind as being very relevant: women need other women.

In preparation, I got really close with two women in the Bible, Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. I believe their story lays a firm foundation for Christ-centered relationships with other women. It begins in Luke 1 but sends ripples throughout the New Testament and into our lives today.

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Kathleen Notes: Yes! In addition, studies suggest that women benefit physically by being with other women as well.

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The Most Beautiful Thing to Wear on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, perhaps millions of men will get to see their wives wearing something they’ve never worn before and the husbands will be thrilled. Not too many men can pull off the same effect. I’ve never seen anything marketed to men in this regard that doesn’t seem cheesy and that doesn’t make me want to laugh out loud.

But there’s something very spiritual that both men and women can wear that is other-worldly beautiful and ultimately will create the most satisfying Valentine’s Day night you could imagine.

But let me set it up first....

....The spiritual word for this piece of clothing is humility and it’s a twice-repeated biblical command: “Clothe yourselves with humility…” (Col. 3:12 and 1 Peter 5:5)

You want to immediately lose twenty pounds and a lot of stink? When you’re in conflict with your spouse, let your first thought be, “Am I responding with humility?”

As a pastor, I’ve heard many couples work through past hurt. Men, you know what never works, what never helps, what never heals? When our wives mention something we’ve done that was just atrocious and we respond with a dismissive, “So I’m not perfect.”

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Kathleen Notes: I think humility is also a way to show vulnerability and trust. To admit our imperfections and sins before God and our spouse is to invite relationship and compassion.

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Blending Families Isn’t as Easy as the Blending of the Sands

A wedding is important to marriage because it marks the end of something and the beginning of something. It marks the culmination of a process in which two people meet, fall in love, agree to a shared vision for life, and choose to commit themselves to one another “so long as we both shall live.”

A wedding also marks the beginning of those two people living out their vows. New boundaries are drawn, new loyalties declared, and new allegiance determined. Friends and family, even the government, are put on notice. From this moment on, things are different.

The rituals of a wedding are meant to help drive this point home. Giving wedding rings is a good example. The pastor usually explains the symbolism. “A ring is a circle. It has no beginning or end. It is continuous. And so, your covenant promises to one another will not end.”

Rituals are serious business.

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Kathleen Notes: "Blending" two families takes time and patience. Forming trust and attachment doesn`t happen quickly or easily but it can happen.

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The Unique Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect on Your Happiness

Most psychotherapists’ first question to their clients: “What do you want to accomplish in therapy?”

Most Clients’ first answer: “I just want to be happy.”

Direct, succinct and clear, this answer cuts to the chase. It makes perfect sense, and we therapists fully concur. We want you to be happy too.

But this understandable request raises a far more complex question with which the greatest minds of all time have grappled:

What is the secret formula for making people happy?

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Kathleen Notes: Please refer to the previous article. You can`t selectively suppress emotions...

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Why Fathers Matter

There’s is a West African Proverb that says, “A mother is gold, a father is a mirror” 

This means that while our mothers are valuable caregivers in our society, our fathers are representative figures who teach their children the ways of life and how to be a productive member of the community.  

Now, it has become common to say that there is really no difference between those who have fathers and those who do not. The facts prove otherwise, a child growing up without a father is more likely to have an addiction, be incarcerated, commit suicide, live in poverty, and drop out of high school. There was a recent study that cited the US having the world’s largest number of single-parent households in the world. Whereas those who do have father figures growing up in their lives during their formative years experience the opposite. This is true regardless of demographic background.   ...more

Kathleen Notes: There is an epidemic of fatherlessness in our families today. I believe that many of our government policies and cultural beliefs have laid the groundwork over the past few decades. Fathers have been portrayed as clueless, stupid and worst of all, optional.

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9 Steps to Reach Your Emotionally Neglected Spouse

My husband says he loves me, but I don’t feel love from him.

My wife gets confused, overwhelmed or frustrated every time I try to talk to her about a problem.

My marriage feels flat. Some vital ingredient is missing.

These are complaints which I have heard many times. Almost always from folks who are in a relationship with someone who grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).

CEN happens when your parents communicate this subtle but powerful message:

Your feelings don’t matter.

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Kathleen Notes: People with CEN tend to find each other. If your spouse struggles, chances are good that you do too. There is help for both individuals and coupes with CEN, call or email me to find out more...

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ADHD and Exercise

For many parents looking for alternatives to ADHD medication, studies like this can be a beacon of hope. When non-pharmacological treatments for ADHD get press, they are sometimes hyped as cure-alls, so it’s important to take a closer look at the facts to see what they can, and can’t, truly offer.

In this case, the results of the study were promising but Dr. Hoza says it’s not time to stop using traditional ADHD interventions just yet. “When I talk to parents I say, ‘You need to know what the evidence-based treatments are and right now that’s stimulant medication, behavioral therapy and their combination,’ ” she explains.

The bottom line: Exercise isn’t a miracle cure for ADHD, but it can make a contribution to a child’s functioning better and feeling better, and it’s definitely something worth trying.

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Kathleen Notes: I cannot overstate how important exercise is for all people with ADHD. It increases focus, reduces anxiety and depression, increases production of "feel good" chemicals like serotonin, not to mention all of the health benefits. In fact, it`s important for everyone.

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‘I Just Want Them to Be Okay’ – Why Rescuing Our Kids Can Get in Their Way

So let’s really unpack why the consistent use of avoidance is such a debilitating form of self-protection for our kids to snuggle into during latency age?

Well, lets start with the far end of the spectrum: Avoidance is a pre-requisite in the development of phobias. It’s way too simple to just assume phobias are something you catch from your genes. The vast majority of research on the role of genetics in the onset of psychiatric disorders suggests that while psychological trends do run in families, the onset is tied to a complex and nuanced interplay between nature and nurture.

To that end, phobias are something you develop through your consistent reliance on avoidance. You court phobias by using avoidance as your primary mode of controlling your feelings. Phobias are about control and narrowing the aperture on your emotional lens by avoiding and cutting out any stimuli that make you feel uncomfortable. Today it’s the soccer game, and some might argue, big deal let him skip the game if the pressure is too much. But tomorrow and all the days still tucked beyond the horizon it will be something else that rattles his nerves, makes him flinch. And here’s the kicker, with regular use of avoidance, your capacity for emotional tolerance atrophies. In other words, as you rely more and more on avoidance to manage your emotions, you end up be coming less capable of handling even the smallest of provocations.

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Kathleen Notes: We serve our children the best when we help them work through difficulties rather than help them to avoid problem. We can do that by coming alongside, validating feelings and helping our kids to develop coping skills.

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Making a Mess of Human Development: The Terrible Impact of Our Choices for Children

The other day I read an article that literally made me cry. I thought I’d heard it all when it came to the lack of movement in children’s lives, but this piece alerted me to something I hadn’t come across before: children are falling out of their chairs because they’re not moving enough.

Is this an unusual occurrence? Sadly, no. One first-grade teacher reported that she took a tally, and in one week her students fell from their chairs 44 times. Forty-four times!

How is this possible? What the heck is going on? Well, it turns out that today’s children have proprioceptive and vestibular systems so undeveloped that, as the previously mentioned teacher described, it’s like having penguins trying to sit in chairs. A funny image but a not-so-funny situation.

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Kathleen Notes: The more we get in the way of kids-being-kids behaviors and try to make them into "little adults", the more we are messing things up. Let kids play, get dirty and explore and the academics will follow when it`s the right time.

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How to Handle Your Anger at Your Child

Every parent gets angry at his or her children sometimes.

It doesn’t help that there are always the endless pressures of life: appointments we’re late to, things we’ve forgotten until the last moment, health and financial worries -- the list is endless. In the middle of that stress, enter our child, who has lost her sneaker, suddenly remembered she needs a new notebook for school today, is teasing her little brother, or is downright belligerent. And we snap....

.....Your child may be pushing your buttons, but he isn`t causing your response. Any issue that makes you feel like lashing out has roots in your own early years. We know this because we lose our ability to think clearly at those moments, and we start acting like children ourselves, throwing our own tantrums.

Don`t worry. That`s normal. We all enter the parenting relationship wounded in some way from our childhoods, and our kids surface all those wounds. We can expect our kids to act out in ways that send us over the cliff at times. That`s why it`s our responsibility as the grownup to stay away from the cliff.

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Kathleen Notes: All people feel anger. When you do, handle it well and show your child how it`s done. A parent`s job is to teach their children life skills, and this is an important one!

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The Common, Everyday Thing People With Childhood Emotional Neglect Hide Behind

Growing up in a household that does not notice, validate, or respond to your feelings or emotional needs enough (Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN) puts you, the child, in a near-impossible situation. You, the child, are required to hide the most deeply personal, biological expression of who you are: your feelings. You must hide them from your family, but there is really only one way to do that effectively. You must hide them from yourself.

Fortunately, many children are incredibly adaptive. They learn how to push their feelings down and sequester them away so they will not “burden” anyone. But this is almost always an incomplete process. Feelings are literally wired into every child from birth, so when you push them away, they do not go away. They simply go underground and dwell there, getting touched off and leaking through, often at times when you least expect it.

CEN children learn quickly and well that when they smile, it covers everything. No one is concerned about someone who is smiling. No one feels burdened by a smile. A smile is a way to instantly communicate, “I’m fine. All is well. Nothing to see here.” A smile hides your feelings from everyone you encounter and can be especially useful when you must discuss difficult or painful things. A smile also has another surprising benefit. It not only disguises your true feelings for the sake of others; it also allows you to hide your feelings from yourself.

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Kathleen Notes: A smile doesn`t make those uncomfortable feelings go away, they just hide out and get bigger. Bringing them out, owning them and maybe even talking about them is what works..

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12 Keys To Healthy Partnership Conflict Resolution When you Live With Kids
"Dr. Laura....In your last post, you warned parents against fighting in front of our kids. But as you always say, we`re not perfect, we`re human! What are we supposed to do when we disagree? Isn`t it good for kids to see parents work out disagreements, and make up? And isn`t it okay if partners don`t always agree? We can still love each other."

Yes, Yes, and Yes! The nature of human relationships is that we will sometimes disagree. It`s wonderful for children to see their parents model how to work out disagreements. It`s important for them to know that we don`t always agree, but we always love each other. Kids need to see us ask for what we need without attacking the other person. And it`s critical for them to see us make up, with affection and forgiveness.

But that doesn`t mean that it`s okay to yell at each other in front of our kids. The research shows that when parents disagree respectfully and then work things through to a solution and affectionately make up, kids learn valuable lessons about working through conflicts constructively. But the research also shows that yelling always affects kids badly. Yelling is not constructive conflict resolution. It`s a tantrum.

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Kathleen Notes: Our children need to see what healthy conflict looks like in marriage. If you want more info from Scripture, check out 1 Corinthians 13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. " vs 4&5.

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Pain and Satisfaction: A Package Deal

“You need to write a book on how absolutely awful and horrible it is to raise adult children. Nobody warned us it would be this painful.”

We all laughed but they were only half joking. Unfortunately for them, they caught us in a very sentimental time (the birth of our first grandchild) that made it difficult to relate. One of the most meaningful moments of my life was watching my son sing “Amazing Grace” over my eight-week-old granddaughter as he put her to sleep. The layers of love—your son and your granddaughter and your God in one glorious, intimate moment—blew my emotional radar all the way out of my heart.

But later an older woman at my church pulled me aside to bring me out of my sentimental reverie. “Just enjoy those grandchildren when they’re babies,” she said, almost as a warning.

“Why do you put it that way?” I asked.

“They become teenagers.”

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Kathleen Notes: The goal of parenthood is to work yourself out of a job, yet parents have a tremendous emotional investment in their children. A double edged sword for sure...

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7 Reasons Why You Need Someone Else in Your Marriage

Marriage is about as difficult as it gets. Marriage is essentially one broken mess—you—becoming “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) with another broken mess—yes, your lovely spouse.

Sounds flammable. And as we all know from personal experience, it can be.

In my line of work, I discuss these matters regularly. What I’ve seen it come down to is this: when a couple simply admits they are capable of divorce—yes, even you—they’re on a positive trajectory. When a couple affirms the difficulty of marriage and decides despite these difficulties marriage is worthy of the work required, they have a higher chance of making it.

Those willing to put in the work, armed with a winning strategy involving God’s grace, make it. So, chin up. A thriving marriage is attainable.

But it’s not magic. So let’s get practical.

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Kathleen Notes: It takes two people to make a good marriage and "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."Ecclesiastes 4:12

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The Comfortable Life is Killing You

Despite existing in an era with the highest living standards in the history of mankind, despite having easy access to most of our material needs, recent polls have revealed that we modern people are miserable, angry, fearful, depressed, and riddled with anxiety. More so than ever before.

Depression rates have been steadily rising in the US since the mid-1930s. Approximately 40 million American adults are said to have an anxiety disorder. Depression and suicide rates, especially among teens, has risen drastically with the rise of social media and smartphones. Over six hundred thousand children 5 and under are on some type of psychiatric drug in the US. And opioid overdoses among American adults are out of control.

The question must be asked: Why?

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Kathleen Notes: Excellent article, worth the read!

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How Healing Your Childhood Emotional Neglect Makes You More Emotionally Intelligent

Having a high IQ sets you up for success in life, right?

Wrong!

Over the last decade, research has shown that there’s a kind of intelligence that’s more important than the Intelligence Quotient traditionally measured by IQ tests. People who have this other kind of intelligence have better leadership qualities, are more productive at work, are more satisfied in their work and home life, and are overall happier in their lives.

Here’s the real truth: The higher your EQ the better you are set up for success in life.

Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence (also called EI) consists of 5 skills, identified by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

The 5 Skills of Emotional Intelligence

  1. Self-awareness of your own feelings: This is the ability to know when you are having a feeling, plus being aware of what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Example: “I feel sad right now because it’s the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death.”
  2. Self-regulation: Once you’re aware of what you’re feeling and why (Skill #1), you are set up to then take responsibility for your feelings and manage your feelings. Example: “I’m not going to let my sadness interfere with my day. I’m going to call my sister before work so we can comfort each other.”
  3. Empathy: This involves applying your emotion skills to others. Knowing what other people are feeling and understanding why they are feeling it gives you the ability to help them manage their feelings. This is an invaluable skill for parents, leaders, husbands, and wives; basically everyone. Example: “You look annoyed. Tell me what’s wrong.”
  4. Motivation: This skill consists of being driven by what truly inspires you. When you are driven by your own passion rather than by external requirements you are more energized and directed. You’re also most likely to inspire and motivate others. Example: “I’m going to start this boring task now because it’s a vital step toward achieving what really matters to me.”
  5. Social skills: Social skills involve a process of taking all of the 4 skills above and using them to manage complex social situations. When you have good social skills other people sense you are operating from your heart. They trust you, respect you and are inspired by you. You are able to connect and lead and enjoy overall good relationships with others. Example: “I see what’s going on between my two daughters. I’m going to talk with them about it and see if we can nip it in the bud.”
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Kathleen Notes: Try to think of it this way: your emotions help to inform your logic so that you can make good decisions in life based on your beliefs and what you truly value. Without knowing and understanding emotions, you`re only working with a portion of what you have available.

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Childhood Emotional Neglect: What Your Parents Didn’t Say and Why It Matters

Why did I ask this particular question? Because in my experience as a psychologist, I have found that people are naturally far more able to think about and describe what they wish their parents had not done or said to them than what they wish their parents had done or said to them.

This distinction is also a fair description of the difference between abuse and neglect. Abuse is an action, whereas neglect is a lack of action. Our brains record and remember things that happened (like abuse), whereas our brains do not notice things that don’t happen (neglect).

Which seems worse: a parent who screams and yells at a child and calls him names? Or a parent who simply does not talk to or engage the child at all?

I have seen that failure to engage, notice and affirm a child does just as much damage to him or her as abuse, but the effects are different.  An abused child will feel “hit,” verbally, physically or emotionally; whereas a neglected child will feel simply “at sea,” invalid and alone.

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Kathleen Notes: The opposite of love isn`t hate, it`s indifference. Maybe your parents didn`t mean to be indifferent, but the damage is the same.

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Loving Men Means Never Shaming Them For Having Emotions

Growing up in the city, I quickly learned how male vulnerability leads to questions about your manhood. There was constant pressure to prove you were “tough enough.”

Many of my classmates would act out of character to create a tougher image of themselves. No one wanted to risk being characterized as “soft” or a “punk.”

I was lucky to have a strong father who taught me the importance of standing up for myself. 

He showed me that love was part of the definition of manhood. It was obvious that most of the kids I knew did not have this kind of male role model in their lives. I was lucky....If ....Jesus were alive today, would we call him a “punk” or “soft” for expressing unconditional love?

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Kathleen Notes: Well, Jesus IS alive today but I get the point. Men, you are an emotional being and it is a strength!

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Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations

Our children are growing up in a world very different from the one we were raised in. Their car seats have them looking backward, but our children are facing the future head-on. People often point to digital devices like the iPhone and Alexa when discussing how childhood has changed over a generation, but there`s a huge human element transforming how kids experience the world.

Fatherhood.

Research indicates that today`s dads are more involved than ever before (??????) and it`s changing the way kids see the world, and see themselves. Today`s dads are going great, but society could make it easier for them to be the dads they want to be.

Dads want to be equal parents

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Kathleen Notes: I`ve worked with children and families for about three decades now and I can attest to this first hand. It`s a marvelous thing to behold! These fathers are worth noting and encouraging to continue!

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Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents & We Are Not Here for It

We’ve all heard of helicopter parents. But you may not have heard of the latest term for a troubling trend recently identified in parenting: lawnmower parents.

Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure.

Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.

I think that most lawnmower parents come from a good place. Maybe they experienced a lot of shame around failure as a child. Or maybe they felt abandoned by their parents in their moments of struggle, or dealt with more obstacles than most. Any of us—even non-parents—can empathize with the motivations of a person not wanting to see their child struggle.

But in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids. We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure. A generation for whom failure is far too painful, leaving them with coping mechanisms like addiction, blame, and internalization. The list goes on.

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Kathleen Notes: The foundation of good self-esteem is self-efficacy. Imagine how scary life is if you believe that you can`t survive without someone else to take care of you. The world isn`t always a nice place, it`s better if our kids find that out from someone who loves them...

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Your relationship may be better than you think – find the knot

There’s an old saying, “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” In other words, before you give up, take matters into your own hands and try a little harder.

As a psychology researcher, I believe this adage applies to relationships, too. Before you let go, look for the “knots” that might save you from accidentally letting a great relationship slip from your grasp. Relationship science suggests that the problem is that people tend to overemphasize the negative and underappreciate the positive when looking at their romantic partners.

If you could build the perfect relationship, what would it look like? Perhaps more importantly, how does your current relationship stack up? Expectations for today’s relationships are higher than ever. Now that relationships are a choice, mediocrity isn’t acceptable. It’s all or nothing, and no one wants to settle.

The secret to avoiding settling seems simple: have high standards and demand only the very best. Researchers refer to people who are pickier than others and always want the absolute best possible option as maximizers. Their counterparts are satisficers – those satisfied once quality surpasses a minimum threshold of acceptability. For them, “good enough” is perfectly fine. As long as their relationship exceeds their predetermined benchmarks for “high quality,” satisficers are content.

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Kathleen Notes: Check out this article to find out the top 20 qualities that both men and women look for in a spouse. Turns out we`re not so different. Once you focus on the good stuff, you just might be happier.

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10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today

The article questioned why we`re seeing such a rise in anxiety among today`s youth. As a psychotherapist, college lecturer, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don`t Do, I agree that anxiety is a widespread issue among adolescents. It`s the most common reason people of all ages enter my therapy office.

Some young people are overachieving perfectionists with a crippling fear of failure. Others worry so much about what their peers think of them that they`re unable to function.

Some have endured rough circumstances throughout their young lives. But others have stable families, supportive parents, and plenty of resources.

I suspect the rise in anxiety reflects several societal changes and cultural shifts we`ve seen over the past couple of decades. Here are the top 10 reasons:

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Kathleen Notes: Anxiety is on the rise I think and our kids aren`t immune.

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134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan
At its most basic definition, self-care is any intentional action taken to meet an individual’s physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional needs. In short, it’s all the little ways we take care of ourselves to avoid a breakdown in those respective areas of health.

You may find that, at certain points, the world and the people in it place greater demands on your time, energy, and emotions than you might feel able to handle. This is precisely why self-care is so important. It is the routine maintenance you need do to function your best not only for others, but also for yourself.

GoodTherapy’s own business and administrative, web development, outreach and advertising, editorial and education, and support teams have compiled a massive list of some of their own personal self-care activities to offer some help for those struggling to come up with their own maintenance plan. Next time you find yourself saying, “I really need to do something for myself,” browse our list and pick something that speaks to you. Be silly, be caring to others, and make your self-care a priority! In most cases, taking care of yourself doesn’t even have to cost anything. And because self-care is as unique as the individual performing it, we’d love to invite you to comment and add any of your own personal self-care activities in the comments section below. Give back to your fellow readers and share some of the little ways you take care of yourself.

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Kathleen Notes: Just a reminder and some ideas in case your self care needs a tweak or two..

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Why Trauma Survivors Shouldn’t Think They Are ‘Lazy’

In my experience, emotional and psychological trauma survivors seem to worry more than most people that they are being “lazy” when they aren’t 100% productive. Let’s expose that lie, shall we?

The traumatized brain is anything but lazy. In fact, it is overworked, overstimulated, overactive and overstressed. Many trauma survivors have an enlarged amygdala, which triggers the fight-or-flight response. In a survivor, this response goes haywire. It cannot perceive between something that happened in the past with what’s in the present. The brain remembers trauma in the form of flashbacks that constantly recreate the experience. A traumatized brain is always on alert. Hypervigilance is constantly running in the background, assessing the situation and trying to report back to the rational brain what it finds. In order to keep up with everyday situations, it often must work harder than a neurotypical brain without trauma.

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Kathleen Notes: What complicates this whole issue if that many people with trauma will rationalize why they don`t have trauma...after all, other people have it worse, I have so much to be grateful for, etc. All true, but it doesn`t take the original trauma away...

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In The Moment Notes...

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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Sharing of this publication is encouraged so if you have a friend/relative/coworker who might enjoy it, feel free to forward them or encourage them to subscribe!

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