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Mornings with Ellis, Tyler and Tracy…A positive way to start your day!


Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

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Today’s Positive Thoughts

March 1, 2017

God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.
Psalm 9:9-10 MSG

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.
Proverbs 16:20b NIV

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:7 NIV

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Student Crisis Response

“If you can talk through it – you can get through it”

4 TYPES OF NORMAL REACTIONS TO CRISIS

TRAUMA –

Any event outside the usual realm of human experience that is markedly distressing, (which creates horror, helplessness or terror.) Such traumatic stressors usually involve the perceived threat to one’s physical integrity or to the physical integrity of someone in close proximity. This is the very intense psychological reaction to feeling highly threatened, which is normal. Children experience Traumatic Stress differently based on age and maturity level as this recovery guide will outline as a tool for parents and teachers.

SECONDARY TRAUMATIC STRESS

Traumatic stress overwhelms coping mechanisms leaving students feeling out of control and helpless. Continual exposure to the trauma create the normal reaction of being depleted, exhausted, or worse, self-destructive

STS Symptoms in Students:
· Intrusive fearful thoughts
· Sadness or continual waves of grief
· Poor concentration or difficult remembering the most basic of tasks
· Second guessing every decision
· Detachment or emotional numbness
· Hyper-vigilance of danger
· Hopelessness
· Inability to embrace complex concepts
· Inability to listen
· Anger or continual irritation
· Sleeplessness or disturbing dreams
· Fear, anxiety or panic
· Chronic exhaustion or energy loss
· Physical aches or muscle pain, (usually unidentified source)
· Minimizing the severity of the situation, especially among teenagers

How to Help Students or Teachers after a Shooting Lock-Down

· Listen carefully and compassionately
· Spend time with the traumatized student, it’s better to be together than alone after a major trauma
· Offer your assistance and a listening ear if they have not asked for help; consider reaching out to text or call friends you haven’t heard from since the incident
· Reassure they are safe once stability can be assured
· Help them with everyday tasks
· Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally; Crisis brings out the best or the worst in students, parents and staff
· Don’t tell people they are “lucky it wasn’t worse” at their school – Instead, tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist as you are able
· Connect with compassion and empathy instead of trying to ‘fix’ them
· Help peers as much as possible by sharing feelings and asking about their wellbeing
· Utilize Grief counselors, self-care groups or counseling support groups available to the school
· Encouraging all students and staff to be aware of stress overload, or STS and to keep the conversation moving forward toward resiliency
· We can get through this together, but no one gets through crisis alone.
· Remind students or staff the emotions of STS are normal reactions to an abnormal situation
· Talking through the elevated stress is essential; remember if you can talk through it, you can get through it

Signs of stress in children who are affected by Traumatic Stress

Sometimes parents need help identifying stress in children or teens. Here are some typical experiences and signs of stress in children of different ages who have experienced major crisis.

INFANTS AND TODDLERS

· Regression of sleeping, toilet training or eating; slowing down in the mastery of new skills
· Sleep disturbances (difficulty going to sleep; frequently waking)
· Difficulty leaving parent, extreme clinginess
· General crankiness, temper tantrums, crying

3-5 YEARS

· Regression-returning to security blankets/discarded toys, lapses in toilet training, thumb sucking or other age inappropriate behavior
· Immature grasp of what has happened; bewildered; making up fantasy stories
· Blaming themselves and feeling guilty about how the crisis affected their family
· Bedtime anxiety; fitful/fretful sleep; frequent waking or chronic worrying
· Fear of being abandoned by both parents; clinginess increases as child feels unsafe
· Greater irritability, aggression, or temper tantrums, especially from previously quiet children

6-8 YEARS

· Pervasive sadness; especially when perceived feelings of being abandoned or rejected
· Crying and sobbing can be a common reaction, and sometimes a healing one
· Afraid of their worst fears coming true, this is sometimes called “catastrophizing”
· Fantasies that the stressful event didn’t happen and things will ‘just go back to normal’
· May become overactive or over-involved to avoid thinking about stressful issues
· Feel ashamed of the crisis; or feel they are different from other children because of the crisis

ADOLESCENTS:

· Fear of being isolated and lonely, separation anxiety increases in kids with other major losses.
· Fear loss of stability and security from parents leaving them or parents not available to them
· Feel hurried to achieve independence, partly to escape the crisis situation
· May tend to over-achieve academically or in sports to try and forget the crisis
· Worry about their own future; preoccupied with the survival of any stable situation
· Chronic fatigue; difficulty concentrating, physical complaints may indicate stuffed emotions
· Mourn the loss caused by the crisis or begin to understand that life can be a dangerous place

(Created by Kathleen O’Connell and Dwight Bain to help kids in crisis)

Strategies to help children after a Traumatic Event

Children look to their parents for support and encouragement during any crisis.
The following is a guide to help parents and teachers manage the flood of emotions that may come up because of the community shootings that led to school lock-down.

Ages birth to 6

It is recommended that children under the age of six not be given exposure to major traumatic events. Children of this age draw their support from their parents, so if the parents or guardians feel safe and secure, the children will as well. Parents should speak calmly around children about bad things that happen in the world, and that “we will remember the students that were hurt in our prayers.” If the parents are able to maintain a sense of calmness, children will feel safe.

Ages 6 to 12

Children this age are more aware of the world around them, yet still need moms and dads to shield them from most of the bad news in our world. Very limited exposure to the media is recommended at this stage, with more open discussions about any fears or insecurities that the child is feeling. Talking is encouraged for this age group, or write letters to emergency workers to thank them for helping the victims. Drawing pictures allows for healthy emotional expression, and something everyone needs is just being held close. A hug can help bring security to a child. Also remember to have special times of prayer. These steps help children better deal with their fears about bad things that happen in the world.

Ages 12 to 18
Young students have their own impressions of traumatic events. The older they are, the more likely they will have strong opinions, and it is normal for them to process their feelings with friends. This should be balanced with family, teachers, clergy or counselors. They need time to verbally process how they feel about what happened ten years ago.

Special emphasis should be placed on helping this age group talk through the issues and how it impacted them and not stay isolated.

Silence is a warning sign that the crisis events of the past have been internalized. Strict limits on over exposure of media is essential to prevent anxiety or panic levels from rising.

Dangerous Warning Signs

Stress signs of overexposure to painful memories from the past may occur immediately after the trauma or even a few years later. These signs are indicators that stress is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur, the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or weakness rather it indicates that the memories are too powerful for the person to manage by themselves.

Students or staff who display more than a few of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of the crisis. They should seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance.

Physical: Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated Blood Pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, etc.

Emotional: Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, etc.

Cognitive: Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or students, heightened or lowered alertness, etc.

Behavioral: Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, etc.

When in doubt, contact a trusted family member, a physician or certified mental health professional. It is important to actively deal with any painful past emotions to find strength to cope with issues in the present. Remember there are caring people who can help you and your children. You never have to go through a crisis alone.

Family Discussion Topics – Think about and discuss these issues with your children

· What are you worried about or afraid of since the community shooting?

· How is our family affected by the community shooting?

· Talk about what was important to you (Core Values)

Warning Signs of Dangerous Trauma in Adults or Children

Below are the warning signs and symptoms that become noticeable in an individual who has been negatively impacted by dangerous levels of psychological trauma.

This includes concentrated exposure to high conflict situations like domestic violence or repetitive and stressful situations, which could include overload from repeated viewing of traumatic events on Social Media or the Internet.

PHYSICAL

Fatigue
Sweating
Shortness of breath
Loss or increase of appetite
Nausea or Diarrhea
Elevated blood pressure
Tight chest or chest pain
Muscle fatigue or weakness
Insomnia or Hyper-somnia
Increased cold or flu symptoms
Pacing
Heart Palpitations
Shallow breathing
Fainting
Abdominal pain

EMOTIONAL

Anger
Stress
Anxiety
Tension
Apathy
Fear
Panic
Guilt
Uneasiness
Alarm
Numb inside
Impatience
Depression
Shame
Nervousness
Grief
Loss
Irritability
Apprehension
Overwhelmed

BEHAVIORAL

Restlessness
Impulsive
Avoidance
Edgy
Rapid speech
Tense muscles/neck
Easily startled or jumpy
Hyper-vigilance
Withdrawal from others
Accident proneness
Anti-social acts
Inability to rest
Intensified pacing
Increased use of alcohol
Increased use of caffeine

COGNITIVE

Easily Distracted
Poor concentration
Forgetfulness
Errors in judgment
Mental Fog
Decreased decision making
Reduced creativity or mental focus
Diminished productivity
Loss of objectivity
Self-consciousness
Confusion
Fear of losing control
Frightening visual images
Fear of injury, death, pain
Flashbacks-nightmares

The more warning indicators identified in a single category or across multiple categories, the more that person may be over-exposed to dangerous levels of psychological trauma.

Some of these stress-related conditions are quite common after a traumatic incident, so when only one or two symptoms are present, it is not usually a cause for alarm. However, when in doubt it’s best to review any symptoms that concern you or someone you care about with an experienced counselor or physician.

60 Critical Incident Coping Skills to reduce traumatic stress in parents, caregivers, faculty or staff

Physical:

· Sleep, (7-9 hours)
· Sleep rituals- Same time to wake up and go to bed
· Predictable daily schedule
· Healthy Diet with Regular mealtimes
· Hydration throughout day
· Nutritional supplements
· Low impact exercise
· Yoga/Pilates/Stretching
· Deep breathing
· Relaxation routines/massage or energizing naps
· Regular physical checkups, including blood work
· Medication, (as prescribed by your physician)

Emotional:

· Esteem building exercises, especially with photos or images
· Laughter/Fun/Playtime
· Face anger, anxiety and apathy directly
· Journal out negative emotions
· Let go of painful past memories
· Say “NO” to bad habits
· Talk through issues to get through issues
· Identify and process hurtful emotions
· Write letters to vent out disappointment, (then tear them up)

Relational:

· Face relationship issues
· Voice your needs to others
· Confront conflict directly
· Connect with friends/family
· Share your burdens with others
· Join a support group
· Utilize counseling supports
· Join a hobby group which involves others
· Say “NO” to manipulative behavior
· Hugs/affection, (from pets or students)
· Learn the love language of those close to you

Behavioral:

· Daily planning time
· Utilize organizational planners
· Short term goals
· Daily hobbies for enjoyment
· Creative activities for relaxation
· Develop victory list of accomplishments
· Create a bucket list of lifetime goals
· Reading for personal development
· “Pay it forward” to do good for others
· Learn something new everyday
· Take on new challenges
· Leave work stress at work
· Take a training course to gain a new skill

Spiritual:

· Meditation
· Volunteer to help others
· Reading for inspiration
· Forgive those who have wronged you and forgive yourself
· Listen to inspirational music
· Attend spiritual development classes
· Attend inspirational services
· Make prayer a regular part of your day
· Observe a day of rest
· Find a way to get in touch with nature by visiting a state park, lake or beach
· Memorize scripture to develop your soul
· Remember, “Things come to pass – not stay”
· Re-create spiritual peace in quiet places
· Build spiritual strength through meaningful experiences
· Attend prayer vigils to experience greater spiritual and community connection

Dwight Bain is an author and leading critical incident trauma therapist who leads people through crisis. He is a certified Critical Incident Stress Instructor with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Baltimore and based in Orlando, FL.

Follow his blog at www.DwightBain.com or follow online for updates to manage stress in daily life across all social media platforms @DwightBain

Surviving Post-Election Stress

by Dwight Bain

 

A major election leads to major mental change. No matter who wins an election, the unexpected emotional letdown or explosive reaction after the ballots are counted can be overwhelming to many, especially the aged or over-involved who can be set up for crushing amounts of what I call Post-Election Stress Syndrome.

This election has likely been the most negative of any during our lifetime because of numbing news fatigue and continual media over-exposure with hostile attacks, yet the real problems are yet to come.

Personal anxiety, Professional panic and poorly thought out decisions are on the horizon regardless of your political persuasion.   Why such a gloomy projection?

It’s based on how this election process has been overwhelming much of the time with months of negative news, never ending data to process and confusing choices to make on complex issues while partisan experts are shouting every half-hour on news/talk stations that our country and freedoms are doomed if their candidate doesn’t win.

Not to mention the huge challenge on who is trustworthy, since you often don’t know who will say something inappropriate on YouTube to crash their credibility, leaving you feeling very alone to make some major decisions without leaders who lack the strength of character to stand on their convictions instead of popular opinion polls.

Mountain top experiences guarantee the next step is always down in the valley

Think of a major campaign like climbing a major mountain range. You prepare for years and then climb for months to finally reach the top. Once there the view is great. You take some pictures, but you can’t stay on a mountain top, so no matter which path you take next it will be downhill in any direction. After the mountain top comes the valley, which isn’t a negative view, it’s just a normal part of life.

The danger for many people is that the downward slide of mood and emotion can come as quite unexpected. Most actual mountain climbing accidents happen on the way down, so it is likely there will be millions of people who are unprepared for the emotional upheaval they are about to experience after this national election is over.

Everyone may feel some degree of emotional letdown once the issues have been decided and the acceptance speeches are given. That’s normal, however for some the removal of posters, signs, balloons and banners will lead to a free fall of crushing or depressing emotions.  It will be especially stressful and difficult for those who have been on ‘political news overload’ the last few months. These post-election stress symptoms will come out in several ways.

Possible Reactions to Post-election Stress

1)    Anger –

This can lead to violence or impulsive decisions. People who feel violated by the election process may turn to dumping volcanic levels of anger at someone or something to find relief for the pressure inside. This can lead to devastating decisions, impulsive rage or using the wrong words in front of the wrong people and losing credibility or worse a job. This can happen in men or women, young or old, but is most commonly seen in more extroverted personalities and it tends to blow-up. Worse is when an angry group of people get together to express their anger because all that rage doesn’t lead to constructive actions. Angry people will go and do angry things.

 

2)   Anxiety or Apathy–

This is a more serious reaction, since it can lead from distress to the early stages of depression or panic. Stuffing emotions inside is like burying them alive, so they just keep building up, yet instead of blowing up and out, they blow in. This leads a person to feel emotionally numb, and often can cause an individual to commit a series of very quiet, yet very harmful self-destructive acts. Eating for comfort, drinking to numb the pain, hooking up with the wrong partner to try and forget about their fears of the future or just refusing to answer the phone, closing the mini-blinds and checking out on life like a hermit hiding in a dark cave. Darkness won’t make the fear go away, but it may lead to feeling like an emotional prisoner with no hope of escape.

 

3)   Acceptance –

The best choice after an election is acceptance. It’s over and now it’s time to move on with whatever leaders and issues the majority of voters selected. You can’t change the outcome of an election, but you can freak yourself out with fears about the future apocalypse predicted by many. Don’t do that! Life will go on, and your world can continue to move forward when you trust in the process instead of placing your confidence in political opinion polls.

God is bigger than any politician and God isn’t in a panic, so trust in heaven’s agenda and not that of Washington which will lead to a deeper level of peace.

What happens in your house is way more important than what happens in the White House since you can’t control what political leaders do, but you can control your mood and reactions to circumstances.

Let this journey walking down off the political ‘mountain’ be one of a growing sense of perspective as you remember that after the valley there will be another mountain to climb. There will be another day to vote on national issues and when the dust settles your life will usually be about as good as you choose to make it.

This approach takes the power to control your mood away from the politicians or the news media so you can build a better life without losing sleep or energy from the dangers of post-election stress syndrome.

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain guides people through major change as a counselor and executive coach based in Orlando where he lives with his wife and two adult children. Follow him across all social media platforms @DwightBain

Moving Passed Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Did you know this is the hap-happiest time of the year for some people, but also the saddest time for others? That is because the holiday season is literally like a magnifying glass to expand the emotions a person is already experiencing. If your year has gone well, this is an incredible time of rejoicing and celebration. However, if your year has gone like it has for many people you have magnified grief, loss or loneliness. Feeling down over the holidays is normal, but can become overwhelming very quickly. The continual exposure to people who seem to be having the best time of their lives, or the television specials with picture perfect families having the best time ever can leave a person feeling empty inside.
If you, or someone you love is missing the Christmas Spirit, know you are not alone. Relationship loss, job changes, or business downturns can leave someone feeling intense negative emotions. Here are five ways to move from the stress of Ugly Christmas Sweater weather to find a place of greater significance.
1. Volunteer more
There are wonderful charities who reach out to the most desperate in our community every day of the year. However it’s easy to forget the fact they need high levels of volunteer hours to function. Want to find more joy? Get involved in groups that make a difference by volunteering with wonderful groups like the Christian Service Center, http://www.christianservicecenter.org/ or Christian Help http://www.christianhelp.org/
2. Give more
You may have seen the bell-ringers of the Salvation Army in front of your local grocery store, and if so I hope you dug deep to drop in a few dollars for one of my favorite charities that helps people after crisis events in their lives. http://salvationarmyorlando.org/ to find out more and how you can get involved.
3. Connect more
There are groups to support just about every possible loss or change in a persons life. In fact over two thousand are listed at Resource Point, http://www.resourcepoint.org/ so you can find places to grow through challenging times together with the support of trained professionals who have time and resources to help.
4. Talk more
If you or someone you care for is hurting and feeling deep loss, it is so very important to let other people know. Consider reaching out to people in your family, friends, coworkers or neighbors so you aren’t going through this season alone. Simply answering honestly when someone asks “how are you doing?’ can spark a conversation to open up the dialogue between you and people who may be more interested in helping you than you could imagine.
5. Write more
If you don’t have money for presents and are feeling sad about it, there is a more powerful way to move past Ugly Christmas Sweaters to powerful Christmas letters is to write down how you feel about someone and then print it out to read and give to that person in your life. Reading your deepest feelings to someone you care about will change you and change them. It is a very sentimental way to open the hearts between two people and is worth far more than money.
I hope you are counting more blessings than problems this Christmas season, but if there is more sadness than celebration try each of these options to replace the sadness with joy. Finding the real meaning of Christmas through generous living, will always lead to generous giving and that is a gift that will last the whole year long.
About the Author – Dwight Bain helps people rewrite their story through creative change as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Life Coach. Follow him across all social platforms @DwightBain

Solve morning stress with the “Daily 5”

Does your morning ritual start calmly with peaceful conversations, or it is a mad rush full of conflict and chaos?

For most of us it’s a time of panic, rushing and even yelling at each other, (which never makes it better by the way). So, how can you move from a morning rush to a healthy morning routine? The answer is found in a series of daily disciplines my friend John Maxwell taught me which I call the “Daily 5”.

These are a series of healthy rituals that are practiced every day, no matter what. The secret isn’t in listing a healthy pattern to start your day rather the real strength comes from practicing them every day.

Dr. Maxwell explains it this way, “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.” John goes on to share that his five disciplines are, reading, writing, thinking, asking questions and filing what he has learned. Watching how effectively these daily disciplines added value to my friend led to developing my own daily list. They are:

  1. Pray, (usually while walking in the morning)
  2. Scriptures, or an inspirational devotional
  3. Read/Research cultural trends in personal development and change
  4. Write about those trends to add value to others
  5. Encourage friends and family

Many years ago my lovely wife Sheila taught me the simplicity of laying out clothes and shoes the night before and placing car keys and cellphone chargers near the front door to prevent morning chaos. It works and solves tremendous conflict, yet a more organized morning will not create the lasting results of changed behavior over time.

“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” – Dr. John C. Maxwell

 

To solve the morning chaos and feel peaceful as you launch into your day, ask yourself what are your “Daily 5” Disciplines which could make a huge difference in your life?

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

Once you know what your daily 5 are, and begin to put them into practice, ask your children what their “Daily 5” Disciplines might be.

Remember, it’s important for them to select their own tasks, not yours as a parent. If they don’t know ask them what is important to make their morning function better. It might be simple, but be encouraging so your children feel empowered to take on a task, instead of waiting helplessly for you as the parent to tackle it for them.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

The Daily 5 can change your home, but only if it starts with you. The way you start your day will set the tone for the entire day, so when the sun comes up tomorrow morning try a new path and watch how much better you and those you care about feel.

 

About the Author: Dwight Bain is a change author, believer, husband, father, reader & Jazz Music lover who adds value with transformational Counseling & Coaching. Follow him across social media platforms @DwightBain

Creative Arts as a way to Reduce Childhood Anxiety

This has been a challenging time in our community, complicated by bad news coming from some part of our country every day. Children are aware of emotions, even if they can’t express them in a way their parents can hear or understand. So how can you tell if your son or daughter has experienced high levels of traumatic stress, leading to the dangerous symptoms of acute stress syndrome that affects emotional and physical health?

Look for the following symptoms to determine if your child is affected.

  • “I feel dizzy”
  • “I feel tired”
  • “I have a stomach ache”
  • “I don’t feel good”
  • “I feel pain in my arms and legs”
  • “I feel pain in my joints”
  • “I feel weak in my body”
  • “I don’t feel well”
  • “I have a headache”
  • “I feel sick”
  • “I feel shaky inside, (or outside)”
  • “I feel like throwing up”

(For a longer list check out the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1, 31-47).

 

While it is normal for children to feel any of these physical symptoms at times, (like the first day of school or after a pet has died), the combination of multiple physical symptoms after a community crisis could be an indication of dangerous stressoverload being internalized, which can lead to harmful symptoms that might hurt your child.

Start by checking out your child’s physical health symptom with your pediatrician, that’s smart and if you have a relationship with a trusted child therapist you might schedule an appointment for a specific fearful event, (like parents who are divorcing or a grandparent with cancer).  There is peace in knowing that a professional has checked out your child’s symptoms to see if there is something else going on.

However, for many of the unspecified symptoms listed perhaps use creative arts to reduce the stress or worry your child may be feeling inside to teach them how to express and manage the scary emotions they may be experiencing.

Artistic and emotional expression is a powerful way to release pain. Try any of the following to help your child develop coping skills to identify and process their own emotions during scary situations.

  • Finger painting
  • Coloring books
  • Free drawing
  • Writing Poetry
  • Cutting out paper
  • Creating a mobile
  • Creating a craft
  • Working with clay
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Playing with blocks/Legos
  • Singing or learning new songs
  • Planting flowers or gardening
  • Painting on paper or canvas

You may not think of these simple creative arts as a powerful form of reducing dangerous stress and anxiety; however research shows when you are totally immersed in creativity that your blood pressure and heart rate go down.

It is peaceful for your brain to move from chaos to calm through creativity – and the best part is you can enjoy the creative calm along with your child. Try it!

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain helps people rewrite their stories with transformational counseling and coaching from his hometown of Orlando. Follow him online atwww.DwightBain.com or on social @DwightBain

Managing Angry Moods of Children with Greater Compassion

A 2005 study of psychiatric disorders estimated 1 in 5 children will have temperamental mood disorders which can be expressed in many ways. It can feel overwhelming for parents, especially when it can be so hard to determine what triggers it. When you can identify the triggers, it is easier to identify the source. Psychologists have created a common list of angry warning signs. As you read through them think of your child, and what might trigger their angry moods.

Which of these sounds like your son or daughter?

___  Easily Irritable

___ Frequently loses temper

___ Highly Impatient

___ Easily Annoyed

___ Verbally Defensive or Verbally Aggressive

___ Sulks, Pouts and acts out in a passive-aggressive way

___ Often ends up expressing frustration

___ Starts quarrels, arguments in a defiant manner

___ Pushes for conflict in an overly aggressive manner Overly aggressive

___ Violent and hostile language including swearing or name calling

___ Violent threats, spiteful, vindictive actions- including rage episodes

___ Violent acts against people, animals or property, or violent acts against oneself

Once you identify the triggers, then consider the root factors. Which of these sounds like your child? (circle)

Selfishness, rejection from friends or siblings, modeling anger seen in parents marriage relationship, low self-esteem, loneliness, grief or sadness over parents divorce, shattered trust, poverty, body image issues, insecurities, academic failures, poverty, disappointments and the resentment cycle.

Resentment cycle – 

Hurt of some kind, (often from misunderstanding)

Deep Disappointment

Resentment

Bitterness

Hatred

Rage

Revenge

These temperamental emotions are common, but highly destructive. When you discover your child facing these symptoms please take action to create positive change and one of the most positive steps you can take is to model forgiveness. When a parent is able to say “I was wrong” it sets the child free to do the same. Trying to use talking, listing words, writing or art to draw out the root issues in your child allows her to learn to process emotions, instead of stuff them. Begin to use this philosophy in your home,  “If we can talk through it – we can get through it.”Because the greater your ability to keep the conversation moving forward instead of simmering in resentful silence, the greater you will experience deep peace in your home.

Home should be the safest and happiest place. Sparking the conversations to let the temperamental moods out to be discussed is a major step to move forward to make that happen. Breaking the angry cycle will change your home forever, so please take bold action to set your family free and do it today. You will never regret reclaiming peace and stability your home.

About the Author –

Dwight Bain is an author, counselor and certified life coach who helps people manage major change. Follow his daily posts for wisdom on Twitter or Instagram @DwightBain orwww.Facebook.com/DwightBain or www.LinkedIn.com/DwightBainor www.YouTube.com/DwightBain or at this blog with over 800 special reports accessible at www.LifeworksGroup.org

Parent’s Guide to Overcome Childhood Fears

Parent’s Guide to Overcome Childhood Fears

Fear is a normal part of childhood – learning how to manage it is an important part of growing up

Everyone feels fear. From six years old to sixty people worry and feel afraid. There are classic symptoms all children face, (listed below), which are indicators of the levels of anxiety a child may be facing. And did you know fear is such a common theme that the Bible has over 300 verses dedicated to facing fear and not staying afraid?

Emotional maturity takes place when a child learns to face their fears by managing these negative emotions through talking, praying, writing them out in words, drawings or other expressive arts. The more a child can learn to ‘replace’ their fears with facts or faith, the more confidence she will gain, and when she can learn the power of deep truth, like, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear… for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you”.(Deuteronomy 31:6)  When anxiety and fear is replaced by greater faith a child begins to grow into the confident adult they were designed to be.

What does childhood fear look like?

Feeling afraid is a normal part of childhood, and can even be a protective emotion that can be an early alarm to warn of danger. The challenge is when a child feels anxious or nervous for no apparent reason, because those insecurities feed their fears as their confidence diminishes, leading to feeling weak and scared instead of developing greater self-confidence and emotional security. Because so many new experiences for children are tied to their school or sports performance, anxiety becomes a major roadblock for academic or social activities, and for some children will become a major roadblock in their personality development.

Is Childhood Anxiety Normal?


The short answer is yes. Researchers have found that up to 90% of children ages 2-14 feel some degree of being anxious at specific circumstances or experiences. These emotions are a normal part of their expanding world. Children who lack the ability to flow with these fears can become immobilized and unable to function or move forward. This becomes a real problem for more introverted or insecure children who remain silent when scared.  That is why tuned in parents find ways to help their children manage emotions. A simple illustration of this process can be seen in the Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out” (http://movies.disney.com/inside-out ) which demonstrates in very simple ways how a child thinks, and more importantly how to take control of negative emotions by replacing fears or sadness with greater joy.

Can my Child’s fears Affect their Health?
Absolutely; when a child is overwhelmed by negative fears and doubts it can affect them in many ways, including physical symptoms like excessive sweating, tummy aches, headaches, bladder or bowel challenges, racing heartbeat or the complete inability to fall asleep at night.  When a child learns how to flow with the normal emotions of childhood, especially new experiences,(remember how scared you were on the first day of school?) they mature and grow into the next stage of their development.
Common Childhood Fears and Anxieties

Birth to 2 years, (Toddlers) are scared by loud noises, separation from parents, strangers, some large objects or costumed characters can also create fears at this age

 

3 to 6 years, (Preschoolers) are scared by fearful imaginations like monsters, ghosts, masks, shadows, the dark, sleeping alone, meeting new pets – especially large ones like dogs and extreme weather such as thunder and lightning

 

7 to 16 years, (School age) have increased fears across many areas like being left home alone, experiencing a parent or teachers anger, illness, shots, dentists, fear of parents divorce, spiders, snakes, bullies, peer rejection, failing at school and the more realistic fears of harm such as automobile accidents, someone in the family on drugs/alcohol, bullies and world events like terrorism.

 

Manage these fears with Replacement Routines

 

Birth to Toddlers need security and predictability. Have routines, rituals and similar patterns like bedtime, meals or story time or singing the same lullabies to create a predictable environment. Limiting the number of people who are in very close contact can help avoid a child being overstimulated.

Preschoolers need guidance on controlling their expanding imagination to know there are more than just monsters in the dark. They can learn to use their wonderful imagination to think of what isn’t in the dark, or what isn’t at the bottom of the lake. It’s just as easy to think ahead together about what is good, pure and right as it is things which are negative or hostile. Here is where parental example can shine in modeling and teaching self-control.

 

School age children are faced with incredible pressures from grades, to peers, to parents to rejection, to body-image to their parent’s marriages to loss of a home in foreclosure to theft or crime or school shooters. It can be an overwhelming time, so it is especially important to manage growing fear with growing faith and positive coping skills. Children in this group may benefit with professional counseling if anxiety symptoms become unmanageable.

 

Managing Fear with Maturity and Faith

 

At any age you can help a child understand the source of their fears, and when possible to use the phrase, “If you can talk through it you can get through it” so they can let their parents know what is going on inside. Here are some other techniques to guide your child out of fear by managing feelings with facts so they can grow past their fear with greater faith.

 

A simple way for younger children is to have them draw two pictures. One of them in the fearful situation, then to replace that fear in a second drawing showing them in a picture overcoming their fear. Some children respond better through writing, so helping them craft journals, prayer lists or even a happiness list of where they replace their fearful thoughts with happy and peaceful ones. Simple steps can take emotions bottled up inside in a new direction, which helps the child feel stronger and the parent feel more connected  to their son or daughter.

 

Sharing stories of how you managed childhood fears are a good conversation starter, but it’s just to create a connection that you are human too. The goal is for the child to express what’s inside and to know her parents understand how she feels. Keep it short and ask the question, “what else” to allow her to express as many negative emotions as possible so they don’t stay inside where they can hurt her.

 

Telling a child they have nothing to fear doesn’t actually make their fears go away – it makes things worse s0 learn to validate his emotions as ‘normal’ to help him move through the anxiety since all other kids his age are facing some of the same fears, (remember oral reports in English class – terrifying!)

 

Be creative with stories, films, songs, books or even stories of how your parents or grandparents faced major fears. Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s feeling the fear and moving forward. A girl who knows how strong her grandmother was in similar circumstances will find greater strength for a lifetime when she knows that strength runs in her family tree.

 

Drawing, prayer, music, scriptures, expressive arts, sports, youth group, even role playing with stuffed animals can help a child move past their fears. Try it all with a single goal in mind – how can I help my son or daughter get stronger?

 

Some fears may always be present, like public speaking, so focus on the things your child can control like her emotions. Learning to replace fear with facts, (Wikipedia says that millions of other people are just as scared as I was when facing the same situation), or replacing fear with greater faith like this promise from Isaiah 41:10,“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

Mastering the journey from childlike fear to adult like faith is what we would want for our children at any stage of life. Learning how to manage fear is the path to a life of confidence and calm. It’s a good path, but uphill all the way so let me challenge you to get started.

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain is an author, counselor and certified life coach who helps people manage major change. Follow his daily posts for wisdom on Twitter or Instagram @DwightBain orwww.Facebook.com/DwightBainwww.LinkedIn.com/DwightBainwww.YouTube.com/DwightBain or at his blog, accessible through www.LifeworksGroup.org

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How Entitlement Thinking is Destroying Your Kids and Their Future Success in Life

There is a disease affecting almost every child in America, and it can’t be treated at any hospital. The disease is Entitlement Thinking and it crosses into every corner of our country with the attitude of being served and being given more and more to create happiness. Entitlement is the belief that someone automatically deserves special privileges and special treatment and can be identified by one or all of the following symptoms –

 

Signs of Entitlement Thinking: 

  • I want Everything now.
  • I don’t want to Work for it.
  • I don’t have to clean up my Mistakes.
  • I want things because Everyone else has it.
  • I expect someone else to Fix all my problems.

Psychologist Leon F. Seltzer wrote this description of the disease in Psychology Today: “Those ‘afflicted’ with a sense of entitlement demonstrate the attitude that whatever they want, they deserve- and automatically at that, simply because they are who they are. So anything they desire, whether material or relational, should be theirs. It’s inherently justified; there’s no need to actually earn it.” We all want what we want-and we want to have it now, please. In our culture of plenty, immediate gratification is very much a reality. We can make our dreams come true on multiple levels.”

Are you beginning to see the picture? Children who are given too much, or who are protected from responsibility are actually blocked from experiencing the confidence that can only come from effort. No effort – no internal strength, so when a parent feels pity for a tired child and sends them to bed while they stay up and complete the child’s science project it actually hurts the child because they don’t learn anything; (except that their mom will rescue them if they don’t plan out their time for school projects properly).

 

While it is important to remember that Entitlement Thinking can affect any age, it is most visible in those under the age of twenty. Author Jon Krakauer describes it this way, “It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it.”

 

No one wants to parent an Entitled Child, especially when they are at great risk of growing into an Entitled Adult living off of their parents for financial support. It’s embarrassing and difficult to break this pattern, that’s why it’s important to seriously address issues as young as possible, and to set and enforce boundaries that bring emotional strength instead of weakness.

 

Remember, it is not a sign of bad parenting to confront issues, set boundaries and use the word “no”. In fact it may save your child’s life at some point because they have learned the strength of having internal standards against the pressure of their peer group. Parents sometimes cave in because they want to become a friend to their child, instead of an authority source. Lisa Earle McLead, wrote about this process in her book “The Triangle of Truth” where she observes that, Childhood happiness has become the scorecard by which adults measure their success or failure as parents… Constantly striving to please your kids turns them into your boss. Their happiness becomes your performance review.” You are required to be the parent, and often that means setting the standard to bring strength, instead of being the buddy or pal.

 

Parent Coach Amy McCready from Raleigh, North Carolina is a national expert on the issues of breaking Entitlement Thinking. Here is her list as a reference point of what not to do if you want to see your children succeed in avoiding the entitlement trap.

11 Ways to Raise a Child Who is Entitled and Rude

  1. Make sure your kids have access to all the latest iDevice’s anytime they want
  2. Do everything within your power to prevent your kids from feeling pain
  3. When things aren’t going your way, point to the shortcomings of other people
  4. Give them money whenever they ask for it
  5. Pay for as many enrichment activities, tutors, and the best sports teams you can afford
  6. Give your kids a break any time they ask to be excused from a task
  7. Refuse to consistently enforce bedtimes
  8. Confide in your kids as though they are your close friends
  9. Don’t insist kids write thank you notes
  10. Make sure they never have to do an entry-level or minimum wage job
  11. Above all, let them get out of doing any chores around the house

Do you see the absurdity of this type of parenting? While it sounds silly, there are millions of homes that operate under the mindset of protecting children from growing up by shielding them from taking on any type of adult responsibility. This doesn’t help a child – it only makes them weaker. Amy goes into this danger in her excellent book, “The Me, Me, Me Epidemic” where she says, “Entitlement isn’t just a problem in our homes; it’s a societal problem as well. Teachers and coaches report that students expect to get A’s for C effort and a starting position on the team just for showing up. When the test doesn’t go well, the “teacher doesn’t like me” or the “test was unfair.” Friendships and relationships suffer as kids with a “me, me, me” mentality lack empathy and a willingness to put others first. Employers struggle to hire teens and young adults with the people skills and work ethic to be successful. The bottom line is that entitled kids will one day grow into narcissistic adults, demanding spouses and high-maintenance employees. That’s certainly not what we want for our kids!”

She coaches and challenges parents to take bold action to break the pattern of entitlement thinking before it becomes epidemic. In traditional marriages, and especially blended familiesentitlement thinking shows up in a multitude of behaviors. Do any of these situations sound like what life in your home is like?

 

         You find yourself exasperated at your children’s demands but caving anyway.

         You’re exhausted keeping up with the house, but everyone’s too busy watching TV to help.

         You can’t make it through the grocery store without buying a treat.

         You’re frequently supplementing your kids’ allowance.

         You take responsibility for your kids by doing things for them that you know they should be able to do for themselves.

         You resort to bribes or rewards to get cooperation from your kids.

         You frequently rescue your kids by driving forgotten items to school or reminding them about their deadlines.

         Your child frequently takes issue with rules and expectations at school or in    activities.

         Your child is quick to blame others for anything that goes wrong.

         Your child tries to manipulate others to get his way.

         Your child commonly sulks or pitches a fit when she doesn’t get her way.

         Your child often complains of being bored and wants to be entertained by you.

To learn more from Amy McCready and get free parenting tools, visit: www.PositiveParentingSolutions.com or www.AmyMcCready.com

“Never do for a child what he can do for himself. A “dependent” child is a demanding child…Children become irresponsible only when we fail to give them opportunities to take on responsibility.” – Rudolf Dreikurs and Margaret Goldman

A significant part of success in the adult world is learning how to earn income based on effort, instead of on continual gifting where no effort or work on the part of the child is involved. Here are some essential truths to begin teaching your children to break this negative pattern and protect them from economic or financial hardship from not knowing how to earn and manage their finances wisely.

         Money doesn’t come easily.

         You need to have Compassion for others (developing world problems)

         People work hard to earn money; it’s a necessary part of life for adults

         If you want something, you need to work to earn it.

         You are not entitled to things you haven’t earned.

         Happiness does not come in having more money.

         Responsibility for Actions: there are consequences and rewards for our financial behavior that can go on and create hardship for many years.

 

The disease of Entitlement Thinking is common in our culture, but devastating to relationships and even can block our spiritual connection to God. Listen to these words from Pastor Charles R. Swindoll, “I’m here today to warn you: I want you to watch out for the adversary. Guard yourself from any spirit of entitlement.” Or listen to this even more direct confrontation from Psychologist John Townsend, author of “The Entitlement Cure” who wrote; “While your child may be better in ability, she is no better intrinsically. In the eyes of God, she is no better than anyone else, as the Lord is no respecter of persons, (see Acts 10:34).  

So, what can a parent or grandparent do to break this dangerous process of Entitlement Thinking? There are five areas to develop and reinforce to move your child toward success instead of continually dependency on their parents. They are:

  1. Attention – praise instead of compliment

“Instead of communicating “I love you, so let me make life easy for you,” I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: “I love you. I believe in you. I know what you’re capable of. So I’m going to make you work.” – Kay Wills Wyma

 

  1. Affection, Gratitude and Affirmation

 

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”  – Brené Brown

 

  1. Acceptance – you matter to God and you matter to me

“Humility is simply accepting the reality of who God is and who you are.” – John Townsend

  1. Authority – in God instead of setting yourself up as a “god”

 

“Legalism breeds a sense of entitlement that turns us into complainers.” – Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything

 

  1. Accountability – responsible to authority and rules, especially those of Scripture

God expects us to spend time and energy carrying our loads of responsibility for family, finances and other challenges. That’s how life works. – John Townsend

 

When you are able to build on these 5 “A’s” in the life of your son or daughter, you will be completely on track to guide a child into becoming an adult, which will give them success in life, while making you one of the unusual parents who cared enough to guide their child on a different path than others, but one that guarantees greater success and happiness because it is built on effort and hard work. John Townsend described it this way on the television show “FOX and Friends” last week, where he said, “The Hard Way is the entitlement cure. It is a path of behaviors and attitudes that undo the negative effects of entitlement, whether in ourselves or in others.”

You have more power to change than you realize and when you begin to read, think and perhaps even reach out for some counseling or coaching you can see tremendous change as you watch an entitled child become an empowered child on the path toward adulthood. They may not thank you now as you implement boundaries to build strength, but as King Solomon wrote so long ago in Proverbs 31:28, “They will rise up and call you blessed.” You know you need to make some changes, so step up – because it’s time to get started.

About the Author –

Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Author who founded the Lifeworks Group over 32 years ago. This group is one of the oldest Christian counseling centers in Florida and has helped over 15,000 families find hope, help and healing. Access over 850 free Blogs and YouTube training videos designed to solve stress now by giving you and those you love greater strength at www.LifeWorksGroup.org   

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