September 20, 2013 Newsletter
Parenting is not always easy. Children continually give us new challenges, but from each of these challenges we can learn how to become a better parent and a better person. We’ve found throughout our years of working with families that the following five principles are essential to creating a loving, safe family environment.
- Enjoy time together
In our busy, hectic lives, rest and relaxation are essential to helping us reduce stress and fatigue. Exhaustion and being over committed are two of the largest roadblocks to positive parenting. Children need time and attention and will remember most often when their parents took the time to play with them. While working hard to support your family is important, doing so in excess weakens family bonds. Our lives are too short to place financial gain over quality family time and developing meaningful relationships between family members. Our tip: This week set aside time for you and your family to enjoy time together. Something as simple as going to a park and having a picnic can be a wonderful way to spend the day.
- Teach discipline
Discipline is not an exercise in demanding obedience from your children. It’s a way to train your children to learn responsibility and helping them recognize that life requires us to make choices and live with the consequences of our actions. Discipline in your home involves setting clearly defined limits with your kids and emphasizing consequences. The discipline you choose should be in proportion to the action of a child – accidentally breaking a vase should not engender the same level of discipline as stealing from a store. Instilling fear in your children for every mistake made is not a healthy way to teach them about actions and consequences.
- Express affection
While showing affection varies from person to person and family to family, it is a critical way to show our family members that we care about them. Often when children reach grade school, parents stop showing affection as often, but when that happens, an important way of showing God’s love stops. As parents, you play the critical role of modeling the love of Jesus Christ. Every day, tell your children that you love them. Reminding them of unconditional love will bolster their self-image and give them the ability to withstand difficult times and periods of low self-esteem. Meaningful, appropriate touch can do wonders for a child’s self-image.
- Help them create a positive self-image
As a parent, it is critically important for you to nurture a positive, Christ-centered self-image in your children. If your children grow up in a hostile, unloving environment, they will suffer low self-esteem and become critical, unhappy adults. Praise your children and teach them to praise the values and worth of others. Challenge your children to serve others and develop purpose as a child of God. Teach them to be thankful for the many blessings they’ve received and involve them in service and mission projects to help those less fortunate. Developing a life of purpose will help them through difficult times by reminding them that they are a part of something greater than themselves.
- Love one another
One of Christ’s basic guiding principles is to love one another, as John 13:34 reminds us. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” It may be difficult to remember this as we grow resentful of others’ mistakes and faults, but we also have our own faults. Each of us must practice grace and forgiveness of others because dwelling on faults is not healthy. Children take cues from their parents, so they are more secure in their lives when their parents love one another. If your marriage is suffering, perhaps you should consider marriage counseling. A loving relationship that allows time for one another, for your family, and yourself is key to a happy family.
Need some encouragement with your parenting and family communication? Contact Advance Counseling today to schedule an initial consultation. We can help strengthen your parenting and family communication skills for a happier, healthier family.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:21
Divorce is an extremely painful experience that can feel impossible to recover from. You may feel grief as strongly as if you are grieving a death and in a way you have—you have lost your marriage and some of yourself in the process. Bonds between children, family, coworkers and friends have changed and navigating this new world can be so painful. Like grief, divorce is a process that is filled with varying emotions. The experience is not linear, and each stage carries with it its own challenges. Divorce is chaotic—stages can change daily. It’s normal to feel shock after divorce and to experience intense anger, shame, guilt, and depression. You are not weak if you feel any of these things. Marriage provides a framework for our role in the world, so when we lose it, we not only lose our partner but our social system and sense of security.
Change and recovery involve letting go to begin healing. You will need to shift your thoughts toward beginning a new life, and that process can seem daunting. That’s where Advance Counseling can help. We can help you process your feelings and work toward gaining a positive self-image and rediscovering your place in the world. We can help you begin to renew your relationship with God. He has a plan for you, even if you question why you are suffering now. The struggle may seem insurmountable right now, but remember that God will carry you through this difficult time. “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Steps to take today:
- Ask for help from God throughout this difficult time. Through Him you will be able to find the strength to make it through this difficult journey.
- Ask friends and family members for support. Even though it may feel as though you lost your entire social network in the divorce, there are friends and family that deeply love and care about you.
- Contact Advance Counseling for help in processing your feelings and helping you work toward a brighter future.
- Be kind to yourself and take time to collect your thoughts. Whether you choose to journal or go on a long run, reflection is important.
Remember that there is no timeline for grieving. It is a natural process to go through, and you are not weak for feeling sadness. Do remember that there are people who love you and want to help you. Call us today to begin the healing process.
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