Broken bones, scary surgeries, or moving to a new school — all these things can be traumatic experiences for kids to handle. How can parents best help their kids survive and even learn from difficult situations? To answer this question, Chad Hayenga sat down with CF co-founder Lynne Jackson.
According to Lynne, it really helps kids to process difficult circumstances using their whole brain. Here is an overview of the breakdown she gives in the video of how to help kids use all three major areas of their brain:
Left brain: language and logic. Explain to your child the facts of what’s going on – how to understand exactly what happened in the past, and/or what to anticipate in the future.
Right brain: emotions. Once you’ve talked about the facts, help your child give words to the feelings that they’re feeling about the situation.
Frontal lobe: planning. Facilitate your child in making a plan for what to do when they feel those feelings and encounter whatever is ahead.
From this launching point of facts, feelings, plan, you can use whatever difficulties your child is facing to help build in them an identity as one who perseveres, who overcomes tough stuff. In the words of one precocious little girl whose parents Lynne coached, “Dad, I love you. You helped me persevere with a cast on!”
Fear is everywhere. I have it. My kids have it. We’re all afraid of something.
When the fear is persistent it becomes anxiety. Whether or not the anxiety is rational, when my kids are anxious and hurting, I tend to be anxious and hurting too. Of all the emotions that can paralyze, anxiety tops the list. I’ve found that my anxiety rarely if ever does anything to help my child.
So now what? This is a deep subject, but here’s one story about how we overcame anxiety with our daughter.
“Are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom!” “I want a Happy Meal NOW!” “No, I want Taco Bell!!”
Ahh, the bliss of car-trip vacations. Whether our children are toddlers or teens, the stress of riding in the car together for extended periods can taint the whole vacation. Wouldn’t it be great if we could time-warp ourselves to our destinations? It’s appealing, but obviously not reality. A helpful “truth phrase” for car rides or any other difficult parenting situation is:
Within every challenge is embedded a golden opportunity!
The challenge of car rides together is a great opportunity for connection and teamwork. Here are some practical, simple ideas:
Learning to receive God’s grace for ourselves, and then dispensing that grace to our kids, is the essence of becoming a safe parent. When we do this, we can focus more on caring for our children’s souls than on managing their misbehavior.
It starts with me. Kids provoke us. And when we’re provoked, we tend to reveal what’s really inside us – especially when the provocateurs are our very own little children. What’s revealed is often not a very pretty picture. Virtually every parent we’ve talked to in any depth admits, “I don’t like the me that comes out when I discipline my kids.” One said, “I am so competent at work and with friends. I’m on my game almost all the time. But when my kids act up it’s like I lose the ‘real me!’ I become someone I don’t know or like.”
The tough truth to swallow is that whatever comes out of us IS the “real me.” The goofy thing is, that as much as we tend to despise the “me” that emerges, by the beauty of God’s grace, we are accepted just as we are (but God doesn’t want to leave us unchanged!).
Does your child sometimes unexpectedly meltdown at the drop of a hat? Does unexpected change or inflexibility lead to frequent tantrums? If so, you’re not alone! Helping kids sort out their frustrations can be a challenge, especially when they have a tantrum that ramps up quickly. Practical tools that help a child understand how their behavior impacts others can be simple, like the following example from Jen and her son Jonah.
Despite Jen’s best efforts, her goal of trying to stop her son’s meltdowns just seemed to make them worse. After realizing that she needed to be more proactive instead of waiting for those inevitable outbursts, Jen worked with one of our parent coaches during a parent coaching session on a new plan. Here is her story:
There are certain time when kids seem especially prone to “pushing our buttons”: after Christmas, after birthdays, summertime, and the list goes on. Kids have trouble figuring out “sharing patterns” for their stuff, everyone’s jazzed on sugar and tired from disrupted sleep patterns… It’s easy to lose patience.
Many parents bemoan their lack of patience for their kids’ sometimes exasperating behavior. But simply trying to be more patient can sometimes just feed an underlying attitude of “poor me, I endure so much because of this child.” Have you ever “patiently” stifled resentment until you lose it over a small infraction later in the day? The problem is that patience alone doesn’t inherently build understanding or give any insight toward solving the problem.
Today’s post is from our friends, Colleen & Dave Little. They are the parents of three grown men and two vivacious young-adult daughters who joined their family through adoption. Together, Dave & Colleen meet with and minister to parents whose adopted children struggle with the effects of significant pre-adoption trauma.
For many adopted children with a history of chronic neglect, pre-natal brain injury, or childhood abuse, the holidays can be extremely challenging times – for everyone! The following is a short list to help parents maintain some peace and sanity during this season.
The holiday materialism debate is not new: on one side, many families have incorporated Black Friday into their family gatherings. On the other side, many families join with Charlie Brown, who in 1965 first groaned about “Christmas going commercial”.
Don’t get us wrong — Christmas gifts can be a fun way to show love and appreciation for family and friends; in fact, one of the five “love languages” is gift-giving! But we need to be careful: if we feed into the messages of the marketers and give our kids everything they want for Christmas, gifts can become a detriment.
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“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.” ~I Corinthians 6:12
Our oldest child, Daniel, made a grand pronouncement one morning upon learning that we all had to go to church early and stay through three services because of our ministry commitments. “You are spread way too thin! You people are like good jelly that’s wasted by being spread too thin on a big piece of toast. Nobody can taste how good you are. Why don’t you work on spreading yourselves THICK!”