Let’s Talk

Rebellious Children

Q. What are some practical, tangible ideas for parents of rebellious children?

A. Let’s Talk! Is there a possibility the child feels that the rules of the house are more important to the parent than their relationship? Children often rebel at rules when a loving relationship isn’t primary in the home. Is the atmosphere in the home a “punishing” one or a loving one?

All of us—young and older—naturally resist authority. Scripture indicates that rebellion is our very human nature! But, when rebellion occurs in a home, there are some ways to create consensus and help diminish the tension. These ideas in Let’s Talk are not meant to be pat answers to a complicated problem. I don’t ever like to sound like that. I would, however, like to offer a menu of some practical ideas over the next few weeks.

The relationship is the first goal. If there is building of relationships, there is more inclination that the children will want to follow and not resist the leadership. What could you do as a family to make things better? In a loving way, what about asking your rebellious child that question and ask for his/her input? You’ll want to be a good listener and not defensive at this moment. You will have other opportunities for your own thoughts.

I used to ask teachers to ask their students during the first week of school to circle up and have a meeting about what they wanted to happen and what they didn’t want to happen in the classroom that year. One by one agreements were formed and facilitated by the teacher, but the ideas were from the students and there was 100 percent buy-in for the rules they would follow that year. It’s also a model for the family, where rules are forged and agreed upon in emotionally safe family meetings where all feel heard and all input is respected. Kids feel like they are an important part of this process and feel more inclined to follow than rebel because of their own input.

Rebellion shows up the most in conversations and decisions concerning the rules and chores, as well as the discipline issues when rules aren’t followed. So, in the next post, I will share some ideas and language to facilitate that fun piece. In the meantime, let’s think about our parent-child relationship.

For Deeper Reflection

It is because of a relationship with God that I long to follow HIS instructions … in that order!

2 Timothy 3:1-5

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power….”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Back to School Issues

Q. Could you please share some of the issues facing families as children are now starting school?

A. Let’s Talk! Both the adults AND the children have numerous issues that move to front-row status as school starts. There are criers in the kindergarten hallways . . . and criers in Starbucks!

I have shared before about grief being a result of changes and losses, and certainly this is a major issue when adjusting to children being in school. There are big changes for kids and big losses for the grownups to both identify and to process.

My favorite kid story about the shock of change is this one: After the first morning in pre-K, a student was both sad and mad as he said, “Who in the h— signed me up for this?” We explained there was still lunch, a nap, and playtime (sounds delightful and harmless, right?!) – but he was not to be consoled. The next day I paired him with a new friend and he was happy! Early in life support systems help with loss and connecting with a new friend is good medicine. The book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn was also a great resource for the separation issues.

I found support as well when I had a meltdown years ago as my firstborn went to college. I cried WAY outside the normal range! It was God who whispered what was gone: It was not only my child that was absent but also my parenting as I knew it. Once I grieved that loss and the changes — and could reframe those losses and changes — I was ok. Remember our conversation in my last post about where true joy is? I always need His Truth for my wounds. Joy really is a function of the Spirit.

For Deeper Reflection

Zechariah 4:6 “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

More On Father Issues . . .

Q. Would you please share more about “father issues” from someone that has experienced those wounds?

A. Let’s Talk! I’ve asked a father of three small children to share his insights. He had decades of hurtful father issues to deal with, but has embraced the principles below and is now an emotionally healthy father himself.

This father explained: “For men who have had gaps in the fathering process — you can get this back. If your initiation into manhood got stalled by a horrible event or parents unaware of this process, your inner growth as a man goes dormant. But, you can journey back with God and get the restoration you need to move forward. I believe the teachings in the two books mentioned last week (Fathered by God and Wild At Heart by John Eldredge) have changed my life as well as my family.

“Another resource for young men looking for fathering in their thirties is by Morgan Snyder at www.becomegoodsoil.com — a course to rebuild lives with fresh guidance. As these men seek successful fathering within their own hearts, they will be ahead that one HUGE step in successfully fathering their own sons and daughters.

“So, overall, as you look for ways to raise your children, be aware of your own need to be fathered by God and seek His guidance, so you may pass that on as a divine inheritance.”

For Deeper Reflection
One more quote from this father. He has been reading women’s books (Captivating and Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge) for this purpose: “These books have helped me to better know a woman’s heart and give me a vision on how to engage for my daughters, as well as for my wife. The information has reminded me that my daughters are wired differently than I am and helps me engage with their hearts. If I don’t do it, they will seek that engagement elsewhere.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

The ABCs

Yesterday I watched my friends’ three little ones: 4-year-old twin boy/girl and 6-year-old big sister. I marveled at their curious questions, “Hey Bethie, how come . . . ?” and I delighted in their artwork. Will made me several paper airplanes and rockets, complete with his wiggly initials. Calyn drew a sunshine photo and decorated a Miss Kitty coloring page in purple crayon—just for me. I am well loved! Maris graduated from kindergarten today and proudly showed me her diploma, which we framed with flower magnets on the fridge.

photoOh, how children help me see life more simply and less stressed. As I was driving home, I pondered being childlike and learning the essentials of moving forward despite life’s ups and downs. So here I offer you a summary of my life ABCs for becoming and staying brave and resilient.

Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Stuffing emotions and what you really think rarely helps in the long run. Find a few trusted confidants and be a sounding board for each other. It can also be cathartic to write your raw feelings down or express your thinking out aloud when you are alone. (I sometimes mumble along on my daily walks with my dog.)

Be aware of the Truth. Perceptions of a situation or people can be deceptive. Learn to filter life through biblical Truth, not just human logic. As King Solomon advised, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3).

Choose an appropriate response. Pause. Let go of reacting and getting wound up in daily stressors. Instead, step back and think through how best to give a reply or take a next step. Do you need to bring up a touchy subject with someone? Wait until you are settled in your spirit. Do you need to make a milestone decision? Slow down and research your options.

Years ago I read Robert Fulghum’s best-selling All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Amazon.com states that the book’s simple, profound wisdom “reminds us to be brave and unafraid to ‘fly’ . . .  life lessons hidden in the laundry pile . . . magical qualities found in a box of crayons.” Today I learned afresh my ABCs and the whimsy and joy in a box of crayons and a child’s imagination.

Brave and Resilient Tip #68: When life presses in, return to childlike beauty and simplicity.

Let’s Talk

 “Life is so hard . . . . ”

 

Q. Can you talk about how to walk in courage when life is so hard?

A. Let’s Talk! Life is hard. Wildfires. Stocks down. Foreclosures. Government scandals. Tornadoes. Businesses closings. Physical challenges. We each have a mental list of countless things that are not as they “should” be . . . just this week alone.

 So, how do we do life? I have hit on this theme here and there, but may I speak of it again? “Expectations” (how life SHOULD be) is a killer. Hard things in life almost always surprise us because there is such a deep expectation that life is going to be all good. Conversely, we aren’t really to walk around only expecting bad things to happen. How then do we walk this path? I have been pondering my answer to you for days. I’ve studied Numbers in the Old Testament all week, watching the Israelites grumble and complain, but not look to God. It is my grandchildren who have supplied the best example for me to give you concerning a right response to life being hard. Below is an e-mail from my daughter, who lives just one mile away from the voluntary evacuation line for the wildfires in Colorado Springs – and she tells of her three children’s response. Those darling children are ages 5 and twins that are 3. Listen in!

The kids are in Vacation Bible School all week, which has been a wonderful distraction. They are excited to be singing about ”don’t worry about anything but instead pray about everything.” It’s very moving. They are learning so much as this is going on and we have talked about what it means for there to be fires and for us to pray for God’s protection. Today they are collecting Gatorade, water, and snacks for the firefighters so they are learning to put their faith into action.

What a lesson to us! These little ones know there is trouble all around them, but they are praying for God’s help, provision, and protection. God longed for the folks in Numbers to turn to Him. Children get it most of the time. And they are not only praying but giving. That about sums it up: we look up.

 

For Deeper Reflection

Philippians 4: 6-7  “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” (NLT)

Numbers 14: 11  “. . . How long will this people spurn Me and how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?” (NAS)

Matthew 18: 3-4 and Matthew 19:13-14 – Examples of His love for children and understanding of Him

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

 

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.