Attitude, by Charles Swindoll

August 29, 2011
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."

~ Charles Swindoll

Helping Your Children Survive Divorce

April 10, 2011

Divorce is often very painful and difficult for adults. For children it can be devastating, regardless of their age. With divorce comes the fear, uncertainty, and loss of security about their future.  Who will we live with? Will we move to a different house? Will I have to change schools? These are all questions that may be running through a child’s mind when parents divorce. Children may also feel that they have to choose sides, or they may feel caught in the middle when divorced parents are fighting. This adds additional stress and anxiety to the feelings the children may already be experiencing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can help minimize the negative impact divorce can have on your children.

 1.  Communicate respectfully and never say negative things about the other parent (or at least not when your children can hear you), and keep arguments about adult matters far away from the kids!  Regardless of what your ex-spouse is like, or what your feelings are, remember that this is still their mother or father. Even small comments about the other parent can be devastating for children. Comments that to you seem relatively benign can cause your children to feel distressed and conflicted.

 2.  Set aside your own emotions. This is easier said than done. You may feel angry, hurt, sad, and a multitude of other feelings. However, your obligation is to protect your children from emotional harm. It is ok to briefly state that you feel sad the family is no longer together, but don’t go into detail about your feelings or expect your children to make YOU feel better. If you need to talk about your feelings regarding the divorce, choose a friend, family member, or therapist. Do not burden your children with adult feelings or responsibilities. 

 3. DO encourage your children to express what THEY are feeling. Let them know it is ok for them to be angry or sad. Don’t judge or criticize what they say, and do not interject with your own opinions, just be there to listen and support them.

 4.  Do not involve your children in the reasons “why” you are divorcing. Children do not need to know the details of why the marriage ended. However, they DO need to be told that the divorce was not their fault! Explain to them that what matters is that you are both still there to love them and that you will make decisions together based on what you feel is best for them.  Make it clear to your children that they do not need to take sides after the divorce.

 5.  Don’t question your children about the other parent or about what happens at the other parent’s house during their visitation. If they choose to talk about it on their own, just listen. Probing your children for details will cause them to feel more defensive, conflicted, and anxious. This may also backfire on you and lead to them siding with the other parent and alienating you. If you have safety concerns such as abuse, enlist in the aid of a professional A therapist, child protective services, or the police (if there is immediate concern) can all help in this type of situation.

 6.  Keep things as “normal” and predictable as you can. Keeping the children in the same home and same school is best for them, if at all possible. Keep visitation consistent and keep a calendar with the visitation schedule available for your children. Knowing where they will be staying each night helps provides your children with a sense of stability and security.

 7.  Spend time with your children. Although you may feel like you just want to hide and be alone, now is the time when you are needed the most by your children. Make this a priority.

 8. Most importantly, if your children are struggling because of the divorce don’t wait until behavioral or emotional problems escalate. Schedule a few sessions for your children with a therapist or school counselor. Or, find a divorce group for children. This will allow them to express their feelings with an objective person.

 The good news is that divorce does not need to create lifetime scarring for your children.  As parents, you have the ability to help manage the outcome the by putting the emotional and psychological needs of your children first. By doing this your children can adjust to the divorce and grow up to love and respect both of you.



If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

March 19, 2011
If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

by Diane Loomans

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self esteem first, and the house later.
I'd fingerpaint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.


Guidelines for a Successful Family Meeting

November 4, 2010

Guidelines for Family Meetings

1. Establish rules for your meetings, i.e. everyone gets a turn to speak without being interrupted, no video games, music, cell phones, or TV during meeting time, and respectful behavior from everyone  is expected (this includes no name calling or put downs).

2.  Have your meetings the same time every week.

3. Allow everyone a chance to talk at each meeting. Go around the table if necessary and ask each member for input. This encourages children to become part of the team.

4. Once your meetings become established, allow your children to take turns as moderator each week. This will build confidence and will promote a feeling of importance and belonging in the family.

5. Take notes from each meeting (older children can take turns with this). These notes can be reviewed and discussed at the next meeting.

6. Include fun activities, such as sharing a short story, playing a game, telling jokes, or singing a song, in every meeting!



Importance of Family Meetings

November 4, 2010

Many people cringe when they hear the phrase “family meeting.” Family meetings are often looked at as a setting for blaming and confronting other family members.

In reality, regular meetings are a great way to plan fun activities, problem solve, build cooperation,  and open communication between parents and children. Holding family meetings can be successful no matter what the ages of your children or the size of your family.

What can you do at a family meeting? Having an agenda (a list of topics) will help keep everyone focused. Start meetings with positive topics. Allowing your children to share good things that have happened, planning a family activity such as a game or movie night, or even telling a fun joke or two will help create a positive atmosphere.

Other discussion ideas for family meetings could include: allowance, curfews, chore assignments, video game or computer use, or sibling conflicts. Remember, these are only suggestions! Once your meetings get started, you will no doubt begin to think of many of your own ideas!

Whatever your topic, make sure you allow everyone to add ideas or opinions. However, all final decisions regarding house rules or policies should be made by the parent or guardian.

Try to hold the family meetings on the same day each week. Mark the meeting dates on a calendar so your children have a visual reminder. If you are unable to find a time or day that works for     everyone, family mealtime can be a good time for a meeting.

The length of your meetings depends on the age of your children. Younger children usually enjoy sharing a snack or playing a game with parents for a short period of time, typically about 5 minutes. Fifteen to 20 minutes is a good start for families with older children. Some meetings may take less or more time depending on the topics covered.

While teens may be more reluctant at first, continue to encourage them and let them know how important the meetings are to you and your family. Once they become more comfortable and realize they will have the opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions, they will become more willing to participate in family meetings. 

Don’t expect your first meetings to always go smoothly or without conflict! Keep in mind that you are just getting started. By holding meetings on a regular weekly basis you will become more comfortable, confident, and creative!