Crisis happens to all of us. It is draining and exhausting. Crisis will often test what we are made of, will test the limits of what we can handle, and will force us to respond.
Crisis doesn't always mean something bad has happened, but it often means you are placed in a situation of tremendous pressure.
When I think of crisis, my experience is limited to my life and what has happened thus far. I have read about horrific events in the news and seen devastation in the lives of friends around me, but those crisis have not been mine.
Recently, I experienced a crisis. My daughters were playing in the backyard when I heard my youngest scream in pain. I knew that she wasn't crying because she wanted something, she was hurt. I ran outside and what I saw was my youngest daughter's finger caught between the chain and gear of her bike and had partially severed it. I was faced with a crisis.
How do I get the bleeding to stop? I need to get my daughters in the car and to the hospital. I need to remain calm. I got to find a parking space at the hospital. I need clothes for my daughter. I got to stop the bleeding. Will her finger be able to be fixed? I have to keep everyone calm.
These were all thoughts that ran through my head. Thankfully, the doctors stitched up her finger and it will heal 100%. That being said, I had a choice in that moment of crisis to run, to shut down, become angry with my oldest daughter, etc; Yet I knew Jesus cared and that was able to give me strength to face the crisis and respond accordingly.
Jesus is God who is no stranger to crisis. I have often thought about what did Jesus feel in the garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified? I can only assume tremendous anxiety and yet His strength did not just come from within himself, but from God the Father.
We have a wonderful God, who seeks to know us, help us and weather the storms of life, crisis, big or small. Your crisis is relevant to you, but ask the question,
When crisis hits, who do you trust?
It's inevitable, at some point you will feel inadequate.
Did you do enough? Did you do the right thing? Did you do wrong, again? Did you say something stupid?
These are all questions that at some point we all think about. Understanding what inadequacy is and where it comes from is important, especially if you're someone who feels worthless much of the time.
Inadequacy is a feeling that comes from comparisons. Maybe you work with a co-worker who always gets their work done faster than you. Or you have a family member who seems to get more praise because of the work they accomplish. These situations can drive us, if we're not careful, to compare ourselves to these individuals, tear ourselves down and feel inadequate.
The next step in dealing with inadequate feelings is to know your limits and strengths. Maybe you can't do as much as the next person or maybe you're doing too much and you need to slow down. Whichever the case may be, you're not less of a person for only being able to do so much.
Finally, are you someone that is very self-critical, has a low opinion of yourself, constantly seeking approval from others? Ask yourself, "What is my identity rooted in?"
Have you ever had a moment in your day or week where you look in the mirror and you just don't like what is being reflected?
Maybe you hate the fat on your stomach or it's not defined enough. Maybe you have liver spots on your hands. Maybe you're losing your hair or your eyesight is going. Whatever it is, you've made a mental note about some physical attribute that you consider ugly or undesirable.
I have heard friends, family and clients all say, "I just need to be ok with how I look" or "I just need to love my body"
Those are nice sayings, and well intentioned, but in my opinion they are just that and nothing more. Asking, "How do I love the body I was given?" may be a better question to start with. Loving your body starts with an understanding that it, your body, was created by a God that tremendously loves you.
Another question that you can ask, "How do I find beauty in my physical features I find ugly?" Can beauty be found in what you can consider ugly?
By asking these questions, you begin to take steps forward to actually loving the body God gave you, instead of being disgusted by parts of it.
Making time to hold your kids can be difficult and sacrificial to do. It interrupts your life and makes you focus on something other than yourself. It would be much easier to give your kid an iPad so they will go away and not bother you.
This morning I was up earlier than normal when my daughter heard me moving about through the house and decided she would get up too. She came and stood next to me. Without saying anything, I knew she wanted me to hold her. I put down what I was doing and held my 2 year old daughter on my lap for the next 15mins.
My daughter doesn't always understand the words that I use because she is 2, but she does understand that her daddy loves her when she is held and hugged. I thought to myself, what an interesting lesson.
Children are shaped by what their parents say and do, often times it is more the latter. Having parents that hug and show physical affection to their child can make the difference in how they grow and develop.
Words of encouragement, affirmation and admonishment are all important, but often times giving hugs and being physically present is more healing, reassuring and meaningful, especially to your little ones.
are incredibly perceptive of how others may view them. This is why identity is such a significant topic for this age group.
Mistakes will happen. Give them opportunities to express their feelings. Show them they are still loved. Create a culture of redemption and forgiveness.
Giving verbal affirmation and encouragement. This helps them feel good about their self when they accomplish something or anything
Ask questions. Be involved in their life. Show them you care by creating structure and boundaries as well as allowing for independence. Teach them, don't control them.
I have spent the last 8 years working with children, teens and adolescents. I love working with these groups because there is so much opportunity for them to become fully functional caring loving adults. As a parent, you cannot see your role as lesser or diminished because you make lunches, pour cereal, or change diapers. You will never do anything more important with your life than taking on the role of mother or father. Shepherding, guiding a child's heart is hard, messy, exhausting, painful and rewarding.
I will often get the question, "Does my kid need counseling?" This is a question that has to be answered on a case by case basis. I have found that when parents receive coaching and support that changes how they parent and ultimately their child doesn't need counseling. When a parent can consider the ways in which they talk with their kid, play with them, provide them attention, that trickles down to their child and will either have a negative or positive effect.
As a child therapist, I look to identify challenging behaviors and what needs they are meeting. A child doesn't just act out for simply no reason; there are reasons but we just don't know them yet. The mistake that parents will make is assume their child is being manipulative and defiant or that they as parents had nothing to do with the influence of "bad" behavior. Another mistake parents will make is become too punitive, this reinforcing their child's challenging behavior.
Being a parent is never fluid or formulaic. That being said, below I've outlined four areas that I think are necessary for all parents to consider when interacting with their child, adolescent or teen, regardless of bad or good behavior.
1. Be Consistent-make sure your kids hear the same message over and over again when they show challenging behavior. More consistency, means more change.
2. Be Reasonable-Kids can often sense when they are defeated and there is no chance for redemption. Set boundaries for challenging behavior, give opportunities to earn back privileges.
3. Be Encouraging-Give lots of verbal praise when your kid does something good and when they choose not to do something bad.
4. Be Forgiving-It is important as parents/caregivers to not revisit your child's history of making mistakes. Forgive, by doing this you set a precedent and help your child create a healthy personality.
I would encourage any parent, person or couple that is thinking about becoming a parent to read up on being a loving positive influence in their child's life. A good place to start is, "Parenting with love and logic". This book will provide language and new parenting concepts to consider. Finally, be willing to put yourself under the microscope for the sake of your children.
Are you a talker? Do you spend more time listening to what others have to say? Are you passive-aggressive? Show little emotion in conversation? Are you passionate in how you talk? Are you a hostile communicator? Do you have lots of "walls" up when talking with loved ones?
Whether you communicate with you words, silence, actions or body language, the way you choose to communicate says a lot about who you are.
Questions to consider:
What kind of communicator are you?
What do you get out of your communication style? How do you benefit?
How is your communication style improving the relationships in your life? How is it disrupting your relationships?
Why are relationships important? Within the context of mental health, relationships are critical. Relationships give us a sense of belonging, being needed, having worth, value and dignity. When you or someone you know is wrestling with anxiety, depression or anything else, it is important to know that you are worth something, that you do have value and that you are not simply the sum of your symptoms. A good relationship will impart these concepts to you. A good relationship will help you feel worthwhile, valued and as a human being...not just a psychiatric disorder.
Spending a lifetime dealing with anxiety or depression can be tiring enough, spending a lifetime dealing with anxiety or depression without good relationships around you can be exhausting.
Do you have good relationships in your life? If not, why not? If you do, how did you make that happen? Can you be a friend in someone's life that treats them with value, dignity and worth? I challenge you to ask these questions to yourself and think about who you can support in your life, because chances are there is someone in your life, closer than you think, that is wrestling with anxiety and depression.
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