Archive | December 2012

Shootings ~ Will There Be More?

My heart goes out to the many people affected by the Connecticut shooting. The sad thing is I feel we are going to see much more of this. People do not know what to do with their emotions; therefore, they are reacting to them. At the beginning of this year, I was doing a parenting class and was going over the importance of teaching children what to do with their emotions. We talked about how children react on emotions because the front lobe of the brain where problem-solving takes place does not even begin to develop until between the ages of 12 to 15. Many people in the class said, “How are we supposed to teach our children what to do with their emotions when we do not even know what to do with our emotions?”

People have to cope with stress and trauma and will refer back to the ways they were taught and conditioned, even into their adult life. We have less and less adults working with children teaching them what to do when they have problems. As a result, children are responding to their emotions in negative ways. Today, we have children as young as three and four playing violent video games and watching violent movies. They are learning techniques and tactics on how to blow people away in a matter of minutes. They know exactly what weapon to use to get the job done. When they are upset, they react on what they have learned. We need parents and other adults who will step by step walk children through what to do when they have stress or a conflict. You cannot just tell your children not to do something; you must show them what to do. When your children are fighting and you only tell them to stop or go to their rooms, they do not learn what to do to solve the problem. You want to teach them problem-solving skills (going from the cause to a solution). This takes time, but it is time well invested and can save many lives.

Often, when children come to parents or other adults for help with a conflict they are told to quit tattling. They are not tattling. They do not know what to do, so they are coming to you for help. Stop and take the time to walk them through what to do when a problem arises. If you don’t, who or what will?

What do you do? First, you have to get to the root of the disagreement. You get to the root by gathering all the facts from both parties. Once you gather all the facts, you can discuss the steps necessary to solve the conflict in a productive manner. Conflict is also a time to teach character traits.

For example, Caitlin is writing on the marker board and Olivia wants to write something. Olivia asks Caitlin for the marker. Caitlin does not give Olivia the marker, so Olivia grabs it out of Caitlin’s hand. Caitlin gets mad, punches Olivia in the stomach, and grabs the marker back. Caitlin has victory! Wrong. Caitlin may have gotten the result she wanted, but it was not done in a productive way.

It would be much easier to tell the kids that they should not hit each other and put them in a timeout than to spend time walking them through proper conflict solving skills. Chances are if you only tell them to stop, they will repeat the behavior because they do not know what else to do. All they know is that they got the result they wanted (the marker back).

If your children know that you are there to teach them how to solve their conflicts, then below is a conversation you might have. If you are starting to teach them these skills, then you have to walk them through what to do and what you will do. It takes repetition, but eventually it will become habit. Learning to read and write takes time and repetition, so does problem-solving skills. Be patient. You may say the same thing over and over. Eventually, they learn to read, write, and problem-solve.

Mom: “Caitlin, I know that it was wrong for Olivia to grab the marker from your hand, but it was also wrong for you to punch her. Hitting only hurts others and causes more problems. What could you have done differently when Olivia would not give you back the marker? “

Caitlin: “I could have come to you to let you know that Olivia grabbed the marker from me and would not give it back.”

Mom: “That is correct. If you would have done that, what would I have done?”

Caitlin: “You would have made sure that Olivia gave me the marker back, you would have talked to Olivia about her behavior, and given her necessary consequences.” (Caitlin knows what you would do because you have walked her through the steps a number of times.)

Mom: “Because that is not the way you handled it, what has to happen?”

Avery: “I do not get to play with the marker board?” (She knows that the consequences you give always go along with the crime.)

Mom: “That is right. You also need to sit here on the couch for a little bit and think about the correct way to handle a disagreement while I go talk to Olivia about her behavior. Next time, remember that if you cannot solve a problem, come to me and I will help you. That way you will not lose out on what you were doing.”

After you work with Caitlin, then you need to work with Olivia. The following is a conversation you might have with Olivia.

Mom: “Olivia, why did you grab the marker from Caitlin?”

Olivia: “I just wanted to show her something. I asked her for the marker and she wouldn’t give it to me, so I grabbed it from her. I was going to give it right back.”

Mom: “Do you think that people need to give you whatever you want just because you ask them to?”

Olivia: “No.”

Mom: “We know that it is important to share, but at the same time if someone is playing with something, it is not right to expect them to stop playing with it so you can do what they are doing. What should you have done?”

Olivia: “I should have asked her for the marker. If she wouldn’t let me have it and I felt she was being unfair, I could have come to you and you could have helped us see who was right.”

Mom: “Because that is not the way you handled it, there needs to be some consequences for your behavior.” (You decide the consequence. The consequence could be that Olivia does not get to play with the marker board for a length of time.)

Have the girls come back together and apologize to each other for their behavior and discuss any other character traits you would like to teach them at this time.

Ask yourself, “Am I teaching my children problem-solving skills?” “Do I allow my young children to play violent video games?” “Do I send my children away when they come to me for help?” What one change can you make today to help your children know how to handle stress in a positive way?

I used to use negative coping strategies to deal with situations because I was never taught how to deal with my emotions. As I learned new coping strategies, I began to control my emotions rather than allow my emotions to control me. In the book I wrote, “Pass God’s Legacy to Your Children: One Talk at a Time” I have a section that gives you numerous examples like the above to help your children learn what to do with the many emotions that will come their way. To learn more about what is in the book, go to livingforhimllc.us

I have also created a series of classes on emotions to help people understand what emotions are and how to handle them in a positive way. I was able to present this series at Grace Church in Allen Park and the series was well received. I have summarized most of the classes. You will find the summaries under the heading Emotions. If you are interested in knowing more about the emotion classes, send me an email @ lsvacha@sbcglobal.net and I will get back with you.

Let’s teach our children how to handle their stress and trauma in a positive way.

Joy Part I ~ Emotions XII

 The definition of joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune. It is a state of happiness.

Today, I will not be talking about joy as an emotion, but joy as a state of happiness. Emotions are the result of a reaction to an event, which means your emotions will change. For example, I receive a great joy when I get an email from my husband that reads, “I love my Lindy!” However, I am hurt when someone yells at me or treats me disrespectfully. Joy as a state of happiness is deep rooted in the soul and can override any emotion. You can have happiness in your soul regardless of the current emotion you are feeling or a situation that you are in. True happiness is based on your relationship with your Heavenly Father and being in His Will. You have an unexplainable happiness regardless of your circumstances when you are in a right relationship with God. God created you to bring glory to His name. When you are bringing glory to the name of the Father, you experience a continuous joy.

I know this is true. I have experienced it myself. I was a single mother, did not have a car, had no man in my life, and at times had $5.00 to last me two weeks. It was one of the hardest times of my life, yet it was one of the happiest times of my life. How could I be so happy when I had nothing the world had to offer? I was happy because I had a relationship with Christ and was glorifying His name. I was leading people to the Lord and helping them grow in their walk with Christ.

Then, there came a time in my life when I was married, had a car and money, yet the happiness I felt when I had nothing was not there. I prayed and told God that I wanted that happiness back and asked Him where it went. He showed me that I was looking to my circumstances and certain people for my happiness instead of Him. He helped me see that having a close relationship with Him and doing His Will is where true and lasting happiness comes from.

The joy is back!!! I restored my intimate relationship with God, I am in His Will, doing what He has called me to do, and I couldn’t be happier. As long as I am on the earth, I want my life to bring glory to God. I want God to get the glory in and through every situation that comes my way. As long as I do that, I will have true joy. I know that I need to guard my relationship with God at all costs. Now, if that happiness lessens, I stop and evaluate my walk with the Lord. The following are some things that can get in the way of having true joy.

  • Being so busy that you are not spending quality time alone with God ~ Quality time alone with God is not always doing a Bible study, going to church, and serving God. That is part of it, but it is important to talk with God throughout your day. Many times people get so busy serving God that they forget to spend time just talking to Him.
  • Spending too much time involved in temporal activities ~ Happiness comes when you are serving others, being God’s hands and feet.
  • Being involved in sin ~ Sin robs you of joy and hinders your relationship with God. Sin brings sorrow and sadness.
  • Looking to people and things to bring you joy and happiness ~ People will let you down and die. Things will break, wear out, or become out of date. People and things cannot fill the place in your soul that only God can fill.
  • Putting your wants and desires above God ~ You were created to bring honor and glory to God not yourself. When you live your life for you, you will have a sadness and am emptiness that will not go away. A great acronym for joy is: Jesus ~ Others ~ Yourself. If you change the order in any way, it does not spell joy. When you live for Jesus first, others next, and yourself last, you will have a joy that does not go away even when your circumstances are crazy around you.

If you do not have the “Joy of the Lord,” do a check of your life and ask God which of the above areas you need to work on. Take the time to do a little study on joy. It will change your world. In the next blog, I will have some verses to help you start your study. When you start to apply the verses to your life, you will watch God’s joy and happiness overflow out of you into others. Till next time.

Linda Svacha 🙂

Emotional Abuse ~ Emotions XI

Emotional abuse does not leave scars that one can visually see, but it does leave lasting scars. It can be more damaging to a person than physical abuse. Physical abuse harms the person’s body (a place where we live until we leave this earth); emotional abuse hurts the very person. Emotional abuse is behavior used to control or mistreat another person and tends to get worse over time. It attacks a person’s self esteem.

The sad thing with emotional abuse is that it all too often goes on behind closed doors with those who are the very people the abuser should be loving, not abusing (spouses, children, friends, co-workers, employees, etc). Having a position of authority does not give a person the right to disrespect another human being.  Your home needs to be your refuge from the craziness in the world, not a prison. Often, the abuser does not even realize what he/she is doing is abuse. Following are some examples of abuse. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this to anyone or is anyone doing this to me?”

  • Are you made to feel
    • Like you have to walk on eggshells
    • Afraid of how the person will react if you do or say something wrong or that they disagree with
    • Useless or worthless
    • Helpless and desperate
    • Vulnerable
  • Belittling Behavior
    • Humiliates, swears, and yells at you
    • Criticizes and puts you down
    • Ignores your feelings
    • Calls you names or insults you
    • Calls you dumb or stupid
    • Tells you your decisions are bad (I’m not talking about when someone lovingly shows a person how their decision was not the best)
    • No matter how hard you try, it is never “good” enough
  • Threats
    • Threatens to harm you (Many times people do not think they are being abused because they have never physically been hit. The threat alone is abuse.)
    • Threatens to destroy your belongings
    • Threatens to take your children from you
    • Threatens to take their own life
  • Controlling behavior
    • Acts excessively jealous and possessive
    • Controls where you go and what you do
    • Keeps you from seeing family and friends
    • Limits access to money, phone, and car
    • Constantly checking up on you
    • Orders you to do things

There are many negative effects that come from being emotionally abused. The following are some of them:

  • How emotional abuse affects the abused:
    • They suffer from anxiety and depression
    • Destroys their self-worth
    • They feel helpless and hopeless
    • Have constant headaches
    • Suffers from back, leg, arm, and stomach problems

What should you do if you feel you are being emotionally abused?

  • Be assertive ~ Let them know that you are no longer going to allow them to abuse you
    • Point out each time their behavior is abusive
    • Let the person know that the things he/she is saying and doing is emotional abuse
    • Take steps to change the situation~Remember that abuse only gets worse with time
  • Seek Counsel ~ If you are unable to go to a licensed counselor, go to your pastor or another person who will give you wise counsel. You do not seek help to bash your spouse; instead, you go to gain wisdom on how to stop the abuse.
  •  Do not react with the same negative behavior. Yelling and screaming only adds fuel to the fire.
  • At times it is necessary to get away. Pray and ask God to lead you.
    • Call: National Domestic Violence Hotline ~ 800-799-7233 or SAFE House Center Crisis Line ~ 734-995-5444

Emotional abuse in the home has negative effects on children.

  • They become anxious, depressed, and overly emotional
  • They have problems in school
  • They become aggressive and hyperactive
  • They feel disregarded, powerless, inadequate, and unlovable
  • They feel there is no one they can trust or go to for help (parents are the one a child should be able to go to when they are troubled, not be the ones causing the trouble)
  • They are at a greater risk for alcoholism, drug abuse, mental health problems, criminality, and poverty.

The best thing that you can do for yourself and your children is to have a compassionate marriage. It is important to remember parents are the biggest examples when it comes to teaching your children social skills. When you emotionally abuse your spouse, you are HARMING your children, as well. You want to teach your children to deal with issues, not react on emotions. Start today! Make your home a safe haven. Encourage those you love; don’t discourage.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

Proverbs 21:9 & Proverbs 25:24 “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious (arguing) woman.”

Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

By: Linda Svacha 🙂