Struggling with Parenting? Active Parents are Fun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving kids is a blast.  There are so many places to show them, so many things to explore, so many things to do and so little time.  It seems as if your calendar is always full and it probably is with birthday parties, trips to the zoo, new playgrounds, play dates with friends, soccer practices and just going to stores.  At home there are plenty of toys, games, crafts, and most likely an entire room devoted to the kids where they can play for endless hours.  You like all of the activity and encourage your kid to try new things constantly.

You are an Active parent.  As an active parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “Who”.  Who else is going? Who are your friends?  Who do you want to be?  You are interested in the people in your kid’s world and usually use your kid’s interaction with others as an indication of how well-adjusted they are.  If your child is like-minded, this conversation is easy but if not your child shuts down and can’t seem to figure out why this matters so much to you.

The Good.  Your kids will not be bored.  If anything, they will be exhausted at times and crave some down time to just sit on the sofa and watch TV.  You most likely encourage them to participate in a wide variety of activities and are not easily upset when your child changes their mind to a completely different sport.  After all, you probably did the same thing as a child.  Regardless of your financial status, your child will have many adventurous stories to tell, have a lot of physical activity, and numerous types of friends.

The Bad.  Exhaustion from excessive activities and lack of proper sleep are two of the biggest down sides to active parenting.  There will be times when the excessive activities on your calendar are too much for you and your child to manage so someone is likely to get disappointed or hurt when you can’t deliver on a promise.  Your promises have a long shelf life with your child and as they get older, they will remember and remind you of all broken promises.

The Ugly.  Too much activity does not allow time for recollection, rest, and relaxation so your child may grow up struggling with finding a balance between activity and inactivity.  The numerous friendships that you encouraged your child to have and maintain may also be overwhelming for them causing them to run in the opposite direction away from friendships.  Finally, your lack of following through on promises is an unhealthy model for your child who may also grow up making and breaking promises.

Understanding your parenting style is not about beating yourself up and or pointing fingers at your spouse.  Rather it is about understanding your natural strengths and weaknesses so you can build on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.  Remember, active parents are fun so be fun and minimize the number of broken promises.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

 

Related Articles:

Struggling with Parenting?  Begin with You

Struggling with Parenting? Bookkeeper Parents are Fair

Struggling with Parenting?  Cautious Parents are Aware

Struggling with Parenting?  Direct Parents are Motivating

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What to do When You Lack Motivation

Ok, admit it.  Some days you completely lack motivation to do the things you know need to be done.  It’s not like you don’t know what needs to be done or lack something to do; it’s that you have zero desire to do it.  In fact if you lined up all the things that need to be done you could actually spend your entire vacation time doing them and the list still would not be complete.

There are clothes in the washer than need to be moved to the drier so they won’t get mold on them and have to be washed again, but you still don’t do it.  There is a report you have to complete and a pending deadline all too soon but nothing you write makes sense.  There is a crack in your windshield that has been there for days, weeks, months or dare I say years but you have not gotten it fixed.  There is a friend you know you should contact because they are going through a rough time and you love them dearly but you dread the conversation.  Or there is my personal favorite, you know that it is time for an annual check-up (truth be told that time was really five years ago) but you won’t make the appointment.

Sound familiar?  Having read more self-help books and listened to more motivation talks than you can remember still is not helping you to do the very thing you don’t want to do.  So instead of following an old slogan like “Just do it”, try this instead.

  • Rest.  Maybe you are burned out and just need some rest.  Take one day off and do something fun to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Play.  Play with a toy, a game, or go to a park.  Just distracting yourself can be helpful.
  • Draw.  Did you ever doodle or draw as a kid?  Try doing that and see where your mind takes you.
  • Phone.  Call a friend (not the one you have been dreading) but another one that makes you smile.
  • Encourage.  Try to encourage someone else and be helpful to them.  Taking the focus away from yourself for a while is useful.
  • Laugh.  Watch an old sitcom that makes you laugh out loud.  Laughter is good for the soul.
  • Thanks.  Give thanks to God for the blessings in your life.  Don’t put in a request, just be thankful.
  • Change.  Go for a walk, take a drive or go to a different room, do something to change your environment.  Sometimes this alone is helpful.
  • Exercise.  When you are unmotivated to do other things, exercise seems like a good excuse.  Use it to push your body and cleanse your thoughts.
  • Think small.  Just doing one small step of your task list or project can be enough to inspire you to complete the larger item.

The bottom line is that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if that something has nothing to do with your “To Do” list.  When you are not motivated to do the things you need to get done, just doing a little thing can make a big difference in the end.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Conquering a move and the excess baggage of life

There is nothing quite like moving to remind you just how much stuff you have in the hidden corners of your home.  Things seem to procreate over time and that one small pile of papers to review on your desk now has another pile on the dining room table and yet another in the kitchen.   The task of sorting, organizing and purging can be overwhelming and might even provoke a disagreement or two with your spouse.

While moving is frustrating and is listed amongst the top life stressors, it can also be a time of purging your life from all of the excess stuff that has gathered.  The benefit of purging is a feeling of freedom from the responsibility to care for the stuff.  Oddly enough, our lives can become just as cluttered with excess activities, friendships, responsibilities or commitments and it too can use a good cleansing every now and then.  However, you must have a plan to attack either the stuff or the excess in your life.

Essential items.  The first items to identify in your move or your life are the essentials.  These are the things you need daily and cannot live without.  In a move it may be your toiletries, a favorite pot, a book you are reading or your computer.  In life it may be a hug from your kids, spending time in God’s word, exercise or a favorite hobby.  Whatever it is put these items aside knowing that they are the most essential items you have.

Keepsake items.  Next comes the items that you love and want to keep but are not essential.  These are the things that you would miss if they were lost, would like to pass on to a family member, or deeply regret not having in the future.  In a move it may be your photo albums, a wedding dress, books, china, or a collection of baseball cards.  In life it may be an annual family reunion, a date with your children or spouse, a convention, or a commitment to work with the homeless.  The trick is keeping your keepsake items to a minimum as not to be adding too much to your plate after the essential items are established.  If you are not sure it is a keepsake, move on.

Throw-away items.  Now you are ready for the throw-away items which should be easier to identify once the essential and keepsake items are already sorted.  These are the items that you can really do without and drain your energy.  In a move it may be old tablecloths that you have not used in a while, old clothes that have not been worn in years, or old newspapers that are collecting dust.  In life it may be a charity that you are no longer passionate about, a hobby that you have lost interest in, or a friend that is more draining than helpful.  Don’t think too hard about these items, if your first instinct is to get rid of it than do it.

Repeat again and again.  Finally you are ready for the last step which is to repeat the first three steps over and over until everything is sorted.  Nothing should be left without a final decision as to which category it belongs.  In a move as in life it is important to analyze the things you are holding onto and examine them to see if your interests have changed.  As you get older, it is natural to have changing interests and your house as your life should reflect the change.

A move is time-consuming but it is helpful to sort through all of the stuff that you have accumulated over the years.  Your life likewise accumulates responsibilities and commitments that may no longer reflect your interests.  Taking the time to purge your home and life of the excess items will free you to spend more time with the things that really matter and ultimately decrease your stress.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

How to overcome the need to please others

Do you get enjoyment out of anticipating someone’s need which you think will make them happy and then investing time meeting that need without being asked?  Do you often feel drained of your energy but keep working anyway because they need you to help?  Do you spend countless moments replaying conversations and rehearsing new ones trying desperately to figure out what someone else wants?  If so, you may have an unhealthy need to please others.

There is a difference between a healthy need to please others and an unhealthy need to please others.  A healthy need is not dependant on a particular response.  For instance, if you clean the garage because you know it will be helpful to the family but are not expecting any help or compliments in response, then you have a healthy need to please others.  On the other hand, if while you are cleaning the garage you are thinking about how your teenage son should be helping you and looking forward to your wife praising your work, then you have an unhealthy need to please others.  The former response has less anxiety while the later response has greater anxiety.  But there is hope.

Less expectations.  Your self-talk is extremely powerful as you will reap what you sow even if it is only to yourself.  If you expect a praise from a boss for a job well done and do not get it, then you might begin the negative self-talk such as “I’m not good enough” or “They don’t appreciate me”.  This in turn increases your job dissatisfaction, creates unnecessary tension at work, and causes you to become angry.  Instead, do a good job because you like to do a good job and you care about the quality of your work, not because you are looking for praise.  By having less expectation on your boss’ opinion, you will gain freedom from living your life to please others.

More down time.  The tighter your schedule the more likely it is that you have taken on excessive responsibility.  If you find yourself unable to say “No” to a new project or activity, unable to delegate responsibility fully to others regardless of the outcome, or unable to let something go then you most likely are running on empty.  Everyone needs down time and at least one day a week should be spent doing something relaxing or having a Sabbath.  Practice saying “No” to new projects until old ones are completed, give an assignment away to someone else and gain a better perspective on the value of down time.

No rescuing.  When someone needs help it is easy to step in and help them, after all they need it and you get to feel good about giving the help.  While offering help is good, rescuing is quite another matter; the difference is in your actions.  A familiar saying is, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  If you are helping someone by doing their work for them, then you are rescuing.  If you are helping someone by teaching them how to do it for themselves, then you are truly helping.  The irony of the matter is that by rescuing someone you increase the possibility of resentment on both of your parts whereas if you help them you have made a friend.

Overcoming the need to please others is difficult and takes time and practice.  By using the three steps above and reviewing them regularly, you can begin the process of pleasing yourself instead of others.  In the end, the boundaries that you set for yourself will far outweigh any negative consequences of not pleasing other people.  After all, most of them are too worried about pleasing others too.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Help for Hurting Families

There are times in our lives when things happen that hurt us.  Perhaps it is the disappointment of our children, the broken trust of our spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor.  Whatever the incident, we have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.

Often the reason we bury our hurt is because we don’t want to feel the pain.  We instead turn to some sort of medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem.  Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate themselves from pain through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games.  Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract us from the pain and hurt we feel.

But we can choose to deal with the hurt instead.  The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, than responding constructively to the hurt and finally restoring the damaged relationship.  With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade.  However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages thereby not fully completing the steps and allowing the hurt to continue far longer than needed.  Let’s examine each of the steps more fully to better understand the process.

Recognize.  Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt we feel greatly impacts our ability to heal.  Honest is the most difficult step because it requires us to admit to our pain and reach out for help.  We often think feeling pain will make us weak or venerable for more pain, ironically the reverse is true.    For it is in our honesty first with ourselves and later with those around us that we are able to begin the process of healing and restoration of relationships.  By not being honest, we continue to lie to ourselves and those around us thereby setting ourselves up for even more hurt in the future.

Respond. Once we recognize the hurt, our response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild our relationships.  Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship.  Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, we can work towards the next step in the healing process.

Restore.  Only after the hurt is recognized and then responded to properly can true restoration of a relationship begin.  Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow us to prosper.  Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear.  They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.

One of the lessons learned from giving birth to children is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy.  Just as in child-birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth of a child so the hurt in our lives can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships.  We are not created to feel only joy without pain; instead we feel the greatest joy after the pain.  Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.