Harvard Study’s 6 Tips on Raising “Good Kids”

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Raising Good Kids

Harvard psychologists have been studying what it takes to raise ‘good’ kids. Here are 6 tips.

By Maz Ali

A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children’s attention, and they’re bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

But beneath the madness of modernity, the basics of raising a moral child haven’t really changed.

Parents want their kids to achieve their goals and find happiness, but Harvard researchers believe that doesn’t have to come at the expense of kindness and empathy. They say a few tried-and-true strategies remain the best ways to mold your kids into the morally upstanding and goals-oriented humans you want them to be. Here are six practical tips:

1) Hang out with your kids.

This is, like, the foundation of it all. Spend regular time with your kids, ask them open-ended questions about themselves, about the world and how they see it, and actively listen to their responses. Not only will you learn all sorts of things that make your child unique, you’ll also be demonstrating to them how to show care and concern for another person.

2) If it matters, say it out loud.

According to the researchers, “Even though most parents and caretakers say that their children being caring is a top priority, often children aren’t hearing that message.” So be sure to say it with them. And so they know it’s something they need to keep up with, check in with teachers, coaches, and others who work with your kids on how they’re doing with teamwork, collaboration, and being a generally nice person.

3) Show your child how to “work it out.”

Walk them through decision-making processes that take into consideration people who could be affected. For example, if your child wants to quit a sport or other activity, encourage them to identify the source of the problem and consider their commitment to the team. Then help them figure out if quitting does, in fact, fix the problem.

4) Make helpfulness and gratitude routine.

The researchers write, “Studies show that people who engage in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving — and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.” So it’s good for parents to hold the line on chores, asking kids to help their siblings, and giving thanks throughout the day. And when it comes to rewarding “good” behavior, the researchers recommend that parents “only praise uncommon acts of kindness.”

5) Check your child’s destructive emotions.

“The ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings,” say the researchers. Helping kids name and process those emotions, then guiding them toward safe conflict resolution, will go a long way toward keeping them focused on being a caring individual. It’s also important to set clear and reasonable boundaries that they’ll understand are out of love and concern for their safety.

6) Show your kids the bigger picture.

“Almost all children empathize with and care about a small circle of families and friends,” say the researchers. The trick is getting them to care about people who are socially, culturally, and even geographically outside their circles. You can do this by coaching them to be good listeners, by encouraging them to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and by practicing empathy using teachable moments in news and entertainment.

The study concludes with a short pep talk for all the parents out there:

“Raising a caring, respectful, ethical child is and always has been hard work. But it’s something all of us can do. And no work is more important or ultimately more rewarding.”

*******

Read the detailed findings by Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Project.

What Stress Does and What to Do About It (Part 2)

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Stress Relax

Yesterday’s post informed us about some of the negative physical, emotional, and behavioral impacts of unhealthy stress.  The article also gave some helpful tips on dealing with stress.

Here are some more examples of healthy ways of dealing with unhealthy stress:

  • Talk to friends
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings
  • Talk less and listen more
  • Remind yourself that you are not God and cannot control the universe
  • Remember that the stressor is likely not as huge as you believe it to be at the moment
  • Remember that you are likely not as important to the solution as you believe yourself to be at the moment
  • Separate your worries and concerns – worries you cannot do anything about, so forget about it; concerns are things to take to God to see what to do about it, do it, and then let go of the anxiety
  • Be kind to unkind people
  • Be forgiving
  • Live within your budget
  • Understand that less is usually more
  • Take one day at a time
  • Laugh daily
  • Breathe deep slow breaths

For more help, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or a coach.

 

What Stress Does and What to Do About It (Part 1)

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Stress Relax

Stress is something that hits us all. Left unchecked, stress can cause deterioration physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Physically, stress can result in tiredness, illness, irregular sleep, appetite disturbances, decreased sex drive, and pain.

Emotionally, stress can result in apathy, anxiety, depression, irritability, defensiveness, denial, and suspicion.

Behaviorally, stress can result in withdrawal, impulsivity, unhealthy self-care, combativeness, overworking, and procrastination.

So what can we do about unhealthy levels of stress in our lives?

Here are some helpful and healthy ways of “destressing”:

  • Pray continually
  • Practice healthy sleep hygiene
  • Practice healthy eating habits
  • Exercise 3-5 times a week
  • Prioritize the important things in life and say “no” to the rest
  • Delegate tasks to other responsible and capable people
  • Practice an “attitude of gratitude” by focusing on the positive
  • Don’t dwell on problems
  • Simplify, organize, and declutter your life
  • Schedule and do at least one fun activity per day
  • Take at least 3-5 minutes a day to ponder a verse from Scripture (Read this helpful blog article, Fighting Against the Crowded Lifefor more on this point)

For more helpful tips, check out tomorrow’s post and/or call CornertStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

5 Myths and Truths in Loneliness

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Excerpt from 5 Myths and Truths in Loneliness

By Gary Barnes & Darrell Bock

InfidelityHaving been an ordained minister for 32 years and licensed psychologist for 18, I (Gary Barnes) have had the privilege of being entrusted with many personal stories of loneliness. As individuals from all walks of life have opened up with their struggles, I’ve been deeply affected from two different directions. From a psychological perspective, I’ve been struck by the depth of pain humans encounter in their experience of loneliness. And from a theological perspective, I’ve been amazed at how significant human loneliness is to the triune God…

Here are five popular myths that heighten loneliness for us all.

Myth #1: Loneliness is a result of something bad, and therefore no one should have to experience it.

Truth #1: Even before sin entered human experience, God described loneliness as “not good,” yet he used it to bring about a greater good. 

Aloneness isn’t just important to our triune God; it’s central to his design for our dealings with each other and with him. Nor is loneliness simply a result of personal choices or the world’s groaning under sin. Before the fall in Genesis 3, God proclaims, “It is not good for man to be alone” even as he evaluates his sin-free world. In infinite wisdom, then, God created a perfect human being incomplete on purpose.

In his book Fill These HeartsChristopher West refers to this as a “burning yearning” desire meant to drive us to God’s design so we’d experience our eternal destiny with him: “The yearning of eros reveals that we are incomplete, and that we are in search of another to make ‘sense’ of ourselves.” In Genesis 2 God ordains the marriage of male and female as another aspect of his design for our aloneness. Yet he never designed marriage to fulfill the incompleteness or eradicate the aloneness. Rather, it more fully reveals our need for our ultimate destiny—to be in union with him.

Myth #2: Loneliness is a result of singleness, a second-class transitional stage of life on the way to the first-class state of marriage.

Truth #2: Loneliness isn’t a result of singleness. Single and married are equal and necessary image bearers of God. Blessings of fullness and contentment (though not full completeness) are to be experienced in both states.

Neither marriage nor singleness should be deified or deprecated. Marriage and singleness reflect the love of God in different and necessary ways. While spouses reflect the exclusive nature of God’s love, singles in community reflect its inclusive nature. We don’t exist as isolated inviduals. Sexuality and bonding are part of relationships. As Stanley Grenz explains in Sexual Ethics:

This relationship between sexuality and bonding is present in single existence as well, even though the sex act as the “sacrament” of the bond is absent. . . . Single Christians, therefore, who because of their abstinence from genital sexual expression are often in touch with their affective sexuality, have a unique ministry of love to offer in service to the Lord within the fellowship of the community of Christ.

Myth #3: We can avoid loneliness by getting married. 

Truth #3: Loneliness can be equally experienced in singleness or marriage. In fact, many can feel more alone in their marriage than they did in their singleness. 

Even a great sense of satisfaction in marriage or singleness will reveal remaining unsatisfaction. As Augustine reminds us in his famous prayer, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” We have a God-wired incompleteness only he can fill. Yet sin causes us to exacerbate our loneliness and dissatisfaction by trying to fill this God-shaped vacuum with substitutes.

Psychological research yields “discovered truths” confirming this “revealed truth.” In Evidence Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy, which examines the outcomes in individuals and relationships, Scott Stanley and I (Gary Barnes) report on more than 30 years of scholarship in the field of marital health and success. The two primary variables considered are stability and satisfaction. Those in the stable and satisfied group are aiming to help each other grow and to protect “differentiated unity” or “oneness not based in sameness.” In other words, outcomes aren’t so much about finding the right person as they are about being the right person who makes right choices over time.

Myth #4: Loneliness can be avoided by meeting my sexual needs.

Truth #4: Trying to meet non-sexual needs sexually will heighten loneliness. Only when we meet our non-sexual needs in non-sexual ways will we begin to adequately address our loneliness. 

Healthy sexual intimacy requires many intentional healthy non-sexual choices. Sexual activity alone will never fulfill our emotional or spiritual needs.

In his book Soul Virgins, Doug Rosenau defines a soul virgin as “one who continuously seeks to value, celebrate, and protect God’s design for sexuality—body, soul, and spirit—in oneself and others.” The goal should be to build a Christlike character that seeks sexual wholeness and celebrates deep, fulfilling intimacy appropriate to each type of relationship. Along the journey, non-sexual needs must be met non-sexually.

Myth #5: Limiting my freedom will increase my loneliness.

Truth #5: Trying to preserve freedoms will heighten loneliness. In fact, having fewer choices decreases loneliness. The paradoxical truth is this: “In choosing to have less, you choose to have more.”

Christians agree that we are called to love as God does. We love with benevolent power rather than self-serving power. We love as whole people, as male and female, as single or married. And God showcases this benevolent love in the person, work, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Stanley and I (Barnes) show that one of the key predictor variables for satisfaction and stability in marital relationships is “dedication commitment” in contrast to “constraint commitment.” In “constraint commitment,” couples stay together because of what it would cost them to split up. In “dedication commitment,” couples remain together because of personal sacrifices for the sake of “us.” Self-limiting choices are more closely associated with greater stability and satisfaction.

If we’re not careful, our pursuit of satisfaction and avoidance of loneliness will lead us to treat others as things created for our sake, not as persons created for God’s sake. The solution isn’t found in more self-indulgent liberties, but in limiting ourselves with the compelling love of “the great mystery”—the sacrificial love displayed in Christ’s union with the church (Eph. 5:31–32).

 

Joy in a Godly Relationship

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We don’t enter into relationships to be miserable.  We seek joy in our relationships.

For many people, their faith is important to them. They desire godly relationships.  This desire can be a good thing and can certainly enhance the joy in a relationship.

Yet if you want the good to become great, the question is where each person is looking for their ultimate source of joy.  If we only look to each other – a pair of imperfect humans – for the source of our relational joy we will ultimately be disappointed.  If we look to God as the primary source of joy, now we have a perfect and eternal spring that can overflow within us and out towards our partner.

Godly Relationship

 

If you would like help in moving your relationship to a godly relationship or enhancing your relationship from good to great, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or a coach.

When You Repeatedly Hurt Someone You Say You Love

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“When you repeatedly hurt someone you say you love,
with no conscience, no remorse, there is something very wrong.”
(Leslie Vernick)

love hurt

 

Please seek help if you are finding yourself perpetuating hurt on someone you say you love, or if you are being repeatedly hurt by someone who says they love you.  Please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a helping counselor or coach.

Which Pain Will You Choose?

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painToday, choose discipline over regret.  What discipline will you choose to make?

Darren Hardy

 

Social Media Suicide Safety Teams

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online help mouseHelp Someone Else Online

By National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

From time to time you may encounter a person who is expressing thoughts of suicide on your social media sites. If someone you know online is showing any of these warning signs, it is important that you post a message encouraging them to call the Lifeline. If you are friends with the person in real life or know where the person is, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) so that you can talk to a crisis counselor.

  • Writing about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Writing about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Writing about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Writing about being a burden to others.
  • Writing about seeking revenge.

Contact Safety Teams at Social Media Sites:

  • Facebook: Click here to anonymously report someone as suicidal on Facebook. A member of Facebook’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number and possibly a link to chat with Lifeline counselor.
  • Twitter: Click here and select “Self-Harm” to send an e-mail to Twitter reporting a suicidal user. Twitter will send the user a direct message with the Lifeline number.
  • MySpace: Click on the “Report Abuse” link that appears at the bottom of every MySpace page and complete the form. MySpace will then send an e-mail to the MySpace user with the Lifeline number.
  • YouTube: To report suicidal content, click on the flag icon under a video and select “Harmful Dangerous Acts” and then “Suicide or Self-Injury.” You Tube will then review the video and may send a message to the user that uploaded the video with the Lifeline number.
  • Tumblr: Click here to write an e-mail to Tumblr about a suicidal user. Include as much information as possible including the URL of the Tumblr blog. A member of Tumblr’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number.

Get More Help:

Find a Therapist or Support Group

Speaking to a therapist or attending a support group can help you work through your grief and improve your overall mental health. The following resources can help you find a psychologist, psychiatrist or support group near you.

Create a Safety Plan

Having a plan in place that can help guide you through difficult moments can make a difference and keep you safe.

Learn the Risk Factors

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that an individual will consider, attempt, or die by suicide.

Resiliency 101 for Kids

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running kids

Resiliency 101 Should be on Kids’ Schedules this School Year

By MHAFC

Depression and anxiety are becoming more and more common on college campuses and one reason experts are pointing to is students’ high expectations of themselves coupled with a lack of resiliency. Generation Y has been called the “teacup generation” because of their perceived fragility, especially when finding themselves on their own in college, without their parents to help them problem solve on a daily basis. Lynn Lyons, a therapist and author who specializes in treating anxious families said, “We have become a culture of trying to make sure our kids are comfortable. We as parents are trying to stay one step ahead of everything our kids are going to run into.” The problem, she says, “life doesn’t work that way.”

According to PsychCentral, here are five ways to help develop resilience in children:

1. Don’t accommodate every need. By trying to provide certainty and comfort, we are getting in the way of children being able to develop their own problem solving and mastery–overprotecting kids only fuels their anxiety.

2. Avoid eliminating all risk. Giving kids age-appropriate freedom helps them learn their own limits.

3. Don’t provide all the answers and let them make mistakes. Help them become comfortable with uncertainty and allow them to see the consequences of their actions.

4. Help them manage their emotions. It’s important for kids to know that all emotions are ok, but don’t always need to be acted upon; after feeling something, they need to think about the best next step.

5. Model resiliency. Kids learn most from observing their parents.

For more information on building resiliency in children, check out these helpful links:
Raising Resilient Kids
R
aising Resilient Children (Psychology Today)
I
s Your Child Resilient? (PBS)
1
0 Tips for Raising Resilient Kids (PsychCentral)

Why Do Some People Hang Onto Bitterness?

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Why Do Some People Hang Onto Bitterness? [Video]

By Emmerson Eggerichs

Why do some people hang onto bitterness?

They think that to forgive means letting the other person off the hook. To forgive means they must remove all consequences from the other person.

That, of course, is mistaken thinking.

For example, one can have a forgiving spirit while bringing the full weight of the law to bear against the other person…

For More Information and the Helpful Video, Go Here.

Bitterness