Tag Archives: worry

When Your Child Feels Worry or Despair
Worry, Despair

Don’t go underground when you see worry or despair in your child.

What do I say to my kids when they seem consumed with worry or despair for their futures and when tragedy cuts down innocent lives? When leaders demonstrate behaviors that I work hard to steer my children away from and demonstrate intolerance where I want to teach them tolerance? And in their day-to-day lives when they complain of teachers and kids treating them unfairly or feeling pressured to do what doesn’t interest them? I feel helpless when I can’t answer their questions.

More and more I hear parents describe their children as anxious and angry, who see no reason to strive in school, who seem engulfed in worry and despair. The worry may not be voiced but shows up when they drop out of activities, lose friends and spend more time alone in their rooms gaming and on social media. Is this what’s happening to kids now because we are not tough enough on them or is this a reflection of the world we live in?

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5 Don’ts for Effective Careers (oh, and Parenting, too)

Instead of telling you what to add for the new year, I’m going to tell you what to avoid. I saw a Business Insider article about the 5 behaviors that may be killing your career. As I read them, I realized that the same holds true in parenting. These 5 behaviors may be making your parenting life way harder than it needs to be with little if any good results. I will translate them as we go.

1. Over-committing and under-delivering

In parenthood, fear and guilt tend to rule. Am I giving my children every opportunity there is? Do I spend enough time with them? Do I play with them enough or am I enabling their dependence? Should I start music lessons, soccer practice, tutoring? What’s the next big idea for my children’s birthdays? If we don’t have the money for all this, guilt takes us down and we fear our children will fail.

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“You just don’t understand!” ~ a teen’s lament

Sound familiar? And I have to agree. We don’t understand. Most of us have locked away the pains of our teen years and approach this raising children business with a hindsight perspective (read, I now know better). Teens feel misunderstood, angry and detached from the most important people in their lives when their parents appear clueless to what is important to them.

Parents are at their wit’s end with fear and worry about their children’s activities (or inactivities) once parental supervision is reduced. We want the best for them. We want them to be safe and smart and make good decisions. We want them to do well in school so they have opportunities for success in life. It drives us crazy when we see that “I don’t care” attitude at our cautions.

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A Mother’s Day Gift

Being a mother is no piece of cake. From the beginning there is seemingly endless crying, sleepless nights, demands on your time and energy, exhaustion both physical and mental, putting your needs on indefinite hold—forgetting what your needs even are. Kids fight—with each other and with you. You know it’s your job to do something about it but seem to have no idea what to do. You need a break. But will you give it to yourself? Probably not.

This Mother’s Day I have a break for you. I find that in times of stress, when I’m full of indecision and don’t know which way to turn, when I know I want something but don’t know what it is, when I need to get something off my chest but don’t really want any advice—what always helps is an understanding ear and sharing with someone who knows just what I mean.

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Empathy vs Sympathy
Empathy vs. Sympathy

There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy. Learning the difference can make huge changes in your relationship with your child.

  • Sympathy directs attention to how you feel.
  • Empathy is about listening. It tells your child you are paying attention to how she feels.
  • Sympathy is about me. Empathy is about you.
  • Empathy has nothing to do with how you feel; it’s about understanding how the other feels given their circumstance.

Empathy and sympathy as metaphor:

Imagine a huge hole in the ground with Man A stuck at the bottom unable to escape. Man B walks nearby and hears Man A calling for help. Man B sees Man A at the bottom of the hole and jumps in to help. Now both are stuck at the bottom of the hole. Man C walks by and hears both A and C calling for help. Man C tells them he will be back soon. Later, Man C arrives with a ladder.

Man B acted out of sympathy for Man A and jumped in thinking he was helping Man A. Now both were in the problem. Man A now had Man B to deal with as well as his original problem. Sympathy often becomes more about the sympathizer. Man C empathized understanding the predicament they were in and what was needed. His compassion was helpful. Empathy is more about the person being empathized with.

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