One of the blessings of being part of a family is to be able to share your life with others: your joys, your heartaches, your strengths, your weaknesses and even a few little secrets now and then.
Probably the most difficult time to be a parent is when something is wrong with your child, and you can’t see what is causing their pain. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than four million children and adolescents in America suffer from a mental illness that causes serious disruption to their quality of life as well as their families.
We live in an indifferent world. As a result, people treat each other with various levels of respect and, sometimes, outright disrespect. You may have even behaved disrespectfully to others in front of your children. Unfortunately, we all do it. We also make great excuses for why we need to be disrespectful, possibly the leading excuse is: “Because she/he did it to me first!”
One thing we quickly notice about our children are the unique characteristics the child displays even before she or he can talk. Temperament. Personality. Even their attitude.
Why is it that some children are stunningly self-directed and others need a more authoritarian approach? Why does John clean his room without being told and Jane would rather waste the whole day avoiding the chore? Why does Mary want to talk all of the time while Sarah doesn’t say much at all?
There are many reasons why couples consider adoption. The desire to raise children and the inability to conceive naturally are some of the basic reasons why couples make this decision. However, there are couples who decide to adopt children from troubled areas of the world or children who come from other ethnic groups to give them more opportunities in life. There are couples who can have children naturally, but still feel a strong urge to adopt an orphaned child as they realize that there are nearly 17 million orphaned children in the world. Every couple has its own set of reasons, dynamics, goals, and aspirations about raising children…all of which goes into the decision to adopt.
About 130,000 children in U.S. foster care systems are waiting for permanent adoption at any given time. Despite the excess demand from potential parents wanting to adopt regular children, and despite laws making permanent adoption more accessible to long-term foster parents, the adoption needs of these children are not being met.
The most well-balanced children will perceive weaknesses in themselves. Unfortunately, these little personal views can be exploited and amplified by their friends and family. Self-perception evolves from a variety of sources produced by both family and community systems.
Some families never fight, but they also never talk to each other. Other families fight until the police arrive to break it up. Somewhere in the middle of that is where you are as a parent when it comes to resolving conflict within your family. Believe it or not, simple verbal tools are available that every family can use to help move conflict beyond impasse to respectful conversation.
There’s probably no other childhood trauma quite as damaging as divorce. When kids are uprooted during divorce there are added problems adjusting for them. They often have to adjust to new schools, find new friends, and make new faith connections if they had a regular church life. Breaking social connections create unfulfilled needs most tied to hopelessness.
When re-marriage follows divorce, many couples seek counseling because step-parenting conflicts and leftover divorce trauma quickly threaten the bonds of these new marriages. Recognizing that the odds are against you – the U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 60% of second marriages end in divorce – will at least mentally position you to work a little harder to make things work this time.
It’s 6 p.m. on a weeknight and you’ve just arrived home after a hectic day. Do you go immediately to the nearest flat surface and lie down, or do you find a way to perk up so you can spend some quality time with your children?