Helping Children After a Messy Divorce

A messy divorce doesn’t need to transition into a messy post-divorce family situation. Whether you’ve ripped up the custody papers or had a public screaming match, it’s never too late to change.

Children are affected by divorce. It’s the truth, but it doesn’t have to be as negative as it sounds. There are positives to take away and getting through a tough time teaches children a lesson. It will teach them about obstacles and life in general while shaping their character like tackling any issue can. As the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Of course that doesn’t mean they won’t need support. Structure and stability during life challenges such as divorce are imperative and a topic I covered in my last post. There, I highlighted the importance of communication and stability between co-parents and working on an amicable shared custody parenting setup. This time I’m going to focus more on what you can do to help your children through this and I’ll be making the assumption that due to a messy divorce, an ideal parenting partnership maybe be impossible or at the least untenable.

Reassure

A “bad” divorce often means your children have been exposed to conflict and at a minimum bad energy between you and your ex-partner. It may be obvious to them you don’t love each other anymore but you have to reassure them that you both love still love them, the same as before, unconditionally. That aspect of your family will never change.

Additionally you need to reassure them that it’s okay to love their other parent; they need that regardless of your feelings. Depending just how badly your relationship with your ex husband or wife has deteriorated, your children may even feel guilty for loving or spending time with the other parent. Don’t encourage this; it will only leave them feeling confused. You need to absolve them of guilt at every possible opportunity and reiterate that no one is going anywhere; they still have two parents and always will do. Remember to not only refrain from alienating your children from their
other parent but help them with feelings of alienation from society. A divorce can feel like a broken, damaged family. Your children must recognize it’s not a reflection of them.

Reassure them that it’s okay to have feelings. Normalize their reactions and try to understand them, legitimize their feelings by agreeing and empathizing. Acknowledge their right to be angry or upset, never deny them that. Encourage conversation, answer their questions with honesty whenever possible and hopefully they will do the same. This can give you a window into just how much they are affected and the level of support they need. Sometimes it’s healthy to shield your children from too much information until they’re of appropriate age. Unfortunately after a conflict-filled divorce, that age may have prematurely arrived and they may be aware of more than you expect. It’s not always easy to be honest, especially if you don’t have all the answers, but just be prepared for some difficult questions.

Minimize Blame

A step toward minimizing any guilt or confusion your children may be feeling is to also minimize blame. Save that for therapy sessions! When I said a messy divorce doesn’t necessarily need to develop into a messy parenting or family situation part of the reason is that you leave that baggage there, in the past. There’s no need to let that person, or what happened, continue affecting you or your children’s lives; if that happens, everyone has lost.

While being careful not to badmouth your ex, it’s important you make clear to your children that you’ll never be getting back to together. This is a new stage of your life and there’s no space for false hope, clarity is everything. With a new life come new opportunities. Establish a new routine, go on a vacation, buy a new pet or just create something fun and different – a different meal, game or trip for example. Now that you’ve separated it gives you freedom to create the family dynamic you want or have always wanted. You will have special time and activities with your children that are just yours
and yours alone, relish and enjoy this!

Don’t forget about yourself

You’re an example – the biggest role model your children have. It can be easy to forget about how you may feel when you’re so concerned about your children but if you let yourself completely fall apart, that’s not going to help you or them. They need the love and support of someone who has it together as best they can. They need healthy parents.

You’re bound to feel pressure from all angles, and that’s why you shouldn’t shy away from help. That includes everything from a shoulder to cry on, support groups and online forums to consulting a parenting expert, therapist or attending counseling sessions. When someone’s life is changed irrevocably, it’s a big transition and you need to accept the support for your temporary mental well being. Once you speak to people going through similar situations you’ll realize you’re not alone; you’ll get perspective and have support from people who can help you get on with your new life
with your children.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Krishan Smith, Senior Editor of Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company.

 STRUGGLING AFTER A MESSY DIVORCE? Let’s work to get you back on track and find peace in life again. Call us, send us a message on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

14 Ways to Accept Criticism Without Being Defensive

I see it all the time – couples who want to improve their relationship by sharing things their spouse could do better. Heck, even outside of marriages – things like relationships with your best friend, or perhaps dealing with your boss at work – there are times in life when you receive criticism, and many times, it’s not fun.

After all, who likes to hear a list of negative things about themselves, especially when those points are true?

However, it’s important to be able to take and hear critical feedback without without getting defensive. People who can accept criticism at face value are able to make positive changes, and take their relationship or situation to the next level.

If you tend to get defensive in your marriage, your job or with friends and family members, you may have trouble growing and making healthy, long-lasting changes. These tips can help change your perspective on accepting criticism.

1. Actively Listen

Active listening means that you’re really hearing the feedback rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. It’s really the most important thing you can do when you’re receiving criticism. Give the conversation your full attention, concentrate, respond and make sure you can remember the main points.

You want to shut off the part of your brain that starts coming up with answers and pushback to what’s being said. Your defense is really beside the point right now. What does matter is being able to listen actively to what the person is saying and process it without the situation turning into a debate.

2. Ask Questions

It’s important to ask questions to fully understand where you have room for improvement. This might (and probably will) feel unnatural, but it’s one of the most important things you can do when receiving criticism. It’s hard enough to receive said feedback – it’s a whole other level to start asking questions about it so that you can get more information about where you can improve.

When you start asking questions, have an eye toward understanding the feedback. The point to your questions is not to find a flaw in the criticism, but rather to fully digest it. Remember that most of the time, the person is giving you feedback to see positive changes.

3. Understand Why Feedback is Important

Others can see flaws in you that you typically can’t see, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s true, people tend to be their own worst critics. The problem is that you’re too critical where you shouldn’t be, and you may have blind spots to areas where you need feedback the most.

This feedback from others is important because it’s more objective than what you’re going to give yourself. Don’t see feedback or constructive criticism as a reason to be upset. Rather, see it as an opportunity to improve.

4. Take Note

If you struggle with shutting out feedback, write it down so you can remember it. Feedback in your relationships is only as good as what you can remember. If you are in a situation and your spouse, friend or boss is telling you something they’re concerned about, take time to write it down after the conversation is over.

Of course, make your own notes alongside what you’ve been told, figuring out ways to improve what was discussed.

5. Follow Up

Just like taking notes doesn’t sound super fun, following up on the conversation sounds about as much fun as getting a root canal. It’s so much easier to ignore the conversation and pretend like it didn’t happen. If you follow up on the conversation, you’re going to have to revisit the same uncomfortable issues. And when you have the follow up meeting, that’s the time for you to not make counter arguments, but rather discuss and ask what changes the other person is seeing.

Focusing on the positive changes instead of arguing the point shows you’re serious about hearing the other person out and understanding their concerns. Even before you’ve started making progress and positive changes, you’re showing that you take the other person seriously and that it’s important to you.

6. Understand the Other Person’s Point of View

Obviously, getting this type of feedback is unpleasant. But it’s equally important to realize the other person is likely uncomfortable as well.

Especially if the situation is about an uncomfortable topic, like a common disagreement, or something really personal, the person providing the feedback isn’t likely having a lot of fun either.

Be sensitive to the fact that the other person isn’t comfortable; that may make you less anxious and more receptive.

7. Get in front of it

Don’t be afraid to ask for honest and frank feedback from your spouse, friends, family, boss or co-workers. The more you hear it, the more comfortable you’ll be hearing it when it’s totally unsolicited. That’ll make you more capable of hearing the negative feedback and improving your performance rather than getting defensive and rejecting what’s being said to you.

Asking for critical feedback also provides you with more opportunities to become better.

8. Surround Yourself with Frank People

Being around friends or co-workers who aren’t afraid to give feedback on the fly will help you to become more comfortable hearing it. You’ll also be more skilled at giving critical feedback yourself when necessary.

People who aren’t afraid to give feedback to their loved ones, friends and co-workers tend to have great relationship skills – something else that can rub off on you.

9. Understand the Difference Between Effort and Results

Feedback and concerns typically aren’t intended to point out that you weren’t trying hard enough. But it does mean there are things you could change to make life a whole lot easier or better.

This is part of not having to answer back when you’re being confronted with potentially uncomfortable criticism. Your job is to take it in, not fight back.

Being aware that your efforts aren’t being called into question helps you to prevent yourself from becoming negative and resentful.

10. Don’t Ignore the Positive

When your better half, best friend or other person in your life is talking to you about yourself, hopefully there’s some good in there too. Don’t forget that.

The positive stuff may give you a way to make the improvements and changes the other person is hoping to see. What’s more, it’s going to make it easier for you to have the rest of the conversation.

Remember, getting criticism doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but you may be doing something that’s hard to live with.

11. Listen to Intent as Well as Words

Let’s face it, not everybody is good at these conversations. Maybe your husband sucks at communicating. Maybe your wife looks angry while you’re talking. Perhaps your best friend stutters all over him or herself when trying to explain the situation. However, just because it’s inartful doesn’t mean what they’re saying is unimportant.

Sometimes, you have to listen for the ideas behind the words. That can be difficult if you’re confronted with somebody who doesn’t give feedback all that well.

Still, listening to what they’re trying to tell you and ignoring the actual words they’re using will help you to receive feedback better and perform better as a result.

12. Do as They Say, Not as They Do

So maybe your better half tells you that you need to stop yelling so much, even though every time you get into an argument they yell at you. Does that make their feedback any less valid? Absolutely not.

If a person with 10 DUI convictions tells you not to drive drunk, it’s still good advice. Just as you shouldn’t make getting feedback personal, you also shouldn’t make it personal in the other direction.

Good advice from a badly behaved person is still good advice. Lead by example and follow the advice. Don’t be surprised if they start following you.

13. Explain how the Feedback Helped You

Going back over the critical feedback will help you to acclimate yourself to hearing it. Expressing how it helped you will help the person who gave you the feedback better understand how they helped.

This will make hearing critical feedback much smoother in the future as you and the other person make communication easier.

14. Say Thank You

It can be humbling, to say the least, when somebody tells you something you don’t want to hear. This is even more true when you say “thank you” at the end of the conversation.

This lets the other person know you’re taking them seriously and you’re open to these conversations in the future. Opening that door gives you opportunities to grow and become better, without becoming defensive or standoffish.

Obviously, this doesn’t solve every problem. If you have a particularly difficult marriage, friendship, work environment or relationship with family, many times the things you hear may not be constructive, and is instead used as a way to try to control, guilt, or manipulate you. It’s important to learn to discern and understand the difference.

 STRUGGLING WITH NEGATIVITY, FRUSTRATION OR RESENTMENT? Let’s get you back on track. Give us a call, message us on Facebook or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

Eight Practical Ways to Improve Your Mood

Y’all. We’re now officially in Spring, and yet it feels like January 59th outside. This is like the winter that never ends. This time of year, especially with a winter season that refuses to give up, it’s easy to feel down and depressed. Some people struggle with clinical depression, but many, however, deal with the “wintertime” blues. Here are eight practical ways to improve your mood when you’re feeling sour, whether it’s because of Mother Nature, a fight with a friend or trouble in your family.

 

 

 

 

1. Go outside

Yes, I realize this is the winter that refuses to go away. However, walking outside – even on a dreary day – can really improve your mood. If it’s raining, grab an umbrella. If it’s chilly, put on a jacket. Take a walk around the block and clear your mind. You’ll be amazed at what a ten minute walk can do for you.

2. Listen to music

Listening to music does a couple of things. First, it takes your mind off what’s going on around you. Second, research shows people who listen to music with an upbeat tempo have more energy and are able to keep more stamina throughout the day. Before bed, listen to calming tracks.

3. Get some essential oils

You’re not going to find any endorsement of a specific brand here (and yes, the cheap ones work just as well). Get a diffuser. Get some lavender. Also, grab a bottle of a citrus oil, like orange or lemongrass. Grab your diffuser and put that bad boy to work. Those oils can help to lift your spirits and give you more of a spring-time feel. Obviously, if you are allergic to those scents or oils, or have a medical condition that would not interact well with essential oils, don’t use them.

4. Get lost on purpose

When’s the last time you just got in the car and drove somewhere? Grab your phone, but don’t use it until you need the GPS to get back home. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Go for a drive with no destination in mind. The change of location can help take your mind off of troubles.

5. Reconnect

Reach out to a friend. Invite them to lunch or for coffee. Go for a walk with them. Being around people can lift our spirits, especially when we’re struck inside for long periods of time.

6. Find entertainment

Listen, we’re all capable of binge-watching something on Netflix. That’s not what I mean here. Go out for dinner. Go to the movies. Visit a craft store. Research shows that a majority of people with depression feel better when they participate in a leisure activity they enjoy.

7. Do Small Projects

Be productive! According to research, 79% of people feel better after completing a task. Clean, organize a junk drawer, write out a to-do list, or tackle some small project around the house to get a sense of accomplishment. However, don’t overdo it and become overwhelmed by a to-do list that’s a mile long!

8. Pray

You didn’t think you were going to get through a post from a Christian Counselor without this being mentioned, did you?

God doesn’t leave us alone in our suffering. In fact, He explicitly instructs us to not be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything. Have you prayed about it today? Have you taken the time to reconnect with God?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Of course, if you’re struggling with what you feel like may be more than some frustration, small stress or seasonal blues, it’s important to reach out to a professional. Don’t try to go it alone.

 STRUGGLING WITH FEELINGS OF STRESS, DEPRESSION, OR ANXIETY? You don’t have to go through this alone. We’re here to help. Give us a call, schedule your appointment right here, or message us on Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online via video-based counseling. It’s time to get your life back.

8 Causes of Procrastination – and Ways to Manage It

You know, it’s funny. I was thinking about what to write this week, and every time I sat down to write something, I kept thinking, “Nah, I’ll just do it later.” And then it hit me what to write about.

Procrastination sucks. (Yes, this Christian counselor just said something sucks.) It sucks the life right out of you and keeps you from being productive.

The key to beating procrastination isn’t just to get up and do something (which you totally should), but it’s important to find the reasoning behind the procrastination to understand how to beat it. The key to dealing with procrastination is finding out what specific reasons are causing it, and then addressing them at the core. Check out these eight causes of procrastination, as well as ways to beat them.

1. Perfectionism

Perfectionism limits the definition of success. Read that one more time. Perfectionism limits the definition of success. You know the saying, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself,”?

What about the saying, “I can’t do it right so I’m just not going to do it at all,”? It’s not something we really say out loud, but it is something many of us have maybe thought in the back of our mind.

Stop trying to be perfect. Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk the earth. Yes, we should strive to do well, but perfectionism will keep us from getting anything done.

2. Fear of the Unknown

Knowledge is power. But knowing is only half the battle – from there you have to take corrective action if necessary. Living in constant fear only keeps you chained down. Satan feeds on our fear, and he keeps us complacent when we’re afraid of taking a step.

3. I’ll do it later

People make different decisions for what will impact them in the immediate future, rather than what will impact them down the road. In other words, it’s easy to make snap decisions rather than thinking about what happens later.

Sure, taking a nap is great. But maybe it’s more important to get that mountain of paperwork finished so it’s not lingering over your head.

4. Working on Small Tasks Because They’re Easier

The immediate hassle of having to wait for a payoff doesn’t seem worth the unknown future benefits. Seriously, just get the hard crap out of the way first.

5. You Experience a Lack of Motivation

If you’re able to clearly see how your work connects to your interests or goals, you’re more likely to value your work and be motivated to invest your energy in it.

Find ways to energize yourself. I get it, doing the laundry isn’t a whole lot of fun. Find a small way to reward yourself after you finish.

6. You’re not sure how to get started

Use the “getting things done” approach. This helps you break down your complex task into a series of smaller tasks. Don’t let the end goal overwhelm you. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so in most cases, you don’t have to answer all the questions immediately.

7. You get distracted

Remove any temptation and only think about the task at hand by avoiding looking at your email, put your phone on vibrate (and stop playing Candy Crush!), etc. Walk away from your computer and leave your phone in another room.

8. You know it’ll require hard work

Working on a long project takes a lot of effort. It often leads people to lose their motivation and choose to set aside their projects for a later time.

Taking a break and getting a snack is fine. Laying on the couch eating Cheetos and going on a Netflix binge is another issue. Taking breaks can be helpful, as long as the break doesn’t become an indefinite one.

Procrastination is a hard habit to break. However, implementing these eight tips can begin to change your focus, and change your motivation.

 DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH PROCRASTINATION? Let’s work together to set attainable goals and get you back on track. Appointments are available in Owensboro and via Online Counseling. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

Five Steps to Tame Your Temper

Anger is a natural emotion, and there’s nothing wrong with having anger or expressing it. In fact, Jesus expressed His own anger. The problem is that sometimes our anger can get the best of us. Anger in and of itself is not a sin, but the way we handle it certainly can be. It shouldn’t be held in, but it also shouldn’t run our lives. Our goal when it relates to anger should be to learn to control it, rather than allowing it to control you.

These five simple steps can go a long way in learning to keep your anger under control, and give you the opportunity to express it in a healthy way.

1. Know what pushes your buttons

Most of us, if not all of us, have things in our life that pushes our buttons and can instantly make us angry. You shouldn’t walk around constantly worried that something will set you off, but you should at least be aware of those things that can push you over the edge. When you are prepared for them, you have a much better chance of keeping your anger under control.

2. Know your body’s warning signs

You know that feeling you get when you start feeling angry? Maybe it’s a flushed face, or shaking. For some people, it could be crying. Whatever the case, begin to recognize those things. When you feel them start to bubble up, take the opportunity to cool down and remove yourself from the stressful situation. Consider a breathing exercise to help bring your level of anger down. Or, as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood used to tell my children, “When you’re feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.”*

*Don’t judge. You probably remember all those songs from Sesame Street and Barney too.

3. Stop and Think

Ask yourself: “What happened that made me angry?”
Yes, I know that’s a bit overly simplified. But it’s still an important question to ask yourself. Was it really something that a person said to you, or was it the rejection you felt when they said it? Was it really that somebody didn’t follow through with a promise, or was it that you feel really let down on the inside? Understanding the basis of our anger helps us to begin to improve our situation and begin feeling better.

It’s also important to ask, “What else did I feel when it happened?”
Remember, anger is a secondary emotion. That means that some other emotion always happens first. What is that emotion? Sadness? Jealousy? Hurt feelings? Rejection? Get to know yourself and answer these questions.

4. Keep it Together

It’s really hard to take back a hurtful remark after it’s been said. In the heat of the moment, you may not be able to change how you feel, but you can decide not to tear the other person down. Don’t lash out. Walk away. Get control of yourself before you have a conversation.

5. Decide What to Do

Anger has a way of making us want to throw our hands up and give up. Sometimes following anger, fear creeps in and keeps us from doing something.

Get your response under control, and then decide how you’re going to handle it. Keeping it bottled in and not doing anything to change it makes you just as guilty as the person who made you angry.

 STRUGGLING WITH ANGER? Let’s work together to get you back on track. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. You don’t have to keep feeling this way. It’s time to get your life back.

10 Ways to Manage Your Fear

Fear can be crippling and debilitating. These feelings can literally begin ruining your life, pushing you into feelings of depression, anxiety, or both. However, there are practical ways you can manage this fear and keep it from controlling you. These 10 tips can mean the difference between controlling your fear, or allowing it to control you.

1. Do Something

Seriously, do something. Anything. Fear feeds on inaction. Satan loves to kick you while you’re down, and if you’re down, he has easy access to you. Even a quick walk around the block or walking into a store can help to lift your spirits and keep you active.

2. Make a decision

Let go of the belief that you can’t make a choice until you are certain of the outcome. Fear feeds on indecision. Not allowing yourself to make a decision keeps you from feeling peace and joy.

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a peace the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27 NLT

3. Don’t focus on the unknown

Imagine the very worst thing that could happen, and then decide on what you’d do if it actually did happen. Chances are, it won’t happen. But if you take time to consider it, then you’ll have a better handle on it. Fear feeds on indecision.

4. DO Focus on the good

Imagine the very best thing that could happen and how you’d feel it if did happen. Remember, you are worthy of joy. You have value. And you have a specific purpose. Fear feeds on feelings of unworthiness.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? – Psalm 27:1 NLT

5. Remember, anything is possible

When we say, “Anything is possible,” rather than “This is impossible,” we remember God’s promises. With Him, by faith, we have the strength to conquer anything. Fear feeds on feelings of impossibility.

6. Say, “I can.”

Yes, you can! Say, “I can,” and “why not?” instead of “I can’t.” Fear feeds on negativity.

7. Look for truth

Always seek the truth instead of hiding from facts. It’s easy to find the negatives in any situation. And the longer we circle around negativity, the harder it is to find the truth. More often that not, the truth is that the situation isn’t as bad as we think it is. Fear feeds on lies.

“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NLT

8. Breathe

Take in air instead of holding your breath. Fear feeds on suffocation.

9. Embrace Your Mistakes

We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all mess up. Embrace those mistakes instead of pretending you won’t make any. Fear feeds on perfectionism.

10. Take a Step

Take one step today instead of waiting to run a marathon tomorrow. Fear feeds on waiting for the right time. There may never be a right time. Just go do it.

 STRUGGLING WITH FEAR? Let’s work together to help you overcome it. Call us, schedule online, or message us on Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro, as well as Online via video-based eTherapy. It’s time to get your life back.

This Simple Breathing Exercise Can Help Lower Your Anxiety

When you start dealing with stress and anxiety, it can literally feel like everything is falling apart. Your heart starts racing. Your breathing gets more shallow. It may even feel like you’re having a heart attack. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to lower your level of anxiety, especially when it feels like you’re on the verge of a panic or anxiety attack.

In the video below, check out what I like to call the “10, 4, & 7 Rule”. This breathing exercise is so incredibly simple, but it works well. If you can remember these three numbers, you’ll be able to successfully navigate many stressful and anxiety-provoking situations.

It’s important to note, though, that this exercise doesn’t take the place of treatment to deal with anxiety. Rather, it’s a great tool to get you started as you being working through and understanding what’s causing you anxiety.

 STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY? Let’s work together to get you back on track. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment here. Sessions are available in Owensboro and Online via video-based e-Therapy. It’s time to get your life back.

Providing Stability for Your Children Post-Divorce

Keeping things stable: it’s no easy task, but an imperative one. Stability runs parallel with consistency, and if you take the time to sit down and discuss things with your ex-partner, you can set some ground rules in order to maintain consistency.  Your children need you now more than ever. Spending prolonged time with the other parent so soon after a divorce may be less than ideal for you, but it is definitely necessary for your children. Being on the same page as your ex and having a discussion will help avoid potential disagreements further down the line or at least slightly negate their effects on stability.

Points to Keep in Mind

Divorce affects children of all ages; this is a time when they need maximum support and understanding. Coping with divorce can better prepare them for further obstacles in later life; they will develop into more capable and tolerant adults.

Organizing regular time with both parents and sticking to similar rules for each household will help create a stable environment for your children. Structure in terms of a set custody schedule is vital in this preliminary stage. While you and your children are adjusting to the new state of affairs, it’s better to minimize schedule changes.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, fighting in front of your children creates a much more tense and pressure filled environment. It also makes the objective of stability that much further to reach. If you’re anticipating heated disagreements and conflicts in parenting style it may be best to consider mediation. This way you can get an objective point of view. Either way, you have to get in the mind-set of compromise. Accept your differences, at least in the short term, all in the name of providing that stability.

As is the case with any adult going through divorce, children also have mixed emotions and may feel hurt or angry about the situation. This needs to be tackled properly in order to prevent behavioral problems further down the line. Speak with them and don’t always take their word that they’re okay. Look out for disruptions in their sleep or changed attitudes in school to indicate that they’re being affected.

You should consider their stability at school. If possible it is better to avoid changing schools for your children so that they have familiar routines and structures in their school life parallel to their home life. The same friends and teachers can help preserve consistency, the same goes for relatives; try not to cut any of their relatives out of their lives.

Dealing with bad behavior

It goes without saying that this aspect of parenting will become more challenging post-divorce. You’ve got a lot on your mind and it can feel like you’re trying to juggle too many balls at once. All the previous points to keep in mind in addition to providing stability will hopefully go some way to keeping behavior in check. Putting your children in a difficult or uncomfortable position (for example caught between both parents) will result in them being more likely to act out.

If the other parent has sole custody and you spend less time than you’d like with your child it can be tempting to over indulge and spoil them to compensate for the limited time. This is not a good idea for several reasons. Of course you should make the most of the time you get together but monetary compensations are no replacement for quality time and it can influence your child’s behavior negatively. They can begin to expect too much without having to abide by rules, furthermore acting towards them out of pity or guilt could further compound their feelings of self-doubt in regards to them handling this new situation.

Be careful how you treat your child post-divorce, frequently emotion is expressed through actions and gearing all your efforts towards maintaining stability and a positive family relationship will go a long way to combating bad behavior. If behavioral problems do not cease to persist don’t be afraid to seek professional help in the form of a child therapist or behavioral expert. Sometimes it will be easier for your child to speak to someone removed from/not personally involved in the situation. Above all, be understanding. Sometimes adults aren’t constantly mature enough to handle divorce well so you can’t expect children to be!

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Krishan Smith of Custody X Change, a custody calendar software program.

 STRUGGLING THROUGH SEPARATION OR DIVORCE? Let’s work together and help find solutions. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment here. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

Setting Examples and Exercising Control: A Guide for Separated Parents

Separation. Divorce. You only need to say these words and already people begin to conjure up images of volatile, hostile, aggressive environments. It’s not exactly the perfect environment for a child to be situated in. These times are hard for everyone, even if everything ended amicably. Children need a long time to process and come to terms with what’s happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen in the future. The best way you can help is to be supportive, listen and shield them from unnecessary heated moments.

Exercise caution

Unfortunately, what you expose your children to during this time could seriously affect them, as it as a period in life of vulnerability and emotional uncertainty for everyone involved. People react to new circumstances in different ways, and you obviously want the transition to be as smooth as possible for the people you love!

Of course being careful of what you say and do in front of your children shouldn’t amount to lying to them. Honesty is still the best policy, and vital for keeping trust. However it’d still be wise to withhold certain details until they’re completely ready to hear it. Your explanations always need to be age appropriate. Another imperative point is not to do something that parents are often guilty of. Although it is something they usually subconsciously do, or at least do without intention.  Remember not to tell your children how they feel, or tell them they don’t feel something when they do. Don’t deny them their right to emotions and feelings.

Be aware of your behavior

This awareness will help you avoid potentially damaging situations. Check your conduct toward your ex-spouse when your child is present; the last thing you want is them seeing you shouting, disparaging each other or getting physical; even if it’s just a prod or aggressively pointed finger. Body language and non-verbal clues give a lot away and are easily picked up by the kids. If you want your child to be mature, respectful and kind you have to exhibit those same favorable traits in your demeanour and actions. As a parent, you’re are always the primary role model in the lives of your children, whether you’re divorced or not. You want to instil your values in your children, so act how you wish them to act.

Equally as significant is maintaining relationships with both parents. For the development of your children, it’s better that you never prevent them from contacting the other parent and don’t get too involved in or try to prevent their relationship from naturally growing. If you have an agreement with your ex, stick to it. Don’t deny visitations or change plans at the last second out of spite or emotion. Remember what’s best for the children. To avoid exposing them to disagreements between you as parents, it’s advisable to use a parenting plan template and draw up a specific plan – one that you can agree on and stick to, complete with necessary details in order to decrease the likelihood of future disputes. Once you have something in writing, it’s harder to argue about or deny.

Finally, if children see you managing your conflict well through negotiation, empathy, compromise and (age appropriate) discussion it can educate them and help them learn skills for the future. It can actually benefit them by teaching life lessons on ethics, responsibility and constructive conflict resolution.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Krishan Smith of Custody X Change, a custody calendar software program.

 STRUGGLING THROUGH A SEPARATION? Give us a call, message us on Facebook or schedule your appointment right here. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online. There’s hope and healing in your journey. It’s time to get your life back.

Five Practical Ways to Pray for Peace When You Have Anxiety

Anxiety is hard. One moment you feel fine, and the next you feel like life is falling apart. One moment it feels like you can conquer anything, but the next thing you know, worries of the past, present and future come rushing in, almost to the point of being debilitating.

These five practical ways to pray for peace when you have anxiety really do work. Try them out for yourself.

1. Pray one day at a time

We often get ahead of ourselves, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet (and maybe won’t happen at all). Worrying about tomorrow is useless. When we struggle with anxiety, it’s important to remember to pray every day for that day only.

“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

2. Pray for an increase in trust

Anxiety comes from a place of fear and fear is a trap from the enemy. If he can keep us fearful, we won’t move forward in God’s plan for our lives. Trusting in God replaces fear and opens any trap the enemy laid for us.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25

3. Pray for strength

Following God and trusting Him always takes a measure of courage, so when we’re feeling anxious, praying for strength will give us courage to push past the trap of fear. Overcoming fear will lessen anxiety and give us strength for next time.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

4. Pray for gifts of kindness

God often gives us little gifts along our way, most of which we don’t notice. These are meant to be an encouragement to us. One of these gifts may be a kind word. Perhaps there’s someone in your life who is always giving you a supportive word. Maybe a stranger in the coffee shop paid for your coffee. Those acts of kindness are gifts from God to you. In our tough times, we can pray for encouragement and support in the form of kindness. Whenever it happens, remember that’s God’s way of saying, “Hey, I just want you to know that I love you and I’m here.”

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” – Proverbs 12:25

5. Pray for intimacy with the Holy Spirit

On our own, our minds are lost in a rat race, bombarded with selfishness and anxiety woven into the core of who we are. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit is the only way to have true freedom from our destructive thought patterns. Yes, counseling can teach us how to change our thinking. Sometimes, medication is necessary to help clear our minds to do so. However, for freedom, we need the Holy Spirit to teach us how to think with the mind of Christ.

As you begin to pray these practical ways, it’s our hope you’ll begin to feel the anxious and upsetting thoughts begin to fade away. Like anything else in life, it’s a long process, and not one that can be remedied all at once. It takes practice – and that’s okay.

 DEALING WITH ANXIETY? You don’t have to continue handling it on your own. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment here. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online. Let’s walk this journey together. It’s time to get your life back.
Page 1 of 612345...Last »