When a parent is depressed

couple in trouble  RGB mhGwPtWA spouse of a depressed parent is often consumed with simply keeping the family moving forward. Surviving, rather than thriving, becomes the goal. Things like hugging one’s children, normal routines, and time spent listening can all fall victim to the parent’s exhaustion as he or she struggles to keep the family on course. Here are suggestions from Let Me Sow Light: Living with a Depressed Spouse by Amy Viets and Bernadette Stankard (ACTA):

Discuss the depression regularly.  It’s not enough to give an introductory explanation and assume the children understand. Every few weeks, talk about how the depression is affecting the family—and listen to concerns your children have. Children often believe they are the cause of the depression. Continue reading

What not to say when your daughter is being bulled

Confident parentIf your daughter is between 10 and 17, chances are she’ll need your help to navigate the often cruel world of pre-teen and teen girls. According to Rachel Simmons, author of the national bestseller, Odd Girl Out (Mariner Books), finding the right words includes being aware of what not to say:

1. “This is the way girls are.”   Continue reading

Comfort zone? Chuck it

p4 adoptIf you work well with a short to-do list, this is the gospel for you. With perhaps the exception of Jesus’ simple command of “Love one another as I have loved you,” the gospel of “When I was hungry you gave me to eat” provides the most succinct explanation of what we need to do to get to heaven.

But as simple as Jesus makes it sound, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, or visiting the sick and imprisoned may not come easily. Families who live out this gospel explain that it is a conscious choice to do so. Continue reading

Is worrying worth it?

Dock Lake 2 RGB mgPG41OSo much of what we fret over can be characterized as “First World” problems. Families in developing nations are concerned about a clean water supply, when the drought will end, whether their children will get an education beyond age 10. Yet here we sit, concerned about whether our child will make the A or B select soccer team, whether they’ll get into the right college, whether our powder room looks dated. Use these three questions to decide if your current worry is worth the time and effort you are giving it. Continue reading

The sounds of silence

Silence_iStock_JoshuaHodgePhotographyThe visiting priest spoke fondly in his homily about his growing up. Then he said, “Aren’t we all so lucky to have such great, loving families?” My husband and I glanced at each other quizzically. Our parish domestic violence ministry is growing steadily; the divorce group is going strong, as is the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. That makes us just like any other parish. Many in the pews were doubtless thinking, “I’m happy for you, Father, but that’s not quite my experience.”

I know countless people raised by alcoholics, some of whom as kids never brought their friends home because of what dreadful scene might unfold. People who have brothers and fathers in prison. Successful lawyers whose fathers never said one word of approval to them. I have a friend whose paternal grandmother was so hateful toward her that she told my friend, then an adolescent, not long after her father’s funeral, “Your father never loved you.” I know people whose mothers cut them repeatedly with angry, spiteful words, even when they were small children. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, suicide—you don’t have to go far to find any of it. Better that we not pretend that it does not exist. Continue reading

Kids online: It’s a jungle out there

Teenage Girl Victim Of Bullying By Text MessagingWhen Amy, mother of two teen boys and an 11-year-old girl, discovered that children in her daughter’s class were using the social photo-sharing app Instagram inappropriately, she responded by not just taking action for her own daughter, she got all the parents on board.

“The girls were using Instagram as bullying—taking pictures of gatherings that some girls weren’t invited to, and then sending or posting the pictures,” she says. “And the boys were using it to send and post inappropriate pictures.” Continue reading

Don’t be your child’s rescue squad

GirlsSoccer_Flirck_RichardBHA couple years ago, when Jon’s daughter tried out for the local club soccer team, she was placed on the B team. “Kayla had been the star of her rec team the year before,” Jon says. “My wife and I thought this was a huge miss on the club’s part.” Jon knew the club’s director and called him to ask that Kayla be given a chance to play on the A team. Feeling pressured, the director did as Jon asked, and Kayla landed on the A squad.

Now, looking back on the season, Jon feels that he made a poor decision asking to have his daughter moved. Continue reading

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