Category Archives for "My Kids Program"

Christian Counseling for Teens When Life Feels Like a Big Pile of Manure

my kids girl pouting

As a Christian counselor with youth I long for break through sessions where a teen I am working with finally “gets it.”  I was talking with a teen boy recently and reflected to him that it “sounds like life feels like a big pile of manure right now.”  He agreed and began to reflect on that idea.  We began to discuss the redeeming power of Christ in making all things new, even a pile of manure, when he had that break through thought.  He said, “manure can be used as fertilizer.”  “Wow! That is an awesome thought” I replied.  What does manure do?  It is stinky and dirty but when used as fertilizer it makes things beautiful and healthy.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  Revelations 21:4,5a

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

 In Revelations we are given hope in knowing that eventually all things will be made new and there will be no more sorrow and no more pain.  But 2 Corinthians reminds us that if you are “in Christ” being made new is not just a future hope but a present reality.  We can live in a world full of manure and come out smelling like roses if we use that manure as fertilizer instead of just letting it stink up our lives.  Too many teens and others are just living with the manure as they get swept away by a culture that openly mocks God.  As Christian counselors we help these youth and people of all ages find hope in the redeeming power of the Lord.

Many of us struggle with understanding why God allows bad things to happen in our lives.  While attending a training on the Art of Marriage program by Family life recently we were presented with the idea that “God does not protect us from the things he will perfect us through. “  What a beautiful and accurate way to understand God’s plan.  God allows the manure in our life not because he is mean and wants us to stink but because we need to recognize the reality that, apart from him, we are lost and in need of redemption.  That “manure” can either make us hardened and callused or it can be the very thing that God uses to set us free.  It is his intention that, just like when manure is used as fertilizer to produce beautiful flowers and healthy vegetables, our suffering is used to produce beautiful and healthy things in our life.  He wants us to be made new!

Are you feeling like life is a big pile of manure right now?  Maybe a teen or someone else you know is feeling that way?  Would you let one of our Christian counselors come along side of you or your loved one and help them be set free and made new.  We counsel both locally and through skype so that location and schedules are not a barrier to receiving Biblical counsel.  As Christian counselors we long to point people to the redeeming power of Christ and help them take the manure they are living with and use it to fertilize the growth of healthy, beautiful and pure things in their life.  God longs to bless you!

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.  Isaiah 30:18

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Redefine the Problem

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Redefine the Problem with Parent Coaching

“My Kids” Therapeutic Parent Coaching Program

            When you look at it the way you have always looked at it, you will see what you have always seen.  We have been programmed by our culture to think in behavioral terms.

  “My child is defiant…manipulative…controlling…dishonest.”

  “I can’t let them get away with this.”

  “If I don’t make him feel bad, I am a bad parent.”

  “I have to give a consequence (even thought they aren’t working)…maybe something more severe will work.”

  “This time the sticker chart will work, they will want to earn TV.”

If you are cool with that way of thinking about things and don’t want to see things differently, you probably should stop reading now.  For the rest of you, open your minds to a better way to connect to your kids!

We are human beings, not Human doings!

            We treat our children as if they are human doings instead of human beings.  Why is this?  It’s because our world has programmed us to look at behaviors and not at the individual.   Think about it…insurance companies won’t pay for treatment if behaviors can’t be measured…many parenting books see kids, from new born to adolescents, as manipulative brats…If you walk into Target with a screaming kid under your arm while smiling and wave to people who are staring at you, they talk about you behind your back (or am I the only one who does that?).  Anyways, our world is about compliance not connection.  God created us to connect and for compliance to come out of those connections.  Neurologically, the executive functioning part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) is designed to make decisions based 90% on our understanding of relationships, and based 10% on rewards and consequences.

“What you do does not determine who you are, who you are determines what you do.”  Neil Anderson

If this is true, traditional parenting approaches are very inadequate!   We need to redefine how we see the problem if we are going to change how we parent.  What would I do if I didn’t see my child as defiant, manipulative, or controlling?  I’m glad you asked!  At the root of all negative behavior, your child’s and yours, is insecurity.  When I am insecure I react out of fear.  Why do many parents give consequences?  Because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t or that their child with think they “got away with it.”  Why do children act up?  They are stressed and become insecure because they don’t know how to manage it.  They haven’t developed the connections necessary to help them regulate their stress.

When I am stressed, or when one of my kids is stressed, we chose either the green (secure) path, or we chose the red (insecure) path.  If I see my child’s behavior as defiant or manipulative I am more likely to go down the red path which means I react with the same consequence (maybe more severe this time) that has never worked (If it worked you wouldn’t still have to do it).  This reaction leads to disconnection with my child, failure and limitations in our relationship.  If I redefine the problem and see my child as stressed and insecure instead of defiant and manipulative, I am more likely to move down the green path.  I stay regulated and connect with my child.  This gives them the opportunity to connect with me and regulate their stress.  This leads to success (you are successful even if your child doesn’t comply right way because you have stayed regulated and changed the pattern…eventually your child will regulate and connect to you and begin to change his behavior).  This path also leads to more possibilities to connect as the relationship grows and behavioral patterns start to change.

Are you ready to go on this journey or do you want to stay stuck in old patterns that haven’t worked?  If you are ready to transform your family, our parent coaching program is for you!

 

To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!

By Stephen Luther
Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center
Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach
www.thegracewellnesscenter.com
My Kid’s Therapeutic parent coaching group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/890155804375744/
Grace Wellness Center on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gracewellnesscenter

Parenting for Connection not Compliance

my kids children hands on wrists

 

Parenting for Connection not Compliance

Therapeutic Parent Coaching

            Have you ever heard that you should pick your battles in parenting?  What if I told you that you didn’t have to battle at all?  You would think I was nuts right?  Well I might be, but the fact is, you never have to battle with your kids.  It’s true!

Luke 6:45

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

God commands us to be obedient but that is in the context of a relationship.  Luke 6:45 tells us that what is in a person’s heart is what leads to the outward expression of either good or evil.  If we focus just on this outward expression, we battle.  When we focus on the heart we don’t have to battle, we learn to connect and dance with our children.

“Dance?  What do you mean dance?  I don’t like to dance!”

I am talking about doing a relational dance with your kids.  When your child (or anyone for that matter) engages in a negative behavior, they are communicating something to you.  They are insecure and acting on what is in their heart.  Are you listening?  When we address the behavior we battle.  When we address the heart, we dance.

All negative behavior comes out of some insecurity that your child can’t regulate.  When we battle our kids, they perceive us as against them and as a threat to what they are trying to do to resolve the insecurity.  What if you could help them deal with the insecurity and not get caught up in battles no one wins?  “Wow, that would be cool!”

Dancing 101:

  1. Accept that this behavior is their best attempt to deal with what is going on in their heart.  This is hard for a lot of parents because they are afraid if they accept it, it won’t change.  The opposite is actually true.  Acceptance is the beginning of change.  Not accepting leads to more of the same.
  2. Stop doing what isn’t working.  Stop going right to consequences.  What if you could create change without consequences?  Would that be ok?  What if you only had to use consequences as one tool among many?
  3. Empathize with their hurt and insecurity.  Empathy gets you into their heart and sooths the hurt.
  4. Be curious about what is going on for them.  While empathy gets you into their heart, curiosity invites them to come out.  This may take a while but if you don’t battle and keep at it, they will begin to come out and connect with you.
  5. Connect with your kids and enjoy them!

Do you want more?  Try Parent Coaching, it will help you learn to dance with your kids and transform your family.  Let us know if we can help!

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

 

To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!

By Stephen Luther
Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center
Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach
www.thegracewellnesscenter.com
My Kid’s Therapeutic parent coaching group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/890155804375744/
Grace Wellness Center on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

Enjoyed this post? Want to know 4 HUGE SECRETS to parenting? Click here or the logo below.

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Has this spoken to you? Would you like to speak to someone directly? Click here.