Reward Your Child In Their Language

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It’s a good idea to offer your children rewards. Not just for doing their chores or for good grades, but randomly offering a reward when you catch them doing something you appreciate. As parents we give consequences when we catch children misbehaving, yet often fail to offer rewards in the same way. These rewards do not need to be big, just a little thing that reciprocates the good behavior. Offering rewards in this way not only encourages that behavior, but builds the connection between you and your children.

When offering rewards you are able to learn more about your child by paying attention to the rewards they choose. Take note of the rewards your child picks and learn from this so you can continue to show them love in the way they feel it best. This is a sample rewards chart based on Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. This chart is intended for younger children. You may want to make adjustments based on your child’s gender and age. If your children are old enough to participate have them help you make this chart.

5 love languages

Sample Rewards For Each Love Language:

Touch:

10 minutes of extra cuddle time before bed

5 min foot rub
Words of Affirmation:

Written compliment

Mom or Dad will share at the dinner table why they are proud of you.
Gifts:

Mom or Dad will pick up a surprise for you from the store

Pick a prize from the prize box
Acts of Service:

Help with your chore

Mom will make your bed for you
Quality Time:

15 min of one on one time

go on a walk with mom or dad

 

Here is a printable chart you could use to let your children pick their reward.

Good behavior reward

Some alternitives might be:

Touch: If you have a young girl, you might paint her nails or toes.

Acts of Service: Help your child with a fun project they have been wanting to do. Clean out your child’s car if they drive.

Quality Time: Just sit and watch your child play, be there while he does what he enjoys.

Gifts: This does not have to be expensive, it IS the thought that counts. Buy them their favorite meal for diner, or just a fun new pair of socks.

Words of Affirmation: Send a note in their lunch box, or buy a card and leave it on their bed.

Be creative and have fun finding new ways to show your children how much you love them!

Meredith Akin-Ivey, LPC-S, RPT-S

Overuse of Technology

As I read the articles listed below, I am reminded of times when I use the iPAD and TV with my children in order to get a moment to myself. I have also seen the “too much technology monster” come out in my three year old. Although I am in no way going to eliminate the use of technology in my house, I do feel it is important to limit the time spent using it. A tablet or television cannot even come close to the importance of authentic conversations, imaginary play, and outdoor exercise. Questions to think about when considering if there’s an overuse of technology in your household:

Is it possible that too much technology use is causing brain damage?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain

Is it possible that the sedentary use of technology is linked to childhood obesity?

http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=379222&resultClick=3&version=meter+at+null&module=meterLinks&pgtype=article&contentId=&mediaId=&referrer=&priority=true&action=click&contentCollection=meter-links-click

 

 

 

Ashley Harmonson, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Meredith Akin-Ivey, LPC-S

Better In-Law Relationships

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We all need some tips and reminders that could help us journey through our in law relationships. I know I do! Here are some ideas:

 

Show Gratitude

   -Through your words

Think of something in advance that you appreciate about them and remember to tell them when you meet with them or even when you call to make plans.

For example: “I love that potato casserole you make, do you think you could bring that for Thanksgiving dinner?” “I love that you give the children your undivided attention when they talk to you. That’s one thing that makes you an extra special grandparent.“

Think of some of this in advance (be prepared) and then also look for things you appreciate when you are with them as well.

-“Gratitude without words translates into rejection.” -Stephen Nutt, Pastor of Creekwood Church Mansfield, TX.

People do not know our thoughts unless we tell them.

   -Through your actions

Showing them honor by some form of action shows gratitude.

Find something they need done and care for them.

 

Sincerity

Be sincere. Don’t use compliments you do not mean. You want them to be sincere with you so set the example you want. Criticism

  • Don’t be brutally honest. There will be imperfect things about them, just as with you, but we don’t need to always discuss those, especially during holidays when things may already be tense. There may be times something needs to be said, but analyze your motives and be sure they are pure and not just critical.

 

Inclusion

  • Include them in as much of the planning as you can. Include them especially when planning a birthday/other event for their son or daughter. They may have their own ideas of how they would like to celebrate that event. If so there could be an additional event if needed or they could be included in your planning. But remember the three questions (from the “In laws and Holidays” blog) so you don’t offer a choice you have decided you cannot live with.

 

Flexibility

  • You want to prepare yourself to do things at times to fit with your in-law’s family traditions or ideas. At times they may also know your spouse’s favorites better than you would on something. You may be surprised how much you enjoy some of their ideas once you try them.

 

Grace

  • Give them the same grace you should give yourself. Things do not have to be perfect.

 

Remember to have fun and relax when with your in-laws.

 

Weaver, LPC

Play Therapy

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“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play, than in a year of conversation.” – Plato

 

 

Joining a child’s imaginary world is fascinating. One night when putting my two year old to bed, she introduced me to Trexta. My daughter told me that Trexta, who was right above her bed, wouldn’t come down and go to sleep. Knowing that I am far from the pretending world, she said to me “Do you see her Mommy?” She quickly described an elephant riding a giraffe. Although I wanted to explain that the sheer weight of an elephant would quickly crush a giraffe, I just continued to let her describe her new friend. After saying good night, she continued to speak to Trexta for another 5 to ten minutes on the baby monitor.

That night my husband and I talked about how strange it was that she had an imaginary friend. Little did we know, Trexta would be a frequent visitor, play mate, and friend in need of support. Trexta was often comforted for being afraid of monsters, taught how to do things that were difficult, scolded for not cleaning up toys, and a source of many other things (Trexta is a very naughty elephant). But with more close observation, I noticed that Trexta becomes scared of things that my three year old is scared of and comforted and taught ways to feel better.

Why do I tell this story about my sweet little one? Because unfortunately, I don’t always see that elephant riding a giraffe on my child’s ceiling. Just like I can’t always understand, why sometimes she is defiant, has an outburst, and cries at the top of her lungs. Children live in a world that often feels very much out of their control. They have thoughts and feelings about their ever changing circumstances and do not always know how to express them.

 

play

 

Fortunately, there is an outlet for those feelings. Through play therapy a child can express their feelings without being evaluated or judged. They are free to feel and speak through toys. They control the play and through that control, they become their own counselor, teacher, and parent. Through Child-centered Play Therapy a child can teach herself what to do when afraid and how to be comforted after making a mistake. She teaches herself it’s ok to get angry and then apologize. When a child is hurting, they often act out that hurt and do not always have the words to work through it, but they do know how to play.

As my own child is approaching four, I notice that Trexta is not as common of an occurrence. But when my daughter feels out of control, angry, lonely, and scared I know that we may have a visit from our very own elephant riding a giraffe. I do know that she is a welcomed visitor. I hope that you will let your child have a visit to their own imaginary world and give Compassion Counseling the privilege of being a part of it. Below is a website that contains FAQ about play therapy and links to more information.

http://www.compassioncounseling.us/content/play-therapy

 

Ashley Harmonson, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Meredith Ivey, LPC-

In-Laws & Holidays

 

Now that summer vacations are over and kids are back in school, fall is beginning, we start to think, ”When is the next vacation?” OK, so maybe that’s just me. Then I have the thought that Holidays will be just around the corner before we know it.

Well, this often brings us to the in-law thoughts. Maybe that’s just me too. There are no perfect in-laws. If you have some, please tell me where you got them, I did not think they existed! Don’t take me wrong though, my in-laws have some very redeeming qualities, but things just not always go perfect. But in reality we are really not all so perfect ourselves, are we? OK, so seriously, here are the questions that run through my head:

Where will the gatherings be? Will there be arguments over where it will be held? Who will get to have the holiday date specifically and who will be pushed to another day? Then my mind races on to “Will things go well?” Will I get things perfect this time?

And all the tenseness of the holidays is quickly back in my memory. We can push the thoughts away, but we will have to go back to holiday planning eventually. So how can we handle all the questions that build up in our minds?

 

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Quick thoughts to ease the tension:

-Things do not have to be perfect.

-You do not have to have it all figured out today.

-You do not have to be the one to make all the decisions.

-Not all occasions have to be traditional/ formal every year?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the unknown. That is most likely my biggest anxiety producer for me. So, I like to think of possible situations and some contingency plans in advance. Let’s face it guys; I want a back-up plan. So, some things I want to be sure of. Maybe you do too.

Three questions to have solidified before making any call extended family to discuss holidays.

  1. What I would really like. (optimally)
  2. What I won’t agree to (absolutely)
  3. What I could live with (negotiable)

Some ideas that could change the face of holidays:

  • Try to negotiate on who to spend each holiday with, i.e., Thanksgiving with your parents, Christmas with your in laws.
  • Remember too that if you children you may want to have a special time just with your children to create some special memories and traditions of your own. Parents remember what that is like and hopefully will want to support that for you as well.

Now on to some suggestions for a better relationship with in laws:

  • Think of something in advance that you appreciate about them and remember to tell them when you meet with them or even when you call to make plans.

For example, “I love that potato casserole you make, do you think you could bring that for Thanksgiving dinner?” “I love that you give the children your undivided attention when they talk to you. That’s one thing that makes you an extra special grandparent. “

Think of some of this in advance (be prepared) and then also look for things you appreciate when you are with them as well.

  • Be sincere. Don’t use complements you do not mean. You want them to be sincere with you so set the example you want.
  • Don’t be brutally honest. There will be imperfect things about them, just as with you, but we don’t need to always discuss those, especially at holidays when things may already be tense.
  • Include them in as much of the planning as you can. But remember the three questions so you don’t offer a choice you have decided you cannot live with.
  • Give them the same grace you should give yourself. Things do not have to be perfect.
  • Remember to have fun.

 

-Weaver, LPC

 

 

For literature about relationships with in-laws, our counselor recommends books from this list.

Marriage Lesson From A Potato

Over the years I’ve counseled several couples, and sometimes even individuals who want to work on their marriage.  One of the things I seem to hear over and over again is women thinking their husbands aren’t trying hard enough.  Maybe they don’t do enough for the kids, or aren’t helping around the house as much as you’d like.  Often it’s not just that they aren’t trying hard enough, it’s that when they do help, it feels as though it’s not actually helpful.  One thing that often comes to my mind when I hear women saying these things is an image you might have seen, a pot of half peeled potatoes boiling.

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There are different quotes about this image, but the one I like says “A man sees his wife busy cooking in the kitchen and says: ‘How can I help?’ She says ‘Grab the potatoes, peel half and then boil them.’”

What woman doesn’t want her husband to come to her in the kitchen and say “How can I help?”!? That statement lets someone know their husband’s intentions.  It’s clear he wants to be helpful.  Now, I understand that 5 minutes later when you turn around and see literally half of each potato peeled you may no feel he intended to be helpful.  It suddenly feels like you have even more work to do.  But let’s try to look at it from his perspective for a moment.  Maybe he just came home from work, or came inside from mowing the lawn.  He sees you hard at work in the kitchen, which may not be his domain, but he thinks, ‘she looks stressed, I’ll help her out’.  Maybe he’s thinking ‘I want to lighten her load, even if I don’t know my way around the kitchen so, I’ll give it a shot for her.’  So he asks how to help and gets to work.  Yet just a few minutes later he’s being shooed out of the kitchen or worse, yelled at for messing up, when he was only trying to help.  He’s not likely to offer his help again anytime soon, and if you ask for it, he’s concerned about messing up and getting “in trouble” again, making him more likely to mess up or scurry away as soon as he thinks he’s finished.  Take a moment to image how you might feel.  Maybe you have free time and your husband is working hard on the car or in the yard.  Maybe neither of those are things you enjoy or know much about but you want to help.  Now if you’re like me and try to help work on a vehicle you can imagine how it might be easy to make things worse.  How would your husband respond to you?  I think my husband might just laugh; he’d help me fix whatever I messed up and teach me something new along the way.  We might actually enjoy the time together.  That’s why I like the picture of the half peeled potatoes.  It makes me laugh.  So why not laugh at that situation?  Why stress over it?  Enjoy the moment, and take the time to encourage your husband in making an effort to help you.   And most importantly before you start thinking how unhelpful he was and how much worse the situation is, remember his intention – to be helpful, let that leave you with a smile.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We hear the phrase a lot, “season of life”. It can be used to describe really good times or bad times. Often times I try to stay away from cliché phrases but I really like this one. It is an accurate description of the way you can experience life. There are ebbs and flows and there is not permanence in seasons. Some seasons are more pleasant than others. For example, spring and fall are usually much more pleasant than summer or winter. Seasons can also tend to feel like they are going to last forever or never change. After a streak of 100-degree days we are usually ready for some cooler weather that seems to never come. And often times, seasons have teaser days where a cold front can blow in for a day and then the next day it is back to 100. All of these descriptors of seasons can be translated to seasons of our lives. Sometimes, we have very pleasant seasons of life and then it changes. Or we are experiencing a difficult season of life and it is seemingly never going to end.

Here are some helpful tips for walking through each season of life.

  • Self care-We always have a need for self care. But in particularly hard seasons, extra self care may be needed. For example, in the summer seasons we need to drink more water and in the winter we need to wear coats. In difficult seasons of life, figure out what healthy steps you can take to make yourself more comfortable.
  • Stop comparing- Different people experience different seasons at different times. I would encourage you not to compare your journey to your friend’s or loved one’s journey. The beauty of experiencing different seasons at different times is being able to support each other along the way.
  • Accept the hard days-Remember it is just a season, it is not permanent. You may experience a string of difficult days/weeks/months but hold on to hope that the season will change and more pleasant days are ahead.
  • Look for joy even in the hard times-There is something good in every day. Look for the positives that are happening around you. They will give you the energy to keep moving forward in your journey. Cultivate a habit of gratitude no matter what season of life you are in.
Created by Compassion Counseling

Created by Compassion Counseling

These are just a few tips in experiencing different seasons of life. Sometimes, more extensive help is needed. If so, our counselors would love to help you navigate this time in your life.

© Compassion Counseling , 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Compassion Counseling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.