Why Routines Are Important For Our Kids–from Jill Savage’s blog 7-20-2017

She says it so well!!

From Jill Savage’s blog- 7-20-2017

Every afternoon for about 26 years, my kids and I took a break in the afternoon. It started out as naptime, and then became “rest time” when they outgrew naps. As they all got older we just called it “room time.” Everyone to their corners for an hour. They could read, play quietly, listen to music…just as long as they took time for themselves for an hour.

I needed it. They needed it. We all needed the rhythm of routine.

Spontaneity has it’s place. It’s what allows us to be a yes mom. It’s what beckons us to have some unplanned fun. It allows us to take advantage of an impromptu invite to spend the afternoon at the pool.

Routine has it’s place, too. It provides security. It gives healthy boundaries. It can even help regulate emotions.

Our kids need rhythms in their life like bedtime, mealtime, and rest time. They need screen time and no screen time. If they’re school age, during the school year, they need homework time. If they take piano lessons, they need practice time.

Why are routines important? Here are six reasons they need to be valued:

Routines Establish Authority–Our kids need to know who is in charge…and it’s not them. They’re not ready for the responsibility of self-regulating. They don’t have the life experience, knowledge, and emotional maturity. Not only that, they’ll be under authority for the rest of their lives. It’s what keeps our culture civil and makes this country a safe place to be (when things become unsafe, it’s when authority is not respected). We don’t do our kids any favors by putting them in charge. Sure, there are little things they can choose, and they can take on more responsibility as they get older. However, even when they’re 16 or 17-years-old and yard work needs to happen every Saturday, they’re not likely to step up and offer. They need your accountability and authority to establish and maintain the routines of life that keep your family’s world spinning.

Routines Offer Security–Much of life is unknown. Things change all the time–even a child’s growing body! Then you add in teachers at school, new skills learned in sports or music, and even world events. Children actually handle change better when it’s in the context of a familiar routine.

Routines Offer One-On-One Time With A Child–Whether it’s snuggling and reading a book together before bed every night or having a once a month “date with daddy,” routines give us an opportunity to be make together time happen on a regular basis.

Routines Provide Boundaries–Every child wants to know where the lines are drawn. Of course, they’ll try to cross those lines when given a chance. However, those boundaries can actually eliminate power struggles. When your child knows that the nighttime routine is clean up toys, take a bath, brush teeth, and read a book, they are more likely to operate within those boundaries. They’ll even look forward to doing them and if you have a structured kiddo, they’ll make sure they’re done in the right order every night!

Routines Regulate Breaks For Parents–Every parent needs to practice the art of self-care. We can’t take care of others without taking care of ourselves first. When my kids and I had “room time” it helped them have some personal space in the middle of a summer day. It also gave me–an introvert–some much needed alone time to emotionally refuel and make it through the rest of the day. Our 8pm bedtime for the kids was important for them to physically get enough shut eye, but it was even more important for Mark and I to have some “we” time for our marriage.

Routines Reduce Stress–When we know what’s coming up we can make the emotional transition needed to move from one thing to the next. This keeps anxiety dialed down for most of us.

Certainly routines need balance with sensitivity. We have to be perceptive to unique situations where routines need to be adjusted like deciding to watch a summer movie in the park which would require a later bedtime for sure.

Yet children thrive on routine. They need the security it provides. And you, as the parent, need it as much as they do.

What about you? What routines have you found helpful?

The post Why Routines Are Important For Our Kids appeared first on Jill Savage.

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Behavioral Indicators of Abuse

Signs of Abuse:  Information continued from the book A Betrayal of Innocence by David Peters.

Behavioral Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Infants and Preschoolers

  1. Being uncomfortable around previously trusted persons
  2. Sexualized behavior (sexual play which involves explicit sexual actions about which the child should have no knowledge.)  Determine the source of the child’s knowledge.
  3. Fear of restrooms, shower, or baths (common locations of abuse)
  4. Fear of being alone with men or boys
  5. Nightmares on a regular basis or about the same person
  6. Abrupt personality changes
  7. Uncharacteristic hyperactivity
  8. Moodiness, excessive crying
  9. Aggressive or violent behavior toward other children
  10. Clinging behavior which may take the form of separation anxiety
  11. Passive or withdrawn behavior

When a parent or caretaker talks casually and calmly, most young children will readily reveal any abuse that has taken place.  It is when the child senses fear or emotional instability that she might refuse to reveal the source of the discomfort.    The worst thing a parent can do is to ignore indicators of sexual abuse in the hope that nothing really happened to the child and that the suspect behavior will soon disappear of its own accord.

Behavioral Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Latency Age Children (6-12)     Response is more passive.

  1. Being uncomfortable around someone previously trusted.
  2. Specific knowledge of sexual facts and terminology beyond developmental age.
  3. Sexualized behavior, seductive toward peers and adults.
  4. Wearing multiple layers of clothing, especially to bed.
  5. Parentified behavior (acts like a little parent)
  6. Fear of being alone with men or boys
  7. Fear of restrooms, etc.
  8. Constant, unexplained anxiety, tension, fear
  9. Frequent tardiness or absence from school, especially if the male caretaker writes the excuses.
  10. Attempts to make herself ugly or undesirable (poor personal hygiene)
  11. Eating disorders.
  12. Self-conscious behavior, especially regarding body
  13. Reluctance to go home after school
  14. Abrupt personality changes
  15. Child acquires toys or money with no explanation
  16. Wetting of bed or clothing after being “broken” of that problem
  17. Nightmares
  18. Change in sleeping habits (tries to stay up late or seems constantly tired)
  19. Moodiness
  20. Unusual need for assurance of love
  21. Regressive behavior (fantasies or infantile behavior)
  22. Uncharacteristic aggressive or violent behavior
  23. Tendency to seek out or totally avoid adults
  24. Inability to relate to peers
  25. Running away, especially in a child normally not a behavioral problem.

Behavioral Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Adolescents.   Responses tend to be more action oriented.

  1. Sexualized behavior (promiscuity, prostitution, sexual abuse of younger children, etc)
  2. Running away
  3. Drug and alcohol abuse
  4. Suicidal gestures or attempts
  5. Self-mutilation (cutting)
  6. Extreme hostility toward a parent or caretaker
  7. Parentified behavior (little mother)
  8. Self-conscious behavior, especially regarding body
  9. Wearing multiple layers of clothing,
  10. Eating disorders (usually obesity)
  11. Sleeping problems
  12. Constant fear or anxiety
  13. Delinquent behavior
  14. School problems (academic or behavioral)
  15. Defiance or compliance to an extreme
  16. Friends tend to be older.

Behavioral Indicators of Sexual abuse in Adults

Adults who have been sexually victimized as children seldom volunteer that information to counselors.    They may not be trying to be secretive, they just don’t have any idea of the relationship between their previous abuse and their present problems.

  1. Sexual difficulties (usually regarding intimacy issues, frigidity)
  2. Distrust of the opposite sex
  3. Inappropriate choice of partners (chooses a dependent partner and/or abuser)
  4. Progressive breakdown of communication and eventual emotional detachment from children
  5. Multiple marriages.
  6. Extreme dependence upon or anger toward a parent.
  7. Sexual promiscuity (or alternating between periods of preoccupation with or revulsion of sexual activity.
  8. Drug or alcohol abuse
  9. Extremely low self-esteem
  10. Nightmares or flashbacks
  11. Continual victimization (seemingly unable to assert or protect herself)
  12. May see self-worth only in sexuality
  13. Eating disorders (usually obesity)
  14. Self-punishing behaviors
  15. Homosexual orientation
  16. Body shame (extreme self-consciousness)

Many thousands of hours of counseling time have been wasted trying to resolve symptoms without ever discovering the root of the problem.  

Family Indicators of Child Sexual abuse

  1. Role reversal between mother and daughter
  2. Extreme over-protectiveness or jealousy toward a child by a parent (no contact with peers and adults outside the home)
  3. Inappropriate sleeping arrangements (child with parent)
  4. Prolonged absence of one parent from the home (death, divorce etc.)
  5. Mother who is often ill or is disabled.
  6. Extreme lack of communication between caretakers.
  7. Inordinate participation of father in family (father may interact very little or may insist on being in charge of all family activities)
  8. Extreme paternal dominance of the spouse (mother is not allowed to drive or to talk to school personnel, etc.)
  9. Work or activity schedules which result in a caretaker (especially the male) spending large amounts time alone with a child or children.
  10. Extreme favoritism shown to a child (father may spend a lot of time and attention on one daughter)
  11. Severe overreaction by parent to any sex education offered a child
  12. Caretaker who has been sexually abused as a child
  13. Geographic isolation of a family
  14. Overcrowding in a home15. Family has no social or personal support systems.
  15. Alcohol or drug abuse within a family.

The best source of information is the child.    The best way to get to the truth is to ask the child about what caused the problem, remembering to approach the subject casually, calmly, and privately.

Children seldom report their abuse directly.  Most children will drop verbal hints about what has happened and then wait for a response.  They may relate the problem of a “friend” who has been approached sexually by an adult.  Seldom will they pursue the matter further if the adult they are talking to seems uninterested or emotionally threatened.

What we as adults do in response to such a report can literally mean the difference between devastation and health in the emotional lives of these children.

End quotes from book.

This is hard to post…. but we must know the truth!   Sexual abuse harms everyone!

 

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Child Sexual Abuse Is a Wound Not Easily Dismissed or Healed–David Peters

I’m not sure why abuse drives us into hiding.   I have felt for months the draw to post more about the symptoms of abuse, but it is hard.   However, for the sake of our children especially, I want to share more information from the book A Betrayal of Innocence by David Peters.   His information fits with all the other books I’ve read and it is summarized well.

Please remember that all the signs, all the characteristics don’t have to fit, but if there are several “puzzle pieces” that fit together, please don’t ignore this!  Pray and ask God to lead you to find someone with whom you can talk.   Professional Christian counseling can be a gift to yourself.   Focus on the Family can connect you with a counselor in your area.  There is also much good information on the Focus on the Family website.

The following is from A Betrayal of Innocence by David Peters:

 Child abuse is everybody’s problem.

Dispelling myths:   The truth is. . .

  1. Most molesters are people known and often trusted by the victim.
  2. Molesters are seldom violent. Relationship often appears at first to be close and supportive.
  3. Molesters are not mentally ill nor do they exhibit bizarre behavior.

 It is very easy for us to gloss over the damage to the victim.

Child sexual abuse is a wound not easily dismissed or healed. 

Honesty is the first step in arming ourselves to deal with the problem head-on.   “The truth will set us free!!”

Uninformed parents

Know the difference in the sexual response and behavior between males and females. 

Males tend to have an immediate and strong sexual response to visual stimulation.    The personality, character, or intelligence of the individual seems to be of little importance.  Men tend to be more sexually volatile and to act more quickly on their sexual desires.

Females tend to respond less to visual stimulation than to tactile stimulation (touch).  Females are aroused by kissing, caressing, and other expressions of care and gentleness.  Females are concerned about the character and personality of the individual.  They respond to someone they respect and feel safe with.

Considerations:

  1. Putting a teenage boy in the position of baby-sitting female children is dangerous and unfair to the boy.
  2. Be aware of inappropriate sleeping arrangements of boys and girls.

Don’t take chances with your children.  Take every precaution.  Children should be taught obedience but not blind obedience.  They must have permission to say NO.

Children don’t tell of abuse because:

  1. Intimidation of the molester’s being an adult (or older) is important.
  2. The molester is often an adult loved and trusted by child. They don’t want to get the person in trouble.
  3. The child often senses that the parents would become emotionally upset or hurt.
  4. The child fears the unbelief of the parents.
  5. The child usually believes he/she must have done something wrong to deserve what happened to them. They are afraid of the anger or punishment that may result.

Molesters often are unable to distinguish between love and sex.  To them, emotional support involves sex.

(cp:  So often molesters have been abused themselves as children!  How confusing abuse is to children!)

A Driving Compulsion:

Sexual abuse is as compulsive as alcohol or drug addiction.    Abuse often begins with an impulsive act, but the longer the behavior continues, the more difficult it is to stop.

Four preconditions that must be met:

  1. The adult must have sexual feelings about children. (Child pornography influences.  (cp– also own childhood abuse?)
  2. Any internal inhibitors, such as conscience, must be overcome by the molester.(often it is through alcohol or drugs)
  3. Any external inhibitors (other adults) must be dealt with to have opportunity.
  4. Resistance of the child must be overcome.

To be continued.

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The First Step of the Healing of Abuse–Facing Reality!!

I love Ezekiel 37:1-14, which is the story of Judah’s redemption…and our redemption process too!!…Ezekiel’s vision of The Valley Of Dry Bones!

With this post, I want to simply point out the first step Ezekiel took.  Verses 1 and 2:  “The hand of the Lord came upon me ….. and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.   Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.” (emphasis mine)

Ezekiel faced reality.

The very first step!!  We must start here, but, remember,  this is not the end of our story!!!    This is true whether it’s an abuser’s story or a victim’s story!!!      God has a vision of hope!!   However, genuine healing for every one of us starts with facing reality!!

It is important to tell our story to someone who is safe!    We must face our reality!   Ezekiel’s reality was seeing through the means of a vision that these people of Judah were dead.  So dead that all that was left were dry bones!!

Likewise, we may have some “stony” parts in our hearts!   Some dead areas!   Some feelings or memories we push back or push down!    But if we ignore our reality, other ways of handling the emotional pain start showing up…. ways we use to numb our feelings!

It is said that our mind may forget, but our emotions do not forget!     Denial, co-dependency, depression, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, eating disorders, unhealthy relationship attachments, etc. …. we are trying to fix ourselves our way, but that will never work!!  We cannot heal ourselves!   We can cooperate with the healing process, but we can’t do the healing!!   That is God’s territory!!!

When we have taken the baby steps, done the work, obeyed….suddenly we are surprised by a measure of healing!!    We know a stony part of our heart has been made flesh again!!!   That process happens over and over again until “we have taken the land!”   (Referring to Exodus 23:30)

So first, we intentionally make ourselves see the reality of our abuse… what happened, and what has been or will be our losses!!!?     We walk toward our pain by talking, reading, listening, learning in our area of hurt!.  We tell our story.

I’m proud of anyone who takes this first step….!!     First steps are always the most difficult! 

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Abuse Is Not the End

Continuation from The Hope of Easter post.

Abuse by its very nature feels shameful and depressing!!   We prefer keeping it as a blind spot or pretending it’s not happening or that it didn’t happen!!

Please don’t stop reading, comprehending, internalizing and maybe even grieving with these next few posts.  However, if you start feeling emotional over-reactions at any time, please stop and consider investing in professional counseling or at the least involving another safe, mature, wise, same-sex person to walk with you through the acknowledgement and/or telling of your story!!

Abuse is not the end.    God is a redeeming God!!   He is alive and we can be in a living, loving relationship with Him every moment!!   He will be our friend that sticks closer than a brother.    He knows us, every hidden away “room” in our heart,  every memory we struggle with and yet He loves us!!   He loves all of us too much to leave us where we are at this moment, whatever our pasts or wounded areas, victim or abuser!!   He wants to heal us! But we must answer as the blind man did when Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do?”   “Lord, that I might receive my sight!!”    Lord, please give us sight that we might see!

As our friend, Jesus will walk every step of the healing journey with us!    No depth of pain or anger that we feel will overwhelm Him or drive Him away.  He will not reject us….ever!!   Jesus has already felt every feeling and temptation we will feel.  (Hebrews 4:15)   He knows the way out….His tracks are ahead of us for us to follow!!   Jesus will never ask us to go where He has not already gone Himself!

I will never forget the moment when I was so overwhelmed with life at 35 yrs old.   I turned to God and said, “What do I do?!!!”    And He simply said, “All you have to do is obey Me one day at a time.”    The big picture was too much for me, but I could obey one day at a time…. !

Over a three to five year span God walked me through a healing process.  The first months involved “feeling my feelings”.  But then God started helping me to listen to Him and to think more rationally!!    I didn’t always obey perfectly.   Sometimes my fears won out…the two steps forward, one step back part of the process, I guess.   But overall, God helped me to obey as I asked!!   He never left me and He never led me wrong!!   God, the Holy Spirit, is trustworthy!!   The Holy Spirit speaks the Father’s thoughts to us even today!!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.   I will be found by you, says the Lord and I will bring you back from your captivity….”   Jeremiah 29:11-14a   (we can be in emotional captivity too!!) 

 

To be continued…

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Choices that are reactionary may be short lived.

An observation ….

It seems that choices or behaviors that are reactionary do not tend to be long-lasting unless our attitude and motive shifts from reaction to having a deep desire to be healthy. “I want to be balanced and healthy!!!.” GOD is healthy in every way and I want to be like Jesus who shows me who God the Father is!!

I think this is true for many areas!!   Changes in daily habits, church reactions to changes that we see as serious spiritual, relational or cultural losses, social reactions to culture changes we see as negative losses (not saying Merry Christmas, as a simple example).    I think this even extends to our desire to be a different person… to break free from porn, drugs, alcohol, food habits, spending, or any other addiction!! If we’re only reacting with fear or anger to negative consequences….it may not last!

Tearing down unhealthy habits is important, but until we replace the lies in our head and our unhealthy emotional responses with truth spoken and acted on daily, eventually it may end up being short term change.

I love the Wesley Study Bible comments on the book of Jeremiah.  “The purpose of Jeremiah’s ministry to the nations (and to Israel) was to….root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”

“Jeremiah’s initial task was destructive.  The rotten wood must be torn down and the blighted plants rooted out.  Sin cannot be papered over.”

“But God’s final purpose is not vindictive destruction.  Sin is dealt with harshly so that new building and planting may take place.”

How every encouraging!!  What was true in the big picture of the nations is also true in our personal lives!   It’s been my experience that God has painfully pruned me at times…but it was always for my good!!    He tore down and rooted out so that new building and planting could take place!!    God is love and He is good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The HOPE of EASTER: WHY We Can Take That First Step Toward the Healing of Abuse!

TToday we celebrate EASTER!  He is risen! This is why we have hope for change!

These are my thoughts today in a nutshell.  The Trinity of the Godhead…the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit….Three Persons in One….shows us how to be in a healthy relationship with others.  Theirs is a relationship with love and trust at its foundation, at its very core.

The ultimate battle between good and evil took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by the reality of the cross.   Jesus Christ faced the temptation to distrust God the Father’s plan, to believe that God the Father was not love, to yield to thinking that the Father was selfish and controlling!

Think of our world today!  What is the core cause of destructive events?   Lack of or broken relationship.  Divided families?  Lack of or broken relationship.    Abuse?  Lack of or broken relationship.   Wars?  Lack of or broken relationship.   The pain of losing someone to death?  Lack of or broken relationship.

How we build up or tear down our relationships will change our world for better or worse!

Jesus’ temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane was to abandon His relationship with God and to yield to what Satan had yielded to.   Satan yielded to pride and decided to fix His own problems and make himself most important rather than thinking of others.  He chose to control rather than trust.  

He chose SELF-centeredness rather than love for others.   CONTROL rather than trust.

If Jesus had given in, we would have no hope of ever knowing what genuine healthy relationship looked like.    Even the Trinity would have suffered the effects of division and divorce!

Jesus proved to us with His actions that God the Father indeed is a God of LOVE and that He can be trusted!!   God never asks for sacrifice unless there is  a much greater good that will result from it!!

Because of Good Friday which culminated in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter morning…we have HOPE!     We can be in relationship with God!!  We can know Christ!   The Holy Spirit is our Helper, our Comforter, who leads us by speaking the Father’s Words to our hearts!   We learn that God is a redemptive God!!   That He brings good out of what would have destroyed us when we choose Him with our whole heart!!

Can I explain it?  No, but the details of life and the Bible fit together!!   The more I learn, the more the puzzle pieces come together and the more the reality of my relationship with God has grown!

I’ve struggled to follow up the previous post on the effects of sexual abuse on adult relationship.   I’d rather avoid a difficult subject.  I’d rather always make people happy!

However, if we want to experience a resurrection in our own hearts, we must plow our way through  our personal Gethsemane until we can come to our own Easter!!    One author said, “Because of Jesus’ foreknowledge (His omniscience), He experienced Gethsemane before the crucifixion.   We have our Gethsemane after our “cross”, i.e. our broken trust, broken heart, or wounded soul!   For us, it requires a longer processing time.

So, because of the Hope of Easter, I’m going to press on!!

To be continued….

 

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