Forgiving Our Parents (or other key people)

When studying about birth order, our small group took time to discuss “forgiving” our parents (or other people who may have seriously harmed us or failed to teach us what we needed to know.)

Forgiving can’t really be done until we “own” our feelings and grieve any losses.    I don’t think God mindlessly “forgives” us.   God has felt all the feelings of emotional abandonment, rejection, betrayal, hurt, misunderstanding, etc. from humanity’s (my!) choices and attitudes.  Read God’s interactions with Israel in the Old Testament!   He “owned” His feelings and revealed them to the people He loved.  God wants to be in relationship with us.

Back to my comment that I think there is a stage in life when it is important to process feelings and forgive parents or other important role models who failed us in some way.  We own our feelings and grieve our losses and share what needs to be shared (which doesn’t always have to be shared with the parents or people themselves.)   With  forgiveness, we don’t ever actually forget, but the memories will not be a running sore just under the surface anymore.  It becomes a healed scar.   We remember, but the pain is not there.  Grieving, speaking the truth in love to ourselves and maybe to another safe person, and forgiveness lets us move on.

No parent is perfect.  Even a 10 on the parent scale with good hearts and motives, are still human.  🙂

There are lessons for us to figure out during a possible grieving process.  For me, I did have to understand my mother (a wonderful mother, btw!) from an adult viewpoint and know that she did the best she could with the knowledge she had at the time.

However, most of my “working through to forgiveness” involved men, and so it was with John that I had to work out my trust issues.  We both had some unhealthy communication habits in our first ten years of marriage that could have eventually seriously damaged or wrecked our marriage.   So for me, working toward forgiveness involved getting honest with John.  Otherwise it would have been simply stuffing negative feelings and acting like it was all ok.  That’s not forgiveness.

We are all so different in how we handle emotions, especially negative emotions.  None of us enjoys pain.  Some people unconsciously lash out at others to prevent any grieving and owning of their own feelings.  Self-awareness can feel too personal, too painful, too threatening.  Others focus too much on their negative feelings and get stuck in bad feelings.

When trying to communicate, “I” messages are much more effective than “you” messages.   “You” messages are what come naturally to us.  It’s an easy habit to fall back into!   We’d much prefer attack for that makes us feel safer.  However, “I” messages are much less threatening to others and people can hear us much easier.  “I” messages take work.  We have to think and feel our way though something and figure out what’s going on before we can be honest with a spouse or parent about our own thoughts and feelings.

Don’t expect other people to read our minds!!!   They can’t do it.  They can guess, but their guesses are going to come from their own background and their own temperament. Seldom will they guess correctly.   We’ve got to tell them who we are and what we think and feel.  Gently, respectfully, and with Holy Spirit led honesty.

Developing healthy boundaries was a huge issue for me.   Trent and Cloud say in their Boundaries book that the person whose boundaries are being collapsed or disrespected is the one who is responsible to reveal their own boundaries.   If you are an introverted phlegmatic who avoids conflict at all costs, that may only happened as an action of obedience to God!!  I didn’t have it in me to set boundaries on my own.  I would have rather suffered myself than to cause other people to hurt or feel bad!!  Even when I knew it would be good for our relationship!!

So as a peaceful person, how do you reveal your boundaries with a Type A personality?

First of all, know that we can’t control anyone else’s choices and actions.  So, yes, it’s risky.   But choosing healthy relationship principles will give us our best chance for increasing intimacy in our relationships.

I had to ask myself and God questions.  I had to pay attention to my feelings.  Feelings tell you the state of your relationships.  They are not to be trusted for leadership, but they do have their place!!   So when something was said or done in our marriage that really upset me, I had to start thinking.  “What’s going on here?   Lord, why do I feel so angry, so depressed, so insecure, etc?”

I’ve learned that God always answers my honest questions.  Somehow the answers would come through thinking, praying and journaling, through books, through programs, podcasts, people, etc. The understanding might come quickly or it may take days or weeks.     One answer that I specifically remember took eight months of “work” before the light bulb came on!   And to be honest, there are times it’s years before we see how the puzzle pieces start fitting together!!   Life isn’t simple.  But God’s ways are right and good!

But then came the hardest part.   Communicating my feelings, what I thought!!   That felt very risky.  That will always feel risky!   Sometimes it involved connecting emotions from past experiences with the present circumstances and sharing that.

For me, I’ve learned that when someone else listens to me, it can help me let go of the past.  We need to talk things out with appropriate people. If our wounds came from parents, we don’t always have to talk it out with parents.  That could be a good thing.  However, many parents have no clue that they have been harmful or hurtful.    If we know their motives were good, it’s easier to let go and forgive.  We don’t want or need to devastate good hearted parents.  Grace is needed on both sides.

Some parents are products of dysfunctional families and have their own personal issues.  We are all adults now.   It’s proper that we choose to interact in a healthy way as adults.

The question, “Do boundaries need to be set to protect myself?” is something that may also need to be answered.   But setting boundaries must be accompanied by sharing the details of the why and how.  Then you can practice “If you…then I….”   (I suggest counseling involvement with something like this.)

It is important to share our feelings and our emotional needs with the people we love and give them the chance to change and meet them if they want.    Start with something small and see what the response is.   Each time John “heard” me, my trust in him increased a little more.   I could start to believe that all men were not alike, the way my deep core fears were telling me they were following a crisis in some friends’ lives!!!

Can you sense how risky this can feel?  The fear of rejection is one of the strongest fears in all people.   Neither do we want a repeat of any past painful memory!

We have to take those risks.  Carefully, not foolishly, but it’s right to take prayerful risks!   However, we take risks in community, first with God and then with other healthy support persons.   We don’t take these risks alone, in isolation!   (Another reason for “church”. 😊)

The key to forgiveness and healing is coming to a healthy balance.   If all we do is react to our past hurts, then likely we will act just like the other person—just in the opposite direction and we’ll land in the ditch on the other side of the road.  The hardest work is seeing what is true, figuring out God’s relationship principles, and then acting on them even when it feels like you will be very emotionally vulnerable to the other person.

We aren’t promised a fairy tale life or pain free growth.   But this is our best chance for good to happen in our lives–acting against our natural emotions of self-centeredness and control and acting like Jesus—with love and trust!!    That is functional living!!!

This is the foundational truth of being “saved”.  Identity with Christ and obeying His ways “saves” us from our fallen nature and our fallen emotions.  Identity with Christ prepares us for living with Him forever!






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Birth Order–First Borns

I have found the birth order information to be quite interesting and helpful as another puzzle piece in figuring out “Who Am I?”

Our family structure is so interesting!   In my family, I see my mom as having all three children as  “functional” first borns.   She had a first born boy, four years later a first born girl, and eight years later another girl, which mean I had a blend of first born and baby traits!

This material is from  The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman, one of my favorite authors.     I regret I don’t have notes on the Only Borns.    They are similar to First borns with some variations.    At least this will be a start to help some people understand birth order, or a refresher for others.

From the book:

Birth order plays an important part in making you the person you are today.

After about three decades of psychological study and practice, I am sure of only a few things.

  1. For a young child growing up, there is no greater influence than his or her family.
  2. The most intimate relationships you ever have in life are with your family—the one you grew up in and the one you make for yourself through marriage. But the family you grew up in has the inside track.   Some of us have known our siblings “all our lives,” so to speak.\
  3. The relationship between parents and children is fluid, dynamic, and all-important.

When talking about birth order, all general statements are indicators, not rules.


First borns are officially defined as the oldest in the family.  But remember the variables:  oldest of your sex, having a five-year gap between you and the child above you of the same sex, or achieving a role reversal and taking over the first born privileges and responsibilities.   Keep in mind later born children can take on certain first born traits.

There are two kinds of first borns:

The compliant first borns who are nurturers and caregivers model children who have all the first born traits in a very reliable, conscientious, how-can-I-please-you package.  The down side of being a compliant first born is that you can attract the great white sharks of life–the boss who piles on the work or the selfish spouse.  Compliant first borns are well known for taking it and being walked on by a world that loves to take advantage of them.  They are also known for nursing their resentments quietly and then venting with one grand explosion.   And that’s usually when they come to see me.

The aggressive first borns who are movers and shakers—this brand of first born is assertive, strong willed, a high achiever, and a hard driver.  They set high goals and have a strong need to be “king or queen pin.”  Along the way, they often develop badgerlike qualities—they can scratch, claw, and bite.

First borns love to be exacting, precise, and picky.  Some become powerful leaders, others do background work like editing, bookkeeping, and accounting.

First borns often put stress on their family.  The very traits and abilities that enable you to succeed at work, at church, or in other organizations will often work against you in your close personal relationships.

What makes the first born tick?

Oldest children serve as “guinea pigs” for new parents.

Everything about the first born child is important.

When a first born is very young—starting even before he is 12 mo old—he is already observing his parents and noting the right way to do things.

They enjoy perks and privileges, but they also have to deal with the pressures and problems.  All that attention, the “ooh-ing and ahh-ing”, the spotlight, and the responsibility add up to….pressure!

Parents expect too much of first borns.  First borns often say:

  1. Everyone depends on me.
  2. I can’t get away with anything.
  3. It’s tough being the oldest.
  4. I was never allowed to be a kid.
  5. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.
  6. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done right.
  7. Boy, if I acted the way my little brother does…
  8. Why do I have to do it?  Nobody else does anything around here.

Being honest with your first born self

  1. Am I involved in too many activities? Which ones could I give up?
  2. Do I know how to say no? Can I think of a recent example of saying no graciously but firmly?
  3. How much of a problem is perfectionism for me?
  4. Am I a slave to my to-do lists or do I use lists to organize my life and keep it balanced?
  5. Have I forgiven my parents for any pressures they put on me while growing up? Can I honestly say there were privileges to being first born as well as pressures?
  6. Am I a compliant or aggressive first born? What are my best attributes?  What are my key faults and what do I need to do to improve?
  7. If I know I’m an aggressive first born, am I willing to ask my spouse, children, or fellow workers for feedback on my strengths and weaknesses? What would my family say to me about how much time I spend with them?
  8. If I feel jealousy or any resentment toward any of my siblings, am I willing to confess and try to make it right? When and where could I do this?
  9. Do I care too much about what others think of me? What has happened recently that can give me some clues?
  10. How good am I at spotting flaws at fifty paces? Would my family or friends say I am too critical?






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Birth Order–Middle Borns

I Never Did Get No Respect—a closer look at the middle child

Content from The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman

The official definition of a middle child is a person born somewhere between the first or oldest in the family and the last..   The typical middle child can be the second of three, or the third of four, or the fourth of five, and so on.

When talking about the middle child, the most critical factor is the “branching off effect” that is always at work in the family.  This principle says the second born will be most directly influenced by the first born, the third born will be most directly influenced by the second born, and so on.

By “influenced,” I simply mean that each child looks above, sizes up the older sibling, and patterns his life according to what he sees.  Because the older brother or sister is usually stronger, smarter, and obviously bigger, the second born typically shoots off in another direction.

If, however, he senses he can compete with his older sibling, he may do so.    If he competes successfully enough, you can have a “role reversal.”

The general conclusion of all research studies done on birth order is that second borns will probably be somewhat the opposite of first borns.

When you say “middle child” think “contradictions”.   I have looked at many charts listing characteristics of middle born children and found them to be an exercise in paradox.

                    The middle born:  Inconsistent paradox

Loner, quiet, shy                                         Sociable, friendly, outgoing

Impatient, easily frustrated                      Takes life in stride, laid back

Very competitive                                          Easygoing, not competitive

Rebel, family goat                                       Peacemaker, mediator

Aggressive, a scrapper                               Avoids conflict

(my comment—could this not be shaped by our inborn temperament? )

The bottom line is the middle child is “iffy”—the product of many pressures coming from different directions.   More than any other birth order, you must look at the entire family to understand a particular middle child.  In many ways, the middle child remains a mystery.

“My older brother got all the glory and my little sister got all the attention, and then there was me” is a very familiar assessment.”  Somehow there just doesn’t seem to be a great deal of parental awareness of the middle child’s need for a spot in the pecking order.

Middles find all the friends they can.  Middle born children often hang out more with their peer group than does any other child in the family.

First borns typically have fewer friends.  Middle children often have many.   The middle child often goes outside the family to get recognition and feelings of acceptance.   They may also leave home the quickest.   They can become a bit of a free spirit, choosing some other group’s values for a measuring stick.

Middles are often good mediators.  But if the middle child is very compliant and not at all interested in confrontation or conflict, the propensities to negotiate and compromise can backfire.  “The husband is having another affair, but the second-born wife is sticking it out—again.”  She really doesn’t want to do anything…she indulges in victim thinking.  She will hang tough with her cheating hubby until the bitter end, and he knows it.

More insights on the middle child

  1. You are more of a closed book than an open one. As a rule you do not choose to confide in very many people.  This is not necessarily a minus; in some cases it may be the wise thing to do.  But note that middle born President Nixon got into all kinds of Watergate troubles because of being secretive.  His effort to cover up led to his impeachment.    Being secretive and closed is not the best quality to bring to a marriage.  Too many middle children simply don’t communicate with their spouse.
  1. You are likely to be mentally tough and independent. Middles are often the last to seek the services of the helping professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, or ministers.   It’s fine to be tough and independent.  It’s foolish to refuse to get the help you may need.   You may be cutting off your nose to spite your face…
  1. Teenage middles often run with the pack. First borns are least likely to run with the pack; babies may in order to explore and take risks.  But middle children have deeper reasons.  Because of being squeezed and feeling they don’t really fit in at home, middle children have a deep need to belong and the pack fills the bill.
  2. You’re likely to be the most faithful marriage partner. Middle children are loyal.  They are far more prone to stick to their commitments.  While this is an excellent quality, it can lead to a lot of pain for a middle child spouse who is being taken advantage of by a mate who is unfaithful, abusive, or dominating.
  3. You probably embarrass easily. This is one of the areas where the paradox of middle children becomes most apparent.

The middle ground is not a bad place to stand.

All the research shows that middle borns do not have as many hang-ups or problems as first borns or only children.

A middle child’s words:  “Being a middle child of three wasn’t easy, but as an adult I really believe I can cope with problems better because I got a lot of good training in give and take while I was growing up.  I’m glad I wasn’t first, and I’m glad I wasn’t last.  I’m glad I’m me.”

Being honest with your middle-child self.

  1. Is being a middle child comfortable for me? How do I know?
  2. Would my family and friends call me secretive or open?
  3. How willing am I to seek help from counselors, doctors, and other authority figures?
  4. How do I recall my older sibling or siblings? Did they snowplow the roads of life for me or did they make the roads even rougher to travel?  If the latter, have I made peace with that—and them?
  5. In the process of give and take (at home or at work), I would rate myself as A—excellent, B—good, C—fair to poor. What are my reasons for that rating?
  6. If while I was growing up, I felt squeezed and that life was not always fair, how have I adjusted to that as an adult? Is that legacy a strength or a weakness today?



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Birth Order–Last Borns

Born Last But Seldom Least–  content is from The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman.

(Remember, when talking about birth order, all general statements are indicators, not rules.)

I know you babies of the family have just skipped the first eight chapters and started right here.  Like any last born, I would have done the same thing.

Last borns often love the limelight.  Youngest children in the family are typically the outgoing charmers, the personable manipulators.   They are also affectionate, uncomplicated, and sometimes a little absent-minded.  I

The clowns also have a dark side.  There is another strain of characteristics in most last borns.  Besides being charming, outgoing, affectionate, and uncomplicated, they can also be rebellious, temperamental, manipulative, spoiled, impatient, and impetuous.

Last borns carry the curse of not being taken very seriously, first by their families and then by the world.

Those born before cast a long shadow.   Babies of the family live inevitably in the potent shadow of those who were Born Before.  Not only do parents react with less spontaneous joy at the accomplishments of the last born; they may, in fact, impatiently wonder, “Why can’t this kid catch on faster?  His older brother had this down cold by the time he was two and a half.

The tendency for parents is to let the last born shift for himself.  It’s not unusual for babies of the family to get most of their instruction from their brothers and sisters in many areas.  Last borns are used to being put down or written off.  It’s no wonder the last born grows up with an “I’ll show them!” attitude.

In First Child, Second Child,  Wilson and Edington comment:  “…If you are a typical last born, you have a fair share of both the charmer and the rebel in your makeup, and other people are often caught off guard by the fact that you can be endearing one minute, and hard to deal with the next.”

Another thing you will read on the characteristics charts for last borns is that they are suckers for praise and encouragement.   A little pat on the head, a slap on the back is enough to keep a last born going for hours, if not weeks.

Last borns especially want and need reality discipline, which deals directly and swiftly with their problem and demands that he be accountable for his actions.

Your good salespeople are often last borns.

Last borns live with ambivalence.  We babies of the family can be charming and endearing but then turn rebellious and hard to deal with.  We can change from powerhouses of energy into basket cases who feel helpless.  We can feel on top of the world on Monday and at the bottom of the pile on Tuesday.

Last borns “just do it!”  Beneath our veneer of independence and persistence is that inner rebel who got away with murder.  We last borns are impetuous and brash, vowing that we will get attention.  We go ahead and do it and worry about repercussions later.

Being Honest With Your Last-Born Self

  1. Am I a mature adult, or are people still saying or thinking, “Why don’t you grow up?”
  2. Part of growing up is learning to pick up after yourself. Do I have trouble with this?
  3. Do I enjoy working with people, data, or things? Do I need to consider changing my line of work?
  4. If I have a love for the limelight (attention seeking), do I let it slip over into self-centeredness, when I’m always thinking about me and not about others? How do I know?  What would my friends tell me?
  5. Do I use my ability to make people laugh strictly to get attention, or do I do it to make others feel good and enjoy life?
  6. Do I control my tenaciousness and persistence, not letting it get out of hand, when I become overbearing?  Can I think of a recent example of when I have done this?
  7. Would people say I am a good listener? Or do I just try to “read” people and not really listen to what they say?  Do I need to improve my listening skills and take time to listen to others without thinking about what I am going to say next?


Again, the key points to remember about Birth Order:

  1. As important as a child’s order of birth may be, it is only an influence, not a final fact of life forever set in cement and unchangeable as far as how that child will turn out.
  2. The way parents treat their children is an important as their birth order, spacing, sex and physical or mental characteristics. The key question is  “Was the environment provided by the parents loving, accepting, and warm or was it critical, cold, and distant.
  3. Every birth order has inherent strengths and weaknesses. Parents must accept both while helping the child develop positive traits and cope with negative ones.
  4. No birth order is better or more desirable than another. First borns seem to have a corner on achievement and the headlines, but the door is wide open for later borns to make their mark. It is up to them.
  5. Birth order information does not give the total psychological picture for anyone. No system of personality development can do that. Birth order statistics and characteristics are indicators that combine with physical, mental, and emotional factors to give the bigger picture.
  6. Understanding some basic principles of birth order is not a formula for automatically solving problems or changing your personality overnight. Changing oneself is the hardest task any human being can attempt; it takes lots of work.

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Break Off Thy Sins–“Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!”  

The important points are in bold.

I did not intentionally follow the previous posts on sexual abuse with this post.   However, it does fit!

Yet it’s also true in many other areas!  For me, “hiding my feelings in order to feel safe” is an “addiction” that will destroy my relationships if I give into it.   That’s probably why I’m so diligent to clear up anything that feels like a possible separation in my relationships.  I’ve  had to break off that habit!!  It took hard work to replace the lies with actions of truth!   But once again, I wouldn’t take anything for those lessons!!   God’s discipline was a gift of love!!

This passage is so meaningful to me!!   I hope you will read it.

A section from the Bible Study DANIEL by Beth Moore p 87, 88.

Quote:   As we draw this week’s study to a close, concentrate on the advice Daniel gave Nebuchadnezzar to “renounce” his sins.

The original word peruq is translated accurately by the KYV: “break off thy sins”.

The idea could be illustrated by breaking off a yoke from around the neck.  Daniel was probably telling Nebuchadnezzar to break off his wicked branches before God broke him.

Beloved, I want to share something with you out of compassion and empathy.   I have learned the hard way that some things don’t need to be moderated.  They need to be stopped.  Broken off.  Ended.  You know me well enough to know I’m not talking about marriage, but I am talking about a host of other things.

Some things—substances, activities, relationships—are so toxic to us that moderation won’t work.  Have you made this discovery for yourself?

Some things don’t need to be cut back.  They need to be cut off.  If you are someone who desperately needs to hear this point, I wish I could sit across the coffee table, hold your sweet hands, look you straight in the eye with overflowing love, and say, “I understand how difficult this is.  But you must let it go.  Don’t just release it.  Renounce it.  Push it off.  You must, or it will eventually destroy you.”  Get some help!  Get some accountability!  Get to it because it’s getting to you.

Daniel’s advice to Nebuchadnezzar to break off his sins by doing what was right was brilliant replacement “theology.”  He didn’t just tell him to stop doing one thing.  He told him to start doing another.  Scripture is full of exhortations to not just cease one activity:  replace it with another.  Isaiah 1:16-17 says, “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!”  

When we cease a habitual activity, to do absolutely nothing in its place is the fastest track back to addiction.  Remember, nature abhors a vacuum.  We all yearn to be filled.  Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Spirit”!  God has a healthy replacement for the old destructive filler.  Seek Him and find it!  Get godly counsel, get into a support group, but whatever you do, don’t just ignore the warning like Nebuchadnezzar did.  If my plea is resonating with you, I lovingly implore you as one who has been there.

Break it off before it breaks you.

God loves you so, Dear One.  Otherwise, why on earth would He care?  “Whom the Lord loves He chastens”  (Hebrews 12:6, NKJV)

End quote.

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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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