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Real Hope in the Balance

The challenges, problems and pain that our children face are real, and as a result, they affect us as parents as well. These challenges impact the whole child; and therefore, we must be willing to engage and embrace our children (and ourselves!) holistically. At the same time, we must always remember there are no quick fixes—merely changing behaviors will not accomplish what is needed. Our goal must be nothing less than healing for the whole child. Much like our own journey of spiritual healing and maturity, the healing we desire for our children will be a process, and it must be anchored by hope—real hope.

When Your Child Pushes You Away

When most children get hurt or become afraid, they go to a parent. After all, parents are the ones who protect children and keep them safe from danger. They are the ones who comfort children when they are afraid. For these children it’s a simple equation: mom and dad are safe and I can trust them to help me so I will go to them.

But things aren’t always that simple for children with histories of early harm such as trauma, abuse, neglect, or relinquishment. Their life experiences impact them in any number of important ways, often making them prone to prolonged states of fear and a limited ability to trust. Instead of going to their parents for help or comfort, these children often run from them, push them away, or shut them out.

Keys to an Effective Time-In With Your Child

Time-in (as opposed to time-out) is an important strategy to help parents learn to “connect while correcting” with their children.

When using the time-in strategy it’s critical to remember that time-in is not intended to punish your child. Instead, time-in is designed to help your child calm and regulate so that he can express his needs (or wants) appropriately. Also, be sure not to jump the gun and resort to time-in when another, lower level strategy (such as playful engagement or choices) might address the behavior more effectively.

But there are times when a time-in is precisely the strategy that is called for. So here are eight keys to help you implement an effective time-in with your child.

Easier Said Than Done

People who make things look easy really get on my nerves. You know who I’m talking about. Ever watched one of those cooking shows on TV? You see them making some recipe in 10 easy steps and it always comes out looking hot, beautiful, and delicious. So you try it at home and all you end up with is a giant mess of something ugly and inedible. Or maybe you’ve watched one of those home improvement shows where the host can build, repair, or decorate just about anything and it turns out great, all on a shoestring budget. So in a fit of inspiration you make a trip to Home Depot, spend twice as much as you wanted to, come home and four hours later all your spouse can say is “maybe we can call someone to come fix it tomorrow.” Why does it seem to be so easy for some people? Why are so many things in life easier said than done?

What’s Your Play Personality?

I have a confession to make. I don’t like parents who are good at playing with their kids. I could have stated my feelings about these ‘playful parents’ in stronger terms, but I don’t want you to think I’ve gone mad.

When I see fun-loving moms and dads who are seemingly naturally gifted at playing with their kids, it gets under my skin a bit. I see them and their kids both having tons of fun, and I get a little green with envy. They are good at play and being playful with their kids, and I am not. Play and fun seems easy for them, and for me it is anything but. And I am not the only one. Turns out there are many parents like me. But there is good news for all of us.