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Grieving All The Way: 12 Ways to Cope with Grief during the 12 Days of Christmas.
by Ron Huxley, LMFT"Grieving boys,Grieving girls,Grieving in the home.Oh what terrible pain it is when you lose someone you love.”(Loosely sung to the tune of Jingle Bells).This song is not meant to be disrespectful. It is meant to demonstrate how disrespectful society can be to children who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Christmas, according to our stories, is supposed to be a magical time of the year. Children, who have lost someone they love to death or divorce, shouldn’t have the wintertime blues, should they? They should be dreaming of a white Christmas, not having their dreams shattered, right? The true story of Christmas is that many children are grieving the loss of loved ones during this season, causing Christmas morning to turn into Christmas mourning. Parents can help their children by giving them twelve gifts, for the twelve days of Christmas, to help them cope during this painful time:Gift # 1: Educate yourself about grief. Parents can unwittingly pass on their anxieties and fears to their children. Even the best actors will give themselves away. Children are tuned into adult’s nonverbal signals. Trying to hide painful feelings or awkward emotions will only increase children’s anxieties. They will assume they are “bad” or “responsible” for the absence of the loved one. Instead of hiding your emotions, learn about the stages of grief by reading books on the subject, attending support groups for families of loss, or working with a qualified family therapist. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for your child.Gift # 2: Let children teach you about grief. Children respond to loss in different ways. No way is the right way. Let children teach you how they think, feel, and respond to the loss. Walk along side the child in his or her personal journey. Notice the path and scenery as well as the direction you are headed. If children are taking a destructive route (suicide or self-harm) steer them in a different direction. Don’t wait till you are stepping over the edge. Be on the look out early in the journey for upcoming dangers. Talk to qualified educators and therapists about the warning signs of suicide, chronic depression, unrealistic fears, and other self-destructive behaviors if you are concerned.Gift # 3: Wrap your child in relationship. Just as you would wrap a Christmas present in beautiful wrapping, with string and ribbons, you can wrap your child in relationship. Healing comes in connection with healthy people. It doesn’t make up for the loss, but it does provide children with a safe environment to heal. This requires that parents spend quality time with children and permit free expression of thoughts and feelings about the loss. If a child doesn’t want to spend time with a parent or healthy adult, give him or her some space but remain available to them. Occasionally ask them how they are feeling about the loss and stay involved, physically and emotionally. Gift # 4: Talk openly and honestly about the loss. Many cultures avoid the topic of grief. Because the person is gone, we want the painful feelings to be gone too. But this isn’t how grief works. Grief has its own time and space to do the work of healing in children’s lives. Children need to be able to talk openly and honestly about the loss. They may have questions that can’t be answered easily. Don’t avoid them. If you don’t know the answer to the question, be honest and say so. Never tell children silly stories or lies, by saying, “Grandpa went away on a trip.” Gift # 5: Don’t wait for the big talk. Use little, everyday experiences to talk to children about loss. If you find a bird has died in your yard or the gold fish dies in the fish tank, use that time to talk about your child’s thoughts and feelings around their loss. When your child’s friends move away and go to another school, talk about how that feels in relation to mom and dad’s divorce. Treat loss as a “serious curiosity.” Children are naturally curious and talking about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about loss can be an equally natural experience.Gift # 6: Respect children’s responses, however negative they may be. Some of children’s responses to loss might be unpleasant (grumpy, rude, oppositional), unattractive (poor hygiene, messy room, poor grades) or even frightening (inconsolable crying, insomnia, and refusal to eat). Take the necessary steps to respond to their responses. Don’t judge them or shame them. Respect their responses as one of many ways to cope with a difficult, overwhelming situation. Of course, not all responses are constructive. Stop destructive ones, but do it in a sensitive manner. In addition, children should not be allowed to set their own limits by avoiding responsibilities and rules. Continue to set limits while being flexible and understanding.Gift # 7: Expect and understand that your child may have bodily reactions to loss. When children’s hearts hurt, so do their bodies. They may experience some somatic problems, such as, stomach aches or headaches. This can be perfectly normal and if not due to a physical problem, will go away with time and support. Always check these bodily reactions out with a physician to be sure. If conditions persist, and have not physical cause, consult with a child or family therapist.Gift # 8: If someone has died, allow the child to attend the funeral. Although children are young they need to participate in a ceremony designed to say goodbye to a loved one and find some emotional closure. Although you should never force a child to go to a funeral, don’t exclude them either. Let them set the pace for each part of the ceremony. At each step of the way, ask them if they wish to participate. They may be comfortable attending a service but not viewing an open casket. Respect their wishes. Have someone who can take them home or wait outside with them if you wish to continue and they do not. Gift # 9: If the lose does not involve a death or a funeral, create a ceremony to perform with the child. Rituals, traditions, and ceremonies are important physical markers of our emotional territory. They create a solid boundary for starting and stopping an activity or relationship. In the case of a divorce, no ceremony exists for a child to gain closure. Make a special dinner and eat it in memory of the person who has left. Find rituals to mark the goings and coming of children from mom’s house to dad’s house. During the Christmas holiday, find special ways to celebrate that are uniquely different from the past, such as, caroling, doing volunteer work, baking breads, hanging a special ornament, reciting the advent message, etc.Gift # 10: Give children permission to feel relief without it being interpreted as a lack of love. In some circumstances the loss of a loved one may bring relief. For example, a family member may have suffered from a chronic illness that produced great physically pain for the victim as well as emotional pain for the family. A divorce may result in the reduction of abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical) that occurred in the home prior to one parent leaving. Children may interpret this relief as a lack of love for the loved one. Explain the differences and give them permission to feel relief that the pain has stopped, not their love.Gift # 11: Focus on the spiritual. Use times of loss as motivations to learn more about your religious beliefs and culture. Great comfort can be found in this neglected aspect of us. Turn to your religious and cultural leaders for support. Read age appropriate materials, with your child, on religious and cultural thoughts. Attend religious and cultural functions. Don’t worry that you won’t have all the spiritual answers to loss. That really isn’t the point. Although you will find some answers, the greatest benefit is recapturing or nurturing your spiritual self. Gift # 12: Prepare for hard work. Grieving is complicated. Fortunately, it is also natural. If you trust the process, the work will not be as hard as if you resist it. If you or your child have not been comfortable expressing your feelings, in the past, grieving may be harder. But it will not be impossible. In fact, grieving is inevitable. Let it do its work in you, to heal you and your child, so that you and your child can do the work of grieving. And in so doing, have a merrier Christmas!

diyparent:

Grieving All The Way: 12 Ways to Cope with Grief during the 12 Days of Christmas.

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

"Grieving boys,
Grieving girls,
Grieving in the home.
Oh what terrible pain it is 
when you lose someone you love.”


(Loosely sung to the tune of Jingle Bells).

This song is not meant to be disrespectful. It is meant to demonstrate how disrespectful society can be to children who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Christmas, according to our stories, is supposed to be a magical time of the year. Children, who have lost someone they love to death or divorce, shouldn’t have the wintertime blues, should they? They should be dreaming of a white Christmas, not having their dreams shattered, right? The true story of Christmas is that many children are grieving the loss of loved ones during this season, causing Christmas morning to turn into Christmas mourning. Parents can help their children by giving them twelve gifts, for the twelve days of Christmas, to help them cope during this painful time:

Gift # 1: Educate yourself about grief. Parents can unwittingly pass on their anxieties and fears to their children. Even the best actors will give themselves away. Children are tuned into adult’s nonverbal signals. Trying to hide painful feelings or awkward emotions will only increase children’s anxieties. They will assume they are “bad” or “responsible” for the absence of the loved one. Instead of hiding your emotions, learn about the stages of grief by reading books on the subject, attending support groups for families of loss, or working with a qualified family therapist. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for your child.

Gift # 2: Let children teach you about grief. Children respond to loss in different ways. No way is the right way. Let children teach you how they think, feel, and respond to the loss. Walk along side the child in his or her personal journey. Notice the path and scenery as well as the direction you are headed. If children are taking a destructive route (suicide or self-harm) steer them in a different direction. Don’t wait till you are stepping over the edge. Be on the look out early in the journey for upcoming dangers. Talk to qualified educators and therapists about the warning signs of suicide, chronic depression, unrealistic fears, and other self-destructive behaviors if you are concerned.

Gift # 3: Wrap your child in relationship. Just as you would wrap a Christmas present in beautiful wrapping, with string and ribbons, you can wrap your child in relationship. Healing comes in connection with healthy people. It doesn’t make up for the loss, but it does provide children with a safe environment to heal. This requires that parents spend quality time with children and permit free expression of thoughts and feelings about the loss. If a child doesn’t want to spend time with a parent or healthy adult, give him or her some space but remain available to them. Occasionally ask them how they are feeling about the loss and stay involved, physically and emotionally. 

Gift # 4: Talk openly and honestly about the loss. Many cultures avoid the topic of grief. Because the person is gone, we want the painful feelings to be gone too. But this isn’t how grief works. Grief has its own time and space to do the work of healing in children’s lives. Children need to be able to talk openly and honestly about the loss. They may have questions that can’t be answered easily. Don’t avoid them. If you don’t know the answer to the question, be honest and say so. Never tell children silly stories or lies, by saying, “Grandpa went away on a trip.” 

Gift # 5: Don’t wait for the big talk. Use little, everyday experiences to talk to children about loss. If you find a bird has died in your yard or the gold fish dies in the fish tank, use that time to talk about your child’s thoughts and feelings around their loss. When your child’s friends move away and go to another school, talk about how that feels in relation to mom and dad’s divorce. Treat loss as a “serious curiosity.” Children are naturally curious and talking about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about loss can be an equally natural experience.

Gift # 6: Respect children’s responses, however negative they may be. Some of children’s responses to loss might be unpleasant (grumpy, rude, oppositional), unattractive (poor hygiene, messy room, poor grades) or even frightening (inconsolable crying, insomnia, and refusal to eat). Take the necessary steps to respond to their responses. Don’t judge them or shame them. Respect their responses as one of many ways to cope with a difficult, overwhelming situation. Of course, not all responses are constructive. Stop destructive ones, but do it in a sensitive manner. In addition, children should not be allowed to set their own limits by avoiding responsibilities and rules. Continue to set limits while being flexible and understanding.

Gift # 7: Expect and understand that your child may have bodily reactions to loss. When children’s hearts hurt, so do their bodies. They may experience some somatic problems, such as, stomach aches or headaches. This can be perfectly normal and if not due to a physical problem, will go away with time and support. Always check these bodily reactions out with a physician to be sure. If conditions persist, and have not physical cause, consult with a child or family therapist.

Gift # 8: If someone has died, allow the child to attend the funeral. Although children are young they need to participate in a ceremony designed to say goodbye to a loved one and find some emotional closure. Although you should never force a child to go to a funeral, don’t exclude them either. Let them set the pace for each part of the ceremony. At each step of the way, ask them if they wish to participate. They may be comfortable attending a service but not viewing an open casket. Respect their wishes. Have someone who can take them home or wait outside with them if you wish to continue and they do not. 

Gift # 9: If the lose does not involve a death or a funeral, create a ceremony to perform with the child. Rituals, traditions, and ceremonies are important physical markers of our emotional territory. They create a solid boundary for starting and stopping an activity or relationship. In the case of a divorce, no ceremony exists for a child to gain closure. Make a special dinner and eat it in memory of the person who has left. Find rituals to mark the goings and coming of children from mom’s house to dad’s house. During the Christmas holiday, find special ways to celebrate that are uniquely different from the past, such as, caroling, doing volunteer work, baking breads, hanging a special ornament, reciting the advent message, etc.

Gift # 10: Give children permission to feel relief without it being interpreted as a lack of love. In some circumstances the loss of a loved one may bring relief. For example, a family member may have suffered from a chronic illness that produced great physically pain for the victim as well as emotional pain for the family. A divorce may result in the reduction of abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical) that occurred in the home prior to one parent leaving. Children may interpret this relief as a lack of love for the loved one. Explain the differences and give them permission to feel relief that the pain has stopped, not their love.

Gift # 11: Focus on the spiritual. Use times of loss as motivations to learn more about your religious beliefs and culture. Great comfort can be found in this neglected aspect of us. Turn to your religious and cultural leaders for support. Read age appropriate materials, with your child, on religious and cultural thoughts. Attend religious and cultural functions. Don’t worry that you won’t have all the spiritual answers to loss. That really isn’t the point. Although you will find some answers, the greatest benefit is recapturing or nurturing your spiritual self. 

Gift # 12: Prepare for hard work. Grieving is complicated. Fortunately, it is also natural. If you trust the process, the work will not be as hard as if you resist it. If you or your child have not been comfortable expressing your feelings, in the past, grieving may be harder. But it will not be impossible. In fact, grieving is inevitable. Let it do its work in you, to heal you and your child, so that you and your child can do the work of grieving. And in so doing, have a merrier Christmas!


When kids want something, they’ll ask..and ask…and ask until you cave in. You can teach them to unlearn this annoying negotiation tactic by saying just three words: “Asked and Answered.”

The technique comes from parenting book author Lynn Lott and shared on the Positive Parenting Solutions blog, which writes:

The concept is simple. When seven-year-old Daniel begs to dig a giant hole in the front yard and gets “no” for an answer, chances are he’ll be back in five minutes asking again – this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so you know he really, really wants to dig the hole.

Instead of repeating yourself or jumping in to a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:

Step One: Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (He’ll probably say no.)

Step Two: Ask, “Did you ask me a question about digging a hole?” (He’ll say yes.)

Step Three: Ask, “Did I answer it?” (He’ll probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)

Step Four: Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are Daniel will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)

Step Five: If Daniel asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address nagging questions.

Both parents are going to have to be consistent in using “Asked and Answered” for it to sink in (especially for kids who are exhaustingly persistent in their badgering). Once it does though, hopefully this technique will help you stop sounding like a broken record.

Child Nagging & Negotiating | Positive Parenting Solutions

In researching for my book, I have talked to a lot of divorced parents to find out where the majority of the conflict in co-parenting arises. It seems the number one topic that is brought up is communication. Not just communication between the parents, but communication with the kids when they are with the other parent. It can be very upsetting for a parent when he/she has to go seven days without seeing his/her kids and the other parent doesn’t allow the noncustodial parent to talk to the children.

Due to the controversial nature of calling/texting the kids, it is often put in as a provision in the custody agreement.  During mediation, the parents may agree on what they think is appropriate for calling and texting. While the custody agreement is in place so there is a baseline to work from, the goal is to work toward open communication between all parties.

I have discussed this with most of my divorced friends and everyone seems to think that talking to the kids once a day when they are with the other parent is pretty appropriate.  However, there are some parents who choose not to allow that.  They won’t have the kids return calls, won’t play messages for the kids and may even seek legal action to keep the other parent from contacting the kids.

While the parent prohibiting the contact is protecting his/her privacy, he/she is also causing anxiety for the children. Rather than knowing the other parent can’t contact them, the children go to bed each night thinking the other parent doesn’t care or has better things to do.

You can’t explain to a 10-year-old child that you can’t call them because mommy went to court to prohibit it.  You can’t tell your teenage son that you aren’t allowed to text him about basketball tryouts or his big science test because his father had it put in the court order. While your anger may make you want to tell them, you know it is not in their best interests to possess that information.

My ex has always called at least twice a day for over nine years now.  Although most would say that is excessive, it doesn’t bother me because I don’t have to speak to him anyway.  With caller ID, I can see it is him and hand the phone to one of the kids.  They enjoy their daily talks with him and when I have asked them about it they have said that it makes them feel good that dad wants to be a part of their lives even when they are not with him.  If it makes them feel good, then why in the world would I fight it?

Some people may think over twice a day is excessive, but as far as I am concerned, he is their father and when we were married he got to talk to them even more than that.  Why take that from either of them?  I don’t even know how often he texts them because HE IS THEIR FATHER.  If he wants to text them, then he can.  And if I want to text them when they are with him, then I will.  No matter who they are with, we are both still their parents.

Because of this open attitude we have about phone calls/texting, I can’t even begin to understand people who attempt to limit contact with the other parent without there being an abuse issue or an addiction problem.  While there may be separate lives with the parents, there is only one life for the children.  Just because they are with one parent and not the other does not mean that their other parent doesn’t exist for them during that time.

Following a divorce, children have many needs that only their parents can meet. It has been proven that kids need their parents to remain involved. If their parents do not remain involved, the kids will question their love. Good communication with your ex regarding the kids should be of the highest priority, but even more important is keeping the right mindset so that you can encourage the relationship between your kids and the other parent. Your children more than ever need you to put them first. Divorce is a time when parents inadvertently make a lot of parenting mistakes, so don’t purposely cause them more problems by sabotaging their relationship with the other parent. Read more from Valerie DeLoach at her blog, Life in a Blender.

50 Everyday Ways to Love Your Teen | Psychology Today:

Small Actions that Help Teens Thrive

  1. Notice who they as people, not just their academic achievement.
  2. Celebrate their differences and special needs.
  3. Ask what was best about their day.
  4. Surprise them with a hug—just because you love them.
  5. Show your gratitude for their presence in your life.
  6. Leave an encouraging note in their backpack.
  7. Exercise together.
  8. Help them discover meaningful after-school and summer activities.
  9. Laugh with one another.
  10. Enjoy naturebeauty, and art together.
  11. Smile when they walk into a room.
  12. Welcome their friends to your home.
  13. Get to know their friends beyond surface conversations.
  14. Praise them for who they are, not just for what they do.
  15. Listen first. Speak last.
  16. Thank them for their ideas and suggestions.
  17. Help them critically think through decisions.
  18. Advise, counsel, and support them.
  19. Allow them to make their own choices.
  20. Encourage them to serve the public good.
  21. Believe in their abilities to overcome challenges.
  22. Support and encourage them as they struggle.
  23. When they show courage, let them know you admire them.
  24. When they solve a problem, help them reflect on what they learned.
  25. When they plan an event, congratulate them on what went well.
  26. Talk about real world challenges and invite their opinions on moral issues.
  27. Let them know it is okay to feel confused.
  28. Don’t judge or impose your beliefs on them. Adolescence is about figuring it out for oneself.
  29. Help them connect their heads with their hearts.
  30. Show them how to care for others by modeling empathy and compassion.
  31. Talk with them about your heroes and role models.
  32. Discover their heroes and role models.
  33. When you are angry and frustrated, demonstrate how to manage your feelings instead of lashing out at others.
  34. Teach them about being safe online – and off.
  35. Be a cheerleader for them when they feel down.
  36. Optimism is contagious. Cultivate it in your home.
  37. Don’t just watch movies together; discuss the messages and ideas in the stories.
  38. Help them see the good side of getting things wrong.
  39. Share the little things you notice about them that you cherish – the way they giggle, munch their food, or comb their hair.
  40. Thank them for their kindness.
  41. Embrace their adolescent awkwardness. They’ll grow out of it.
  42. Try not to embarrass them in front of their friends – or ever.
  43. Allow them to see you cry.
  44. Help them find meaning through loss and grief.
  45. Talk to them about their futures; encourage curiosity about different career paths.
  46. Apologize when you are wrong.
  47. Let them know when they inspire you.
  48. Admit when you make a mistake and what you learned as a result.
  49. Be a sounding board when they need one.
  50. Encourage connections with adult mentors.

©2013 Marilyn Price-Mitchell. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.

What is Theraplay?

You may have heard of “play therapy” for children but  have your ever heard of TheraPlay? This pioneering approach to attachment-based, family therapy is one that I have been practicing for many years and still find it one of the most practical approaches to working with families, particularly children who have endured trauma. 

Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

In treatment, the Theraplay therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behavior and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.

We call this “building relationships from the inside out.””

Support National Adoption Day Nov. 23 
CWLA

Help support National Adoption Day on Nov. 23. This national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families is an annual, one-day event celebrated the Saturday before every Thanksgiving. It honors families who adopt, encourages others to adopt children from foster care and builds collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations. Find out more at http://www.nationaladoptionday.org

Depression Screening Tool
Depression is a serious illness that can be 100% treatable. It is a common problem for parents and can have a big impact on your ability to interact positively with your family. If you are experience severe symptoms, please seek help immediately. Remember, this is completely treatable and you can turn your life around but you must seek help…
Symptoms:Are you concerned you may be suffering from the burden of a depressive disorder? Find out by completing our simple but accurate Depression Screening Tool.Treatment:Most depressive disorders are readily improved through counseling and coaching while more extreme situations may require a combination ofmedication and psychotherapy. You Are Not Alone:Of all of the emotional experiences a person will ever suffer during their lifetime is the pain of depression. The fact that more than 20% ofAmericans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime is no consolation for your discomfort.  Each year more than 5% of the American population suffers from a depressive disorder. Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today.You Are Not to Blame:Depression is a serious mood disorder which affects a person’s ability to function in every day activities. It affects your work, your studies, your family, and your relationships.It is a misconception to believe that depression is a problem of weakness, nor is it just a “blue” feeling. Depression is a serious mental health problem that can be alleviated. Today, much is understood aboutthe causes and treatment of this mental health problem. We know that there are biological and psychological components to every depression.  Most especially, depression is not your fault.So What Does Cause It?:Depression in some forms and at some times is a perfectly natural and “healthy” response to an event such as the feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one. Depression experienced after certain medicalprocedures (such as postpartum depression) is however clinically recognized. Your family history and your genetics can also play a part inthe greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with thatstress may also contribute to depression. Depression has as many potential causes as there are people who suffer it.Depression caused by medications or substance or alcohol abuse is not typically recognized as a depressive episode.
If I Feel That I Am Depressed What Can I Do Now?:Take a few moments and complete our online depression screening tool.Review the results and if suggested get the help that you need. 

Depression Screening Tool

Depression is a serious illness that can be 100% treatable. It is a common problem for parents and can have a big impact on your ability to interact positively with your family. If you are experience severe symptoms, please seek help immediately. Remember, this is completely treatable and you can turn your life around but you must seek help…

Symptoms:
Are you concerned you may be suffering from the burden of a depressive disorder? Find out by completing our simple but accurate Depression Screening Tool.

Treatment:
Most depressive disorders are readily improved through counseling and coaching while more extreme situations may require a combination of
medication and psychotherapy. 

You Are Not Alone:
Of all of the emotional experiences a person will ever suffer during their lifetime is the pain of depression. The fact that more than 20% of
Americans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime is no consolation for your discomfort.  Each year more than 5% of the American population suffers from a depressive disorder. Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today.

You Are Not to Blame:
Depression is a serious mood disorder which affects a person’s ability to function in every day activities. It affects your work, your studies, your family, and your relationships.

It is a misconception to believe that depression is a problem of weakness, nor is it just a “blue” feeling. Depression is a serious mental health problem that can be alleviated. Today, much is understood about
the causes and treatment of this mental health problem. We know that there are biological and psychological components to every depression.  
Most especially, depression is not your fault.

So What Does Cause It?:
Depression in some forms and at some times is a perfectly natural and “healthy” response to an event such as the feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one. Depression experienced after certain medical
procedures (such as postpartum depression) is however clinically recognized. Your family history and your genetics can also play a part in
the greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with that
stress may also contribute to depression. Depression has as many potential causes as there are people who suffer it.

Depression caused by medications or substance or alcohol abuse is not typically recognized as a depressive episode.

If I Feel That I Am Depressed What Can I Do Now?:
Take a few moments and complete our online depression screening tool.Review the results and if suggested get the help that you need. 

Researchers have long thought that there are four distinct parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved. While parents generally exhibit some combination of these four styles, most practice one dominant style. 

As Christians, we believe God is our Heavenly Father. So what are the theological implications of the four parenting styles? Is there one that is more clearly a Christian approach to parenting?

Scripture clearly teaches that God is not uninvolved in the lives of His children. Psalm 68:5 describes God as a Father to the fatherless, and Jesus referred to God as Father almost 200 times throughout the Gospels. Isaiah 40:1 speaks of God’s desire to “comfort” His people, just as a parent might do in the wake of disciplining a child. It seems clear that Scripture reveals God in the role of Heavenly Father. 

That is not to say we will always feel comforted. We may have long periods of spiritual hunger and darkness in which we feel neglected by God. For most Christians, these “dark nights of the soul” (a term introduced by St. John of the Cross in a poem in the 16th century) end in resolution and reassurance of God’s presence and activity in the lives of believers. “Dark night” seasons may be purposeful to facilitate greater dependence on God, or they may be in response to unconfessed sin or a lack of repentance. It is critical to note that the dark night seasons are not indicative of an uninvolved God.

Likewise orthodox Christians rarely view God as a permissive God. He is not so focused on His desire to have a relationship with us that He is willing to completely set aside all His expectations. Christians who have been influenced by “pop theology” may have the idea that God wants nothing more than for them to be happy. They may use their belief in a permissive God to excuse all manner of immoral living. A permissive God is clearly the invention of an immature and selfish society and is inconsistent with God as revealed in Scripture.

Many people view God as an authoritarian Heavenly Father. This view focuses on the divine attribute of holiness. Because God is holy, He has the expectation that we also be holy (Lev. 11:44, 1 Pet. 1:16). However God’s expectations of us do not contradict His desire to be in relationship with us. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 

God recognizes that we are unable to be holy on our own. Therefore He has made a way for us to enter into His presence. The great lengths God has gone to so we may be in relationship with Him reveal the value He places upon us. A strictly authoritarian God would lose His desire to be in relationship with us if we were not able to follow His rules.

Most parenting research reveals that the best parenting style for raising healthy children is the authoritative parenting style. I would argue that the authoritative parenting style is also the most reflective of our Heavenly Father. 

Authoritative parents are not weak. Their expectations of their children are high. They do not easily give in, but they do take into account the feelings and needs of their child. They are strong yet gentle. Christian authoritative parents use parenting as an opportunity to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit. When they are angry or disappointed with their children, it is at that very moment that they exhibit “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). 

God has clearly communicated His expectations to His children. There are rewards for meeting His expectations and consequences for falling short. As parents, however, we reflect our Heavenly Father when we parent our children with a healthy balance between relationship and rules.

- See more at: http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/print-edition-article-detail.php?id_art=29415&pricat_art=1#sthash.SUvhBVBi.dpuf

From the office of Ron Huxley, founder of the Parenting Toolbox…

"I don’t believe anymore in coping, suffering, or managing our pain. I believe in overcoming, restoring, and wholeness. It is time for traditional mental health to raise the bar on our expectations for ourselves and our families. No one wants to be a limping, functional person when they can be completely healthy and happy. I am currently on my own journey now, exploring how  to make this a reality. Contact me for more information and/or set up a consultation time to start the road to a real life."