Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan

Healing for the heart, mind, and soul.


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Children of Changing Families

Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan will hold a support group called Children of Changing Families for children experiencing family divorce or separation. It will begin on April 28th and be 5 weeks long ending May 26th. The group will meet weekly for 1-1/2 hours per session. The cost is $10 per participant, with a maximum of $20/family. Scholarships are available in cases of financial hardship.

Children who have recently experienced parental separation or divorce are welcome to participate. The group may also benefit children whose parents have separated or divorced in the past, but who are struggling to accept it. Those interested may sign up or receive more information by calling Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan at 989-317-4664 by April 26th. There is a maximum of 6 group members so early sign-up is encouraged.

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Surviving The School Countdown

The warm weather has arrived and you are finally remembering the reason you choose to live in Michigan.  When the shorts and t-shirts are pulled out from their long-term storage, everyone’s mind turns to summer plans and exciting vacations.  Unfortunately, our alarm clocks quickly remind us that we still have another month of school to survive before we can fully relax and the fun can begin.  So, how do you and your child survive the last month of school, the time when you’d rather be outdoors than at the table doing Math homework?  Here are a few pointers to help get you to the end:

  1. Keep Your Schedule Consistent: As much as you would love to relax on things like dinnertime and bedtime, it is vital that your schedule remain as consistent as possible so that your kids can continue to function at a healthy level. Their daily schedules require the same amount of concentration and stamina as they have throughout the school year.   Sure the sun is setting later, but that doesn’t mean your kids need to go to sleep later.  With all the energy they expend outside, kids need more sleep this time of year, not less.
  2. Review the Requirements: As the school year comes to a close, now is the time to look back at those long-term projects and set a plan to complete them. For example, that English project that will take more than one night to complete but has not been worked on at all throughout the semester will need to be broken down into achievable goals.  Relaxing on the school work might let something slip through the cracks and result in missing assignments and low final grades.
  3. Relax Your Weekends: With nice weather and spring activities, the weekends tend to fill up very quickly this time of year. It’s easy to find yourself running from one sport to the next, not to mention dances, recitals and various other showcases.  Be sure to schedule in some relaxing time so that you don’t come away from your weekends exhausted.  The weekday activities still require the same amount of time and energy as they have all year.  Going into them with less energy only compounds existing problems.
  4. Stay Engaged In Learning: This applies to both you and your student. Continue to ask them how their day was, who they played with, what they enjoyed, etc.  You may get the same answer as you have all year, but they need to know you are still interested in their learning process.  Help your student to remain invested in their work.  Assist them in choosing topics they are passionate about for their final projects, books or presentations.  Engage them with hands on activities and introduce nature artifacts to assignments they need to accomplish.  If they are more passionate, it will be easier to push through the end of the year work.
  5. Create Incentives: Everyone is more motivated if they are looking forward to something rewarding. Set up some incentives for your child to be successful in their final weeks.  Maybe it’s a trip to the ice cream store, a picnic in the park, or a visit to the zoo.  Choose something that will motivate them to finish strong but that will also encourage them to look forward to what the outdoors has to offer them this time of year.

 

Michigan is a great place to live with its changing seasons and fabulous summer activities.  As you look forward to enjoying your time away from the routine of school, be sure to finish strong so that everyone heads into summer on a high note.  Who knows, it might make going back in the fall that much easier too.

-Emily DeJong, L.M.F.T.

 

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Children of Integrity

As parents, we pray for our children to become people of integrity, compassion, and faith; but in our quiet moments, we may ask ourselves if it is possible to help our children grow toward emotional resilience and social responsibility. We often wonder about the best way to guide our children in this contemporary culture that seems focused on self-satisfaction. As we listen carefully to our children and read the news, we face the inescapable and painful knowledge that our children are experiencing abusive behavior from their peers. Furthermore, our own children may be engaging in behavior that singles out others for maltreatment. Surveys given to middle school students real that 40 to 80 percent of these students admit to engaging in behavior that is defined as bullying. We read news reports that adolescents have committed suicide in response to bullying by peers. Tragically, there have been instances of harassing behavior turning into violent assaults that result in injury and death. This toxic behavior makes us anxious about our children’s safety and about the development of their character.

Children are profoundly vigilant and insightful. They are like sponges absorbing the emotional climate they inhabit. As parents, we must face the reality that we have the power and influence to teach our children to become bullies as well as victims of intimidation. If we choose to use corporal punishment with our children, it will definitely hurt them, it will immediately suppress an undesirable behavior, and for the moment, our parental anger may be minimized. However, any time that we choose to use physical aggression, whether toward an adult or child, we are also faced with resentment, contempt, and loss of respect from the victim. Corporal punishment is a direct physical assault on the dignity and self-concept of a child. Children quickly learn to pass this on to their peers. In a similar way, children can learn to overpower others when they are disciplined with strategies that force them into immediate surrender in shame and humiliation. We can accomplish this with just words. Words of contempt and words of disrespect that tell children they are “useless, or lazy, or worthless”. Words are very effective and children easily learn to use them to hurt the heart and soul of their peers.

Fortunately, there are ways that we, as parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors can guide the next generation toward respect and compassion. We can check and monitor our own behavior to insure we relate to each other in a manner that consistently demonstrates the core message of Jesus. If we want our children to learn to navigate through difficult situations, we can teach them to deal with conflict by negotiating the differences and disagreements that emerge in our own relationships with them. As parents, we can demonstrate fair and respectful dialogue with our children. These experiences build character and courage. This kind of parenting will not be easy. Children are still learning the fine points of language and their emotions are large and expansive. They may be initially resistive to the idea of working things out with words; but most things of importance are difficult and take lots of practice. Let your child see you work out your differences with neighbors, family, and friends. Our most powerful tool for raising children of faith is to demonstrate the example Jesus gave us.

Joyce Riddick, M.A., LLP