Posts in "Parenting" category

Early Intervention and Better Judgment

That’s what we all want as parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches for our kids.

To ask for help early on to troubleshoot  any challenges, including emotional burdens.

To use better judgment when choosing which company you keep, where you spend free time and how you treat your family, as a few examples. Each act of wisdom and each show of empathy and kindness may help prevent breakdowns and crimes as revealed in the news story below about a man who could not cope with the consequences of his addiction — set in East Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia.

After studying parent/child relationships for decades, analyzing hundreds of cases involving family conflict, I can say for certain that a parent’s judgment in how he or she guides children to treat other family members has a lot to do with preventing ongoing dysfunction, including addiction, family violence, abuse in relationships, etc.

Several cases in Georgia involve someone taking a life, their own or a family member’s life, committing arson and other crimes, because that person doesn’t have the coping mechanisms needed in relationships and in deciding how to handle uncertainty and disappointment.

A Marietta, Georgia, man turned suicidal, burned down his family home, ran from police and put many other lives at risk.

This story could have turned into a much greater tragedy, but fortunately no lives were lost and the perpetrator of arson and drug use is behind bars.

 

Below: traumatized father and neighbor talks about the scene. Other neighbors led from smoke-filled, burning homes adjacent to Matt Olson’s unit. We do not yet know the total damages caused by his addiction, suicidal behavior, arson and the police chase.

 

Photography and video credit: Fox 5 News, Atlanta, Georgia

Know Your Own Mind

A reminder to self…to keep it simple.

When you know your own mind, no one else can make it up for you or force you off course for lack of resolve or clarity.

Know Your Own Mind_Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

Focusing Parents on What Matters

Just Listen_My Advocate Center

It’s so easy to get lost in keeping up appearances, competing or trying to get the upper hand or trying to defend our positions that we forget about what matters.

Our kids need our focus on them, their safety, peace of mind and the assurance that we have things covered; it is not up to them to make us feel calm, confident, supported or reassured.

This video puts a fun spin on how we treat each other as parents, and on how we deal with our differences. Click the link below to the “Boys Germs” Facebook page and look for the video to the left. Enjoy!

This parenting clip is brilliant…must watch to the end!!

Posted by Boys Germs on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ballad Brings Emotion: Children Need Our Love

Deb Beacham advocates for children having the best that both parents have to offer.

Just watch, then ask what you can do…

Post by The Throwaway Client. Author, Deb Beacham.
This name comes from the hundreds – really thousands – of parents and children being treated as throwaways by certain court and agency professionals who lack empathy and disregard the needs of children. The trauma being caused by failures to uphold laws and professional duty to clients is staggering, but it can be addressed and stopped, if you dare to ask how.

Worthy of What You Need

Considering messages given to us as parents, and to our kids:

Aren’t you thankful that you don’t have to be perfect?

child learning how to make a pot on a pottery wheel, old potter

Has anyone told you that you DO have to be perfect in order to be worthy of their support, or of being believed?

Many of us grew up understanding that if we were “worthy” or “good enough” we would get the validation, time or support that we craved.  We missed out on something and became vulnerable as we went out into the world searching for what we felt we needed that was not given to us as children.

As adults many of us struggle with having love withheld – unconditional love – in marriages and relationships.   We might also struggle with an employer who withholds positive feedback or makes us feel like we somehow don’t measure up.  We feel the sting of missed opportunities or of a betrayal.

Being told that you don’t measure up, and therefore are not entitled to support – or that you are not worthy of being believed or even protected – is a tactic that we hopefully learn to recognize as we get older.

But this tactic only works for as long as we allow it to work.

Once we get it that we really do NOT need to be perfect, or to be exactly as someone else dictates to us, we can claim our worth.  We can expect to be treated better by those around us.

This is the phase I’m in with my children; helping them see that their value is not attached to their grades or to their level of sports competition, or to which friends they have or don’t have.

This is also a common theme with so many parents who talk to me about what they are facing as they work through conflict with each other and with family court professionals.

The rest of this note is for the many parents who are expressing to me or to My Advocate Center’s team that they are being told, You are so flawed that you can’t expect any better in this situation.”  They are hearing these comments directed at them as decisions are being made about parenting time and parenting rights.

Apparently you must be “perfect” to be allowed to make decisions about the care of your child, or to be allowed to freely nurture and give to your child.  Certain professionals claim authority and claim that in their perfect wisdom that they can tell you – the parent – that you do not measure up somehow, and that you must be fearful and in some cases be prepared to BUY time with your children.

Of course, no one is showing these parents what “perfect” looks like.  And parents in most cases are not given the chance improve upon their alleged shortcomings before finding out they’ve lost everything.  Many are not even allowed to see the results of their evaluations and tests to learn what their actual flaws and faults are…when those things are being used to take away CHILDREN.

No, it’s not right how these parents are being treated – and it’s not right what is being done to their children in the process.   

There is no “win” in this for the children, only for the professionals holding these families captive and able to control time, decision-making and all of the family’s financial resources.

And just imagine how the kids feel seeing their parents under this much stress?   If a parent is beaten down and made to believe they are not worthy, and have no rights and no chance, what do you think this does to a child’s peace of mind, sense of self-worth and stability?

I can confirm for you that it is just BAD all around.   And completely unnecessary – – and preventable.

So let’s go back to the initial concept here:  if you are worthy enough to be allowed to parent your child, then say so.  Act like it.  If your child is worthy of having your love, time, nurturing and financial support, then say so.  Act like it.

If you are worthy of being believed and supported, say so.  Then act like it.  Send the right message to your kids by saying, “I am worthy of the best treatment, and therefore so are YOU.”

If the people around you – especially those who are working for YOU and who are hired to help protect your children and your rights – do not say so or if they do not act like they believe this, then why would you keep them around?

Aren’t you and your children worthy of getting what you need?   Please let me know if you still need help getting to that answer by emailing me through MyAdvocateCenter.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Pediatric Cancer: the Wicked Equalizer

How does your mind react when you read, “Counts are coming up”?

When you are missing the right perspective in your life, just go to a fund-raiser for kids with cancer or volunteer to help out a family in need.   Read about what Rally Foundation is doing with kids and athletes, how remarkable St. Baldrick’s Foundation is with their crazy-fun head-shaving events, or find others like them.

Subscribe to a blog about a particular child, and learn more on Caring Bridge. The little boy who taught me and my children about the journey families go through with pediatric cancer was Augustus, better known as Gus, and referred to by many as “Mighty Gus.”

http://augustusthemighty.info/counts-are-coming-up/ This was one of his mother’s blog posts to help us stay connected and aware of what to pray for.

Since I started this post a couple of years ago, Gus took a turn for the worse and his family had to let him go. It was one of the toughest things I’ve experienced, and my experience was only from a distance and over time. He touched our lives and that of many others, and his parents are examples of how to manage under stress and through grief. And then there are the medical bills.

Think about what is really a big deal in your world…and consider that your bad day or month isn’t such a big deal after all, is it?

Of course you know someone who has it worse than you do;  we all do.   But sometimes they fall from your mind or you just think there isn’t much you can do for them that will make a difference?   That isn’t the case when you get involved and start to care about any of the children around us who are struggling for their lives, fighting cancer, hoping for new treatments and for cures.

Planting seeds:

Can you think of one of the worst times in your life?   …I can.  In that moment, I consoled myself by saying, “Well, I’ve never been this scared, or this exhausted…but my CHILD does not have CANCER.   So these things I can handle – they are temporary – and we will recover.”   Yes, I actually said out loud, “My child does not have cancer, and I’m so grateful.”

Then I met Gus.  I learned from his mother and her supporters.   Gus battled cancer.   Gus had a lot of friends who have cancer, and every little bit you can give does make a difference for them.   Each of them is Mighty in his/her own way, and their parents/caregivers will stop you in your tracks, causing you to realize just how strong we are when we have to be for the sake of a child.

This video was produced last year by our friend Conn Jackson & is hosted on 11Alive’s site:
http://midtown.11alive.com/news/people/106787-help-fight-childhood-cancer

Talk:  I didn’t hear about pediatric cancer and THEN think that my life wasn’t so bad.   I knew to contrast these challenges with our own because of spending so much time in pediatric hospitals and in specialists’ offices.  This awareness came from my own experiences in mothering preemie twins, and from doing hospital volunteer work.   But not everyone has reason to come across the reality for these young patients.  It has to be revealed, and then spelled out to the average person who is super busy, dealing with their own challenges, more interested in what they are having for dinner, or cursing the traffic.

Awareness is key, and I’m asking that YOU not rely on others to do the sharing.

Please pick an organization AND a child – learn – and share.  Give, of course, when you can.

St. Baldricks and Rally Foundation are creating many more Heroes in the Fight against Pediatric Cancer, and my son Jack is one of them.  I’m so proud of him for choosing to be an ambassador in this, and his fund-raising page is just one example of how you can help. You will see a photo gallery showing more about his experience, and see that he is having fun while contributing.  You may even note what this has done for his confidence;  he is truly inspired and I believe you will be, too.

The next event we’re involved in is at Meehan’s Public House, Sandy Springs in March of 2015. I’ll update this page before then, or search for it online.

Come on out if you’re in town and join in; it’s a great way to have FUN while you learn and support:

http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/JackBeacham

jack and gus big smile

 

 

 

 

 

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Compassion vs. Practicality

Empathy sometimes misses the point.   And that point is that we all need to evolve, to change for the better.

If you are too empathetic you don’t inspire or motivate the person desiring your empathy to change or find a way to help themselves.

If you lack empathy and rather want to be seen as practical and pragmatic, you can miss opportunities to improve your community and can even do harm.

True compassion is PRO-ACTIVE.  It is forgiving, invites tolerance, but leads with a spark or an intense desire to see someone else’s outcome improve.

The best form of compassion takes that spark and feeds it with some practical measures or steps and actually lends a hand in building something better — something the recipient can work with and carry themselves.

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was how to NOT do too much too soon for others when I was asked for help.   It took a few too many times to figure out why I was doing that, so yes…painful, but the real challenge was to remain compassionate and open while modifying my reaction.  It led me to a new service offering for parents involved in legal disputes, or what we describe as, “How to Be Your Own Best Advocate.”

Helping others learn how to advocate for themselves is rooted in my many failures, personal ones as well as the gestures made to others.  While it does take more time, patience or flexibility, and often creativity, once you establish this pattern of empowerment and accountability, it will become easier, so think about your world:

~ children and step-children ~ married couples or single friends ~ clients ~

~ facing conflict / abuse, divorce, addiction, money / housing issues ~

We leave our world a better place by empowering others, especially our children, to create solutions and fix things themselves with tools we possibly provide or with tips we reveal.  Then we watch them carry their new and improved self over the finish line.  If you haven’t done this I suggest you try it – it is quite rewarding all around – and it creates confidence while decreasing co-dependency.

So, the next time you are tempted to JUST DO something for someone you feel sorry for, consider taking the extra time, using the extra creative effort and your last ounce of patience, to coach and coax them into figuring out a way to help themselves.   This way compassion doesn’t have to collide or conflict with practicality and PROGRESS.

Power is more Valuable when Shared

Trial and Error:  we know how crucial this is to progress, for change to occur.

We’ve all tried to gain and retain power.  Hopefully along the way we’ve realized that when you try too hard to control everything, to be the ONE in power and to use power for your own benefit, it’s just not enough.  It backfires.

That is something that I had to learn.  Being Type A and all…

Power comes from God and when we try to claim and use it ourselves, it becomes meaningless if not harmful.  More backfiring than anything.

So why not share any sense of power that you have and see what happens?

Let someone else feel the sense of being in control of a situation, or the satisfaction of receiving credit or being in the spotlight.  See what they do with it.  You never know; you might just gain a greater sense of control and power by being the generous one and sharing what you know you possess.

It sounds like an uncertain proposition, but I can tell you that it works.  Unless you are mostly concerned with appearances, that is.

If you are secure and confident, you’ll have no issue with giving someone else a chance to feel their own power, sense of security in their ability or status.

Try this at work, at home or with a challenging neighbor.   Your children are different – they need to know you are in control and that they are safe and secure with you in charge and running interference, but you can still find ways to help them claim strength, confidence and realize that they, too, can own power and use it wisely.   Show them how to empower and uplift others and you are giving them the priceless gift of owning power.  You have to own it to be able to give it away.   Giving to others puts you more in control of your universe.

Seeing change in others when you empower them or support their cause…whether you are doing this in the military for citizens of another country, as a teacher in middle school, or advocating for parents as an attorney or counselor, just know this is your gift to claim, feel good about and then pay forward.

 

 

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