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Monday, December 10, 2018

4 Reasons Your Child Misbehaves

Monday, December 10, 2018 @ 2:53 PM

Your child misbehaves severely at their childcare-something is terribly wrong!

Buzz, buzz. You check your phone and realize its happening again. ‘They just called yesterday! Can’t they take care of one 3 year old?’ you think to yourself. But you know, he misbehaves a lot, even for you. Mama Bear is about to take over, but you are still unsure if that is the right tact. You know something isn’t right, and you are ready for it to be fixed-you just don’t know what to do. Swallowing tears of frustration, shame, sorrow, guilt, you wonder if he will be going back tomorrow. Wondering what you are going to do, you square your shoulders, prepare yourself and walk into the building.
What do you do when your child misbehaves?

What could be happening?

1. HALT — Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

This is an acronym that helps to remind me that we all get cranky when our bodies aren’t working right. Talk to those around your child and find out if there is a pattern. Do they have difficulty right before nap? Mid-morning? Right before pick up? Look at their eating habits. It is important to not jump to the next idea until you have really looked at your child’s pattern. Knowing when and how predictably your child misbehaves will let you explore how changes to the environment could help them behave better.
2. Physical Issues

There is good evidence that some behavior issues can be related to how a child experiences the world. Vision and hearing problems, certain allergies, illness, and sensory processing issues can all cause misbehavior. To learn more about sensory processing issues, check out the checklist on sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.com. This is a great site to help you understand these issues. If you prefer a book, find the Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz.
3. Conflict Or Change At Home

Your child’s emotional, physical, and psychological world is based on the foundation of your home. If there is a lot of conflict, chaos, and inconsistency, your child will react to that. Can they count on spending connecting time with a parent? Has there been a big change recently? Involved grandparents become ill, parents separate, siblings are born, dogs die. Even good things can disrupt a child’s world such as a new home, new bedroom, and even a new pet.
4. Abuse/Neglect

As parents, we jump to this often and want to switch childcare or school the minute our child begins to act up. Not all childcare/schools are equal and there is clear evidence that predators target young children. However, most of the time the difficulties with your child do not arise from abuse or neglect. Most of the time, your child simply needs different skills than the teacher already knows or the difference between home and childcare confuses your child. Hurt feelings on the part of a child are difficult to handle. Think about workplaces that were not comfortable but didn’t actually break any rules. Be sensitive to your child’s make-up and carefully evaluate how you feel your childcare or school is handling daily activities. A change in teachers or schedules may be difficult for your child.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What it Takes to Have a Good Relationship

Saturday, September 15, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

In this fast pace digital mindset, many are deluded as to relationships. The need for satisfaction and excitement now as the "I wants" and the run-away impulses seek a quick fix for loneliness and the distorted thought of, "I am worthless if I do not have a babe, partner, date, or mate" prevails. Today one can click on a chat for singles-or click to hook up site; and be in a whirlwind-intimate-experience with a stranger. If cute, or funny, or the right words were said; or the person agreed with some dramatic problem we are stressed over (showing them to me of like-minds) within that chat-then suddenly they are not alone and that rush of adrenalin that is accustomed to via the screens, internet, gaming, and apps; has reinforced the behavior. In these "RELATIONSHIPS" one or both reveal extreme inappropriate and sensitive information to the other; are exposing and allowing themselves to be photographed or touched; may engage in multiple like connections with others with additional quick fixes with all; or suddenly relate to each other as the most wonderful lover and/or mate-with the possessiveness and need to control that a sexual union often provokes as the dynamics of the relationship drastically changes when the vulnerability and intimacy is experienced. One day all is great and the next one or both is smearing the other on social media, blowing up their phones, violating boundaries that were at risk; and threatening violence or suicidal behaviors; with many who are not allowing time and tests to truly know each other, to trust each other, and to be sure the emotions and a healthy dose of discernment are in unity.

Real Relationships Require the Below Levels of friendship with each level taking at least 2-6 months minimum.


1. Acquaintance: Conversations and conduct are appropriate; and no risk to either party. Engaged in public forums (sports, shopping, pool, social media) learning name and general themes, safe information     only. No vulnerability exposed.
2. Familiarity: Conversations and conduct are appropriate; no to low risk; general themes (hobbies, likes/dislikes, music, sports); public meeting. Little vulnerability allowed. May ask for phone number.
3. Friends: People of like interests, trustworthiness of word and deed, kind and compassionate, enjoyment of company, more personal sharing of safe information (family members, pets) and more sensitive information that one would feel safe if exposed-as a test for confidentiality and trust. People are visiting with each other in more private forums and also public-yet are not intimate. They are beginning to see how each reacts to conflicts, sadness, anger, disappointments, the handling of money, if dependable, if responsible for their behaviors and decisions.
4. Best friends: People have shown that they are with higher character of integrity, honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, responsible, are of a good work ethic, are able to discern and advise seeking the wellbeing of each other with the flexibility of allowing the other to be alone to choose their paths. These are mindful of emotional and physical boundaries with empathy. These are not controlling or dependent; and stable emotionally. When with these-one feels safe, secure, and validated-looking forward to each meeting. Conversations are of higher vulnerability and risk to both who are sharing due to the tested trust that is earned. Both see the strengths and weakness of the other yet accepts these. Both seeks growth for each other and gives freely; not seeking their own needs.
5. Only now would two people know each other enough to make a decision as to if they would like to accept the responsibilities that come with an intimate relationship where each is fully vulnerable with the agreement of marriage.

Through this process, a relationship has a foundation on which to stand strongly, and could weather the storms that befall all relationships. Without-the people are two strangers who have no foundation-yet are trying to weather the storms. Time and tests saves one's heart from many hurts.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Trusting Him with Your Children

Friday, August 31, 2018 @ 6:48 PM

For those who have persevered in reading the many articles that I have submitted; it did not take long before you most likely saw how vested that I am in teaching parents how to cultivate life skills, character, and to grow self image. In addition, I pointed out several factors that strongly play against the family (our nucleus which has been eroding at alarming rates). For some, you may be tiring of ongoing exhortation, education, and admonishment as I reach out. Family is a major focus of mine. Children's best gift that any parent can provide is a healthy marriage foremost. With both working as one to nurture and to grow each other and their children; then the family thrives-and times of turmoil are better navigated through. Without that strong relationship and support system then a single parent is less supported and often feels overwhelmed as all of the parenting seems to be on their single pair of shoulders as they juggle providing a livelihood.

I wanted to take a moment to share with you my story of single parenting; and even when attempting to provide my children a step parent- who later seemed to not be on the same page as I was; which basically resulted in me returning more to a single parent role. Complicating this with conflicts between the other biological parent that I had to keep to myself while supporting my children's relationship with their dad-also added more stress. As an overachiever who was most concerned about being the best possible mom and realizing that I had only one chance to do this (since parenting is not a dress rehearsal) then this responsibility was embraced with constant prayers on my lips and the will to sacrifice whatever it took to ensure that these blessings (my children) would know their Lord and would dedicate themselves to Him. Further, these children would grow into wise, loving, mindful young women of success in every possible sense.

When they were helpless, the sleepless nights continued without complaint as I held them and rocked them-singing lullabies...although I was exhausted. That was my job and I loved it. Each developmental stage was an exciting experience...as I worked diligently to help them through it. Their success was my desire and the slightest efforts were praised and cheered. I am sure if someone had been watching me with them; they would have chuckled and the delight that it gave me just to see them smile or overcome...It was absolutely the most humbling and wonderful experience a human being could ever experience!! No job had ever been as difficult as it taxed every aspect of my being-yet at the same time-as rewarding. I did not feel as if I was missing out on anything as I remained home for years and often did without yet made sure that my girls received my attention and care. I wish that my job was done when they were approximately 9 or 10 (and that everything that I had taught them and prayed for them or hoped for was realized from there forward) ; and that I could say that they and I had a beautiful, fulfilling, relationship throughout those pre-teens and teen years. Because, I was a great mom until then-but despite my efforts or good will or intentions; I feared letting go and therefore smothered them and over protected them.

For this reason I have spent many articles regarding the need to allow children their choices and be willing to apply the consequences. I wish that I had my degrees and knowledge that I now have when I was rearing them. I wish that I had the faith that God would be with them when I could not be-and that they needed natural consequences that would grow their strength and help them with their discernment. If only I could have known and trusted that my strong willed child needed to learn the hard way and that my more compliant child may had been stuffing her true feelings. I feared if I let go-if I backed off a little, then they would fall and get hurt. The more they pushed the more I pushed back trying to save them and to keep them safe...while making them resentful and dependent.

I was so afraid of losing them that I held them too tightly and did lose them for a while, which tore my very heart from my breast. How could they leave me? Why did they choose what they chose? Look at the sacrifices I made and it appears they were totally ungrateful....I was confused, angry, yet also in much pain as I also struggled with replaying every thought, the intent, the desires, the work to find out where I messed up my girls...finally-I accepted their choices and I backed off while giving both to my Lord. I prayed that He bring my babies to Him, His way. I chose to trust them with Him and praised Him for teaching me that I had to trust Him with them.

Since, I now see how children grow into mature adults. Parents have to let them go so that they can grow. They must allow choices-following with consequences-but they cannot shield their children the same as they did when their children were helpless. As I have let go of control and trusted in God and them to make the right choices; to walk through the fire of their wrong choices, and as I observe-I am watching my children become stronger and wiser which warms my soul. They are deserving of respect and have overcome hardships. God has been able to work in their hearts and He continues His way.

When I study scripture I notice that He has done this throughout, from the beginning. He allowed choice. He applied consequences. People then learned lessons and changed....I am sure he as our parent is disappointed with our choices, and when he has to deliver the consequences due to our choices. Yet His love never failed us even when we hurled angry words and cried bitter tears. It took these lessons to grow us and to return us to where God wants us to be. He allows us to fall into desperation due to our choices and he also gives us situations that will simply grow us so that we can be strong and fruitful. When I think of how God fathers us-I see the wisdom and the need of allowing our children to also be able to make choices. With God, He has provided us warning and consequence should we not comply, and as He-parents must provide a warning and the consequence when our beloved children stray.

Discover Your Parenting Style

Friday, August 31, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

God implores the parent to teach, guide, discipline, and to be the example that is appropriate for their children-consistently; without exacerbating or creating intolerance/rebellion. God speaks of teaching the children morning, noon, night without ceasing of His principals and of His love and justice. The "hows" were not exactly provided other than the above instruction.

Parenting is an awesome role and responsibility given to those blessed with children. As with most all situations when one deals with life, the parents must adjust as the baby begins to have mobility, and again adjust with teaching the child life skills that will create the character and integrity suitable to negotiate healthy relationships, vocations, lifestyle, and sense of self; as the child grows into the adult who is a contributing person to the family, community, and nation, and then called upon to be able to lovingly and effectively guide their own children through the developmental process.

RESEARCH AND COUNSELING

Often as I work with children/adolescents-and when addressing negative behaviors I will simply pose a question, Why? Many times the answer appears to solely rest on three factors: One or more parent has stated that this child will not be any good, has stated the child is stupid and does not know how to think or act, or that the child will never achieve anything of great merit, and/or will be like Uncle ? who in fact is the family's addicted member, or incarcerated member; therefore the parent is providing mixed messages and little confirmation, praise, guidance, affirmation, or validation in the perception of the child. OR the child is using their parent or significant other's example of poor decision making, poor self control, and bad judgment, or substance use, as well as; the child is perceiving their world from a viewpoint of entitlement and is oppositional of authority figures; possibly due to overly submissive parenting of one who may be overcompensating and/or who may be overly protective, and smothering; and/or the absent parent giving mixed messages, or absent in attention, as they focus on self or work, or other. Or; the parent operates from an approach of an authoritarian parent who rules with a dictator type of approach, dismissing any input of the child, with strict and a large list of rules, and hard consequences, often condescending, often blaming, often ridiculing, pushing, and attempting to hold the child to an extreme standard of perfection.


Children often will shoot for the standard given them and modeled for them. Parents who then focus on encouragement, praise, and solutions, as they teach the child how to utilize knowledge and discernment, how to be flexible when plans changes, how to prioritize, how to budget and how to raise funds for their goals, how to choose friends, how to respect each other, how to set boundaries and speak effectively with assertive and mindful communication to maintain their boundaries, how to maintain their self control and know when to pursue and when to wait, how to be truthful, and the importance of doing what is right regardless of if others are watching while encouraging their children that this is reachable for them- will often have children who will try. Is important to do our best in every thing that we pursue or am responsible to do-but we are not perfect, and regardless of that fact-we are most loved. Asking questions to aid the child to think of options and the consequences vs the benefits is helpful as the parent guides the child in this process; and allowing the child natural consequences of decision made. Reviewing choices made with the child and helping the child to see better options is also a better approach.

During counseling then-the parents are aided with better coaching and parenting strategies while also learning about how their own background of parenting may not be the best solution. The children are provided tools to identify their thought distortions, increase their self image, increase their social skills, increase their communication skills, and the importance of each choice that they make. As the parents and children progress then we blend them and use role play so as to grow their skills and to tweak their approach with each other. Often if behaviors are also being experienced at school or work, then we are in contact with those entities to provide resources and tools for them as well so as to work with the parents and children on a successful intervention to effect change.

Parents can be warm and attentive or they can be distant and/or self absorbed. In addition, there are four basic parenting styles of which parents adopt while rearing their children, (Baumrind, 1975, 1991). These will be described and then will be related to how a ten year old might behave or develop under each style of parenting. 

Authoritarian Parenting Style

This style is demanding, and punitive, exhibiting little warmth. Parents assume more of a dictatorship holding their children to difficult, high standards. Punishments do not match the crime, parents do not explain themselves or why rules are in effect, and are not concerned with being role models . Parents are rigid and so are their rules and expectations. Children who are brought up with these parents experience extreme control issues, do not develop a sense of discipline or an inner morality, are not very verbal, and are often unhappy, fearful, anxious, fail to initiate activity, and have weak communication skills. Should they need to ask for guidance during a sensitive experience, they would not feel comfortable consulting with their parents.


Authoritative parents set high goals and they are active role models. It is a nurturing and warm style of parenting. Children who are reared with these parents are blessed and become cheerful, self-controlled and self-reliant, and achievement-oriented. They maintain friendships with peers, cooperate with adults, and cope well with stress. Their social skills are often keen. They normally have close bonds with their parents.


Indulgent Parenting Style

These parents are focused on their children and are heavily invested, purchasing lots of gifts and possessions. However, they offer little direction (Goodner, Robert, 2001). Parents are responsive but undemanding and more like a friend. They are affirmative but do not hold their child to take responsibility for their conduct. In fact, the parent excuses their child’s impulses, aggressions, and sexual conduct. This is due to their inability to say the word no. There are vague boundaries or guidelines set for the child to adhere too. The child then rules the roost. Children often lack self-control, have behavior problems, do substandard work in school or on the job, do not take responsibility for their mistakes, are immature, insecure, demanding, and are selfish. In addition, they are not dependable, have little motivation, and have external moral codes according to (Egeland & Farber, 1984). They are however highly social and usually have good self-esteems.


Uninvolved Parent

Parents who are these types are uninvolved, neglectful, selfish, and do not communicate with their children. In extreme cases they reject and may even abuse their young. Normally however, the basic essential needs are met. The child is fed and clothed. However, the parent is concerned more about their own conveniences and comfort, entertainment, and concerns. Children occupy themselves. They are demanding since they learn they must be to get their parent’s attention. They have low social skills, expect to get their way, and are aggressive, non-compliant.

Which parent type are you?
Therefore, children are reared with differing parenting styles that contribute to specific behaviors and development. The authoritarian and the permissive parents will teach children to not be disciplined internally. They will also possess external moral standards that basically means they would obey so as to not be caught. The neglected child will do whatever is necessary to get one’s way regardless of any consequences, blaming others for their poor decisions. However, the child who lives in a home with authoritative parent will be the most rounded, happier, reliable, and more content child.
It is important to know how parenting styles effect children. With this understanding then counselors might be able to recognize behavior cues and better understand the reasons behind a child’s behavior. Parents should have a balance of discipline and love. Children need role models and nurturing; however, they also need boundaries and to be held responsible. In so doing then the parent is more likely to be an authoritative parent. The authoritative parent tends to be the most effective as they guide their child and teach their child life skills. Parents only have 18 years to teach through modeling and through direct instruction, as well as; by utilizing positive reinforcements and also when needed, negative reinforces. Consistency in how one parents, is often a huge factor as to the child's reception of the intended lessons and constructs.


Other issues rise when parenting styles differ between parents, When one parents with one style and the other with their own, this becomes an environment where children are confused and can also employ manipulative measures as they use each against the other. Heal and Hope works to gain unity between parents and to help teach parents how to better engage and to train their children in life skills. When parents learn how, what, and why, then they can achieve respect and feel more confident as they parent.


Not only are these important but nutrition is often mismanaged. The central nervous system should have the best nutritional foods from which to draw from and to build from. It appears that some parents may believe that as long as they feed their children three times daily, then this is nutritious; but this is not the case. People can be obese, eating more than recommended, yet still be nutritionally starving. In addition, research is showing more correlation with gluten and sugar; and their influence with Autism and ADHD; and when one truly researches natural and organic foods and mental health; one can easily see many disorders that are exacerbated with certain foods. Avoiding such often lowers the symptom-logy at times to where the client is no longer meeting the clinical criteria for diagnoses.
Therefore, while children's brains are developing, parents need to prepare a wholesome and healthy variety of vegetables and also provide fresh fruits, baked, broiled, steamed foods; that are not providing high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, dyes, preservatives, hormones, or other such harmful ingredients since parents are building the very foundation of the central nervous system and all organs with a blend of healthy eating, exercise, moderate sun, and fresh air. Food can help with impulse control and also with seizures. Food is far more important that it is given credit for, and it is important as to what we put into our mouths. Some mental health illnesses may be the result of what we eat. Please let that resonate a while.


In addition, we are seeing more harm from the excessive hours of the phone, gaming, and internet connections-in how our brains are being wired. Is this a skill worth the hours of investment? Or would not something more creative and stimulating use of our brains be advised? Parents today have more concerns than those two decades ago. Children have access to many harmful unknowns as they click into the internet. This inclusion is creating a new addiction since the brain is altered by excessive use and by the exposure to criteria which is not appropriate for children.


Another issue: Parents are now busier than ever before as they are over booked with trying to get their children in every imaginable sport or activity-as if this shows that they are good parents. This actually leaves little time for real teaching, as the coaches and the schools seem to take our children into their forums-for extended periods of time; and instead model and teach our children cultural and personal beliefs along with the subject matter. Children are less able to resolve conflicts and/or unable to use discernment-leaving them vulnerable for unplanned for life experiences. Children are often unable to be flexible or to have self management. Inflexibility is common amongst dysfunctional homes and behavior.


Parents need time to model how to be flexible and how to discern. When children witness and receive consistent messages then often they will own the discipline, making it theirs. It is therefore most wise for our children to learn the construct that are good and healthy for them. The best people to instruct them would be their parents when the parents are operating and are providing the healthy examples for their children-yet this takes time. Busy is not always best. Parents need time with their children. They must grow independence, integrity, dependability, conflict resolution skills, communication skills, self management skills; while teaching a multitude of life skills during the short 18 years of childhood.


Children who do cultivate integrity and dependability then can be awarded more freedoms with each passing challenge that tested the child's character and self control, as they demonstrate that they are able to resolve conflicts and negotiate their walk while being true to god, others, self and to their life skills learned.
Words that encourage, lift, instruct, build, challenge, and guide are far more effective as parents steer their child; and parents must allow the child to earn their benefits and consequences without condemnation, and without lowering standards. A child often will strive or themselves settle depending upon what their parent believes is probable or possible for that child. It is far better to cheer, "you can do it!" than to forecast, "you will never be_________." In addition, comparing children negatively tends to divide children and instill a lower sense of self.
Will all children who are parented appropriately come aboard and own this discipline? Most will but some will not. God is our heavenly father. He parents all the same with standards as he demonstrates how and why. He models for us yet some of us owns his teaching and others of us do not. We see families who are parented well, yet one of the children turns from the core beliefs and risks negative behaviors. Somehow that child felt unloved or less loved. Somehow that child did not want to control their impulses.
Often we as parents want to believe in that child and will sometimes cater to or lower the standards for that child as we hope that they will come on board. We plead and we beg, yet our child resists as he/she demands freedom un-earned; or things unearned; which places parents in places that are most difficult as they may sometimes placate to the child. This reinforces the negative behaviors and makes it more difficult for the parent to rise above this standard without real drama and problems.


Often, the fear of losing their child drives a parent to give in when the parent needs to stand strong, and firm, upon the convictions- as they uphold the rules in the home. Once this pattern is produced then the parent faces a strong hold of distorted thoughts and behaviors that will resist change; but change is a must if the child will rise above their self will and dysfunctional mindset. Parents then must stand true, model truth, and trust God as they reset boundaries and enforce those boundaries; even at the risk that the child will "hate" them.
Parents instead are to place the child's well-being foremost as they provide tough love in those cases. In many cases, the child will learn and will turn around, and in time-will appreciate their parent for their love and guidance, their perseverance and their decision to not give in. A few children do not turn. In these cases we support the parent and the work with the children as long as we are allowed, to attempt to instill the life skills that were not instilled in the home. In the end, it is the child that determines their fate at this point. When children turn from their parents we may need to see if the child is engaging with substance abuse, or has become addicted to something which has taken control of that child. These brains are developing. What they are exposed to, are fed with, and have modeled to-will effect the very functionality and health of them. Parents need to be present and to be the examples that their children need to become the most that they can become.

Children are very confused, are very self centered, and are not naturally sharing or thoughtful in most cases. They are bombarded with negative influences in this culture. Often children follow their peers without considering the consequences. The parents need to be of one voice with one plan. They need to work together to create time with their children and to model healthy and positive behaviors consistently. They need to know where, with whom, what, how, and what are their children into. Although they must relax their protective parenting by age 10-11 to allow the child some flexibility to experience their world, they still need to be involved and watchful and to be open to talk with their children. This will be an age where the child will push parents away and is discovering who they are. For protective parents-then this will be a difficult yet important aspect of their growth and development.

Discipline and Rewards are important. When the children are young, then discipline is often time out, the removal of a toy, and like. As middle aged children; then the discipline is often a restriction of time on games or the screen, restriction of company or their ability to go to a friend's house or an event. When an adolescent then much the same continues. Discipline is more effective when certain aspects are in play:
1. Respect of the role of parent must be in place.
2. Respect of the authority to implement the discipline must be in place.
3. The child must be willing to submit to that authority and adhere to the punishment.
4. Consistency to follow through as promised is a must.
5. Enough time for the change to occur.
6. The absence of hypocrisy in that is expected and what is modeled.

Without the above criteria then the child can easily laugh and walk from the parent while pursuing whatever they wish. Children need to respect those in authority and their roles since they will meet with forums filled with the same or like rules with consequences that govern each of those forums. If the child is to achieve and be successful-they must comprehend this construct and be willing to perceive the importance for these to be in place. Only then will they navigate their world more wisely.

We help our families to develop better tools and better perceptions of life. If you find yourself grappling and frustrated, then contact us at Heal and Hope Counseling Services.

Dealing with Strong Willed Children

Friday, August 31, 2018 @ 12:47 PM

Parents who have strong willed children find parenting stressful. Power struggles occur and neither parent or child are successful. Children question parameters and respect, and parents question respect and obedience-with neither winning the battle. This article helps to provide parents with a few of the needed changes of their approach. More coping tools and like information can be procured with entering into parenting class or individual sessions offered by Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC: Enjoy the article.

Strong. Willed. Children. Immediately what comes to mind is; defiance, rebellion, and other negative traits: yet some notable strong willed people to tribute are Peter and Ester of scriptures, along with many other scriptural individuals; Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and like contributors or much positive discoveries. Strong willed children can be channeled by parents and this is a powerful and empowering construct!

How do we know that we have strong willed children? Let's take a stroll and please mark those issues that apply to yourself, your mate, or your children, Ready?
1. This person does not think anything is impossible and this person will attempt to conquer against all odds.
2. This person pushes at a pace as if a streak of lightening to get it done, one way or other.
3. Will argue to argue to see where all of it goes.
4. Easily bored and therefore will create a crisis.
5. Rules are thought of as guidelines and often too picky and unreasonable.
6. Creative and resourceful people.
7. Grand crusades from issues.
8. Will milk the situation when challenged, taking it as a dare; of which they accept the challenge.
9. Will take a simple request to a major issue in a millisecond.
10. Gifted with sarcasm.
11. If not given choice and threatened with a consequence; the person will accept the consequence to prove that one cannot make one do anything.
12. They want authority figures that will not allow them to bend the rules without consequence, the ability to follow through with quick resolve consistently which builds security and trust in the word of that authority person IF THE COMMUNICATION IS DELIVERED WITH RESPECT AND CALM RESOLVE-BUILDING RESPECT.
13. Lessons are often learned the hard way as repeated non compliance is chosen even when consequences are in place.

So how did you do with the above questions or statements? If you marked 8-10 then you have a potential trouble maker, lol; but 11-12 is a definite assessment of a strong willed person and often trouble maker due to the insatiable need to challenge and see where the limits really are. These strong people can be persuaded but not pushed.

Dictator commands and threats will drive the negative reactions since these are seen as challenges and disrespectful of them, They have no boss and cannot be forced to do anything. They will choose to die if needed to prove their point of their free will. They know you can't make them love you, obey you, or even make them eat good food. Spending time pleading and reasoning falls on deaf ears.

How do we then get things done, teach responsibility, life skills, and receive respect from these people?
Give choices. Be concise about what they are expected to do and what the consequences would be but with a positive twist.
An example of the delivery of a slight tweak of how to parent are as follows.

WRONG: I told you to clean your room. Clean it or you can depend upon losing your PHONE! Got it? (child rolls eyes and continues phone or screen; or laying around) Then the power match is on...with no winners.
RIGHT: Let's clean it up please.
WRONG: You can hate me and be angry all you want but you will do what I say! (Child thinks or says, nope; or make me)
RIGHT: Oh, I am sorry that you are angry at me; I guess that means you don't want cuddling time? (meaning-anger or not, I expect the work or request to be done promptly or there will be the consequence).
WRONG: Cut that tv (or other screen) off and do your homework! (Child-no, later, got to finish this first, or this is not fair!) Power struggle incurs.
RIGHT: Feel free to watch your favorite show on tv when the homework is done. (Child understands that there is a process expected and knows the consequence of no favorite show if they choose to procrastinate).
WRONG: Buckle your seat belt! (Child-NO, Buckle your seat belt NOW or else. Child NO), (Where does the parent go now with this? pleading? Threats, pull over and buckle it for them? Spanking? Either way, you could not make them do what they did not want to do).
RIGHT: Please put on your seat belt. (Child-no) Parent (Why?) Child (because it is too tight and I don't like it on). Parent- Okay so let's loosen it a little bit to help it to be more comfortable and put it on, okay? Okay, (The parent then has made a small compromise yet kept the resolve that the belt will be worn).

Wonder if the child still will not put their seat belt on? The law that the parent is subjected to is-All passengers and self must be seat belted or there will be a ticket. Parents can relay that message and show their resolve that they will comply with the law; then proceed to unload from the car. (If this is a situation where the family is planning to go to an activity the child wants to go to). This works like a charm. If to somewhere the child does not want to go-then the parent will need to give a consequence that fits this issue exchanging their next activity for this one with a resolve to not attend. Either way the auto does not leave the drive way. Perhaps all but the child and a parent leaves but the consequence of losing the privilege of going to their event is implemented.


A parent's job is to teach, hold their child accountable, and apply consequence; using modeling (example), specific rules and consequences to expect, while following through quickly if wrong choices are made. parents must teach life skills but more importantly character traits. A parent cannot make the child do anything and to have leverage then they need a relationship with their child. That relationship is vital and must be one with trust and respect. With prompt follow through and consistency while applying the consequence if the child chooses it-the child learns the limits earlier and will more likely choose the better choice. A parent who pleads and threatens their child repeatedly teaches procrastination and disrespect as the child begins feeling as if there are not limits and therefore is at higher risk to make negative choices as they face challenges that are likely to not be followed through-remaining dependent and deluded as to their invisibility.

I did some security work at one time, and was advised that if I wrote a ticket or contacted the police; then I did not need to give a warning since they had to pay the consequence of parking in a handicap area or stealing merchandise; but if I gave a warning and chose not to apply the consequence then the person's acceptance of that warning and following through with better conduct was expected and if that person violated the warning and grace the 1st time then they needed the consequence instead.

Teaching the child to be prompt in good choices, to discern, to be responsible for their choices is vital. The approach of this teaching is also most important. Consistency and clear expectations are absolutely necessary. Warnings are to include the expected behavior and the intended consequence should a wrong choice occur with encouragement to choose compliance but yet the choice is theirs. This warning needs to be brief, firm, without insulting or disrespectful remarks or attitude. It needs to be clear that we know we cannot make them choose the right choice and that they might choose the negative consequences of their choice to not comply but; we hope and pray that this will not occur-and yet we know that they may have to learn the hard way. It may take them a few attempts of noncompliance and suffering the consequence (fitting for the crime) before they choose that maybe they need to comply...and parents lovingly and greatfully receive their choice without "I told you so" or other igniting and challenging remarks. Avoiding power struggles are a must especially with older children who could very well walk out the door. Expect them to test your parameters.

Parents can simply say, "I know you have a choice and that you can choose the consequence. I hope you don't since it hurts me to see you hurting yourself-but I also love you enough to try to guide and teach you-the best that I know how-to be the best that you can be so that your future is awesome." This message implies and speaks love yet also speaks a resounding resolve to remain firmly planted upon one's boundary. The parent's love needs to be in their face, body, tone, and words.

Parents need their children to know that they love them so much that they will do anything to keep them safe and to teach them how to be successful with people and with responsibilities-no matter how hard this is-no matter how long it takes- even if it means that their children choose not to love them because parents are focused upon what is best for their children. It is never ever too late to love. Calmly apply the consequence.

There are many coping tools and strategies that aid parents with strong willed children. We can teach you. It is possible that nutrition issues are playing into this issue, or another strategy that involves more goals and point system is better for a child-which we can assist. What we know is this; there are too many warnings and not enough tickets today and this enables our youth and creates power struggles where all parties lose if continued.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Three Steps to Help Develop Your Private Practice

Thursday, August 30, 2018 @ 3:18 PM

Step One

Decide what type of business you want. Writing a mission statement is a good place to start. It defines who you serve [client population], where [county or city], and how [what services you provide]. The mission statement becomes a rubric to determine the scope of your business and its boundaries. Does it fit the mission? It’s important to investigate and meet the needs of your community, but also to look into yourself and consider what you feel called to do. What drives you to have to have your own place? In the example above, you are motivated by the need to provide high quality care to children and families with appropriate facilities. You see the value in being branded as specializing in families, knowing that most families receiving support have multiple needs throughout their life.

Step Two

Implement your mission with the assistance of professionals. Seek CEUs, but mostly, seek relationships and implementable advice. There are multiple professionals who provide free or inexpensive advice on HIPAA compliance, marketing, networking, etc. But do NOT skimp on really important things like your website, your insurance, and your legal structure. Sure, you can copy other people’s contracts. They will work, but they won’t reflect your business and your needs. Hire a lawyer and get it done right. Laying a good foundation at the beginning will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

We easily suggest mentoring to our clients, but do we seek it out when we need it? When I decided to set up as a business owner and not simply a clinician with an office, I found a lawyer, a marketer, and an expert in ethics. We quickly set up some goals: incorporate the business, create a marketing plan, and write a procedure manual. These extra resources cost money, but doing things the right way always does.

Step 3

Reevaluate often. Business is exciting and creating your own can be quite a lot like a roller coaster. Be ready to re-evaluate and make changes on the fly – at least to minor things. As long as it fits with your mission, do it! Throw the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. But always come back to your central calling and mission statement so that you don’t water down your business or get lost in the weeds.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Engulfed in a Storm of Domestic Violence

Saturday, August 18, 2018 @ 2:06 PM

Those who have never been in a domestic violence situation are often perplexed as to how intelligent people become trapped and why they remain with someone who is abusive. In an effort to help provide clarity let us consider the dynamics of the following story:

Imagine as if you are one who is a fairly good in sailing and of at least average intelligence decides to purchase a boat due to a love for water sports and activities. He or she locates a vessel that appears to meet their every need. This vessel is absolutely awesome. It has every perk that a person would want in a boat, good to look at, power and appears in complete control when it is taken out on the water. Others see it and are envious as it appears to be perfect. Perhaps it has built by influential builders with a good reputation and has been in multiple events where it was successful with several trophies due to its performance in the public's eye, contests, and views. Why-who wouldn't want this prize?

As new buyer takes this boat onto the water to become more accustomed to its handling, one begins seeing aspects of the boat in a slow procession that warns that there may be a serious issue that needs to be addressed, beginning with a small infraction or imperfection perhaps as a scratch or a dent..then possibly the radio to transmit directions or SOS goes on the blink and stops...then when others climb aboard, the boat seems to be in stress and does not operate well-maybe the seating is unwelcoming-or maybe the motor seems to labor and therefore the others are no longer invited to ride with the buyer. Without the others the motor purrs along as long as the new owner takes it only to its familiar waters, and the captain of the boat feels safe again that his or her boat is fine as they ignore the oddities and the isolation that the boat brings to the owner...

Time passes and a succession of more and more issues arise, costly issues; issues that cause concerns-but how could this be? The owner takes the vessel to get it fixes as he or she complains of the issue (if the owner can get it to go) but when at the mechanic's the boat purrs and looks wonderful. The owner is billed but told that they have a wonderful vessel, as the complaints are ignored and unconfirmed due to the boat's performance when in the public's eye.... and the owner feels embarrassed and possibly to doubt their own senses or intelligence. After all others confirm the boat is as it should be or that maybe the owner did something wrong...

Time and time again-when alone with the boat; the boat seems resistant to any needs of the owner and now is a danger to be within; so the owner seeks to sell or to give up years of investment of this vessel. Due to the isolation of the owner and the boat-this means that the owner will need to travel to where he/she can dock the boat and to proceed with trying to keep from losing anymore money or heartache. By this time-the boat has regressed from being a nuisance and minor irritation to major issues that caused pain and costly repairs. Some of the damages were unbearable. He or she cannot go anywhere without major issues yet others refuse to believe any issues are present except that the owner is crazy. The former mechanics and builder blames the owner and subjects the owner to unethical and harmful treatment but they appear untouchable, after all-he or she took the boat as is, and have no recourse. The expense of this vessel is beyond reason and drains all resources. By now the owner is exhausted, confused and knows of all of the dangers all too well.

At this point-(with a boat that seems to have a mind of its own when with the owner alone: to be dangerous to be within-as the radio for distress doesn't work, the cabin collects water that threatens to flood it, the motor stops and cannot be restarted, and the anchor does not hold the vessel when in the storms-that tosses violently back and forth as the winds blow, the lightening flashes, and the thunder rolls...with the darkest of skies and thick fog surrounding the vessel, and no compass to provide direction; since now the owner doubts their own mind or ability; and has not been able to keep up with the warning signs and issues-while also without any support system to verify and confirm the vessel's problems)-then the owner feels totally helpless and at the mercy of this vessel that threatens his or her very life. The darkness (secrecy) and isolation (absence of healthy support systems) keeps him/her from accessing help- especially during the thick fog (of deception and illusion). The stormy unceasing weather (violence and aggression, threats and dominion) increases helplessness of the owner as they are unable to start the engine (due to generations of domestic violent members and friends who work with the vessel-the abuser to keep the target under subjection and control) to propel the vessel to safety. The victim cowers to a fetal position, willing to do whatever he or she must to feel safe again and ride the storm on that vessel since the thought of jumping into the raging seas (leaving the abuser, supporting oneself, facing the perceived shame, starting a new life) is too frightening.

Many victims of this storm fall prey and are imprisoned due to the above, as they are programmed that they are the reason for their punishment that they deserved; as would be an unsuspecting owner of a vessel that was sold as is; and depicted as a prize. The need for control is extreme for the abuser who rationalizes that he or she is justified and this need is relentlessly demonstrated with more and more harsh lessons-to "program" and to "train" their target. These controllers confuse love with obedience and will keep their victims off balanced as they are very kind and loving on occasion-which then confuses the victim to believe that things will be wonderful again-like they were when that person fell in love with the abuser who SEEMED to be so perfect. Shame and guilt are also components that keeps the abused in line. Low self respect and low self image is driven into the victim so as to believe that they are not worthy of better and that they deserve their consequence. Most believe that no one else could love them due to the abuser's emotional abuse.

Some victims however, when in the storm-are like the soldier who is in an impossible situation and believes that life is over one way or other, and with one last attempt to break free-will shift from fear and victimization to one of courage and will to face whatever it takes to get away and to survive. That soldier jumps out of their protective site with his/her guns blazing and a shout of anguish and determination-running into the fire of the enemy; almost as if to challenge their fate and to take out as many of the enemy as possible even if it cost them their life. These people (who choose to against all odds) will abandon the vessel and choose the raging waters to at least try to swim to a shore.

The aftermath of their choice to abandon ship (the domestic violent relationship) comes with high risks. Many victims not only fear their own abuser but also the abuser's support system of family and friends. Their lives are at risk. If they are pregnant or with a small child, then they are at higher risk. In addition, many ask them why did they not just leave. Many judge them, They do not know that their families were threatened if they left. They do not know that they were threatened of losing their children forever. They do not know that the threats were very real for the victim and that their belief was due to many hard lessons that caused real fear and pain. Often these survivors face legal and medical consequences for their attempt to get free. In addition, they have been so isolated (moving from a home state, not allowed to work, without a vehicle or phone, and no money) to control them and to make it most difficult from them to leave.

Regardless of the risks and the costs, a person who seeks to break from this control-with counseling and support, can process their past and find a fulfilling future once again. It is a process of gaining trust and of destroying the distortion of thoughts; but with perseverance then that person can be not only whole-but stronger in their new self. We want to give you hope if you have endured abuse or if you are enduring abuse. Contact us today if you are ready to take back your life.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Is Monday Really the Best Day to Take Off?

Tuesday, August 07, 2018 @ 1:34 PM

In one of the counselling residency courses that I took in my training, I recall one of the instructors commenting how in Canada, the highest suicide rate is during a sunny Monday. It’s one of those little details that I never forgot, and have had much time to reflect on it. I have observed over the years that I receive many more counselling enquirers on a sunny Monday, compared to a cloudy Monday.

I also heard it said that more heart attacks happen between 8 and 9 am on Mondays than any other time of the week. The stress of the new week and individuals rushing to get to work can exacerbate the numbers. This latter fact tends to make a lot of sense when one considers rush hour stress. Yet, I’ve always wondered about what it was about sunny Mondays that would cause people to attempt suicide?

It would seem that a person feeling depressed on a cloudy day would find the weather to be agreeable with their “gloomy mood” (Gloomy is an interpretation and it would seem that cloud and rain has been given a bad rap by many people, yet it’s only an interpretation from their own head. Liquid sunshine and the ability to see the silver lining in every cloud is maybe a better approach to weather. But I digress.) One can take a certain comfort from the weather reflecting their “feeling blue”.

On the other hand, a sunny day is seen as being contrary to the depressed person feeling down and can possibly make someone feel like~ “…what’s the problem? It’s a bright, sunny day! Why is it that you feeling so blue?!” That thought can make a depressed person feel even worse. Therefore they may attempt suicide. Let’s face it, Mondays are hard!

In light of the above information, I would like to challenge the members of the Clergy (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) all across Canada: Why do many of you choose Monday as your day off? As we’ve observed, Monday is the day that you are needed the most! It’s true that some of the hardest work is done on a Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday and so Monday would seem to be the most natural for one recharging their batteries. Yet it seems that we are letting our faith communities down if we don’t pay attention to these societal realities: our services are desperately needed on Monday.

Therefore, taking Tuesdays as a day off might make better overall sense. It’s something worth considering.

Yvon Malenfant 778–862–5240 www.harpo.ca

Yvon is an Inter-faith Spiritual Counsellor in Coquitlam, BC.

https://medium.com/@kalhoun/is-monday-really-the-best-day-to-take-off-5845a41a6861

Friday, August 03, 2018

CONTRACTS WITH ADULT CHILDREN

Friday, August 03, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

In connection with the parenting of adult children, the need to build character and their willingness to accept responsibility is paramount as a life skill for older children, which should start when the children are young; as children earn items of interests and/or suffer the consequence when the child does a mediocre job or is defiant. These lessons are difficult for parents since parents do not want their children to suffer, but understand that life's decisions will result in the benefits and/or the consequences of those choices; and therefore; it is prudent to enact tough love-when their children needs disciplining and training. The lessons for adult children often involve higher end items such as cars, motorcycles, possibly rent, purchasing a house, and like items; and therefore the understanding of "Contracts" is vital.


Definition of contract:
1. an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.
2. an agreement enforceable by law.
3. the written form of such an agreement.
4. the division of law dealing with contracts.
7. the formal agreement of marriage; betrothal.
14. to incur, as a liability or obligation:to contract a debt.
15. to settle or establish by agreement:to contract an alliance.
16. to assign (a job, work, project, etc.) by contract:The publisher contracted the artwork.
17. to enter into an agreement with:to contract a free-lancer to do the work.
18. to enter into (friendship, acquaintance, etc.).
Origin of contract
1275–1325; (noun) Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin contractus undertaking a transaction, agreement,equivalent to contrac-, variant stem of contrahere to draw in, bring together, enter into an agreement (con-con- + trahere to drag, pull; cf. traction) + -tus suffix of v. action; (v.) < Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere
Related forms con•tract•ee, nouncon•tract•i•ble, adjectivecon•tract•i•bil•i•ty, con•tract•i•ble•ness, noun con•tract•i•bly, adverbnon•con•tract, adjectiveo•ver•con•tract, verb (used with object)post•con•tract, nounre•con•tract, verb (used with object)

Young adults, without fully developed brains and highly distorted thought processes, often feel entitled and that the parent owes them their free ride even when they are chronologically adult age. Therefore their acceptance of contracts is viewed as mere formality and that regardless of their choice to keep their half of the agreement or not; they will still get their item listed in the contract without consequences; other than the usual and expected parent's voice of concern or anger when the parent is saddled with the payments.

Parents must make it clear that should default occur on the child's end; then the consequences and losses that are strictly and clearly stipulated in the contract will prevail- due to the bad choice of the child. It also must be clear that-in case of purchase; then this is a business transaction and will be considered as such (as if this was not a child and parent relationship)-so that the child learns to be responsible for their signing of any contract.

Children are then responsible to read the contract and to acknowledge that they comprehend such consequences prior to agreeing to sign. Once signed, then both parties are subject to the terms of the contract. If the adult child defaults then the parent is liable to following through with the terms that result in loss of the item within the contract so that the child learns the important lesson that they are responsible for their choices; the good choices would have earned them their item-and the bad choices would earn them their consequences. If the parent fails in standing firm; then the parent reinforces irresponsible and dependency character of their adult child. If however the parent actually parents correctly-the parent must understand that the child is most likely to rebel and blame the parent for whatever the consequences that they experience due to their lack of character, distortions of thought, and defense mechanisms of denial. projection, misattribution of blame.

Parents must be aware that their child can be most vengeful, angry, and hurtful-and can use the only thing that they can control to hurt their parent-at this juncture-and be willing to accept that consequence while they stand firmly on trying to teach their child to be responsible adults. This may mean that the parent is disowned; that the child will trash their parent to others; that the child who may have children can withhold their children from their grandparents; and also the child can become aggressive towards the parent and other family members who may not agree with the adult child's false interpretation of their consequence of their wrongful choice to default. If parents back down and enable their child at this point of time-then the parent has reinforced their child's rebellion and irresponsible behavior. Therefore many parents chose not to enter into such an agreement due to the risks-and refuse to bail their children out of the consequences that they incur when they default with others instead (which still may lead to such rebellious aftermath if the child is of an entitled mindset and believes that the parent's role is to bail them out regardless of their behavior).


As I grew up and was provided a loan by my parents or grandparents; I knew one thing-that if I did not honor this contract or loan and repay it with interest as I promised-then I would no longer have this door of opportunity open again should I find myself in need of it. It was a time for me to prove myself as responsible and to find favor. My family were wise in how they rendered such lessons for me to grow. It first began with small amounts of money (300-500) and as I proved to be responsible-then they were willing to risk larger investments for me. With each success-my parents learned that they had nothing to fear since no matter the hardships that I was confronted with; even things that I had not accounted for; then I would make sure that my contract with them was taken care of-even if it meant I worked more hours or a second job.

Therefore, the benefits were plenty for us both who were in the contract. They received constant payments with interest for their family home and an apartment complex and the pride that their child was honorable-and I received self respect, competence, wisdom, and the products purchased. This disclosure only confirms that parents and children can enter into such contracts when both are understanding the terms and are willing to honor the contract. My parents had seen responsible behavior with less duties and agreements prior with each of their children and treated each transaction as a business; and we knew that they would hold each of us accountable prior to deciding to enter into any agreement with them. If we fail, then we would have the just consequences to endure. I believe that this is key.

Even with this absolute knowledge however; a child who believes that they are entitled and who is unable to take responsibility due to emotional immaturity and their cognitive immaturity-may still hear the warnings, read the conditions, enter into the agreement-then default and blame the parents for their consequence and the price of that can be most hurtful to both child and parent-as the child hurts with their delusional beliefs and the parent suffers the vengeful retaliation and loss of their family.

If or when the child or parent find themselves in pain over this or a like issue-and if either cannot forgive the other's perceived unfair behavior-then it is most advised to seek counseling with a professional to help both to come to a less distorted perception and a state of forgiveness. Only then can the family be restored. At this time, the less people who have been pulled into the conflict with possible false beliefs as to who is at fault-then the easier the transition. Fault is not the issue at this juncture since now we have a fractured and hurting family to heal. Others may then become a hindrance with healing if they are there with blame and harsh judgment towards the other; and it will need to be resolved with appropriate boundaries so that the outsiders will accept the decision of the need to forgive and to heal.

I am here to assist any family who is suffering with this issue. Call and make an appointment: 423-790-4906-speaking with our Office Manager, Steve.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Effective Ways to Pray for Your Marriage

Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 3:18 PM

You already know you should pray for your marriage on a consistent basis. But sometimes it seems like nothing is changing. Perhaps that's because God's waiting for you to pray for the right things. I know this from personal experience.The unraveling of my own marriage was not something that announced itself with the formality or grandeur of a symphony orchestra.It was more of a quiet, consistent, side note. And an off-key on at that. Slowly over time, other things took priority.

For me, it was becoming a mom, while also trying to build a new business. My days and effort were dedicated to my two babies (one live, one birthed through my mind, computer and Facebook live streams), which left little energy or time for my husband and I. But he didn’t complain, and we were “good” so that pattern and way of living became our norm.

We got used to living parallel lives that would sometimes intersect when it was necessary and convenient for us to do so. In the space that used to be our own we soon found an uncomfortable distance, growing disagreement, and unspoken discontent. Soon, small disagreements turned into bigger arguments which meant days of uncomfortable silent treatment. In the silence, the enemy filled my mind with negative thoughts about my husband and I began to stew in resentment.

Praying for My Marriage?

Let me be honest here. I knew I should be praying for my marriage. But many, many times, I just didn't want to, or if I did it was not as sincere as it should have been. Being angry and being in the "right" felt better than going to God for any correction or pointing out of what I needed to be doing differently myself. Slowly God worked on that area of my thinking and I positioned myself to let Him lead me and give me a desire to pray for my marriage in the way I truly needed to.

It wasn’t until I truly humbled myself before God and humbled myself before my husband that I experienced the transformation that I needed. And to be completely transparent, that transformation is an ongoing process. I’m not 100% there yet, but with what has already happened through my renewed prayers and through the actions I take as a result of those prayers, my marriage is on incredibly solid and happy ground.

And while I can't say exactly what has happened from my husband's perspective, I can share what happened for me as a wife. It started with reading the The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. What I love about that book is that the first chapter is focused on praying for yourself and the ways God needs to change your heart and attitude about your marriage.

But this, I already knew. These things, I was already praying. And perhaps it was this way of thinking, “that I already knew” that prevented me from uncovering what I needed to uncover. As I started reading, I expected to read what I had heard before. About how to be more loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving. And I was already working on those things. But there came a moment where it was if God, Stormie, and my husband were all in cahoots to get a very critical and very urgent message delivered to me.

Happy Homemaker?

First, she talked about our role as wives and how it’s our responsibility to make sure our home is a “source of contentment, acceptance, rejuvenation, nurturing, rest, and love for your family.” That our home should be a “safe place that builds up your family.” She specifically mentioned asking God to help you keep the house clean, the laundry done, the kitchen in order, the pantry and refrigerator full, and the beds made.

On any other day, these words would have been rejected by me. I’m a modern woman, who expects my husband to be a partner, not my patriarch. I’ve got things to do too, and we should be sharing those duties equally. But it was if God himself breathed on those words and let me inhale them in the true spirit with which they were intended. And I knew I had not been making my home. I had been making my business and neglected the one area that I was designed to rule over.

Husband as the Head?

Next, she talked about how we are to allow our husband to be the head. Oh, my goodness, not the submissive wife thing! Again, I’m a modern woman, who will not let anyone TELL me what to do. But that message, in the way it was intended for me was more about the ways I had been seeking my husband’s guidance and advice, and when it didn’t align with what I really wanted to do, I just did things my own way.

He is not the type of person to really ever TELL me what do to. He just gives his perspective and opinion, and often ends with “but you do what you want to do.” I often misinterpreted those statements because I wasn’t listening to the undertones.

And so, as I did “what I wanted to do” I subtly disrespected the authority and covering provided by my husband’s wisdom. And I ended the year in a difficult place financially in my business because I did not heed his advice.

United as One?

And lastly (at least for me on this day) she talked about unity in marriage. I had been going faster, harder, stronger in my business, when my husband really wanted me to slow down, pause and rest. And in the spirit of being a determined entrepreneur, I chalked it up the enemy trying to prevent me from stepping into all that God had called me to do. I told myself my husband was just the voice of doubt and negativity, and that I had to literally shut out his voice from my mind as I continued to move forward.Good Lord, I’m so grateful God convicted me in that moment and showed me a scripture I’d likely not have come across. It’s 1 Corinthians 11:11. And can I tell you I read this at exactly 1:11 in the afternoon. God will send you signs!

It reads: “Neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.” Which then somehow led me to find, 1 Corinthians 1:10: "I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought."

Oh. My. God.

I had a major epiphany which immediately took me back to January 2015 when I left my job to pursue my business full time and the year my husband and I launched our first couple’s event. We STARTED this business united, on one accord. And slowly over the years as my impatience, ambition, and need for external validation, I allowed the business to create a wedge between us. Roadblock after roadblock, obstacle, after obstacle, I had not really considered that the key to taking my work to the next level, rested in the unity within my own marriage.

What happened for me in the reading of The Power of a Praying Wife is only one part of the puzzle of putting my marriage back in place. I could talk about how on a simple drive from dropping my children off at daycare, God showed me snapshots of all the ways I was in the wrong in my interactions with my husband, or a 2 hour conversation with my dear friend Ndidi who, as a newlywed, schooled me in ways I would have never expected. Or how reading my very own book, Voices in Your Ear, has made me become a more humble student of my own teachings. I think this experience illustrates that in order to see God move in your marriage in a new way, you have to pray for new things in new ways.

How is God Speaking to You?

This process of restoring my marriage is an ongoing one, where God continues to reveal to me the things I need to know and see. And all I need to do is remain an open vessel for Him to pour into me the very things I need to keep taking the right steps.

Whenever I read a book that helps me through a difficult time, or whenever I speak to someone who has the exact piece of encouragement I need to hear, I’m grateful to God for their obedience. They could have easily not bothered to write, or not bothered to call. But it’s in their act of obedience, that I get the breakthrough I need. And perhaps in my own obedience to the nudge of God to tell my truth here to you in all it’s messy honesty, you might have your own breakthrough and ah-ha moment.

Maybe it’s happened for you already in reading this blog post. Perhaps it’s waiting for you in some future communication. What I do know is that in writing to you now, my intention is to inspire you to turn yourself over to God in prayer for your marriage in a way that you may not had done previously. Because before I could ever receive what Stormie had for me in her book, I had to open my heart to be receptive to receive. And sometimes, that’s really hard to do. Sometimes you don’t want to forgive, or let it go, or find a way to work it out. Sometimes you just want to be right, to have it be your way, and to blame your husband for all his shortcomings. It’s enticing and satisfying to the ego that way.But it grieves God’s spirit. And it makes you fall prey to the real enemy in your marriage, which is never, never your husband.

An Invitation to Prayer

I want to invite you to prayer with me. I want to share some of the specific prayers I've had for my own marriage, and how to pray in a way that truly enables God to transform you from the inside out. Sometimes we pray for our marriage, but nothing happens because we’re not quite right ourselves. We harbor resentment, we are unwilling to forgive, and we think there is only one solution to the issues we face.

But in order for God to do something new in your marriage, you’ve got to give him something new to work with. And that starts with you. You’ve got to give him a spirit that’s willing to be obedient and a mind that’s open to seeing things a different way. You’ve got to give him effort to do your part and to discipline to do what’s right even when you don’t feel like it. You’ve got to give him a willingness to be vulnerable, and a heart that wants to forgive.

If you want to get to that place, and would like to receive strategic and specific prayers to guide you to getting there, you may want to sign up to receive my 5 -Day Marriage Prayer Challenge. Each day you’ll receive a new prayer recording to stretch you, challenge you, and nudge you to grow in mindset, attitude and behavior so that you open the right doors for God to work in your marriage. These are the very prayers I often pray for myself, and I can attest to the move of God within my own heart and mind. I’d love to have you experience the same.

I know that you found this post for a reason. That there's something God wants to show you. One of the ways he speaks to us is through our prayer time with Him. And not just those little cute, quick 2-minute prayers we recite as we're already half asleep in bed.

Maybe you need to go deeper into prayer for yourself. Maybe your mind first needs to be renewed before you ever see any change in your marriage. Maybe you just need a new perspective on what it will take to restore you marriage to a stronger and happier place.

What are you taking away from this time right now?

Post in the comments what's stuck with you the most. And if you found this helpful in any way, please consider sharing it with someone who's marriage you want to see succeed.

Yours in constant prayer,
Dr. Chavonne