Parenting

Are You a Young Mom Looking for Friendship and Fellowship?

Are You a Young Mom Looking for Friendship and Fellowship?

By Elise Daly Parker with Annie Ly Johnson, MOPS Coordinator, Montclair Community Church

MOPS groups “connect moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood.” 

Annie and I sat around her kitchen table a while ago. I wanted to know more about MOPS and only wished I had heard about it when I was a young mom. Here’s Annie’s story. I think it’s one many young moms can relate to… [Continue Reading...]

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5 Big Life Lessons from My Tiny Newborn

5 Big Life Lessons from My Tiny Newborn

by Micalagh Beckwith Moritz

As I write this, it is about three months since I gave birth to my first baby, Hudson. I feel that I am still emerging from what I like to call, “Babyland.” It’s a twilight zone where days and nights fuse into one, where sleep is a coveted and little-known resource, where there is little time for anything other than feeding, changing, rocking, cuddling, and repeating that process.

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When Others Mock Our Faith

When Others Mock Our Faith

by Kimberly Coyle

And I grew angry with myself for writing about my daily life on the most public forum on the planet, and withering when faced with criticism there. I exposed my son to people who, quite honestly, think the marriage of faith and everyday life is downright crazy.

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When the Loss of a Child Leads to Surrender

When the Loss of a Child Leads to Surrender

by Elizabeth Myer

The sound of the heartbeat monitor made a slow decent into a flat line…My heart knew before I heard the final beep, that he was gone. It's been almost eight years since I last held my sweet laughing baby boy in my arms. Eight years of aching to hold him. Eights years of knowing my life will never be the same. Eight years of being gloriously ruined. As a young wife and mother, just barely 22, I was planning my child's funeral.

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When God’s Response to Our Heart’s Cry is Better Than an Answered Prayer

When God’s Response to Our Heart’s Cry is Better Than an Answered Prayer

by Elaine O'Neill

I did not understand. Devastation, frustration, and confusion filled my heart and mind. Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Maybe I should have prayed harder. Proverbs 30:16 says that one thing that cannot be satisfied is the barren womb. The issue of childlessness shook my heart and I fell apart emotionally.

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When “The Good One” Lies

When “The Good One” Lies

by Kathleen Whittam

Last week I was thrown from my high horse. My vision of my angelic child was shattered. Indeed, he is not perfect. I caught him in a lie. A big fat lie. A lie he repeated over and over again for a month. Lest we all get too excited, the lie was about wearing retainers nightly even though they were actually lost at summer camp.

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My Worst Christmas Ever

by Elaine O'Neill

My lonely heart hurt with quiet feelings of sadness.  Instead of the noise and laughter I experienced when we took in these needy souls, a heavy silence hung over my home. I felt depressed. We lacked the joy that a foster child brought to our home during the Christmas season.

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Light-bearing: The Next Generation

Light-bearing: The Next Generation

by Kimberly Ann Coyle

My son entered the world of light and noise and oxygen on a day when the windows stayed open. A breeze blew the curtains back and sun streamed across my bed as I labored, bent over and breathing heavy at the foot of it. It was April in London, and I have yet to see another sunny April day there since. I birthed my boy into light, rivers of it washing through the upstairs bedroom of the little house with the blue front door. 

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Preparing for Birth and a Reflection on Parenting

Preparing for Birth and a Reflection on Parenting

by Megan Romeo

Although I accept with hands open, parenting can also be hard on most days. You know those kinda’ days, where we want to hold our hands closed - fall onto our bed with a tired heart - and have no room to even ask for new mercies because we are out of steam.

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Overwhelmed by Chores Around the House? Get Your Kids to Help!

Overwhelmed by Chores Around the House? Get Your Kids to Help!

by Kimberly Amici

As a mom of three young children, I felt like I was always cleaning up after someone. There were always dishes to wash, laundry to be cleaned, and meals to cook. 

After only a few years of motherhood, I began to feel like Cinderella. 

When my kids were toddlers, we took various Mommy and Me classes. Every single one of these classes had a cleanup song. I witnessed my kids put away blocks and instruments. I realized, If they can clean up here, I can put them to work at home. [Continue Reading...]

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Do You Hear God Knocking?

Do You Hear God Knocking?

By Barbara Ruglio

I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me (Is 1:2b)

Can you relate?  I certainly can!  Blessed with compliant elementary-age children, I experienced their coming-of-age years like a death. My sweet children had disappeared and I found myself staring at my defiant teen and wondering, “Who are you and what have you done to my daughter?” [Continue Reading...]

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Monday’s Child is Full of Grace…

Monday’s Child is Full of Grace…

by Chelle Wilson

Our son is an aspiring musician, and he was preparing for a big performance. The night before, we set out a suit, pressed a shirt, debated ties, buffed dress shoes, picked socks, and packed everything including grooming products. Suit bag and tote at the ready, we were all set. [Continue Reading...]

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The Hero in Me: Inspired by the Hero That’s He

The Hero in Me: Inspired by the Hero That’s He

by Diana Jones

I recently saw a commercial for the show The Hero hosted by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.I was intrigued by the title and decided to tune in. For those of you who have not seen the show, it’s a reality competition.  10 ordinary people are placed together in a house and put through a series of mental, physical, and emotional challenges. Each week, the viewers vote to determine which contestant was the most heroic. [Continue Reading...]

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Mama…Please Don’t Cry When You Say Goodbye!

Mama…Please Don’t Cry When You Say Goodbye!

By Elise Daly Parker

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, Philemon 1:4 ESV

It was THE day…the day we actually left my baby at her new home, Eastern University, a few miles outside Philadelphia. I was told I was not allowed to cry. “Mom, we’ve done that…no, I don’t want you to cry.” “Okay, I won’t.”

I defined the meaning of stiff upper lip. When the inevitable quivers came, I straightened up, took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and tightened my mouth. [Continue Reading...]

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Teaching My Kids to Pray God’s Word Plus FREE Scripture Prayer Cards

Teaching My Kids to Pray God’s Word Plus FREE Scripture Prayer Cards

 by Kimberly Amici

I wasn’t sure what to pray with my kids in the evenings. I got tired of giving thanks for the wonderful day and then asking God to give us a good night sleep. “Now I lay me down to sleep…” didn't seem like a good option.  I can remember as a little girl saying it before I’d go to sleep at night, though I could never remember if I was supposed to pray for my soul to keep or to take. Eventually, fearing that I was going to get it wrong, I stopped praying this prayer altogether.  [Continue Reading...]

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Book Review: Preparing Him for the Other Woman by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Book Review: Preparing Him for the Other Woman by Sheri Rose Shepherd

by Diana Jones

One day while author Sheri Rose Shepherd  was snuggling on the beach with her 3-year old Jacob, he looked at her and said: “Mommy, can you marry me?” Sheri responded by saying that she would love to, but mommies can’t  marry their little boys. Jacob cried and said, “Then who am I going to marry?” In an instant, something in her shifted; she realized that she was responsible for raising someone’s future husband. At that very moment, Sheri led Jacob to pray about his future wife. [Continue Reading...]

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Memorizing Scriptures from the Bible with Your Kids

Memorizing Scriptures from the Bible with Your Kids

It all started when I sent my kids off to their very first Vacation Bible School.

At the end of the week, they came home with a set of dog tags. Each tag featured a different Scripture they had learned. I could hardly believe it when my then three year old was able to recite more than one Bible verse to me, complete with body movements. “Wow, this is awesome!” I thought, then over the next few weeks I taught my kids a few more Scriptures.  [Continue Reading...]

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Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

Today's post is by contributor Susanne Ciancio, LPC, Licensed Professional Christian Counselor.

Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

In May, we discussed the difficulties of 

Dealing with angry teens, Part 1

. The key point was to distinguish between when someone is expressing anger—which is normal and needs a healthy, boundaried outlet—and disrespect—which is using our anger against people with disparaging, condescending, mean comments.  We focused on changing the behavioral dynamic in the family between parents and teens and the importance of role modeling and owning our own anger before we can help our teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) with theirs.  We also talked about how our teens need to learn to express their anger in appropriate ways. We ended with the question: Should we permit anger at all?

 

 

 

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Preparing to Let My Baby Go

Preparing to Let My Baby Go

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, Genesis 1:14 ESV

A new day dawns. Sun rises. Birds sing. Flowers grow…It’s a new day. It’s as if all of creation knows, as if all of creation grows…today is a new day for my daughter.

Today, after years of preparation—hard work, sleepless nights, APs, SATs, ACTs, essays, extra help, extracurricular, education—today she decides where she will spend the next four years of her life. [Continue Reading...]

Just like the baby birds in the nest outside my window, Amelia is getting ready to fly. She’s the youngest of four. The last to soar. Will she make the right decision? What is the right decision?

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Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 2

 Dealing with Angry Teenagers - Part 2

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Last month I shared the difficulties of dealing with angry teens. (Click here if you missed it.) The key point was to distinguish between when someone is expressing anger—which is normal and needs a healthy, boundaried outlet—and disrespect—which is using our anger against people with disparaging, condescending, mean comments.  We focused on changing the behavioral dynamic in the family between parents and teens and the importance of role modeling and owning our own anger before we can help our teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) with theirs.  We also talked about how our teens need to learn to express their anger in appropriate ways. We ended with the question: Should we permit anger at all?

WHY PERMIT ANGER?

When we permit our teens to express anger, we're ultimately permitting them to be separate from us, have a different viewpoint, become an individual, etc. I have told many parents that one key to saving your kids many hours in the therapist's office as an adult is to let them express themselves honestly and openly in the family. We don't have to agree, just show respect when our teens are speaking to us.

IS ANGER ALWAYS SIN?

Anger is just a feeling.  It's a barometer for how I'm doing in a relationship. The sinning occurs when we use our anger as a weapon against someone, to hurt or denigrate them. So yes, it is possible to be angry and sin not as Ephesians 4:26 admonishes us. For instance, if I'm angry about something and I know what’s going on for me emotionally, I could be free to say something like, "I'm really not comfortable with the decision you made on my behalf. I don't think my best interests are being considered."  If I'm disconnected from my relationship, and myself I might be inclined to say, "Are you kidding me?  I told you I'm not doing that! Not now, not ever!!! You always do this to me. There's something wrong with you! You never listen, you only think of yourself, etc., etc." The former sets a firm boundary while respecting the other person. The latter is combative and hostile. It's like throwing a torch in the relationship. We get to choose. When we role model respect, eventually, it will come back to us from our teenagers.

WHAT DOES AN ANGRY BUT RESPECTFUL EXCHANGE LOOK LIKE?

We need to take some time to really hear what our teens are saying to us. Set firm limits about being respectful, no trash talking, insults, etc. I'm not encouraging us to agree with them across the board, but if we can find one small area where we can legitimately agree or apologize, we should do so! The goal is to show them we care about their feelings, their perspective, and that we value their thoughts. This models respect for others, behavior we want to see our teens repeat.

Surprisingly, in most situations (about 80%of the time) a young person feels better just being able to get things off their chest. Everyone has a deep need to be heard and known. We can permit our teenagers to say, "I hate it when you do that," or "I hate it when things turn out that way for me."

We don’t have to remind them that we’re paying all the bills and that's why we get to make the decision. We can say something like, "I know this is tough; you will be an adult soon enough. Then all the decisions are yours, but so are the responsibilities."

One of the underlying causes of anger for teens is invalidation of feelings from people in authority. Just permitting our kids to have a chance to speak their mind can set them free from a portion of their anger. Remember this: no one skill or interaction changes the sum total of family life or parent/teen relationships. What we’re doing is endeavoring to change the emotional climate in our home. This takes perseverance and effort. We have to do our own emotional training before we require our kids to develop a new behavior.

Next month, we’ll talk about how to maintain influence in our teenagers’ lives, while making sure we avoid losing control. We’ll also differentiate between anger and rage and what to do about each. 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Dr. William Lee Carter's classic book,The Angry Teenager. This book talks about why teens get so angry and how parents can help.
  • The Anger Workbook for Teens by Raychelle C. Lohmann is a great tool for teenagers who are willing to look at their own anger. It is chock full of techniques for anger management, coping strategies for frustration, self-control, and much more. I suggest the first book because most likely you're the one who is concerned about your teen’s anger. Don't buy the workbook unless you have a willing teenager motivated to work on their anger.
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Susanne Ciancio, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Christian Counselor. She has been serving the Christian community as a professional Christian counselor in Essex county and the surrounding area since 1986. Beyond her private practice in West Orange, NJ she is involved in teaching, consulting, and pastoral supervision in various churches in the area. Click here for Susanne's website. 

EDITORS NOTE: While Susanne can’t answer specific counseling-related questions, she welcomes your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about what kinds of topics you’d like to see addressed here at Circles of Faith. Click here to contact us

photo credit: martinak15 via photopincc

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