I was recently at the pool with my “adoptive children”. As we started to leave, the youngest one started crying that he didn’t get to swim long enough. The older one tried to explain to him that the pool was closing and that it’s time to go. This rational approach to an emotional challenge was the beginning of an emotional meltdown. Do you ever face summertime challenges like this and you don’t understand why they’re happening? You would think that summertime would be easy-going and a time of fun and relaxation. The fact is over-stimulation created by fun times can create meltdowns just like stress from negative situations.
I’ve put together eight summertime challenges along with a Scripture-based meditation to help you with each challenge. The Scripture-based meditations come from my book, Christian Parent Wisdom. I hope these will help you put the fun back into your summer.
Boredom is not a lack of motivation. Your child is probably hypo-aroused or emotionally shut down. Connect with your child and develop a list of activities he or she is interested in. Be an encourager for your child.
Christian Parent Wisdom #14 Encouragement
I choose to use words that edify and encourage my child. Encouragement and compassion is an essential ingredient in providing a secure base for my child.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, as indeed you are doing. Thessalonians 5:11
Meltdowns After A Good Time
Remember that positive stimulation can overwhelm a child who has a small window of tolerance. Don’t punish the meltdown, take responsibly for not providing enough emotional safety for your child and use this opportunity to connect and expand your child window of tolerance. Be emotionally safe and steadfast for your child in all circumstances.
Christian Parent Wisdom #15 Steadfast
When fear and dys-regulation disrupts order and harmony, I affirm all is well. I clear my mind of all concerns. I remain steadfast knowing God is in control.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. Psalm 108:1
Aggression is a sign of fear. Social situations can easily become over whelming for children with trauma histories. Look past the aggression and see your child as being afraid and let your heart lead you to connect in love.
Christian Parent Wisdom #17 Love
God’s love is there to comfort me in all circumstances. I chose to comfort my child in all circumstances. As I connect with my child, we find the peace within our hearts.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort according to your promise to your servant. Psalm 119:76
Irresponsible behavior is a sign that your child is over whelmed, not lazy. You may need to make your child’s world a little smaller during the summer. Not enough structure leads to dys-regulation. Put order in your child’s life
Christian Parent Wisdom #47 - Divine Order
In the midst of dys-regulation, I look past any chaotic, present circumstances. I seek spiritual understanding, while God’s divine plan for my family unfolds. Order is then restored in my life and my relationship with my child.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from the human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 2 Corinthians 5:16
Increased physical and emotional activity causes dys-regulation of the brain’s appetite sensor. Even though your child “should” be hungry after a day’s activities, your child may not sense it or “feel” hungry until they are regulated. Help your child regulate before meals times. Use this as a time of emotional and spiritual connection. Pray with your child.
Christian Parent Wisdom #35 - Prayer
I model an attitude of gratitude for my child. Together, we give thanks in prayer for all we have and all we experience. Our lives become a prayer walk with God.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thessalonians 5:16–18
When siblings spend more time together there is usually an increase in sibling rivalry. This rivalry is their way of telling you they need more connection with you. It’s not about jealousy or envy. Let chicken represent available love. When there’s more mouths to feed at once, fear of starvation (emotional) sets in and each child feels afraid there won’t be enough chicken for them. Siblings then become a threat to each other. Take a deep breath and allow the Holy Spirit to help you cook up a little more chicken for the kids.
Christian Parent Wisdom #28 - Abundant Life
I celebrate life today with my child. We are refreshed through prayer. We are his creations and have a greater life and abundance through him.
I came that they may have more life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Withdrawal is all about self-protection. It’s not about being lazy, selfish, or self centered. summertime activities can easily become over whelming. This may put your child in a survival role. Withdrawal is a common form of self protection. It’s part of our natural fight or flight response to fear. Don’t let your child’s behavior cause you to feel captive and separate you from your child. Celebrate all channeling behaviors as an opportunity to connect with your child and help them progress developmentally.
Christian Parent Wisdom #46 - Freedom
My freedom in Christ allows me to make choices to improve my relationship with my child. I choose to have a peaceful and harmonious relationship. I choose to focus on God’s good in my child.
As servants of God, live as free people. 1 Peter 2:16
The world will tell you that negative behaviors are the way your child tries to manipulate and control you. The world tells you that you should punish those behaviors. Look past your child’s negative and challenging behaviors. Shift your paradigm and see these behaviors as your child’s communication for connection with you. Free yourself from all the shoulds of the world. This may be a challenge. Think about how God allows our negative behavior and waits for us to talk with Him.
Christian Parent Wisdom #55 - Freedom
Christ releases me from old patterns and the shame-based “shoulds” that surrounded me. I can now be all I was created to be and receive all He has for me. I am free to be in a loving relationship with my child.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Pray and meditate on these Scriptures to help you with all challenges you may face with your child. Use these challenges as an opportunity to grow personally and to create emotional safety for your child.
About the Author: Ken Thom, MS, LPC,* specializes in assisting individuals, families, and children in trauma or distress. A nationally recognized Christian counselor and published author, Ken uses Scripture and Biblical truths along with the Post Institute Stress Model to put love into action to heal relationships. Ken has over 25 years of experience working with people with alcohol and drug addiction; sexual, physical, and emotional abuse; mood disorders; ADHD and other behavioral disorders; and relationship and marital problems.
A parent and grandparent, in his free time, Ken supports faith-based community efforts, youth and men's ministries at his church, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy for Christian Education. As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict himself, Ken's personal experience allows him to better assist his clients in "Healing Relationships through Love in Action." You can find him on the web at www.kenthomcounseling.com
*Master of Science, Licensed Professional Counselor