Talking to Your Child

Originally, my goal was to write a blog weekly, but it is not realistic for two reasons. First, I want this blog to be meaningful. I do not want to write to just to write. This became evident as I sat in front of my computer trying to force something out. Second, I have a demanding schedule and finding time weekly is a lot. So my new commitment is to blog at least once a month and any over is just extra.

talking parent

So for February I want to focus on communicating with your child. From the #MeToo Movement to the Florida school shooting, children are being exposed to a lot via the media. First and foremost, as a parent you first have to use active listening. Most people listen long enough to react instead of waiting to hear the person out, and then form a response. This also means not engaging in another activity while they are talking. And using nonverbal signals to show that you are engaged in what they are saying.

Second, reflect back what they stated to make sure that you got a clear understanding of what they are trying to say. This gives your child an opportunity to correct any wrong perception prior to you potentially making a quick judgment.

Third, ask questions for clarification and shows that you really were paying attention. Not to mention it gives clarification, point two.

Fourth, give them the reasons behind your answer. I grew up in the era of “Because I said so!” Children will accept a negative response better if they first are heard, and second they can have some type of understanding of your reasoning.

Fifth, do not ignore their questions just because you are uncomfortable with the topic. You would rather your child get answers from you then from their friends or the internet. You are also able to control what they learn first. If you need advice on how to approach the topic, schedule a later time to talk and then research.

And sixth, if you find that your child needs more assistance understanding the subject, seek out a professional to help. There have been a number of times I see a client who states they have been asking for therapy for months/years. No child is going to ask for therapy just for fun.

I hope these suggestions are helpful for you talking with your children. Feel free to ask any questions.

Fatherly Trust

On yesterday, I found myself in a hospital getting an MRI and lumbar puncture . Back when I was 19 years old, I had both of these procedures done outpatient. Back then I had a reaction to the dye they use with the MRI where I vomited and what was disturbing is that I told the technician it was going to happen but he did not believe me. Luckily, he heard the panic in my voice and was able to get me up before I choked. Back then with the lumbar puncture, they had a hard time completing the procedure. They called in a specialist who was able to do it by placing me on my side. Looking back at my previous experience sets the tone for what occurred this time around.

Back to present time. Yesterday, I tell the MRI technician about what occurred with the dye when I was younger. I had already informed my nurse so they gave me anti-nausea medicine to help. The technician reassured me that they have changed the dye and he is 90% sure that I will not have a reaction, especially  since I also took medicine prior. So I am faced with trusting a stranger with the past experience on my mind. Now for anyone who has had to have an MRI done, they place you in this tube with this thing around your head that holds it still. This is not the test for anyone who is claustrophobic! It produces anxiety for those of us who are not claustrophobic. So the tech puts a wash cloth over my face, and I start to have a panic attack. At this point I am practicing all those lovely techniques I teach my clients: deep breathing, self talk, imagery, etc. I have to men on moth sides of me ready to catch me if I try to make a run for it. And all I can keep thinking is what a story this will be with the headline “Psychologist runs from MRI room in panic” LOL

The technician gives me another option. There is a mirror they can place on the head apparatus that allows me to be able to see him throughout the test.  He also assured me that he will talk to me between each test and will not leave me. When I looked at him through this mirror where he sat in the control room, it reminded me of my relationship with God. He kept his word and was there any time I needed to see him. He reassured me throughout the test. When the system went down and had to be rebooted, he came and stayed with me. I felt safe and secure and my anxiety dissipated. This went on for an hour because of the number of different tests my doctors ordered. By the end, I was relaxed and grateful that God sent this man to help me through this.

After I finished, my transporter informed me that I would be going to pre-operation to prepare for the lumbar puncture. The surgeon came in to discuss the procedure and have me sign the consent. After he finished his explanation, I discussed with him by previous experience. And he reassured me that he would not have to put me on my side and would not have any complications. So, yet again I am blindly trusting yet another stranger. The procedure went well with no complications. He talked with me the whole time and checked throughout to see how I was feeling.

The experiences with these tests reminded me of my relationship with God. Of how He is always there for us, offering us reassurance when we are scared, and giving us what we need. The image of the MRI technician sitting in the control room watching over me is an image that I like to think of in reference to God. He is my controller sending me what I need, directing me, and showing me love. It reminds me of the song “I’ll Trust You Lord” by Donnie McClurkin: So who will you trust today?

The image of the technician also reminds me of my father who died 22 years ago on this day. I have often imagined my dad sitting up in heaven looking down on me watching and sending me loving messages when I need them. There are times when a sight, smell, or sound reminds me of him. How fitting that with both tests it was men there to guide me.  I am so blessed to have had an experience that reminded me not only of my Heavenly Father, but of my earthly father. Rest in Peace Daddy (Huey T. Davis).