Thursday, July 29, 2010

Avoiding Escalation in Your Marriage

Q. My husband and I seem to be arguing a lot lately. It just seems that all our disagreements turn into full blown arguments. We both feel it is not good, but we are just not sure how to stop it. Can you help us?

A. It is not uncommon for couples to experience this escalation from small arguments to full blown fights. There are actually four key negative patterns that you want to watch out for in your marriage. These four patterns are: escalation, invalidation, negative interpretation and withdrawal/avoidance. According to research conducted at the University of Denver having any one of these four key patterns can destroy your marriage. If you can work on extinguishing these four key patterns, the positive aspects of your relationship can take over.

What you are experiencing in your marriage is escalation, or the back and forth responses that continually up the ante and therefore make the conversation more hostile. You can work at short circuiting escalation by backing off or saying something in a calmer tone. Both of these tactics will allow deescalation to occur and you will break the negative cycle. These are hard tactics to employ when you find yourself angry or frustrated, but try it and see if it does not cause the conversation to take a turn for the better.

Remember James 1:19: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." If this does not work for you, give us a call. We are happy to work with married couples who find these negative patterns to difficult to break on their own. There is hope for your marriage and it could start with you.

All information take from: "A Lasting Promise" by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, and Milt Bryan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Q: My child is displaying some symptoms of ADD and ADHD. What should I do now that school has started back?

A: It seems that many parents are concerned about their child having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A good starting place is to consult the child’s teacher and/or school counselor. Teachers and counselors are aware of the warning signs that surround ADD/ADHD such as attention-getting behavior as well as emotional, physical, neurological, and social immaturity. Additional symptoms include underachievement in the classroom; difficulty processing what is heard; poor handwriting; low self-esteem; learning disabilities; unpredictable mood swings; increased activity levels in his or her play; impulsiveness; and distractibility.
At home, have one designated space where your child does his or her homework, rather than spreading it all over the house. This will remind your child’s brain that it is now time to study. Otherwise, the brain will try to both study and watch television. Having your child study on his or her bed is not recommended, because being in bed should signal the child that it is time to wind down from the day.
Playing some music in the background near your child’s study space may help your child concentrate, but this can vary depending on your child’s needs.
Remember to communicate what you are seeing and experiencing at home to your child’s teacher and to follow the recommendations from the school. If you see many of the above symptoms in your child and are concerned, the counselors at Pathways Professional Counseling will be happy to assist you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Children with Nervousness and Anxiety

Q: My child is displaying some signs of nervousness or anxiety. How can I help him?

A: Anxiety can be signaled by sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, racing thoughts and other symptoms. Find hope that many people experience it and it can be manageable for adults and children.

As a parent, strive to make your home a predictable, consistent, calming environment. Share your expectations concerning rules and chores. If your child is stressed or anxious, encourage him to draw or journal about his feelings. Make a list of people who he can talk to about the problem. Practice calming breathing exercises together and get some fresh air. Above all, remember your children watch to see how you manage anxiety. Healthy habits include exercising, talking to a friend, and having a community of believers to rely on who can point you to Scripture and will pray with and for you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Helping Children Deal With Divorce

Q: My spouse and I are going through a divorce. We both love our children very much. Our youngest son has been acting different lately. What should we do?

A: Sometimes, when there is a major change in a child’s life, they communicate their feelings about it through behavior rather than words. Maybe your son is easily angered, you have seen a change in his grades, or you have seen regression such as wetting the bed or acting younger than his age. You can help your son by modeling healthy coping strategies such as counting to ten when angered or relaxing through writing or drawing. You can also give him a safe place to talk about anything he is experiencing. It is vital that you never speak negatively about the other parent.

Just as you would take your child to the doctor when you see ongoing symptoms of physical sickness, you might consider calling a professional counselor for a “check-up” if you see a noticeable change in his behavior for several weeks. A professional can help you determine how serious these behaviors are and give you tips to help you aid your child during this difficult time.

For more information about counseling for your child please visit our website at: