Posts Tagged ‘depression’
Guilt and shame are siblings in the family of feelings. Despite certain similarities, there is a clear distinction between them. Guilt is feeling bad about something you have done, while shame is feeling bad about who you are or a part of you. One is about behavior and can be changed. The other is related to your sense of identity and therefore harder to change.
In the ever evolving phases of parenting styles, the shift from physical punishment to shame was intended to use guilt more effectively than before, in the hope that it would teach children how to behave when their parents were not there. A bit like a GPS. Parents decided “guilt” was better than smacking because it worked even when mom and dad were not there. The purpose was still to monitor and control emotionally, but with good intentions; to create lasting discipline.
I have clients who are perfectionists and they know they are perfectionists. They have been to some form of counseling or have seen psychologists and they claim that things have become worse since they discovered their perfectionism. The label “Perfectionist” has allowed them to justify their behavior and that has increased the friction in their relationships even more.
Most of them came for life coaching when they reached rock bottom in their relationship due to their high demands when their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, friends, work colleagues or even boss said, “Get lost!” and kicked them out of the relationship or left them.
In the previous post on perfectionism, I wrote about ways to assess whether you or your children are perfectionists. In this chapter, I will give you some tips to help perfectionists. If you want to use them to help a child, remember that your goal is to plant those thoughts into your child’s mind or create circumstances that will help them overcome the fear that is associated with things not happening exactly the way they want them to.
I hope these tips will help you help your perfectionist child and if you need the help yourself, translate them into adult vocabulary and your own circumstances and make perfectionism a period in your life, not a lifestyle.
As a life coach promoting happiness, I find myself talking a lot about perfectionism as an obstacle on the way to a happy life. After researching the science of happiness and seeing thousands of clients, including many parents and children, I can tell you that happiness and perfectionism cannot live in the same body. They are like the good and the bad wolves living in your body and when you feed one, the other one starves.
The problem with perfectionism is not only that perfectionists are not happy but also that those who are close to them are not happy either because of it.
Many grownup perfectionists started out as perfectionist kids. In my kids’ assessments, I can tell if a child has a tendency towards perfectionism from age 3. Most people believe this cannot be helped. Some kids are born perfectionists and that is that, but I think this attitude makes our life much harder, because repeating this mantra guarantees there is nothing we can do about it.
Much like any other “disease”, perfectionism can be cured and the best time to do it is during early childhood, before the child develops strong behavior patterns that are hard to change.
I also believe that the best people to cure child perfectionism are parents, because their love for their child will help them overcome the resistance.
I love summer. I could bathe in the sun the whole day. When it is very hot and people wish for a breeze or seek the comfort of the air conditioner, I still prefer the heat. It makes me happy.
When Gal and I lived in Thailand and the humidity was extremely high, I never complained. I take a shower with such hot water that it is too hot for Gal. I have lived in Texas and loved it. I have lived in California (that was OK), Thailand and Singapore (loved it), and now I live in Brisbane, Australia, doing my best to forget the 3 miserable years in Melbourne, Australia, because I was so cold there.
There is a joke that says Melbourne has 4 seasons in one day, because the temperature changes dramatically every couple of hours. I found that to be true, but the only 4 temperatures I recognized were “cold”, “very cold”, “extremely cold” and “freezing cold”. Maybe I have different temperature receptors. I just love the warmth and the heat, and it boosts my health and wellbeing.
Our emotional state is very much like our body temperature. Everyone has different receptors and a different optimal temperature. It is important to understand that we have different ways of reaching our optimal temperature.
In the same way we adjust our water temperature and volume in the shower, Gal and I use different ways of coping with situations in our lives. Gal prefers to talk about the situation and analyzing reasons and options, while I prefer doing things that will make me happy and distract me, at least for a while, until I calm down and consider the situation from a distance and come up with solutions. It is very important to note that both of us, although we use different methods, are trying to reach happiness within.
Gail asked for a relationship coaching session, but said she would come by herself. “My husband won’t come”, she said. No matter what I asked her, her answer was related to the fact her husband was depressed and was unwilling to help himself. He had lost his job years before and that had sucked the life out of him. For 5 years, he had been sucking the life out of Gail and her two wonderful boys.
Having a depressed family member is not easy to handle. Most of the time, the depressed person cannot admit he or she needs help and rejects any help attempt. Those around them feel helpless and drained.
Gail was very creative in her attempts to help her husband. She went to the doctor and talked to him. She tried to make him go to the doctor, without success. She got him some vitamins and he refused to take them. She arranged holidays to make him happy, but he stayed depress.
Eventually, after 5 years of trying, Gail left home.
Strong parents can do a lot to help themselves help their children and chase bullying away from them. Yes, it is true that if the bully does not have you or your kids as targets, they will choose someone else, but if the bully does not have any easy targets, it will be much easier to stop and support them.
A lot of energy and resources are given to the victims and their families nowadays. If the victims did not need that much help, it would be easier for our society to help the bullies.
My cure for bullying is a strong family. I believe we can change the picture by giving parents the strength, tools and support to help their families break the bullying cycle.
Here are some more important things parents can do.
Good parenting is a very important factor in changing the bullying phenomenon. Unfortunately, we live in a world that throws much of the responsibility for kids’ problems and behaviors on the kids, where in fact, although there is no point blaming anyone, parents are still responsible for fixing those problems. Usually, I do not like the concept of “fixing”, but I think fixing is appropriate in this case, because as I believe with all my heart that in the purest, original sense of our existence, we are all kind and warm people who are “damaged” by something along the way, so we fight, thinking there is a threat on us, even if the threat does not exist.
Parents as Role Models
The next 10 tips (this post and the next one) focus on the concept of role modeling. Raising strong kids with confidence so they will not become victims of bullying, not even from you, requires courage, self-awareness and self-control. If your kids see you fighting back and strengthening your confidence, they will think this is the norm.
Mental health is a big concern in Australia, especially depression and particularly in young people. The Commonwealth Government recognizes this problem and has started, among other things, a program called Kids Matter, which guides schools in discovering, analyzing and solving any mental health problems.
Derek is a great believer in emotional intelligence, so Upper Mount Gravatt State School is getting the most out of working with Kids Matter. In fact, the school has done so well is has won awards for leadership in mental health for the past 2 years.
But Kids Matter only provides the framework and incentives for focusing on mental health. The school still has to choose good services and good providers to make real impact and Derek has chosen Ronit to run Happy Parents Raise Happy Kids and Happy Teachers – Happy Students.
In an interview with Derek Brady, he says, “Having a life coach attached to your school as a school partner has huge implications”.
It was Friday and many people gathered at the funeral home. I knew 3 people in the crowd – Nicole and her two kids, Jane and Russell. The hundreds of people in the crowd were all like me, pieces of the puzzle of the life of the person they were saying goodbye to.
I looked at Nicole and the kids. It is just an irony that when you feel you need lots of strength to survive the heartache in your life, worse things happen and change the whole picture. They stood there carrying a burden that I sometimes wonder if time can heal.
The dead are always at peace. It is the other people who remain to suffer their absence. The members of the Lance Family were left to suffer the shame, the guilt and the secret.
A week before, 45-year-old Bryan hung himself in his garage.
Someone very close to us lost her son to teen suicide. Her son was 18 years old, a great kid who took his dad’s gun one day, sat in his parents’ car in a park and shot himself to death.
He is gone and is probably not suffering anymore, but a whole family he left behind is still picking up the pieces of their shattered life and cannot find comfort.
I am writing to you because I pray you never have to be in the same position.