No, we aren’t talking about a dance move today. Funny how we Americans seem to take fun and positive things and go extreme and dark on them.
Just when I thought the negative influences on our children couldn’t get any worse, we get “dabs” or “wax,” the latest teen craze. So many of our youth think dabbing is harmless and a mighty fun thing to be doing. After all, “it’s just marijuana, dad!”
Not so fast there son. “Dabs” are concentrated hash-like THC, the ingredient in pot that produces the high. Dabbing has been described as “marijuana on steroids.” (Kevin Winslow, interview with Healthline, 2019).
The potency of dabs is frightening, especially for young people. Dabs are like a teenager quickly drinking five shots of whiskey as opposed to sipping through a couple of beers. What happens next is unpredictable, but it isn’t good. The effect hits before the brain can really process how far along intoxication is rolling. Kids sometimes pass out or go to sleep right after dabbing.
Even without dabbing, the new potent marijuana available today is a frightening escalation of intoxication for kids. The marijuana of today is not your hippy grandfather’s pot of the 1960s or even the more powerful pot of your 1980s pot-smoking parents. Now, marijuana is scientifically engineered for the faster and more explosive high.
Anyway, how did teen crazes in America devolve from dance moves, hula hoops, and other games to powerful drugs? Seems to be a rather devilish twist, to my thinking.
Dabbing is a relatively new phenomenon, and studies are just coming out about the dangers. As someone who loves children, I do not need an expert’s opinion to know that the earlier a child falls prey to bad things, the worse the effect will be on that child. The earlier that a child’s brain is exposed to getting intoxicated, and the more powerful the intoxicants, the more damaged the brain will be. And the more times a child is exposed to the bad thing, the more that child will be impacted long-term. Those are eternal truths. All people of goodwill know them to be true.
I have zero interest in debating whether marijuana is a “gateway” drug. When something is happening that is clearly harmful to children, it is time for action, not intellectual debate. Marijuana on steroids is a pathway to faster, deeper and dirtier highs.
With anxiety rampant, escapes from stress are very attractive to our youth. Most teens will choose a rollercoaster or a “big drop” over slower rides. Dabbing offers a rush. It is enormously popular with our youth. After passing out, they brag to their friends on Snapchat. The power of the internet is being put to not-so-good use in this instance!
It’s the age-old tragic story. You give someone too much power too fast at too early an age. Then you watch them self-destruct. The potent marijuana available today is too much for children to handle. Dabbing is at another level, and it saddens me for the kids.
Dabbing has a druggy feel to it. The manner in which dabs are ingested and manufactured reminds a viewer of so-called “hard drugs” like methamphetamines or heroin. The dabs themselves actually look like heroin. Any kid can get on Google or Youtube and learn how to make a dab with butane. You will get a dirty, drug-culture feeling, watching how dabs are made or ingested. I worry for the teenagers watching videos of other kids immersed in this culture and then living in the dab-manufacture and smoking world.
Dabs are easy to hide and dabbing produces less smoke and smell than smoking the marijuana plant directly. If you find small torches and/or butane around your place, it is time to investigate what your kids are doing. If you see nails, screwdrivers, other tools or utensils with burnt edges, your children are probably dabbing. Listen to your kids when they are talking to other kids. Talk to other parents. There is a very good internet site which shows parents the “tricks” kids use and the signs of drug or alcohol use. (powertotheparent.org). Look at the article “Hidden in Plain Sight” on their website.
Of course marijuana/thc is legal in some states, including Washington state. It is NOT legal in any state in the U.S. for persons under twenty-one-years-old to possess or use marijuana. Every parent gets to set the parameters on what they will allow their children to do. For my teens, I am choosing a zero tolerance for marijuana use and especially dabbing! This is a fight worth fighting.
By: Neil Presley Cox
HELP STEPS FOR THE HURTING
Are you hurting on the inside at this moment? Maybe you are reading this because you feeling bad about something.
Some problems are not only painful but seem to be impossible to fix. The internet is full of information. Unfortunately, much of it is designed to mislead or to separate you from your cash. It may not offer you much help if you are already confused about things. So, where do you turn for answers?
I wish I had quick fixes for your problems and mine. I do not. What I have is something even better in the long run: a hope which comes from faith. With that, I can keep my sanity and continue loving the people around me even when things do not get fixed.
Here is a way to start your own journey to deal with the hurt:
First, take some quiet time and accept yourself. Be gentle to yourself. You are who you are at this very moment: stardust, a child of God. You have made mistakes and yet, today, you are starting on a better path. Give yourself a break.
Next, one way or another, you are going to need a little hope. Without it, you will lack motivation to take any positive action in your life. Life without hope is like life without sunshine. We are left shivering and immobile.
This does not mean hope that everything will be fixed just the way you want it. Other people may or may not change or do what you want them to do. This is the kind of hope that can give you a happier life, regardless of how other people choose to behave.
Hope can come when you take a small step in a direction your heart knows is right. A little action is required here. For an addict, this might mean talking to someone at a treatment center. Just talking about options for now might open the door and let in a little light.
Helping someone else with no expectation of a pay-back is another way to restore a little hope.
The third suggestion I have is to consult with people who have made it to the place in life you hope to reach. Look for kind people and run from users and double-talkers. When you find the right person(s), find out what they did, and continue to do, to overcome the same obstacles you face. Start doing some of those things yourself, over and over again.
For me, I cannot start down the third suggestion without having done some work on the first two. Someone could bring me a gold-plated solution to whatever is bothering me, and without some self-directed gentleness and the light of hope, I would turn right away from it. Oh, sure, my eyes might light up for a second. It’s just that my spirit wouldn’t be able to sustain any action without gentleness and hope.
Finally, use the “Five Percent Rule” to help you continue along the way. This means not trying to solve everything in three hours. Bite off a small piece just for today and let momentum guide you along.
Do you have a comment? I would love to hear from you.
Are you trying to help a loved one who suffers from mental illness? Millions of Americans are in this position, loving, caring and hurting alongside someone with such an illness.
As a lawyer, I work with mentally ill individuals regularly. I see the endless referrals to psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists. No easy solutions exist, and family members’ struggle can seem never ending. It can be a roller coaster ride. Sort of like life itself.
Many of the professionals who treat mental illness are wonderful, caring individuals. They understand the problems; they put together comprehensive plans to address them. These plans often involve prescription medications. However, there are limits to what you might call “scientific” or “medical” approaches to these problems.
No plan can be effective unless it is carried out consistently over time. The taking of medication is a thorny problem. This can be ground zero for disputes over patient rights. Unless observed or compelled, many people forget to take their medications or refuse to do so, citing bad side effects. Others persist in believing they do not need medication. These are painful situations for loved ones trying to help.
When I can, I urge people to look for other means of help. I want to help people find a tool that can ease suffering and sometimes lead to solutions. There is always a Hope Line somewhere. A grassroots organization called NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has helped many people.
Sometimes a “spiritual” approach can produce positive changes, where nothing else seems to work. This does not mean abandoning professional, therapeutic approaches. It means hitting a problem from multiple angles.
God has worked miracles with countless alcoholics and addicts, healing lives and providing a means to recovery. Likewise, God can bring new hope, power and light to mentally ill persons and their care providers. I have seen it happen. Life takes on new meaning as people find new ways of living and a sense of purpose.
Do you have a story or suggestion that can help people dealing with challenges like these? I would love to hear from you. Send me a comment!
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Many people just spent the holidays feeling a sense of loss, missing someone they love dearly, or wishing they were part of a warm circle instead of feeling cold and alone. A human truth is we can be surrounded by people and still feel we’re alone -–on the outside looking in.
Have you ever wanted to be part of something only to feel the doors are closed to you? So you walked away without trying to make a connection? I know the feeling.
I spent a lot of my life on the outside looking in, because of insecurity. Mingling, joining in is near impossible when you are feeling “not okay” on the inside. And once depressive isolation takes root, the kinds of “relief” I used to try to feel better became self-destructive.
There is good news out there, but it won’t fall into my lap or yours. Scrolling through Facebook won’t help. We have to be willing to put forth some efforts to connect with people and to help others.
Of course, getting help for mental health or substance problems is a necessary prerequisite to developing relationships and to feeling okay. Substance abuse is a closed, essentially selfish cycle for a person. It shuts out the willingness to be truly present with people. It also locks the door tight on making a connection with God or a “Higher Power,” if you prefer.
There is help out there and sometimes there are miracles. I wonder how many miracles go unnoticed by humans on this earth. If our lifeline is not grabbed when it floats by, rescue is lost. I didn’t want to be lost, to simply float away down my self-destructive river. When I saw the lifeline, I grabbed it.
I washed, rinsed and repeated over and over. I noticed I was feeling better. I realized that being kind to others helped me. Gradually, I developed relationships with people whom I love dearly. I continue to look for ways to connect with people. I also guard my sometimes-fragile psyche by avoiding negative news, political situations, and violence on TV. Statistics prove our age of electronic gadgetry is producing a lot of loneliness and isolation. If you are feeling like an outsider watching a wonderful life pass right by you, perhaps it’s time to unplug from some of these destructive habits and reach out to humanity.
I have learned that the people I spend time with goes a long way to determine what my attitude will be and what I will become. Look around you for healthy people. If you search for them, you will find them. I said “healthy” without explaining or qualifying the word. We know what healthy means in this world when we are hurting emotionally and spiritually! Healthy people will help you on your journey. Part of our journey here is to realize that all of us are connected. Each of us is here to fulfill a purpose. All I have to do is accept God’s purpose for me and then do my best to act on it one day at a time. Then you’ll find yourself on the inside, instead of feeling like you’re always outside the circle of life.
Do you have a story or a comment ? I would love to hear from you.
WHAT ARE YOUR ANCHORS?
People nowadays feel adrift and lost. For many, the world is changing too fast and life feels dangerous and hopeless.
There used to be what I am calling “anchors” in our lives. Relatives and friends in a small town could be counted on when times were tough. Churches knit communities together. Perhaps there was even a community center where old friends would congregate and plan projects to help others. A long-term marriage/relationship was a solid anchor for many people. The family dinner table was another anchor as was the evening prayer. These things allowed a person to find balance or become “centered” in the things that are truly important in life, things of our hearts.
So many people have lost these kinds of supports. There is a vague sense of loss and discontent. It hurts so they push it away or “numb out.” People try to create new anchors. Social media is a fast and easy “go-to” to combat sadness and loneliness. “Facetime” allows a sort of connection with our families across the country. Alcohol, marijuana (now legal in many places) and other substances help people avoid feeling the losses in our modern, urban society.
Sadly, these “helpers” often become painful addictions creating a host of new problems. And they fail to fill the aching hole in our hearts.
I remember well the feelings of loss in my twenties and thirties. I had moved far from my hometown and saw my extended family rarely. We weren’t having a “family dinner” in our rushed home. The kinds of anchors that can center a person, spiritually and emotionally, were absent. Heavy work and drinking schedules did not make me happy.
Since then, I have managed to keep ahold of a few anchors that I believe produce true happiness. There is an almost endless list of things people can do! I have a program of spiritual study, family conferences and prayer, regular talks with family members I love and Starbuck dates with my wife. Certainly, I am a work in progress. I am not always consistent in doing these things. When I do not follow through, I start to notice the return of that vague discontent surfacing in my gut. This reminds me to get busy doing something good for me and others.
Do your anchors make you feel happy and clean on the inside? Perhaps you feel as though you need to chart a course for better living or to organize your life. Does the thought of doing so leave you feeling fearful? Are you doubting your ability to change? If so, there is good news ahead. Everyone shares these feelings and thoughts. The only difference between people who make changes and those who stay stuck is willingness to take action.
You do not have to re-invent your whole life. All it takes is a beginning action step. Use the “Five Percent Rule” to help you remember not to be discouraged by the big picture.
Do you have a story about finding anchors in your life or a comment? I would love to hear from you.
We live in a time when everything feels upside down. Changes to our society are happening so quickly that it feels like there is no stable platform anymore. Instead of standing on firm ground, with a purpose, we feel like we are standing on a bed of quicksand, with no clear path to safety. This feeling leads to anxiety, which is an all-too-common affliction these days.
Nowadays, it seems that there are competing theories about how to live at every turn. We are plagued by a million choices and a million things to do.
At the same time, society is manufacturing excuse after excuse to avoid personal responsibility for our behavior. There is always the standard one of blaming others for one’s mistakes. The culture of victimization is another. Another common excuse is that others are doing something and we must do the same thing to keep up with the pack.
Perhaps it seems to you that the rapid changes, and the lack of personal responsibility are unrelated problems. They are tied together. Both of these situations create a sense of purposeless and drifting in the soul. They leave us feeling as though there are no foundations left in the world.
I have had times in my life where everything seemed hopeless and bad. When I lived in those feelings, self-pity took over. I used excuses to justify behavior I knew was wrong. I felt like my skin was crawling, because I hated being inside of it.
I believe there is one way forward to solve these twin dilemmas of modern living. It is to find spirituality, or if you prefer, faith. Through faith, principles can be found which actually work! And with those principles, we find a power that can lift us above the fray of human problems and give us the strength to actually follow the principles faithfully. People of faith have a set of values that transcend and solve problems. We get a breather (by surrendering stress) and a better way.
Do you have a story or a thought to share? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and subscribe!
ADDICTION AND HOPE
Hope. It is a necessary thing for us to hold onto. Whatever may be hurting and frustrating you today, you can hope that the problem goes away or at least hurts less down the road.
It seems strange that there could be a negative side to hope. Some problems just don’t seem to improve no matter how hard you try. That is the risky side to hope. Have you ever set your sights on the following week being a lot better only to have a solution fail to materialize? When that happens, your hope is dashed to pieces, making you feel worse than before. Resentment, bitterness and self-pity may harden your heart.
If you have a loved one who is addicted to heroin or methamphetamine, then you know only too well about unfulfilled hopes. The life of an addict is a rollercoaster ride of promises, lies, despair, recovery and relapse. It feels like every rising wave of hope crashes against rocks on the shore and disappears.
The answer isn’t to give up hoping. Instead, try not to pin your hopes on a specific outcome, timeframe or event.
I have been down this road with an addict. I wish I had an answer that could remove your hurt and mine. I don’t have one. What I do have is a stronger and more focused faith and hope. I haven’t proven to be very successful in shaping other people’s outcomes. I am learning to let go and let God do the work I cannot do.
When I stop trying to control outcomes, I become aware of the role I am supposed to play to be helpful to others, not only the addict. I do my best and leave the rest. The person I love may get sober eventually, and I wish this with all my heart. Either way, I am going to live with serenity and purpose, secure in the knowledge I am doing my best. And, yes, no matter how many times my hope has been crushed, I am going to keep right on hoping.
Do you have a story or a thought to share? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and subscribe!
By now, most people know about the crisis. Heroin is resurgent and more popular than ever before. In every community, it is shattering lives and sowing grief. Experts call it the opiate epidemic. Do you have someone in your life addicted to heroin?
America blinked and the unthinkable happened. Heroin became demystified, even okay to millions of young people. It is no longer the big city street junkie drug. How did we get to this point and what can anyone do about it?
For so many people, the addiction started with less powerful substances. “Partying” with alcohol and marijuana. Prescription narcotics became easy to obtain. Drugs like Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Morphine created a fast and smooth high, especially when the pills were crushed and snorted or smoked. The fact that doctors prescribed these substances made them a little more acceptable. A seal of approval of sorts.
Moving from narcotic pills to heroin was not as big a jump as non-addicts might think. Heroin is a cheaper, faster and stronger version of the same high. Once someone becomes addicted to opiates, being away from them is torture. If heroin can be obtained, so much the better to keep the pain away.
You might be surprised to find out who is using heroin these days. It might be your neighbor or your financial adviser. It might even be your pharmacist. It is truly an epidemic now.
For teenagers, rebellion used to consist of secretly smoking some marijuana. It was cool, illegal and mysterious to sober people. Today, marijuana is legal in many places and, increasingly, accepted by society. Smoking pot does not have the same counter-culture cool effect. Has legalizing marijuana helped make heroin the current choice for rebellious youth? And has moving marijuana a notch towards acceptance made other drugs seem a bit less dangerous and terrible?
When an impressionable person sees a friend using heroin and raving about how great it is, the resistance and fear of the drug gets whittled down. What one person can do, another can do.
Opiates are highly addictive. Once addicted to heroin, a person’s life becomes a deep and dark trap, a mine tunnel.
There is hope for addicts. All that is needed to make a beginning is willingness to change and a pinch of inner honesty. Many people have recovered and are living happy, productive lives without heroin. Some of these people have written about their journey. A lot of addicts with good recovery are willing to lend a hand to those who are still suffering. Hospitalization is often needed at the beginning of any recovery, because addicts become dope-sick without the drug. Please remember always that there are many people who care.
I would love to hear from you. Send me a comment!
Practically everyone is talking about the senseless violence in Las Vegas. There is a lot of talk. Not much in the way of solutions.
People feel powerless. Even worse, anger and frustration produce debate. Do you ever feel like you are hearing the exact same words after each new tragedy? Does it feel like nothing is changing, nothing productive is being done?
An answer exists, and it is very simple and non-controversial! Stand down from violence. Do not accept violence. All evil things need fertile soil to grow.
Reject violence. Use the Five Percent Rule to take one step back from the worst forms of violence, whether it is in movies, TV, video games, talk radio, at home, on playgrounds. Consider the content of the television shows your family is watching. Is it apocalyptic? Does it show violence often and just for the sake of showing the violence?
I want to protect my family and friends from violence. As much as we wish them, there are no guarantees of personal security. What I can do is make sure my personal space is not a place for violence to take root, especially in the minds of my children.
It feels awesome when you take action to reject violence in our world. Any step is a beginning.
Our playlands are no longer safe.
Masked gunmen seek massed innocence.
Walls do not protect.
Weaponry cannot defend
Against high-powered hotel hell.
The violence flares.
Horror is shared on media screens.
Paralysis, angry rhetoric guarantee that.
More violence is coming. We all know it.
I have no desire to debate.
Only one wish.
The same wish flowing
Through the breath of every kind soul.
The rejection and reduction of violence.
Take one step back.
Unplug the sniper-kill video game.
Stuff the fist in your pocket.
Ratchet down the rhetoric.
Let’s retreat one at a time.
Until the millions have rejected both walls and violence.
Replace adrenalin laced-fear with love.
Neil Presley Cox
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions about reducing violence or at least the climate of violence? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.
So many people seem to be walking around with heavy weight on their shoulders. They are busy, worried and tired. Does this ring true with you?
My career often feels like I am walking uphill with eighty pounds of barbells on my tired shoulders. My neck gets stiff and achy. I find myself getting frustrated and grumpy over little things. Most of the time, I plod onward and try to ignore the signs of the problem. There is an underlying fear that if I stop, everything in my life will stop functioning. It’s a strange self-delusion that I have control over things anyway.
If I do not pay attention to the signals my heart and body send to me, I suffer for it. Then, I either have a minor “collapse” or something hits me right in the heart, jolting me to change a few things. Of course, I like the second way of change a lot better!
When I do pay attention, I can use the Five Percent Rule to make a small change. The Five Percent Rule means I do not have to tackle a mountain of a problem at once. For me, a small change is a fifteen-minute nap, leaving my office at 3:30 p.m. to go bike riding, or simply meditating somewhere quiet for a few minutes. The meditating usually leads me to see that I have too many activities or too much stuff to look after. It also helps me see what is important and what is not so important. The important things are the ones that produce health and happiness for my whole family.
I can eliminate one “to do” in my life. Or perhaps I can get rid of something cluttering up my world. If that eighty-pound pack I am carrying gets reduced to seventy pounds, I have made some progress. It only happens when I stop doing. I have to stop staring at the computer, simply stop accomplishing. Just for a few moments.
Are you feeling heavy weight on your shoulders right now? Rest for just a few minutes. Then, think about what you can do to restore a little balance in your life. You will be glad you did!
I would love to hear your thoughts. Send me a comment.
KIDS AND VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES
In our family, we had to make a decision when my pre-teen son told me he was playing a game called “Call of Duty.” He told me over and over that “all the kids are playing it” and “my best friend’s parents let us play at his house.”
I spent some time on the computer learning about video games. It did not take long for my wife and I to reach a decision for our family. We found out two of the most violent games are “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty.” The “kill” choices in “Grand Theft Auto” games are particularly questionable, especially for children. Players have the option of committing evil, as well as violent deeds. For example, one can run over or shoot innocent people as well as the “bad guys” in the game.
Video games have more effect on the mind than movies do. Movie watchers are passive viewers. When your child plays a video game, she is an active participant in action, making mental choices to fire a simulated gun at other beings. The violent images are being paired with split second moral decisions about inflicting harm.
There is a rating system for video games called the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESBR). The video game makers have a lot of influence over the ESBR. The Rating Board has its standards. What others allow in their homes is their business. In our home, we set our own standards for our children.
I came on too strong with my son in the beginning. I told him I thought the game was terrible and violent. He was not allowed to play it. I made it into a battleground, and we argued. He said: “I’m only killing zombies, not real people.” It’s natural for kids to think that. I have heard adults say the same thing. It is a mental trick that we are playing to feel better about graphic violence. Kids don’t consciously say during the games “this isn’t real.”
While my wife and I were able to keep the game out of our own home, I know my lecturing made the game seem even cooler to my son. I learned that calm, consistent action is more effective that battling and lectures.
If you have any worries about what your kids are seeing and hearing on computers and entertainment systems, try to watch them in action without being observed. Then you can decide where your line is drawn at home.
Do you see any problems with the violent games our children are playing? Have you experienced this in your home? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Click to Leave a Comment Below
Do you have a heavy blanket over you called anxiety? Does it feel like you can’t get away from the weight that troubles you? If so, you are not alone. An estimated fifteen million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The number of people with some form of anxiety without the “disorder” label is greater than that.
When I feel hopeless, my mind tells me that this is the only reality. Yet, even in my worst moments, I hold onto the idea that not every thought stuck in my brain is true. It can be very helpful to laugh at myself. Something outside myself will help in time. Trust me, there are times that I have to repeat the notion of hope all the while not believing it!
Do you use Facebook or texting to distract yourself from anxiety? Do you ever wonder if social media and/or frequent texting have something to do with your anxiety? A growing body of research and thought supports the conclusion that a link exists between anxiety and these new tools of our society. A good article on this topic is, “A New Kind of Social Anxiety in the Classroom,” by Alexandra Ossola (The Atlantic, January 14, 2015).
It is time to start making a change in your life towards more joy and less anxiety. Just think how awesome it will be to have stress and fear reduced in your life. As it is reduced, the sunshine will have room to appear.
It may seem overwhelming to find your own answers, but there is hope and help available. Break it down into little steps. I call this my “Five Percent Rule” (see Toolbox). Just tackle five percent of the problem at a time.
You will find excellent doctors, therapists, religious/spiritual advisers, self-help groups and other helpers if you search for them. Your heart will tell you when something feels healthy and right for you. Be aware that finding the right therapist is a hit-and-miss proposition. You may need to meet with several of them before you find the right chemistry. Once you find it, you will know right away it was worth the effort!
The ADAA’s website offers helpful suggestions, links to support groups and other information. Read more here: www.adaa.org.
What solutions have you found for anxiety? Share your ideas in the link below.
Are you missing your child right now? Seething with anger and frustration that you’re not getting time with him or her? You have all the love in the world to share, and, yet, you’re being forced to wait and wait without any end to the hurt.
Time passes and nothing changes. Still you hold off. Maybe you’re afraid of angering your ex and being cut off from visitation completely. Perhaps you think if you push it, you will be attacked in court. Something bad about you will be exposed. So you wait. At the same time, a part of you knows nothing will change until you take action.
Meanwhile, your child is changing fast. Neurons are connecting at the speed of light. Her heart is latching onto someone. Is waiting the right thing to do? Of course it isn’t.
I knew a man in his early twenties. A wonderful guy. He and his girlfriend broke up shortly after their baby was born. He came to see his daughter every time his ex-girlfriend allowed it. Unfortunately, she allowed it only when she was in a good mood. He saw his baby only about twice a month for an hour or so at his ex’s home. He regularly gave her money for food and diapers.
This pattern continued for over a year. He wanted more than anything to take his daughter to his parents’ house, to the park and to his home. He had a car seat and a bassinet waiting to hold his shining child. His ex’s constant refusals to let him take his daughter, even for a short time, stung him every time.
He thought about hiring a lawyer, but the whole thing felt so wrong. He never wanted a custody fight, he wanted to work things out. He tried to be nice, only it didn’t work. When he spoke to her assertively about his rights as a father, she hired a lawyer. He received court papers stating that he had only “minimally” visited his child.
It took many thousands of dollars and months of court battling before he was able to take his child with him for short durations. The court put in place a transitional period of visitation. He did not get full weekends with his daughter until she was almost three.
Don’t miss milestones and bonding opportunities with your baby.
Get going. Get a parenting plan signed by a judge. It will give you and your ex a clear vision for your new relationship as co-parents.
Talk to people. Look on the internet and check out your local library. Get information to find out what’s available. Courts often have a court advocate or assistance officer. Every state has legal aid. Paralegals can be hired to help you fill out court forms. Swallow your pride. Ask a family member to help you afford a lawyer. There is help out there.
Once you take the first step, the Five Percent Rule will kick in and you will move forward. (See blog: June 1, 2016).
Do you have a struggle about a parenting plan dispute? Share your comments in the box below.
WALL CLIMBING 101
Is something tearing at you on the inside, a brick wall of a problem that seems impossible to climb? There are three ways to deal with such a wall. You can try to avoid it, at least for a while. You can slam into it, only to be knocked down painfully again. Like me. Until I learned to look up, see the rope and grab the knot. When a wall keeps reappearing, you know it’s time to do something different.
One of my walls was sugar addiction. I tried to fight the addiction and most days I fought a losing battle. Even though I would swear to myself in the morning that I would not do it, later I would gorge on cookies or donuts. Ten minutes later I would suffer a collapse. My energy was gone, my stomach hurt and my whole body hummed with the effects of sugar. I would stumble through the next few hours exhausted and angry at myself.
I was trapped in a cycle that felt hopeless and confusing. Expensive tests and hospitalization provided no answers. I needed outside help. Help came. A new doctor used intuition with his medical knowledge to provide a diagnosis. Sugar and stress were combining to wreak havoc on my mind and body. That hit me hard.
My doctor threw me a knotted rope, and I held on to it. I had to be willing to make some changes, so I did. I discovered I did not have to solve the problem in one move or even look at the whole wall. Just grab the next knot. I call this the “five percent rule.” The five percent rule means making one small change today. Once you do, momentum will help you to keep making progress.
I slid into old behaviors sometimes, losing my grip on the knot. Yet, overall I continued to move forward. The five percent rule helps you accept a setback with a little less self-hatred and without giving up.
That’s my story. What’s yours? Are you wiped out from slamming into a wall? Don’t avoid it. Try using the five percent rule to knock down a piece of the problem. Look up. Grab the first knot. It’s there. Talk to someone who has made it through a similar problem. You’ve taken a first step today by thinking about your situation. Next step is doing.
For more help, check out my Hope Lines Toolbox for some concrete ideas. Just click on the Hope Lines link.
Did something strike a chord with you? Do you have a thought to share? Please leave a comment in the box below.