Thursday, February 28, 2013

AP for Older Kids and Falling Into Grace

Just in case you missed them, recently I was over at Natural Parents Network describing how the 8 principles of attachment parenting have grown along with our kidlets, and over at A Deeper Story sharing how gentle discipline has given me a deeper understanding of grace.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Treasure Under Our Noses

I am so very honored to be over at Jen's place sharing about my favorite granny Psalm and how goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, like rainbow farts from a unicorn.  Jen is an amazing writer and an incredibly lovely person.  And be jealous--I live nearby and have been able to meet her and her delightful kids in real life!  I still am not a fan of running (I walked every single field test--you ORU alums know what I am talking about), but between her and Maria from Pieces of My Mind, I just might get inspired.  OK, probably not gonna happen.  Still, whether you are a marathoner or a fellow couch potato, read Jennifer Luitwieler's stuff.  It is good. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Help, My Daughter is a Betazoid! Seeking Resources for Empathic Kids

I consider myself a slightly stunted empath.  I pick up on a lot of things, but nowhere nearly as acutely as my daughter does.  She is my little Betazoid, unerringly picking up on all the emotional energy around her and absorbing it into her own.  When she was smaller, I watched helplessly in dismay as over and over she would eagerly anticipate an outing to someplace special, and then she would find another person, especially other children, who were sad or upset and it would wash over her so strongly that she became sad or upset along with them.  I have also noticed how often her emotional state mirrors my own.

Image credit: Christopher Macsurak on Flickr
For me, this kind of thing would show up in several different ways.  Mental pictures.  Almost always gut feelings about what was going on inside of someone else.  Things that I knew without being able to tell you *how* I knew it.  Sometimes even feeling a fleeting sensation or pain in my own body.

As a Christian who grew up in Pentacostal/Charismatic circles, we have all kinds of spiritual language for this kind of thing.  It was typically described as manifestations of the Holy Spirit (unless of course, it was a negative/spooky thing, in which case it was considered demonic).  Even as a child, when praying for people I could sometimes see visions, or have "words of knowledge" or my hands would feel different sensations when I touched someone.

I do believe very strongly in the gifts of the Spirit and in spiritual entities.  However, I also believe that emotional energy isn't always about good or evil and that sometimes it just is.  But I have been frustrated in attempts to learn more because most of the material I have found has been all new-agey stuff on children channeling ghosts and showing psychic abilities, which isn't what I am interested in. I have no desire to communicate with the dead and no particular gifting in precognition.  I just want to learn about how to deal with the everyday matters of managing not only my own feelings but also those of the people around me and all of the other things that we notice so much more than most people (the constant noise and buzzing of fluorescent lights, for example).

I desperately wish I had more resources on the practical matters of being an empath--books, links, whatever.  I have a very intense need to learn more about this for my daughter's sake. 

We recently had a rather upsetting experience, and what disturbed me the most was her account of it afterward.  From my viewpoint, the confrontation was merely angry.  From her description, it was violent.  I could feel that she wasn't deliberately lying (there goes my own empathic radar!), but I also knew that her version didn't match up with the facts.   This ate on me for days.  Then I recalled a few similar incidents and suddenly everything clicked.

In each of the confrontations, a family member had been very angry and then touched her.  Although they hadn't physically hurt her, she had felt their anger as a physical sensation smashing against her.  As we began to talk about it, it made so much sense to both of us.  She wasn't lying--she just didn't have the maturity and words to explain what had happened and the subtle distinction between the person's actions and her perception.

Realizing again how strong her empathic abilities are has also brought greater insight to her behavior in other situations recently.  I have noticed how she often goes wild in a large group, or seems to get unreasonably sad or nervous as if she is shutting down.  She simply gets overloaded from all the feelings and emotions of the people around her.  And of course, most people don't consider it polite to express all their strong feelings in public.  So if someone was angry or sad or nervous and trying to act on the surface as if everything was fine, the disconnect between what she was feeling and seeing/hearing was unbearable.  As an adult, I struggle to process this kind of thing (and feel emotionally exhausted for days after a party, even when I had fun!), and being a child, she is less guarded and has fewer coping tools.

I want so much to be able to help her with this, and I really don't know how.  I know that I can shield myself a bit (unless I am very tired or hormonal), but I don't know how to help her do that. 

I know that this is a precious gift.  I have always seen her as a Healer, and there have been many times where she has used her empathic abilities to help others.  I just want her to be able to protect herself at the same time.

Ash over at Simple Gifts had an excellent post on this, but I need more.  Can somebody please share how to parent a Betazoid? :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Did you catch my last post over at A Deeper Family?

Image credit: derPlau on Flickr

"Long ago, I memorized the entire Psalm in Spanish and English.  I have heard those words hundreds of times, but this time life sparked in them as I looked into the eyes of each kidlet and repeated them.  “Did you hear that?  The Bible says that you are wonderful.”  They smiled back with perfect assurance.  And my breath caught just a little, because some days I lack conviction on the part about “I know that full well”.  Not regarding them–never!  I see God’s fingerprints all over them, and delight in them just because they are my kids and some of the coolest, most lovable people I know.  But to “know full well” that I am wonderful?  Well, I keep coming across buried doubts about that somehow."

Head over to A Deeper Family to read the rest of the story.  :)