Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mothers' Stress and ADHD Kids

What do you think? Are mothers with children who suffer with ADHD more stressed than mothers whose children do not have ADHD?

Most of you said "YES!" quickly and automatically. But why do you say that? Why would mothers feel more stressed if they have ADHD kids than those whose children do not exhibit the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

In a recent study published online the research was done to isolate the moms' stress levels.

Examining the ebb and flow of parents' distress in relation to children's behavior was the focus of an interesting study published recently in the Journal of Family Psychology [Whalen et al., (2011). Dissecting daily distress in mothers of children with ADHD: An electronic diary study. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 402-411. Participants were 51 8- to 12-year old children with ADHD and their mothers (about 70% boys) and 58 comparison dyads where the child did not have ADHD. The authors had intended to include fathers but were unable to recruit a sufficient number. All children with ADHD were being treated with a long acting medication during the study and were reported by their mothers to be doing well on medication.

Over a 7-day period during nonschool hours, mothers and children rated their moods and behavior using Personal Digital Assistants, i.e., PDAs, roughly every thirty minutes when prompted by a beep from the device. Each time the beep occurred, mothers rated the child's level of attention/concentration, hyperactive-impulsive behavior, and oppositional behavior. They also rated how stressed, worried, worried about their child, and sad they were feeling in the moment. These ratings were averaged to obtain a measure of moms' overall distress at each recording point.

Children used their eDiary device to rate their mood and behavior by indicating how angry, restless, impatient, and focused they were feeling each time they were prompted.

The researchers also obtained measure of 'maternal risk' at baseline using a composite of mothers' self-reported ADHD symptoms, depression, and the intensity of child-related stressors that she experienced during the prior 6 months. Obtaining an estimate of maternal risk at baseline enabled the researchers to test whether mothers at higher risk were more negatively reactive to their child's behavior in the moment.

Baseline characteristics of mothers

Not surprisingly, baseline risk scores were substantially higher in mothers of children with ADHD compared to other mothers. These mothers were more depressed, reported more ADHD behaviors in themselves, and were experiencing significantly greater stress related to their children.

Question 1: Do ongoing child behaviors and maternal distress fluctuate together?

As expected, the answer to this question was clearly yes. In both groups of mothers, elevated levels of distress were reported during times when the mother perceived her child to be hyperactive, oppositional, or lacking in concentration. Similarly, maternal distress was higher when the child reported him or herself to be angry, impatient, or restless.

Question 2: Are mothers of children with ADHD more reactive to their child's negative behaviors?

Again, the answer was yes. The increase in maternal distress reported by moms whose child had ADHD was significantly greater when the child displayed negative behaviors/moods compared to the other mothers. Thus, even though distress increased during these times for all mothers, distress levels in moms in the ADHD group were negatively affected to a greater degree.

Question 3: Is the link between negative child behavior and maternal distress stronger in moms at higher risk?

The answer to this question was also clearly yes. Moms with higher baseline scores on the risk index reported greater increases in distress when their child displayed negative behaviors than did moms with lower risk scores. This was true for both groups of moms but recall that moms of children with ADHD had substantially higher risk scores to begin with. Thus, this was especially problematic for these mothers.
My Thoughts!

It was also obvious that these moms need support, coaching and assistance to deal with their stress. However, the study in question did NOT answer some of my questions. Take a look at the research again and see if it answers all your questions.

1. How did the absence of Fathers impact the kids and moms?

2. Which comes first, ADHD in the children or stress, reactivity and anger in mom?

3. What would you work on if you wanted to bring more peace to the family?

Gary Sweeten

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Give God Thanks Daily

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, and tempers are short, my children are so loud, thank you, Lord,

for my family. There are many who are alone.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have.

There are so many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yanks and Brits have Thanksgiving in 1942

An American organist in Westminster Abbey

The Wall Street Journal is a magnificent newspaper with terrific articles that uplift the soul. One such article appeared in the paper today for Thanksgiving. I urge you to read it and mull over the importance of thanking God with other world leaders.

Here is a brief excerpt from the article.

The most dramatic ceremony was in London's Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned for centuries. No British government had ever permitted any ritual on its altar except the prescribed devotions of the Church of England. But on Nov. 26, 1942, they made an exception for their American cousins.

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is a matter of Attitude and can occur daily, hourly, minute by minute. I spoke recently at Rend Lake Foundation Scholarship Dinner and took time in preparation to think over what education had done for me. I had some interesting insights.

It came to mind that attending a country school with only 4 teachers for 8 grades was a tremendous gift. I learned both lessons from the First Grade and Second Grade and Third Grade and Fourth Grade, etc for eight years. I had a double opportunity to learn everything the teachers taught. I was the teacher's assistant in the later grades because I knew everything in all the books plus I had a lot of time to read other books.

I also think that growing up poor was a great gift. Every day since graduating from high school I have enjoyed a better life materially than when I was a kid. I really do appreciate the blessings of liberty and capitalism.

Attending a small community College was wonderful. The staff and teachers knew each of us and cared for each of us. It was like Grade School again with a lot of interaction, mutual support and encouragement. Cooperation was important and helping each other was normal so I learned how to work in teams and that supported what I saw while working on the farms as a boy.

Starting out with very little money was a blessing. I think the Occupy folks need that education now. The seem to be totally unprepared for life. Maybe they were pampered. I attended a Walter Williams seminar one time at Xavier University. The students sitting in front of us were from the Student Democratic Club on campus.

During his talk, Dr. Williams noted that all young people needed to take a job at Wendy's or McDonald's to learn how to work hard and serve others. The Democratic kids stood up, booed and shouted that such labor was slavery.

At the break, I introduced myself and my friends and asked why they thought working in fast food was immoral. They said that such work was beneath anyone. That all people should start out getting a living wage. (But they had no idea what that was. Mom and Dad were paying for them to attend a very expensive private college.)

In our group were four men who had terminal degrees. (Ph. D., Ed. D., M.D. and Dr. VM.) but we all started out in minimum wage jobs. They were not inspired as I hoped but were aghast! Minimum Wage is IMMORAL!!!

With that attitude I think Minimum Wage is excessive. Those people needed to serve others for FREE to learn to be thankful. Their attitude is one of "The world owes me a living". If they think life is hard now just wait until the Chinese and Indians start to take their jobs in droves and outwork them, outsmart them and out serve them.

will these people go out into the woods and eat grass, roots and weeds? How will they make it in life? Big Daddy Government is out of money. The Garden of Eden is gone. We all must plow, plant, weed and harvest today. We have to make flour and package it before we distribute it and cook it. These people and the Government Bureaucrats who enable them are destined to either change or sit on the street and beg.

What do you think? Are you an Eyore and covet other people's stuff and want them to take care of you or are you thankful about working for your own stuff?

Gary Sweeten

Gutter Television Attacks Bachmann

Jimmy Fallon's band used vile and disrespectful terms to introduce Michele Bachmann. But the most troubling thing about the incident is the reaction of many comments on the story that show so much lack of mutual respect and class for Ms. Bachmann.

I do not support her for President but I know she is very bright, well educated with a sterling track record as a Federal Tax Attorney and Business Woman. She is a much better speaker than the current President and a more ethical and balanced person of wisdom that most the the people from the Federal Government.

All of these things are important, but not as important as showing respect for one another in the realm of politics. I have not read a single comment that explained why the writers were dissing her. Each person just seemed to call her name and attacked her in a similar way that the drummer did. He doesn't think he likes her politics. But he does not know he disagrees with her because he has never listened to her.

I do not expect people from different political parties to sing in perfect harmony. That would not reflect reality. However, mutual respect is essential to a democracy. NBC showed us how to rip the fabric of society with this incident. If she were Black the drummer would be gone forever from TV. But a White conservative woman has no protection on TV.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Washington A Great President

When I read the prayer and proclamation written and spoken by our first President, George Washington, I can see why many people think he was the greatest leader we ever had.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

George Washington

Autism Summit

I was able to attend the Cincinnati Autism Summit last Saturday and it was very interesting and educational. I was able to meet many parents and professionals who are deeply involved in the care, feeding and rearing of children, teens and adults who fall somewhere on the ASD. There are so many bright, capable and committed people working on the issues of ASD that I expect that we will make soem great strides in the near future.

Growing Up To God

From Scoffer to Spiritually Alive and Growing

All life is a process. People go through various stages whenever the Lord is drawing them toward Him. In the chart below I have scaled out 20 steps of change that range all the way from minus ten meaning alienation and blindness to a need or desire to change to plus ten that indicates the person is involved in ministry according to the call of Christ.

Motivational level Our Wise Ministry

10-9 = Rebels at any change--Offer Kindness of God

8-7 = No intention to change-- Offer Prayers, Assistance

6-5 = Change may be possible-- Offer Support, Encouragement

4-3 = I need to change-- I will help you set goals

2-1 = I have decided to do it!-- I will be with you

-0- = The first steps of change -- I am here, lets find others

1-2 = Continues despite lapses. Relapse prevention

3-4 = Gains strength & confidence Support from church

5-6 = New habits begin to form-- Encourage, teach, mentor

7-8 = Lifestyle firms up-- Equip for specific areas

9-10= I will take initiative-- Maturity apparent Support Them

Where are You Spiritually

Joni-A Real Leader

There are tons of books written today about leadership. Some of them are like long sermons and focus on Inspiring us to "Get ready, Get going and get busy! and do it with verve, excitement and creativity. I have been involved in education, training and mentoring for many years and there are some people who will never, ever be that kind of leader.

Other books lay out complicated theories and ideas about being a leader. After I read two or three chapters I have already forgotten what was in them so I must not be a leader.

Some authors love to write tomes with 100 or so proven leadership principles. They fill the books with stories about how to think like Steve Jobs or how to manage like Bill gates. They don't seem to realize that these men are not the run of the mill guys who read a book on The 100 Laws of Leaders and suddenly invented Apple iPads.

In my coaching Elders and Pastors I am often asked about how to find a real leader or two to be on the Board. Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Ask yourself this question: "What kind of leadership do we need and want from this person? Do I need a good talker who can speak in up front meetings and persuade the members to give more money? Do I want a person who will give us a lot of money? Do I want an Entrepreneur who can help us think outside the box? Do I want a person who is legalistic, hard nosed and quibbles over every detail in the church building and program? Do I want a gracious person who is loving, supportive and generous to those who fail?

2. Look at the human track record of the potential candidates. How do they operate at home and work? do they have a good reputation in the community? Are they hard to get along with or easy to be with? Do they have a sense of humor or are they sour?

3. Look at their religious/spiritual track record. Are they FAITHFUL

Faith in God's love and grace
Actively living in the Spirit
Involved with important things
Teachable and trained in leadership/ministry skills
Humble and easy to debate on important matters
Free from debilitating habits and emotional issues
Unencumbered by past hurts and bitterness
Loving toward the family of God and family at home and spends time with each

What think ye about these ideas? Will they work?

Write your comments and let me know.

Gary Sweeten

Monday, November 21, 2011

Discipleship Requires Clear Directions

When I coached basketball I had to develop a set of drills that would teach my players everything they needed to know and do while in the game. The rules did not allow me to get into the game myself. I had to try to train the players so they were prepared for whatever happened on the court.

Christianity is not lived in the church buildings. It is lived and played on the courts of life in family, work, recreation, etc. This means that we must Disciple Christians how to live in practical ways in life. I do not mean just do religious things like read the scripture, pray and talk religion. I mean actively live out the way of the Gospel when parenting.

For example, a man or woman cannot be a good parent without honoring one's own parents. If I am angry with my parents or cut off from them it will cause a rift in the emotional and spiritual environment at my home. It will cause me to overreact toward my own kids and possibly my wife. I will either overreact by being too harsh or too soft.

If my dad was too soft and I develop an attitude of disrespect toward him, I may be too hard toward my own son. Discovering those bitter root judgments and getting them confessed and changed requires a patient mentor/disciple maker.

Pastor, you cannot disciple from a pulpit. You must get with your players at the side of the court on which they play and coach them in the midst of their crises. You will need sometimes to call a time out and coach a man or woman how to bring healing to a relationship or how to confront sin in the house. That cannot happen if you are shouting from the stands or limiting your interaction to the pep rally.

Altar Calls at Church Services

Sheriff Taylor Trains Opie to Fish

A friend recently sent me a blog entry about altar calls. It seems that the write was the Interim Pastor at a church with an old tradition of giving an altar call after each and every service. This man did not do that and some of the congregation were upset with him. They wondered if:

1. The Preacher did not believe in calling people to come to Christ
2. Was not able to give a good altar call
3. Was not interested in salvation
4. Etc

The man who answered these questions aid he believed in calling people to Christ but that altar calls were too often a substitute for discipleship. He thought far too often a person came to the altar, prayed and went off to live exactly as he had been living. That the respondent made an emotional decision but had no follow up or teaching on how to live for Christ.

I agree that most people who come to the altar and ask Jesus to save them are rarely trained to live for Jesus. But, I doubt that it is because of the initial call to repent. It is because the Preachers, Pastors and Evangelists do not know how to train new Christians to live for Christ.

They do not know this because they were not trained themselves. Seminary does not usually train Pastors to disciple others. they were not discipled themselves so they have almost never seen ti done.

My wife and I went to the altar 50 years ago today on November 21, 1961. We were married and have lived together since. However, we needed someone to train us how to live together not just how to say, "I do!" We were as green as a married couple as any newly born again Christian. We were babes in marriage and we desperately needed help.

New Christians desperately need help living with Jesus after marrying him but I know of almost NO Pastor who knows how to make disciples. They are clueless. Thus, they can give an altar call so that is what they do. They Talk! And, since they are like everyone else they think it is enough. And, since the Seminary teaches nothing but talk they think they are doing the right thing, even if it is not what Jesus orders us to do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Research on Church Member Satisfactions

A few years ago, Bill Hybels and his team of marketing gurus decided to ask the members of their church how they were doing. A team of astute researchers put together a survey designed to ferret out where the respondents were in their commitment to Christ along with their commitment to the Willow Creek Church. That was a courageous thing to do. It is rare for a church or business to actually ask its "customers" to give them feedback. In fact it is almost unique in church history.

The researchers designed to get at four different levels of Christian commitment.
1. Attending but unsure about Jesus. We might call them Seekers or Explorers
2. Attending and committed to Jesus. The traditional title might be "saved, born again, converted" and Babes in Christ. They call the group, "growing in Christ".
3. Close to Christ and studying the Bible.
4. Christ centered and involved with the church.

They also asked the respondents how satisfied they were about the way the church was ministering to their needs and if they were committed to stay involved in the church or were looking for some other place to feed them spiritual food.

Here is the question for you. What do you think they discovered? What group seemed the most satisfied and which we're thinking about leaving?

I admire Willow Creek for their bold commitment to get feedback. Are you Christian leaders interested in hearing from your "customers"? What do you think they would tell you about your programs and practices?

The Willow Creek study was called Reveal and they published a book by that same name. The newest book is Move and discusses what various churches are doing to follow up on the research.Go to the Reveal web for more information. Their web site is clunky and my experience was pretty awful but you can dig deeply enough to find information.

At Sweeten Life Systems we believe in asking people about their felt needs and how we and/ or others can best meet them. We did a yearlong study of parents with children who have a disability. They told us a lot. Go to the Sweeten Life web for more information on our research.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Healing From Sexual Assaults

I heard it again today and I get upset every time. The radio and Television waves are full of it and I am sure many people will be affected negatively. But, it is a lie and one that can harm us. What is the lie?

This is the big, fat, juicy, slobbering lie:

"People who have been Victims of sexual rape cannot be healed!"

They can be healed. I have seen many people walk in the light of healing, forgiveness and victory. It can be slow and painful but when it is over the relief floods your soul.

So, if you have ever been a victim, find someone to minister to you and find healing for the soul and wholeness for the heart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is This Any Way to Pick a President?

Rick Perry could not remember something last night, and that might keep him from becoming the next President of the most powerful, influential and important nation in the world. Albert Einstein was notorious for forgetting things. For example, he rarely remembered to carry money and sometimes forgot his kids' names. But I don't think that kept him from thinking and remembering important things like E = MC2 and other silly stuff.

I don't particularly care for Rick Perry or want him to be President but my lack of support is not because he forgot the name of a Department of the Federal Government. At my age, forgetting is pretty normal. If Mr. Perry were to become President, he is already a Governor of Texas, I imagine he would have people on his staff to remind him of his kids' names and carry his money while he thought about important things.

We choose Presidents in the same ways we choose a Preacher. Can he preach? Is he articulate? Can he remember how to pronounce the names of the Old Testament characters? Many great talkers have been chosen and served as Preachers who were terrible leaders. Put them behind a teleprompter and they would shine but ask them to draw up the wisdom of the ages and serve their flock was useless.

We currently have a good Preacher in the White House. He was chosen because he was articulate and although he said nothing of import the people like a man who can say nothing beautifully. Even Joe Biden, currently the VEEP, said about the Preacher President when they were both running for the top job, "Obama is clean and articulate..." Wow! Any person with cleanliness and talkyness is next to a deity.

WE are currently trying to choose another Preacher and trying him out. Some like Perry because he is a "Hot" speaker. Others like Mitt the cool hand Luke of preachers but the Baptists and Pentecostals say he is flat and we need a preacher with energy. Newt has gotten a lot of interest because he can use big words and has memorized the entire Congressional Record. Dr. Paul has a high voice so he is out.

Is this any way to pick a President? If we continue to let the TV guys choose our leaders the ability to talk not lead will be the key. I doubt that we can do anything about it but it is sad both for the country and the church to choose leaders that way. A stuttering man may be the best but he could never make it in this current beauty contest.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The People Speak Up

Several years ago, Robert Fogel, a Nobel Prize winning Economist wrote about the times we live in today. He said that the data from his research about the economy, social changes and spiritual changes led him to conclude that we are currently experiencing The Fourth Great Awakening. His conclusion is big news. Very big news!

Here is a Review

In his book, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, published in 2000, historian and economist Robert William Fogel, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993, surveys what he discerns as cyclical interactions, throughout the course of American history, among "fervent" or "enthusiastic" religion; politics; legislative policies; advances in technology; and public interest. In the process, he presents a synthesis of American history in the domains of technological advances, consequences of those advances on social, economic, religious and political life, and on the course of egalitarianism in America.

Fogel argues that at least three periods of surges in religious fervor and organization (he refers to them as ’awakenings’) have occurred in American history, each greatly influencing the political process and leading to major changes in legislation and governmental policies satisfying the religious fervor for particular egalitarian goals. He describes each as subsequently leading to backlash reactions that resulted in new political and legislative changes. He argues that a fourth great awakening began in the 1960s and 1970s and continues into the present (early 21st century), emphasizing a need to complete the goals of the Third Great Awakening and equitably distribute "spiritual" or "immaterial" ("non-material") resources only tangentially related to religion.

Of Fogel’s book, senior contributing editor of The Christian Century, James Wall, wrote:[6] Drawing on William G. McLoughlin's original work, Revivals, Awakenings and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607-1977 —part of a series on American religious history edited by Martin E. Marty—Fogel examines each of four religions awakenings: the better-known first (in the 1730s and 1740s) and second (from the 1790s to the 1830s), a lesser-known third (beginning in the 1890s) and a fourth (which McLoughlin dates from the early 1960s and which he projected as ending in 1990). Fogel identifies egalitarianism as the common theme and goal of all the awakenings. The first three led to material equality, first of condition and then of opportunity. The fourth marked a shift in focus to equality in matters of the mind and spirit.

One of the most interesting facts is the high number of people who I call, "Seasoned Believers" many of whom are well read in the Bible because of years of church attendance and involvement in small groups. There are some 900,000 men and women in Greater Cincinnati who are age 50 and above. I estimate that 1/2 of these are Believers who have an excess of time, money and spiritual experience.

My Experience

As I was renewed powerfully in the Holy Spirit during those times and have been closely involved in the movements in the USA, Europe, Africa and Asia I agree heartedly with Dr. Fogel. The Revival and Social Revolution that have risen out of the Revival are still going on. We can see the dramatic changes in the growth of numerous new kinds of churches and music as well as a flood of books and magazines.

One of the most exciting and radical changes is a strong desire top live out the reality of The Priesthood of all Believers. We see this in the internet with Face Book, The Tea Party, The Occupy Movement and the massive desire of "Lay People" involvement in small groups, volunteering and overseas mission trips.

But there is a problem. Very few churches actually train and disciple all those interested people. Lots of them want to find a place of significance to serve God and each other but the church leaders refuse to enroll them into training programs.

There is a similar problem with young Christians. They are spiritually charged and looking for older men and women to mentor them and help them find a place to serve. I met many of them in Chicago but almost no Christian ministries were there to develop relationships with them.

We need a new paradigm. We need leaders who take seriously the words of Jesus about going into the world and make disciples . Is that now changed to "Go into the world and make big groups"? This latter approach will never impact the world for Christ.

Even Robert Fogel, a lapsed Jewish Economist, sees the promise and the spiritual potential. Where are the Christian leaders?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Social Enterprise Organizations

My last few days Karen and I were staying on the Miracle Mile in Chicago attending the annual meeting of the Social Enterprise Alliance learning how to "Fuel Economic Growth and Drive Social Impact". See linked.in/socialenterprisealliance

I heard many people who have a real passion to serve others tell how they developed businesses that hired former clients and community members in need to operate them so they would have a job. One lady said that there are 350 small loan companies in America that offer loans and business training to low income people so they can start a business. Within one year, on average, those new businesses expand to hire two to three new workers. She mentioned that if they expanded their business by doubling their loans it would end joblessness in the USA.

To make things sound even better, many of these businesses have become self supporting and have incomes that cover almost their total costs of serving the people. These stories inspired me to look for new ways to integrate enterprise into our ministry and connect heart to healthy income.