Page 26 - G-Ollie the Observant
P. 26

The road to behavior problems, school failure, substance abuse, etc., is paved with common irra onal beliefs that form a percep on of our world so di cult to modify, that we will endure signi cant discomfort and failure prior to addressing them. Many of these beliefs are with us in childhood and remain in their unmodi ed version through adolescence and into adulthood. There is li le in our society, educa on or culture to help us iden fy these beliefs and determine if they are ra onal
or irra onal.
Unfortunately, many of us must wait un l we experience life failures and unhappiness before there is any possibility of evalua ng of our belief system. This lack of understanding that our beliefs are the basis of our emo ons and behaviors and lack emphases on learning e ec ve, ra onal beliefs is at the core of many of the frustra ons of parents, educators, therapists and law enforcement. Teaching our society, its children, adolescents and adults to manage their thinking and take responsibility for their lives is the challenge of the 21st Century.
Regarding Substance abuse, Jeanne Tschann in her 1994 ar cle in Health Psychology wrote, “One current scien  c theory is that those who stay with the habit (substance abuse), become increasingly dependent on alcohol or drugs, are using these substances as a medica on of sorts, a way to soothe feelings of anxiety, anger or depression. Through their early experimenta on they hit upon a chemical  x, a way to calm the feelings of anxiety or melancholy that have tormented them. Thus of
the several hundred seventh and eighth grade students tracked for two years, it was those who reported higher levels of emo onal distress who subsequently went on to have the highest rates of substance abuse.”
It is not necessary that you or your children must experience emo onal distress or drug abuse before learning to deal more e ec vely with life. Unfortunately, all too o en the small behavior problems in our children, caused by their immature S nky Thinking, are ignored in the hope that they will “outgrow” these problems. The passage of  me however, is no guarantee that their thinking will change and these small problems usually must become serious issues before any help is
made available.
But as noted by Daniel Goleman in his book Emo onal Intelligence, “Acquiring the ability to handle those feelings, soothing anxie es,  gh ng depression, calming rage, removes the impetus to use drugs or alcohol in the  rst place. These basic emo onal skills are taught remedially in treatment programs for drug and alcohol abuse. It would be far be er of course, if they were learned early in life, well before the habit became established.”

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