How Are You Coping With COVID? Take Our Quiz.

To say that people are stressed in the face of global pandemic is an understatement.  Beyond the very real concerns about our health and the health of our loved ones, the shelter-in-place orders combined with the loss of so many normal spiritual resources are making many people feel unmoored.  Psychologists have coined the term Covid Stress Syndrome to describe the psychological effects of the pandemic, and the CDC has released recommendations for dealing with the emotional fallout from this crisis.

How are you coping?  The following quiz can help you evaluate the level of stress you’re under and identify the supports you might need to manage your stress, worry or anxiety.

Select “0” for no, and “1”  for yes.

1. I am an extrovert. 0 or 1
2. I personally know someone who has COVID-19. 0 or 1
3. I personally know someone who died or is in critical condition from COVID-19. 0 or 1
4. A major life event occurred since the coronavirus outbreak (someone I know died, I moved or was unable to move, became homeless, etc. ) 0 or 1
5. I am pregnant. 0 or 1
6. I have an immunocompromised or at-risk family member living with me. 0 or 1
7. I do not have access to outdoor space (live in an apartment). 0 or 1
8. I have children. 0 or 1
9. My life was majorly changed as a result from working from home. 0 or 1
10. I personally or my partner lost his/her job as a result from the coronavirus. 0 or 1
11. I was working parent prior to this outbreak. 0 or 1
12. My sleep has been disrupted in the last two weeks. 0 or 1
13. My eating has been changed (eating more or less than usual in the last two weeks). 0 or 1
14. I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 0 or 1
15.  I am concerned I have it or frequently concerned about my health. 0 or 1

Add up the number on the right to view your total.

Mild Impact 0-5
You’re currently managing well. Consider ways you may be able to lend a hand to someone in need.

Moderate impact 6-10
Life has been disrupted but to a manageable degree. You’re making efforts to take care of yourself and your loved ones, but you are hopeful that when this crisis passes, things will return to normal. Make sure to continue eat well, exercise, engage in meaningful activities, connect as much as possible with loved ones, spend time making a “sacrifice of praise” to God by writing down the blessings of each day, and limit your exposure to news and social media.  If you like, you can take this time to increase your resilience by turning to books like Unworried: A Life Without Anxiety (get it 50% off through the publisher for a limited time) to learn new tools for managing stress and anxiety.

Severe Impact 11-15
This crisis is having a major impact on your life. You have serious concerns about how all of this will affect you and it is impacting your ability to cope. It will be important to strengthen your efforts at self-care (eating well, exercising, engaging in meaningful activities, connecting as much as possible with loved ones, making regular “sacrifices of praise” to God by writing down the blessings of each day, and limiting your exposure to news and social media), as well as learning new tools from books like Unworried: A Life Without Anxiety (available for 50% off through the publisher for a limited time) and considering seeking support from a professional tele-counseling agency like The Pastoral Solutions Institute which offers Catholic-integrated, professional pastoral counseling services by telephone.

Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.  Be mindful about self-care, connecting with others and God, and getting the resources and support you need to stand strong in the face of this crisis.  As a Christian, it isn’t our job to simply weather the storm. We are called to show the world that is it possible to be strong, confident, peaceful and joyful even in the face of crisis, and to do all we can to work for the good of others. Don’t let the stressors of the world weigh you down. Get the help you need to become the whole, healed, godly, grace-filled person you are meant to be.


The Church At Home: Celebrating the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life

By Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak

Whatever else God might be doing at this time, it seems clear that he is calling us to discover the power and importance of the Domestic Church.  With masses suspended and churches closed, we simply don’t have access to the spiritual resources we normally rely on. We are, quite literally, stuck at home with little choice but to figure out how to encounter God as we shelter-in-place.

Despite the very real limitations we’re all laboring under, God has not abandoned us.  His Holy Spirit is still moving powerfully in the world and I believe that it is time to learn how to encounter God more meaningfully in what I like to call “The Liturgy of Domestic Church Life.”

Developed as a result of the Symposium on Catholic Family Life and Spirituality  the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life is a model of family spirituality that helps families experience God more meaningfully in their every day circumstances and experience the faith as the source of the warmth in our homes.  The following is a kind of FAQ for celebrating the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life in your home. I hope it will help you have a more meaningful encounter with Christ in your everyday life with your loved ones.

What is the “Liturgy of Domestic Church Life?”
“Liturgy” is a word that refers to “work” God does through his church to heal the damage that sin does to our relationship with him and each other.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the “summit and source” of that healing, uniting us with God and giving us the grace to create communion with others. The Liturgy of Domestic Church Life is the primary way lay people exercise our common priesthood, consecrating the world to Christ by literally bringing Jesus home with us and letting him transform our common families into dynamic domestic churches!

Why Do you Say That Christian Family Life Is A “Liturgy?”
Great question!  We have a larger presentation (available on request) that explains the basis of the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life in Church teaching and the Catholic theology of family.  That said, check out this link for a brief explanation of the 5 Reasons Family Life is a Liturgy.

How Do You Celebrate the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life?
Every family is different, so every family must feel free to chose specific practices that work for them.  But drawing from both the Catholic theology of family and social science research into what makes families in every culture around the world healthy and strong, we suggest that the Liturgy of Domestic Church is made up of three “Rites.”  The more your family looks for ways to practice these rites in your unique circumstances the more God’s grace can transform your family into a dynamic domestic church! The three “rites” are…

The Rite of Relationship:  Godly families are called to love each other—not just with the love that comes naturally to us broken, sinful, human beings–but  with true, incarnational, Christian love.  By challenging each other to live Christ’s sacrificial love in their homes everyday, the Rite of Relationship enables families to exercise the priestly mission of baptism.

     -The Rite of Rituals: When godly families make a little time, everyday, to work, play, talk, and pray together, they model how Christians are meant to relate to work, leisure, relationships, and God. In this way, The Rite of Rituals enables famlies to exercise the prophetic mission of baptism, showing each other and the world how Christians are called to live.

     -The Rite of Reaching Out: As Christians, we’re mean to be a blessing to others. When Christian families live their family lives with others in mind, being kind, charitable, hospitable, serving others, and working to discern their unique mission and charisms, they exercise the royal mission of baptism by serving with Christ and building the kingdom of God.

What Are Some Examples Of How Families Can Live the Rite Of Relationship?
Catholic familes are called to do more than just live under the same roof and share a data plan! When Catholic families love each other through the priestly mission of their baptism, they practice the sacrifical love that comes from God’s heart.  Every family must be free to choose specific practices that let them live this rite in their own circumstances, but here are some examples of things every family can do.

     -Extravagant Affection—Christ’s love is incarnational and embodied.  The more we share generous, healthy, and appropriate physical affection in our homes, the more our family’s love resembles the incarnate, embodied love of Christ.

     -Prompt, Generous, Consistent, Responses to Each Other’s Needs—Psalm 139:4 says, “Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.”  God is immeasurably generous to us.  Families model God’s love when each member—parents and children—encourage each other to go above and beyond, responding promptly, generously, and consistently to each other needs and concerns.

     -Gentle Discipline—Christ is the Good Shepherd. He tends his sheep gently. He leads with love. He is slow to anger.  His mercy is neverending.  St John Bosco developed a method of discipline he called the “Preventive Method” which rejected heavy-handed punishments in favor of “reason, religion, and lovingkindness.”  He argued that a gentle approach to childrearing was more consistent with the call to Christian discipleship because it required parents to develop as well as teach self-mastery.  We discuss effective approaches to gentle discipline in our book, Parenting with Grace.

     -Prioritize Relationship—Christ encouraged the very busy homemaker, Martha, to “choose the better part” (c.f. Lk 10:42) by making time for intimacy over activity. Godly families follow Christ’s call when we prioritize one-on-one time and, as Pope Francis put it,  “waste time with each other,” even when that means opting out of activities that compete with the importance of family time.

     -Catch Each Other Being GoodThe Christian life is all about growing in virtue. Godly families do well to encourage virtue by “catching each other being good,” acknowledging the little gifts of service and love we give to each other throughout the day, and intentionally discussing opportunities to grow in respect, love, generosity, togetherness, joy, and all the other virtues that help us live life as a gift.

What Are Some Examples Of How Families Can Live the Rite Of Rituals
More than just “nice things to do” regular family rituals give families a way to exerise the prophetic mission of their baptism. Not only do family ritual create a strong sense of community, they give families a way to model the Christian way of life by cultivating goldy attitudes toward work, leisure, relationships, and prayer. Every family must be free to choose specific practices that let them live this rite in their own circumstances, but here are some examples of ways families can Work, Play, Talk, and Pray together everyday

Work Rituals—When families take a few minutes every day to do simple chores together, like cleaning up the kitchen after meals, folding laundry, picking up the family room, and other household tasks, they model teamwork, stewardship, and cheerful service.

     -Play Rituals—When godly familes make a point of taking a few minutes everyday to do things like play simple board games or card games, play catch, bake together, do a project, have read-aloud time, take a walk, or enjoy each other’s company in any other way, they model healthy, godly ways to have fun.

     -Talk Rituals—When familes take a few minutes of every day—perhaps over their regular family meal(s)–to discuss topics like the highs and lows of the day, the little ways God has blessed them, and how they might do a better job taking care of each other, they create experiences of heart-to-heart communion in the home.

     -Pray Rituals—Simple practices like morning and bedtime prayer, grace-at-meals, blessing each other, a family rosary or chaplet, family praise and worship times, bible reading, and other accessible, age-appropriate spiritual practices help families invite God into their homes and relate to him as the most important member of their family!  The one who knows them best and loves them most.

What Are Some Examples Of How Families Can Live the Rite Of Reaching Out?
When families love each other and their “neighbors” through the royal mission of their baptism, they cultivate a spirit of loving service in their hearts.  Although its important to find ways to serve your parish or community together as a family, true Christian service begins at home.  Every family must be free to choose specific practices that let them live this rite in their own circumstances, but here are some examples of ways families can practive the Rite of Reaching Out.

Serve Generously At Home—A true heart of service begins with serving the people closest to us. Look for ways to make each member of the family’s days easier and more pleasant.

Think of Others While At HomeRemember to take care of clothes, toys, and other things you have so that you can pass them on to others who may need them in your community.  When you’re cooking, make a little extra for the sick, pregnant, or elderly neighbor. Consider the ways you can be a blessing to others without even having to leave home.

Be Hospitable—Make your home a welcoming place for others.  Regularly invite people to share meals and enjoy opportunities for good, clean fun and even prayer together. Be the house on the block where the neighborhood kids like to gather. Host a neighborhood BBQ.

     -Be Kind in the WorldWhen you go out as a family, make a point of being kind and respectful to customer service people, waitstaff, and others. Practice good manners. Be thoughtful. Say, “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.”  Hold the door for others.  Be aware of the people around you and how you can model kindness in the simplest interactions.

     -Serve Together Don’t let your parish life or charity work be one more thing that pulls your family apart. Look for age-appropriate ways to serve your parish or community together as a family.

     -Discover Your Family Mission and Charism—By prayerfully discerning the virtues God is asking your family to exemplify and how to use the gifts, talents, or interests your family shares to bless others, you discover the unique role your family plays in building the Kingdom of God!

~ ~ ~

Imagine what a difference Catholic families could make if we all did our best to live the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life.  Though simple acts like these, every family could cooperate with God’s grace to transform their homes into loving, sacred spaces and consecrate the world to Christ!

If you’d like to discover more about how the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life can bless your family, I hope you’ll join our Facebook discussion group,
or check out my book Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide To Raising Faithful Kids.
Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak are the authors of many books, the hosts of More2Life Radio, and the directors of, a Catholic tele-counseling service of the Pastoral Solutions Institute.

Quarentine Blues: How Can Your Family Cope While You’re All Cooped Up

By: Dr. Greg Popcak


Beyond the obvious challenges we all face in dealing with the pandemic, many households are experiencing real shock as the activities that used to fill our days suddenly come to a grinding halt.  Schools are closed. People are working from home.  Life as we know it has been upended.

On the relational front, “sheltering in place” is guaranteed to ramp up your family dynamic at least 10 fold. When you’re around each other 24/7, you can’t avoid little irritations and personality conflicts as easily as you can when you’re running in a million different directions.That can be intimidating, but you can make it work to your advantage if you keep a few tips in mind.

1.Make a Routine & Stick To It.

When our schedules get thrown out-of-whack, we’re tempted to let our routines go out the door. All of a sudden we start getting up and going to bed at different times.  Mealtimes become a free-for-all. Chores may or may not get done. That can be fine for vacations, but for times like this, maintaining routines are critical for managing expectations and cultivating a sense of normalcy.

You don’t have to maintain the exact same schedule you did when the kids were in school and you were going to the office, but it would be a good idea to create a schedule and stick to it.  Get up the same time every day. Get dressed.  Eat meals together at regular times. Pick specific days for laundry, cleaning, and other chores. Go to bed at the same time every evening. Sticking to a routine can feel a little arbitrary when the school bus isn’t coming and your boss doesn’t see you coming in late, but do it anyway. The fact is, kids and adults need routines to feel safe, cared for, and connected. When we’re going through chaotic times, stable family routines help your household become a little island of sanity in a world gone mad.

2. Manage Your Relationships

When we’re following our normal schedule, we’re used to finding ways to connect (and stay out of each other’s way) as we move from thing to thing. But when the normal schedules are kaput, everyone’s expectations for the day—and each other–inevitably begin to clash. 

Now is the time to become more intentional about managing your relationships. If you want to function like a real team, you’re going to have to start planning for it.  Break up the day into chunks.  At breakfast, have a short conversation about what you all need/want to do with your time until lunch. At the same time, discuss little things each family member can do to take care of each other over the next few hours. Are there times when you will especially need quiet for a conference call?  What can everyone do during that time? Are there certain chores that really to get done?  How can you work together (or divide and conquer) to make them happen? Discuss how the next few hours between breakfast and lunch are going to go.  Have the same conversation about the time between lunch and dinner, and dinner and bedtime.  

Instead of letting your family devolve into an every-person-for-themselves dynamic, manage your time and expectations. Become the  team you’re meant to be.

3. Work Together

Do at least one chore together as a family every day.  It doesn’t matter if you usually do X chore yourself.  When you’re talking about how the day is going to go, choose a chore that you can all do together.  The kids might groan at first, but put on some music (let the kids take turns picking something appropriate), and do your best to keep a playful attitude while you all pitch in to get the job done.

Working together cultivates a strong sense of team spirit as you pull together to maintain a more orderly household and start getting used to counting on each other to show up–not just for the fun times–but the other times too.

4. Play Together

Don’t forget to have a little fun together everyday. Don’t let the kids play video games all day while you obsess over the headlines on social media. Dust off those boardgames and card games.  Read a book aloud to each other. Play catch. Just waste some time together—on purpose. Remind each other how fun it can be to be around each other. Maybe, when life gets back to normal, you won’t be in as big a hurry to spend so much time apart again.

5. Pray Together

Now, more than ever, let’s make an extra effort to pray as families. Take a few minutes every day to gather together and intercede for a quick end to this pandemic, for people’s health and safety, for the restoration of the economy, and for our own intentions.  While you’re at it, make sure to praise God for the times when he has led your family out of past difficulties and for the little blessings of each day. When we’re stressed, it’s important to remind each other that God has always been present and that he still is right here, right now, guarding and guiding us.

Though the witness of  Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, Christians have been given the gift of seeing that it is possible to draw the greatest blessings out of the darkest times. Although we all hope for a speedy end to this global tragedy, I pray that you and yours will be able to use this time to rediscover the blessing your family has been meant to be all along. And I pray you will spark a connection that will bless you for years to come.

Dr. Greg Popcak is director of, a Catholic tele-counseling practice.

Hurting/Angry Over Mass Suspensions? Finding Spiritual Consolation in Times of Pandemic

It felt like a gut punch.  This past week, the Ohio Bishops’ Conference, along with many other dioceses and bishops’ conferences across the country have suspended the celebration of Mass through Easter.

Last weekend was the first weekend I haven’t been to mass since…I can’t remember.  It was certainly the first time I have ever missed mass without being ill and unable to leave the house.  And I have never once missed any of the Holy Week liturgies—especially Easter Sunday mass. I found myself experiencing a mix of emotions; sadness, frustration, a spiritual ache, even some anger.

Not Alone

I know I’m not alone. I have had many conversations with clients in my Catholic tele-counseling practice and callers to my radio program around this issue.  People–already worried and anxious about how the pandemic is impacting their lives–are feeling cut off from their most important spiritual resources.  As one caller put it, “They are taking away the Eucharist when we need Jesus the most!”  

As I was praying through my own pain of not being able to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, I felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart.  I remembered the parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).

The Good Samaritan

You may remember that in the story, a man is beaten by robbers and left to die on the road. A priest passes by on the way to temple, but can’t stop for fear of being made unclean from contact with the wounded man.  Next, a Levite, also fails to stop to help the man for fear of being made unclean and unable to attend temple.  Finally, a Samaritan stops to tend to the man’s wounds and bring him to a place where he can be cared for.  At the end of the story, Jesus challenges us to be like the Samaritan. 

What does this have to do with our present crisis? It means we need to step back and ask our selves, “What is the point of going to Church?  What is the fruit the Eucharist is meant to bear in our lives?”  The answer, of course, is that by attending Mass and receiving the Precious Body and Blood, God heals the broken parts of our hearts so that we can more effectively love our neighbor as God needs us to.

Love One Another

Of course, the Eucharist exists to be a source of personal consolation, but it has to be more than that.  It has to ultimately equip us with the grace we need to love more, to love better, to love as God wants us to.

Loving someone means “working for their good.”  If the entire point of receiving Christ in the Eucharist is loving others, what does it mean to “work for the good of our neighbor” in the midst of this pandemic?  It means willingly embracing the cross that social distancing requires of us so that we can “flatten the curve” and end this crisis quickly with as little loss of human life as possible.  Sometimes, true love requires abstinence.  This is one of those times.

A True Lenten Mortification

In Lent, we’re called to make sacrifices that will enable us to love better and build God’s kingdom. Sometimes, it can be tempting to choose sacrifices that make us feel good about ourselves.  “I’m going to do THIS for God!  Aren’t I wonderful?!?”  Although rooted in a good intention, this misses the point. True sacrifice isn’t about doing what we want to do for God. Rather, it’s about doing what God asks us to do for him and our neighbor.

It takes real humility to cheerfuly accept the sacrificies God brings into our lives, to consecrate those sacrifices to him, and to ask him for the grace to rise to these challenges in a manner that glorifies him, helps us respond to the people around us in a way that works for their good, and helps us become the people he wants us to be.  

Spiritual Communion & Commission

If you are struggling, as I am, with not being able to attend mass for the next several weeks, bring it to God. Offer up your pain with a prayer that goes something like this.  “Lord, my heart is longing to receive you, but while I am waiting to be reunited with your Precious Body and Blood, fill my heart with your love and grace. Heal the broken parts of my heart.  Help me respond to this challenge in a way that gives you glory, shares your love more fully with the people in my life, and makes me the person you want me to be.”

This prayer, and others like it, are what Catholics call “spiritual communion.”  It represents a desire to pursue union with God and the grace to build his kingdom even when the normal avenues of grace (i.e, the sacraments) are not available to us.  God gives us the sacraments as a gift, but he is not bound by his sacraments and his love and grace rush to fill in any space we open to him.  

While we wait in joyful hope to be able to encounter the Lord at mass and receive him once again in the Eucharist, make a spiritual communion as often as you can and participate in masses broadcast on TV or the radio as opften as possible. Until we can once again receive the Body of Christ, let us all pray for the grace to be the Body of Christ—especially to those the Lord has placed in our path.

Get a Grip—Mastering Your Emotional Life

What feelings tend to get the best of you?  Do certain people or situations provoke emotional reactions in you that are hard to get a handle on?  For that matter, does someone you love struggle with their emotions and you’re not sure how to support them?

In order to handle these difficult situations for ourselves and others, it’s helpful to understand the answer to the following question: Are our emotional reactions universal, or are they conditioned by culture and environment?  

Researchers at the University of North Carolina examined the words used to describe feelings in over 2500 languages to see how people in various cultures experienced emotion.  They did find differences in the ways different cultures describe the experience of certain emotions.  For example, some languages view grief as similar to fear and anxiety, whereas others view grief as similar to regret.  But researchers found that ALL cultures think about and categorize emotions in a similar way. Specifically, all languages distinguish emotions primarily based on whether they are pleasant or unpleasant to experience, and whether they involve low or high levels of arousal. For example, no languages view the low-arousal emotion of sadness as similar to the high-arousal emotion of anger, and no languages viewed the pleasant emotion of “happy” as similar to the unpleasant emotion of “regret.”  This suggests that there are universal elements of emotional experience that are rooted in biology more than culture.  The takeaway? The challenge of  understanding, expressing, and cultivating a healthy emotional life is a universal human experience.

Theology of the Body reminds us that just like the rest of our bodies, emotions and feelings can only do what they were designed to do–that is, help us recognize what is happening in and around us and respond to it in godly, effective ways–if we learn to bring our emotions to God and ask him to teach us how to use them. 

Emotions and feelings are two different but related things. Brain scientists tell us that emotions are the body’s monitoring station. Emotions represent the primitive brain’s general, collective sense of both our overall state of our well being and the circumstances in our environment.  Feelings, on the other hand, are what happens when our cortex, our higher brain, gathers all these general impressions and creates a story about what these impressions mean and how we are to respond to them and that’s where things tend to get complicated.  Because of sin, we often do a poor job of evaluating emotional impressions well and developing responses to those impressions that work both for our good and the good of others.  By bringing our emotions to God we can relearn how to let our feelings serve our physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual wellbeing.

Here are a few, effective ways to understand and gain control over your emotional life:

Pause and Pray–Get in the habit of briefly pausing and praying before you act on an emotion–especially a negative emotion like anger, sadness, or anxiety.  When you notice yourself having a strong emotional reaction, pause–even for a second–and say something like, “Lord, help me correctly identify the specific thing I am reacting to and respond to it in a way that will glorify you.”  Brain scientists tell us that pausing even a second or two allows the higher brain to catch up with the emotional reactions generated by our more primitive parts of our brain.  This allows us to make better, and more complete,  responses to the situations that provoked our emotional reaction in the first place.  On top of this, bringing our emotional reactions to God reminds us our feelings aren’t God.  God is.  And everything we do–including acting on our feelings–has to be motivated by a desire to serve him.  If we can get in the habit of doing this, we give both God, and the natural talents for emotional management God built into our body–the opportunity to teach us to handle even the most provocative situations gracefully.

Add Feathers–Do you know how people can be really good at telling others how to manage their emotions but really bad at managing their own?  A new study by the University of Waterloo found that practicing one simple habit can allow people to manage their own responses as well as they can help others manage theirs.  The trick?  Add feathers.  Just like an arrow that has feathers flies straighter than an arrow without them, people who ask themselves what virtues they need to express their emotions well are much better at identifying and hitting the right emotional targets than people who just act on feeling.  If you want to be as good at taking your own advice as giving it, before you act on an emotion, ask yourself, “What virtue would help me express this emotion well?”  The study found that asking simple virtue-based questions like this helps people both avoid the temptation to repress negative emotions and also helps people make better emotional choices by reminding them to keep the big picture in mind. Next time you feel a strong emotional reaction welling up, don’t just let it fly with your feelings.  Add feathers, and let virtue guide the path toward the right response.

Get a Boost–Sometimes it can be too hard to learn to handle our feelings on our own.  If your emotional reactions are consistently complicating your life or relationships, seek professional help.  Psychotherapy is like physical therapy for the brain.  New research shows that modern therapy techniques help boost the brain’s ability to process emotional reactions more efficiently and identify healthy responses to emotions more effectively.  You don’t have to be a victim of your emotional reactions.  If you aren’t happy with the way your feelings are causing you to respond to the people or situations in your life, getting professional help sooner than later can help you get the skills you need to have a healthier emotional life.

For more information on gaining control of your emotional life, check out God Help Me! This Stress Is Driving Me Crazy!, and visit us online at

Set Your Child Up For Success: The Relationship Between Attachment Style and Financial Well-Being

We all want the best for our children: for them to succeed, be happy, and be their best selves. But did you know that you can even have an influence on your child’s financial security later in life simply through the way that you parent? 

A study out of the University of Arizona found that “people with high attachment anxiety and people with high attachment avoidance both reported low life satisfaction and low relationship satisfaction. Those with attachment anxiety also reported low financial satisfaction.” 

Likewise, the study revealed that those with high anxious or avoidant attachment—both types of insecure attachment—“engage in more irresponsible financial behaviors.”

Often as parents we feel that there are only certain areas of our children’s lives that we can truly influence. But in reality, focusing on fostering healthy attachment with our children can set them up for long term success in all areas of their lives—even down to their financial security and success as adults. 

Here are a few ways to cultivate healthy, secure attachment with your children:

Respond Promptly and Consistently—starting as early as birth, we can begin to set our children up for a lifetime of success by responding to their cries, needs, and concerns promptly and consistently. Research shows that babies who are responded to by their parents in a way that is loving, generous, prompt, and consistent develop a stronger and healthier sense of self, greater independence, as well as more positive relationships and coping strategies than those whose  needs were not met in such ways. 

Date Your Kids—Spending one on one time with our kids in both big and small ways helps our children develop a greater sense of identity and self worth. Sometimes it feels difficult or even impossible to get time with each of our kids to go out to dinner one on one, go to a movie together, or attend an event with them. But while these larger ways of spending time with our kids are important and wonderful when possible, we don’t have to wait for an entirely free day or evening to spend one on one time with our kids. Spending 15 minutes to take a walk with one of our children, running to grab coffee, or joining with them and doing chores together instead of separately are just a few ways we can spend quality time with our kids on a daily basis. 

Physical Affection—When we hug our kids (or anyone for that matter) our physical bodies—such as heart rate, respiratory rate, etc.—sync up. When we do this often with our kids through hugs, cuddling, gentle/loving touches, we are helping them learn how to emotionally regulate and we are creating the bond of healthy, secure attachment.

For more information on how to cultivate secure attachment in your children and set your kids up for success, check out Parenting With Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (Almost) Perfect Kids!