You love your spouse, but do you work well together? Unfortunately, many people find that the answer is no. This can become painfully evident once we become parents, and suddenly we have to rely on one another in a different way than ever before.
Here are some strategies on how to reduce tension and conflict, and improve teamwork.
Parents a generation ago didn’t have to worry about online predators, but today’s parents need to be aware. What are the signs your teen is getting in over her (or his) head in social media? How do we keep our kids safe?
This is not the same as finding a “good” couples therapist. I used to believe in the myth that therapists are either good or bad; now I think that there are some good therapists who are just a mismatch for certain clients.
So how to find the right one?
In my novel, “Don’t Try to Find Me” (due out July 8), 14-year-old Marley runs away, leaving her mother Rachel wondering how she missed all the clues. Did she really know Marley at all? And has Rachel’s oblivion put Marley in harm’s way?
For those answers, you’ll have the read the book! But if you have a teenager of your own, here are some ideas of how to assess where you are in your relationship.
Toddlers can be mystifying beings. You’re cruising through a good morning, and then suddenly, they melt down at what seems like an entirely insignificant event (the loss of a sock would not be unheard of.) What’s happening in that toddler brain?
I know this might sound oxymoronic: If a crisis is sudden, how can we prepare?
There are ways to strengthen yourself and your relationships so that you (and they) will bear up better under the strain of a crisis. Here are some ideas on how to increase your resilience.
There are a lot of reasons couples might procrastinate about entering therapy. It might feel shameful, like an admission they can’t do it on their own. They might be afraid of what will come out in the room, and more comfortable maintaining some level of denial about just how distressed their relationship is. They might feel overloaded and overwhelmed with all they have to do in their week, between jobs and kids and other commitments.
They might also hold the belief that if things get really bad, they can just do therapy then. They might as well wait, they reason. What difference could it make?
A lot. And here’s why.
It’s not an easy proposition. An essential parenting duty is to teach, and to facilitate growth. That involves change. But sometimes, we might find ourselves trying to mold instead, and we might also find our kids fighting back.
What’s the difference between molding and teaching? And what does it mean to truly accept your child?
I’m a big believer in the power of ritual. When you do something over and over, you start to anticipate the feelings you’ll have. So when it comes to our relationships, it’s important to have rituals that make us feel emotionally connected. Perhaps even more importantly, they create the expectation of being emotionally connected, which is half the battle.
So here goes:
But awareness is where better starts. So here we go:
1) Doing too much for your toddler.
What I mean is, doing what they should be learning to do for themselves. An example would be picking up their toys for them as they flounce on to the next thing, instead of insisting that every time, they clean up first.
I’m guilty of this one sometimes. It just seems like too much work to make her do it, and she seems so happy and excited about the next thing. What’s the harm ,really?
2) The harm is the inconsistency. We’re teaching our kids all the time, even when we don’t realize it.
Behavior modification is a regular part of life. We’re teaching children how to treat us and others by what we pay attention to and what we ignore.
A basic rule of behavior modification is this: Behaviors that are intermittently reinforced are the most resistant to change. What that means is, if I tell my daughter to do something and I let her ignore me 20% of the time, then she might try to get away with it 100% of the time. She’s learning that it works sometimes, so why not try her luck? This could be one of those times.
That’s why it is important to have her put her toys away 100% of the time. It’s the rule; she has to follow it, even if I feel tired. Because I don’t want her to learn that when Mommy’s tired, she can just do whatever she wants.
And always remember, they’re smart cookies, these toddlers. Like I said, learning all the time, just not necessarily what we’re trying to teach.
3) Using redirection all the time, and avoiding a simple “no.”
It’s hard to say no to your toddler. For one thing, they often don’t take it well (tantrums and the like). For another, we like to see our kids happy, and “no” is not likely to produce that …