This article from the Tennessean newspaper has a great idea. A Grandparents Press Conference where the family can ask the questions they have always wondered about. It is good to have the information and it's good to get rid of secrets.
Good suggestions for parents of middle school students.
Pay as much attention to the things that are working positively in your life as you do to those things that are giving you trouble.
- H. Jackson Brown Jr
Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. John Stathas recommends fun as an essential ingredient for a happy marriage.
In fact, he will give his couples a homework assignment.
"Fun is an important variable in keeping a marriage alive and vibrant. In marriage counseling I sometimes assign this task. Each person has the responsibility to find out fun things that might be available. S/he is to present them to the other and they discuss which one they will do that week. The next week it is the responsibility of the other person to find some fun things to do. They then alternate weeks finding pleasurable opportunities to share together. "
I've never assigned "fun" as a task during couples therapy, although I have suggested it during family counseling. Hmmm, I'll have to consider adding it in where appropriate.
An article detailing recommendations from a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.
These are the eleven signs that indicate immediate attention is needed:
I love this post about the facts and myths regarding emotions.
In case you don't have time to click and read the entire thing, I will post the basic statements.
Myth #1: Feelings are facts
Myth #2: Emotions are "good" or "bad"
Myth #3: Emotions are "right" or "wrong"
Myth #4: Negative emotions should be prevented/stopped
Myth #5: "Happy" people don't feel negative emotions
Myth #6: If I let myself feel this emotion, it will overwhelm me
Myth #7: If I show emotion, people will think I'm weak
Myth #8: The emotion will pass faster if I a) suppress it, or b) vent.
As you spend time with your co-workers, neighbors, friends or family this holiday season, pay attention to their attitudes toward emotions.
In this article, writer Heidi Rinella, does a good job of discussing the importance of realistic expectations.
We can't expect ..."that people are going to show up and things are going to be different, that people are going to behave differently in our family than they do the 11 other months of the year. Your mother or father or sister ... aren't going to change just because of the holidays."
I recommend that you:
Have a plan and be proactive. Do not be reactive. Find some innocuous phrases and a few direct ones. If you have to, practice in front of mirror a dozen times. Strategize ways to get a break and get away periodically. Try to get enough sleep, eat some healthy meals, and get a bit of exercise.
When I was a young teen, and full of typical teen angst, I loved Kahil Gibran. I don't really remember what it was that I liked in his writing -- it's been 30 years. A friend recently posted the following piece by Gibran. As I read through it, there are certainly poignant truths in it. But there are also connotations that I don't really agree with. What do you think of it?
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
This isn't your typical "get your turkey and stuffing done ahead of time" post. It is an acknowledgment that holidays are very difficult for some people. There are families who almost appear to celebrate nastiness, criticism, and hurtful comments rather than thankfulness and warm memories.
As we march toward Thanksgiving ... and then Christmas..., I will periodically offer ideas and resources to help you cope.
This article is a good one.
Researchers continue to find positive correlations between eating dinner together as a family and positive benefits for the children. When I was growing up, we had rules against reading at the table and singing at the table. I need to ask my parents about that last one. When my children were younger, the rule was no TV at dinner. In this article, one of the recommendations is "no screens" at dinner -- TV, computer, and texting can interfere!
Regardless of the way you phrase your guidelines, make dinner together a priority as often as you can.