Thursday, November 10, 2016

Boundaries to Have in Extended Relationships

A happy marriage doesn’t keep you safe from infidelity. Good people in good relationships are still vulnerable to being betrayed by their partner. The current statistics for partners who have been sexually unfaithful in their relationship are approximately 25% for women and 50% for men. These statistics increase 10% to 15% more if you include emotional infidelity. Platonic friendships, co-workers, neighbors and old flames run the risk of evolving into a romantic love affair. Here are seven tips that can help maintain safe boundaries in your extended relationships.

1.       Maintain appropriate boundaries in your relationships with those outside your committed partnership by remaining open with your partner and not sharing intimate details of your relationship with others.

2.       Beware of co-worker relationships pushing the boundaries. Don’t dine alone with the same co-worker. You should alternate your time with other co-workers or dine in groups. When traveling, keep meetings in public places and avoid meetings in a room with beds or the hotel bar.

3.       Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives.

4.       Protect your partnership by spending time with positive couples and make supportive statements about the relationship.

5.       Keep old flames from reigniting. Couples who rekindled romances from first love romances have a 78% rate of staying together.

6.       Create a united front on social media, text messages, snap chat, etc. Allow your partner access to your social media pages and private message discussions to create unity.

7.       Don’t get stuck in comparing possible alternatives when times are difficult. Recognize that attraction to another person is completely normal but fantasizing about that person is not normal and the spiral from thinking about an attractive alternative is detrimental to the relationship. Affairs begin in the mind.

If your relationship is struggling don’t give up. You can rebuild the connection by spending time together and setting future goals you would like to accomplish. This will help you to do small things together that will make deposits into your emotional bank account.  It is important to seek the help of your pastor or counselor when you need a neutral perspective and feel stuck on the same issues.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Money and Relationships

It’s not uncommon for couples to encounter marital stress over their finances. Money related issues have the potential to drive many committed relationships to the edge of divorce. The most obvious concern is the conflict of not having enough money for the current financial responsibilities that must be met. In today’s culture most people equate their financial security to status and success. Many people will attach their self-worth to the number of possessions that they have.

Love of money

Researcher Jason Carroll a professor of family life at Brigham Young University reported in their new research that materialists have more dissatisfaction with their marriage than couples who don’t care about possessions. This held true among all socioeconomic levels. The least satisfying marriages were those where both spouses cared strongly about material goods. “We thought it would be the incongruent or unmatched pattern that would be most problematic, where one’s a saver and one’s a spender,” Carroll told Live Science. “Our study found that it’s the couple where both spouses have high levels of materialism that struggle the most.” Previous research has also confirmed that people who are materialistic are also more anxious, depressed and insecure than others who are not materialistic. Individuals who valued money more also had trouble at home since there was no balance between their work and personal life.

Balance the budget

One out of five couples have admitted to a strong love of money. Human being’s desire connection and material items can create distance in a relationship. Couples that have been married for 20 years or more have made time for each other and really care about their relationship. If you have concerns about your finances, talk to your partner about your future as a family. Then together set responsible financial steps to attain that vision together. Realize that this will be a long term commitment and not a goal that will be instantly gratified.

It will be important to listen to each other, compromise and put a plan into action. If you have any credit card debt or payday loans they should be a priority to pay off. The short and long term goals of savings, retirement, college funds, and vacation can all be obtained with collaborative planning. If you hit an impasse consult with a marriage counselor, coach or mediator. Your marriage is also an investment to your future.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Steps to Open Communication

When your relationship is struggling it’s important to be a participant to resolve the problem and not expect it to fix itself. Robert Sternberg (1990) created the Triangular Theory of Love that discusses the three important building blocks to a relationship. He states that every relationship must have passion, intimacy and commitment.  Intimacy is the feeling of closeness that exists between two people. Passion will produce the romance, physical attraction and intercourse for the relationship. Commitment is defined as the conscious decision a couple makes to take the loving relationship further.

Honest dialogue

After being a couple for awhile the passion can disappear. This can create more of a "roommate"  interaction which can lead to dissolution of the relationship because the commitment is no longer there.  If you are feeling an emotional distance from your partner try not to assume or jump to a conclusion of what may be wrong. Pick a time when both of you are relaxed and won’t be distracted or interrupted to discuss the concern.  When processing the issue try to be an attentive listener and respond without attacking your partner or engaging in the “blame game”. This can be done by opening the conversation with the positive aspects of the relationship. Then state the concern that you have with the relationship and openly process this information from both perspectives. When discussing your concerns restate what you heard to make sure you understood the information correctly. If the conversation becomes heated take a break as more anger will create more distance between each individual involved. Try to end the conversation with the positive steps that were discussed on how to progress forward from the situation.

Moving forward

Repairing a relationship takes time. Once the problem has been identified it is important to create a plan on how to resolve the concern and move forward. A partner should take responsibility for their choices and look for opportunities to help without being asked. This displays a commitment to the relationship and states that you are dependable and supportive.  A couple should encourage each other when facing trials. Just listening to their perspective and being emotionally supportive can make a big difference.  This will communicate that you respect your partner and are not trying to change who they are. Finally, acknowledge and accept that there will be times in your relationship to “agree to disagree.”

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Parenting Children with ADHD

Parenting can be stressful at times for everyone. Parents of children with ADHD may experience greater stress because of the additional challenges they face. Children with ADHD are known to disregard parental requests, commands and rules. They fight with their siblings, disturb neighbors and have frequent negative encounters with school authority. These challenges can often make parents feel less competent. It can also increase marital discord. Research has indicated that parents of children with ADHD are almost twice as likely to divorce by the time their child is eight years old.

Parents of children with ADHD

Parents of children with ADHD face higher divorce rates, stress level and feel less competent as a parent. With state budget cuts that have decreased services for children needing additional school resources this has increased the stress levels for the child, parents and school staff. During the school year these stressors increase as parents are faced with the challenge of getting homework completed, turned in on time and maintaining their other responsibilities in the home on a daily basis.

A recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology states parents of children with ADHD are especially sensitive to the behaviors of their child which takes a personal emotional toll on their own well-being. Candice Odgers a study researcher and psychologist at the University of California said, “If you think about what it’s like to parent a child with ADHD, it requires a constant vigilance, and a high level of energy. This is important because we know that stress and the burden of caregiving in general are associated with a whole host of problems, mental health and physical problems.”

Family environment

Up to 5% of children and adults in the United States have ADHD, a behavioral disorder marked by impulsiveness, hyperactivity and inattention. Children with untreated ADHD are a risk for injury, substance abuse, poor school performance and emotional or social problems. Parents that have to be in a hyper vigilant state to keep their children safe feel the stress affecting the family environment.

Our children need us. They depend on us to take care of them, teach them, support them and love them. No child with or without a diagnosis can succeed to their full potential if their parents are so drained they are unable to be there for them. By not taking care of yourself, your child could be at a higher risk for more problems. Create a lifestyle for yourself and your family that prioritizes self-care with exercise, appropriate nutrition, and 8 hours of sleep.  Always seek professional advice if your stress affects the quality of life you desire.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kindergarten Readiness

The concept of kindergarten derived in the 1830’s from a German teacher who believed the children needed a way to transition from home into the school environment. Kindergarten was established as a way to interact and socialize. Children today are socialized at daycare or in pre-school so kindergarten has been restructured to meet the demands of academic readiness in the cognitive and social areas of development.

Readiness to learn

School readiness means that the child has the ability to learn and cope in the school environment without experiencing undue stress. Children should be able to separate from their family and trust the adults in the school environment. They need to understand the concept of sharing and how to take turns when playing with other children. Children should also display some level of social skills in how to resolve problems and work cooperatively with their peers. They must be able to adapt to the structure of the school day and follow the instructions from their teacher.

A real assessment of readiness isn’t based on the chronological age alone. Many schools will do an assessment several weeks before school begins that involve cognitive, linguistic, motor skills and social skills. Children that enter kindergarten with limited baseline skills of reading and math are unlikely to catch up with their peers. Many will need support services that require remedial learning with the help of an aide or tutor.  Children that don’t test well will have a re-evaluation three to six months later to assess if a developmental specialist or neurologist should be consulted.

Other considerations

There are many different academic settings to consider when choosing a school for your children. There are public, private, religion based, and Montessori schools. Other determining factors are class size, use of aides in the classroom, and if kindergarten is a full or half-day program. Structural considerations would be the locations of the bathroom, playground and lunchroom where interaction with older students should be limited.

There are many different developmental levels and skills found in the classroom. Teachers are working to meet the diversity, developmental needs and abilities of all children. Children learn best by doing. It allows them to learn through exploration and observation. It can also help them to follow their interests while building cognitive and creative talents. As you determine the kindergarten readiness for your children also seek an environment where they can be engaged and interested in learning for their optimal growth and development.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Technology in Relationships

Over the last five years technology has integrated itself as a vital tool in the workplace and at home. This has created difficult boundary issues for couples and families as individuals are constantly available for work concerns or contact from family and friends. It is important for couples to discuss what their viewpoint is on usage of their phones, tablets and computers when spending quality time together.

Establishing boundaries

Technology changes the boundaries of a couple’s life in a new way. Never before did a couple need to discuss what is appropriate to share on Facebook or what could be “tweeted” on other social media networks. Katherine Hertlein author of The Couple and Family Technology Framework states that couples aren’t usually aware of the transgression in the relationship until their partner starts spending too much time online with their old flame who reconnected through a social media resource.

Couples should have a discussion about how they want to manage the technology they have in their home. If there are children, how will their usage be monitored? This conversation can start arguments as every individual will have a different perception of the amount of
 time desired using their technology of choice.


You can start by discussing what each person expects when they are using their technology. For individuals in a relationship each person should share their contact list and allow all communication to be read. It is never appropriate to be anonymous on line or not allow your partner to know who you are talking with unless it is work oriented and confidential. That type of communication should be done in the office only if possible.

The family should establish a place in the home where the electronics are used which is accessible to everyone. This way parents are able to monitor their children’s programs and time limits that are established. Technology is also now a part of traveling in the car. Each family should establish the appropriate rules while driving so that their electronics are used responsibly and safely.

Technology has allowed us to communicate quickly throughout the day but it doesn’t allow the in depth conversations that people need to stay connected. When having an argument it is still best to set aside a time at the end of the day to discuss the concern in person. If that isn’t possible then email is best so that you can have the opportunity to explain the issue with as much detail as possible.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Plan a Summer of Discovery

School is out for the summer and parents are scrambling to determine what activities or camp will be appropriate for their children to attend. According to John Hopkins School of Education in Baltimore, Maryland summer learning loss effects both short-term and long-term memory. They also report that keeping a child’s brain active and learning over the summer can prevent that memory loss. Remaining academically active over the summer can also help to ease the anxiety children feel when they transition back to school in the fall.

Learning at home

Age appropriate activities can help aid your child’s growth and development over the summer months. There are several summer learning activities you can do at home that can prevent learning loss. Ask your teacher for a summer reading list or join the summer library reading program so your child can earn the free prize incentives. You can keep math skills sharp by practicing fractions in the kitchen when making their favorite recipes together. Children can also utilize map reading skills when taking road trips this summer and determine how many miles you will be traveling. There are also several educational websites that practice a multitude of academic skills online.

Summer is also the perfect time to learn more about the world around us. As a family determine how you could become more eco-friendly by recycling and make your home energy efficient. You could plant a vegetable or butterfly garden together. Build a bird feeder to attract insect eating birds into your yard. At night learn more about the constellations and the phases of the moon.  Learning about our world encourages environmental restoration for the next generations.

Summer programs

When choosing a summer program choose one that’s based on your child’s interests. Ask the program manager about the staff credentials and their teaching experience. Inquire about the health and safety record of the program while touring the facility. Review the daily schedule and determine if there is any flexibility about choosing activities for the day. Before deciding to commit to the program, ask the manager if references are available.

Summer is a wonderful break from the regular routine and allows children to explore the other opportunities that are available to them. It can create a whole new learning experience for your children and lasting memories of childhood experiences. Have a wonderful summer of discovery together!!