Relationship Dilemma Remedies

A Blog About Solving Common Relationship Dilemmas

7 Habits of Successful Families

What a change 20 years has made in our lives!

Does it seem to you that life is more complicated than when you were growing up? Do you think that in many ways your parents had it easier? Certainly seems that way to me.

Not only has technology increased opportunities, both good and bad, but there are also a lot more complicated relationships in families as well as increased temptations for drugs, alcohol, and early sex. Bullying is another problem that is seen with increasing frequency in our schools and neighborhoods.

The changes in families and family structure are significant. What we used to think of as a “normal” or typical family (2 birth parents and 1 – 3 children) is no longer the “norm”. Today we have step-families (parents and grandparents), same sex couple families, adoptive families, bi-racial and multi-ethnic families, single parents, grandparents rearing grandchildren, and many others.

A beautiful act of kindnessParenting does not come with instructions, either, and it is often hard to figure out how to rear emotionally healthy and intelligent people, and yet this is an important skill required of parents even more today than in the future. Children have to learn how to think clearly and make healthy decisions for themselves. Successful families require a common sense and open approach to life and parenting.

A new book, “The Secrets of Happy Families”, by Bruce Feiler was recently reviewed on NPR and that story, along with my experience with many families over my years as a therapist, leads me to suggest 7 habits of successful families.

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March 14, 2013 Posted by | children, family communication, Parenting advice, parents | Leave a comment

Managing Family Holiday Stress

Being with family over the holidays can be very stressful. Here are some strategies for taking charge and directly managing the stress that this time of the year can bring.

imagesBe positive and complimentary whenever you can. Don’t make things up, be realistic; however, remember that positivity breeds positivity and it may lead to a friendlier atmosphere for the family.

Avoid divisive subjects. Find ways to change the discussion or even leave the room.  This is not a time to solve the world problems or dissect the latest election.

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Counseling Relationships Online

December 20, 2012 Posted by | Adult Children, family communication, family holidays, holidays | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week, December 28, 2009

This is the time for resolutions.  As you think about ways to improve your relationships, consider some of these possibilities:

Resolve to spend 20 minutes a day … every day … with each other just talking about your life and your day.

Resolve to visit your children’s rooms, go into their space, for 10 minutes every day and ask about their music, their friends, subjects of interest to them as people, not to you as a parent.

Those going through divorce or death of a spouse:

Resolve to build your friendship network with people of the same sex rather than rushing to find a new partner.


Practice random acts of kindness.

What resolutions have you made this year?

Counseling Relationships Online

Couples Counseling of Louisville

December 27, 2009 Posted by | couples, family communication, keeping love alive | Leave a comment

Parents and Children: 7 Ways to Enhance Your Relationship With You Child

1.  Enter your child’s world rather than trying to get your child to enter your world and enjoy what is interesting for you.

Enter your child's world.

Enter your child's world.

Listen to a couple of your teen’s favorite artists.  Find something positive to say about the music and ask questions of your teen about how this music speaks to them.

Sit on the floor with your young daughter and get her to teach you her favorite game or tell you the story of her dolls.

2.  Parents are better off when they give specific, clear and direct recognition of a child’s strengths.

Tell your child what you have noticed and appreciated just that day.  Global comments like “You are a special girl” make less of an impression than “The way that you thought about your friend and made those cookies and took them to her because she was having a tough day was so loving and caring.”

3.  As a parent, listen, really listen, to what your child is telling you, even if you are not happy with what he or she is saying.

This does not mean that you listen if he is being rude or disrespectful; however, it does mean that you allow your child to have a different opinion and you listen carefully and respect him and his thoughts, even if you do not agree.

4.   Parents can score points if they communicate electronically.

Send your child an email with an article about something that you know that she is interested in.  Make a few comments about what made you specifically think about her and her interests.

Send him NPR’s song of the day or an itune that you think that he might like and make a brief comment about why it made you think of  him.

5.  Parents should walk into a child’s room, but make sure to knock if the door is closed,  sit on his bed and ask about his day.  If he doesn’t seem to want to talk, talk a little about your day and then just sit quietly.  Find something specific to say about him that is positive (see tip # 2) and, after 5 minutes, loving leave. Be sure to repeat this exercise the next day.

6.  Do something just with her.  Do not include your spouse or any of the other children.  Go for lunch, a walk, a movie, ice cream.  Find something that she likes to do.  Let her lead the conversation and just be an attentive listener.

7.  Create a ritual, something that you do regularly, just with him.  You might also want to include your spouse, but this should be something to recognize your child.  This might be “his day” on his birthday and half-birthday.  It might be Sunday morning trip to the bakery for pastries together.  You could have a regular game that you watch together, either on television or preferably in person.

The idea for all of this is that you want to find ways to recognize and acknowledge your child as special and your relationship as important.

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July 31, 2009 Posted by | children, family communication, parents | 1 Comment

Low Cost, High Affection Holiday Gift Ideas

470534371_4a4225aeb0_m1Make a family “communication” box.  Find a small box and put trinkets in there that will communicate feelings.  A band aid can mean “I am hurting”, a Kleenex can mean “I need a good cry”.  A candy heart for “I need love”.  A small lifesaver can symbolize “I am feeling overwhelmed.”  A place card can mean “I need a favor”.  Put the box in a place where all can see it every day.  When someone needs any one of these emotional needs met, they just lay out the symbol for others in the family to see.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | communication, family communication, family holidays, Uncategorized | Leave a comment