I recently sat down with the ladies of “Family Looking Up” to discuss how women’s assertiveness can help our families. The conversation included clearing up misconceptions about assertiveness (such as the false idea that it equates to being aggressive or selfish) and also how women can view their own needs as being equal to that of their children and their partner. If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your communication style, practice self-compassion, and say no without guilt, take a listen!
Click here to learn more about my book “The Assertiveness Guide For Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Transform Relationships.”
Marriage is a wonderful change, but it certainly brings some challenges, not just for the couple involved, but also for the in-law relationship dynamic. I recently sat down with the Good Things Utah to share my top 3 tips for daughter-in-laws and mother-in-laws:
Smartphones are here to stay, and they can be a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends, work in our careers, and keep up on what’s going on in the world. However, in some ways they are becoming a huge problem for so many families. Kids and adults are so connected to our phones that we often become disconnected from each other! Here are some tips to manage tech overload and scale back:
Divorces are traumatic, painful, and messy; there are so many raw emotions to work through, but if children are involved, the most important priority for two adults is to work to make sure that their kids are well taken care of. Here are four tips to successfully co-parent following a divorce:
Create A Safe Zone
There’s communication with your ex that takes place behind the scenes, but when you’re directly interacting with him/her in front of your children, remember to act cordially and with respect. Kids are extremely perceptive to things like tone of voice, eye rolls, or other verbal and non-verbal cues. It is already a delicate situation for them, so let them see you being cordial; it will be a tremendous gift for them to see their parents interacting this way. If your feelings toward your ex are still quite volatile or intense, stick to email, texting, or communicating when the kids aren’t around.
See Your Ex as an Asset (Not an Enemy)
It’s easy to feel antagonistic toward your ex-spouse, and although your marriage relationship is no longer intact, you still need to come together as partners to successfully raise your children. Remember that no one loves your kids or is as invested as the other parent! Even if emotionally you’re not quite at the point where you’re ready to see your ex spouse as an ally, hold on to the hope that he/she can eventually help support you in parenting.
Focus on Positive Aspects
This is not an easy thing to do! There are definite reasons you got divorced, and those things are often in the forefront of your mind, but consider the strengths and gifts that your ex-spouse has that can be used toward your child(ren)’s benefits. Maybe he/she is very engaged, good at helping with homework, or very in tune with the kids’ needs. If your child can hear you speaking positively about the other parent, he/she can better adjust.
Support Your Child’s Relationship With The Other Parent
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to undermine or diminish a child’s relationship with the other parent. Maybe we feel threatened or jealous, like we’re in competition with the ex-spouse, or maybe we have a hard time letting go of our own pain and conflict. But kids desperately need a relationship with both parents (particularly after a divorce), and it’s crucial for you to do everything you can to facilitate that connection in order to help your children thrive.
If you’re struggling to co-parent after divorce contact Wasatch Family Therapy and connect with one of our amazing therapists.
Whether it is dancing with a loved one, head banging on our way to work, or singing our hearts out with friends and family; music affects our mood and our relationships. A recent study by Apple and Sonos found some surprising results regarding something we all love, music.
Apple and Sonos (2016) completed a global study of thirty-thousand consumers to see how music can affect our “home life”. The study surveyed people with varied backgrounds ranging from families with children, couples, and friends as roommates. Despite different backgrounds those that were surveyed had something in common: music impacted their relationships in positive ways. At this day and age we all seem to plug in on the internet, video games, and social media. While we tend to be physically present, we are not always emotionally or mentally present with those around us. We know electronics play a role in preventing some of these interactions, but how do we combat them. We can do this by just playing music!
The study found that in the US families spent more quality time together by four and a half hours versus families who did not play music (1). This is huge especially when we have a difficult time unplugging, we now know that we can plug into music together and spend more quality time with our family and friends which then improves our relationships.
For families spending quality time listening to music improved their relationships in a variety of areas including the following:
They were 33% more likely to cook together.
They were 85% more likely to invite others over including friends and other close family.
They also experienced 15% more laughter together as a family.
The words “I love you” and other words of affirmation were 18% more likely to be said among each other.
Each of these examples can translate to improved relationships. Music is something that is so simple, and yet, can yield such a big impact for our relationships and drive more connection. The study further notes that the average of physical distance between family members was by 12% which the study called “a nexus of intimacy and togetherness” (1).
Throughout the study, couples began to experience 66% more intimacy while music played (1). Intimacy is much more than sex. Intimacy is moving from you and me to more of a “we”. The more intimate you become the closer you and your significant other will understand the ins and outs of the relationship. However, music did indeed improve the more “intimate” instances of intimacy. The study noted that couples were awake 37% more each evening which means that couples were having more, wait for it, sex (1).
When we’re having a bad day we can turn on our favorite song have a dance party and instantly our mood can change. Studies have shown that even by listening to happy or sad music we then perceive neutral faces as either happy or sad which matches the music heard prior by the individual (2).
Whether it is being closer with a loved one or improving the quality time your family spends together music can help. Music is something that can help us feel a variety of emotions and some good or bad. Music can help bring us together, but what really drives the connection between your family or friends at these times is becoming emotionally connected. When we truly open up with someone and have these musical experiences we show our vulnerabilities. During these vulnerable moments we can connect to someone on another level and they can see who we truly are.
When music is not enough to mend or help overcome a difficult patch in our lives we can seek further assistance. This assistance can come from friends, family, or professionals such as therapists to help work through your unique and challenging situations. If you are considering therapy and are worried what it will be like, please come and see us at Wasatch family therapy. We strive to provide everyone who comes with a comfortable, safe and non-judgmental atmosphere so that those we see can succeed. Please do not hesitate to contact us at Wasatch Family Therapy at 801-944-4555. Together we can learn further tools to help you through your specific changes.
SONOS | Apple Music. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from http://musicmakesithome.com/
Cooper, B. B. (2016, August 26). 8 Amazing, Little-Known Ways Music Affects the Brain. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://blog.bufferapp.com/music-and-the-brain
Several months ago, my 8 year-old-daughter noticed the difference between her body and my 46-year-old-mother-of-four body and was asking questions. Throughout her life, my husband and I have used anatomically correct terms when talking about the human body, invited questions about birth and breastfeeding, talked about how babies are born, and have even gotten into a few specifics. We had been having discussions long enough that we had almost exhausted her questions.
Shame has been a popular psychotherapy topic in social media lately and due to its fame it is frequently on my mind. Today I’ve been thinking specifically about shame-based families and how this toxic feeling is often handed down through generations.
Shame can be passed through a family in myriad ways. A common path is for it to travel through family rules. With some prompting, maybe you can recall some of your family’s rules. What rules did your family have about touching and sexuality? What were the rules regarding marriage, money, vacations, religion, socializing…?
In John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame That Binds You he outlines 7 rules that are maintained by shame-based families.
Being a good parent requires a tremendous amount of time, love, and energy, but what happens when a well-meaning mom or dad becomes too enmeshed in their children’s lives? Over-involvement can unknowingly do damage to kids, who then become responsible for their parents’ well-being and happiness. On the other hand, parents who can draw a separation between themselves and their children are emotionally healthier and are actually able to give more to their families.
LCSW Julie Hanks recently discussed this topic on KSL’s Studio 5. Below are some questions she suggested to ask yourself to determine whether or not your kids define you (along with some strategies to help you reclaim yourself if you find that you’ve taken on a little too much):
I have the pleasure to speak at the Uplift Families Parenting Conference on September 13th. Hosted by Utah First Lady Jeanette Herbert, this exciting event will feature several prominent presenters who will help us learn to develop and celebrate meaningful child-parent relationships. Come and be inspired as we discuss ways to uplift Utah families! Dinner is included.
My presentation will be focused on an area that parents (especially mothers) often neglect…yep, you guessed it! I’ll be tackling the topic of self-care for parents.
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