Set Boundaries with You Teen Without the Anxiety

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

One parent once described adolescence as the terrible twos all over again, but this time in a bigger body. We personally don’t see either time period as “terrible,” but each one can be a time full of difficulty if you don’t recognize the important stage of independence, separateness and autonomy that a child is going through. In the “twos,” toddlers are moving away from the early dependency of infancy. In the teens, children are moving away from their lifelong dependency of learning on parents for a lot of functioning.

They are looking to…

  • Think for themselves and have their own opinions
  • Question, evaluate and choose values
  • Follow their own desires and goals
  • Build skills and abilities
  • Develop their own spirituality
  • Find their own ways of making money
  • Have parents available to them while they are working all of this out

These are all good things. Participate in your adolescent’s emerging autonomy by being proactive. Many parents just...

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How to Address Boundaries Conflicts in Friendship

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

When we think of friendship, it conjures up images of intimacy, fondness and mutual drawing together of two people. Was this what friendship was supposed to be about? Friends are symbols of how meaningful our lives have been.

But friendship can be a broad category; but for our purposes, let’s define friendship as a nonromantic relationship that is attachment-based rather than function-based. Let’s see friendship as comprising people we want to be around just for their own sake.

When we practice mindfulness in a friendship, we can’t assume we always understand the wants and needs of the other person, and at the same time, we can’t hold someone accountable if they don’t understand what we need. No one is a mind reader.

Let’s take the friendship between Sean and Tim as an example. They enjoyed the same sports, activities and recreation. They had their favorite hangout spots and kept similar schedules. But there was a problem – they had a...

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You Can’t Control Everything, but You Can Choose How to Respond

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

I remember one woman whose mother would almost beg to babysit her children and then gripe about the inconvenience for weeks to come. She could not acknowledge that she had chosen to take care of the kids, and her daughter had not "made" her do it.

We negate that we have choices about how we spend our lives and time. We may complain about how bored we are, but do not accept responsibility for learning a new skill or hobby. We may gripe about a "crummy" person at work, but we don't take proactive steps to improve our situation.

There are certainly things in life over which we have no control, but we always have a choice about how we will respond to these things. Our choices determine our direction in life, but if we do not own this fact, we don't know where we are going, and we resent where we end up as if it were someone else's fault.

Complaining and griping without trying to do anything about a situation is the essence of denying choice, and it renders us powerless and resentful....

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How to Get Past the Fear to do Really Hard Things

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

Fear is the biggest obstacle we all deal with. The nature of fear is to get in the way. When we want to do something, or we want to learn how to do something, but we hold back because it seems like the thing we want to do will be too hard -- that’s fear.

I would like to suggest a way of looking at hard things that may be new to you. There are no hard things. There is only new things. When you are facing a daunting task, it’s not that this thing is really hard to do, it’s just that you don’t know how to do it yet and you’re afraid to give yourself over to the possibility of failure.

Something that is hard is a challenge. It’s a challenge to yourself -- are you going to grow or are you going to stay the same?

Human beings sent other human beings to the moon. You are reading this on a device that translates ones and zeros into something you can read, and it was made by people. Thousands of airplanes fly safely across the world every day. Submarines...

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Your helping is hurting someone

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

I have long been an advocate for the role of pain and suffering in growth. It's not a masochistic approach, for I truly hate "pain for pain's sake." And besides, not all pain produces growth. Some pain is just useless suffering and produces nothing helpful at all. I hate it when I see people putting up with needless suffering and saying that it is somehow building patience or character. Passivity that allows pain to continue for no reason is not character.

But, there is struggle, effort, and painful effort, that does indeed produce growth and is good for us. Muscle building is like that. You lift weights and it hurts. It's a painful strain, and your muscles are sore for a day or two. But as the scientists tell us, the tearing down of muscle allows them to come back stronger and bigger, and that is pain that produces growth. Similarly, facing grief can resolve depression or other emotional problems. Facing trauma can resolve PTSD. And good effort builds endurance. Embracing pain and...

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How to Confront a Toxic Parent's Behavior

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

Recently a woman asked, “How can I confront my mom to open up and be more involved in my life?”

“Well, have you asked her?” I responded.

“Sure! I told her that it would be nice if she asked me how my life was going, but she still didn’t do anything.”

“Well, let’s not say that you asked her anything. Call it a suggestion, or maybe a mention of a good idea. But, there was no direct request. If she didn’t respond, you probably need to ratchet it up a bit and say something like, ‘Mom, you rarely ask me about myself; I seem to be the only one asking you about your life. I’d like you to ask me how my work, kids, and activities are doing.’ ”

It is easy to be indirect with parents, given all the emotional complexities involved. Sometimes a person will even think, “She is my mom. She should know I need this without my being blunt about it.” But if what you have said is not getting through, you...

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Why You May be the Enemy of Your Own Happiness

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to become preoccupied with perfection. That’s different from envisioning perfection as a goal. It’s about whether perfection is a goal, or something that you demand. Believing that you can realistically attain perfection is no different than wandering through the desert, ever-thirsty, toward a mirage that only recedes toward the horizon. A lot of people obsess over perfection. This obsession is a massive waste of time and energy.

Perfectionism is a distraction, a justification for procrastination, an excuse for never getting anything done. When perfectionism is about one’s own striving, it is hostility aimed inward. When it is aimed at others, it is a cold and compassionless hostility toward the world. Perfectionism is a refusal to accept reality, and it is rooted in fear. To the perfectionist, nothing will ever be good enough.

For many people, perfectionism originates in childhood, with parental pressure to achieve....

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Set a Boundary With the Past and Move Forward with Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

When you hit a point in your life where you don’t know what to do, you want to give up, and you don’t know where you’re going, I want you to keep something in mind: Any one thing you do is only a scene in a larger movie. To understand that action, you have to play it out all the way to the end of the movie.

Once while I was doing a seminar on reaching goals and dreams, a lady asked if we could talk for a moment. We sat down, and she told me her story.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I have had this dream of being a lawyer,” she said. “I used to watch TV shows about lawyers; I read books about trials; I even used to go watch trials being conducted at the courthouse. I would love the work, and it would also be a great way of helping people.”

“What do you do now?” I asked.

“I work in the loan industry,” she replied.

“How do you like what you are doing?” I asked.

Her face changed to a cross between revulsion...

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Your Child's Feelings Don't Have to Control You

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

Boundaries with kids begin with parents having good boundaries of their own. Purposeful parents stay in control of themselves. If your child is controlling your decisions by protesting your boundaries, you are no longer parenting with purpose.

Terri was having problems with her thirteen-year-old son Josh not doing his homework. I helped her come up with a plan that would require Josh to set aside a certain time each night to do homework. During this hour Josh had to be in his study place with nothing else but his work, and he was not to do anything else but study. Terri had no control over whether or not Josh actually chose to study during that time. What she could control was that he do nothing else during that time but sit with his homework.

When I saw her the next time, Terri looked sheepish. She had not lived up to her end of the plan. “What happened?” I asked. “Well, we were all set, and then he got invited to go to a baseball game with his friend. I said no,...

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Have Trouble Enforcing Your Boundaries? Here’s How You Do It.

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we confronted someone, it ended positively each time? Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you confronted a hurtful person, he or she realized what they did wrong, and you could go on? Of course it would.

That’s not always the case, is it. So, now what do you do? You’ve established your personal boundaries, and you can’t force someone to change. What’s left?

If the person doesn’t respond to the initial confrontation, we need to take a stronger stand by giving him or her some consequences. Consequences work at times when talking does not. For example, if your spouse gets argumentative when you bring up an issue, and continues to do so despite your requests otherwise, you can tell your spouse, “I would love to talk about this. But as I have told you, I don’t like the angry attacks. So I will only talk to you when a counselor is there. I will make an appointment, and if you want to talk to me about it, I...

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