Self-Esteem is Not the Most Important Thing to Build in Your Child

Uncategorized Dec 12, 2017

Self-esteem is a sensitive topic for parents, and they’re careful to build it into their children. Does it help? Can you actually build it, and what does it do?

People who talk about building positive self-esteem in a child are often trying to cure the child from the feeling of a “bad self,” or they’re trying to prevent the child from developing a “bad self” by having the child see herself solely in a positive light. This is a confusing idea for several reasons.

First, it places the security of the child at risk by basing it on her positive performance. The concept of self-esteem hinges on a child being able to see herself positively. What happens when her performance is not positive? What happens if she fails?

If the goal is to see ourselves in a “good” way, what will we do with failure? How can we maintain this “positive view” in the light of badness and failure? One answer is to have more positive than negative. Another...

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A Letter to my 12-Year-Old

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2017

Dear Lucy,  

How proud I am of you! You have turned into and are turning into such an amazing, incredible, loving and lovable person. I love watching you, being with you, listening to you, learning from you and much, much more. Your presence lights up a room, and when you are around, heaven has taken a moment and touched us all. I love you.

So, as you turn 12, I have asked myself, "What is 12 about? What does a 12-year-old need to be able to do to really be 12? Just because a body is 12 does not mean the person is, at least on the inside. They may be 4 and just wearing a 12 year old's costume, looking like they are 12. But 12 has some very important aspects to it. It is a time of completion, and a time of growing up that will have meaning for the rest of your life. In light of those kinds of thoughts, here is my test for you to answer the question: "Am I 12?"

I do not expect for you to answer 100% on the whole list, nor 100% on any given question all of the time. None of us...

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The Best Thing a Couple Can Do for Each Other

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

Acceptance has to do with being able to relate lovingly and without judgment to everything about your partner. It is embracing the reality of his or her strengths and weaknesses, gifts, and imperfections. It does not mean that you approve of everything about your spouse, but it means you are willing to relate to all of him or her without condemnation, even those parts with which you don’t agree or of which you don’t approve.

Sexuality requires you to be open and exposed, with all your blemishes and scars. Acceptance creates an environment in which you and your spouse are aware of what the other lacks, but you don’t allow those imperfections to stop the flow of love and gratitude for each other. You are so much in love with the character and soul of your beloved that accepting the body is a small thing. However, if you don’t convey acceptance, or your partner does not feel acceptable regardless of what you say and do, then your spouse will tend to hide,...

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Having Boundaries Means Taking Responsibility for Our Choices

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

Any time is a great time to take stock of boundaries in our lives and renew the desire to take responsibility for our choices. This leads to the fruit of “self-control.” A common boundary problem is disowning our choices and trying to lay the responsibility for them on someone else.

Think for a moment how often we use the phrases, “I had to” or “She (he) made me” when explaining why we did or did not do something. These phrases betray our basic illusion that we are not active agents in many of our dealings. We think someone else is in control, thus relieving us of our basic responsibility.“I really need you to watch your nephew,” Tiffany said.

“What does she mean by ‘need to’?” Kyle thought to himself.

“Adam has been out of town for work. I’ve got a million things I’ve got to do, and I think you should help me out here. I’m you’re sister, and you should do this for your...

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How to Raise Mentally Strong Kids

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

It’s easy to get so caught up in day-to-day issues, like homework and soccer practice, that you forget to look at the bigger parenting picture. Kids need skills to overcome challenges and rebound from setbacks and without proactive guidance, many kids aren’t developing the mental muscle they need to become mentally strong adults.

Here are three ways to help your kids develop the mental strength they need to reach their greatest potential:

1. Teach your kids to think realistically.

Kids struggle with the same kinds of unhealthy thoughts as adults. Catastrophic thinking, self-doubt, and harsh criticism are just a few thinking errors that rob kids of mental strength.

When kids express their concerns out loud, many adults are quick to say things like, "Quit worrying" or, "It'll turn out fine," when kids express concerns. And while that may give kids a temporary reprieve from their harsh inner dialogue, kids aren’t learning how to develop healthier self-talk.

The...

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When You're Expecting Perfection from Others, You're Asking to be Disappointed

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything just seemed perfect? It never seems to last, does it?

What are those perfect moments? How do we create more of them?

We all have a perfect nature, and in a perfect world, every one of us would succeed beyond our wildest dreams. However, we do not live in a perfect world, so we have to manage the imperfection that makes up our day-to-day reality. We have to pursue virtue and ideal outcomes despite living in a world that sometimes seems to reward people who act in bad faith.

We need to develop the character to face reality, to handle whatever challenges are put in front of us, and to overcome them. Part of developing that character is admitting your imperfections to yourself. There may be a lot of qualities that you really don't like in others, that you might give yourself a pass on because you haven't examined your own life the way you scrutinize others. We must do this because otherwise we will be continually disappointed, and...

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How to Teach Your Child to Take Responsibility

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

I have a friend whose teenage sons are very relational, caring, and fun to be around. At the same time, they don’t know where the dishwasher is or how meals end up on the table, because my friend does it for them and doesn’t require them to learn those sorts of tasks. So while they are loving people, these kids’ lives are marred by a lack of self-control and responsibility.

Love needs structure and form. Just as the heart needs a skeleton, love requires another ingredient; it needs ownership, the ability to take upon one’s own shoulders the responsibilities, burdens, and problems of life.

I may seem odd to think of a child, especially a young one, learning ownership. Children certainly are too young, inexperienced, and frail to take full responsibility for their lives. Yet they can learn to do so gradually. Little by little, as your children mature, you can ask them to carry more and more responsibility, so that by the time they are ready to leave home, they,...

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Prevent Your Emotions From Clouding Your Judgment

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

When something significant happens, our emotional state can change. And when we keep our eyes on the "little picture" - the right now - our emotions can change in a negative way.

[RELATED: LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. STAND UP TO GASLIGHTING.]

Take the stock market crash. Because it affected people's real lives - their retirement balances, college funds, savings, and other assets - they went into emotional overload. Their financial security was threatened.

When we go into overload, the part of the brain that kicks in to protect us puts us into a state of "flight or fight." We want to react, push against, or get away. We feel angry, fearful, aggressive, anxious, or consumed with self-loathing. When we or someone we know feels like this, we see that emotions overtake judgment, motivation, and every other aspect of functioning.

Besides feeling these reactive emotions, we can also lose hope. Everything begins to feel "bad" and like it won't ever get better. We experience the emotional...

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Is Dating Only About Finding 'The One'?

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

What is the point of dating? Ask ten people and you may get ten different answers, but they generally fall into two camps. The first says that you should date people to find a potential partner for life. The second says that you should date people, basically, to have fun, and if something more serious evolves over time, wonderful.

The first approach can lead to a situation where you wind up putting a lot of pressure on yourself and the other person in order to determine whether they match all of the attributes and characteristics that you’ve envisioned in your lifelong partner. This presumes a lot. It presumes that you can get to know someone, really know them, right away. It also presumes that you know what you want in a partner.

Realistically, most people have a much better idea of what they don’t want, and what they do want is often a little bit more flexible. Getting to know someone, and getting to see how they fit in your life can take a lot of time, shared...

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Isolating, Toxic, Fake and True – 4 Relationships You Encounter in Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

You are always in one of four places of connection. No matter what life circumstances you are going through on the outside – victory or defeat, or somewhere in between – there are only four possibilities of connection that you can be in at any given time. This is the premise of The Power of the Other, and science and experience agree, that figuring out where you are is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

While there are four different kinds of connectedness – four possible corners of our relational space – only one of them will help you thrive. The other three corners will always diminish your performance and your well being. They can even destroy your vision, your relationships, your performance and your health. The key is to get out of any of the other three and into the only one that works. Think of this dynamic as the geography of relationships, a map with four corners:

Corner 1: Disconnected, No Connection

Corner 2: The Bad...

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