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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Why You Can’t Make Someone Grow Up

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

Laura was weary of Anthony’s chronic lateness in coming home from work. Because he owned his own business, he was often delayed. It seemed like such a little thing, but as time passed, Anthony’s tardiness became a big problem. Laura would arrange her day to have dinner and the kids ready on time, and she wanted Anthony to be home on time as well.

Reminding, nagging, and cajoling Anthony had been ineffective. Anthony would either defend himself by saying, “You don’t appreciate the work I have to do to put food on the table,” or he would simply deny the problem altogether by saying, “It doesn’t happen that often; you’re overreacting.” Laura ran out of strategies.

Finally, after thinking through the problem with some wise women friends, Laura came up with a two-point plan. One night, as the couple climbed into bed, she told Anthony, “Sweetheart, I want to apologize to you for my bad attitude about dinnertime.” Anthony...

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How You Can Spot a Toxic Friendship

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

I received a message from an answering service one evening, and it told me that one of my clients was suicidal. I called Theresa on the phone. She was distraught.

“Tell me what happened,” I said.

“It’s not going to work, “ Theresa replied, sobbing.

“What isn’t going to work?”

“Telling other people about my problems,” she said. “I was talking to one of my friends tonight and told them about my depression and the problems with my boyfriend, and she really came down on me for being depressed and all the other stuff that’s been going on.”

“What was said?”

“Well, she said that I shouldn’t feel the way that I do, and that if I was still having all these problems, then I was filled with too much negativity and that I bring everything on myself. I’ve tried all this ‘safe relationship’ stuff, and I’ve shared my feelings, and it just doesn’t work.”

...

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Get Past the Distortions That Keep You From Setting Boundaries

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

A woman came to see me once for help in her marriage. She described her husband as so “powerful” and “intimidating” she just could not find it in herself to talk to him about things bothering her.

“Why don’t you just talk to him about these things?” I asked.

“Oh, I just couldn’t do that,” she would reply. “He’s too strong. He’s so intimidating. I just don’t know what to do.”

After seeing I wasn’t getting anywhere by suggesting she talk to her husband, I asked her if her husband would come in to see me. She said she would tell him I would like to talk to him. I had no idea what I was in for.

On the day of her next appointment, I went into the waiting room to find the woman sitting there with a small, frail-looking man. He stood and said, in one of the least intimidating, squirrelly little voices I had ever heard, “Hi, Dr. Cloud. It is so nice to meet you!” I remember describing...

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Don’t Accept the Guilt a Manipulator Wants to Give you

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

When is the last time someone made you feel guilty even though you know you shouldn't have felt that way?

Guilt is a difficult emotion. It's not actually a feeling the way that sadness, anger or fear are. It's our conscience punishing us by saying, "You are bad."

Guilt comes mainly from how we have been taught in our early socialization process. Because of this, sometimes we feell guilt when we shouldn't. Feelings of guilt can appear when we haven't done anything wrong, per se, but maybe we have violated some internal standard that we have been taught. We have to be careful about listening to guilt feelings to tell us when we are wrong, for often, the guilt feelings themselves are wrong.

Guilt distorts reality. Rather than feeling “bad,” we should consider the impact of our actions. Has my action actually hurt someone? Why do they feel hurt? Could I have done something differently? Should I have?

Sometimes we feel like we're doing something bad or something mean when...

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Your Sadness Doesn’t Equal Weakness

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

Sadness is our next basic emotion, for it tells us about hurt and loss. We live in a world where we get hurt and lose things. We need it to help us grieve and let go. If we repress and deny sadness, there is inevitable depression. Unresolved sadness always leads to depression and often other symptoms.

Sadness is always the way to joy, because sadness says that there is a hurt of some kind that needs to be processed, and usually it involves a loss.

When people deny their sad feelings, they "harden" the heart, and that is to lose touch with tender grace-giving aspects of who they are. They become unable to love and be tender, and to feel grief over their wrongdoings. This state leads then to become insensitive persons. In addition, it leads to all sort of symptoms – depressions, physiological problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, and the inability to get close to others.

Here's a story:

Susan was in her mid-twenties when she began to have panic attacks. She would wake up...

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4 Reasons Why Boundaries and Discipline are Good for Your Child

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

As you begin setting limits and consequences with your child, she will almost certainly test, protest and express hatred. However, stick with your boundaries, be fair but consistent, and empathize with your child’s emotional reactions. She will begin accepting the reality that Mom and Dad are bigger than she is, and that unacceptable behavior is costly and painful to her.

Nevertheless, children will avoid reality as long as possible. One time at a baseball game recently, I watched a six-year-old boy talk loudly and incessantly about everything on his mind, buggy all those around him. Mom and Dad, afraid of hurting his feelings, would periodically ask him to please talk more softly. Apparently this was an old scenario for the boy; however, he knew that if he ignored them, his parents would soon give up.

Finally, a fan a couple rows back walked up to him and said, “Son, you really need to be quiet.” Shocked by this firm adult stranger, the child became much more...

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