Tag: self-help

Revving Up Intimacy in Your Relationship

 

One of the definitions of intimacy is a close familiarity or friendship, closeness. Intimacy is not simply about sex, although that can certainly help. But sex alone does not always lead to intimacy. There are several small but powerful things you can do to increase closeness between you and your partner.

Be communicative, talk to each other on a regular basis. Have conversations without agendas attached to them. Listen to your partner simply for listening sake. Practice opening up to each other without judgement or trying to solve a problem. When neither of you are trying to persuade or convince the other, it is easier to listen and communicate. These kinds of conversations do wonders for the relationship, it teaches you to enjoy talking simply for conversation’s sake. It builds on the friendship aspect of your relationship as well. Talk about whatever it is you feel like, a childhood memory, an idea you have for a movie, a book you just read and loved. Enjoy conversating with each other as if you were still getting to know each other.

Rather than planning grandiose get-a-ways, fold intimacy into the fabric of your day to day lives. For example, one day a week you dedicate spending time together at your favorite restaurant or cocktail bar. No friends, no family, and no kids, just the two of you. Or on Sunday afternoons you take a hike together, or ride bikes. The point is to do something enjoyable that gives you both time to let go and have fun together. Sure weekend get-a-ways and vacations are wonderful and build a temporary intimacy, but once they are over, it can leave you feeling empty emotionally. By doing little things more often you sustain the intimacy and build on it.

Laugh as often as you can, taking yourselves too seriously sabotages intimacy. Humor not only helps both of your moods, it also helps thwart off arguments. Laughter is healthy and a positive way to create intimacy because it makes both of you feel good! It diffuses differences and has a positive effect on your mind and body. Watch a comedy together, share funny incidentals that happened throughout your day. Research has shown that Couples who laugh together build stronger bonds and cope better with stresses and conflicts in their relationship.

Celebrate your history together, the good and bad memories that helped shape your relationship. Take time to appreciate all that you have been through and to remember those wonderful memories that warm your heart. Memories can be a hilarious source of humor, recalling those funny moments when you didn’t know each other well.

Get physical, not just in bed but in other nonsexual ways. When you’re sitting on the couch together watching a movie, snuggle in. Hold hands while you’re strolling the boulevard or walking the beach. Touch is a powerful tool for intimacy, make it part of your relationship. Take a couples yoga class, give each other massages.

And then of course there is sex! Pleasing your partner builds intimacy. Maybe try having a sex session in the middle of the day, be playful and let yourselves enjoy each other’s bodies. As I said earlier, sex alone is not the end all be all to intimacy, especially if the only time you feel close is in bed. Examine all the other wonderful ways you can explore and enjoy each other while you create that sweet closeness that is irreplaceable.


How to Keep Your Relationship Alive – Working from Home 

With more and more people working from home – tension can creep in, you may feel the spark in your relationship has fizzled as you struggle for space and alone time. Do you find you and your partner quarreling over minor concerns, or maybe just the sight of your partner is beginning to annoy you? When there’s too much imposed togetherness, this can happen.
Here are a few ideas to help you cope with cramped quarters and finding that sweet spot of balance in your work and personal relationship.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss your needs and work out a schedule that accommodates both of you. For example, you want to join a yoga class at 7 am, ask your partner to handle the kids while you attend every Monday and Wednesday, in the living room. The other days, he/she gets the space at a time that works for both of you. In other words, negotiate your space. We all need alone time; some need it more than others. When you talk about schedules, avoid being vague, it will help. Tell your partner exactly what you want, “I need time to work on my project alone for four hours a week.” No one is a mind reader, so be specific to avoid confusion and frustration.

Make having fun together a priority – Working side by side or in the same house doesn’t count as quality time together. Schedule time spent together doing things you enjoy, walking, dancing, bike riding, or even cooking together while music is playing on your phone. Rekindle on a regular basis, if schedules are tight, even every other week will work. Think of your time and energy as an investment in your relationship. Relationships need attention, like a bank account you can’t keep taking money out and expect to thrive. Imagine your life without your partner and be grateful for their gifts; remember to laugh together.

Give each other space – everyone needs that, maybe one of you needs it more than the other. It is the flip side of spending quality time together so honor it and get creative with alone time. Go for a drive, go to the store by yourself, take turns with letting each other have the place to themselves. All relationships, even great ones, revolve around space and togetherness, both are essential. If your partner says they need alone time, recognize that it has nothing to do with you. Part of giving each other space also means not phoning, not texting. When someone needs space, they need time to allow their minds to wander and imagine, texting interrupts that process and can make your partner feel as if they didn’t get the quality alone time they craved, which may cause resentment. No calls, no text, no interrupting the space time matrix.

Stay connected with friends – give them a call, plan a Zoom coffee or happy hour. Keep reaching out to people that you love and who are part of your life. They are precious to you, let your partner do the same when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family. A pandemic is a great time to rediscover letter writing or sending emails to those you miss, let them know you’re thinking of them. Continuing to have meaningful relationships outside of your primary one will allow you to feel as if there is more space in it.

Keep the romance alive, make house dates. Maybe dinner and a movie, or dinner and a lovemaking session. Or have a night where you reminisce and share memories. This pandemic won’t last forever, but your relationships can.


Living with Unresolved Conflicts

                       
There are times in life when a disagreement is so raw and dividing, there is no immediate resolution.  You may feel that all you want to do is run in the opposite direction, bury your head in the proverbial sand, or never see the person again. Your anger and pain are deep and uncomfortable. Whether the conflict stemmed from a colleague, a friend, or a close family member, learning how to deal with unresolved conflicts will help you regain your inner peace and perhaps a sense of resolution.

Here are a few suggestions that may help.
For many people, having a disagreement is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and for some traumatizing. Avoiding conflicts with others does not mean you are living without inner conflict thoughStifling your emotions or sidestepping the truth about your feelings is as unhealthy as perpetual hothead behavior. Truth is, everyone has the right to their opinions, feelings, and decisions. It is how you express yourself that matters. As you begin to deconstruct a conflict, look at your responsibility. Take a sincere and truthful gaze inward to see where you may have contributed to the discord. Conflict management involves both parties being honest with themselves and each other; exploring what has blocked them from finding common ground.

For example, you have a colleague at work that infuriates you. They nitpick about everything, and never acknowledge your contributions. And to top it off, you may not like the person because they remind you of someone that you had a bad experience with in your past.  Part of being honest with yourself is teasing out the real issue(s). You don’t have to like everyone, however, you can learn to understand where your actions are creating conflict and how better to deal with them. Talk with the person, point out that you appreciate their point of view, however you also need to be recognized for the work you do. Expand the thread of agreement, continue to look for common ground no matter how slight.

When you know that you have done what you can to resolve a conflict and it persists despite your good faith efforts, it’s time to let go. You have that choice. To let the anger, the resentment, the hurt go, because you know in your heart you have done your due diligence. Letting go takes time. Be patient with yourself. Use the tools of visualization, and meditation to see yourself moving on. Letting go and avoidance feel very different. Avoidance is inaction, denial of what has happened. Surrendering is an action, a conscious choice and one you have decided on after you have tried your best to resolve the conflict.

Empathy for yourself and others plays a huge role in conflict resolution. Both parties will want to actively engage in a solution. When people have empathy, they can put themselves in the others’ shoes. They can use understanding to put things in perspective. That is not always the case. The good news is you can end the struggle for yourself. If the other person wants to carry a grudge after you have made an earnest attempt, It’s not your issue any longer.

If it is a close family member or lover, that you’re in conflict with, it may take a bit longer to let go and move on. You can limit your time spent with that person and set boundaries of what you will and will not tolerate. You can’t control anyone’s behavior except your own. 

Releasing an unresolved conflict will help lighten your load, free up your emotions, and allow you to move forward. You have the choice.


Changing Your LifeStyle

 

Changing your lifestyle can bring a sense of excitement, like moving to Florence Italy, or some other place you’ve fantasized about. Or it can be as subtle as deciding to cook vegetarian meals. Regardless, switching things up takes concerted effort to make it real.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the changes your passionate about.

Be clear with your vision, what is it that you want to change? Detail it, color it in, avoid vague ambiguous goals. Being specific will help you visualize and embolden your plan. Oh, and yes, have a Plan! Flopping about willy-nilly without some kind of road map will get you nowhere.

Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that will encourage your tenacity. For example, you want to move to a new location. Decide when (in two months, a year), be realistic with the cost, then start setting aside your move money.

Whenever you do something new, out of the ordinary (big or small) you are going feel that pang only change can bring. Change is often hard, even when it’s fun. Let’s face it, It takes effort to do something different. Shake hands with this, and soon enough that discomfort disappears. Changing your life may be the most challenging and uncomfortable thing you’ll ever do butin the end, it’s worth it. Marriage, children, opening a new business, taking on a new job, going back to college, relocating are all wonderfully exciting. They are what you’ve dreamed of…but they still take some adjusting to.

Think about what it is that has held you back, then move onward. Pull out those negative tapes from the past and toss them in the trash. You ARE capable of change, of achieving dreams, of becoming a new you.

Set timelines that will keep you on track. Be diligent about them and again be clear. Rather than saying, “sometime in the spring I’ll get more work” rephrase it to a specific positive: “In one month I’ll have a side job that will move me towards my goal of making more money.” Make concrete time frames and stick to them. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Be prepared to adjust when a wrench is tossed in the mix. When you get tired or derailed, instead of drowning yourself in negativity, go with the flow. Acknowledge the hiccup, the slow down, the block and keep going. Read stories of empowerment, talk to others who have overhauled their lifestyle, listen to how they got through the storms of doubt.

Keep reminders, pictures, mantras, anything that roots you onward to your new location, your new life. If traveling more is the goal, post pictures of the places you plan to go. Listen to cultural music that inspires you for the journey. Read and educate yourself on whatever it is you are embarking on. Whether it is changing your diet or learning how to sail, learn as much as you can.

Get your spouse, your friends, your family on board. Remember though, silence the naysayers, do not ask their advice, they are all too eager to impose their fear and trepidation. But it is not yours.

Reward yourself when you’ve climbed a wrung, gotten closer to the finish line. Celebrating the small victories along the way, gives you incentive to keep going. Tony Robbins has said, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Continue creating the life you want. No one can do it for you, and you have what it takes, just do it!


Coach Yourself to Freedom by Letting Go

What does letting go mean to you?

To me it means not allowing events from the past to influence your life today. When you let go, you learn to be in the moment, and experience what is happening right now. Buddhists refer to this as mindfulness or being fully immersed in what you’re doing. Mindfulness allows you to let go of everything going on around you and concentrate on your own actions. Mindfulness lets you to be free from passing judgment or expecting a certain outcome.

Your beliefs and attitudes may be keeping you from letting go and being present in the here and now. When you coach yourself to identify the beliefs that are holding you back, so you can let go of them and your emotional attachment to them. As you let go of the past you will be in the present. If you stop trying to control what happens, you may notice that you also stop criticizing and judging others. It’s simple, coach your mind to shift your words to view the world as the cup is half full and you will not only accept what is, but you will enjoy life more.

Life is a series of choices, many of which we make automatically, unaware of what we choose or why. When we are afraid of criticism or judgment, we are unable to learn from our choices. To be able to simply be, by learning to let go of judgment and ideas of what should be. Replacing your judgments with a sense of self-worth will allow you to develop the emotional intelligence to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past.

Our expectations also cause us to hold on to the past instead of letting it go. You may be disappointed, based on what you feel ‘should’ have happened, or what you think someone else ‘should’ have done. But when you free yourself from your expectations, you will heal yourself and those around you. Just think about how differently you respond when you feel judged, versus when you feel accepted as you are.

An exercise to practice when learning to let go is to ask yourself if you will feel stressed about a situation in the future, whether it be tomorrow, next week, next year, or in five years. The answer, if your honest with yourself will be no; because we do not really know how we will feel when the future becomes the present.

When you allow yourself to be in the moment, you can live your life simply because it gives you joy. Experiencing joy in your life is its own reward.


Coach Yourself Free from Blame & Shame

“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame.  Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”    …Ralph Marston

 

Blame can render you powerless; wreak havoc in relationships, and eat away at your ability to change, to let go, and to get on with life.  So, what makes us fall into the blame trap and how can we free ourselves from it?

By answering these questions, you will better understand blame’s role in your life…Allowing you to eliminate blame from your feelings.

Like any new discovery, raising your awareness of where blame is at play is the first step in ridding yourself of it.  Do you blame your partner or others…do you repeatedly blame yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned?  Are you fearful of making mistakes?  Did your parents routinely use blame to shame you as a way of manipulating your behavior? 

Often the reasons we feel blame are unconscious. Have you gotten into a pattern of blaming everyone for failures, mistakes, or disappointments in life? Blame can become a way to vent anger and frustration; it can help you skirt around the truth, while dumping responsibility away from yourself when the burden feels too heavy.

The good news is you can escape the blame cycle with the following three steps.

Get in touch with your inner feelings and responses. If anger and then blame are your reaction in a relationship or in a challenging situation, take a moment and breathe.  Look at other options – identify your feelings first – (hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear, guilt) and remember most people are muddling through with their own set of challenges.

Make a plan – “Today I am not going to judge or blame others.”  When you establish a new pattern response, a positive one, you are teaching your mind to untangle its thinking from the trap of blaming and shaming.

Begin to love all of yourself, even the imperfect, for it teaches us humility, empathy, and inner beauty.  Author Sonya Parker once said, “Stop comparing yourself to other people, you’re supposed to be unique.”  Learn to love what you consider to be your shortcomings and find ways to navigate through them.

Having compassion for your limitations allows you to see the silver lining in the lesson learned and gives you permission to move on.  Use humor and put your imperfections into a positive perspective.  Trying to be perfect is exhausting and accomplishes nothing more than anxiety over making a mistake, which can lead to a fear of trying anything at all.  As babies we learn to walk by bumbling around like drunken soldiers, so it is in life, stop being afraid to fall.  It is the getting back up that counts.

Take ownership of your life and let blame fall by the wayside.  Often the faults we see in people around us are mirror images of our own.   Rather than harboring anger over your spouse, your parents, your boss, take action, free up your energy with positive affirmations and move onward.  If you feel yourself sliding back into the judging and blaming trap, simply stop and gently remind yourself, “I don’t need to that any longer.”  Celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small they are. If there is something in your life you want to accomplish, rather than brooding over why opportunity has not knocked on your door yet, explore ways to begin the new journey towards what you want.  Go back to school, spend time with people who honor your dreams, read inspirational books, let go of toxic relationships.

As you treat yourself with kindness, and take ownership of your life, blame will disappear.


Practicing Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” -Zig Ziglar

Building a practice of gratitude and positive thinking is easy for some people, but for others, it is a struggle. It may be challenging to break the habit of looking at life through a pessimistic perspective at this particular moment in time, as the world grapples with a pandemic and social unrest. However, through consciousness and practice you can change that. When your thoughts begin to move towards the positive spectrum, your eyes will naturally open to gratitude. In other words, it is almost impossible to be a negative thinker and have gratitude.

To grow your gratitude, look at how you feel about yourself and the people in your life. Do you gravitate towards trust, kindness, doing the right thing? How is your self-esteem? When you feel good about yourself, you can feel good about others. Positive thinking begins from within. If this is a battle for you, try repeating affirmations. Veer away from overly critical people in your life. Read uplifting material that encourages you and allows you to let go of fear. Recognize negative thoughts as soon as they pop up. Focus on your breathing, consciously slow it down and imagine with each exhale, you release negativity.

Implement noticing all the little things that are good about your day, your life. To change the hole in the bucket syndrome (no matter how much you have it’s never enough) redirect your focus to what you do have. Health, friends, a flower growing in your yard, your loving pets, two hands, a working mind. Make a gratitude list.  Once you get started you will see there is a lot to be thankful for!

Gratitude is active. It champions goodness, sincerity, earnestness and is meant to be shared with others. The more you give it away, the more it is like the one seed that grows into a field of flowers. Walk away from anything or anyone that is toxic in your life. You don’t need it. Most people that are negative about others are expressing their feelings about themselves

Positive thinking and gratitude reinforce each other. As your gratitude grows your belief in the goodness of others and the universe grows. From that point of view positive thinking is only natural.

This may sound sharp, but when you indulge a pity party for too long you may forget that you can leave at any time. Life is made of ups and downs, ride them out and learn the lessons. Let go, and move onward, don’t overly chastise yourself for mistakes. If you got a raw deal, it more than likely had nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person. Realize the good in a bad situation, things could always be worse. Find those little thank goodness’s that didn’t happen and be grateful. Practicing gratitude during difficulties builds stamina and helps you grow stronger and more positive.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” ― Lao Tzu This is a simple, yet profound reminder of being awake, being mindful. Paying attention to positive thinking, words, and actions has a ripple effect and over time influences every aspect of your life. When your inner dialogue begins to judge, complain, or criticize yourself or others, stop them in their tracks. Gently remind yourself, that you are learning to practice positive thinking and gratitude.

Gratitude begets gratitude. The more you express it through actions, the bigger it becomes. Be grateful for the lessons learned while you worked through a challenge, gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes. Practice acts of kindness, smile more, say hello, receive the day with an open heart thankful for another chance to learn and love. Then watch as your positive grateful living, blossoms into powerful changes.

 

 


Stress & Strengthening Relationships

 

There is no time like the present to learn to manage change in a relationship. This year has been riddled with changes (social, economic, technological and personal) that have been challenging to say the least. All changes impact a relationship. Learning to go with the flow, and adjust when life happens, will help you be less fearful when change comes knocking on your door.

Relationships need a strong foundation from which to grow. If your relationship is already tumultuous, working through change can be tough. Building a base of trust in your relationship early on is the way to go. If this hasn’t happened, now is a perfect time to start. Talk issues and disagreements throughlisten to each otherbe kind, and remember love is powerful; it has the capacity to endure. And most important to building trust, is to mean what you say and say what you mean. Be honest, even if the truth is not what your partner wants to hear.

During stressful changes, a move, a new baby, a death in the family, a new job; lather on patience extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you may want to talk about how or why you react the way you do, talk about the hurts, fears and insecurities that shape your reactions. This alone can help relieve a lot of the stress.

Stay physical with each other, and that doesn’t mean just having sex. Hold hands, snuggle, touch each other as a physical symbol that you are here, and you are ready to grow as a couple. Often change can produce resentment which can bleed into the bedroom. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing one another’s bodies, let your guard down and re-connect. If you are both spiritual or religious, try praying and meditating together, do some yoga together. Share any inspirational gems that speak to you with your partner. Send kind texts, remind your partner that you love them. Life as a couple is sweeter when you know your partner has your back, that you are not alone and that your loved one is rooting for you in and outside of the relationship.

Do something familiar. It can be as simple as having coffee together in the morning. Find a thread of familiarity you both enjoy. Talk about funny memories, leap off the overly stressed, serious bandwagon and find time to get back to the essence of your relationship. Change will come; learning to deal with it together will make life richer while deepening your relationship and better prepared for the inevitable changes to come.

 

 

 

 


 The Art of Giving without Attachment

 

Have you ever done a kind deed simply for the sake of giving without any strings attached or payback considered?  Have you given away something of value to a stranger or given of your time without expecting any financial reward?  These are just a few examples of practicing the art of giving without attachment. What does giving without attachment really mean and why should you cultivate this practice?

The very definition of giving, freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone) has an inherently detached quality. There is an innate sense of letting go, the opposite of hoarding or holding on. But how often is our giving calculated?  Well if I babysit for a friend, she/he will do the same for me.  Giving without any expectation of outcome or praise is tough, but that is the essence of giving without attachment. Giving to grow your heart, to release your grip, to become liberated from that which you hold on to.

How does giving without strings liberate and grow your ability to love and to live a more meaningful life?  It connects you to your humanity, to your empathy, to your ability to see the suffering in others and feel something.  Giving also helps you to step outside your sphere and to connect with others on a visceral level.

Giving without attachment is a wonderful way to help you accept when others give to you.  Often, our childhood dictates a message of receiving that it’s better to give than receive, but if everyone is clamoring to give, who is receiving?  That message sends a negative image that receiving is for the poor, the needy, the weak, and the unsuccessful.  We all have times in our life when we want to receive.  Giving without attachment helps us to receive without feeling guilty or shamed.

Anne Frank, a diarist and one of the most talked about victims of the Holocaust once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  It is often difficult in the modern world to remember this.  When you give, it does not have to be a thing or financial, (you can give of your time, your silent presence, a smile) you reap the internal rewards of connection, joy, and self esteem.  Giving builds character and helps you get outside of your own needs and desires and consider others.  When you give freely, you teach yourself a lesson in being unconditional.

Giving without attachment does not mean giving everything away and doing without.  It may entail digging a little deeper than merely skimming off the top. If you only give away your excess, you may want to look at other ways you can give. Become a mentor. Take a friend to lunch, just because or send a card without an occasion. Bake a dinner for a charity event, make an anonymous donation to a cultural or educational organization or slip a bill to a homeless person.

Think of all the people in your life that have given something to you without any expectation.  There are countless ways to pass on that giving tradition, and when you begin to drop the attachments and expected outcomes, you send a ripple of hope into the world, while expanding your ability to be a loving considerate human being.

 

 

 


“Parenting”

 

 

As a parent, you want to do what’s in the best interest of your children. Parents may look for “right” & “wrong” answers about parenting, but is there really a right way to parent?

Bette Davis, regarded as one of the most influential actresses of Hollywood, once said, “If your child has never hated you, you’ve never been a parent.” If you have a toddler who you’ve had to say no to touching a hot stove, you know what she means. In other words, being a parent doesn’t mean winning a popularity contest; it means being present for the good of a child.

An essential part of parenting is helping your child build healthy self-esteem & confidence so that they can become anything they set their minds on. Let’s explore the theories that have endured the test of time to allow for positive, loving, & effective parenting.

ALL CHILDREN ARE UNIQUE / What worked for your first child may not work for baby #2 or #3. In some ways, being a parent is reliving your childhood & recalling what helped you & what hindered you.

YOUR WORDS = YOUR CHILD’S INNER VOICE / Speak with respect & positivity, never lash out in anger. That said, toddlers & teens can fray your patience. Vent, but not on your child. Instead, go to parent groups, have play dates, talk to other mothers & fathers to share & laugh about the challenges you face.

UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR CHILD RESPONDS / Children respond to different parenting styles in different ways. For example, you may have been a bit overly protective of your firstborn – from homemade baby food to only buying interactive toys. With child #2, you may be less particular. Both children turn out fantastic & you begin to realize certain incidentals aren’t as critical as you thought. However, responding to each child as an individual is. Treating children with respect & allowing them to evolve into their own person is essential. It helps them explore themselves without judgment. Notice how they respond to music, movement, nature, reading a book together, & playing with others; this will help inform you of your child’s likes & gifts.

BE AS CONSISTENT AS POSSIBLE / Consistency helps children understand boundaries & feel safe. They learn that hitting is not okay & the consequence is a time out. When they lie, they know they breach your trust, & there’s an aftereffect. Conversely, praise & affirmations light up your child’s potential. When they hear & see positive results, they’re reinforced. As you & your children grow together, consistency helps them understand their environment & make sense of things they don’t yet comprehend.

DON’T EXPECT PERFECTION / Like all of us, children must learn by making mistakes. Have reasonable expectations & cultivate compassion. You can’t expect a 9-month-old to understand why you don’t want them to put everything under the sun in their mouth. Rather than overreacting or labeling your child, escort them through any rough waters. Your job as a parent is guiding them through varying terrain. Some phases are as easy as walking on a beautiful beach, others as difficult as walking through a desert without water. Allow your children (within the confines of safety, of course) to experience life & try out their newly learned skills. It’s through practice & patience they learn to master things. That said, you can encourage older children to be their best & be there to discuss when they are having a rough time.

COMMUNICATE / Spend time talking to your children & laugh with them. There’s no substitute for communication & spending quality time with your kids. It allows you to develop a relationship, a bond, & trust, so when you have to say no, (something all parents do), your children (eventually) realize it comes from a place of love. Don’t feel bad about saying no, explaining your rationale, & giving explanations that your child will understand. Maybe you can’t afford to give them something they want, seize the opportunity to have a conversation about money. Communication is critical to parenting. Keep an open mind without deviating from your standards.

The bottom line is families are made up of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, & cultural influences. You are a wonderful blend. Try not to set limitations. Instead, allow them to grow in ways that may not interest you. You may be a businessperson, & your child is passionate about the arts or vice versa. Be kind to yourself. You’re going to blow it sometimes; it’s part of being human. Be okay with admitting when you are wrong; this is a powerful lesson for your children.

Above all, be loving, kind, & keep growing in your individual life as you parent. Children need you by their side to learn valuable tools about independence; This becomes vital as your children get older. Be okay with no right or wrong way to parent. Be present & open to change. Embrace the principles of being a positive & courageous parent who is doing their best to build a strong foundation for your child’s well-being.