The Emotional Climate of the Family Part 3 of 3
(Part of the Family Climate Series)
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
“I screamed, from the depth of my inner being, ‘WHAT’S THAT?!!!!’”
Fifteen or so years ago, my husband and I were coming home from Hyannis at dark, down the stretch known as “suicide alley.” Up ahead, I saw a large object right in our path. To me, it looked like a large railroad tie lying across the road. Lacking confidence to say something, because surely my husband, who was driving, saw it also, I kept quiet. As we got closer and closer my eyes got wider and wider until…I couldn’t take it for another second. I screamed, from the depth of my inner being, “WHAT’S THAT?!!!!!” My husband, assuming all along it was a big cardboard box and he would just drive over it, cut the wheel sharply, sending us on a skidding, tire screeching adventure around the object, back toward the centerline, back again to the shoulder for a double 360, to finally rest on the shoulder. We looked back and saw the car behind us drive right over the cardboard box.
My husband is an excellent driver, I must say! Had I just mentioned my concern a little earlier, the harrowing experience could have been avoided, though he did do a fine job saving our lives had it been the board I thought it was.
Many times, couples and families come for my services at a point where they feel like a sharp turn is needed. They think they can make a drastic change, or that I will use my expertise to facilitate some drastic change to solve the problem.
Discouragement and defeat follows and they are no further ahead.
In my many blog posts over the last year, I have given lots of suggestions to strengthen the family. They are
meant to be used like turning the wheel gradually. A mom who decides one day, “Ok, no more TV, processed foods or video games; Family dinner will be Monday night; Game night on Wednesday; Movie night on Friday….” is likely to be frustrated and met with a lot of opposition from young children, teens and their spouse.
Consider starting with a sit down with your partner. Brainstorm qualities that you each of you would like to improve in the family:
· Siblings being kinder to each other;
· Family member being more interested in each other and their day;
· Squashing sour attitudes;
· More working together;
· Happier interactions at the dinner table;
Or maybe there are individual issues:
· Jesse is anxious all the time and we want to help her as a family to feel more calm;
· Arnold gets all of the attention because he is so hyper;
Or let’s say you are a single mom. Get together with a trusted friend or family member. Maybe “Aunt” Susie can come to dinner every other Monday night and bring her sunny attitude!
You name it, every family has areas that could be improved. And let me be very clear; children do better academically and make better social choices when they live in a family that has a positive emotional climate.
If you need any assistance with the emotional climate in your home, please contact me. I would love to help you complete the “Family Report Card” series, which helps couples and families identify strengths and needs and formulate reachable goals.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Please see www.tracylamperti.com for more information about family dynamics and helping your children to
thrive. If you would like 1:1 assistance, please contact Tracy Lamperti for a consultation.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
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