1 of 4 LOVE Posts!
10 Ways Parents Can Make a Huge Difference to their Child on Valentine’s Day!
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
Roses, boxes of chocolates, love notes, kisses, romance and blushing…sound wonderful? Not to everyone. In fact, for teenagers, Valentine’s Day can be one of the most stressful days of the year. They often experience worry, disappointment and even depression on this “special day.”
How Parents Can Save the Day
I am posting this purposely a little more than two weeks before the big day so you have time to think about how you are going to show your son or daughter that you love them more than anyone on this special day!
…because, when our children know and feel that they are loved deeply at home, they can go to school with confidence, even if their inbox isn’t full, and their locker hasn’t been smacked with red lips when no one was looking, and they don’t have a boy(girl)friend to strut down the halls with, and they didn’t get as many valentines as their friend.
Pinterest…Just type in “Valentine’s Day Ideas.” Have fun with it! http://www.mommybydaycrafterbynight.com/2012/01/14-days-of-valentines-free-printables.html Ok. Some of my “fb friends” will remember I did this last year. It took a lot of planning. It was well worth it, but the truth is, I wouldn’t have it in me to do it again. Looking at it will give ideas. Maybe you will just do ONE of the 14 idea days.
Drive your child to school on the big day. Leave early and stop for a hot chocolate or whatever their pleasure is. Leave early enough to take your time and enjoy a little sit down with your child while they enjoy their Danish, or whatever.
Pick your child up from school. Take them out for a jumbo chocolate chip cookie or something else enjoyable. Leave them a card or a coupon in the morning, so that they can think about it at school instead of wondering if they are really important to anyone or not.
Rig up their door. When they exit their bedroom, a dozen balloons fall on their head. You get the idea. Use your imagination.
Leave a trail of notes. At their toothbrush, on the fridge door, etc. in every spot they will visit before leaving for school, each one acknowledging something awesome you notice about them.
Buy them a gift. This one is not on the top of the list, so if you are going to go with it, don’t go top dollar, but something meaningful that sends the best message of love to your child. Believe it or not, an inexpensive pair of heart socks will mean a great deal to a child who can lift up their pant leg at school and say, “Do you like the socks my dad gave me this morning."
Hug. Without fail, and without regard to your child’s age, give them a hug before they depart for the day. If hugging your teenage son or daughter is not typical, lay it right on the table, “Son…I don’t tell you I love you nearly enough. You’re not getting out the door until I give you a hug.”
Enlist the love and support of family and friends. If your daughter, or son, has a father (or mother) that lives out of the home and they have not already acknowledged Valentine’s Day, find an aunt or an uncle, or maybe a friend or other close person. Enlist their support. Ask them if they would kindly help you show love to your child by doing one of the above.
Offer your love and support to the child of a friend. If you have a niece or nephew or child of a friend who has an absent or uninvolved parent, offer your love and support. Ask if you could pick them up from school and take them out to the Hot Chocolate Sparrow.
Really get into it! Decorate your house, wear the socks, give your spouse flowers, balloons or chocolate, and make a special dinner and/or dessert.
1 of 4 – Parents and Valentine’s Day
2 of 4 – The Importance of Touch
2 of 4 – Removing Barriers to Open Ourselves to Love
4 of 4 – Couples Love
When a Girl Dreams
Navigating Separation and Divorce in the Best Interest of the Child
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Before we can address the issue of separation and divorce in the lives of children, we need to validate the experience of the adults. I distinctly remember sitting with a woman in my office who was hiring me to work with her children on issues
surrounding her divorce from their father. As we talked over the nuts and bolts of the legal agreements, the history of the marriage, the fall and the readjustment, she had this weight that seemed so heavy to me. There were no tears, no significant anger, just the facts and the weight. I paused and said, “I’m sure this isn’t the fairy tale that you dreamed of as a young girl.” The flood of tears began. Without regard to who’s fault the marriage failure was, she had never acknowledged the sadness over the broken dreams until then.
The media may like to have us think that marriage to the same person for a lifetime is a thing of the past. They would have us think that a girl no longer dreams of getting married, for we are now in the “better to never marry than to have to go through a divorce” generation, as if somehow the pain from broken relationships is avoided if the woman never wears the dress and the man never wears the tux and the two never say the vows. “For what do vows mean anyway? They can be broken.”
Are you buying this new wave of thinking?
I don’t deny that there are young girls who do not dream of getting married one day and having a family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. They have other dreams.
However, a great many girls will simply naturally dream of a man one day going down on a bent knee, taking her hand and asking her to marry him.
So in this supposed new way of thinking, at what point does the girl change her mind? Has the supposed cultural wave impacted them so early as to alter the theme of their doll or Barbie play? Or is it in middle school, when, in my day, the girls were beginning to get excited about boys asking them to go to a movie, or walk down the hall together? Or maybe high school, when some girls are dressing up for prom? Or do the dreams remain intact until then and fall apart when the young woman goes to college or enters the work
world? Yeah, I suppose. At any of these times, girls just really don’t care.
Well, let me say, many of the young women I work with in my practice are of the opinion that they want to have a decent and even wonderful man, and they want to have a strong marriage and family and avoid the mistakes that they grew up with.
In fact, a good many of the young women out there desired a relationship, a partner, a “rock”, someone to love them, so desperately that they jumped the gun. They became intimate too quickly, maybe more than a few times, they became pregnant before the relationship could support a family, or they got married and did not have the mindset or the support to weather the storms that are naturally a part of most marriages…and THEN…they changed their mind about marriage, certainly not all women, hence the number of second marriage, but many.
One of my favorite movies is Pretty Woman, with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. I can’t give a link to the two scenes I want to illustrate, one because of profanity (one word) and the other because it is the final segment and some of you may want to see it if you haven’t. But I love this scene. Setting the wealth aside, how many girls DON’T want this??
Who believes that children are BETTER OFF with one full and one part-time parent, two part-time parents, or one full-time and one absent parent. Despite whoever and whatever groups are steering the culture, all
credible research, shows that children are better off in a HEALTHY, intact family.
But, as is the topic of this series of posts, that is not the case in the lives of a good many children.
First, I want to say, don’t blame “marriage.” A healthy marriage is an excellent relationship, for men, woman, children and our culture. If your relationship or marriage failed, there may be a time in the future when you wish to seek a new relationship, and to assume that marriage is bad, gives you nothing more than out-of-court pain (unless there is a new child). As with any major, life-long endeavor, you need to be smart about
it. Get help to not repeat the issues from the first relationship/marriage failure. Second marriages fail at a HIGHER rate than first marriages and you will want to crush the statistic, not reinforce it.
Second, I am adult child of divorce. My parents did some things right and some things wrong. I suffered. I also developed useful skills and gifts to use in my life with others as a result of my experiences. My story was not one of going back and forth from one house to the other, but for example, children who can successfully master this have skills than even many older children do not have.
Third, you love your children deeply, or for one, you wouldn’t be reading this. Parents like you are going to do everything possible to support their children, protect their children, love their children and ensure that their children’s needs are met. As you sort out all of your new roles, the new schedules, differentiate between the need for discipline and the need to cut your little one a break because of “all they have been through”, etc., you’ll be onto a new road. You can begin to look at your own pain from the broken relationship and begin to set new goals and direction for yourself. You’ll be able to size up your supports and see where there are some gaps that need to be filled, or even some “bad habits” or negative thinking that needs to be adjusted.
Forth, generally speaking, people choose someone to be in a relationship that is not more than one developmental level above or below their own level. There are exceptions to this, but by and large, one level up or down. This gives hardly any room for taking the “high road.” Yes, I know. This statement will have
many people angry at my and many people claiming they are the exception. I’m sorry, but not in my
experience. The issues are different but comparable. An attitude of humility is very important in navigating divorce AND in considering a new relationship. To go into a new relationship feeling confident, because “my X was the one with the issues” is a slippery slope.
Fifth, be aware of the messages that you are sending your children about this issue. Be sure that the messages that are coming across are the ones you really want to send.
Please consider getting support if you are going through a major separation, married or not married, especially if you have children. Family and friends can be very helpful, but even just a few sessions with a specialist can make a big difference.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
By: Meghan Kemp
Ten years ago, I moved to this little spit of land sticking out into the ocean. I fell in love with a Cape Codderand this became my home. The one problem – I had no friends! This can be an isolating place to live and I was certainly missing the comfort and support friendships can bring. I didn’t realize quite how hard it would be to make friends here! It’s a lot like dating, except you’re trying to pick up friends instead of a hot date.
I’d meet someone at work or elsewhere and try to build up a rapport. Nervously I would think, should I give her my number? Is that too forward? Am I moving too fast? I made a few friends this way, but I was still looking for those core, bosom friends (you Anne of Green Gables fans know what I’m talking about).
A few years went by and I had my first baby. And mamas, I have to tell you this, one of my first thoughts after finding out I was pregnant was that I was totally going to use that baby to gain entrée to new friendships
among Cape Cod mommies.
So I pop out this adorable baby and am ready to start making friends, but first I needed to get over my fear of leaving my house in the height of winter with a new baby. Dude, I was completely freaked out. Would I put her in the car seat right, would I slide off the road, what if a snowflake touched her precious baby skin?! Looking back it’s clear that there were some post-partum depression issues going on here, but I didn’t have any mama friends yet who would say gently but firmly, “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” When Fiona was four months old, all three of us came down with a horrible, disgusting stomach bug. I really needed a mama friend to help, even just to bring us some ginger ale. I felt very, very alone. And also very vomit-y.
At this point I decided come hell or high-water, I was going to make friends. I needed a support system and if it wasn’t going to magically show up on my doorstep, I was going to create it. I started attending every playgroup on the lower-Cape and through one of these I met my first bosom friends. And here’s the awesome part, they are the gift that keeps on giving. They have connected me to more friends, and they have connected me to even more. I love these ladies and together we comfort and support one another as we navigate parenting, jobs, relationships, and living on this crazy, awesome peninsula.
When I had my second child, one of these mamas said “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” And she and my other mamas helped me deal with post-partum depression, get the care I needed, and supported me as I got better and better (and sometimes worse).
Sometimes, as mamas, we are tired. We have given of ourselves all day to so many others. Sometimes it is hard to find a little additional energy to put towards building and maintaining a friendship. But please, do it. Do it for yourself, because you deserve a friend. You deserve someone that will bring you ginger ale when everyone is puking in your house. Who will take the kids for a few hours so you can go have your pap smear in peace. And return the favor, because it feels good to help out these ladies that you love. And you know what, I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to have these smart, wonderful, challenging, brave mamas supporting me, pushing me, and loving me.
Do you have a mama support group? Tell me how you’ve met your best mama friends! Do you need help connecting with other mamas? Let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. I can be a mama friend match-maker, woohoo!
By: Sarah Nitsch
When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation. It seems when I talk with my friends these days we jump from topic to topic, are interrupted by children, phone calls, texts, emails, you name it. The meaningful conversation has gone by the wayside. My son will stop his Father and I from talking saying exactly that“stop talking,” so we stop and explain that sometimes Mom’s and Dad’s need to talk about things and then when we he goes off to play, and we start to get back into it we realize we have no idea what we were talking about. Perhaps it’s the “Mom brain” the busyness of day-to-day life, the exhaustion, but my goal is to get back to a meaningful conversation with a beginning and end.
Not that I mind the sparse chit chat here and there, it’s actually is nice to trade a few words here and there and then run after your three-year-old. It keeps things light and each of us gets something out of it. A parenting tip, a recipe snippet, a joke, a cute story, and then we move on. Group party’s seem to be the toughest area for this, there is no way to really stop and have a full conversation if the kids are involved, and when the adults are in excess I seem to feel the need to check in with everyone before time gets away from me. Hmm, maybe it’s the people pleaser in me.
At night my 3-year-old son and I have pillow talk, after his bath and book he and I lie down on his pillows and chat about the day and what’s coming up the next day. Anything he wants to talk about, what behavior I want to bring up to him, listening is a big thing these days. He keeps saying“I’m gonna work on it.” I think once he’s asleep though it all seeps out of his mind. Lol. Then I remember he’s only three. After he does close his eyes and I’m downstairs emptying my DVR I do have some quality texts and facebook postings with my friends. So maybe the face to face conversation is getting away from me, but the meaningful texts that make me smile and laugh throughout the day are enough I think to check in and know we are all out there getting through it.
I know many people say we are becoming more out of touch due to all of our devices cell phones, iPads, laptops, but maybe they are bringing us even closer together since we all have so much going on. I do like to unplug when the kids are around and my focus becomes about the family. But I think when you have a lot of people you are close with and tend to hang out with, a short message on facebook or a quick text to check in is an easy way to let your friends know that you are here for them if only across town in the comfort of your own home. No matter how we do it, we will get back to our meaningful conversations, no matter how long or short they may be. By phone, text, FB message, email, as long as we stay connected in one form or another.
By Tracy Lamperti,
Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant
Whether your children are twins, 13 months apart or 5 years apart, they can be best friends into old age!
1. Define your intentions. – ex. My children will be kind to each other, look out for each other and have fun together.
2. Examine your beliefs and stereotypes and see how they are interfering with how you parent your children. – ex. Nobody’s children get along. Someday when they are older they will start getting along better.
3. Develop actions that match your intentions.
Key Actions that Help Facilitate Positive Sibling Relationships
#1 – Parents as Primary Role Models
1. Show your children by example with their other parent and other adults in their life that people treat people kindly. We don’t scream at each other, talk over each other, storm around or lose our temper as a general rule. On the occasion where you handle something poorly, demonstrate that when you love someone, you return to the battle ground and work it out calmly.
2. Show your children by example that you, as the parent, maintain a healthy temperament under stress. Most parents can give at least a few examples where they have handled a situation with their child the wrong way. That is understandable and expectable. Let those times be the exception. Get the support (or rest) that you need so that these are the exceptions. The primary reason for parents losing their cool with their child is that the parent doesn’t have enough strategies to deal with typical pesky child behavior. Parents tend to scream at and wack a child when they don’t have a good set of plans and resources up their sleeve.
#2 – Time and Value
I firmly believe that there is just no time for TV. Well, just a little bit of time. To have a felt sense of value in the family, children need your time. This does not mean scheduling your children for every possible activity and accompanying them. It means getting down on the floor and building something with them, or having them pound a piece of dough while you make dinner, or walking on the beach. Each child needs their own time and family time. They need to learn how to share and get along, and they need to know that their individual needs and desires are important to you as well.
#3 – Winning Teams Have Awesome Leaders
A family is like a team. The leader sets the tone. If the leader is stressed, an ineffective communicator, depressed or absent a majority of the time, the team won’t know what to do. Parents should work together, pay attention, adjust the atmosphere according to the family needs. Develop a list of the “10 Commandments of This Family” or maybe it is “3 Basic Rules that this Family Never Breaks.” Maybe it is a list of qualities of the family, like a “Family Crest.” If there is a rule, No TV During Dinner, then, no TV during dinner. Think carefully about the rules you set because they shouldn’t be broken by anyone, even you.
#4 – Working Together to Accomplish a Goal
Children who succeed are children who have a great support system. If 3 year old Julie is having trouble counting to 10, the whole family makes a commitment to help her achieve that goal. Mom helps her count out 10 carrot sticks, her 5 year old brother lines up matchbox cars for counting, Daddy comes home and has her count how many times Rover barks to say hello to Daddy.
#5 – Everyone Needs Down Time
Children, like adults, need their own space and their own things. There needs to be a balance between cheerfully giving your time when you would rather be alone, and, being alone. Older children need to be taught that they are of value to a younger child. They might want to shake that younger child off, but you can help them learn the rewards of giving their time and that this gift will come back to them in a closer relationship with their sibling. Assure them that it is not about you needing them to “babysit” and that you will shelter their time as well and make sure the younger sibling has other things to do.
#6 – Fairly Unfair
Children need to learn early on that they are not the center of the universe. Life is not always fair. Sometimes a sibling requires more attention. Sometimes two get punished when in fact one did start it. The
most important part is for parents to remember not to favor one child over the other and not to take sides. This serves to break down the healthy relationship with the parent AND the relationship between the siblings. Ensure children that you know that each of them have strengths and things they need to improve. In fact, one child might have a particularly challenging temperament. Encourage their sibling that if they learn to handle it properly, they will be gaining important skills for life.
#7 – Family Time
Have many family times that are sacred, or set apart from the ordinary. Whether it is a family vacation, dinner times, game night, etc., make it a time when arguing or fighting is not permitted. Remember, it is the parents that set the tone for the family.
Most people don’t like to admit it, but the natural tendency is NOT to get along, but to conflict. People, and
particularly children are self-centered. If you want your children to be best friends, you have to believe that they CAN be best friends and then make actions that will match your intentions.
Please see www.tracylamperti.com for more information about working with children and families.
If you would like 1:1 assistance, please contact Tracy Lamperti for a consultation.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
By Tracy Lamperti, Psychotherapist
One of the most common ways that common couples get into trouble is by not properly addressing conflict.
Everyone would agree that fighting all the time is going to end up in a break up, eventually. It is the silent fighting that can go on for years that eventually leads to either a break up for a couple that looked “fine,” or an emotionless and devoid of passion couple that just agrees to stay together for the “sake of the children” or for financial reasons, or just because it’s easier than the process of divorce.
I think I can speak for most of the Cape Cod Mommies in saying that, “We want the real deal and we want it into old age and with the same person!” We have a pretty consistent divorce rate holding just below the 50% mark. In the past decade there has been a new school of thought among older adolescents and young woman that it is better to never get married than to have to get divorced. But that is not what this post is about, so I’ll take that on at a later date.
All couples have conflicts or “fights” at one time or another. When couples brush issues under the rug, it is like a slow leak. Eventually, things will be ruined. It is as if water is dripping into a bucket and you hardly notice it. Suddenly, you look and notice that it has overflowed and everything is soaked.
· One little issue builds on another.
· Resentment grows.
· Words in your own head go from neutral to negative.
· Intimacy grows less frequent.
· Time together diminishes.
· Emotion and passion falls away.
Why do couples brush it under the rug?
· It’s not a good time for a fight.
· I don’t want to start a fight.
· It will take too much effort.
· No one listens to me anyway.
· It won’t do any good
· Someone is stubborn.
· I’ll be criticized.
· There is no solution anyway.
The ground rules for “Fighting Fair”
1. Arrange a time. “I’ve got something on my mind. Would it be ok if we talk after the children go to bed?” Or as something is getting heated, “Let’s pick a time to talk about this when… (1) we aren’t so heated, or (2) when the children aren’t around.” For people who have trouble containing anxiety, this will be a challenge, but is so necessary.
2. Face each other and approach the time in good faith rather than full of steam.
3. Address ONE topic. If you want the best chance to be successful, don’t unleash a laundry list of issues on your partner. It won’t go well. ONE issue.
4. If you are the type who leans on the gas in a merge situation, when easing off the gas would solve the
problem, you might want to rethink that. Rewards come with humility and love. Easing off the gas is not equivalent to being a pushover. Listening carefully and trying to understand the other person is not equivalent to being a pushover. Keep it respectful.
5. Try to listen carefully and understand where your partner is coming from. If you are having trouble understanding, ask questions or repeat what they have said. For example, “I’m not sure if I understand. It sounds like you are saying….Do I understand you correctly?”
6. Be careful about your filters. Sometimes a person can say, “I just really need some time with the guys.
You know, shooting darts, having a beer, fishing…” We hear, “You like them better than me. You would rather be with them than the children and I.”
7. Keep it clean. You know your spouse. You probably know a good amount of where they are sensitive.
Don’t go for the jugular. You will kill the fight.
8. Never interrupt. Let the person finish. Contain yourself. When they finish, you can have a turn. If they interrupt, kindly say,“please let me finish.”
9. Remember, all of the things you tell yourself, in your own head, about your partner, when you are mad
or hurt, are not necessarily fact. Try not to let these things build up and become your reality.
10. The best place for fighting fair is the bathroom. Someone sits on the can (with the seat down of course :) ) and the other sits on the edge of the tub, or something like that. This plan disrupts your usual dynamic, brings you each to the table on more neutral ground and lightens the mood. “Meet me in the bathroom at 9:30 :) ” Pick your own creative spot, but not near where children are sleeping if the tension might be high. Walls are thin and children are sensitive.
As Valentine’s Day, the day of love approaches, fight fair and be healthy in your relationship with your partner. If you need help, seek help.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC
We used to do a lot together…. Go on hikes, picnics, take in movies, explore new places, hold hands, cuddle up together…... Once baby came, there suddenly became less time for us. Even as baby has grown, between diaper changing, meal planning, play dates, shopping, working and just everyday life of being a parent, there just are NOT enough hours in the day. I deeply miss the days of having “couple”time, those carefree days when we discussed worldly topics and bantered back and forth about politics, life, the
cosmos. I miss the little things of being snuggled at night and as high school as it is… hand holding. Now (on both sides) it goes more like this: “I’m too tired to ________ (watch a movie, have sex, cuddle, etc, insert your choice here)”.
Let me let you in on a little secret though….. I am NOT alone! I have talked with many fellow moms and friends in hushed tones about this very topic. And not surprisingly, we all say the same type of thing. We all get irritated by the same things, we all had a change in our communication post children, we all missed the old days.
“Even the best relationships are strained during the transition from duo to trio (or more!). Lack of sleep, never-ending housework and new fiscal concerns can lead to profound stress and a decline in marital satisfaction - all of which affect baby’s care. Not surprisingly, 70% of couples in their transition to parenthood
experience conflict, disappointment and hurt feelings.” ~ Dr. John Gottman. Dr. Gottman has done extensive studies on relationships in general and relationships post children. I highly recommend bookmarking his blog and checking it out when you can: http://www.gottmanblog.com/
It started out slowly, we were just sleep deprived and had less time for each other as most of the time focused on the new addition and how to create stability for that addition. Slowly little things went by the wayside, slowly new things irritated us about the other, slowly little things became new habits, and new habits slowly changed the dynamic of our relationship to where today, it is barely recognizable from when we started out. What happened to those two happy people?
We were fortunate enough early on to be recommended to an amazing class pre-baby through Falmouth Hospital. The Bringing Baby Home Series (see Dr. Gottman's blog and website for more info on this class) facilitated by Lee Burwell was beyond amazing. The 4 class series had great information, we met another great couple and we came home armed with tools for success. Unfortunately for us though, life got in the way of remembering to use those tools. It had all seemed so easy in class, but real life is NEVER easy. We recognized this problem and discussed options such as….. gasp….. counseling.
Relationship Counseling seems to be a taboo topic for many couples. I have heard people who think that it means “the beginning of the end”, “a last resort”, and even comments like “how would a stranger help us if we can’t help us”. Men especially seem to be afraid of seeking help. I’m not sure if this is a pride thing or not but for us it became about something more important than our pride, it was about our family. We braved the counseling and learned a lot about each other from our sessions. Counseling is definitely not at all what society thinks. Many couples have problems in their relationships, it is going to happen. You can’t expect to agree on everything in life. You have 2 different people who were raised with 2 different families, and 2 sets of life experiences. So of course you are going to get 2 sets of opinions on everything and they will NOT always be the same. Relationships take compromise and you have to invest the time in them, they take WORK. We are always making concessions on things in order to work together, but sometimes there are
things where you differ that can build obstacles in the way of your relationship and communication.
We learned that it was important to have “couple” time and to have date nights again. We also learned that we both communicate very differently, which was hindering our relationship because we were not effectively “hearing” one another and we did not understand one another’s dreams. It is okay to have a different viewpoint then your significant other, but if you can’t be open to each other’s differences you will have problems. This breakdown in communication leads to a breakdown in intimacy. And ultimately a breakdown in intimacy can eventually lead to a complete breakdown in the relationship.
The current divorce rate in the US is 50%. Of course that doesn’t even figure in the separation rate between couples who are not married. I would guess the number is probably much higher if you factor that in. What has led to this breakdown? The answer is that outside stressors have caused communication breakdowns.
People are afraid to seek help and guidance. I speak from experience when I say it really helps to have a third party to talk to. The third party is able to help you see why you are having trouble. Many times we are to close to the situation and need someone who is completely impartial to help us understand.
When children enter into a relationship, everything changes. It is important that even if your relationship does not work to where you can have a typical nuclear family unit that you still learn to communicate
effectively for the sake of the children. There are many co-parenting families out there who make it work, but unfortunately the majority of those couples still don’t because of resentment, immaturity with the situation and other obstacles. It is our job as parents to show our children how to be healthy adults and they will practice what they have seen.
What kind of partner do you want your child to be someday? Right now at the current trend in the US, this generation of children will not have had healthy examples of relationships. What kind of adults will these children grow up to be? Will they take the easy way out when things get tough or will they fight to save a relationship even if it means seeking help? It is up this generation of mothers and fathers to correct this upward trend and to model the best for our children. I would hate to live in a world where negative relationships with couples become the norm. It is okay to ask for help, it is okay that you disagree on things, it is important to fight for your relationship until you have exhausted every option; it is okay to ask for help when you are in a co-parenting situation even if it means you are the only one seeking the help….. You are NOT alone.
As I was preparing this blog piece, I was presented with an AMAZING opportunity to pass along to our loyal readers. I don’t think it was a coincidence that this opportunity came up as we were preparing to go live. Check it out below and if you are interested, send them an email to find out more, maybe it will help your relationship. Either way I encourage you to find someone to talk to if you are having problems or find a
parent support group to join together. You may be surprised at just how many couples are in the same exact boat as you are. I wish you all the best of luck in your relationships, whatever state they are in and hope you all are able to communicate effectively.
*** Cape Cod Mommies is currently seeking a professional advisor for our blog who is a licensed family/marital counselor who can blog on a wide variety of topics and how it pertains to our parents.
Do You Crave More Intimacy in Your Marriage?
If you’re married, chances are your sex life isn’t what it used to be.
With all that couples are tasked with juggling these days from family to friends, careers and kids --it’s no surprise that intimacy can become less of a priority in many marriages. But over time, that lack of intimacy can cause real problems in any relationship. In fact, millions of couples at some point over the course of a marriage face intimacy challenges.
The good news? -- it doesn’t have to be that way.
Are you and your partner stuck in a “sex rut” but don’t know how to fix it? If so, this could be your chance to make a change!
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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Hidden Messages
Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let’s face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and you’ll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.
Make a commitment
To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and
will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when
they know that Mom and Dad love each other—particularly in today’s world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children’s friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it’s your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won’t suffer from neglect! They’ll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.
The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.
So here’s my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.
Look for the good, overlook the bad
You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.
Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things — dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table — and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.
Give two compliments every day
Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate’s heart. Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey says, “You’re the best. I’m so glad I married you.” It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.
Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they’re free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort to say them. Anything works: “Dinner was great, you make my favorite sauce.” “Thanks for picking up the cleaning. It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip.” “That sweater looks great on you.”
That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit – “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”
Pick your battles
How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing—and it’s great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this, you’ll find much less negative energy between you.
From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. “How important is this?” “Is this worth picking a fight over?” “What would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?”
The 60 second cuddle
You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touched fulfilled”.
So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.
Here’s the deal: Whenever you’ve been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you’ll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.
Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.
I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.
Spend time with your spouse
It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as“Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in
Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.
When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.
So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.
Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley:
Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children, New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary
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