Written on October 11, 2012 by David C. Sarnacki
CNN celebrates International Day of the Girl with some thought provoking comments by “leading women.”
CNN celebrates International Day of the Girl with some thought provoking comments by “leading women.”
HBO has posted resources in connection with its DON’T DIVORCE ME! KIDS’ RULES FOR PARENTS ON DIVORCE documentary. The resources highlight 7 organizations offering support to children, parents and families transitioning through separation and divorce, and some extend into blended families and being good stepparents.
U.S. News offers research on how simple adjustments of habit may translate to greater feelings of fulfillment and well-being. While strategies were provided for each age demographic, certain practices rang true for all:
David Sarnacki has been selected by attorneys and judges for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, 19th Edition. His peer-review selection includes three areas: Family Law; Family Law Mediation; and Collaborative Law–Family Law.
With the fall school year approaching, The Huffington Post and Deborah Moskovitch outline tips for adjusting families to improve parent-child relationships.
1. Re-frame your thinking: Rather than clocking minutes, place emphasis on the quality of time you are spending together.
2. Be creative: Invest in the relationship by doing what is in their best interest. Get involved with their homework, extracurricular activities, any area in need of help or attention.
3. Let them know you care: Programs, events and school functions are a great way to stay connected. Sometimes all that’s required is a positive message that you’re interested and want to be involved.
4. Get with the program: With the vast array of communication devices today, staying connected on their terms can help maintain a strong relationship. A subtle text may be all you need to keep the lines of communication intact.
5. Be introspective: Ask yourself what you are doing to promote or hinder the relationship. Seek the help you need to get your life in order, and be the parent your child deserves.
Wall Street Journal highlights the work of psychologist Terri Orbuch, a research professor at the University of Michigan, who looked into 373 marriages over 25 years. Of those who learned lessons the hard way (In line with the national average at 46%), Orbuch found five major themes divorced couples wish they could have done differently:
1. Boost your spouse’s mood: Compliments, cuddling, kissing, saying ‘I love you’, anything to express your love and offer emotional support.
2. Talk more about money: With finance being a main area of conflict, partners must discuss and examine their individual money styles.
3. Get over the past: Let go of the jealousy, anger, and sadness of the past. Dr. Orbuch recommends putting your emotions on paper in order to release them.
4. Blame the relationship, not each other: Blaming your ex-spouse, or even yourself, can only lead to more grief. Don’t discount asking for your partner’s perspective on them problem.
5. Reveal more about yourself: Communication style is the No. 1 factor divorced individuals in the study said they want to improve in their next relationship. For better lines of communication, couples should talk alone ten minutes everyday about something other than work, the family and children, or the household.
Healthy Children offers us tips for helping your children blossom. They cite Caring for Your Teenager: The Complete and Authoritative Guide
The Complete and Authoritative Guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics (Editor: Donald E. Greydanus, MD, FAAP). Healthy Children suggests (excerpt):
Be Generous With Praise
Criticize When Necessary, but Constructively
Solicit Your Youngster’s Opinions
Encourage Youngsters To Cultivate Their Talents and Interests
Love and Logic recently sent out an email newsletter asking: Parenting Through Divorce: Are You a Rock … or Are You a Leaf? Being a rock means setting expectations in your children of limits, accountability and love at your home.
Dr. Charles Fay writes (excerpt):
When limits and accountability are provided within the context of love, kids know that the parent setting the limits is strong enough to keep them safe and secure. While they may waver and wander, the odds are extremely high that they will come back to you…their rock.
Parade Magazine offers a 5-step “owner’s manual” for marriage.
Daniel Jones writes (excerpt):
1. Acknowledge that you each are responsible for your own happiness. . . .
2. Nix the Facebook fantasy. . . .
3. Rely on your friends when the going gets tough. . . .
4. When you become a mom or dad, take a break like your parents did. . . .
5. Even if you’re considering divorce, delay making a final decision—and keep delaying. . . .
Real Age and Sharecare explains how reading your partner’s emotions and feeling your partner’s efforts to understand your own emotions relate to happiness in the relationship.
Julie Hanks writes (excerpt):
Listen for emotional messages [the emotional message may be different than the words]
Push the pause button on your own emotions [instead of responding defensively, take a deep breath and hear the emotional message behind criticism]
Reflect back your partner’s emotional plea [respond to the emotional message]
A 2004 episode of This American Lifeexamined the theme of marriage, with a spotlight on marital researcher John Gottman. It turns out that everyone argues, and everyone argues about the same issues. Every couple. So which factors predict success and failure in relationships? The science of marriage–and learning how to save your marriage–is part of ACT ONE. It’s worth 23 minutes of your life if you care about your partner.
Parade Magazine offers us Jay Leno’s tips for a happy marriage (excerpt):
Do you and your wife still have date nights?
Yeah, she’ll find a restaurant, some fancy place in Beverly Hills. I’ll stop at In-N-Out Burger first since I’m not a big restaurant guy. But she likes it, and when you’re married, that’s what you do.
What else keeps a marriage working?
If you don’t fool around, it’s not that hard. I think the key to life is low self- esteem—believing you’re not the smartest or most handsome person in the room. All the people who have high self-esteem are criminals and actors.
USA Today updates us on the research addressing parental happiness. The new studies points toward parents today being happier than married couples without children.
Sharon Jayson writes of the two studies (excerpt):
“We find no evidence that parental well-being decreases after a child is born to levels preceding the children, but we find strong evidence that well-being is elevated when people are planning and waiting for the child, and in the year when the child is born,” notes the study presented by co-author Mikko Myrskylä of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.
[Co-author Chris Herbst of Arizona State University] says what’s “undeniable, however, is that parents have become relatively happier than non-parents over the past few decades.”
The ABA General Practice-Solo Section shows what might happen when you disconnect from technology–you might just think!
Steve Andersen writes (excerpt):
But are we forgetting what it’s like to take our time and to think, process, and create? To do one thing at a time? To do it well? And to actually enjoy it? Studies show that the frenetic techno-wave to which we’ve been subjected—and to which we eagerly overindulge—is changing the way our brains function. Our attention spans have shortened. Our creativity has diminished. Our patience has thinned. Are we less civil toward each other as a result?
. . . Our reflexes have been so conditioned to respond to myriad electronic stimuli that we jump at any ring, beep, or buzz, like the subject in a contemporary Pavlovian lab experiment.
So I did an experiment of my own. I took a deep breath and left my cell phone home one day. When I got to the office, I turned my desk phone off. I even ignored my messages. I refused to turn on my computer and check e-mail. I unplugged. I disconnected. I waited. . . .
. . . By five o’clock I was relaxed and satisfied with the notion that I’m not really all that important. I hadn’t spoken with anyone, checked any devices, or stared at any screens. And I was more productive than I had been for some time. I knew I’d ease out of my time warp and rejoin the Connected Age—to a degree anyway—but I vowed to downshift and enjoy the privilege of practicing law and the pleasure of living life. On my way out, before turning off the light, I glanced at the old Underwood. Less is more.
CNN shows us how happiness promotes success and how daily habits promote happiness.
Shawn Achor offers these five tips for transforming your attitude (excerpt):
• Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
• Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;
• Exercise for 10 minutes a day;
• Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;
• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).
USA Today addresses how stress affects relationships, especially honeymooners and the first five years of marriage.
Sharon Jayson includes this sidebar of 5 tips for handling stress and having a successful marriage (excerpt):
Don’t let stress sabotage your relationship, says Thomas Bradbury, co-founder of the UCLA Relationship Institute. His advice:
1. Get stress on your radar. Learn to recognize when your partner is feeling stressed, and cut him or her some slack.
2. Step up. When your partner is tired and stressed, that’s your signal to step up and do more around the house, Bradbury says. “But if you crow about helping, you are making your partner feel worse, not better.”
3. Build a firewall. Partners in healthy relationships “know how to prevent ordinary frustrations from spilling over to erode the good feelings that they have for one another,” Bradbury says. “So build a firewall around all of the great things you and your partner share, and protect them against minor annoyances.”
4. Strengthen the foundation. Good relationships are fundamentally about two people taking care of each other. Figure out what your partner needs to feel secure and happy and do your best to give it to them, and on their terms, not yours.
5. Get active. If stress is eating away at your relationship, get on your feet and invite your partner to a walk, a class or a movie.
The States of Our Unions report, by the National Marriage Project, delves into the health of marriage in America. The Executive Summary includes remarks on being a parent and navigating the marital relationship (excerpt):
In this report, we find that married parents are more likely than their childless peers to feel their lives have a sense of meaning and purpose. We also find that parents who are married generally experience more happiness and less depression than parents who are unmarried.
What is their secret [happily married parents]? We were able to identify ten aspects of contemporary social life and relationships—from marital generosity to shared housework to religious faith to sexual satisfaction—that appear to boost women and men’s odds of successfully combining marriage and parenthood.
USA Today’s Ask Stacy reminds us of the three elements of a true apology: “sorry,” responsibility for the choice taken, and promise for the future.
Stacy Kaiser writes (excerpt):
A true apology should consist of three elements: taking responsibility for your mistake, saying you’re sorry and a commitment to never do what hurt that person again. . . . Here’s what a heartfelt apology should sound like: “Even though I missed you, I should never have directed my attention to another man. I should have come to you to try to fix the problem. For that I am truly sorry. I made two mistakes, I flirted with another man and I didn’t communicate with you how I was feeling. I promise to never do either of those again. I will never direct my affections to another man and I will come to you any time things are not right. Will you please forgive me?”
CNN and Parenting.com give us the “Top 10 Parenting Fails of 2011.” If you didn’t make the list, rejoice! Sasha Emmons of Parenting.com includes items on:
Mom Uses Hot Sauce as Punishment
Moms Selling Babies
Girl Brings Dad’s Cocaine to School
Mom Gets 7-Year-Old a Boob Job
Mom Dresses Daughter Like a Prostitute
Dad Throws Son Off Cruise Ship
Drunk Woman Shoots Breast Milk at Cops
Mom Sues Preschool for Dashing Ivy League Dreams
Girl Busts Mom for Drunk Driving
Pregnant Mom: Smoking is Good for the Baby!
CNN includes tips on what to do if you want more sex in your life. It’s the same secret to a lasting relationship and marriage: be nice.
Ian Kerner, the Good in Bed counselor, quotes Emily Nagoski, the self-proclaimed Sex Nerd, commenting on John Gottman’s book “The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples” (excerpt):
“Boiling down the richly complex body of work described in the book to one sentence, Gottman’s point is that trust is made of people believing that their partners will be nice, that the partner will make an effort to make life better for you . . . .”