Greetings for the upcoming holidays!
In this month's article, Everything is Fine, I discuss how confusing it is for children when parents who are clearly upset or distressed deny their feelings and say "Everything is Fine."
In Tips for Going on a New Track, I offer thoughts beginning "anew" whether with a job, a relationship, or any other aspect of life.
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Everything is Fine
Being able to be real and to be in touch with whatever feeling we are experiencing is vital to honest and healthy social relationships, particularly between parents and their adult or youthful children.
To be in the company of someone we care deeply about, whose affect, demeanor, body language, tone, and energy indicate that things are FAR from FINE, but who insists, verbally, that EVERYTHING is FINE can be confusing and frustrating, particularly for children observing their parents. Children's intuitive sense (gut feeling) especially as it relates to their parents' moods, is usually accurate. Imagine how "crazy-making" it can be for them to witness their parent in distress but to have their parent deny it.
I am not suggesting that parents go into a detailed analysis about their emotional life with their children. I am suggesting, however, that each of us "own" our emotions and be truthful. We can "name" how we feel and validate for our children that their sense is correct. And, despite efforts to deny or hide our true feelings from our children, they are often revealed in our behavior, particularly when we are short tempered or extra demanding. Some examples of naming feelings are:
-- "I am feeling a bit sad, confused, disappointed, unsure, (whatever) right now and that is what you are seeing. You don't have to worry. I will work it out, but yes, I am not feeling great and you can sense it."
-- "I need some time to sort things out; I will take a walk and be back in an hour."
-- "I know I am distracted, short tempered, (whatever); I appreciate that you noticed. I will deal with what is bothering me."
When parents validate that what their children observe is correct, they teach their children many things, among them: to honestly identify the way they feel; not to be afraid of emotions; and how to move through them.
Children also learn empathy as they have opportunities to accurately identify other people's emotional responses. If parents lie to their children when asked, "Are you okay?" with "Everything is Fine" (and it clearly isn't), kids get confused, often spending time worrying, fixing, trying to deal with, understand, stay out of the way, or change, what is obviously going on with their mom or dad. Their insides tell them one thing that feels true, yet their parent tells them something else. What to do? Believe my parent's words despite the incongruity with everything else or believe what is inside of me?
Some of us believe the positive suggestion that if we ACT AS IF everything is good, before we know it, it will be! That is fine advice for those of us who are willing to change our attitude which, in turn, can help how we experience our reality. I am talking about something different. When a parent says "Everything is Fine" with conviction, a positive and hopeful attitude, and body language to match, that is quite different from saying "Everything is Fine" in a sullen, negative, or barking tone. Which is real? Which is believable?
In order to deal with our own emotions we must first admit to what they are - if not for our own mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, than for those who care about us. There are few things that strain and potentially separate parents from their children (whether adult or youth) from each other as emotional dishonesty.
A Good Daily Habit
Voicing What Resonates
When we want to be sure we remember something we are reading it helps to focus on the extremely important parts and read them aloud. For most of us, reading out loud increases the chance of our remembering.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Going on a New Track
At some point in our lives we may find ourselves in a deep, dark hole, unsure of what's next for us...or even whether we want to become engaged in a "next chapter." Maybe we've been out of the workforce for five years, or a decade, or even longer. Or, we're newly divorced, having been a couple for decades, wondering whether we will ever be able to meet someone and trust again. Well-intentioned friends encourage us to "get back on track," but we spin our wheels.
How about re-framing the entire issue to one of "Going on a New Track?"
Even though we feel derailed it can be helpful to see where we want to go and examine ways to get there. We look at the future based on where we are now, with our life experiences, our friends and family, and what we love to do or are passionate about. Armed with this, we begin to see that we can start a new chapter in our life.
Consider the following:
Begin Where We Are. - It's all about creating the next phase of our life. We don't need to get back on the track we were on- because that track is no longer available to us. We can find a new track where we bring with us what was helpful on that previous track IN ADDITION TO lessons we have learned; wisdom we have gained; skills, passions and interests we have developed; and friends we have made (important for networking) since being off that old track. We are not beginning it all over again. We are beginning from where we are now.
Acknowledge Our Fears and Concerns. - Just acknowledging that feeling of despair is a good thing. We can recognize that sometimes we will feel it's just too much. When we feel lost, without direction, the voice in our head says we have "nothing to offer." We can say to ourselves, "I know who I am;" "I know what I do well;" " I know how I have handled crises in the past;" "This is what I am good at."
List Our Strengths and Skills. - Sometimes if we don't feel so great where we are, we don't recognize our strengths. We can ask friends, our children, those who know and respect us for feedback.
List Our Passions. - Identify our passions, which may not necessarily be the ones we used to have. They can be different and can be explored and when engaged with them, help us to be our authentic selves, ready for the next chapter.
And Finally -- Find Where Your Strengths and Passions Meet.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
I hope you enjoy my recently released chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Scribbles to
Novels - May 10, 2014, We Give Books, and Read for the Record.
"One kind word can warm three winter months."
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings From the
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works