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In this month's article, Sibling Relationships -- The Critical Role of Listening, I discuss the importance of listening to your sibling as a way to deepen this lifelong connection.
In Tips for Mothering Those You Love, Or Others Who Need Love, I offer suggestions for thinking about mothers' day as a catalyst for reflecting and helping.
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Sibling Relationships: The Critical Role of Listening
Siblings share a unique connection, one that can lead to being best friends and/or to a lifetime of conflict and struggle. Adult sibling disputes are often a manifestation of unresolved childhood feelings about parental favoritism or jealousy which, if unaddressed, can limit the evolution of that special connection into something rich and satisfying.
When we think about our own family we can consider the various roles we and our siblings play. Sometimes these roles are assigned and sometimes we assign them to ourselves. Some examples are the "golden child" who can do no wrong, the athlete, the artist, the peacemaker, the responsible (or irresponsible) one, etc.
Thinking about the roles we played in our families, and the roles we continue to play can help us re-frame relationships and make them more meaningful.
We all have different interests and abilities so it makes sense that we would play different roles. When these roles become rigid, it is difficult for us and others to change them. A child may be given a label and never "allowed" to outgrow, challenge, or put it aside, even when their personality, life experience, or behavior contradict that label. If we insist on seeing another person only in terms of old experiences and the roles that person played in the past, we limit the potential of that relationship.
We all run the risk of staying too attached to labels without paying attention to myriad ways we and our siblings have changed over the years. When we have not spent much time with our siblings as adults, we risk missing who they have become. We can learn much of who they are now, what their experience was growing up in our family, and how they deal with life's challenges when we seek to understand their current interests and their concerns. We may be surprised at what we learn when we attempt to get to know them. We need to make a commitment to let go of our preconceived notions and listen to them thoughtfully.
If we want to nurture our relationship, even expand it, we can take the time to be an engaged listener. Most of us are not good listeners much of the time. We are often distracted -- by technology or thinking about a pressing matter. While we "hear" the words someone is saying to us we are really only paying partial attention. If we want to be fully present to our sibling, we need to focus on the nuances of the exchange before we respond to what he or she is saying. We need to avoid interrupting and let them finish their thought. This is especially difficult for sisters and brothers who often pride themselves on knowing what the other is thinking.
Communication styles influence perceptions. Because children often imitate the way their parents communicate, siblings are particularly primed to repeat family communication patterns. As adults, we can take the initiative to examine our own communication patterns and begin to change the way we relate to our siblings. When we do, there is a better chance of creating a new way of relating and hopefully, of nurturing our bond.
With an awareness of past roles and labels, and a willingness to pause and listen to our siblings with a desire to understand them, we can help minimize limitations in our relationships and move toward developing healthier, supportive, and meaningful sibling relationships.
A Good Daily Habit
Lend a Helping Hand and Boost Your Mood.
When we have a bad day, it's easy to focus on what went wrong. For many of us, that can quickly lead to habitual responses, some of which may be negative and keep us in a bad mood.
Try helping someone. Doing something kind or generous for another person leads to a "helper's high" that will change your mood.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Mothering Those You Love, or Others Who Need Love
Mother's Day is a celebration that is meant to honor mothers and rejoice motherhood, maternal bonds and the power of mothers in society. Whether or not our mothers were "loving" in ways we needed and whether or not they are with still with us, we can "mother" ourselves and others in meaningful ways.
This Mother's Day, consider the following tips:
Share Special Memories. - Reflect on the positive memories you have and share them with others. Set time aside to talk about family traditions and what you learned from your mother or other people who "mothered" you in your life.
Visit Another Mother. - You may feel lonely if you can't visit or call your own mother. Consider visiting a senior person in a nursing home or senior center who might not otherwise have any visitors on Mother's Day. Instead of feeling alone, use the day to bring joy to a mother whose children may not be able to be with her.
Donate Time. - Volunteer with a meaningful local organization. Serve meals at a local food pantry, or read to children through a hospital program. It is in these ways that we can reflect a mother's interests while having a chance to spend a day in service to others.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
May 8th, 9AM hour: Am I My Mother?
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
22nd Annual VOICE Conference
May 3rd, 11-12:30PM: A Balanced Life: What is it? AND is it Possible?
Westin Harbour Castle Hotel
June 2nd, 2PM: The Value of Vacations.
See www.veria.com for channel information.
U.S. Trust Women and Money Series
June 5th, Speaker: Preparing for the Unexpected.
New York, New York.
Sixty and Me Interviews
Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, throughout the month of April covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
Experience Life Magazine
The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.
March, 2014 issue.
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 13, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street. Laura Schroff, author of An Invisible Thread, will be our featured guest.
Please follow the link for more information and tickets: http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/scribblesnewyork
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
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