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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

I’ve been working with a Mom whose son is being bullied.

This poor little boy survived a horrible school year of taunting, teasing and behind-the-adults back general nastiness, only to be so happy to go to summer camp and discover that the bullly was in his group. It’s no fair. No one ever should have to put up with being treated that way.

I kept thinking that bullies don’t stop in elementary school — bosses sure can be bullies, so can co-workers. And, far too often it’s one’s spouse who can be a bully. And in all these cases –it’s not ok.

So, how does one handle a situation where someone is name calling, taunting, plotting-against, teasing or worse? Here are three Power of Two Principles.

1. Leave a situation that gets too heated. If someone or something is not treating you right, exit. Exit early — no need to stick around for more taunting. Go to a different part of the playground. Help a child find a different bully-free activity. Suddenly develop an urgent need to get some water. And all the more so if it’s your spouse who isn’t sticking to the rules. Help your spouse stop bullying by leaving the situation before it gets unpleasant. (BTW, between adults one can and should then come back to the person/topic to try to address things in a more productive manner).

2. Be better than the bully. That is, be a better person than someone who thinks being nasty is ok. Take the high road. While it may never change them, it will change you. You’ll become a better and stronger person when you handle tough situations with calm, clarity, poise and grace.

3. Be positively proactive. While there’s a time to turn the other cheek, it’s for sure time to get a better plan. Instead of getting blinded by a desire for revenge, look down the road. What can you do to set-up a better situation in the future? How can you learn new tools for calmly standing up for yourself? How can you change the situation to reduce the odds you’ll be facing bullying behaviors? Keep the focus on what can I do. Be very wary of how can I get back at the bully.

Want more information on relationship safety? Check this out — http://poweroftwomarriage.com/actions/action/special_topics-safety-dv_flash/.

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I had a wonderful session with a couple today where we talked about the hallmark of truly first rate listening. Here’s what we arrived at.

First rate listening transforms THE LISTENER.

Yes, it’s wonderful to be listened to and listening is a gift to do for anyone you care about.

And, the real halmark of great listening is that every time you really do it well — that is listen to learn from your spouse — it’s a chance to become a more open, more understanding and more educated you.

So, next time you’re listening, notice if it’s changing YOU.

Want more on how to do this kind of listening? Watch a video of me teaching about listening here.

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Ok, this one might seem like a stretch – – –  hang in there with me.

My husband forwarded me this article about teaching math — http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/a-better-way-to-teach-math/.

As a former math teacher I found it interesting. As Power of Two Head Coach I found it fascinating!

Here’s my take on math and marriage.

  1. Both are based on solid skills knowledge.
  2. Both take lots of practice to make those skills come naturally.
  3. Most folks have great intuition about how to do both. It’s when there’s any pressure or challenge to the situation that this basic good sense gets totally chucked.
  4. Nearly everyone can learn to be first rate at both with some bite-sized, incremental learning.

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Duh.  Of course Dad is important.

At the same time, when one is encouraging a Dad to be more involved (or helping a Mom who may not be on great terms with Dad to keep him involved) with his kids, it can be helpful to have a few facts at one’s fingertips.

Here are two of my favorite research findings brought to you courtesy of http://www.fatherhood.gov.

  • Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
    • Pruett, Kyle D. 2000. Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. New York: Free Press.
  • When non-custodial fathers are highly involved with their children’s learning, the children are more likely to get A’s at all grade levels.
    • National Center for Education Statistics. October 1997. Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools; National Household Education

In other words, does Dad want a smart kid with great grades?  Then be there to play, go hiking, listen to music and toss a football!  Oh yah, and come to parent-teacher conferences as well!

P.S.  Want an inspiring and  fun resource for dads looking to get serious about spending time with their kids?   Check out this blog — http://www.AdventureDad.org

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As someone who has done quite a bit of work with both children and with parents, I often find myself trying to decide which is the more optimal point to intervene — with parents or with their children.

For example, when a teen is struggling in school,  in part because things are tense at home where is the best starting point?

Certainly getting direct help for the teen is important.  Providing academic support, an open ear, and tools for problem solving about how to keep one’s own life stable and healthy is of the essence.

At the same time, help as close to the source of the problem tends to be quite effective.  That would suggest working with the parents.  Likewise, any professional help is going to have some limited time-frame.  Parents are forever.  Thus, helping parents to get to a place they can provide the kind of help their child needs might have more longevity.

Every time I start to ponder this question, I realize the answer is the chicken AND the egg come first.  Yes, get kids direct help.  And, yes, get parents better resources too.

In the end, I think the right question is  not parent or child, but what for the parents and what for the children.  If all of us working with parents made sure to always ask “what am I also doing for the child?”  And, if all of us working with children made sure to always ask “what am I doing the parents?” maybe we’d have less cracked eggs and more healthy chickens in this world.

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Affairs are horrible painful.  They are painful for the couple.  They are miserable for children who find out what happened.  And, for the most part, they also end up being terribly painful for the “third leg.”

And, at the same time, affairs are one of the most preventable causes of marital distress.

How?

Four simple rules:

  1. Save conversations about anything intimate, revealing, special, exciting etc for your spouse.
  2. Know your family history.  If your parent(s) cheated, you need to be particularly alert to avoid making their mistakes.
  3. Try to be home with your family for dinner.  If you have to travel or do business dinners be very careful!
  4. Stay away from ex’s and old friends of the opposite sex– especially if you just rediscovered them.
  5. Be open and honest when either of you have situations that start to feel uncomfortably charged or concerning.
  6. Keep your marriage strong, intimate and loving.

Want to test you savvy?  Click on the picture or here for a fun interactive quiz.

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Sometimes it’s not a mole hill.  It’s a real genuine mountain that is up ahead.

Somehow when one is facing a mountain, it is easier to focus on things like how angry you are that your spouse isn’t doing their part, or how anxious you are about crossing the first little stream.

There is a better strategy.  Look at the whole mountain.  Put the full problem on the table.  Map it out.  In detail.  What is the complete story?  What are all the treacherous spots you are facing?  What are all the pieces that worry you?

And most important, who is on your team.  Because if your spouse is on your team, it is so critical to remember that even when the going gets tough, they are still doing their part to climb that darned hill.

And then, start climbing.  One foot at a time.  Slow and steady. Forward and upward!

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