This is a great question that a lot of us can relate to. I would calmly tell them your reasons for wanting social media and gaming time to be limited. Maybe it’s distracting them from homework, or you are worried about their physical and mental health. Maybe you see their sleep getting interrupted and you want them to have more face to face contact. Explain your reasons and give some clear and specific expectations. Be willing to be flexible and negotiate. I think the best thing we can do is lead by example. If we are on our phones all the time, then they are going to copy us. It’s a conversation that will be ongoing with our teens.
80% of divorces are launched by unhappy women. What can they do to reduce these failures?
I had to look this up as this was so interesting to me. The statistic I got was 70% of divorces are initiated by women. I didn’t know this. To increase marital happiness and decrease divorce, key factors are:
- It tends to come down to communication. Listening to each other. Expressing your feelings as calmly as you can. Working towards resolving conflicts together and understanding each other.
- Respecting each other.
- Trusting each other.
- Intimacy including physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and sexual intimacy.
- Appreciation of each other.
- Commitment to each other.
- Time – making time for each other.
- Supporting each other.
Why are young men shying away from marriages & serious relationships?
- Past experiences.
- Focused on their own goals. Focused on their career.
- Emotional maturity and emotional readiness.
- Societal changes.
What counsel do you provide for a woman with a child who clings to toxic hope when married to a millionaire alcoholic?
- Building a safety plan. Safety always comes first. Making sure she is safe.
- We want to model the best relationship we can for our children. She may think it’s better for the child to stay in the relationship but it’s actually better for the child to see their mother in a healthy state and healthy relationship.
- Building her support network.
- Building her independence.
- Listening, understanding, empathy and understanding are always key factors.
- Normalizing – people tend to want to keep their marriage together.
- Exploring what she would like her relationship to look like.
- Addressing self esteem issues keeping her in the relationship.
Are there specific examples when divorce is the only healthy answer?
- Abuse – physical, verbal, emotional.
- Financial issues.
- Mental health issues.
What possible coping mechanisms do you suggest for parents who suffer from estrangement of their adult children?
- Accepting their own feelings.
- Using their support system and focusing on and nurturing the relationships that they do have.
- I always recommend counseling.
- Finding things to do that brings you joy. Hobbies, exercise, social time with friends.
- Journaling – Get your feelings out on paper.
- Focus on the things in your life that you can control.
- Focus on forgiveness for your own physical and emotional health.
Why do so many marriages dissolve when a couple loses a child? Can you provide help for those suffering with complicated grief?
In looking at research, the death of a child can lead to issues mentally and physically which is what could lead to a divorce. Differing ways of grieving can also lead to marital issues. Some people may want to grieve quietly while the other person wants to talk about it. It also depends on the reason that the child died. There may be blame and guilt involved that breaks down the marriage. The data that I found is that 12 percent of marriages end in divorce after the loss of a child.
- 100% a good therapist and support group.
- A strong support system that you can talk to. Opening up to your friends and family about how you are feeling. I tell my husband that I talk about something more than once when I am still upset about it. Be patient with yourself and talk it through.
- For some talking helps and for others they need to write. Writing is a fantastic coping strategy. Get yourself a pretty journal to write in regularly. Get it out!
- Making yourself take care of yourself. Make yourself get dressed. Put on some make up. Get some exercise. Make yourself eat something.
- Be kind and understanding to yourself.
- Honor your loved one. My friend loves to eat snacks that her mother loved to eat.
We have a Korean daughter (now 34) but made some mistakes along the way. She is an awesome child, Master’s Degree and married but we should have taken not adoption classes but foreign adoption classes. No regrets but wondered if we should have made her more involved in her own culture.
I love that you are thinking about this and it’s never too late. I would have a conversation with her and let her know what you are thinking. Ask her if she wants you to help her now to explore her culture. Tell her you will do it with her and support her. You can learn together. We can’t change the past but we can work on today and tomorrow if she wants to.
Please tell us what courses you have taken in marriage counseling
I would have to go back through years of courses.
What modalities or approaches do you use for marriage counseling?
Cognitive behavior therapy. Solution focused therapy. Family systems therapy. Behavioral therapy. Communication skills training.
How do you make “no” stick when telling the kids no.
This is a really good question that most parents can relate to. I have gotten better at thinking before I react with a no. We want to mean the no when we say it so don’t automatically say no. Pause and think and tell your child you will get back to them. If the answer is no, I often explain why. If it has to do with safety that tends to be why I say no most often. Maybe I said no to staying up late because I want them to go to sleep. Having the support of your spouse to help you follow through is always helpful to me being able to stick to the answer no. Also, I empathize with their feelings and try to stay very calm but just because we may feel bad that they are upset doesn’t mean that our answer is going to change. The best advice around this topic is to tell your child you will think about it so that you can think rationally before giving an answer. The biggest mistake I see is that parents say no quickly and then regret that they said no so fast. You can evaluate it after and see if saying no was the right answer so that you know for the future. If you are happy that you said no, remind yourself why you are saying no because I bet you have good reasons that benefit your child.
How do you balance compromise with your spouse. Sometimes it feels one sided.
The goal of a compromise is to get to a point where it’s a win win and both parties feel satisfied with the compromise. If you are frequently feeling like you are not happy with the compromises that are being made, it’s time for a calm heart to heart. Communicate your feelings about the subject and explain that you would like compromises to make both of you happy. When you come to a compromise with your spouse make sure not to just give in as that builds resentment. Make sure to discuss the issue when you are both in a calm state and willing to work together to find a common ground. Brainstorm as many solutions that the two of you can come up with and sometimes asking outside parties for some suggestions can help to be creative in solutions.
How do you maintain intimacy and closeness with your spouse in every day situations if you don’t go on lots of dates and you don’t have hobbies in common?
Maintaining intimacy is a process that goes on every day with couples. Stealing a look, smiling, brushing their shoulder, telling them how much you appreciate them, hold their hand. Intimacy is physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and sexual. It doesn’t’ have to be big things. Look at it as small micro’s of intimacy frequently that add up to something big. Utilize the time that you do have together well. Make a plan to do something together that you both enjoy. Find things that you both can enjoy or go to something with your spouse that they enjoy. Have an intimate conversation. As my friend said tonight, get creative. Think outside of the box. I love a lunch date when our kids are in school. Ask questions about something they are interested in. Prioritize making dates together. Plan a vacation. Make sure to make time for physical intimacy. I find that even sitting next to each other on the couch builds intimacy. Remember that intimacy doesn’t have to happen from long amounts of time together. Steal in time when you can.
- Steal moments.
- Get creative.
- Be planful.
- Remember all the different ways of being intimate. Find out how you and your partner like to connect!
How do you factor in pets for your family when one spouse doesn’t necessarily agree? Is it fair to deny children a pet when animals teach us so much? Are they a big time burden or free therapy?
Well, let’s begin with, we know pets aren’t free. My pets aren’t cheap, and they are worth every penny. It’s a hard situation when one spouse doesn’t want pets and it’s something that needs to be discussed and agreed upon by both parties. For example, my husband didn’t want a dog. He said that if we got a dog that he wasn’t going to be responsible for the dog. Communicating your feelings about why you want a pet and discussing who takes care of the pet can help. They may not want the added responsibility physically or financially. I personally think pets are good therapy but not every family agrees. You have to be ready and willing to devote around 15 years of your life to the pet and be willing to take care of it, give it attention and clean up after it. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think it is very responsible not to get a pet for a family who is never home. Pets are so good for our mental and physical health. They are most definitely worth it if you have time and finances available for them.
I struggle with my husband and I (almost always) being on complete opposite ends when it comes to parenting, household stuff, money, it seems like everything (I am not exaggerating) and I am mentally/emotionally exhausted! Parenting and money go hand-in-hand, because teens are expensive! What can I do on my own? He won’t go to counseling and he’s extremely stubborn and doesn’t care to look at others for examples. He grew up very differently than the rest of us and it’s getting worse as he’s aging and the boys are getting older.
I have really good news; he doesn’t need to come to counseling for good changes to happen. We can make positive changes ourselves and watch him follow you. “Be the change that you wish to see,” is one of my favorite things that my husband says. Act how you want him to act. Show him what you are looking for. If you decide to go to counseling, work on yourself and focus on what you are doing. We only have control over ourselves. Focus on being the best that you can be and treat him how you want him to treat you. Try to communicate openly and calmly with him about your feelings. When we get reactive, they tend to shut down. Work on having open honest calm communication with him. You both want what is best for your children. You have the same goal. You want to achieve it in different ways, but you are on the same team. Hear each other out and try to come up with compromises that will make you both happy. I’m sure he is doing a list of things that are frustrating you, but we don’t always turn the mirror around and look at ourselves. I am talking about me too. We need to work on ourselves and focus on what we can do better and that always has a positive impact on our marriage.
What would you do differently in marriage and parenting, if at all?
I love this question. My answer pertains to both my parenting and my marriage. My goal is to be a beacon of calmness for my husband and children. When I communicate calmly, my marital communication goes well. When I communicate calmly with my children, we tend to get to a good place. When I get reactive, I tend to regret it in any relationship. The word pause is a very important word for us all to use and is one of the most important words to achieve my calmness goals.
Common questions if have time:
What exactly do you do and do you make money?
How many hours do you work?
How do you do it all?
Where did the name Whinypaluza come from?
Thank you for submitting all of these questions. I had such a good time answering all of you. I’m sorry if I missed someone. I will do this again!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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