Tech Tools for Parents

I’ve written quite a bit regarding the hazards and concerns of social media and “screens” in the lives of our children.  The concerns still exist; the addictive nature of social media on the teenage brain, the observed increase in depression and anxiety among individuals who are high users of social media, the addictive nature of gaming, the sexual objectification that is rampant on the internet, the physical health problems associated with too much screen time, and so on.  However, we are not going to forego our phones or our internet.  We have to learn how to manage these tools in
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Categories: Marriage.

Affair Proofing your Marriage

My articles are usually focused on parenting.  While this one is about marriage, it definitely has an impact on families and children.  Affairs, defined broadly or narrowly, have a detrimental impact on the whole family.  Narrowly defined, an affair is understood as an illicit sexual relationship with someone outside the marriage.  Broadly defined, an affair is an intimate relationship that is emotionally intense and sexually charged.  The intensity and sexualized nature of this relationship is kept hidden from the marriage partner.  Usually, the extra-marital person is someone both spouses know; someone from the workplace, neighborhood, another parent known through the
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Categories: Marriage.

Keep it Boring

Airplane pilots describe flying as a mostly boring activity interspersed with moments of panic.  When you are in the air and dependent on the flying machine, you want it to stay boring!  Unless you are an acrobatic pilot.   Daily life can reflect this situation, especially now during the COVID 19 restricted life we are living.  Pilots have a flight plan that they follow as best as they can, and this allows them to get to their next destination as safely and predictably as possible.  Using this as a metaphor for life, what is your flight plan?  Where are you
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Categories: Children, COVID, Family, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Relationships.

Helping Your Kids, Helping Yourself Through COVID

As I write this, it has been a month since everything changed.  At least it feels like everything changed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  I think of that REM song from the 80s “Its the End of the World as We Know it”.  The world, as we know it, has changed significantly.  Every generation has a defining moment and, based on the hope that nothing more cataclysmic than COVID-19 will happen,  this is it.  Everything hasn’t changed, but so much has changed that its overwhelming.  With massive change comes confusion, chaos and anxiety.  And COVID-19 also brings us social isolation,
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Categories: Marriage.

A Resilient COVID Response

This Coronavirus thing is getting real.  Recently the marquee of First United Methodist Church in Williamstown said “Didn’t think I’d give up this much for lent.”  Isn’t that the truth?  All of us have been affected by the precaution measures in place; from the minor to the very serious. It ranges from “I can’t get my pedicure” to “I don’t have a job anymore.”  Many of us by now have heard that someone we know has the coronavirus, or even died from it.  Through the “stay at home” order in West Virginia, I have been able to continue working from
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Categories: Marriage.

Family on Purpose

“Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.” This is rule 7 in Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life”.  It is a strong recommendation to build your life on principles instead of just doing what is easy for the moment.  There are two general ways to go through life; directionally, or directionless.  We can either punch a destination into the GPS, or just see where the road takes us.  Henry David Thorough is quoted “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.”  I agree.  If you aim your life
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Parenting, and Relationships.

Strong or Safe?

Anxiety is increasing in the developed world, and I believe that we can blame this on our ever-growing dependency on technology. The more technologically connected we are, the more alone we feel in reality. The American Psychiatric Association ran a poll in 2017 and discovered that millennials are the most anxious population in the U.S. I wonder how much of this anxiety is due to kids being too plugged in without limits, and how much is due to parents’ efforts to create the perfect childhood for their kids? Its an indicator that “safe” has been given preference over “strong.”
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Parenting, and Stress.

Going to the Deep End

The deep end can be scary.  What’s down there?  What if I sink, or get lost?  I’m not talking about water, but emotions and relationships.   Intimate relationships have a deep end, and if one of you is there alone will the other one be able and willing to go out there too?  As a marriage and family therapist, I see a lot of fear of the deep end.  This comes in two forms; a fear of emotional vulnerability, or a belief that it’s just not important or needed (which is most likely just a concealed fear).   Approximately 70%
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Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Personal Growth.

How to Fight with Your Valentine Effectively

Valentines Day is a nice reminder to show your love and affection.  After the chocolates are all gone, though, you still have to work out your problems.  Conflict should not be avoided in love relationships.  In fact, healthy conflict will lead to greater intimacy than a box of chocolates will!   Following certain rules will keep you from engaging in harmful interactions that give conflict a bad name.  Below are some ground rules that I recommend using to keep your conflict in a healthy zone. Think of them as a box of chocolates.  Pick out the ones you would like
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Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Relationships.