Family Counseling – intervening in the family dynamics that need to change through structural/strategic family therapy.
Blended families – helping families navigate loyalty conflicts and custody problems, keeping the marriage intact and setting healthy boundaries.

The Challenge of Difficult Emotions

Fear.  Shame.  Anger.  Boredom.  Sadness.  Disgust.  These are feelings we don’t enjoy, and we can often go to great lengths to avoid them.  This was documented centuries ago by Blaise Pascal, who is quoted to say “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”   We try to suppress these emotions, especially fear and shame.  However, as Brené Brown has noted, emotions are like the old string of Christmas lights: when we deny or turn off one light bulb (such as anger) the whole string goes out.  Essentially, we become emotionally disabled in
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Can you become a “Kid Whisperer”?

I was in Walmart the other day and this kid, probably about 12, was making farting noises by putting the palm of his hand up to his mouth.  He was happily making these sounds as he followed his mother up and down the aisles.   She told him to stop it several times.  Suddenly she turned around and yelled “I said stop!  Why do you keep making those noises!?”  He gave the classic “I don’t know” answer and about 5 minutes later, he started it again.  The mother never did understand what made her son want to make annoying noises
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Categories: Children, Family, and Parenting.

“Remember Who You Are”

Who our children become is important to parents, and the level of this importance is seen in how much time, money and effort parents devote to their kids.   I put “who” instead of “what” because “what” our kids become is limited to doing – what they do for a career, for a hobby, etc.  Who our children become is much broader than this, and includes how they think, act, and what they stand for in their lives.   Parents have a huge impact on this.  Thinking about your own child(ren), aren’t you more concerned with “who” they become than
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Thank You for Your Time (Without Your Phone)

What happens to us when face-to-face interactions become less important? What happens to our marriages, families, and communities? Sherry Turkle says our smart phone devices “…not only change what we do, they change who we are.” We deny each other of our full attention and we end up hiding from each other. We prefer interaction through technology because it can be more controlled than face-to-face, which is happening in real-time and can’t be edited for better presentation. What is happening is that we are losing confidence in each other and looking more to our technological devices to really “be there” for us.
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Categories: Family, Holidays, Managing Media, and Personal Growth.

Get a New Strategy

I don’t know about you but summer whizzed by like a bottle rocket for our family, leaving us a little startled by the abrupt beginning to another school year.  The end of summer can catch us a little off guard.  That being the case, its still possible to get a grip and find a successful strategy to stay whole, balanced and healthy as a family.   This takes planning and preparation.  Here’s a few quotes that drive this message home: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin “You hit what you aim at, and if
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Categories: Children, Couples, Family, Marriage, Parenting, School, and Stress.

Empowering the Bored Child

“I’m bored.”  It doesn’t take too long before this statement is heard in the summer.  Its a monotone, depressing complaint.  It can trigger anger in parents to hear this, or at least mild irritation.  Boredom by definition is a feeling of weariness with one’s present task or lack of interesting pursuits.  Its something everyone has experienced.  Its a feeling we have to live with sometimes as its part of normal human existence.  Unfortunately, with Netflix and video games this generation of children can pacify their boredom without truly overcoming it successfully.  The result is a low-grade boredom, like a lingering
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Parenting Guidelines for Social Media

Parents today are truly pioneers in parenting during the internet age.  I imagine that parenting faced a similar challenge when paper and pen became readily available, and again when the telephone became a ubiquitous household item. Now, we face a new challenge with how to wisely use social media.  Why this is a unique challenge is that parents are learning these rules for themselves at the same time they are setting guidelines for their children.   Parents are realizing that rules around social media are needed because even though it’s in “cyberspace,” what is said and done there has real-life
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, and Parenting.

Holiday Time: A Focus Exercise

{Insert Awkward Christmas Family Photo Here} Do you remember that Folgers commercial from the 1980s; “Peter comes home for Christmas”?   Peter is the oldest son who just arrives home (because of a delayed flight or something) on Christmas morning and he wakes his family up by making coffee and everyone is so relieved to see he made it home.  It’s touching.  It gets at the longing for everyone in the family to be together on Christmas morning, and the sadness that was narrowly avoided for this close knit family.  But what about that poor sap who drove Peter home? 
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Holidays.

Homework: Setting up for Success

What child out there enjoys continuing school work at home?  What parent enjoys it?  I’m betting that most children and parents would rather not deal with homework. Just thinking about homework is probably not bringing up the most pleasant memories.  How many of us can remember, in a memoir sort of way, sitting at a table with math work to do while looking out the window at all the other kids playing and having fun?  The next day the teacher gets your homework with little smudges where your teardrops fell on the paper. This is usually the point in the
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, and School.

Are you a Helicopter Parent?

Parenting has been in the news recently.  New studies indicate that that a growing trend in college, and even graduate school, is parents being involved in managing their child’s (now a young adult) coursework, social life activities, conflicts with professors, and even calling schools to convince them to accept their child as a student!  This shouldn’t come as a surprise, really.  This is the logical outcome of “helicopter moms” and the “hovering” parenting style that has become increasingly common.  Parents didn’t suddenly start micro-managing their child’s life when they left for college, its the way its been all along for
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, School, and Transitions / Change.