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.

Should I Let My Child Have Social Media?

Here’s my answer. Growing up in the digital age is something most parents today know nothing about.  We have no direct experience of what going through middle school in the era of social media is really like.  We can, however, observe the impact of social media on our children.   I want to emphasize that we must not underestimate its impact on our children.  I believe that our middle schoolers are the most vulnerable to social media’s influence.   The reason I say this is based on child development theory.  Erik Erickson developed the “Psychosocial” stages of development.  He believed
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, School, and Transitions / Change.

Traits of Healthy Families #6-9

Lately I’ve been expanding on Dolores Curran’s book “Traits of a Healthy Family” which identifies 15 traits that healthy families exhibit.  She is quick to point out that no family is perfect or lives out all of these 15 traits.   However, healthy families as a whole will show these qualities.  Last month’s column was guest-written by my daughter and covered the traits of “Valuing table time” and “strong sense of rituals and traditions.”  This edition will examine how and why playfulness, leisure time, balance, and shared responsibility are important in family life. We’ve all heard it said that “The
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.

Traits of a Healthy Family #3-5

Last month’s column introduced the traits of good communication and valuing family time and conversation.  In this issue, three more of the 15 traits from Dolores Curran’s book, “Traits of a Healthy Family” will be covered.  Traits 3 – 5 have to do with providing every family member with a sense of inclusion and acceptance. Trait three, “affirming and supporting one another”, really starts with the parents.   Happy parents make for happy kids.  Affirming parents have good self-esteem, and work to instill a positive mood in the home.  This positive tone in the home creates a general expectation that
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.

Traits of a Healthy Family #1-2

What do healthy families look like?  There’s a saying; “Crazy comes in many forms but sanity just has one.”  Dolores Curran, author of “Traits of a Healthy Family,” surveyed professionals in education, ministry, health care, and family counseling, asking them to identify what they observed in families they deemed as “healthy.”  Based on this survey, 15 traits were identified as components of healthy families.   There is no single family that embodies all of these traits, so don’t feel pressure to master them all.  This issue will look at the first two in Curran’s list; communication, and valuing family time
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Categories: Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Relationships.

Help your Middle Schooler Thrive Socially

So many books and movies illustrate the struggle that adolescents go through in social relationships. The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Harry Potter illustrate the social dynamics at work in the middle-school aged social life: Belonging, power, status, identity, leadership, conformity, and intergroup conflict.  I really think that stories like The Hunger Games are wildly popular among “tweens” because they can relate to the struggle those adolescent characters are going through.  And, don’t you think the writers of those stories chose to make their characters adolescents for just this reason?  In The Hunger Games story, Katniss and Peeta are fighting
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Categories: Children, Personal Growth, Relationships, and School.