Are You Having A.R.E. Discussions? Why You Should

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone - only to discover a)he/she isn't listening at all 2) he/she is distracted by technology or c) he/she is already getting defensive even before you start to speak? If so, you're certainly not alone (and, let's face it, you've probably been a less-than-attentive listener, too!). In fact, lots of folks who come through my office complain about not feeling "heard," and the lack of communication is creating pretty intense conflict in the relationship. Or, worse, sometimes the lack of communication leads to a disconnect altogether. One of the tricks I like to teach couples is the value of A.R.E. discussions. During A.R.E. discussions, each pe

Why "You're OK" Can Feel NOT OK

I've watched my children fall down quite a bit - both literally and figuratively. And, I've learned it's not always easy to know what to say. Should I tell them, "You're OK" and wait for them to get up? Or, should I fling myself onto them protectively and help them to their feet? (For the record, I usually act on a case-by-case basis). But, the reaction of Mothers around the world got me thinking - how would I feel if I hurt myself, and someone told me "You're OK, just get up?" I might feel dismissed and uncared for. Even if it's a minor injury, wouldn't it be nice if the reaction was empathy or a helping-hand? Likewise, I've seen my fair share of couples who run-into the "You're OK" trap, t

Conflict Over Rules? Maybe It's Time To Back-Off

As a Mom of three (and living in a community of kid-excellence, to say the least), it's hard for me to NOT feel insecure about what my kids AREN'T doing. Hardly a day goes by when I don't overhear another Mom talking about their child excelling at the best private school in town or see another child drilled endlessly on the tennis court. It's enough to drive you mad - unless you know something I just learned: Turns out, the most creative children have fewer rules at home and aren't the prodigies of the world. In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, the most creative children were from homes in which there were fewer than one rule. By contrast, the parents of ordinary children

Lovin' a "Mediocre" Life

I don't often "click here" when someone posts an article on Facebook, but when I saw the topic of a recent article posted by a friend, I just had to see what it was all about. It was called "What If All I Want Is a Mediocre Life?', and it had me intrigued. The question on the table was this: Is it enough to be a pretty good wife (husband), Mother (Father), Sister (Brother), Community Member, etc.? Or do I need to be all of that PLUS the CEO of a company, the BEST at whatever sport I'm doing, and the smartest person in the room? (oh, with rock-hard abs). Are the motivational posters right? BE THE BEST! STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE! ALWAYS SEEK IMPROVEMENT! The problem the author points out, of cours

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