Topics for the ‘Social’ Category


For a New Beginning

For a New Beginning” by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Teens “Hooking Up”

Romantic KissHooking up is a trend amongst teens that means “some sort of sexual activity with no strings attached.”  It is like “friends with benefits.” It can include anything from kissing and petting all the way to intercourse. It bypasses all the courting rituals and end eliminates the boyfriend and girlfriend relationship.

Research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the likelihood of sex increases with each school grade level, from 32 percent in 9th grade to 62 percent in 12th grade.

So why are teens doing this? Basically, because they like someone, they think it’s ok and everyone else is doing it too. So it comes down to sexual excitement and peer acceptance.  This is fueled by all the media sources portraying sexual provocative images that socialize teens to think of sexual activity as normative. In addition, dating apps such as Tinder make it easy for teens to match up with other teens for sexual relations.

So what do you do as a parent?

First, get informed and develop an on-going, open communication with your teen. Explain to them that sexual activity can have physical and emotional consequences. Most teens don’t think about the emotional consequences. Have an open discussion without getting angry or punitive.

Then, don’t assume your teen is not having sex. Ask. Sex can mean different things to a teen. “Oral sex” may not be considered sex by many teens. Make sure they understand what you mean when you talk about sex. Listen to what they have to say.

Teens “hook up” to feel wanted and fit in as part of what has become socially acceptable by their peer group. It is important to know who your teen’s peer group is and what they are doing and where they are doing it. The most common time and place for teen sex is after school in someone’s house.

Even though it is uncomfortable for many parents to have this conversation with their teen, it actually helps strengthen your relationship.  Ideally the conversation should begin before your child becomes sexually active in any way. Regardless, having insight in your teen’s social life and keeping the communication lines open by listening to them and asking questions is the best way to protect them, both physically and emotionally.

Shyness in Children

images (5)If your child suffers from shyness, they are not alone. Recent research suggests that over 50% of the general population currently experiences some degree of shyness in their lives. Many children are shy in situations that are new to them. It can be painful if it continues to adolescence and beyond preventing them from participating fully in most social settings. Being shy is not necessarily a problem, unless it causes distress. Luckily, there are many strategies and options to help overcome shyness.

Here are some tips to help your child:

  • Avoid labeling your child as shy. Reframe it as “reserved” or a “deep thinker”. You can say, “ Johnny likes to listen to others before sharing his views” or “ Mary likes to think before rushing in”.
  • Some kids need time to feel comfortable or warm up, so preparing them on what to expect really helps. Do not rush them into participating.
  • If you are going somewhere new, like school, try to have them meet the teacher and get familiar with the school grounds prior to the fist day of school.  You can also use the Internet to show them pictures of where they will be going, which will give them a general idea.
  • Take time to talk to them about what they could expect socially, in different settings, and how to handle sticky situations. Role-play with them or simply offer suggestions and brainstorm about possible solutions to scenarios.
  • For example, if it is lunchtime and your child isn’t certain where he should sit, he can try preplanning it with someone from class before lunch or identify possible lunch buddies and practice conversation starters that he can use.
  • Help them practice on how to approach other kids and speak up in class. Develop topics of conversation that their peers may find interesting. Using open-ended questions usually prompts conversations.
  • Encourage using “I” statements instead of “you” statements that can often cause others to become defensive.
  • Bring to their awareness social interactions such as using humor, standing up for yourself, saying “no”, asking for something and apologizing as they happen in everyday life.
  • Encourage your child to sign up for some sort of sport, club or extracurricular activity. Whether it’s a team sport or theatre, dance, karate, gymnastics, it will give them the opportunity to interact and have something to talk about with their peers.
  • Shyness and anxiety go hand in hand and many times it is actually not a skill deficit but rather a lack of self-confidence.
  • Remind your child of past successes. Give them confidence but don’t push them. They will evolve gradually when they’re ready.

Above all, love and accept you child’s personality and remind them to do the same. They are their own unique, perfect self.

Stinking Thinking can really make you mad

stinkingthinkingAnger triggering thoughts often distort our view of reality.  Here are some of the most common negative thoughts that feed anger and how to get rid of them.

Blaming. The belief that someone else is responsible for a situation and that you cannot do anything about it. By blaming others you discount that you have the power to make choices that impact your situation. You feel powerless, helpless and stuck. You expect someone else to fix it.

  • Instead think– “What can I do to change this situation?” “ I can do something about this”

Magnifying. The tendency to make mountains out of molehills – to make an uncomfortable situation worst. Using words like “awful, terrible, unbearable, horrible, the worst”, provoke an exaggerated angry response.

  • Instead think– “ How horrible is this, really? “  “It’s irritating but I can handle this”

Universal labels. The use of black and white thinking and judgments – seeing a person as “totally evil” or “completely selfish” and ignoring the good bits.

  • Instead think-  “ This is a problem or a bad choice but he/she is not a horrible person.”

 Misattributions. Jumping to conclusions and mind-reading; assigning negative motivations to the actions of others. You don’t ask for clarification or feedback because you think you already know.

  •  Instead think- What else might be going on? Can there be another explanation?

Overgeneralization- The use of “always”, “never”, “always”, “nobody”, “everybody”. Thoughts like “she’s always late” or “he never listens” fuel the angry situation.

  •  Instead think- “ How often does this happen? Are there times when it hasn’t happened?”

Demanding/Commanding- Imposing your own values and needs on others who may have very different values and needs. Feeling that your needs require other’s compliance.

  • Instead think- “ I would rather things were different but I can get through this.” “Not getting what I want is not the end of the world”

By practicing a bit of mindfulness you can turn around your cognitive distortions immediately and hence, get rid of anger.

Learning Styles- “To Each His Own”

img_learning_styleWe all have different learning styles, or ways of perceiving and processing information.

Visual learners enjoy pictures, videos and illustrations. They think in terms of “show me”. They like to have a broad picture before they get down to the details. You can communicate best with visual learners by using pictures, handouts, and graphics. Use phrases such as “do you see how it works?”

Auditory learners respond to sounds. They think in terms of “tell me”. They like participating in discussions, asking questions and prefer facts and details. They take into account the voice, tone and energy in a conversation.

Kinesthetic learners prefer to physically do something to understand and process information. They think in terms of “let me do it”.  They like touching, role-playing and fiddling with stuff.

Noticing how individuals prefer to learn and process information can be advantageous. For students, it can make school and homework much easier if they apply the techniques that resonate best with their learning style. For couples and families, it can facilitate communication and understanding and build overall better relationships.

People differ in the way they think, perceive, feel and behave. There is no right way or wrong way.  We are all unique and special and can communicate and process beautifully when respected and understood for our own special way.

Parenting young teens

images (3)Kids need guidance and discipline as they grow into responsible, caring adults. Parenting young teens is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. As young teens become more independent your parenting style may change. They need to be given more choices and taught critical thinking skills.

Natural consequences help kids experience the outcome of their actions and learn to be responsible. It helps them discover the benefits of order and rules. As a parent you don’t have to threaten, argue or give in. Instead let them be responsible for what happens.

For example, a natural consequence to not completing their homework or project is having them face their teacher and explain what happened. If, however, you rescue them and help them do it then, they will not learn the lesson and most likely commit the same mistake again.

Logical consequences also work. A logical consequence takes the place of punishment and is practical, enforceable and related to a teen’s behavior. The consequences should be explained ahead of time in a calm, clear and respectful manner. It is important that you inform the child of the reasons for the expected behavior and wanted outcomes.

An example is a teen who arrives home past curfew must have an earlier curfew for a few nights or may lose the use of the car.

Keep in mind that timing is key to the use of natural and logical consequences. Do not try to explain the consequences when you or your teen is angry or upset. It is best to discuss consequences prior to them happening.

As young teens become more independent, they should be given more choices. Keep in mind, kids will make mistakes. It’s ok- that’s how they will learn. The important thing is to make sure they stay safe and to be consistent in your parental guidance and discipline.

Remember the three R’s: related, reasonable, and respectful. The consequence should relate to the behavior, be fair, and show respect for the young teen’s feelings and the right to choose how to behave.

New Year’s Intentions, not Resolutions

new yearsHow about starting 2014 with a new intention instead of a resolution? If we set an intention rather than a resolution, we open ourselves up to a variety of possible outcomes, some of which might be more useful than what we imagined.  An intention is not as goal directed as a resolution, so there is less chance of getting stuck or fixated on a particular outcome.


Things are always changing, so setting intentions allows flexibility while evolving towards the life you desire. Simple intentions often pave the way for rewarding, long lasting changes.


Here are some intentions you may want to consider:


  • Pay Attention – We live in a fast paced world and for the sake of time, we often overlook what’s really happening around us. Take time to notice when you’re zoning out or rushing through things. This will make a huge difference in your relationship with others.


  • Practice generosity– Generosity can come in many forms: offering a compliment, a gift, assistance or emotional support. We all can benefit from a helping hand and unexpected kindness.



  • Mind the voices in your head– Don’t indulge in negative self talk or thoughts that keep you stuck in the past or worried about the future. Notice them and when they arise, redirect them with happy alternative thoughts. For example, if you are worried on what can go wrong in a situation, change your thoughts to what could go right. Develop a strong, detailed mental image of the good thought and use it any time the negative thought pops into your head. Remember, the mind is a creature of habit- careful what you feed it.



Note: Intentions arise from love not fear or scarcity. They make you feel inspired, not stressed. They generate a greater awareness and strengthen the Spirit.



Many blessings and wishing you a fabulous 2014!

How to Recognize and Heal Your Abandonment Issues

AbandonmentIf you’re a woman dealing with abandonment issues, know that healing is absolutely possible.

Abandonment issues show up in many ways. The first step is to recognize where these issues originate. More often than not, it’s the result of having an unavailable parent while growing up. Research shows that females who have an absent or unstable father are likelier to have low self-esteem, more unplanned pregnancies, drop out of school, and face poverty. They’re also more likely to be promiscuous, since they look for other males to fill the emptiness.

But the absence of a dad can reveal itself in more subtle ways too. Women tend to choose romantic partners based on their relationship with their father, so if you didn’t get unconditional love and approval from your dad, it can certainly hinder your romantic relationships. If your dad didn’t show you—on a consistent and frequent basis—that he loved and valued you, that he’d protect you, and you could depend on him, you may lack self-confidence, give too much of yourself, stay quiet when you shouldn’t, and have difficulty saying no. You may continue to be scared that people will abandon you and consistently keep trying to prove your worth

—a fear that can lead to depression, codependence, anger, anxiety, or emotional instability.

If you didn’t have the benefit of dependable daily influence from a caring parental figure growing up, however, you can still break the cycle and become the best woman you can be. The key is to work diligently though your abandonment issues. Therapy will focus on both your childhood abandonment trauma as well as your current relationships. You’ll learn to be compassionate toward yourself about your own feelings and memories of abandonment. You’ll also learn how to separate your fear of the past from your present reality, and how to care for yourself by finding a safe and calm center. Soon you’ll be better able to communicate your needs in intimate relationships and develop stronger trust in—and more nurturing relationships with—other people. In short, you’ll be able to shift from being a victim to having a proactive stance.

Forgiving whoever abandoned you (whether it was your dad or someone else)—and forgiving yourself—is part of being able to recognize when related issues are coming up and taking your life in a more positive direction.

How to deal with a declining sex life in marriage


Sex—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—is a huge reason couples come to therapy. It’s not unusual for psychologists to hear couples confessing that they haven’t been intimate in months or years. Or that intimacy has come to involve a lot of resentment or even infidelity.

There are many reasons that lead to a diminishing sex life in marriage. One thing to consider if you’re dealing with lack of sex in your marriage is that stress can have a huge impact on your sex life. Partners react to stress by getting distracted, overworking, and feeling angry or tired—all of which can easily lead to a lack of desire. Stress can also be a key factor in feeling “not in the mood,” or not wanting to be touched.

If either of you have too much stress your lives, try to share what’s really bothering you with your spouse. If the stress is coming from something that the two of you are conflicted about, you can either bring that to therapy or work through it at home, if you’re both committed to listening attentively to each other.

Besides stress, other reasons for a dwindling sex life can include anything from a partner feeling hurt, rejected, unappreciated, or neglected. Communication issues, lack of trust, and the presence of children are also big contributing factors.

To start healing the situation, first know that being anxious about the lack of sex will only make things worse. Try not to think negatively about the situation; instead, focus on creating intimacy. Act to relieve your own stress though whatever means work for you, be it yoga, a bubble bath, reading, exercising, sleeping, eliminating detrimental thinking patterns, and so on. If you need to communicate to your spouse that you’re unsatisfied with your sex life, don’t frame it as a complaint. Use compassion and sweetness with phrasing like, “I miss you.”

Work to help your spouse relieve his or her stress too. Make sure you’re doing fun stuff together—go for a bike ride, take a class, whatever you both enjoy—and make sure to stay connected. Intimacy isn’t all about sex—emotional intimacy can be just as powerful—so remember the importance of doing things like holding hands, taking a bath for two, giving each other massages, and just laughing together.

You can even schedule sex. Sure, it doesn’t sound all that romantic, but sometimes, in hectic lives, actively planning for intimacy can be one of the only solutions. Mark the calendar for “date night”  once a week (or at least once a month) and make it as romantic as possible—candles and music always help—including providing for a clear situation and time when sex can happen.

How to be a parent on social media

imagesBeing on social media is a big part of your child’s life, and it may be a big part of yours too. These days, there’s always a cell phone or computer close at hand, and some kind online socializing is almost always happening, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, or Pinterest—it’s starting to seem like a new platform pops up every day.

Since social media is how today’s teens express themselves and stay connected, it’s important for you as a parent to supervise their online activities, just as parents should keep up with their kids’ grades, friends and other parts of life.

But how can you supervise your child online without seeming intrusive or, worse, getting blocked?         Here are some tips:

1. Ask your children to accept your friend request, then have a conversation with them about your need to monitor their safety. Be honest about the fact that you’ll randomly check in on them but assure them that you’ll stop short of being a “stalker,” which is what many young people in therapy complain about their parents doing.

2. Establish ground rules. That means telling them what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. You can promise not to post or comment on anything on their profile, if they don’t want you to. Know, too, that teens often hate it when parents post pictures of them, or tag them in updates. It’s also best to avoid using nicknames or making inside jokes online.

3. Try not to criticize your children or their friends for what they post. If something truly concerns you, have a calm conversation with your child (in person, not online!) about your concern without being overcritical about what you saw.

4. Examine your own social-media usage. Does it reflect your values and those of your family? Delete anything questionable, and don’t engage in posts or discussions that you wouldn’t want to see your child involved in. Remember that your children (and their friends) will see all that you do on social networks, so don’t allow your role-model behavior to drop just because you feel like you’re behind a screen