Posts Tagged ‘Family’

How to Respectfully Disagree

August 31, 2017

All relationships experience conflict. Disagreements cause stress for everyone, even those with a healthy emotional intelligence. Whether it’s romantic, professional, or familial, navigating a disagreement with respect is a sure sign of personal growth and maturity.

BEST WAYS… TO DO IT POORLY

Conflict is often uncomfortable at best, and it is easy to fall into poor habits. However, we can learn to converse respectfully and constructively disagree. If you identify with any of these disagreement no-no’s, it would be wise to reconsider your approach. The best ways to disagree poorly include making a disagreement any of the following:

  • Personal – Do you find it challenging to separate the issue from the person? Remember, it’s an idea or concept being suggested that you are actually upset or disappointed by, not the individual.
  • A put-down – Have you found yourself saying things like, “That’s a dumb idea?” Avoid putting down the other person’s ideas, culture, or beliefs. Use respectful language, such as, “I don’t see it the same way you do.”
  • Emotionally charged – It’s easy to grow passionate and heated about topics that matter to us. Instead of lashing out or saying regretful statements, take a deep breath. Think before you speak or ask to continue the conversation at a later time if need be.
  • About you – Do you stop listening and begin mentally formulating your argument? Maybe you avoid it altogether and simply comply. Instead of shutting down or over-talking, try listening for understanding. Ask questions to gain insight into the person’s thoughts and feelings. Listening is a universal sign of respect.

PHYSICAL CUES

Learn to listen to your body’s clues and dues during a disagreement. Be mindful of overreacting, or “the amygdala hijack.” Our brain’s pre-frontal cortex is the center for rational thinking. Yet during an emotionally charged disagreement, the brain’s amygdala takes control and activates the fight, flight, or freeze response. Watch for physical cues such as a racing heart, increased breathing rate, or feeling tense to recognize the amygdala is kicking into high gear. Take some deep breaths to calm down and lower your heart-rate.

Navigating disagreements takes courage and maturity. Creating a culture and relationship built on mutual-respect amidst conflicting points of view is a worthy and rewarding pursuit.

Advertisements

Codependence

November 15, 2016

When a person is codependent, they are unable to define and meet their own needs in a relationship. This individual “loses” their sense of self because they are completely absorbed in the needs of the other person. This intense focus on the other person can jeopardize your health, safety, and success in life.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CODEPENDENT PEOPLE

There are many emotional characteristics of codependent people. They often experience low self-esteem and constantly compare themselves to others. They might have an overblown sense of responsibility for other people and fear abandonment. Often a person who is codependent finds it difficult to set and maintain boundaries in a relationship, and they also have a difficult time expressing their own personal goals or values as an individual.

HELP FOR THE CODEPENDENT PERSON

The following tips can help you or someone you know move from codependence to healthier relationships.

  • Identity – Embrace your own needs and emotions. Saying “no” to a loved one doesn’t mean you don’t care for them, and it’s healthy to set these boundaries. Tough love is sometimes the most loving thing you can do.
  • Self-reliant – What are some ways you could be more independent? When can you take responsibility for your own emotions and actions? Encourage others around you to do the same.
  • Stop “fixing” – It is not your responsibility to solve all your loved one’s problems. You can still support and love them without trying to “fix” their lives. Give them space to take personal responsibility for their actions and future.
  • Relax – Relieve stress, tension, and anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques. Yoga, enjoyable music, mindfulness, and activities you love are all things you can do to help dial down worry and guilt.

If you or your loved one is struggling with codependency, be courageous and seek help. A licensed counselor or therapist can help you explore how you began to act this way. Together, you can establish a plan to change your life’s direction and move from a codependent relationship to a mutually satisfying one.

Balancing Work and Family

July 28, 2016

Some days 24 hours just doesn’t seem to be enough. Between family priorities, practicing good self-care, and juggling work responsibilities, it’s easy to feel stressed. Even though we choose how to spend our time, our to-do list sometimes crowds out what gives us the greatest enjoyment.

Our lives naturally fall out of balance from time to time. When this occurs, we struggle to regulate our responsibilities and what we enjoy most. Taking the time to assess how things are going gives us insight to realign our priorities. Consider these questions when work and family are out of sync:

  • Do you regularly set aside time to spend with your family?
  • When you are with family, do you feel anxious or guilty about not working?
  • At work, what triggers you to feel like you should be spending more time with your family?

Strategies for Achieving Greater Balance

Limit distractions – There may be times of the day you are more distracted or procrastinate. How could you use your time more efficiently during this period? Perhaps limit the frequency you check emails or use social media.

Know your values – Write down what you desire most from life. What activities are important for you to do with your family? Determine what is non-negotiable in your life.

Say no – Practice saying no to tasks that fit outside your values. This helps you avoid the stress and tension of over-commitment.

Organize – Is your workspace messy? Your home cluttered? Taking opportunities to organize will save you time in the long run.

Remember, life will happen. When it does, things will typically fall out of balance for a time. Stay positive. Use the knowledge you’ve gained, take a step back, and assess. Proper planning is always a good start to swing an imbalanced life back into perspective.

Help for Families Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

April 28, 2016

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible disease that affects brain cells and produces memory loss in as many as 4.5 million American adults. This disease affects people of all racial, economic, and educational backgrounds. People with AD become increasingly unable to take care of themselves. Caregivers of people with AD face the ongoing challenge of adapting to each change in the person’s behavior and functioning. The following general principles may be helpful to family members caring for someone with this disease.

  • Think prevention. It is very difficult to predict what a person with AD might do. Just because something has not yet occurred does not mean it should not be cause for concern. Even with the best-laid plans, accidents can happen. Therefore, checking the safety of your home will help you take control of some of the potential problems that may create hazardous situations.
  • Adapt the environment. It is more effective to change the environment than to change most behaviors. While some AD behaviors can be managed with special medications prescribed by a doctor, many cannot. You can make changes in an environment to decrease the hazards and stressors that accompany these behavioral and functional changes.
  • Minimize danger. By minimizing danger, you can maximize independence. A safe environment can be a less restrictive environment where the person with AD can experience increased security and more mobility.

Is It Safe to Leave the Person With AD Alone?

This issue needs careful evaluation and is certainly a safety concern. The following points may help you decide. Does the person with AD:

  • become confused or unpredictable under stress?
  • recognize a dangerous situation; for example, fire?
  • know how to use the telephone in an emergency?
  • know how to get help?
  • stay content within the home?
  • wander and become disoriented?
  • show signs of agitation, depression, or withdrawal when left alone for any period of time?
  • attempt to pursue former interests or hobbies that might now warrant supervision such as cooking, appliance repair, or woodworking?

Caregivers should seek input and advice from a health care professional to assist in these considerations. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, these questions will need ongoing evaluation.

Maintaining Healthy Couple Relationships

March 1, 2016

Relationships are work; good or bad, they all take work. Establishing and building a relationship is hard enough, why not make it a good one that lasts? The following are a few things to consider in maintaining a healthy romantic relationship.

Embrace change – Your relations will undoubtedly evolve with life events, unexpected things, and family changes. Consider change as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger.

Check-ins – Talk with your partner about their expectations for the relationship and their personal goals. Checking-in with one another through regular, daily dialogue establishes a good routine, rather than just crisis management.

Know the family – Families are unique, and so are their ways of coping with stress and anxiety. While your family might tend to be emotionally distant, your partner’s might like to engage in conflict and confrontation. Consider what coping style you and your partner inherited from your families. Then, look for ways to work together to resolve conflict.

Right time – Dealing with a problem in the heat of the moment may not be the best time to “hear” one another. Take a few minutes to cool off and gather your thoughts. This opportunity allows you to listen to your partner’s perspective.

Stay current – A conflict is typically not the time to bring up previous unresolved issues. Attempting to solve multiple items typically leads to greater stress and little results.

Be responsible – Everyone has needs and wants in a relationship, but it’s important to remember some expectations may be unrealistic or unfair for your partner to meet. Consider what things you are able to do for yourself and take care of them.

Reclaim Your Family’s Health from Substance Abuse

February 5, 2016

The family of someone with a substance abuse disorder is in great danger of emotional damage. If someone you love has an addiction problem, following the pointers below will help you to initiate the healing process, both for you and for the ones you love.

Start the Healing Process Now

If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, they need immediate help. Any delay allows the problem to worsen, so step in now before things deteriorate even further. Have a thoughtful talk with your loved one and let them know how their choices are hurting you and the rest of your family.

Keep Yourself Safe

Talking to your loved one is a healthy first step, but you have to remember to protect your own emotional health. Don’t become so focused and emotionally invested in fixing the issue that you forget to take care of yourself. Surround yourself with support, either from family members or close friends. Also, in your attempts to help your family member, don’t put yourself in physical danger either.

Remember It’s Not Your Fault

Your loved one made the choices that led to substance abuse on their own. You are not to blame. Additionally, if you are unable to help your loved one change, that’s not your fault either. Encourage your loved one in any way you can, but accept the fact that, in the end, you are not responsible for the change, rather they are the one who must make the decision to change.

Tactics to Avoid

Stay away from resorting to threats and bribes. Don’t shield your loved one from the consequences of their substance abuse problem. They need to face reality in order to move towards healing. Don’t use subversive schemes such as hiding or throwing out drugs.

Moving Forward

The most important step for you and your loved one is to see professional help. Don’t let the situation get any worse before you take action to restore the health of your family.

Caregiving Can Take a Toll on the Caregiver

December 14, 2015

While many Seniors continue to work today well beyond the traditional “retirement age,” there are many others who are in quite the opposite situation; they are desperately in need of eldercare due to failing health. Many of these people now depend on working family members to take care of their needs.

According to recent statistics from the American Society on Aging, nearly one out of every four US households – or 22 million households -provide care to a relative or friend aged 50 or older. In addition, 40% of caregivers are also raising children and 64% work full- or part-time. The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that, on average, caregivers spend four an done-half years providing care and spend about 12 hours each week providing it.

Research suggests that the physical and emotional demands on caregivers put them at greater risk for health problems:

  • Caregivers are more at risk for infectious diseases, such as colds and flue, and chronic diseases, such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Depression is twice as common among caregivers compared to noncaregivers.

If you are a caregiver, don’t forget to care for yourself. Here are a few tips:

When it comes to their health, caregivers are less likely than their peers to take steps to prevent or control chronic disease. Taking care of your own health will help you to better care for your loved one longer.

  • Be wise – immunize. The CDC recommends that caregivers of the elderly get a flu shot each year, a tetanus booster every 10 years and a pneumococcal vaccination at least once.
  • Don’t neglect your health. Get a yearly check up and the recommended cancer screenings (mammogram, cervical screening, etc.).
  • Tell your doctor that you are a caregiver.
  • Tell your doctor if you feel depressed or nervous.
  • Take some time each day to do something for yourself. Read, listen to music, telephone friends, or exercise. Eat health foods and do not skip meals.
  • Find caregiver resources in your area early. You may not need their information or services now, but you will have them when you need them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t do it all yourself. Use your family, friends, or neighbors for support. Family may help share caregiving tasks. Friends and neighbors may help with other chores.

Exploring Eldercare

August 14, 2015

It’s always too difficult to come to the realization that your parent or other aged loved one suddenly needs help taking care of themselves. After all, our older relatives typically spent their lives taking care of us. The time comes, however, when we realize that our elderly loved ones are no longer able to take care of themselves. Roles are reversed, and suddenly, we are forced to make important life decisions for them.

It may be difficult to determine whether or not your loved one is ready for eldercare services, especially if you do not live nearby or you do not see them that frequently. Additionally, though some elderly people do need help, they might be hesitant to ask for it; some may directly refuse.

So how do you know when a loved one is in need of care? It is essential that you visit their home and spend some good, quality time to determine whether or not they do need eldercare. In order to determine whether they need care, consider the following.

Signs That An Aging Loved One Might Need Care

  • Increasing Forgetfulness: Does the person forget to pay bills, or forget common household duties? Have they left the oven or stove on? Do they remember the date or year? Do they have trouble remembering family members?
  • Weight Loss: Has the person lost a great deal of weight? Do they seem more frail than the last time you saw them?
  • Messy Home/Lack of Cleanliness: Does the home seem to lack order? Does it have an odor? Is the garbage taken out, are the newspapers put away? Does the person bathe on a regular basis?
  • Low Food Supply: Does the person have enough food to eat? Are the supplies spoiled?
  • Low Medicine Supply or Misuse of Medicine: Does the person know how and what medicines to self administer? Are all of their medicines up to date? Have thy been to the doctor recently?
  • Diagnosis of Serious Medical Problem: Has your loved one been diagnosed with a disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or cancer? Do they require regular, professional medical attention? If they live with a loved one (such as a spouse) can the spouse take care of them adequately?
  • Loneliness/Depression: Does the person have regular visitors? Do they see family or friends? Have they recently been widowed?
  • Loss of Mobility: Can the person move adequately enough to get to the restroom or into the shower? Does the person get any regular activity?
  • Confusion: Does the person know who you are? Do they know who they are?
  • Inability to Drive/Transportation Issues: Is the person still driving? Is it safe? Are they able to run errands such as shopping or going to the doctor safely?

If your loved one is having difficulty with any of these issues, it may be time to consider some form of eldercare for your loved one.

Once you and your loved one agree that they do need care, you must investigate the options for eldercare in your area. There are a variety of different possibilities, but based on their needs as well as financial considerations you may decide upon one of the following: care by family member, in-home care by a bonded and insured company, or care at a senior living complex or in a nursing home. Based on your loved one’s financial constraints, you can help them decide which choice is best for them. If possible, take your loved one on a tour of the facilities you are considering together. Let them meet the staff and meet the other residents. Empower your loved one to be a part of the decision-making process.

Get Along With Your Parents

June 23, 2015

All relationships experience ups and downs, and families are no different. Navigating a healthy adult relationship with your parents can sometimes be difficult. They are unique, and so are you. Healthy adult relationships can appreciate both the similarities and differences. However, there are still areas for potential disagreement, such as raising your children, achieving financial independence, arguing about future medical care, and having unresolved issues from childhood.

Having a healthy adult relationship with your parents is possible and a worthwhile investment. The following tips demonstrate how to work toward a mutually beneficial relationship.

Don’t try to change them. It’s acceptable to tell your parents what you do and don’t tolerate in your home and with your children. Setting boundaries is also important and necessary. Be mindful though, that your parents are who they are. Accept them for who they are, without trying to change them.

Respect parental freedom. Making assumptions about your parents’ lives is never helpful. They may not want to always babysit your children or fix every appliance, so take responsibility for your own life. Respect that they are adults who value independence.

Be honest. Your parents can’t read your mind. Be honest about who you are, what you want, and what’s important to you. It’s unfair to expect them to know unless you tell them.

Be careful with advice. Unless you’re seeking your parents’ insight, don’t ask for advice. Often times, we ask for counsel when we’ve already made our decision. This can be problematic if they disagree with your choice.

The most effective way to handle conflict with our parents is like you would with any other adult that you respect. Good communication is vital. Problems, especially with family members, are simply disguised opportunities for growth and change.

Looking Inward

May 21, 2015

Often when we find ourselves unhappy in a relationship, we look at the other person as the problem. Psychologist and author Dr. Sherrie Campbell cautions us to look to ourselves before we look outwardly. She says you should first examine your own role, as you may be contributing to the problem more than you think. Dr. Campbell shares a few tips to help you look inward.

Resist complaining. Instead of resorting to the childlike behavior, have a serious discussion with the other person. Start with how you want things to be rather than expressing dissatisfaction or starting a conversation from a negative place.

Stop defending. Listen to the other person without interrupting and correcting them. If you’re too busy defending yourself without listening, you’ll be closing yourself off to the information the other person is trying to tell you. This makes it hard to connect and understand the other person.

Understand and state your needs. Think about what you really need from the other person in the situation. This is different from what you may want. What is it that’s keeping things from moving forward in a positive direction?

Know your weaknesses. Perhaps you are quick to judge, or maybe you have a short temper. Knowing the areas you need to work on within yourself can help when you run into problems in a relationship. Think about how these weaknesses may be interfering in your relationship, and what you can do to work on them.