In Combining Familes,
I discuss strategies for merging households and living together successfully .
In Family Responsibilities, I offer tips for fostering positive interactions with children.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national
early education nonprofit organization that
pairs caring adults with underserved
preschoolers in year long one-to-one
mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org
to learn more about Jumpstart,
initiatives - such as Playdate With A
Purpose, Read for the Record, and
events like Scribbles to
Novels. If you would like to make a
you may do so at
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Wishing you health, peace and balance.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is in bookstores and
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Merging households and combining families can cause the people in them to flourish and thrive despite unique challenges they may face. It is helpful to consider what the goal is in a combined family: To keep peace? To navigate drama? To benefit financially? To prevent stress? To build an identity that reflects the uniqueness of each individual as well as the group? To develop unity?
Some special challenges face those who are creating a family with adult children. One is realizing the time it takes to become a "family." Another is keeping the children out of the interactions between the adults who are no longer married. Thirdly, navigating adult alone time while also spending much needed time with the children and grandchildren to build a family. It is always wise to discover the likes and dislikes, hobbies, interests, personalities, fears of all of the children and grandchildren and to see them alone and with their siblings and parents. It is a great opportunity to get to know someone else's children and grandchildren through their eyes (as well as through your own eyes.)
Think of what you can learn about your own children and yourself when you allow your new partner to share his or her observations. It takes a lifetime to grow together and when you combine families, you may feel you are playing catch up. Not so. Just be where you are at this moment in time and go forward. Listen and watch and get to know who these folks are and offer them the chance to be themselves (all any of us really want) and the relationships will develop. The age differences (without the baggage of previous roles) can be exciting. Nobody is there to "replace" a parent who died or from whom one parent divorced. These new relationships have opportunity to enhance; to bring new perspective, new life, new dimensions, new ways of thinking. Change is often difficult and sometimes perceived as threatening. However, when each person's intention comes from a loving place, family members are sometimes more open and responsive to trying or listening to something or someone different and change becomes less onerous. It also helps to model for everyone in the family that each person (regardless of the generation into which they were born) has a connection "to me and my parent" and that there is an opportunity to learn from and to contribute to each other. There is a fluidity to generational thinking that occurs over time.
Strategies helpful in making a combined family work include encouraging people to be accepting of each other's styles, habits, and focusing on their strengths and positive qualities. Avoid trying to change people or making them "fit" into a specific type of behavior or mold. Also, avoid undermining the parent who is the primary person "in charge" of the decision making regarding his or her children (discipline, boundaries, limits). Encourage participation in activities as a family around some of the interests of the children, along with interests of the stepparent. Create opportunities for everyone to get to know each other in relaxed situations other than getting together for holiday dinners (which are often difficult because of the previous traditions and focusing on who is NOT there instead of who IS there.)
Fortunately, most families are able to work out their growing pains and live together successfully. Open communication, positive attitudes, mutual respect and plenty of love and patience all have an important place in creating a healthy combined family.
TODAY Show (NBC)
August 11th: 8AM: Marriages for the 2nd Time Around, With Adult Children.
August 18th: 8AM: Boomers Living with Someone Who Has a Hearing Loss.
WGTH.com, Darby and Friends
August 19th: 5PM: The Value, Training, and Work of "Therapy Dogs," with Margarita Alban.
WKTU-FM Radio Interview on KTU Cares
May 16th: 9-9:30AM: Jumpstart's Playdate
with a Purpose and the Issue of Early
KTU airs on Sunday mornings and focuses
specifically on issues impacting the NY
community. Available on http://www.ktu.com/pages/events/community.html
Read Dr. Atkins' And Edythe Mencher's article in Reform
Fall 2010 Issue: Living With Secrets.
Online at www.reformjudaismmag.com.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic
Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants,"
in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf
Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by
Gallaudet University Press.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family
Involvement and Counseling in Serving
Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing,"
in the new text, Introduction
to Aural Rehabilitation.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by
See Making the Case for Family
Dinners, at iVillage.com: http://www.ivillage.com/making-case-
See Dr. Atkins on http://www.workherway.com/02-stayinthegame/bullying-adults/#comments.
Also see Googling Patients: Should
Psychiatrists Research Cases Online? at http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/04/18/googling-patients-should-psychiatrists-research-cases-online/
A Good Daily Habit
The Dalai Lama says, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Act consciously on your compassion, whether politically or in your daily life, and keep it in mind as you make decisions. Choices you make, from what you eat to who you interact with, can reflect your compassion and can encourage others to be compassionate as well.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips For Family Responsibilities
The major function of a family is the socialization and care of children. It is the first primary group that we experience--the place where some of our most important identities take shape.
Family relations are therefore critical in developing and expressing self-esteem. Adults can consider these tips when they want to foster positive interactions with their children:
Demonstrate Respect for Each Family Member - Be fair in the treatment of each and all children and adults. Express gratitude for their being in your life as well as for the deeds they do.
Accept and Support Your Child for the Person She/He Is - Promote competence in at least one area, and encourage your child to become the best s/he can be, while appreciating that doing things for enjoyment is of great value and you don't have to be the best at everything.
Focus on the Reciprocal Nature of Relationships - Model socially appropriate behavior and be empathetic and compassionate, listening with your whole body. Demonstrate that each person has value and is important. One person's needs do not dominate the family's discussion or time.
Give Specific Feedback - Focus on the positive aspect of what was done or said. Acknowledge feelings even if behavior is abhorrent, and offer alternative behaviors with reflection and role playing or story- telling.
Foster Independence and Independent Thinking - Give all children responsibilities that are age and ability appropriate. Encourage and guide creative problem solving rather than directly giving solutions.
"People sacrifice the present for the future. But life is available only in the present."
Thich Nhat Hanh
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!