Monthly Archives: June 2018

Talk About Your Family’s Health

If you haven’t talked with your family about their health history, then you should definitely make it a priority to do so. We rely so much on our annual physicals to tell us whether we are OK or not (and some of us don’t even do that) and we ignore one of the most important areas for the prevention of disease- our genetic makeup. Whether or not you want to face it, it is a fact that many diseases and conditions run in the family, and since early prevention is key for many health issues, you should have as much knowledge about your family’s health as possible. Learn what your risk factors are now so you can be prepared.

Depending on the relationships and communication you have with your family, it might be difficult or easy to talk with them about health. Either way, you want to open up the conversation because it will benefit everyone. At a minimum, you should talk to your parents, aunts, uncles, and your grandparents. First tell them why you want to talk with them, which should make it easier in case they are leary about talking over personal health issues. Then grab a pen and paper and be prepared to ask the following questions:

1. What diseases have you been diagnosed with? This can include heart disease, a heart attack, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle-cell anemia, and any other disease that they may want to mention.

2. At what age were you diagnosed? Find out when the conditions were initially diagnosed. Were they diagnosed early?

3. Did any diseases cause death in the family? Find out if there have been any deaths in your family due to certain diseases and find out what ages the death occurred.

These three pieces of information are very valuable. Once you have talked to as many close relatives as you can, you should put all of the information together. You can share it with other people in your family because it truly is beneficial to all. At your next doctor’s appointment or physical, be sure to talk over the information with your doctor so he or she can have a record of your family health history. Your doctor can then tell you which tests you should regularly get for early detection as well as any lifestyle changes that you might want to make.

About Relationships You Already Know, But Do Anyway

Picture this for a moment… When you dated him, he was funny, entertaining, thoughtful, a great lover, and many other things. When you were dating her, she was kind, considerate, and laughed at your jokes even though you knew they weren’t that funny. One day, you knew deep within your heart that he/she was the one. You married that wonderful person and for a while things were just as you had imagined they would be. But now for some reason things have changed – they have changed – and you’re not happy. Is this scenario resonating with anyone? So, here are those 5-Things About Relationships You Already Know… But Do Anyway!

[1] DON’T talk about him to your girlfriends, family, or complete strangers. You were able to get him to take you out for dinner – it took you weeks – but he finally made the reservation. And to a very nice restaurant I might add. The waiter comes over to your table and asks you what you’d like to drink and you say (dripping with sarcasm) “Well, what would you suggest, it’s been 3-years since my husband took me out to dinner, actually it’s been 3-years since my husband has taken me away for that matter. We used to go for dinner often before we got married but not anymore. Right honey?” The waiter gives you a funny look and smiles. He only wants to know what type of drink you would like to have before you order dinner. He doesn’t care about your marital problems. Your husband has just done something nice for you. It doesn’t matter how long it took him, just enjoy and appreciate the moment. Men need encouragement just like we do. Don’t bash him and embarrass him. Build him up and empower him.

[2] DON’T put her down every chance you get in the hopes that she will change her behavior and start loving you more. Complaining, criticizing, constantly pointing out flaws, doesn’t work if you want her to change what you believe is negative behavior that is destroying your relationship. Have you ever considered that maybe she has changed because you changed? Perhaps her work environment is stressful, and all she wants to do is come home, relax, and be loved and pampered by you. She rarely socializes with her friends because it only causes an argument. So when she comes home with bags of shopping knowing full well that you are in debt up to your eyes, she might be doing it for several reasons – to get away from you, to help her relax and feel good, or perhaps she’s just so frustrated and fed-up with your behavior that she’s just going to stick-it to you and run up the credit cards even more. If he’s a man trying to get away from his nagging wife, then maybe he chooses to play hours and hours of combat video games, or hang out with the boys knowing full well that you will have something to say about it when he get’s home. But you know what? She/he doesn’t care anymore and that is why they do what they do.

[3] DON’T grill him about where he’s been the minute he walks through the door. Ok, so you’re thinking, “Well I have a right to know where he’s been, especially since he should have been home an hour ago!” And I agree with you. But listen, can you let him get through the door. Take his work clothes off, perhaps get a little something to eat before you pin him to the floor with a choke-hold? What you don’t realize is that it isn’t what you ask, but HOW you ask the question that is the key to keeping your potentially conflict situation to a minimum. The tone of your voice can let him know that you are concerned and not angry. How about “Hey baby, I was expecting you home an hour ago, is everything ok?” Give him an opportunity to respond. Now, if this is something that has been going on for a long time, then whatever it is that you’re thinking may be a valid thought. However, have you stopped to wonder if perhaps the reason he stays out late is because of you, and not because he’s having an affair or spending time with the guys. Yes, I said it. Perhaps you’re the problem. If you can be true to yourself, and it is, you can fix that.

[4] DON’T constantly remind your spouse that you should have married that other person your mom liked so much. You may think this is funny right now, but I guarantee that if you have ever said this to your spouse they don’t think it’s funny at all. You married them because they had qualities that appealed to you and that you loved. So why, on a daily basis, would you act like or say that you made a mistake marrying them? Do you think your spouse is encouraged by those words? Do you really believe that they are going to change under these circumstances? Would you?

[5] DON’T withhold sex to “teach your spouse a lesson”. If you are doing this… STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Understand me clearly; I am not saying that you should just give it up whenever your spouse demands it. What I’m saying ladies and gentlemen is that the silent treatment does not work. Your spouse is not a mind reader. How are they supposed to know what is going on in your head or how you’re feeling about a particular issue if you don’t communicate! Verbal communication. Yes, they can see from your body language that there is something definitely wrong, but if you don’t tell them, then how are they supposed to respond. However, be very careful HOW you talk to your spouse. Use a gentle voice. Talk about how you feel, not about what they did. How is your spouse supposed to make amends? How are the two of you supposed to work things out, if you don’t talk? And when you do, perhaps you still don’t feel like lovemaking, but allowing your spouse to hold you in their arms, to snuggle up to each other, assures them that you are both moving in the right directions.

Being in a relationship requires work. Some hard work, until you have both found your groove. Think about it… you have two individuals with two very different personalities, who have different beliefs, ideas, etc. These two people come together and bring all their likes, dislikes, habits (good or bad), beliefs, thoughts, and mindsets with them. Sounds daunting, does it? But the truth is, good relationships take time to mature and they evolve over time. Being in a relationship requires good communication skills, good listening skills, and good negotiation skills. You have to be willing to give (compromise) and take, forgive and let go, encourage and support, love and be loved. Sometimes you may find some of these things difficult to do. You know that you want your relationship to be different but you just don’t know the steps to take to make things better between you.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get started in repairing and rebuilding your relationship:

  • Talk to your Minister/Pastor/Rabbi – only if he is trained in counseling or counseling psychology. Not everyone who carries the title can counsel individuals who are having relationship problems.
  • Seek Therapy or Counseling – you can go online and do a Google search for a therapist or counselor in your area. I encourage you to do your research. Check to make sure that they are licensed and that their license is current and up to date. Perhaps even go a little further and ask for references. Do your homework.
  • Find a Coach – the beauty about coaching is that it has become very popular with both men and women. It doesn’t carry the stigma that counseling or therapy sometimes carries for some individuals, especially men. Coaching provides a forum that allows each individual the freedom to get unstuck and come up with solutions together so they can move forward – together. Coaching provides a safe, nurturing and non-judgmental place to begin exploring new ideas.
  • Get a Mediator – assuming that you have tried everything you can think of, and the relationship cannot be repaired, then you should know that more and more people are turning to mediating as a cost-effective alternative to hiring an attorney. A mediator is a neutral third-party who does not chose sides, but is there to help you navigate through the process and come to a mutually agreeable solution. Again, I encourage you to do your research.

to Ask Your Child About Your Family

Sometimes in the daily business of parenting and family life, our conversations become focused on all those tasks to be done, the rules, the humdrum of life, the ordinary and the mundane; those emotionless directives or comments that do nothing to create intimacy or a real connection between family members. And it’s easy to presume that just because you all live together in the same household, that this necessarily translates into intimacy and an awareness of each other’s dreams, experiences and inner beliefs. And living together also doesn’t mean that just because your experience of the family is a certain way, that other family members will necessarily share your views and perceptions.

So take the time to create that connection, to make a conscious effort to deepen and enrich your relationship with your children using real conversations that place them at the centre of your interest – whether they’re aged six, sixteen or twenty-six; don’t leave it up to chance, because the chances are that it might not happen – or not as frequently as both of you would like, or benefit from.

And above all, don’t forget that asking the questions is only a small part of the exercise – hearing the answers by truly listening – is what makes a true conversation and connection. Make a promise to your child at the beginning that you will truly hear what they have to say, and tell them,”Even if I don’t agree with your answer, I’m going to listen and really try to understand what you’re saying”. And don’t be afraid to use reflective listening – where you reflect back what you think your child is saying and feeling. Start with a comment like:”I think you’re saying that you wish we spent more time together when we were just trying to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company, and that sometimes you feel a bit lonely in the family?”

Here’s 10 questions that will help you to begin a conversation with your child that will perhaps take you to a place that you may not have ever reached, unless you’d purposefully spent the time to enquire.

1. What is the thing you like most about our family?
2. What is something that you would like to change about our family?
3. If our family had a motto, what would you like it to be?
4. Who do you think you get on best with in our family?
5. Who would you like to get on better with in our family?
6. What’s been the happiest time you’ve spent with the family?
7. What do you think other people say about our family?
8. What do you think our family could do more of, or less of?
9. What would you like other people to remember about our family?
10. What’s been the biggest achievement of our family?

So get asking – and listening – and you will find that new avenues open up between you and your child – and a path to greater intimacy.

Relationships

It can be incredibly hard when visiting your family, as you might not have a great relationship with them. Your significant other might not get along with them either, and this is a problem that is known worldwide. How do you handle the thanksgiving dinners? Do you even have to deal with it? It really depends on how family oriented you happen to be, and whether you value your happiness or the happiness of others.

Most parents even though they said that everything that they do is for you simple lie. If you observe closely most of the things that they do, their actions, are geared toward making their own lives more enjoyable. This might be normal in a way but it is something that all children should understand, as it will make those trips more enjoyable. If your parents really do sacrifice themselves, and your visits are already excellent then that is awesome, but this is an exception to the rule and not the norm.

There are also siblings that you might have a problem sitting next too. Families are there, but it does not mean that the individuals within them have to be friends. Blood lines meant a lot in the olden days, and still do a bit if you are in a very wealthy or known family, but it means virtually nothing in the middle and lower classes. No one cares who you are based on your last name, and it is more important to try and just accomplish something on your own.

I feel that it is a choice whether you see your family, and should not sacrifice you happiness to see that if it is something that makes you feel sick to your stomach. There are things in our past that we remember which can make the process of going back home not so good. If you are forced by your family to attend, it might just be the sign that it is something you should not be doing in the first place. Unless it feels right to you, those actions will be remembered badly and cause you unneeded anxiety. Life presents us with enough problems on daily basis, and adding to them is just not smart.

If your significant other hates your family, or you do theirs do not feel bad about it. That really does not matter, and any talk about how families are much closer in other older countries is a simple joke. Each country has their own problems, and many of the traditional families are in actuality much tougher to deal with as the older members have gigantic egos and are tremendously stubbornly stuck in their ways. Unless you want to live your life according to someone else, it is up to you to take responsibility and figure out what is the right way for you.

My Family Rules About Relationships

In part one of this article I was talking about how families affect the decisions we make about our lives through ‘scripting’. Let me clarify this further with an ex example. My father grew up in a very large family during a difficult time in history. He was born into a time in Europe just after the First World War and was the second youngest of seven children. Needless to say he would have had to have made his presence known to have any of his needs met and this probably included having to speak very loudly to have his voice heard over all the others.

I also know that his father was a very successful businessman prior to the First World War and that it was very difficult for him to continue to provide for his family afterwards. I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for a man at that time attempting to raise seven children and struggling with the aftermath of war. So what sort of environment must have this been for my father to grow up in? Not only was he the sixth born but he was born into a family where people must have been angry at the injustices of the time as they struggled to make ends meet.

As I was a young child then my recollection of my father was of a kind man but one who was prone to extreme fits of anger. Where did he learn that? I think it could only have come from the frustrations of his own parents who, due to their own struggles, were unable to show my father how to express anger in an appropriate way. My father then was also unable to express his anger in an appropriate way and maybe was being driven by anger that was a residue of his early childhood rather than just about the events presented to him so many years later.

So by now you’re probably asking – “And what about you? What about your anger?” Well as it turns out I’m not a particularly angry person. Why? There maybe a couple of reasons for that. Firstly my mom was not a particularly angry person and maybe when she became angry she had better skills to manage it than my father. So, just as I was learning from my father, I was also learning from my mother the ways to manage anger so maybe I was more inclined to follow her lead.

Secondly, I think that when you have felt the brunt of someone’s anger at such close quarters you can make a very conscious decision, very early on, that you will not behave in that way as well. I think that is what I did. Of course there is also the possibility that I was just not born that way. In conclusion then it might be said that just as you are handed your ‘script’ for life, which directs your values, beliefs and attitudes about life and consequently what you think, feel and do, you are also given a set of rules about being a couple in a relationship.