Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Get Over Your Ex


1. Stop idealizing your ex.
As perfect as you remember them to be, they weren't. Take them off of your pedestal and try to be realistic about them.

2. Do not allow yourself to fantasize about what life would be like if you were with them. 
It's not likely what you are imagining is true and even if it is true, it's not helpful to torture yourself with those thoughts. They will lead to nothing productive. Change the subject in your mind if you catch yourself doing this.

3. Provide yourself with closure.
Write a letter to them, that you never send, telling them all you need to say. In that letter also say goodbye. Even if you never send this letter it can still provide closure in your mind. You can also set a chair out and pretend they are sitting in it, and say goodbye this way.

4. Do not keep things that remind you of them. 
It's not helpful to look at their picture every day, wear their sweatshirt and sleep with their pillow every night. Get rid of that stuff. Start new routines. Even buy new stuff if you have to.

5. Look for good things that have happened because you are not with them. 
Did you meet someone else, have a child, get a new job or some other positive thing since you broke up? Find something you value about your current life, that you can be grateful for.

6. Put hope in the future.
Take steps toward making  your future more satisfying than your time was with them. Find ways to make your happiness independent of that person. You don't need them to be happy or fulfilled.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to Get Your Kids to Listen to You


Are you sick of your kids not listening to you? It can be maddening when you tell your child to do something and they completely ignore you! Well I have simple trick that can work in a lot of scenarios.

This trick is called, First... Then. What this means is, if your child wants cookies they first have to have their carrots. If they want to watch a movie they first have to clean up their toys. You will give them what they want but they have to first do what you ask. This is a very effective tool in motivating children.

Remember you will sabotage yourself if you give in before they do what you ask. Stick to your guns and do not give them the "then" until they have done the "first".

To help people fully understand the concept I am going to list some examples for you.

  • First take a bite of chicken then have you can have an m&m. (this trick is very useful with the picky eaters)
  • First brush your teeth then you can watch one more show.  
  • First clean your room then you can have a friend over. 
  • First do your chores then you can have dessert. 
  • First take a shower then you can have your phone back. 
  • First do your homework then you can go on facebook. 

*For younger children or non verbal children doing first then with pictures can be effective. 



Parenting is one of the trickier things a person can sign up for. Children are always requiring us to stretch and be creative to teach them what they need to learn. I hope this tool is useful for you as it has been for me.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

5 Ways to Overcome the Holiday Blues


Are holidays hard for you? A tremendous amount of people answer yes to that question. Holidays can be miserable because of family conflict, no family, deaths, divorce or other related heart ache. Many people dread the holidays and count the days until it's over. Today I am writing a list for you of five ideas on how to make the holidays more enjoyable.

1. Make it not about you.
Find a place to volunteer. Many abuse shelters, homeless shelters and churches have volunteer opportunities on holidays. When we serve others in need it can make our problems and pain seem smaller.

2. Start a new tradition.
 Perhaps the holidays are depressing for you and there is nothing in it to look forward to. If that is the case for you, find something to look forward to. Start a new tradition like having a hot coco party with friends, cutting down a christmas tree, finding someone to help, making do it yourself gifts for people, baking cookies, finding something silly to do, or whatever other creative idea you can come up with.

3. Find resources.
If you are depressed or anxious get counseling. If you have financial problems talk to community helpers about what resources are available to you. Often times there are more options around the holidays to help with problems like that. Whatever your problem is, seek help. There are countless resources out there for every kind of problem.

4. Use the holidays as a way to motivate yourself.
If you have always wanted to start running, start schooling, or start playing chess use the holidays as an excuse to make it happen. Maybe now is the time to get a new pet. Make a positive change that will distract you from your holiday stress.

5. Set good boundaries for yourself.
Be prepared to say no if you need to. Make the holiday manageable by only agreeing to what you can handle. Also don't forget to meet your basic needs.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Loss and Grief - Activities to Help You Grieve

By UW Extension 



Losing someone special, regardless of the relationship, can be difficult.
Here are several practical suggestions that may assist in your journey of healing and growth:
  • Take care of yourself physically. Grief can take its toll on a person’s physical well-being. It’s important to do your best to get adequate rest, to eat regularly, to take a walk or enjoy other forms of exercise that appeal to you.
  • Forgive. Even in the best of relationships, there are usually memories that need healing. As you think about your relationship with your loved one and bring to mind areas of hurt or regret, give yourself permission to forgive. This may involve forgiving the person for the times he or she failed you, and it may involve forgiving yourself. This isn’t easy, but it’s an important step in moving forward. If the hurts you carry are deep and difficult to forgive, consider seeking professional help.
  • Explore your spirituality. Times of solitude, inspirational reading, prayer, meditation, and community worship can provide comfort and enlightenment as you cope with your loss. Losing a special person can deepen and strengthen your spiritual life. Nourish yourself spiritually in whatever way works best for you-—prayer, song, worship, meditation, or study of scripture. Ask questions, and then allow yourself to be open to the inner guidance you receive. Listen to the whispers of your heart and soul.
  • "Talk" with the person you lost. During moments of solitude, perhaps late at night or early in the morning, talk to the person you lost as if s/he were right there with you. Say whatever is on your mind, everything you wished you had said while s/he was still alive. After speaking, take a few moments to allow yourself the time to feel a sense of peace.
  • Write letters. Similar to the exercise above, write several letters to the person you lost. In the first letter or two, openly express whatever feelings you might be experiencing. Don’t censor yourself. If you feel angry, lonely, depressed, fearful, happy, or relieved, say so. The key is to allow yourself to say what’s on your mind and in your heart. Once you’ve done so, write a final letter of gratitude to them. Let him/her know what you appreciate and what you’ve been grateful for throughout the years.
  • Treasure fond memories. There are several ways in which you may want to treasure fond memories of your special person. You may choose to collect mementos and put them in a scrapbook, or put together a video collage of photos collected over the years, or host a potluck dinner for family and friends and record stories they share about the person. Do whatever helps you create lasting memories that you can go back to in the days ahead.
  • Take time with your special person’s personal belongings. You need not sort through your special person’s personal belongings right away. According to grief specialist Dr. Alan Wolfelt: “You, and only you, should decide what is done with their clothes and personal belongings. Don’t force yourself to go through these things until you’re ready to. Take your time. When you have the energy to go through them, you will.”
  • Honor your special person. Think of something you would like to do that would be significant or meaningful to your special person. Maybe s/he volunteered at the local meal program, so you decide to volunteer or contribute to the same program. If the person sewed quilts for the local children’s hospital, you might continue in her footsteps. Whatever you choose to do, make it something that will help you celebrate your special person’s life and memory.
  • Work through your grief. The only way out of your grief is through it. Try to accept your feelings, whatever they may be. Grief is a natural process, nature’s way of bringing us to acceptance, healing and peace. As painful as it can be, allow yourself to experience your emotions and get through them.
  • Share your pain and hope with others. Give your grief words, and find at least one person you trust and respect with whom you can comfortably share your emotions. Pour out your heart and soul as often as you need. Consider seeking counseling from a professional, as many people find this very helpful.
  • Complete “unfinished business”. Try to be aware of anything associated to your special person that remains unfinished. Do whatever you feel is important to reach a sense of closure.
  • Be kind to yourself. You’ve suffered a great loss. You need to give yourself special care, including taking the time to rest, eating healthfully, exercising, and socializing with family and friends. Be gentle and understanding with yourself--treat yourself as you would a dear friend if she were suffering.
  • Let yourself cry. Sobbing promotes relaxation and the release of tension and sorrow. Tears are nature’s ways of cleansing and healing. Crying is a gift; allow yourself to receive it.
  • Tune into what you are feeling. Depression, anger, fear, guilt, regret, loneliness, relief, peace-—whatever your feelings, let yourself experience them. Gently pay attention to your body and to your feelings as they arise.
  • Reach out to others. Though you will likely need time to yourself, it’s also important that you share your thoughts and feelings with others. Find a few people you respect and trust, and pour out your heart. Let your friends and family know what you need from them-—a listening ear, a hug, or just time together.
  • Postpone unnecessary changes. Try to hold off on major decisions or unnecessary changes. Give yourself some time before deciding to move or making a career change. Allow yourself first to grieve and heal. You’ll then have a fresher perspective and more energy for getting on with your life.
  • Accept the difficult memories. Your special person has died, but the life you shared and the many memories are still very much alive. All relationships include good times and difficult times. We’ve all made mistakes and have regrets. Give your special person and yourself the gift of forgiveness. Learn from the painful times, then let them go.
  • Cherish your fond memories. Allow yourself to enjoy all of the wonderful memories you and your special person have shared. Treasure these memories and let them be lifelong companions that comfort you and cheer you.
  • Surround yourself with things that are alive. The authors of "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" recommend that you add new life to your environment: “In addition to family and friends, invite other living things into your life-—a new plant, a stray kitten, the puppy you’ve always wanted, some goldfish, or a fresh bowl of your favorite fruit.”
  • Be adventuresome. After you’ve given yourself plenty of space to grieve and heal-—and only you can know how long that will take-—it’s time to make some fresh starts. Think about what you’d love to do. Let yourself dream, then follow your heart and take some risks. Redecorate, launch into a hobby that interests you, or explore new people, places and ideas.
For more information see:
  • On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss (2005) by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
  • Caregiving and Loss (2001) edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Joyce D. Davidson
  • Surviving the Loss of a Spouse (2006) edited by Sheryl Garrett
  • Death of a Parent: Transition to a New Adult Identity(2003) by Debra Umberson
  • Death of a Parent: Reflections for Adults Mourning the Loss of a Father or Mother (2003) by Delle Chatman, William Kenneally & William Kenneally
  • Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal (1999) by Beth Witrogen McLeod

Adapted with permission from GriefWorks, Sam Quick, Professor Emeritus, Human Development and Family Relations Specialist, Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
http://www.extension.org/pages/9037/loss-and-grief-activities-to-help-you-grieve

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

At Risk Youth Questionnaire for Moving Forward



At risk youth can get out of their trouble if they are willing to work hard and have someone to guide them. Here is a questionnaire to help guide you through that process. Common goals include: Anger management, Respecting Authority, Utilizing Self-Calming Strategies, and Improving School Performance

How did you do on goal 1?



How did you do on goal 2?



How did you do on goal 3?



What obstacles made it hard for you to achieve your goals this week?



What areas did you see progress in or are you most proud of for this week?



What do you need to do differently next week?



What should you repeat next week?



Are there any problems needing to be solved this week?



How high were your stress levels this week?



What coping skills were most effective this week?


Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Make Divorce Easier on Kids


  
  1.       Make a plan as soon as possible and stick to it.
a.       It is a major adjustment when parents split up. The sooner they have a set schedule the sooner they will have a “new normal”.
b.      Transitions are especially difficult for children so reducing the number of transitions can be helpful.
  2.       If possible keep routines and rules the same at both houses.
a.       It is less to adjust to if environments are not drastically different. Behavior problems can occur when there is too big of a gap between environments. There are times when it’s not possible to make both environments the same. When that happens just do your best to be consistent on your end.
  3.       Make a visual calendar for your child to see when he/she will be where.
a.       A visual tool to help children understand when they will see their parents next can help with anxiety and missing the other parent.
  4.       Allow your child to have an item to take with them for when they miss you.
a.       Having a picture book of mom or dad, a blanket, or stuffed animal that reminds them of mom and dad can help them when they are feeling lonely.
  5.       Don’t talk bad about your ex.
a.       It’s hurtful to children to hear negative things about their parents. It could hurt their relationship with you and your ex. It is not in the best interest of anyone. *This also includes not talking bad about your ex’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
  6.       Do NOT encourage your child to take sides.
a.       That will only hurt the entire family. Do your best to help your child stay positive about both parents. (even if one is a dirt bag)
  7.       Allow your child to talk about their feelings.
a.       Allow your child to open up and don’t take it personal if they are struggling. Part of how they will heal is getting those emotions out.
  8.       When talking about why you split up keep it simple.
a.       Don’t go into whose fault it is or what either of you did wrong.  This is not an opportunity to bad talk your spouse. 
  9.       Consider counseling if you and your ex cannot communicate effectively about the child.
a.       Having a third party to discuss schedules, rules, and boundaries can be very helpful when emotions are too high post-divorce.



Remember children of all ages can sense tension. It is in your children's best interest if you can get along. You don't have to like each other but being civil and working together goes a long way for your child's mental health.