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Summertime Rituals and Filling Our Family Buckets

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In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, the main character Tevye poses the question: “How do we keep our balance?” He replies to his own question with, “Tradition!” After bursting into song with the entire town he then explains, “Without tradition, we are no safer than a fiddler on the roof!” Tevye was a smart man! He’s right, tradition is important to family development and a sense of personal well-being!

Tradition, however, does not necessarily need to be related to big family celebrations, holidays, or life events. Routine rituals have quite a bit of power in creating “balance” within the family.

Summertime is a great time to begin new family rituals! These may include everyday things that involve roles, chores, rules, and family living.

Why do rituals hold so much weight in family life? Because of the feelings they create! Children who participate in family rituals experience buckets of benefits!

  • A sense of belonging
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Social competence
  • Improved health
  • Better academic success
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Understanding of Roles
  • Feelings of family identity
  • Memories
  • Family cohesion
  • Better sleep
  • Adolescent well-being
  • Predictability

With the school year wrapping up, why not start some new family rituals today?

  1. Dinnertime: Dinnertime is one of the best ways to form new memories, integrate family values and social rules, add a chore, and create connectedness. Allow each member to have a job in the meal prep. Setting the table, filling the drink glasses, clean up, or choosing a dessert (my personal favorite). This is a time for parents to get tabs on the kid’s day. Play the game: “A Rose and a Thorn” by having each member share one good thing that happened, and one negative thing, opens up opportunities for gratitude, listening and feedback, and validation.
  1. Child Date Nights: Choose one night a week to do something special with your child. This can be a fun way to get to know what your child enjoys, or would like to try! While filling their bucket with one-on-one time. Fun activities like put-put, painting parlors, splash pads, a trip to the zoo, a bike ride, or a concert. Remember, put the distractions away, pay attention, and let your child take the lead!
  1. Library Lolligag: Take a stroll through your local library on a regular basis. Plan on spending time reading together, talking about topics, and slowing down. Even big kids have topics and books they enjoy! Try checking out the same book your teen does! You may find you have something in common!
  1. Game Night: Frequent game nights teach children competence in disappointment, competition, and winning. Some games offer critical thinking, planning ahead, keeping a “good” secret-to win, and seeing what comes next. Playing together teaches appropriate modeling when the game doesn’t go as planned.
  1. Saying “Goodbye” and “Hello”: Little routines of saying “goodbye” and “hello” opens doorways to connection, disconnection, and re-connection. Think of something that is special to you and your child that is a signature sediment. A hug, a kiss on the forehead, a fist pump (for the tough guys), or even “See you Later Alligator.”
  1. Coming of Age Celebration: Growing up can be tough! A Coming of Age celebration gives permission for change. Allows an embrace of growth. Perhaps, even some discussion of family values, expectations, and personal precautions. A small trip with Mom and/or Dad, can be defining in developing a life-map, of sorts. Where the focus is not on physical maturation, but life goals. Considering dating, college, careers, and even hopes of marriage and partnerships.
  1. Saturday Morning Breakfast: A happy morning wake up call to breakfast in bed and watching a favorite kid show, may not be so bad. Perhaps, that’s not your style, but a bowl of a favorite cereal in PJ’s and a morning bike ride, might feel more like it. Or maybe choosing a favorite breakfast spot, where everyone can pick what they like and then get on with weekend commitments.

No matter what summer ritual you decide to pick up–Remember, it’s about dropping the distractions and filling our Summer buckets with memories and connection.

For more insights into creating family cohesion and decreasing family stressors, visit our website at www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/blog.

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Recognizing and Healing from Manipulative Relationships: Art of Connection

Recognizing and Healing from Manipulative Relationships: Art of Connection

I recently sat down with Baya Voce, host of The Art of connection, to talk about narcissism, sociopathy, pathological lying, gaslighting and so much more. The biggest take-home message is that anyone can find themselves in a manipulative relationship, and you can heal. For therapy in Utah visit WasatchFamilyTherapy.com Learn more about Baya Voce.

Have you experienced manipulation in a relationship? What were the signs? How did you recover?

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How to Connect Using Gottman’s Love Maps

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John Gottman is a world renowned therapist that specializes in marriage therapy. I use several of his ideas and techniques when working with couples. Today I want to share the idea of Love Maps with you.
Gottman talks about a marriage like a house. It is built from the foundation up. When the foundation is shaky it creates instability in many other areas of the relationship. One way to strengthen your marriage foundation is to create a shared meaning, and have good emotional intimacy. Love maps are a great place to start in creating this emotional intimacy. Down below I have listed the questions to create a love map. The challenge is to sit down with your spouse, and see how many questions they can answer. If they get the answer wrong it creates a time that you can share thoughts and feelings in a safe way. Try it with your spouse! It will create a wonderful time of connection.
-Name my two closest friends.
-What was I wearing when we first met?
-Name one of my hobbies.
-What stresses am I facing right now?
-Describe in detail what I did today, or yesterday.
-What is my fondest unrealized dream?
-What is one of my greatest fears?
-What is my favorite way to spend an evening?
-What is my favorite way to be soothed?
-What is my favorite get away place?
-What are some of the important events coming up in my life? How do I feel
about them?
-What are some of my favorite ways to work out?
-What medical problems do I worry about?
-What was my most embarrassing moment?
-Name one of my favorite movies.
-What is my favorite restaurant?
Rachel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She loves working with couples in distress, and those looking to make their relationship better.
Call 801-944-4555 and make an appointment to find new ways to strengthen your relationship.
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My Own Assertiveness Journey: Inside Shift Podcast

My Own Assertiveness Journey: Inside Shift Podcast

I was pleased to have the recent opportunity to speak with Emma Bell of “The Inside Shift” podcast about my latest book, “The Assertiveness Guide For Women: How To Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Transform Your Relationships.” Although we talked about many different facets of and ideas found within the book, I was especially excited to share my personal experience with developing and practicing assertiveness, which has largely guided my career, my relationships, and of course, my journey in crafting this creative work. Here are some highlights from my discussion with Emma:

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How To Be Heard Without Being Harsh

How To Be Heard Without Being Harsh

Healthy communication is the key to long-lasting relationships. It can be bliss to have warm feelings toward our children, our friends, and our spouses, but what happens when a problem arises that necessitates communicating about difficult things? Some individuals may brush their feelings aside in the hopes of avoiding “stirring the pot,” while others may become so overwhelmed with frustration, anger, or sadness that they lose control and have an emotional outburst. The truth is that neither of these approaches are effective in addressing or solving concerns in relationships.

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3 Ways to Fight Fair: Good Things Utah

3 Ways to Fight Fair: Good Things Utah

Every significant relationship has times of disagreement and disconnection. Differences are a sign that your relationship is healthy and that both people feel free to bring their authentic selves. However, how you express those differences can either bring you closer together or create distance.

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13 Reasons Why – How to Talk to Your Teen

13 Reasons Why

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW & Melanie Davis, CMHC visiting KUTV Fresh Living to discuss the show 13 Reasons Why.  Click on link below to see what they had to say!

KUTV.com Web Site Link: http://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/13-reasons-why-how-to-talk-to-your-teen

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Why Are We Happy?

WOMAN EXERCISING

I love TED talks. I recommend them to my clients to watch between sessions to help them stay in a therapeutic mindset, and I also watch them frequently to stay up on what the great scientists and researchers of our time are doing. Here is an oldie but a goodie that I would recommend to help you understand the subjectivity behind happiness. Hopefully you walk away from this understanding a little more about how you have and are perceiving happiness in your life.

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy

 

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How Expressing Difference Brings Connection

How Expressing Difference Brings Connection

The concept of assertiveness is one of my favorite topics, and I’m excited to share  some of the key points from my new book “The Assertiveness Guide for Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Transform Your Relationships.”

What is assertiveness exactly? Contrary to what some may think, it’s not being pushy, rude, or aggressive. In the book, I define assertiveness as the ability to reflect on one’s past and present experiences, manage one’s difficult emotions, and clearly express oneself while also being open to someone else’s perspective (that’s quite a definition, right!). Some women may fear or shy away from assertiveness because they think it will threaten their relationships, but practicing it is actually the only way to get your needs met while also maintaining a closeness with others.

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3 Factors That Contribute To A Negative Body Image

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A few weeks ago I gave a community presentation on Body Image and many participants reported the following information was very helpful! There are 3 things that often contribute to how we perceive our physical self.
1-Early environmental issues.  If you were praised based on appearance rather than internal performance, you are more at risk for thinking negatively about yourself. In addition, if you were raised in an environment were one or both parents were always “dieting”, you may also be at risk for developing a more negative perception of self.
2-Cognitive Vulnerabilities.  People who see the proverbial “glass as half empty, rather than half full” are more likely to judge themselves negatively.  Personalities who have a tendency to focus on flaws rather than strengths often have body image challenges.
3-Cultural Influences. Social media and even new phone apps (such as “Plump and Skinny Booth”) are altering our view of self more than ever. Cyberbullying seems to contribute to a negative body image as well as performance pressures, say in sports, can lead to extreme measures to alter ones body,such as performance enhancing drugs. New websites are popping up that even instruct the user “how to get an eating disorder” to control weight, which are a contributing risk factor as well.
The good news is all 3 of these factors can be managed or treated.  A few useful tools can be found on websites (the positive side of technology!) such as centerforchange.com and thebodymovement.com.  In addition, a Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash PHD can be very useful, especially if used in conjunction with a trained therapist to address the above factors.
Last, learning facts about images we see are explored in a new documentary by Taryn Brumfitt called “Embrace”. This can help increase a more accurate view of ourselves an others. If you or a loved one struggle with negative body image, call Wasatch Family Therapy today to seek guidance from a body image professional and take charge of those negative self perceptions!

 

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