Archive for June 26th, 2011

June 26, 2011

Four sure-fire ways to increase family emotional health and deal with overly-sensitive people

by Rod Smith

I have received several very welcome and lengthy letters from readers who find themselves in very complicated family relationships.

Here are four broad principles for all members of a family:

1. Get yourself out of “the middle” of other people’s relationships! Don’t carry messages for others, or think for others or feel for (on the behalf of) others. Allow other adults the joy or communicating their own messages, thinking their own thoughts and feeling their own feelings.

2. Regard all other adults as complete adults and your complete equals. If you’re “on eggshells” around anyone (a parent, boss, child, spouse or former spouse) this person has inappropriate power over you that I’d suggest you address. The “eggshells” means you are not seeing yourself as an equal.

3. Never allow yourself to be intimidated, dominated or manipulated. Persons who use intimidation, domination or manipulation (emotional bullies) to get their way must be confronted if you want any degree of healthy dialogue.

4. Despite age, rank or status, don’t “tread lightly” around other adults. While it is unnecessary to knowingly inflict hurt upon others, some people are so inappropriately sensitive that their oversensitivity can restrict others from normal behavior. If your actions are not in themselves hurtful, but are interpreted as such by some sensitive soul, I’d suggest you be yourself and challenge Mr. Mrs. or Ms. Oversensitive to grow up.

June 26, 2011

Essential topics for talks with children……

by Rod Smith

Thulani, Nathanael, Max, and me

Important conversations do not need to be “serious” conversations. Thulani and I talked about my death. I had the distinct impression that although it is a tough concept for him to embrace, he’s rather have had the conversation that not have had it. I told him that he’d bring me most honor and joy through going forward (from my death) to live his own life as powerfully and meaningfully as possible.

Here are the broad topics I believe to be essential

Grief and death

Handled gently, death and grief can become a part of any parent-child conversation. Talking about death and dying does not need to be scary or even sad – and talking about it does not cause it.

Sex and intimacy

Helpful conversations about sex and intimacy do not need to be a “big talk” but an ongoing dialogue. Let your child learn about the joys and beauty of sex from you, the parent, not from a school or “program.”

Space and boundaries

Teach your child where he or she begins and ends – what is and is not his or her responsibility. Teach him or her to responsible to others and not for others.

Money and debt

Showing children how investments grow can become a powerful incentive for a child to save. Pointing out the folly of the misuse of credit cards and how debt can radically accumulate is a lesson every child ought to learn.

Planning a great future

It’s a cliché, but if you aim at nothing it is likely you will get it every time. It is a gift to any child to teach him or her to plan a powerful future.