September 26, 2017

Tools for strengthening relationships

If you are like me, you have probably found it difficult to strengthen the romantic relationships in your life. You love a person but you don’t know quite how to improve your relationship with them. With all the business of life it can be difficult to dedicate time and energy to strengthening a relationship. Most people just find some sort of status quo and live with it. They find life too overwhelming to focus on drastically improving their relationship. However, when we don’t try to improve our relationships they tend to fall into problems. The marriage seems to become stale and boring. Like so many things in life, when the marriage stops growing it tends to die. It will take effort and patience to strengthen your relationship with a spouse, but it will be worth it in the long run. So what are some tools for strengthening your relationships?

There are a number of ways to strengthen relationships and only some of them will work for you and your spouse. Realize that because your situation is unique you will have to be the one to figure out what works best. It will probably require some experimentation and effort to finally come up with a strategy that will move you forward.

One common tool for strengthening any relationship is spending time together. If you don’t spend time together you really don’t have  relationship, and the more time spent together the better. Obviously with the demands that modern life places on so many of us it can be difficult to find lots of time to spend together, but if you can set aside at least one night a week you will greatly improve your marriage. A date night is a very effective tool for strengthening a relationship, but it only works if you plan the date carefully. Because you will only have a limited amount of time to spend together you need to make that time exciting and pleasurable. Sit down each week and plan your date with your spouse. Date planning time can also be a good time to spend with each other.

Another very important tool for strengthening any relationship is communication. Communication means more than just having a conversation-although this is very important as well. Communication means that you share important information about your thoughts and feeling with each other. You talk about your hopes and dreams, and about exciting new ideas. Most relationships are based on some sort of shared interests or a passion for similar hobbies or ideas. You need to continue to look for things to share and make these passions a major part of the marriage. You also need to find ways to communicate things that are difficult or unpleasant. Often people think that they will frighten or scare their friends or spouse if they tell them about their problems. However, it is often when people share their deepest and darkest secrets that they can form a bond of trust with another person. Your marriage will only go as deep as you allow it to go-if you keep it on the surface it will only stay there.

Another important tool is frequent displays of affection. You need to show your spouse that you love them as often as possible. This could take various forms, such as hugs, or simply saying that you love them. Marriages that succeed are often the ones where spouses’ communicate their affection openly. If your spouse does not know that you love them they will find it very difficult to love you in return.

Date night-never miss it!

couple on a datenight

When people fall in love they tend to come to a time when they would love to get married. The honeymoon stage makes most people feel like getting married, but shortly after the wedding bells have rung out their happy tune the couple finds themselves faced with difficulties. They start to discover little problems with the other person. Stressful situations arise and there are serious disagreements about how to deal with problems. How will you keep that marital bliss going when there is so much stress and so much to fight about? There might be no way to keep things as they first were when you got married, but there are some tools you can use to make sure that your marriage will stay strong and increase in love. If you think about the honeymoon period there is probably one thing that stands out besides your uncritical adoration of the other person. You spent lots of time with your future spouse while you were dating. You went out on several dates every week and you thought of exciting things to do with the other person. In other words, you spent lots of time together and it was productive, well-planned time. If you want to watch your marriage grow you need to continue going on dates with your spouse long after you are married. Technically you will need to keep going out on dates as long as you are married-even into old age.

Date night is not an option for any couple, and it needs to happen just about every week. You and your spouse need some time every week to sit down with each other and have some stress free time. You need to take a break from the stress of life and rediscover what led you to marry each other. The key to successful date nights is planning. Think about your date night throughout the week and consult with your spouse. Think about activities that both of you would like to participate in. Try something new, whether it be a new restaurant, jazz club, or sport. Don’t limit yourself to the same old date-there are lots of options out there. An exciting date in a new place can really spark some passion in your relationship. You leave the world of chores, work, and kids behind, discovering new things together. If you are creative you can come up with lots of new possibilities for great dates.

If you find that other things are getting in the way of date night, make sure that you alter your schedule so that you can start again. Often couples find that something comes up and keeps them busy in such a way that they forget to take time for themselves. This often occurs when there are serious problems in a family-an illness or loss of a job, for example. However, it is especially in such stressful times that you need to slow down and take a break. Divorces often occur because a special circumstance forces a couple to fight. Having a weekly date night in the midst of such tension can make a big difference and might even save your marriage. If you have not tried date night before you need to start right away. It takes some discipline and work to get it going, but you will find that date night is a great tool for strengthening your relationship. Sit down with your spouse today and think about your next date. You will find that spending a little time with your spouse each week is a must.

Eliminating bad behavior

serious girl

Whether your child is five or fifteen there are going to be times, in some cases numerous times, when they exhibit bad behavior. You may not always be there for it, and so it is important as a parent that you learn some tactics for how to help eliminate these bad behaviors. We are all human, and you won’t be able to get rid of poor behavior all together, but you can certainly decrease it and the likelihood of it getting worse. The following are some ways to do so:

Clear rules.

If you want to eliminate bad behavior you have to have some guidelines for your children so that they know what your definition of bad behavior is. This means come up with some clear and concise rules. For the best effects it is wise to have your child help you create this set of rules so that they take greater responsibility for them. This means sit down with your toddler, tween, or teen, and discuss your expectations of them, and have them help you compile a list of short rules. For example: Homework must be done before play. Go to bed on time. No fighting. No swearing. No smoking.

These are just some simple examples, but it is important to realize that difficult rules, or rules that are complicated do not render results. Simple and to the point is the way to go when it comes to setting rules to govern behavior.

Clear consequences.

Along with a clear set of rules, there needs to be a clear set of consequences. For example, if the rule is: Curfew is at 10. Then the consequence for breaking that rule, or curfew could be: For each minute you are late, you have to be home an hour earlier the next night. Once again, the idea is clear. There is no room for misunderstanding or excuses if you have set rules and set consequences attached to those rules. This tactic is going to help improve behavior in toddlers through teens because they can weigh their options and make informed decisions about whether or not poor behavior is worth the consequence they will pay. In most cases you will see that if there is a clear rule with a clear consequence, the rule will be more or less followed.

Follow through.

If you want your children to behave according to the rules you set for them, you have to follow through. This means do not threaten something you will not do. Do not tell your teen they will lose car privileges if they back talk, if you intend to let them continue driving the car. It will teach your children nothing if you do not follow through with threats, and the consequences posted. You can allow children to earn back things you have taken, such as privileges, but if you just give them back, or never take them away in the first place, then you will not get results. Your child will learn quickly that you won’t do anything, and their behavior will worsen rather than improve.

Creating the right environment. child in time-out

If you know that when your child does not get enough sleep, eats too much sugar, or hangs out with a certain set of friends their behavior starts to suffer, you can do something about it. Every parent knows that there are things that set off, or facilitate bad behavior from their children. In a toddler it might be something like a missed nap leads to crankiness and acting out. For an elementary school aged child is might be when they hang out with a certain friend. For a teen it might be when they stayed out too late the night before. If you want to eliminate bad behavior from your children, regardless of the age, watch for the things that trigger such behavior and start by eliminating those. Make sure your child gets a nap, restrict or limit when they can hang out with those friends, and set curfews, etc. to help them get enough rest. This will help you create the right environment so that bad behavior is less likely to occur.

How to choose a name for your baby

baby names

Choosing a baby name is a lot of fun, but there are a lot of names out there and it can be difficult to choose one. There are thousands of names to choose from. So, what can you do to ensure that they name you leave your child with for the rest of their life is not only appropriate, but also something that you will love and that they will like being called.

The following is a look at how you can choose your baby name:

First, choose it yourself. The fact is you will get plenty of suggestions from family, friends, and even people you do not know. However, it is your child, and you are the one who will be calling them the name for the rest of their life, so while listening to the suggestions, and considering them is not a bad thing, it is really okay to say no.

Second, make it a group decision. Most people find out they are pregnant between 6-12 weeks, which means typically you have another 28-34 weeks to choose a name. So, start discussing names with your partner as soon as possible. It is wise to make a list of names you like, and it is also wise to offer each spouse a veto or two so that the names one or the other hates do not end up on the possibility list.

Next, consider using tools on the internet such as baby name finders, and name meanings to help you choose a name that is meaningful to you. These tools are also great references for finding out what common names are so you do not name your child the same thing half of their class at school is named as well.

Weigh each option carefully. When thinking about names there is more to it than just liking a name. For example, you want to appease relatives, avoid things like embarrassing initials, or potentially embarrassing nicknames, etc. You want to avoid names that might provoke bad memories, or that are universally not okay, such as Sadam Hussien.

Consider sound and compatibility. For example, “Julia Gulia” like on the Wedding Singer sounds really funny, and so you want to consider how your baby’s name sounds when it’s said aloud. Is it melodious? Harsh? Too rhyming? Does it go well with your last name? A good rule of thumb is that if you have a long last name, choose a short first name, if your last name starts with a vowel, such as Adams, do not end the first name with a vowel.

Avoid names that are puns, such as Rocky Mountain, Anna Bee Good, Holly Wood, or Bud Weiser. If you have a name that could be a pun, such as the last name Daniels, do not name your child Jack. It is cute and funny for a few minutes, but let’s face it, your child will be stuck with that name.

If you have a familiar last name, consider a more unique first name. If you have a unique last name, consider a more familiar first name. This will make your child’s life easier.

Consider meaning of words. Names often hold meaning, such as Belle means beautiful, so make sure you know what their name means so that you do not label your child some way.

Ancestry, heritage, or meaningful names such as naming your child after an ancestor that has passed away, or after a best friend can be a great way to add meaning to your child’s name.

It is your child, so name them what you want, but remember, a name like Alyssa Samantha Smith gives your child the initials ASS, and some other kid is sure to point it out.

What to do if your toddler only eats junk food

There is a serious disease affecting thousands of Americans and their children. It’s not cancer, although that is clearly a serious plague throughout the world. The problem is obesity, and something like thirty percent of children in this country are obese. Why is this condition described as a disease? It might seem strange to talk about a little bit of weight as a disease, but the results of obesity are terrible health, and even death. Few people realize that obesity problems often start from an early age and could be easily avoided. Often children become obese at quite a young age as a result of eating junk food. However, as many of us know, it is extremely difficult to keep our toddlers from snacking on the worst stuff. I have often found mine with a mouth full of Oreos and a can of soda. I can’t imagine the sheer amount of sugar and calories involved. It is amazing with the type of things that these kids eat that they are not throwing up all the time. If  you have found your toddler with a mouth full of cookies and an open can of soda (or something like unto it) you probably want to find a way to get your child eating better. The problem, as it always is with toddlers, is that your child probably doesn’t want to stop, and they will let you know about it. Many toddlers throw terrible fits when they are not allowed to eat what they would like. What can you do to prevent them from eating junk food all the time?
The first thing to realize is that your child is probably eating junk food because you are feeding it to them or making it available to them. Your toddler does not realize that junk food is harming their body and could eventually kill them. If they can eat junk food they will do so, and they will develop addictions to it that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. If you can control the problem from the start you will do them a huge favor. If your toddler only eats junk food don’t give them the junk food to eat. Control their intake of sweets or other unhealthy food-use the junk food only when it is a reward so that they know that treats have a purpose. See if you can substitute some other food for the junk food. Perhaps there is a healthier alternative that will taste good to your toddler; try various treats and find some things that will work. Your toddler might throw a terrible fit at first, but when you forcefully disallow them from eating the junk food they will look for other alternatives. It will also be necessary to find ways to prevent them from getting the junk food from other sources. Those other sources could be friends, relatives, or school mates.
When your toddler throws a fit over junk food you should be firm. Don’t give in to their demands regardless of the terrible fit they throw. Explain to your toddler that eating junk food is bad for their body. Then help them to understand what kinds of foods will help them to be strong, health, and happy. Tell them that they will get a treat when they are willing to eat healthy food and act like a good boy or girl. You can also use these treats for necessary tasks like potty training, which is another one of those things that will take some patience.