Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Bridge to Connectedness...

I love when a theme emerges with my clients and this month's theme has been about feeling "safe" in relationships. When we use respect with each other and truly cherish our partners' and our kids' strengths AND weaknesses, we make them feel SAFE with us. They feel able to be honest, able to be vulnerable without fear and able to open their hearts and share with us; this is what leads to true connectedness and intimacy in relationships.  This is what we all crave and yearn for from those we love. Look inward at how you might make your partner or kids feel "unsafe" with you and work to hold your tongue when criticism or harshness comes. Your compassion and unconditional love are your greatest bridges to true connectedness.

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, BCPC

from MOMIPEDIA on Facebook 7-27-16

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Respect at all times!

Respect at all times! How can we expect our kids to be respectful of us if we are not respectful of them? We don't deserve respect just because we are the parents, we have to earn it, too, and model how to do that for our kids. Use a respectful tone of voice; choose your words and timing wisely before making a request of your child; remember that just because something is important to you, doesn't mean it is important to your child or important to others. Remember that those with whom we live deserve as much loving respect and more as those we meet on the street.

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Different Kind of Independence - Letting Go!

What do you fiercely hold on to that you should be letting go of? There's been a theme in my office this week of people struggling to let go...of something.  Sometimes it's an event in the past, or a grudge that we hold on to even if we forgot why, or a thing that holds sentimental value or none, or a story that we tell ourselves that we don't want to challenge or question. There is much that we hold onto that drains our energy or drains our relationships or drains us financially. Independence Day can mean many different types of independence.  How about a healthy letting go of something that no longer serves us?  What do you want to let go of today?

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT

from MOMIPEDIA post on Facebook

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Independence Day is Every Day!

Here in the U.S. of A. we are celebrating Independence Day!  What is independence?  The dictionary defines it as freedom from the control, influence, support, or aid of others.  As a country, we are still figuring things out, but how are you doing within your family? Are you fostering independence in your kids?

At every age and developmental stage there are things our kids should be able to do on their own.  It's a long road to adulthood, but shorter than it looks.  We have to begin the process early on so that once they get to the later teen years and are looking for more independence, we want them to have had a lot of practice.

  • In infancy, we need to teach our babies to play by themselves for periods of time and to fall asleep on their own.
  • As toddlers, we want them to dress themselves, feed themselves and to take on small responsibilities like putting dirty clothes in the hamper or putting their toys away. 
  • During the school-age years, we want kids to do their homework themselves, to remember their jackets at school, to help make their lunches and to help more around the house (increasing each year)
  • During the middle school years we want our tweens to be independent students (asking for help when needed, of course), to wash their own gym clothes and to take more responsibilities around the house - setting/clearing the table for dinner, folding their laundry, yard work, etc...
  • During the high school years, kids should be doing their own laundry, beginning to manage their money (with guidance), making business-type phone calls, managing their time, and many other skills that they will need once they go to college or move out of the home, so that they can navigate life without our control or aid.

Many parents struggle to encourage independence in their kids because they fear they will no longer be needed or they fear their child will fail.  The truth is, we are working to put ourselves out of a job, but not to end the relationship!  We want to love on our kids forevermore and that's great! We just don't want them to "need" us to get through each day.  If you do want that, you need to ask yourself why and what fulfillment is lacking in your own life.  Don't ask your kids to fill you up - you fill yourself up and give your kids the space to make a life for themselves.

Wishing you balance,
Bette Alkazian, LMFT