View the U.S. Health and Human Services Healthy Marriage Initiative, the government's effort to increase responsible fatherhood, healthy marriage education, and personal enhancement.
To help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.
What is a “healthy marriage?"
There are at least two characteristics that all healthy marriages have in common. First, they are mutually enriching, and second, both spouses have a deep respect for each other.
It is a mutually satisfying relationship that is beneficial to the husband, wife, and children (if present).
It is a relationship that is committed to ongoing growth, the use of effective communication skills and the use of successful conflict management skills.
The National Campaign for Public School Involvement
"I pledge to spend a minimum of fifteen minutes each school night reading with my child or we will work together on homework and enrichment activity"
Childhood anxiety and depression is a common occurrence and good clinical treatment is available. Christina can direct you towards services that will meet your family's needs. Many families benefit from just a few therapy sessions, while other families can best have their needs met by free services located throughout the county (yes, there are free services!). Parenting classes may be the simple answer for you . No one likes to watch their child suffer, get help now.
Never ask a child a question when you know the answer. No one appreciates feeling cornered.
DON'T: "Did you take a cookie from my plate?"
Instead, state the facts.
DO: "I know that you took a cookie from my plate."
DO: Reduce anxiety in a respectful manner that doesn't demean a child's feelings.
DON'T: "It's silly to be afraid of the dark."
DO: "I hear that you are afraid. I'll double-check that we're safe."
DON'T: "You shouldn't be worried about this test. It'll be a slam-dunk.""
DO: "I can see that you are worried about this test. I bet the other kids are worried too. Can I help you study?"
DO: Speak Low & Slow. This prevents a parent from meeting angerwith anger. Shouting louder than your child only raises tension in the home and reinforces the power in yelling! Shouting releases fight-or-flight response in both the giver and receiver, while also making it hard to respond lovingly or logically. Why role-model bad behavior? Instead, LOW, getting eyeball to eyeball with your child, and keeping a low voice. And speak SLOW, which works to both diffuse the situation and keep you calm.Speaking in a steady and controlled manner allows your body and brain to think clearly and make good choices. If necessary, count to five out loud, and tell your child that you are taking your own time-out in an effort to be a good parent and not overreact. Children of any age will understand and appreciate this message, and learn from it!
Do not compare one to another.
DON'T: "Your brother loves peas. I can't believe you don't" (this creates sibling rivalry and a sense of shame).
DON'T: "Billy is the good student"(being on either side of this coin is a set-up. The good student isn't perfect and the poor student may get better.)
DON'T: "Why don't you try as hard as Susan? She loves math" (this statement diminishes the child's efforts and misses the point of the problem.)
DON'T: "Mike is the artist in the family"( Does this mean that other children in the family are not artistic? Labels are tricky - and children are fickle. Do not pigeon hole children as they are taking shape and discovering the world. Baseball may not hold their interest this year but might in the future; Something they excel at right now may run out of gas as their peers pass them by.)
Avoid global statements, such as NEVER and ALWAYS.
DON'T: "You ALWAYS..."
DON'T: "You NEVER..."
Stick to the topic at hand. Do not bring up irritations from yesterday or last year. Keep your discussion to the subject at hand; avoid the temptation to spiral into past resentments and disappointments.
Avoid Labels. "She's shy," "He has no patience," or "Here comes trouble!" probably begin as simple and sweet-natured comments. But, as children grow, they will become what they have been told they are! Little children have big ears - they hear your words and take them to heart. Instead, comment on their behavior in a non-judgmental manner."I see you are feeling energetic this morning" is much more respectful and enriching than "You are so hyper!"
"I can see that you are watching everyone play and taking your time jumping into the mix" is preferable to "Don't be shy." Remember, children are unable to verbalize their hodge-podge of emotions and feelings...loving parents provide words, meaning and definitions to a child's behavior.
DO: Send clear messages. Your behavior should match your words. If you tell your children to respect your spouse, but eyeroll at your spouse behind his back, you are sending a conflicting and inconsistent message. Monitor your non-verbal communication.
DON'T: Undermine your spouse, or yourself, with snickering or demeaning language. Eyerolling, shrugging shoulders, harumphing, hands-on-hips, finger-pointing, sighing, door slamming, etc, are powerful non-verbal messages that speak loud and clear.
DON'T: Remove a future event to get better behavior in the moment. Children cannot conceive of an event 4 weeks into the future - threatening to take away something more than in the moment will have no impact.
DON'T: Take away special events or celebrations. It is unreasonable to take away a special event, such as Halloween, a birthday party, or a trip that has been much-discusses and anticipated.
DO: Consequence evenly and consequence in the moment.
DO: REVIEW your consequencing. More than 2 time-outs per hour, or more than 5 per day, indicates that a) you are not doing them properly (and most parents don't), b) you haven't found your child's motivating factor c) your child has a need that is overriding the punishment.
Copyright of Christina Neumeyer, 2017