Archive for June, 2017

“Fifty Things You Should Never, Ever, Say To Your Kids!

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

I came across an interesting article written by Charlotte Hilton Anderson for Redbook Magazine. I found it interesting, and for the most part, agreed with the list. I share it with you for you to ponder, perhaps discuss, and maybe even change a few things you say to your children. The reasons for not saying these things are available should you need an explanation.

  1. I do everything for you!
  2. You did great on your test, but why can’t you do that all the time?
  3. B is fine, but an A is better.
  4. You make me so mad!
  5. Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat.
  6. You’re fat.
  7. Eat your peas, they’re good for you.
  8. I’m so fat! I need to go on a diet.
  9. I used drugs/smoked when I was a kid.
  10. Stop crying right now!
  11. It’s not that big a deal.
  12. Calm down!
  13. You’re fine!
  14. You’re so lazy!
  15. Hurry up and get ready!
  16. Why do I have to tell you everything 100 times.
  17. Big boys/girls don’t get scared.
  18. Stop being such a baby.
  19. You’re being ridiculous.
  20. Stop being selfish and needy.
  21. I’m disappointed in you.
  22. You’re making me sad.
  23. Don’t do that! (not sure about that one)
  24. You better do what I say or else.
  25. Don’t make me turn this car around.
  26. It’s my way or the highway!
  27. You live under my roof, you follow my rules. (not til they’re 18!)
  28. That’s the way I was raised, and I turned out fine.
  29. I hate it when you (insert bad behavior here).
  30. Shame on you!
  31. Ugh, you’re just like your father/mother.
  32. I told you so.
  33. I know you didn’t mean to hit your brother/sister.
  34. Don’t be mad at your brother/sister.
  35. I wish you would be more like your brother/sister (or other kid’s name
  36. That’s just not good enough.
  37. You’re my perfect little angel!
  38. You’re so smart! (not sure about that one)
  39. You’re way better than that kid!
  40. Great job! (Like this one)
  41. Aw, I can never say no to you!
  42. You’re playing that game wrong.
  43. Let me help you with that! (there’s a time for that, and a time not to do that)
  44. Are you sure you can do that?
  45. You can’t do that!
  46. You’re an idiot!
  47. I hate math, I was never good at it.
  48. I don’t know who ate your candy.
  49. Mommy’s not crying, everything is just fine!
  50. You want another spanking!? (I added that one)

Respected Reader, do you understand, and agree or disagree, as to why these comments are inappropriate to say to your kids according to Ms. Hilton? Sometimes it is the context or intensity that is the problem with what is said. Other times it is just plain wrong to say these things to your kids. Did your parents say any of these to you? Which ones?  And you “turned out just fine” did you not?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

“8 Do’s and Don’ts Of Dealing With A Grumpy Spouse”!

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Is there anyone out there in readerland who has now, or has had in the past, a “grumpy spouse”? I didn’t think so, cuz I sure have not! Yet there are still some of those folks around. I know that because I see them in my office and occasionally run into them socially when my radar detector has not seen them coming!

At any rate I feel compelled to share this topic with you, in part to remind myself to not bring a “grumpy” face to my beloved Sherry. Jessica Dysart wrote an article with the above listed title. I share her eight with added thoughts of my own.

  1. DO: IDENTIFY THE REASON: It is a question worth asking – delicately.  Once you know the reason you, hopefully, can find the appropriate way to handle this uncomfortable situation. If this “grumpy” person persists for a while, it might be wise to see a therapist who can understand and help eradicate such a downer way of life.
  2. DON’T: TAKE IT PERSONALLY: Never get caught up in taking things personally from the git-go. When you observe the grumpy demeanor make a comment like this, “I see that you’re in a bad mood. Would you like to talk about it or would you prefer that I leave you alone?” If it turns out that you are the reason for the grumpiness, try not to get defensive. Stay engaged to try and understand the whole situation and then problem solve constructively.
  3. DO: USE HUMOR: Sometimes humor can be helpful. Oftentimes it can be harmful and make things worse. Be sure you know what you are doing here. If there is some tried and true humor that has a history of success, go for it. Personally I’m not a big fan of this. When I’m in a grumpy mood (rare as it may be J) I want to be left alone.
  4. DON’T: PUT THEM DOWN: Criticism, put downs, name calling, etc… don’t work! They just exacerbate the situation. Like I said before, if your spouse’s grumpy behavior persists longer than what you can handle, get some professional help.
  5. DO: TALK THE RIGHT WAY: Talking about the bad day or current bad mood may help – if the spouse is inclined to talk about it. If not, back off. And, if your spouse does want to talk, find out if you are to just listen or become a co-problem solver. Don’t attempt to “fix” the situation unless requested.
  6. DON’T: CONFRONT THEM (in the wrong way): Style is important here. Your words, tone of voice and body language can be huge turn offs and make the situation uglier. Come across caring and supportive, not combative or accusatory. Saying “what’s got into you” is a huge no-no!
  7. DON’T: LET IT AFFECT YOU: A spouse’s grumpiness can be infectious and transferable. Keep your emotional cool. Don’t make it your problem. Detach emotionally, and perhaps physically for a short time.
  8. DO: KNOW WHAT WORKS: Over time spouses get to know each other and determine the best way to deal with certain behaviors of the other. Once you have found a formula that works with some consistency, stay with it. Each individual relationship is unique and the appropriate successful style needs to be repeated. Hopefully the grumpy spouse goes there less and less in part because his/her loving spouse has read these tips and implements them, along with loving hugs of appreciation for the non grumpy days!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Father: “Leader of the Band”? Needs to be!

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

This Sunday is Father’s Day.  If you are a father, what does it mean to you?  If you are a child, what does it mean to you?  Is the day important? Does it bring forth any particular thoughts and feelings? I hope that it does for it is important to reflect on the role of Father in the family.

As Father’s day approaches this year a particular song keeps coming to my mind.  It is an emotional song for many sons and daughters. It’s called “Leader of the Band” and sung by Dan Fogelberg.  Some of the lyrics are:

The leader of the band is tired

and his eyes are growing old,

but his blood runs through my instrument

and his song is in my soul.


I thank you for the kindness

and the times when you got tough.

And, Pap, I don’t think

I said, “I love you” near enough.


My life has been a poor attempt

to imitate the man.

I’m just a living legacy

to the leader of the band.


The Father sets the tone (or tune) in the family – good or bad.  The influence on the family, on kids, is very significant, both through heredity and example. The Father’s blood runs through us in many influential ways.

What has been the impact of your father on you?  Have you wanted to be like your father or have you chosen to modify or do the opposite?  Usually “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.  It is important to know who your father was and what his influence has been on you.  Even if you did not have a father present, that abandonment by him has deeply impacted you – perhaps in ways that you are not very in touch with.

The message here is to know the influence of your father on you.  Perhaps you could reflect on that, get in touch with the related feelings, and, perhaps, even share that with a significant other.

Also, those of you who are currently fathers, what kind are you? Where can improvement be made?  Dare you ask your children what kind of father you are or have been?  If improvement is called for, rise to the occasion.  A Father always has some influence.

Make no mistake, you are called to be the “Leader of the Band”.  Let the “blood run deep.” Bring forth a beautiful song of love!  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!


“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates


“Caution: You Are In Your Comfort Zone”: Stagnating? Be Alerted!

Friday, June 9th, 2017

What’s wrong with my “comfort zone?” you may ask. I like being there is your probable response. Well, I have a perspective to offer you that maybe your “comfort zone” is not the best place for you to get all comfy in. I came across this concept from an article by Shelly Palmer who wrote an article entitled “Caution: You Are In Your Comfort Zone”. He writes compellingly about the danger of such existence. I would like to share some of his thoughts and add my own. Stay with me on this.

Mr. Palmers premise is that many people are uncomfortable engaging in thoughts that are outside of their personal perspective and bias and, thus, not open to changing some thoughts and behaviors accordingly. No change, no evolution, of who you are as a person is the result. Stagnation leads to disintegration.

Mr. Palmer uses the terms “echo chamber” and “reverberation” to explain his point of view. He says that the “echo chamber” is a place where like-minded people keep reinforcing each others’ views. After a while “reverberation” is the norm and your “comfort zone” is created. His argument is that “echo chambers” do not challenge our world views, they do not expand our minds, and they do not foster Socratic debate. They just blanket us in the comfort of what we want to hear. The “echo chamber is a closed-loop system that constantly feeds back on itself. Living in an echo chamber is not an evolutionary stable strategy.” He says we live in a “world with extraordinary filters. They can easily be programmed to only send us notifications of things we want to hear.”

The reason Mr. Palmer is encouraging people to get out of the “echo chamber comfort zone” is to invite people to be more open so that people can respect and understand other points of view. Fruitful dialogue ensues. Perhaps agreement is not the result, but perhaps seeds of a different way of thinking and acting may be planted.

Mr. Palmer says that if people do not get out of their “comfort zones” there will be “a cacophony of isolated echo chambers, each believing that they have the moral high ground, and each sure that their respective deity is on their side.” Isn’t it interesting to hear the various absolutes people us to buttress their opinion so that their view is the “right one”? Many people have trouble dealing with the grays of the world, the unclear, the relativity of many things. Rational thinking is overtaken by emotional “comfort zone” safety.




Respected Reader, are you stuck in your “comfort zone”, stifling new and challenging perspectives? Can you think of any particular areas where you get particularly defensive and/or adamant in your demeanor? Could others who know you well help you to know if you are or not? In my practice and observation through social media, I find a very rigid “hardening of the categories” present. Religion, politics, race, are some of the more fervently held “reverberations”. My hope is that my articles and this one in particular may encourage you to “think outside the box”, open the windows of your “echo chamber” and examine perspectives in some depth that are outside your “comfort zone”. It may be refreshing , stimulating, and motivating!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates