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Two ways of looking at the world—as inspired by philosopher Martin Buber

We can look at the world as if it is there to serve and benefit us.  Be assertive; be aggressive, dominant and controlling.   We can determine the value of a relationship by how much we get from it.  How much money, professional advancement or prestige can we get from an association with a particular person?  How much attention, adoration, support, and emotional help can we get from someone?  Whether we are dealing in business, personal relationship, service relationship, customer relationship, client relationship or colleague relationship, the person can become a “commodity” or a “consumable” if we are not careful. I have just described what 19th/20th century philosopher Martin Buber characterized as the “I”/“It” relationship. The other is called “I/thou”.  In this kind of relationship, ideally, we can expect that in every person we … Read entire article »

Filed under: Relationships

Cell Phones and Your Teens…Did you know?

You can have your cell phone carrier allow only certain phone numbers to be called and received on your teen’s phone?  These can be limited to your number, and other emergency numbers until they earn back the trust you expect.  You can reward them with one added, trusted friend at a time, with your permission.  And, by the way, you can let them know that the privilege of having a phone includes their agreement to answer or call you right back when you call or text 80% of the time. Remember who is paying for the phone, the bill, the texting, data plan, etc.  Parents have successfully raised and protected kids without the help of cell-phones for millenniums!  Also, be a good model.   Use only hands free cell phones when in the car, and only when absolutely … Read entire article »

Filed under: parenting advice, parenting teens, parenting tips

Who is the Problem?

People cannot be problems; problems are problems.  If, in our dealings with our children, we slip into a place where, whether or not we intend it, our child feels like we think they “are the problem”, defenses will go up, and willingness to deal with the issues will go down.  We behave similarly when our children treat us as if “we are the problem”.  So how can we identify the real problem, and move it towards the middle? Here are some examples: Danny is inattentive and sometimes disruptive in class.  The teacher thinks the student is the “problem”. Danny thinks the teacher is the “problem”.  The parents think the teacher and the student are the “problem”.  The teacher suspects that the parents are the “problem”.  Sarah is generally negative and unresponsive and unusually contrary. You’ve … Read entire article »

Filed under: parenting advice, parenting teens, parenting tips