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Boundaries vs. Barriers

Boundaries mark the healthy space we put in between ourselves and other people in normal daily social interaction.   We share an understanding of our boundaries with other people we encounter by giving them verbal, nonverbal and visual cues.  Shared and communicated boundaries enable us all to feel comfortable within the definitions of our particular relationships. People who do not learn to set, share and express boundaries often have problems with other people overstepping, taking advantage and literally walking all over them.   People who are reluctant or reticent to set their own boundaries often invite into their lives just the kinds of people who can be invasive, inappropriate and even abusive.  It is good to be a door-opener, but not a door mat! Some people are challenged by being unable to detect social … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blessings, Featured, gratitude, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, self confidence

Trust is Something you Give

A clean and sober alcoholic reaches out to save a homeless alcoholic who later breaks into his house, attempts to rob him, and ends up stabbing him to death… A long time trusted  church bookkeeper is found to be stealing hundreds of thousands from the church that trusted her…. A “benevolent” man approaches a homeless mom and her children begging for money outside of a department store.  The man befriends the family, takes them inside the store, buys them all kinds of things they need, and wins their trust. During shopping spree he offers to run out for some burgers for the whole family. The naïve and innocent daughter offers to go with him and the desperate mom has a moment of ill-fated trust.  The child is later found dead, the registered … Read entire article »

Filed under: Featured, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, self confidence

Dear Mom

Dear Mom, I am so grateful you are my mom, and that you are still on the planet with us. I love you. I appreciate your wisdom, and respect your deep intuition and care. Thanks for giving me life, caring for me, walking me through the stages, getting me a toy after each of the many shots the doctor gave me. Thanks for helping me to be an individual by dressing me in cute and awkward clothes. Thanks for rescuing me from my bad dreams and night terrors. Thanks for unconditionally accepting me. Thanks for all the thousands of chats on the phone, and for still being able to give me a pep talk in a moment of adversity. Thanks for all of my birthday parties. Thanks for grandma and grandpa and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blessings, Common Ground, Featured, gratitude, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, self confidence

Parenting a Child with Bad Behavior

Your 6 year old is demanding a cookie before dinner.  It starts with a request and escalates to a demand and all the way to a temper tantrum and a fit; screaming, yelling, threatening, holding the entire family hostage to the tirade.  Everyone is angry and upset at each other.  You’re having a disturbed dinner, often  going to bed without resolution.  The whole house is turned upside down. It has worked before many times! And it will work again! The child has gotten his way. Your 11-year-old makes everyone late for school or work every day.  He dawdles,  reads, plays on his computer,  teases his older sister and the dog intermittently or goes back to bed instead of getting ready. When asked, told, ordered or even threatened, he acts as if he doesn’t … Read entire article »

Filed under: Common Ground, gratitude, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships

The Young Man with the Missing Hand Part 2

We are all missing something.  Some of us are fortunate enough to know what it is and will be able to learn the lesson that lives in its place.  It must be more painful for someone to know something is missing but to not know what it is.  It must be even more painful to find out that the thing that you will soon be missing is your life.  That is my not my story for now.  The lesson that is mine to learn now is illusive and beautiful and revealing and true.  The truth has a perfect juxtaposition of joy and sadness.  I get to go on and bring more lessons to myself and others.  That is my gift. And so, I walk forward in anticipation, trepidation, hope and glory … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blessings, Common Ground, gratitude, Relationships, self confidence

Parenting our Teens; Helping them with their Stress- Part 1

This article is about how stress causes problems in our teens like self harm, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and suicide In case you don’t have time to read this, but want the information, here you go: Spend enough quality time with your teens and pre-teens so that you continue to know them and have healthy attachment through these difficult years. Have a clear view of what the parameters of “normal” are for your child, and pay attention to behaviors that call out for help. Sometimes these behaviors will seem like they are intended to alienate you, but don’t fall for it. Not being a therapist or a clinician, I see it as appropriate for me to refrain from description, diagnosis, analysis or suggested remedy for these challenges, and for the rise in their … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blessings, children's music studies, Common Ground, Featured, gratitude, Jewish Community Events, Oakland A's, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, self confidence, summer camp, teen driving

30 is the new 10, or at best 20; Raising an adult child

I recently had lunch with my old buddy and his 35 year-old son.  As we were celebrating that “50” is the “new 60”, and “50” is the “new 40”, he chimed in, yeah and “30 is the new 10”.  We all laughed at that comment! There are many, many young adults between the ages of 18-35 who have successfully moved into adulthood. (How To Be and Adult) and my blog 18 steps to becoming an adult.   If your grown child falls into the category of being a true adult, is self-supporting and self-empowered, then kudos to you for your contribution as a parents, and kudos to them for stepping up and showing up.  This article may not apply to them or you. However, if you are in the growing group of parents … Read entire article »

Filed under: gratitude, parenting advice, parenting help, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, self confidence

Choosing the Role of Step-Parent Part II

Put boundaries around your financial contributions. Some couples just throw it all together and some keep it separate and well–defined.  At least in California, the courts do not consider a step-parent’s income as part of the biological parent’s income.  Keeping separate accounts, and having clarity of the step-parent’s contribution to the costs of the house, food etc. allows for the step-parent to gift the family as able, and prevents conflicts about money, expenses, or who is paying for what.  It is good for a step-parent to feel that financial contributions are voluntary rather than obligatory. Be mindful, respectful and sensitive to physical and emotional boundaries of step-children.  They are not the same as your biological children.  The attachments differ significantly depending on the age the children were when you entered their … Read entire article »

Filed under: parenting advice, parenting tips, Relationships

W.I.M.P? or, What is my part?

Here is some great advice for parenting teens.  You just had an argument with your son   or daughter, or even your father, mother, boss, colleague, teacher, friend, somebody-in-law.  In your mind, it is obvious that you are right, and they are wrong!  There is no question about it.  It is all their fault.  If it wasn’t for them there would not be a problem.  Ask anyone, it will be obvious that I am right.  I am waiting for an apology, this time it is clear, and I am not backing down. Do you recognize this internal conversation?  When parenting teens, it is almost never the total fault of one side.  Occasionally, you are 99.99% right and .01% wrong, but rarely 100%.  If you believe the magical thinking that you can be … Read entire article »

Filed under: parenting advice, parenting teens, parenting tips, Relationships, Uncategorized

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