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March 2014

Stephanie & Paul, April 2007

We come together and treat each other in a spirit of love, joy and peace, to support the missions of each individual family, to celebrate our similarities and our differences, to work through our misunderstandings, to help each other out, and to enjoy making memories together.

−Stephanie & Paul, April 2007

Family Mission Statements

From Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People/Families: Examples: 1. To teach ourselves to get a good education and become financially responsible, we will treat misbehavior and crises as learning opportunities. 2. To stick together always, we will be loyal to each other and the family, making sure those we bring into the family don’t divide it. 3. To show respect to older family members, all children will be taught …Read More

Family Missions and Rules

Steven Covey’s best-selling book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People made a great case for individuals and families to draw up mission statements. He suggested the mission be timeless (ongoing), and that the statement include both the means and ends (the hows and whys) for the mission. Different families have different top priorities. I’ve seen families that were dedicated to such goals as staying together, getting educated, making money, respecting family elders, …Read More

Family Meetings

Now and then in the life of every family, parents need to call a family meeting. Some common purposes include solving a problem, making a decision, planning family outings or activities, or understanding and getting along with a rebelling family member. Some families hold meetings once a week, but regular meetings work better once a month or every other week to keep them special. Others are held whenever the need …Read More

Side-Stepping Second-Hand Stress

We learned last week twelve ways that emotional bullies and master manipulators dump their pressures and problems onto us. Assuming now that you can identify these stress-inducing behaviors that will trigger your bogus pressure alarm, how can you keep people from throwing you under the busload of stress that they carry around? How do you avoid absorbing someone’s second-hand stress? Here are some ways that are polite, and respectful of …Read More

Second-Hand Stress

As a follow-up for my recent columns on Coping with Difficult People, here is some assertiveness training for dealing with emotional bullies or master manipulators. The key is to see the invisible force they hit you with–stress. When somebody “stresses” you, according to the dictionary, they are subjecting you to pressure or strain. The verb “subject” literally means to throw somebody under something, like the proverbial bus, or in this …Read More

Coping with Difficult People (Part 2)

This column and the previous one are for people who are deeply frustrated with someone at home or at work. If most other people have the same problems getting along with this difficult person, your first step to making your peace is to understand your enemy. Last week I explained how during hard times growing up, we all develop a character style. That’s the characteristic ways we’ve developed to handle feelings and relationships, …Read More

Coping with Difficult People

Perhaps you’ve got someone in your life that year after year you just can’t get along with. Let’s call this person “Pat”. You might want to ask yourself these questions: 1. Do other people have the same problems with Pat? If some people do not, find out how they get along with Pat, and imitate their approach. If you’re related to Pat as a spouse, a former spouse, a parent, …Read More

Guilt, Bogus Guilt, and Shame

If you’re feeling bad about yourself, you might as well do it up right. Make something good come out of it. You can do it three different ways, and though they all feel pretty much the same at the time, the way you think and talk to yourself determines whether you end up feeling better or worse in the end. Let’s look at three ways to do guilt and shame, …Read More

How to Work a Good 12-Step Program

What exactly is a 12-step program? It is the people, principles and practices of recovery from addiction that was started by Alcoholics Anonymous back in the 1930’s. To work a program successfully, you need all three—the people, principles and practices. You can’t just read and learn at home, just go to meetings and call your sponsor, or just change your ways.  To recover you need to do it all. 12-step …Read More