Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

Making New Years’ Resolutions? How About a Family Report Card for 2013?

Happy Holidays!  I imagine a lot of you will be making New Year’s resolutions. I was thinking about how ambitious and yet ambiguous something like “have a better family life” is as a goal to set. How would you know if you did “better” in 2013 as a family?

That’s when I remembered some interesting research on healthy families by Curran and Dolores.  They discovered that healthy families have 15 similar attributes. Here they are:

15 Traits Shared by Healthy Families

  1. Communicates and listens
  2. Validates and supports each other
  3. Teaches respect for others
  4. Develops trust
  5. Has a healthy sense of humor and has fun
  6. Shares responsibilities
  7. Teaches a sense of right and wrong
  8. Has a strong sense of family, with rituals and traditions
  9. Balances the interactions among members
  10. Has a shared religious background  (I’ll have to write more on my thoughts about this later)
  11. Respects the privacy of each other
  12. Values service to others
  13. Promotes family meals with conversation
  14. Shares leisure time
  15. Admits to and seeks help with problems
    (Curran, Dolores Traits of a Healthy Family, Winston Press, 1983)

If these traits were subjects on a report card, how did you do for each in 2013?

If you wanted to improve your grade in each subject area for 2014, what would you need to do? Can you turn those thoughts into concrete, measurable action steps?  What will it look like when you reach your goal?

Hopefully with some imagination and using these 15 traits as starting place, you’ll be able to set some really concrete and attainable goals for your family life in the year ahead.

Happy New Year and may you have a joyous year ahead!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Holiday Stress is All in Our Heads

A few weeks ago, I was complaining that I had a little black cloud following me around. An unexpected flat tire, a cut finger that took me to the emergency room, and on and on….

But actually, that little black cloud was not over me. Rather, it resides inside me.  It’s so true, and it speaks to one of the most powerful and important Adlerian principles, one of human beings’ most terrific qualities, and one that we under-utilize: our ability to be “creative.”

By creative, I don’t mean you need to be a talented painter or dance like Martha Graham. What I mean is that while we may not be able to change our situation, we can always choose our attitude about our situation. We decide!

When a car cuts me off, I can get angry or think: “Boy, he must be rushing somewhere important. Maybe he is rushing to the hospital because his wife went into labour!”  Or “It’s a good thing he cut me off, I am good defensive driver – someone else might have been in a collision!”

It goes to follow then that our stressful life events are really perceptions, and therefore self-created.  We choose to respond with a stress reaction to things. We could choose not to! Imagine – stress free living!  It’s all in your head!  If you want a much more persuasive argument, try reading Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning.  His book explores this topic and was written while he was interned in a Nazi prison camp.  If human creativity is possible under those conditions, then it can certainly be accomplished during the holidays, for Pete’s sake!

So I have decided to dry up my black cloud and fully enjoy my winter holiday.  I refuse – absolutely refuse  – to be anything but happy and joyful.  How about you?

Repeat after me:

  • I refuse to let a full parking lot cost me my happiness – I will wait patiently and listen to music.
  • I refuse to panic over not finding the perfect present – I trust anyone receiving a gift from me will receive whatever they get in gratitude. And if they don’t – shame on them!
  • I refuse to freak out over the state of my house – I will appreciate that I actually have a roof over my head and that I am blessed with friends who will visit me!

Happy holidays, everyone!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Meaningful Family Holiday Traditions & Gifts That Give Back

Yesterday, my brother was telling me about a project he and my 11-year old niece came up with. They are spending time together making winter scarves and offering them as a thank you to anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Salvation Army. What a great father – daughter undertaking at this time of year.

He went on to tell me that instead of a holiday gift exchange, his children had all agreed to a have a “good – deed exchange”. Instead of supporting mass commercialism, they would give of their time and energies to help each other, or folks in need. Okay, now that really speaks to me about what this holiday season is supposed to be about.

His family is not alone. I have another close friend whose family has decided to have one big family party instead of a gift exchange. The adults are having a potluck supper and enjoying each other’s company without anyone feeling the burden of “cooking and hosting” the traditional meal. The children are painting T-shirts together as a remembrance of family and the holidays.  The holiday money is being used to finance a family trip to be together.

These two families reminded me that we don’t have to keep up with old holiday traditions – we can make our own meaningful new ones. They challenge our thinking: do you really need MORE “stuff”? Maybe some time together is really what your children are aching for.

I am not sure I can do away with being a gift giver that quickly, but I have decided that I’d rather put my money towards experiences we can all enjoy together: Theatre tickets, a family pass on a ski hill, that sort of thing.

Just a thought you might want to noodle around too.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Related Posts with Thumbnails