Posts Tagged "empathy"

How I deal with my teenager’s ‘disrespect’

(note: please forgive the brashness expressed in this article – my need for being with reality is bigger than any desire to be overly polite . . .) “Fuck you!” Those were the words that cut off my recent attempt-to-connect sentence coming out of my mouth: “Sweetie, let’s try talking abo-” As the door slammed behind my just-turned 13-year-old son, I tried picking my jaw off…

A Letter on behalf of our Relationship

The relationship request I wish I made years ago This year marks a quarter of a century since I first met and fell in love with my husband. As we’re from different cultures (I’m American, he’s Dutch), we’ve had a fair share of ups and downs for sure throughout our relationship. We have shown much love, trust and courage to each other which created countless moments…

Reduce conflict during family vacation!

I spent this summer vacation engaging in and attempting to observe family conflict. This “fieldwork” was challenging to say the least. It required me to take a helicopter view, even when I was emotionally involved. I set out to better understand why it is that we struggle to meet the essential extended holiday longings we all share, like: Why is it that despite each of us…

How anger can help you connect

If you’re anything like the old me, you’re probably confused at the notion that anger can be anything but disconnecting. I grew up with the belief that anger wasn’t o.k. As a result, if I ever felt and showed my anger, shame and guilt tagged right along with it. It was indeed a very disconnecting process in which I experienced double conflict: self-blame for allowing anger…

Emotions, useful? You bet – here’s the why and how

It’s not often I enjoy a “kid film” as much as I did this past summer’s Pixar hit, Inside Out. I laughed, I cried, I felt connected with myself (as things resonated with me) and also with my eight-year old daughter whose hand I squeezed all throughout. I kept thinking, “How wonderfully healthy for her and all other children to be watching this movie!” At some…

Connecting with Children in Need of Mourning

I was experiencing mixed emotions in anticipation of the day both my children stopped believing in Sinterklaas. On the one hand, I didn’t want the joy, the excitement, the “magic” to end for them. On the other hand, I was looking forward to the day I could have far more honest conversations with them, experience less pressure concerning filling their shoes AND to give them something…

How to get unstuck, gain balance, and feel more satisfied in life

Are you wondering how to get unstuck? Does this sound familiar? “I am always doing, in survival mode, juggling parenting, work, household duties, volunteering, social activities—and find myself in certain routines and patterns. How do I deal better with my chaotic and full head and experience more relaxation, satisfaction and balance in my life?” I asked myself a similar question the year I turned 40, engaged…

Applying NVC in Daily Parenting

I don’t like to give the impression that I “know good parenting.” I don’t even believe in the concept of “good vs. bad” anymore – it’s the root of so much comparison, blame, pain in our lives. Even the current popular term, “positive parenting” feels too loaded to me. So when I saw this little gem on “effective parenting 101,” I was inspired to write about…

Unconditional Parenting in Practice

Ahh, playground politics! A friend of mine recently said to me, “I didn’t get this down when I was a kid, and now I have to re-live it as a mother!?” Who (among us who spend any time picking up our kids from a Dutch school) doesn’t relate to that, I wonder? Today I was confronted with a hefty dose of it and found myself mediating…

A Fresh Start on Motherhood (with much thanks to NVC)

I knew I’d accomplished a serious milestone this past Christmas when I received a gift from my mother that touched me perhaps like none other ever has. The little wooden statue of a woman holding her child up in the air was immediately symbolic of so many positive things to me. As soon as I held it, the tears just came, and came. Why all the…

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