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Archive for the ‘Behaviors’ Category

Vacation time is here … and vacations provide some people with even more things to fight about than usual.

Here are a few possibilities that guarantee an argument.

Don’t make plans, so when vacation time comes, you can hang around the house, feel miserable, and blame everyone for not doing anything on vacation.

Go along with your partner’s suggestion to fly to your destination, and then complain the entire time about the cost of the airline tickets.

Plan a 2000-mile trip when you have only a week’s vacation. Drive like a madman to get to your destination and back home again.

Assume that you don’t need direc­tions to get to Aunt Lucy’s house, where you just visited seven years ago. When you get lost, don’t ask for directions. Also, yell at everyone else in the car because you’re lost.

Complain about money. For example, use these tried-and-true questions, “Why does everything cost so much money?” “Didn’t you realize how expensive this place was before you booked it?” “What do you kids think we’re made out of, money?”

Don’t forget to blame. For example, “I thought you had the plane tickets. I thought you packed the camera. Why didn’t you remember to bring the suitcases?”

Stick to your guns and accept no changes in plans. If it rains and you had planned to go to the beach, mope around and pout. Refuse to be consoled or get involved in any other activity. In other words, if you feel bummed out, make it a point to ruin everyone else’s day.

If your children become sick or cranky because they’re off schedule and overtired, get mad at them.

Insist that because this is a family vacation, everyone is going to do everything together.

Or you could decide that no matter where you go on vacation, you’ll accept the fact that you’ll probably run into some problems. You won’t criticize or blame or be moody or get too annoyed. You’ll prepare as much as possible. If you forget something, or you can’t do something, you’ll make the best of it. You’ll shrug, you’ll laugh, and you’ll enjoy experiencing life in a different way.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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I gathered ideas from a number of people who have felt that their host needed a little schooling in the art of making people feel welcome.

Here are their tips:

  • Find out when your guests will arrive. Try to be home to greet them or let them know if you’ll be late. People sort of wonder if their hosts want them to visit if they have to sit and wait on the doorstoop until their hosts arrive.
  • If your visitors are flying in, pick them up at the airport if possible, and try to meet them in the terminal. If they come by car, keep a lookout, and when they arrive, go out to greet them.
  • When you meet, shake their hands. Give them a big hug. Ask how the trip went. Tell
    them they look great; you like their new hair-do, their shirt, their purse. Help them with their luggage.
  • When they come in your house, offer them something to eat and drink. Ask if they want to go to their room or sit and visit for a few minutes first.
  • When you show your visitors to their room, a small bouquet of flowers on the dresser goes a long way in making them feel welcome. Also make sure the room is tidy and has clean sheets, tissues, an alarm clock, and a night light. Show guests how the windows work. Have a section of the closet and several drawers ready for them to use.
  • Put clean towels in the bathroom and fresh soap. Some guests bring their own
    toothpaste and hair dryers, but many don’t. So it’s a good idea to have these items available.
  • Explain about house noises and your animals’ habits. “Sometimes our cat jumps up on the bed. Just push her off.”
  • If you have a chiming clock, stop it. You may not hear it chiming every fifteen minutes, but they will.
  • Offer some ideas for fun things to do throughout the week. Give visitors some ideas
    and ask them to make some choices. “I thought one day we’d rent bikes in town and go biking. Another morning we could play golf, eat lunch in the village, and then take the gondola up the mountain.” Also, ask them what they would like to do.
  • Before your friends arrive, ask what foods they like. Do they eat breakfast? What do they like for lunch?
  • Have the refrigerator stocked, and tell them to help themselves. Have fruit and juices and a fresh coffee cake or brownies ready to snack on. If you’re a tea drinker but you know they like coffee, have a coffee pot and coffee ready. Invite guests to feel free to make their own coffee in the morning.
  • If your friends are staying more than a few days, suggest some places they might like to go by themselves while you attend to your business. This gives everyone time off to regroup.
  • If your guests have children, tell the youngsters your rules. “Please don’t mess with
    the fish tank. Don’t turn on the stereo without asking. Stay away from the dog next door.”

Also remember, even with the most compatible visitors, there will inevitably be a few tense moments. Expect them to occur and do some shrugging.

If you follow this list, your guests will feel welcome throughout their visit.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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The house guests are coming. Most people look with anticipation to the arrival of their guests. Within three or four days of that arrival, most people start looking to their departure. This rapid change from “I can’t wait till they get here” to “I can’t wait till they leave,” is prompted by several factors.

Most people are creatures of habit and need a certain structure in their lives. House guests change the familiar schedule. And as the days pass, the desire to get back to normal increases.

Most people also need privacy. When you add two, three, or four additional people to most houses, privacy is difficult. You can’t walk around the house as you’re used to; you can’t spontaneously discuss personal business.

Usually however, guests wear out their welcome with their own inappropriate behavior.

Here are a few hints I’ve collected from some disgruntled hosts. You might title their list

“How To Be a Good House Guest.”:

  • Make sure you’re invited. You may feel an overwhelming need to visit us, but do we want to see you?
  • When you arrive, check out the lay of the land. Don’t immediately start distributing presents.
  • Don’t expect us to always wait on and entertain you. If this is the kind of vacation you desire, go to a resort. These are my vacation days, too.
  • Leave your pets at home. And leave my pets alone. It aggravates me to no end when you tease my dog.
  • Although your stories are interesting and I love the fact that you’re well read, don’t fill every minute with talking. I like to be together without having to talk sometimes.
  • Please don’t ask me if you can smoke in my house. You know we don’t smoke. Your asking automatically sets the tone for a bad visit. If I say no, you feel annoyed. If I say yes, I feel annoyed. And please don’t throw your butts in my yard for me to pick up later. The last time you came, I picked up 217 butts.
  • Don’t ask me how much things cost. It’s none of your business.
  • Plan a day trip with your family alone. This will give us all some space.
  • Don’t keep the washer and dryer tied up all the time. I need to use them too.
  • Clean up after yourself. Put your dishes in the sink or dishwasher. Make your bed. Clean up after your children. Strip the beds when you leave.
  • Don’t tell me I need to re-pot my flowers, or cook my roast with a lid on it, or keep my doors locked. Don’t try to run my show.
  • Buy half the groceries, leave money for your half. Remember, we also live on a budget.
  • Pay for your own tickets when we go out in a group.
  • Rent a car. If you do borrow ours, refill it with gas.
  • Respect our bedtime. If you choose to stay up later, that’s fine, just keep it quiet.
  • Please don’t let your children turn on the television or stereo without asking, jump on the beds, chase our pets, put their feet on the furniture, eat in the living room, interrupt our conversations, mess with the blinds, help themselves to food in the refrigerator, or monopolize the telephone.
  • Don’t fight with your husband in front of us. Save the fights for when you’re in your own house.
  • Be grateful. Complimentary. Praise our house. On your return home, send a thank-you note and a gift of appreciation. And as one former host mused, “Don’t take the towels.”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Raising children is the perfect opportunity for improving yourself. As a parent you have many chances to learn humility, self-control, tolerance, fortitude, and patience.

For example, you may hear your children talking to each other in a way that is not attractive. Your reprimand must set an example for them. You must make your comment in a pleasant way.

When you confront them on the way they are talking to each other, they will turn their meanness on you. Your job will be to stay calm, stay polite, and stay on the issue.

Sometimes a child will come to you with a particularly tough complaint. What should he do about some boys who are pushing and shoving him when he goes to his locker?

If you offer to call the principal, he will tell you with a mean tone that your idea is dumb. Everyone will think he’s a baby.

If you tell him to try to avoid these bullies and not go to his locker during the day, he’ll say that’s a stupid idea. And then he’ll ask sarcastically how he could carry all his books and not go to his locker.

If you suggest that he take some of his friends along for protection when he goes to his locker, he’ll say you don’t understand.

You are trying to offer him help. Help he asked for. But somewhere along the way he has decided that you are the enemy.

This discussion will take every ounce of diplomacy and self-control on your part not to tell him to just go ahead and get beat up.

Daughters frequently come with hair problems. They hate their hair. It’s too curly or too straight, too fine or too thick. They also hate the cut and perm they insisted on getting. Because you paid for it, their hair is your fault. It takes courage and strength to let someone rant and rave at you and not defend or attack back.

Sometimes, out of concern for how your daughter feels about herself, you offer to help with her hair. But always the french braid you nimbly fix doesn’t look right to her. Or she thinks the way you comb her hair is old-fashioned.

If you are able to walk out of her room without saying anything in defense of yourself or leveling an attack against her, you have grown in understanding, tolerance, and charity.

One mother, as she was driving her daughter, who had complained of a headache, to school, asked, “Are you feeling better?” Her daughter’s hostile response, “No I’m sick.”

The mother then asked if her daughter had taken an aspirin. Again with hostility the daughter answered, “Yes, I have taken an aspirin. Stop asking me.”

A third time the woman tried to take care of her daughter by suggesting that maybe it would be better if she took a day off school. The daughter snapped, “I’m going.”

When the mother pulled her car into the school lot, she wanted to say, “Get out of the car, you brat.” What she said was, “Have a nice day.” This mother showed restraint and caring.

If you want to become a better person, your children will provide you with many opportunities to practice.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

 

 

 

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I met a woman at a bridal shower once, and she said she used to read my column and watch me on television. Then she said that the one thing she regrets in her life…that she didn’t go back to work after her children were raised. After all, she had a college degree, she said.

I said, “Go back to work now.”

She laughed and said that she was in her seventies and it was too late.

She then said that a regret her husband had is that he didn’t go to medical school. He was offered a scholarship but opted to sell suits at a local department store for nine dollars a week.

Another woman said that she regrets not going back to school and finishing her education. When she was in her thirties she regretted this; when she was in her forties she regretted it; and now she is in her mid-sixties and she still regrets it.

Then this woman asked me if I had any regrets. I said that actually I had been thinking about this very thing recently, and one thing I regret is that I have baked about 2000 pies since I’ve been married. Everyone laughed when they heard my regret, but I think of all the cholesterol and sugar I have consumed and all the time I could have spent reading novels and being with my children.

Another regret I have thought of since is that I yelled too much at our first child when he forgot his lunch, which was almost daily.

I’d be driving him and his brother to school when he would inform me that he had forgotten his lunch. Since the school didn’t have a cafeteria, I was always faced with deciding whether to go back home for his lunch and be late for work, or take him to school and hope that a hungry stomach would teach him to be more responsible.

Thinking back, I could have gotten around this whole ugly scene, in which I would lecture, he would feel miserable, and then I’d feel guilty. I could have taken it upon myself to bring his lunch. I could have found other ways to teach responsibility besides insisting that he remember his lunch bag.

My daughter forgot her lunch once too. I asked her what she was going to do. She assured me that one of her friends would share her lunch. I said that was nice.

I drove away from her school with no regrets.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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A sixth-grade school teacher confessed that he hadn’t been nice to his students that day. He had been impatient and needlessly sarcastic. All day he had radiated a negative attitude. Usually he would have gone home, mentally chided himself, and felt guilty.

The problem with such a response is that it does no one any good. The students, who are still smarting from the day, as well as the teacher, gain nothing.

“This time I decided that instead of punishing myself by feeling guilty, and then forgiving myself,” said the teacher, “I would change my behavior.”

The following day he went to school armed with resolve to be a good teacher. He marched energetically through his lesson plan. He compli­mented his students’ accomplishments. He tried extra hard to be patient. He worked in a game his students love playing. At the end of the day he felt great.

Often a person is quite aware that he has acted badly – on the job, with his children, with a neighbor. He may even mentally scold himself for his actions. But what is more productive is a change in future behavior.

Guilt is like a flashing yellow light. It is a signal that you’re doing something wrong.

This week resolve that every time you feel guilty over some behavior, you’ll change course. If you’re dilly-dallying over a decision that affects someone else, stop the guilt and make the decision. If you feel guilty because you’ve dropped the ball and haven’t returned a telephone call, turn off the guilt and call the person. If guilt besets you because you’ve been grumpy and out of sorts, adjust your attitude. If you feel guilt because you usually run late, fight too much with your children, don’t see your parents enough, eat too much junk food – pay attention to what guilt is telling you.
Change your behavior.

Guilt is a wake up call to alter actions.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Connie couldn’t wait to get home and tell her husband Pete that she had gotten a raise. To set the scene, she picked up some steaks, greens for salad, baking potatoes, French bread, a bottle of wine, strawberries for dessert, and a bouquet of tulips for the table.

When Pete walked in, she handed him a glass of wine. Then she said, “Tonight we are having a celebration. I got a raise, a big raise.”

When Pete heard the numbers, he sighed dejectedly and said, “Now you’ll be making more than me.”

At first Connie felt a twinge of pain for Pete, but when she realized a few minutes later that Pete was telling her about a meeting that he had that day, she became angry. She confronted Pete: “You never support me emotionally.”

Another wife told her husband that she was really worried about their money situation. Instead of letting her talk about her worries, the husband immediately assumed that she was accusing him of not making enough money. His assumption switched the focus from his wife and her worries, to him and how much money he made. As a consequence, the wife was not supported emotionally.

The other day I saw a young man in therapy who said his girlfriend is always accusing him of not giving her emotional support.

Just what is this elusive thing that women keep telling men that they want?

Men, here it is!

Emotional support means focusing on her and being empathetic to what she is saying and feeling. It means letting her express her thoughts and feelings and trying to understand. For example, if she is crying, let her cry. Maybe put your arm around her. Don’t try to talk her out of crying. Let her express her feelings. If she is excited about a raise, be happy with her. Don’t get competitive by thinking about your salary.

Another way to give emotional support is to let your mate talk through a problem if this is what she wants to do. Even though you think you see an obvious solution, keep your mouth shut.

Following up and checking back is another way to give emotional support. If she has a doctor’s appointment in the morning that she is concerned about, call and find out how it went. If she is having trouble with a friend, ask if the relationship is going better.

Perhaps one of the most difficult ways of giving emotional support is to listen when your wife or girlfriend is angry or disappointed with you. If you defend yourself and tell her why she shouldn’t be angry or disappointed, you are not hearing the issue from her perspective. Hearing it from her perspective is giving emotional support.

Giving emotional support means listening and responding without passing judgment, or trying to solve the problem, or switching the subject. It means trying to understand and respond to what your wife or girlfriend is feeling and thinking. It means making her the center of your attention.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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