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Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhood Counselor’

When your mate is overweight, best keep your mouth shut if you hope to have a good relationship.

Is your mate overweight? Do you try to monitor what your husband or wife eats? If so, you’re probably caught in a not-so-nice power struggle.

A woman told me that she had bought a chocolate cake but needed to hide it so her husband wouldn’t eat it. As she’s talking I’m thinking, “The guy’s almost 50. He should be the master of his food intake. Her telling him what to eat is not going to make him a happy camper. He’s going to resent it. She’s putting herself in the bad guy category because when she directs her husband what to eat and not eat, he feels resentful.”

When given this kind of feedback many women respond, “Yes, but I don’t want him dying on me because he has clogged arteries and is overweight.” What I say: “I doubt if your harping is going to keep your husband alive. Besides, you’re not with him every waking hour. If he wants to eat or overeat, he will. He’ll just do it behind your back. In policing one’s mate, you become the nag while your mate becomes the sneak. Ridiculous!

If your husband is overweight or has a health problem and should not be eating certain foods, it’s up to him to restrict his diet. The best way you can help is to have healthy food in the house and provide a good example by eating healthily yourself.

Here’s another frequent weight issue. A woman’s angry because her husband wants her to lose weight. She’s put on 60 pounds in the last four years and he no longer finds her attractive. She is angry and asks if it’s fair for him to expect that she lose weight.

Gaining or losing weight has nothing to do with fairness. If your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse finds you unattractive because of the extra pounds, and you want to be attractive to him or her, then it’s important to lose the weight.

What about the father who’s unhappy with his teenage daughter about her weight? He should stay away from the weight issue except to provide good role modeling by eating healthily. Teenagers who are overweight are painfully aware of the fact. Comments such as, “I thought you were watching your weight,” or “You’d really be beautiful if only …” do not serve parent or child. You also don’t want to chip away at the already fluctuating self-esteem that many overweight teenagers have. Instead focus on your child’s attributes and decide to look beyond her weight.

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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When people don’t do what they say they will do, and manifest many passive aggressive behaviors, when do you stop being patient and take action.

Our new wood floor in our living room is popping up along the baseboard. We’re not sure what’s causing the problem. In fact, no one seems to be sure. About eight months ago I called a company to come and give us an estimate to fix the floor.

When the appointment time came, no one arrived. About a half hour later I got a call and the gentleman explained that one of his grandchildren had taken sick, so he couldn’t make the appointment. I said fine, and we set another time.

The next appointment, the fellow was about a half hour late. He looked at the floor, said he could fix it, gave me a bid right there and then, and said he would drop off color samples on Thursday as the floor was also going to be restained. Before he left he asked if he could take some of the wood pieces that had popped up in order to determine why they were buckling.

I hesitated, but then agreed when the fellow reassured me he would be dropping everything off on Thursday — three days from now.

That was eight months ago. The guy never came with the samples and never returned my wood flooring. After numerous telephone calls where he promised to drop the wood off, I finally asked to speak with the president of the company. Imagine my surprise to find that the man I was dealing with was the owner of the company.

About four months into my struggle to get my wood back, the man’s assistant admitted that he had lost the pieces somewhere in his van. I said, “Okay, just make me some new pieces.”

Then one day, one of the saleswomen for the company arrived at our door and wanted another two pieces to determine the right color. She took the two pieces with a promise that all the wood would be back that very week. Thanksgiving passed. Christmas passed. Twelve weeks later I was still making what I considered polite calls requesting my wood planking.

Two weeks ago I woke up on the wrong side. I got out of bed, poured myself coffee, and called the company. I told the person on the other end of the line (poor lady) that I did not have a beef with her, but I wanted my flooring pronto, now, immediately, today. And if I did not get it, I was going to report their bloody company to the better business bureau. In the meantime, I was going to notify every developer and builder in the area making known the hassle I was having with this particular floor company.

At ten twenty that morning I got a call telling me I could pick up my samples.

I’ve lived long enough to know that mistakes happen and not everything goes as planned. To get all bent out of shape over every issue is a waste of energy. But sometimes you have to draw the line and move to the position that enough is enough.

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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When your moodiness is beginning to affect your marriage and family, it’s time to do something about it.

Are you a moody person? Do you have to deal with someone who’s moody? A mate? A boss? A child? A co-worker?

In a marriage counseling session, a husband complained that the past weekend had not been good. His wife had been in one of her moods.

I asked the wife what the husband meant. She shrugged and looked at him. He said, “Just what she’s doing now. She won’t talk; she refuses to comment on what you say; she acts like the kids and I don’t exist. And it doesn’t matter what we do to try to be nice.” He explained that the family can clean the house, cook the meals, and buy her a present, and she still won’t snap out of it. In fact, last year their eleven-year-old gave her a coffee mug that said, “Snap Out of It.”

I asked Marilyn if what her husband was describing about her was accurate. She shrugged and said yes. Then she said, “It’s just the way I am.” When she gets in one of those moods, she said, she wants people to leave her alone. Not talk to her, not try to cheer her up.

I asked how often her moodiness struck. She said a few times a month. Her husband said about once a week.

How long do her moods last? They both agreed — two or three days.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as a problem. She was noncommittal but added that all her family was like this and her husband had known she was moody before he married her.

He said he had thought her moodiness was because of the stress of the wedding and her dad being sick at the time. He never dreamed it would be something he’d have to live with for the rest of their married life.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as something she wanted to work on to make things better at home with her husband and children.

She said, “Not particularly.”

I asked if she understood how destructive her moods were to her marriage, her children, and herself.

She wanted to know how.

I said that each time she gets in one of her moods, she emotionally leaves the family. She’s not available for anyone. She closes everyone out. She discounts everyone’s existence. She sucks up the family’s energy as all wait for her to be in a better mood. And I said I suspect during her moodiness she can’t possibly enjoy life or feel close to anyone.

She asked what she could do about her moods. I said she’d have to want to make a change. And I wasn’t so sure she was ready. She agreed.

I said my usual routine would be to quickly review her childhood and see who she learned this behavior from and how it served her as a child. This would take no more than a half session. I’d also send her to her doctor to make sure she was okay physically. I’d have her make a list of the advantages she saw in being moody.

She said, “Such as?”

I said, “Well, when you’re moody, everyone is watching you, trying to please you. Maybe you get out of cooking, doing housework. Maybe you get to take a nap, guilt free. People don’t keep a behavior around unless they get a payoff. Sometimes understanding the payoff helps people give up the behavior.”

Another thing — when a bad mood starts, I want her to do some things immediately to help herself shake it off. Research shows that if you get a project going such as cleaning the garage, or if you do something for someone else such as running an errand, your bad mood will dissipate. Also, no television or alcohol when she’s in a bad mood, as both of these things exacerbate the bad feelings.

She said, “You feel pretty strongly about getting me to be in a better mood.”

I said, “I do because it’s miserable for your family and ultimately miserable for you.

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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If you do something for someone else make sure it’s for the right reasons.

I spoke to a woman in therapy who is annoyed with her mother. She says her mother volunteers to do things for her church group, such as prepare a meal or drive someone to the doctor’s. Then her mother complains about everything she does for others and that they don’t appreciate it.

I asked the woman why she thought her mother complained about being a good samaritan.

“Because she wants a pat on the back for everything she does,” she said. But, she added, “I don’t want to give her a pat on the back. Instead I’d like to slap her for her complaining.”

I told the woman I thought a slap was a bit drastic, to which she agreed.

It is a curious thing, however, that people volunteer to take care of others or jump in and take responsibility and then become irritated because they have so much to do. Or they feel mistreated because they don’t get the recognition they think they deserve.

This phenomenon is especially prevalent at Christmastime. A woman shops like mad for her family and all her relatives. Although shopping is work, she mostly enjoys the hustle and bustle of the mall. Each time she picks out a present, she gives herself a pat on the back: “What a good gift-giver am I.”

Sometimes she shows off her purchases to relatives and friends. But if the people she has shopped for are not as grateful as she thinks they should be, she’s miffed.

Now she moves into a victim mode and gets to fret and criticize and think, “After all I do for them.” In some ways she is double-dipping. She gets to enjoy herself while shopping and give herself strokes for being a good person. Then she allows herself to complain about how she’s being taken for granted. If she fusses loud enough, perhaps a few more nods of recognition will come her way.

If this scenario sounds familiar, decide that your reward is the pleasure you derive from shopping, giving and focusing on others. Decide, too, that you won’t grumble if people aren’t as appreciative as your efforts deserve. Remember the enjoyment you receive when in the act of doing for others. Don’t attach a string!

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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How one woman handled her husband’s affair.

When Joan received an anonymous phone call informing her that her husband was having an affair, she said that she couldn’t breathe. “I think the phone call confirmed what I vaguely suspected,” she said.

“My husband, who had always been easygoing, had became hostile.” When Joan tried to find out why he was leaving so early in the morning for his job or what time he was coming home from work, he acted as if it were none of her business. “He also bought himself some new sweaters and pants, tennis shoes, and loafers.” When Joan shared information about her life or the children’s, her husband would act uninterested.

“I was spending a lot of hours at work, so I think I dismissed the changes that were occurring.”

After the phone call, Joan started checking her husband’s caller ID. She looked more carefully at the bank statements and the charge card bills. There were bills from florists and restaurants. “Restaurants we never went to. Flowers I never saw,” she said.

At first Joan thought of killing herself. “I just couldn’t make sense of it because I thought we had a good marriage. My husband even said we had a good marriage.”

When Joan confronted her husband, he gave up the affair reluctantly. He said, however, that he had never thought of getting out of their marriage. He bought his wife gifts, apologized, and tried to reassure her. When Joan would get angry and berate him, he’d take it. He refused to fight back and he kept telling her he was sorry.

After two or three years, Joan said she brought up the affair less and less. “I could actually get through an argument and not mention the affair. I still have pain, but I no longer obsess on how my husband could do this to me.”

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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When parents stand their ground, children may not be happy.
“This week I developed a backbone,” a mother told me.

She decided to get tough when she looked at her daughter’s pay stub and discovered that she had earned less than $60 during an entire semester of college. Why? Because her daughter chose to work only a few hours a week. “And she only takes four courses,” said the mother in disbelief.

“Her father and I are working hard to pay bills and scrape by and give her spending money”

After seeing how little her daughter was working, the mother vowed that she no longer would give her money to go out with friends for lunch, or go to the movies, or pay her cell phone bill. “My daughter has money in the bank,” said the mother, “so she can spend her own money. And if she runs out, she can work more.”

Here are two more stories of mothers who found their backbone. “Last week school was canceled because of snow. My house was full of boys ranging in age from nine to fifteen,” said Julie. “I made snacks, dried their wet clothes in my dryer, repeatedly cleaned up the wet floor, and kept some sense of order. One little boy stayed for dinner and then watched a movie with us.”

The next day when this mother announced she was going shopping with her friend for a few hours, she took all kinds of grief from her 10-year old son. Where was she going, he wanted to know. “Why can’t I go too? What am I supposed to do all day? When will you be home?” he whined. The kicker came when he asked, “Well, will you at least take me to the mall tonight?”

When these tactics didn’t get him the results he wanted, he confronted his mother about her spending. He said, “You told me I couldn’t buy anything for a month, but you’re going to.”

The mother said nothing.

Another mother had a similar experience. “The first day it snowed, a friend of my daughter’s came over,” said the mother. “They baked cookies. Then four other teenagers came by the house, and they all went sledding. When the six of them came back, my husband and I were watching a mystery on television. The kids wanted to watch a football game, so my husband and I gave up our mystery and the kids watched the game in the family room. We went upstairs to read because we don’t have cable upstairs and the mystery was on cable.” The daughter’s friend also spent the night.

The following day, this mother announced that she would be taking her car. She had to work that morning and was going shopping with her friend in the afternoon. The daughter had a fit. “What about me?” the daughter wanted to know. “I need the car. We were planning on going to lunch and shopping.”

“I’ll drop you off at the mall,” the mother suggested. The daughter declined.

“Can’t you take your friend’s car?” the daughter begged. “She can drive her car.”

The mother said no. She wanted to drive her own car because it had four-wheel drive. The mother found her backbone.

One thing to keep uppermost in mind when parenting: Do not expect your children to be happy when you put yourself first or take care of yourself instead of them. Don’t expect your children to be happy when you say no. Don’t expect your children to say, “I’ve had enough fun, Mom; now it’s your turn”.

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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Sometimes when we asked others for help or their opinion we must be open to suggestions.

I wrote a letter the other day outlining a business plan. I gave it to my husband for proofing, something I do when I want his input or I think I’ve written an exceptional letter and I want his “Atagirl.”

After reading the letter, my husband said, “I don’t think this is up to your usual standards.”

I asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

He said he wasn’t sure, but it didn’t work for him.

I said, “I need more information. What doesn’t work?”

He said he wasn’t sure.

I then took the letter and reread it. Since I couldn’t see what he could, I asked if he would go over it line by line. He countered with, “How about if I look at it again and make margin notes.” I said, “Fine.”

A half hour later I looked at his notes and told him he didn’t understand the situation. He shrugged and said okay. I took the letter and went back to my computer and again revised. As I was writing, I could see my letter improving based on his suggestions. When I finished, I proudly handed the letter back to my husband. He read it for the third time and said, “It’s still not right.”

When I asked what was not right, he said he couldn’t exactly say.

Unfortunately, I then told him I was the writer in the family and I had seen some goofy letters he sent out. With that I picked up my letter and went back to the computer.

After an hour of revisions, I contritely went back to my husband with letter in hand. I told him I was sorry for what I’d said and asked if he would please read the letter again because I did value his input. And further, no matter what he said, I would be good.

Being a very patient and kind-hearted fellow, he once again read my letter and proclaimed that it was fine.

One day a woman telephoned all in a stew. She had received a bad performance review after working at her company for 25 years. She was afraid this review was the beginning of the end. She had written a letter in response to her review and wanted to know if I would look at the letter. I said, “Sure, what’s your time frame?”

She said she thought she should respond by tomorrow. I said, “Fine, email it to me.” She said her email was down. She asked if she could just read the letter over the telephone.

As she got into the letter, it was obvious that it needed a good deal of work. I gave her a number of suggestions. I could hear that she was becoming annoyed with my suggestions, since each suggestion meant more work for her. I said I had to leave but I would call her later and we could work on it again. She said she would try again to email the letter.

I asked that she make the changes we had discussed. She agreed. Four hours later when I looked at the email, I found the changes had not been made. She had not worked on the letter. I could see that the letter was becoming my responsibility.

This all leads me to the following:

When you ask for feedback on a project, be appreciative. Understand that the feedback you get may be negative. Understand that it may mean more work for you. And keep in mind that the ultimate responsibility for the project is still yours. Don’t try to get the other person to do your work simply because he or she has noted some problems.

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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