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Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhood Counselor’

She’s been married twice. Now she’s thinking about tying the knot a third time and she wants to know, “How can I tell if he’s Mr. Right? This time I want to be sure I can live happily ever after with him.”

Although there are no absolutes or guarantees to happiness, there are some very specific questions you should answer to help you see beyond that wonderful rush of feelings you get when falling in love.

One thing to assess is what kind of past this person has. If he admits to wild drinking or gambling, wait a few years before saying “I do.” Time will help you determine if he has cleaned up his behavior.

What kind of job history does he have? His eyes may be a gorgeous blue, but you’ll get very tired of looking at him if he isn’t a steady worker.

If he has been married before, why did his marriage break up? Was the breakup caused by cheating on his wife? Was it because he worked sixty hours a week and only focused on his career? People do change, but you’ll want to see the evidence.

Where does this man put the blame for the break up of former relationships? If he sees his former wife or girlfriend as the culprit and shows no awareness of his contributions to their unhappiness, taking responsibility for his mistakes will be difficult for him.

If he has children, look hard at how he relates to them and to their mother. Does he put their needs before his some of the time? Does he put you before his children on occasion? Do his wants come first some of the time? If you answered yes to all three of these questions, chances are he’s able to do a nice balancing act.

How does he handle his anger? If you have watched him fly into a rage behind the wheel or at a restaurant, at some point you, too, will be the target of his anger. Better pass up matrimony until he gets counseling and has his anger under control.

What do you have in common? Does he like to bicycle? Dance? Go to plays? Play board games? Go to movies?

What do you think of his friends? If most of them tend to be obnoxious or boring, look at him again. Is he a bit obnoxious or boring? If he has very few friends, think through why this is so. Maybe he isn’t willing to put out energy for people. If this is the case, it’s predictable that he won’t be putting out a lot of energy for you.

You’ll also want to have a good idea of how he handles money. Is he in debt? Does he overspend? Does he have savings? What financial assets and liabilities will he bring to the marriage? What are each of your expectations about how the money should be handled?

When it comes to paying the bill at a restaurant, do you squirm because you think he’s a bit cheap? If he’s a small tipper or expects you to always split the tab, money will become an issue in your future.

He may be very complimentary to you, but how does he treat his parents, his brothers and sisters, his co-workers? Does he praise or criticize? You don’t want someone who is stingy with compliments and generous with criticisms.

Don’t overlook personal habits. Does he have good manners? Does he pick up his clothes? How does his home look? Is he well groomed?

Name at least ten characteristics that other people would use to describe him.

List his two worst faults. Assuming that he will never change, can you live with these two faults?

If you answer these questions honestly, you’ll know if he’s Mr. Right.

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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“Let’s go to a movie tonight,” said Janet.

“That doesn’t sound good to me,” yawned Ralph.

As Janet was gathering up her coat and purse, Ralph suddenly clicked off the television set and announced he would be joining her.

Janet, already set to have a nice evening alone, asked, “Are you sure you want to go?”

Ralph assured her, and out the door they went.

As they drove into the parking lot, Ralph mumbled that the last movie must not have gotten out yet. So where did they expect everybody to park? Certainly the theatre could do a better job of scheduling.

As they waited in line to buy tickets, Ralph said that everybody and their brother must have decided to see this movie judging by the length of the line.

Janet, sensing Ralph’s annoyance, made small talk. She wanted this to be a good evening.

When they got into the lobby, Janet suggested that Ralph go with the crowd and find seats. She would get the popcorn.

Ralph replied, “You’re going to stand in that line just for popcorn?”

Janet shook her head yes, and in her head told Ralph he was acting like a jerk.

With popcorn in hand, Janet made her way to where Ralph was seated. His comment on seeing her: “You didn’t get anything to drink?”

“No,” she said. But she offered to go back after the movie started to get Ralph a drink.

“Never mind,” Ralph said.

“No, I’ll go back,” Janet replied. “I just didn’t think you’d want anything.”

“I don’t now,” said Ralph.

As they sat in silence waiting for the show to start, Janet struggled with feelings of guilt over the drink and irritation over Ralph’s negativism.

During the movie she couldn’t help checking on Ralph, trying to determine if he was having a good time. Every time he shifted his body, she felt a twinge of anxiety.

Once he commented that the popcorn tasted stale.

At the end of the movie he asked her what she thought. She said she loved it.

And what did he think, she asked. He said it was okay.

They rode home in silence.

The moral of this story: Good sportsmanship goes beyond the playing field.

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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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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When children grow up, the parent-child relationship is destined to change. When both are adults, it’s time to change the way they relate and communicate. This, however, does not come easily.

Grown children speak out to their parents…

Respect that my schedule is different from yours. Try not to call too late or during our dinner. And when I can’t talk, be understanding.

Realize I can’t telephone you every day and understand that my not calling has nothing to do with love.

Don’t try to make me feel guilty because I don’t attend church every week.

Don’t tell me what other kids do for their parents.

Don’t talk about my father’s short­comings and expect me to take your side.

Please be understanding when I turn down your invitations – I have a very busy life.

Don’t expect my political viewpoints to be the same as yours.

When I share things such as I’m getting a dog, or we’re thinking of moving, don’t become negative and try to talk me out of it.

Don’t go on about everyone’s problems or how bad the world is.

If I share one of my problems with you, don’t minimize it and say I have nothing to worry about.

When I do nice things for you please be appreciative.

Compliment me.

Don’t always talk about my brothers’ and sisters’ accomplishments.

When you come over for dinner, please offer to help but don’t take over.

Don’t talk against me to my children.

Treat me like an adult, with respect.

Parents and grown children desire a good relationship, but sometimes it’s not so clear how to get there. Evaluate the sugges­tions I’ve given in this column. Do you need to do anything differently?

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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