Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

fightingJack and Rachel do not agree on household chores.  Both work outside the home and are tired when they come home. The last thing either wants to do is tackle dishes, clean, water plants, etc.

The conflict has come to a head and both are in the kitchen screaming at one another. Blame and accusations are coming rapid fire. Nothing is getting solve. It’s hard to listen when a fight gets to this level.

So here are 6 ways Jack and Rachel can calm down and try to solve this conflict.

1)  Use humor to break the tension. Crack a joke. Make a funny reference or laugh at how crazy they both sound. This will calm down their physical bodies as well. Rachel could say something like, “We sound like crazy people right now” and start to laugh. Or maybe, “Oh no, we are becoming our parents!”

2)  Acknowledge that some part of what your partner says may be true. It is easy to go on the defensive when confronted. But instead of reacting with anger, pause and ask if there is any truth to what the person is saying. You may not agree with the person’s point completely, but take responsibility for your part. Jack could admit that he doesn’t offer to help with chores. Maybe he should come up with one that he could do. Rachel could suggest they both come up with a list of what has to be done and then talk about the items one at a time.

4)  Agree to one point of positive change. Even when you are angry, it is possible to calm down enough to think and make a change. If you stay angry, you can’t think. So make it a goal to think of one possible change. For example, could Rachel and Jack agree on who does dishes, rather than trying to solve all the household chore problems at once.

5)  Tell your partner you see his or her point (show empathy) of view. Empathy keeps anger levels down. If you can see the other’s person’s perspective, you will understand the person better and his or her motivation.

6)  Check your physical and mental states. If you are tired, sick, hungry, anxious, overwhelmed, etc., you are more likely to respond poorly. Wait until you feel better to address an important issue. Maybe this is a topic for a weekend discussion when the couple feels more rested. They could say, “Hey we need to talk about this because we have to get things done even though we are both tired. Let’s deal with this Saturday morning.”

 

secretI was in the grocery store yesterday. The tabloids at the check out were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. While we tend to expect this from celebrity relationships, secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well.

I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner.

The answer to this begins with a question. How does it feel to find out a secret after the fact? Do you really want to be surprised with a secret ten years into a marriage, especially one that may have impacted your decision to marry in the first place?

Keeping secrets usually backfires.

Yes, secrets are difficult to bring out into the light, but keeping them sets the stage for heartache down the road. The hidden thing often surfaces later. Then the reaction is even more intense because now it is associated with dishonesty. Because of dishonesty, the impact is usually worse.

Furthermore, the person living with a secret carries a burden. That burden may interfere with intimacy as well. It’s hard to live with secrets—the guilt, the fear and anxiety of being found out rarely helps a relationship.

So should you keep secrets from your partner? Generally speaking, I’m not recommending it. Better to be honest. Otherwise, it makes trusting that person difficult. And trust is a building block of healthy relationships.

 

So

angry1We all get angry, right? But how we deal with others when we get angry makes a big difference. Here are 10 tips to express anger is way that helps your relationships, not hurts them.

1)    Press pause. Don’t respond immediately when you feel intense anger. Stop and don’t speak. My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… (James 1:19).

2)    Stop trying to convert others to your point of view. Listen and accept differences.

3)    If you can’t calm down, don’t respond until you can. Stop the negative cycle by not engaging in the negative behavior. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. Proverbs 14:17

4)    Stop talking about what made you angry. When you repeat the story over and over, you give it energy.

5)    Find the lesson in the anger. Is there something that needs to be corrected, changed, or dealt with better? Look for the lesson. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Palm 4:4

6)    Observe your feelings. Acknowledge the feeling and then let it go. Practice calming techniques. Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32.

7)    Have fighting rules that keep anger from escalating. A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19

8)    When anger escalates, regroup. Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

9)    Look at the big picture. Is your anger worth the relationship? It is more important to be right then to be merciful? But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3:8

10) Be around positive people who exercise good self-control when it comes to expressing anger. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered. Proverbs 22:24

 

For more help Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness

BFS_Anger_LG

child 1When Ann took away her son’s play station to begin his homework, he threw a huge temper tantrum. Her son, Rob, was autistic and a handful when it came to managing his behavior.

So Ann decided to try a method of working with Rob’s behavior that she saw on a TV interview. Even though the method was presented as new, it is not new. It has been around since I began seeing clients in the late 1970s. The application of the method to autistic behavior might be new, although I suspect we were using this without knowing about the label of autism.

The method is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It is based on basic reinforcement principles applied to behavior. The idea is to teach new skills that will help the autistic child do better in a number of environments. To do so, the child is engaged by using reinforcement for appropriate behavior. The method is sometimes considered controversial, though I can’t really see this as I was teaching these skills to parents without autistic kids for years. Teaching takes time because you have to reinforce the behaviors you want using rewards and gradually shape the desired responses. Rob, for example, would be rewarded with extra play time later if he gave up his play station with no temper tantrum.

ABA focuses on changing behavior. So the parent/teacher may have a bag of rewards, give a direction and reward the child if there is compliance. Some argue that this is like dog training. Well, the principles are similar. You reward appropriate behavior and withhold reward for inappropriate behavior. I would argue that we all do this when potty training, teaching compliance to directions and more. Helping autistic kids learn behavior that is going to help them in different environments is a positive goal. It’s individualized teaching that considers what the child needs to be successful. There are clear consequences for noncompliance.

Yes, kids do cry, tantrum and become stubborn when rewards are withheld and parents/teachers are firm about  rewarding appropriate behavior. But that is part of any parenting effort.

Critics say ABA is trying to normalize children with autism. I say, it is helping kids socialize and fit into environments that help them grow and learn.