Doing Life Together

upsetWhen Robert came home from work, he found his wife sitting in a chair crying. She was hurt by something that happened on the phone talking to her mother-in-law about holiday plans. Robert’s mother insisted they come to her house for the big dinner. “I think it would be better for everyone if I hosted the dinner.” Renee hung up the phone frustrated. No matter what she said or did, her mother-in-law managed to put her down or criticize her. “Your mother doesn’t like me, and I don’t know why?”

In my work with families, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law conflict comes up often. The bringing together of two women forced to like each other doesn’t always go well.

 If you want to deal with this issue, you have to confront it.

1) Begin by telling the in-law you are trying your best and would like a relationship with her. 

2) Control your emotions, be respectful, honest. Don’t get defensive, give the silent treatment or try to avoid.  

3) Prepare for a number of responses. She could apologize and tell you she had no idea; she could say she will try to work on the relationship and talk about whatever the issues involved might be; she could criticize, show contempt or avoid you. So be prepared. Think ahead how you will handle her response. 

4) If she does acknowledge room for change, then be specific about what will help. Stick to behavior and stay positive. Avoid blame.

5) Use humor to break tension. If you can laugh at yourself and little things that happen, tension is less likely to build. I’ve seen this over and over in families that manage to all get along. Laughter is good medicine. It boosts endorphins and keeps stress hormones at bay. Conflict triggers a stress reaction in the body and humor diffuses it. It changes the mood, minimizes emotional tension and reestablishes a positive tone.

6) Appreciate your differences. Families approach life differently based on their beliefs, values, customs, and history. The more you know about the family, the more you understand why they behave the way they do. Understanding is a first step in tolerance. When you marry, you become part of another family with its own set of values and differences. Recognize,  respect and talk about differences unless they are abusive or damaging.  This is usually the heart of the problem–differences in expectations.

Well, it seems the We Can’t Stop singer, can’t stop. She continues to pull out all the stops!

Her most recent antic was to smoke pot on stage during the MTV Europe Music Awards held in Amsterdam where marihuana use is legal. Miley thought it would be “fun” to smoke a joint on stage when she accepted her award.

The shock and awe continues. Although Lady Gaga already pulled this stunt in Amsterdam. Miley, you are not the first person to think of doing this.

And Miley is quick to tell us all that she could care less what we think. Really? I thought  the point is to get us all, like me right now, talking about her. She’s on a publicity high, wanting to keep her name and face in the public. And when talent can’t carry you to the top, shock and awe can keep you in the news.

Sad, so sad. I hate watching these young stars implode before our eyes. And they do it in such a cliche way– pushing the rebellion boundary with sex and drugs. There is nothing new about this. The sad part is that some end up dead or scarred for life.

And while she may not care about what we think, I care about her. Anyone can have sex and use drugs. In fact, you end up feeling used and abused with a possible addiction and sexually transmitted infection. When its all said and done, its empty.

The former church girl was made to crave a relationship with God that she is trying to fill in ways that cannot ultimately satisfy.

So while Miley may act like the world is her party right now, one day, the shock and awe will be gone. On that day, I pray someone is there to help her pick up the pieces.

CBN News looked at this issue and invited me to speak as an expert. A new survey indicates that parents are aware of the problems with technology and their kids, but just don’t care. Watch the short news piece. Be someone who cares!

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supriseYou walk in to a room full of co-workers and trip.

Everyone stops what they are doing and stares at you for what seems like hours. You are embarrassed. Really, you just tripped through the door in front of your peers!

How to you cope with this? New research may have some surprising answers!

Do you…

A) Laugh nervously

B) Reach for a pair of sun glasses

C) Go buy face cream at a store

ANSWER: A surprising all of the above. Sure, the nervous laughter we all understand. But sunglasses and face cream?

Researchers at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto looked at how people coped with embarrassment. Because the subjects were Asian, they were especially interested in this idea of losing and saving face.  What they found was that people who felt embarrassed were more likely to buy large, dark sunglasses as a symbolic way to cover that embarrassment.

In a second study, the subjects wrote about an embarrassing story and then were given a list of products to buy. They selected products that concealed and restored their faces. That’s right, face creams to restore the face.

So when embarrassed, you can lose face (put on those large, dark sunglasses) or save face (apply the face cream)!

Hmmm. gives a whole new meaning to the phrase!