Adult children

silhouetted friends 1, photo by aernst, PA, United States,Parents have the responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Being a role model for a loving relationship is both satisfying for the parents and rewarding for the children because it helps them all live a functional, healthy lifestyle. When children become adults it is important that parents learn how to let go and let their adult children get on with their lives. Parents can trust that their childrearing practices were beneficial and that their adult children will make the appropriate choices in life. Sometimes this parenting stage can be the most difficult part of all, because we need to observe and not interfere or make comments no matter how useful we think they may be. At such times our contributions can be perceived as criticisms or disapproval. What makes it difficult is that we need to then change the parenting role from one that’s based on responsibility and guidance to one based on validation and support.

Simone was concerned about her son who
was out of work and his marriage was suffering
she could not help herself and at the first opportunity
lost her cool and criticised Joseph in an attempt to
snap him out of his lethargy, or so she thought!
but her daughter-in-law, Sue, defended him
and what was intended to be a rescue mission
by a caring mother, then turned out to be a disaster
Joseph felt incompetent,
Sue became protective of her husband and
Simone was demoralised
it would have been more useful if Simone
kept her supportive parent role until
Joseph found himself again with the
support of his wife

Teaching respect

Family Concept 2, photo by Lynne Lancaster, UKChildren can get bored easily unless there are games to occupy them or they have the full attention of those they are with. However, it is important that they learn how to participate politely so that they get the attention of everyone instead of monopolising the attention of one person, usually a parent. In this way teaching respect helps them to learn how to entertain themselves. It’s a socialisation skill they need to learn as early as possible.

usually when her mother becomes involved
in a conversation with a friend? then
6 year old Angela would whisper in her ear
it was her first attempt at holding her mother’s attention
but Julie knew the dance well and she would
look at Angela in her eyes and remind her
that if she had something important to say she
would need to say excuse me and wait
otherwise she could do something else until
her mother was free to talk to her
I could see that Julie’s parenting skills
were teaching respect and in the long run
would help Angela develop good life strategies
instead of demanding that others make her happy

Addiction to touching

833820_hands.jpgLaurie commented on my post called Touch to stay alive asking whether it is possible to be addicted to touching, because she feels it may be her compulsion as she was deprived of touch? This compulsion is a symptom of codependence and love addiction which have the underlying characteristics of low self esteem, fear of intimacy and lack of trust, to name a few. In such a case we become addicted to touch and yet attracting more deprivation. Recovery will ease the pain because we learn how to give and receive affection in a healthy manner. Otherwise we attract those who reject us or those who are needy.

I recommend reading Pia Mellody’s books Facing Codependence and Facing Love Addiction. It is important to understand how in a relationship we can either be a love addict or an avoidant – the “back walking away”. We can switch roles too, which comes with fear of intimacy, low self esteem and lacking in trust. In recovery we learn to think rationally.

Recovery is also possible through belonging to self help groups like CoDA and SLAA, where it extremely invaluable to hear how members have found recover.y. Sometimes therapy is also needed with an experienced, qualified therapist who specialises in codependence and love addiction.

Hands, photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert, Concord, United States,

Botanic Gardens weddings

385868_wedding_day_5.jpgMrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens is a popular choice for weddings. Such beauty and romance magically touches a wedding. A picture to see under the huge trees with the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background, on glistening harbour waters. A sight to remember, as can be seen in the photo in the celebrant section on this site.Other bridal parties have their ceremonies elsewhere and go there to have the wedding photos in the beautiful surroundings with its ambiance.

they met on a business trip to her country
and it was like being zapped by a bolt of lightening
for many years they lived happily together, then one day
they decided it was time to celebrate their happiness
when they saw the wedding photo with the
Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
they were convinced that this was the ideal spot
a Botanic Gardens wedding meant romantic memories
both for the wedding party and for those living overseas
who could not travel to Sydney for the celebration

How to attract a functional relationship

726974_in_love.jpgTo attract a functional relationship we need to know how to avoid attracting dysfunctional ones. I agree with the school of thought that we attract dysfunctional relationships because we unconsciously want a partner who will do a particular relationship dance with us. Why we choose such a dysfunctional dance has possibly three reasons:

(1) because this dysfunctional relationship dance is familiar and we know how to handle it;
(2) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before (perhaps parents’ relationship) and we want to end it the way it should have been ended before;
(3) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before and we want to make it functional – through therapy or other means.

In order to attract a functional relationship we need to be clear about what we are looking for, and why? In other words expose any hidden agendas. We need to be clear that the aim of being in a relationship is to have companionship and intimacy based on harmonious negotiations. This means the ability to resolve conflict productively and sometimes it may mean respectfully agreeing to disagree. Any fool can be abusive but it takes a smart person to be sensitive about a sticky situation. Then the outcome can satisfy both parties.

In Love, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

Setting limits with children

53523_hotel.jpgAn important part of childrearing is setting limits, especially when children are very young. The hard part is making sure that setting limits is done through education – letting the child know why we are saying “no” to something, not just refusing. Another vital part of this education process is that we keep our voices factual rather than critical or shaming, otherwise the lesson is lost and the child just feels oppressed. It is hard for us to remember this when children are young, because usually the pace of living is stressful for everybody and being relaxed and calm seems impossible. Also we are in denial at that time about our behaviour and how uptight we are. Children feel the full brunt of harsh, unexplained limit-setting and it affects their self esteem badly. This can result in serious rebellious behaviour in childhood and all the way through to adult relationships.

at four years of age she is the cutest
and she is very aware of ‘living the good life’
as I babysat my granddaughter in the hotel suite
she declared that she wanted stuff from the mini bar
I had to be very careful how I refused her
tonight we were going to eat
in the restaurant downstairs which
my nine year old grandson had been
given the honour to escort us to
I began with “no, darling”
the disappointment in her eyes showed
that there was anger bubbling deep inside
so I sat down near her and pointed out that
using the mini bar costs too much
her eyes mellowed and this showed that
the information made sense, so she seemed at peace
after the delicious meal downstairs
we enjoyed watching the movie Happy Feet, in the suite

Love and trust

Holding hands, photo by Herman Hooyschuur, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  loving relationshipThis comment was made by Vickie Turley and it supported my post on ‘Trust is vital’

Without trust we cannot be authentic with one another. And trust is built over time – which is why relationships take time to grow. Too many times we want to rush the relationship but the trust isnít there yet. We must be patient and let it come.

What Vickie says is believed by many and it works for them.

I believe in another school of thought which is that trust is not earned, it already exists to begin with, just as love does. The ability to trust is abundant and in setting such an expectation the people we love live up to that expectation. However, if we slip and make a mistake then we need to make amends and build that trust up as we would a plant that has been damaged, gently. This notion feels easier to achieve than one that takes time and we need to work hard at to achieve. When the trust is not there in the beginning of a relationship I would ask “what is going on?” – does one or both of the partners have intimacy issues or have experienced damaged trust in the past and are bringing it into the relationship as baggage? In which case they would do well to process that baggage or see a therapist to assist in that process.

Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

Blueprint for your ideal relationship

Tourists checking a map, photo by Jorc Navarro, Barcelona, Spain, planning relationshipsBlueprints are commonly used for important productions, everything from buildings to machinery to gardens and so on. Otherwise known as plans and/or designs, it’s not unusual for people to expect this for successful outcomes. It is easy to have a fulfilling relationship if you are both willing to make a blueprint for your ideal relationship. It means planning at the beginning of the relationship what you want and what you don’t want in your life together. Then making an agreement to go to any lengths to resolve conflict early before it contaminates everything and to nurture your loving relationship. Maintenance is what we do to keep a beautiful garden, or home or car and it’s also what we need to do for our relationships.

they met through a mutual friend and
their relationship strengthened day by day
when he proposed she was not surprised
although they seemed in agreement about
the type of lifestyle they valued
they worked out what was
acceptable and what wasn’t
and how to sort out conflict
a blueprint for their ideal relationship
and it’s paid off because they’ve
had a healthy balance in their relationship
of being friends and lovers
and this has lasted many years
through the ups and downs of life

Family gatherings

Paper family, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia,  family reunionsAt the end of the year, for the festivities there are many family gatherings. Relatives get together to celebrate and have fun. Sometimes this is a wonderful experience and at other times the unintended happens with arguments and hurt feelings. The success of family gatherings depends on the members of each family and how important it is for them to strengthen family ties. When people can put principles above personalities they can enjoy fulfilling relationships in their families and can spend enjoyable get togethers. Instead of becoming offended about something it’s better to ask “how important is it?” and let go of the hurt.

each year her family comes together
and it’s an enjoyable event that she
looks forward to each time
kids grow up and have their own families
so the family gatherings that parents
can depend on taking place
become fewer and therefore
even more special
she thought herself fortunate
that her family continues to value
attending these yearly events with her
which brings them all together for some fun