When you hear the word intimacy, do you automatically think of sex? Or do you define intimacy in relationships another way? Couples experience various types of intimacy in their relationships. Below is a list, with definitions, of different types of intimacy.
Commandment 1: Give the Child Personal Space
Children need to form their own identity. If you bring a child into a stepparent’s home make sure your child has a place to go to be alone (personal space). If this place cannot be found in your new living arrangements then discuss this with the child.
Commandment 2: Be Yourself
Adults need to be themselves around their new stepchildren. It is easy to get caught up in winning over their hearts. The best policy is to be authentic from the beginning. Children are good at determining who is being real with them.
Key 3: Take One-On-One Time with Each Child
Spend time with each of your children individually. Do this as often as you can. Do something enjoyable. Ask them about their lives and what they are doing (e.g., school, friends, work, dating, hobbies) and what they are thinking. You will want to make sure that your discussions do not always focus on tasks that need to get done or on the divorce. Maintain a positive presence in your child’s life.
We call this “special time” in our house. The kids look forward to it and get creative with ideas of what to do. They love to talk when they’re away from their siblings. We’ve gone shopping, played games, gone on walks, watched a show, gone to the video rental store together, sewed, and read. Key 4: Show Your Children that They are Important to You
One of the biggest fears for children after a divorce is that they will be abandoned. This stems from one parent already being gone from their life, and sometimes very abruptly. As you make your child a priority they will learn to trust that you aren’t going to leave. Here are examples of things that you can do to show your children that they are important to you.
A. If you say you’re going to do something with them or for them, keep your promise. B. Do nice things for your children to let them know that you are thinking about them. C. Take time every day to hug and kiss them—even if they are teenagers. Doing this consistently lets them know that you want to connect to them. Even though they don’t want to admit that they want this, it’s important to them to know that parents care. They need to know on an intellectual level and also physically through appropriate touch. As you make your children a priority, they will learn to trust that you are not going to leave.
Key 5: Teach Positive Relationship Skills
One of the best things you can teach your children is positive relationship skills—forgiveness, kindness, and empathy are just a few. For example, if your children see that you have empathy for your ex-spouse, they will learn to act the same way, not only in a spousal situation but also with dates, former friends, and others. Even if you’re being attacked by your ex-spouse, using statements such as, “I am sorry he/she feels that way” or “I suppose if I were in his/her shoes, I might feel that way too” or “He/she must really be hurting to say such things” can be really helpful ways to respond.
The holidays are extra hard on my ex-spouse, so we have often invited him over to our house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This helped the children to not be worried about their dad being home alone for the holidays. It also shows that we still care for each other, despite the fact that we’re divorced. We act civilly and leave the past where it should be—in the past. When we’re able to show compassion toward each other in awkward or hard times, it gives our children an incredible example to follow.
Remember, your child’s perception of the divorce will change throughout the years. Therefore, be patient and consistent. Show your child that you’re going to parent them regardless of whether you’re divorced or not.
Integrity Rule 1: I am totally honest, recognizing that a lie is any communication given with the intent to deceive.
Too many people trick themselves into believing they are being honest even though they are leaving out important information in their communication. There are various reasons why someone would delete data. One of the most common reasons is to stay out of trouble. They know if the other person knew the whole truth they would be upset.
Another reason to withhold information is to avoid hurting another person’s feelings. However, what harms the relationship more than telling the truth is not telling it. Keep in mind that a person should strive to use common sense in this area.
5 Keys to A Close Relationship With Your Children
Key 1: Keep a Positive Attitude
Children are always trying to assign meaning to what is happening around them. If you stay positive, your child will pick up on your attitude. The alternative is to become negative and bitter. Your children won’t like being around you if you’re always complaining or putting down the other parent.
Key 2: Be Open and Honest with Your Child
Many people fear that they will inadvertently give their child too much information. However, if one spouse is accusing, belittling, or creating false stories, children need to know the truth. Many people become defensive when they hear things that their ex-spouse is saying about them. The defensive posture leads children and others to assume you really are guilty. Therefore, it is always a good idea to gather as much information as you can and openly admit mistakes you made. However, you should not allow misperceptions to go unchecked. This does not mean that you call your ex-spouse a liar—you simply relay the facts in a calm, non-accusatory fashion.
Hint: One technique I use, since I am not legally allowed to discuss with my children past issues concerning my ex, is to ask them questions about what they know. This helps them sort out the answers for themselves. When people come up with an answer themselves, it has a much more powerful effect.
Overwhelmed? Too much to do? It’s time to slow down and rest. Sound counter intuitive? I agree. But think about it, ever have a power nap that zapped you with the energy that enabled you to burst through your list of “to do’s” faster than an egg fries on hot sizzling concrete? Amazingly, fighting through the dreariness of sleepiness can be a real battle and waste tremendous energy.
Fight sleepiness and end up more exhausted slogging through some work, or seize a power nap for five or ten minutes and be prepared to enthusiastically tackle the daunting list down to size. I was once told that the way us “Westerners” approach stress is so strange. We get overcome with so much to do and know that the day before us requires more than we are able to accomplish. We “Westerners” will look at everything that we need to do and get to work cracking the whip. We need to get a move on it even though we know that it is impossible. The harder we work the more stressed we become. More problems seem to grow as though we are trying to clean a lint brush by brushing the back of a cat.
This might seem counter intuitive—slowing down, apparently doing nothing as a strategy to accomplish tasks.
When other people catch on that you want to step it up in your life, it is amazing how much unsolicited advice zooms in your direction. This advice on where you are going in your life or where you want to go can happen even if they don’t know that you made a commitment to step it up.
Since I am known as the Step It Up Queen I have had many people come into my life and project the expectation that I should step in up in the area or arena that they want me too. What they don’t understand in the Step It Up Living rule that only each individual gets to decide what and where they want to step it up in. It is fair. After all it is your life, not your spouse’s, parent’s, child/ren’s, or business partner’s. Granted, it is good when someone points out that you’re on a path that is going to lead where you don’t want to go. This is completely different than someone wanting to put their beliefs and value system on you and make you fit their picture of stepping it up.
As I work with people, I have been fascinated by how many times not valuing oneself comes up as a problem that affects all areas of a person’s life. When I was in a difficult marriage, I remember thinking that I was less than human. I didn’t believe that I had value or even had the right to live. Having that kind of thought process reinforced my decisions to get pregnant. I had this belief that if I became pregnant then I would be worth something because the baby I carried would be precious and have value. This resulted in my believing that while I was pregnant I had worth. By the time I was pregnant with my sixth child in seven years I realized that kind of thinking had to change!
Now I amazed I ever thought that way. When people start believing that they are of value, this oftentimes improves the relationships around them, especially with their children.
An excellent exercise that I found to work well is:
1- Get a clean sheet of paper.
2-Draw a line down the middle.
3-Write a positive belief on the top right-hand side, such as: “I am of worth.”
4-In the left column write down every negative belief that comes up. For example: ”No, you’re not. You’re a liar.”
5-Once you write down all the negative beliefs go back and write the positive affirmation until you have written it twenty times.
6-After you finish the twenty, you can look at each negative belief that you have written down and come up with a specific positive belief to counter each negative statement. If that’s too difficult, imagine that you are countering negative beliefs voiced by your child or someone you dearly love and are trying to help. You may find it easier to think lovingly and positively about someone other than yourself.
7-Write each of those positive thoughts twenty times.
8- Work on this exercise for 10 minutes daily.
9- Continue this exercise for thirty days.
Doing this for thirty days will allow enough time for the new belief system to sink into your subconcious. Oftentimes we get into negative belief patterns and this affects every situation we are in, sometimes more than we know. When we learn to think about the positive and reprogram our thinking into one that will serve us, our self-esteem rises.
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