A new study published in Evolution of Human Behavior shows their no substitute for hearing your mother’s voice to calmÂ daughters who are stressed. I sat down earlier today with Brooke Walker at KSL TV News to share my thoughts on this news study. Give what I’ve learned about attachment theory, the results of this study aren’t surprising. Nothing can replace the presence and voice of a parent to soothe a stressed child.
Texting is a great for conveying information, but not emotion. It doesn’t replace the comfort of being with someone or hearing their voice –Julie Hanks, LCSW
KSL’s Brooke Walker asked me to weigh in on the recent proposal from the Institute for American Values suggesting to lawmakers a mandatory divorce waiting period. In my clinical work with couples I’ve found that couples often seriously consider or file for divorce because they have lost hope of reconnecting with their spouse and think that they’ve exhausted all resources. I frequently suggest slowing down the divorce process by reminding couples, “You can get divorced next month, in 3 months, or in a year. What’s the rush?”
Luckily, marriage counselors have more tools than ever before to help couples understand the root of their emotional disconnection and to repair relationships, if they are willing. Dr. Susan Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, the model we use here at Wasatch Family Therapy, has had tremendous success repairing severely distressed relationships.
Learn more about this proposed wait period and here a few of my thoughts on the topic…
There are topics even best friends have a hard time talking about. We explore real life scenarios and offer real life solutions to help you tackle touchy subjects with your best friend.
Why are some topics difficult to talk about, even among our closest friends? Women tend to feel responsible for their friends’ feelings & don’t want to jeopardize the friendship. In a recent interview by WomansDay.com I gave some advice to women from around the country on how or if to approach sensitive topics with your best friend. So, it got me thinking about what topics are difficult for women in Utah women to talk about. Here are some real situations from local women (names have been changed) who need help to bring up a topic with their best friend. Read more
In episode 010 “How Thinking More Like A “Man” Can Help Women” on “You And Yours” self & relationship expert and therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW shares how developing more male or systemizing ways to approach problems and challenges can help you get what you want in life.
Q: What would be the best age/time/scenario to tell our daughter that she was conceived out of marriage? We are a strong religious family and will teach as we were taught, no sexual relations outside of marriage. How can you get your children to learn from your mistakes instead of hold them against you and use them as excuses to experiment in their own lives? What is the best way to tell her and the rest of the children we have had? It’s something I would rather disclose to her when we choose, rather than have it be something they “figure out” or are told by someone else. Not only that, but I worry that she will think we only got married because of her. This is something I would like to put off as long as possible, but don’t want her to feel we lied or kept things from her. Thanks!!
A: The best way to approach this delicate subject is to first come to terms with your own feelings about conceiving a child before marriage. If you carry shame or guilt, that will likely be passed on to your children. It’s important to work toward forgiving yourself for your actions and developing an ease in talking about your past with your children.
Next, I suggest that you allow the conversations with your children to unfold naturally in the course of daily life. For example, if you’re looking at wedding pictures with your oldest child you might say, “Did you know that you were at our wedding? You were growing inside of me when we got married.” Often, parents think that they need to have a big “sit down – we need to talk” conversation with their child and make an official announcement of family “secrets”. This approach can sometimes be more traumatic than the actual content of the conversation because parents often call an official meeting when the child is in trouble, or the parent is anxious about talking about an uncomfortable subject.
Since I’m not sure how old your daughter is, it’s difficult to give specific advice. However, when your daughter and your other children become teens, the obvious moral issues of your past behavior will come into question by them and require more complex conversations. Again, your comfort level in talking about the fact that you and your husband had sex before marriage will lead the way in the conversations. This conversation is an amazing opportunity to open up important discussions with your teen about repentance, choices and consequences, and how life isn’t as black and white as it is seems in childhood. An important part of the message will be admitting to making a choice that went against your values, that their were consequences, and how you have chosen to handle the the consequences in positive ways. If you’d like to write back with your daughter’s specific age, and a few more details on how you’ve handled this issue so far, I’d be happy to continue this discussion.
Q: Hi! I had a pretty unstable childhood growing up and worked really hard to accept the life I had and move on as well as love the life I have now.
The problem I struggle with is habits from my parents that I have adopted myself. I struggle with a temper problem when I feel things are getting out of control and it is becoming a huge problem for me. I want to not get so upset over little things and have prayed really hard for help. I know that my parents acted that way but I want to be different. So I guess my question is how can I overcome the way I was taught to act and be the person I know I can be? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
A: How wonderful that you recognize the need to better manage your temper and move beyond the negative patterns you absorbed from your parents.
I’ve worked with many clients who’ve had similar struggles and a strong desire to act in a more patient and kind way than their parents. Have you considered doing some counseling to work through some of the emotional pain, abandonment, and loss of your early experiences? If not, I’d like to suggest that you consider it. LDSCounselors.net is a great resource to find an LDS counselor in your area.
In my clinical experience, temper problems and other troubling behaviors usually stem from a “younger” part of your self, a part that holds unresolved pain, and can be seen as a signal that there is some earlier emotion or experience that needs attention. Here an example to illustrate this process. Say you have a sick child who is whining and needing extra attention for several days in a row. If, in your own childhood, you had to deal with your own pain, emotional or physical, alone or without adequate comfort from parents, feelings of resentment may arise in response to your child’s needs. It may feel unjust that he has someone to take care of him and you didn’t. That resentment may manifest itself as an angry outburst that seems to come out of nowhere.
In addition to counseling, start noticing the smaller physical cues that you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and that things “are getting out of control”. These cues may be tense shoulders, racing heart, confusion, feeling like you need to escape, to name a few. My guess is that you are still in the process of learning to recognize and attend to subtle emotional cues so the small signals build up until you have an outburst that requires your attention.
I had a great chat with Todd and Erin this morning at B98.7 radio about how to help your child cope with the news coverage about the natural disasters in Japan and the general uncertainty in the world today.Â Best part of all was that I got to hold their new baby daughter!
(Click on the link below to open the link in Quicktime)
Have your struggled with infertility? What advice would you give to others in how to be sensitive to your struggle but not tiptoe around the issue or avoid talking with you? Post comments below (you’re email will not be visible).
Therapist, Julie Hanks, says the first step to embracing other women is to accept ourselves.
Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities. -Unknown
It’s common for women to view other women’s differences choices, talents, age, race, religion, or marital status as divisive instead of inspiring. Here are six ideas designed to help women come together, to learn from each other, and celebrate our diversity.
1) Accept Yourself
Judgment, criticism, envy of other women is rooted in our own fears and insecurities.
Self-acceptance is the first step to embracing of differences in others and entails embracing our choices, unique talents, weaknesses, and life circumstance. Life is about growth and relationships are the soil in which we learn and grow.
It’s taken me years to accept my passion for education. I used to think, “I have small children. Why do I feel such a great desire to go to graduate school?” I used to compare myself to other women with small children who were content and fulfilled without complicating their lives with graduate school. Now, I have a deeper appreciation of my own personal desires and goals, making it easier to embrace other women’s choices.
“I really believe that one of the big reasons we feel threatened by other women’s choices is out of a feeling of insecurity about our own. The women who I feel like are able to celebrate that we all have our own paths are the ones who are at peace with the choices they have made.” – Katie Clifford
2) Eliminate The “Shoulds”
Believing that other women “should be more like me” creates feelings of judgment and criticism that create distance from other women. Conversely, “I should be more like them” leads to self-judgment, low self-worth, and anxiety.
One of the largest lines drawn in the sand between women seems to be the “working vs. stay-at-home mom” divide. This is a false dichotomy because all women work! It’s easy to talk about this divide in such extremes. Most mothers I know work very hard at whatever they are involved in and they are fiercely dedicated to their children.
“Maybe we could all start by being honest about the inherent struggles that come with each of those choices. If both “sides” felt comfortable being open about their lives, it would make everyone feel less defensive and find some common ground.” – Katie Clifford
“There is pressure on both sides of (the working vs. stay-at-home mom) issue. Social and religious pressure can make a woman feel like she needs to be home. Financial pressure can make a woman feel like she needs to be working. Every woman and every family are different. As we let go of the pressure we feel from others, we are less likely to pass that on to the people around us. I think we need to start a “Girl Code” where we focus more on loving and supporting each other! We are AMAZING when we come together!” – Amy King Walker says
3) Let Differences Inspire You
If you find yourself getting caught in the deflating game of “she’s so much better at (fill in the blank) than I am”, consider letting another woman’s gift, skill or trait be a springboard for the development of that particular gift or character trait. For example, younger women can look to older women for perspective and wisdom from life experiences, and older women may be inspired by younger women’s energy and passion.
I’ve mentioned my friend Sarah on the show before. She’s well into her 90’s so to say we’re in a difference age category is an understatement. Years ago when I was a new mother, she inspired me to view every life challenge as an opportunity to develop love and faith in my heart. Though she had been through many losses in her life, including the death of her first child, her husband’s substance abuse, she had used those experiences to develop deeper love and faith and inspired me to do the same.
“I have a friend who has never married and she is 40. She has 3 fantastic dogs that she loves, and she competes in Ms. Fitness competitions. All of my friends have aspects of their lives that are different than mine. I don’t have time to do all of these things, so I can benefit from them and their experiences.” — Mary Evans
“One way women can associate with one another is to share their talents. I have learned to sew from another woman in my church group.”– Kaija Purvis
4) Go Below The Surface
Judgment and criticism often stem from seeing only the superficial aspects of another woman’s life. Once you go deeper and get to another’s heart and mind, pain and joys, it’s so much easier to understand their choices and celebrate the differences. People make sense once you understand their story.
This is one aspect of clinical practice that I absolutely love. Every time I go to work I get to see into client’s hearts, families, hear their pain and their strengths, and hear their real stories. I have found that it’s always easier to accept and understand someone, even if they’ve made destructive choices, if you know and experience their story. People make sense.
5) The Grass Isn’t Greener
It’s easy to look at the lives of others with jealousy and envy when they have what we think we want. Every situation has five positive aspects and five very difficult aspects. No woman “has it all.” Seeing the diversity can help you appreciate what you do have.
Married women can learn to better appreciate their imperfect relationship from their single friends who wish they were in a committed relationship. Single women can learn to embrace their independence, freedom, and emotional space by learning to their married friend’s relationship situations.
“After a visit with an elderly widow, I am grateful for my hectic household, or a divorced friend might make me appreciate my husband more that day. A disabled friend makes me thankful I can shovel the driveway or mow the lawn.” – Debbie Nowers
6) Seek Out The Unfamiliar
Instead of gravitating socially to those who are just like you, when you walk into a room, or party, or gathering, actively seek out someone who is different from you — difference age group, different marital, socioeconomic status. Ask yourself, “What can I learn about her? What can I learn from her?”
“I celebrate differences with my friends by getting involved in things that they like. We invite each other to participate not only in fun activities, but also to tag along to business and family functions.” – Shawna Henry
Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is a therapist, self & relationship expert, media contributor, and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Visit www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com for individual, couple, family, & group counseling services designed to strengthen you and your family. We treat mental health and relationship problems in children, adolescents, and adults.
For additional emotional health & relationship resources connect with Julie at www.drjuliehanks.com.
It’s easy for couple’s emotional connection can get lost in the busyness of life. I recently interviewed for this SheKnows article with tips on how to keep your emotional relationship sizzling! Here’s a snippet of my advice…
Hanks also recommends that couples “check in” with each other on a daily basis. “Develop a daily emotional ‘check in’ ritual with your spouse or partner,” she explains. “Not only check in with their overall emotions, but specifically about your emotional connection. Do you feel close and open? Distant and withdrawn? Or somewhere in between?”