How many times do you hear this phrase from a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend?  “We’ve grown apart”.

I wonder where and when we first heard this phrase? Was it in a movie or on a TV show?  Is it really true? Do people grow apart?  This sounds like an excuse to leave. Like the person who says this no longer has a say in the relationship. Perhaps they feel they have no ability to change, grow, develop and adopt new behaviours that will spark up and enhance the relationship.

Change in ourselves changes the way we relate with others. I don’t really think we grow apart as much as we make choices, a series of decisions that are not supportive to the relationship. Choices can be made arbitrarily, without considering the other’s opinion. Maybe we are not open to getting their feedback?  These can certainly take away from intimacy and reduce closeness. Another behaviour or action that is harmful to romance and dating relationships is not really hearing the other person’s concerns or feelings. These are just a few ways we can be choosing, whether we are aware of it or not, to create distance in the relationship.

Long before the break-up, the realization we are no longer close, both partners have usually made thousands of decisions against closeness, detrimental to the construction of a wonderful and amazing intimate romance.

Making positive choices and taking action for the relationship include politeness, calm negotiations, hearing one another and acting upon what is heard, punctuality and sharing of day-to-day tasks and chores to name just a few. Additionally, reading a few good books on ways to build a healthy romantic relationship (e.g. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman or Love and Respect by Dr Emerson Eggeriches) can greatly assist couples in their journey toward romantic joy and satisfaction.

Combining this with coaching, before things are “too bad” is also a good idea. Our counsellors located in Oshawa are professionally trained to guide you to healthier communication, interpersonal skill development and toward the quality relationship you desire. Like the roots and branches of trees intertwined, gradually over time, so too can couples learn how to become closer, more caring, empathetic and understanding. Each person can choose to develop more positive and optimistic views which in turn increases positive feelings and behaviours toward one another.

To find out how we can help you grow together Contact us todaynature

Hurtful arguing, fighting and conflict stresses children and parents, severely limiting effective functioning.  This frequently unnecessary stressor can easily disturb sleeping, disrupt digestion and gastrointestinal systems and result in regression in routine behaviours at home, in school and at work.

Whether parents are still residing together, separating/separated or already divorced, hurtful arguing is simply a poor choice.  There are so many options for effectively resolving differences, positive strategies for communicating concerns and feelings effectively, and resources to assist people. So why do so many parents choose to be hurtful?

Is it really a conscious choice, a learned behaviour or merely a lack of knowledge, training or coaching on how to get along?  It can be one of these or any combination. Regardless, we can get along well and argue more lovingly even when under stress and distress. The picture above is just one of thousands of resources that are designed to help parents who are struggling. Contrary to the age old axiom “children don’t come with a manual” they actually do; thousands of parenting books fill store shelves and web bookstores.

Counsellors have made it their job to read many parenting books, be aware of helpful local resources and provide training and coaching to assist parents when situations are beyond their normal capacity to function well. Our counsellors in Oshawa help parents in the GTA (now even worldwide via video-based web coaching) so that their ability to “Get Along” quickly increases. In doing so, parents effectively reduce stress in the family, increasing all family members’ happiness and quality of life.

When we sincerely want better for our children and families we will humble ourselves, accepting our inability to get along on our own.

Then we will reach out and find solutions to help us get along now!

   Contact us today

Baby Steps

There is an assumption that the key to having a successful relationship is common interests. Some thoughts that may arise in a troubling relationship are: “We have nothing in common!” “Opposites DO NOT attract!” “If we don’t like the same things, there is nothing to talk about!” Or, “I can’t explain it to him/her, because he/she will never understand.”

If your wife loves arts & crafts and you don’t, does that mean you love her less? If your husband is out in the garage working on his cars all day, does that mean you love him less?  The key to having a successful relationship is a shared value system. Ask yourself and your partner this question: “Do we both want to grow and develop together?” A successful relationship will consist of two people who are open to discovering together, learning together, teaching one another, and communicating with each other in such a way that you can feel heard, respected, and supported.

Sometimes we assume that the frustration we have towards our partner is due to lack of common interests. When a couple attends counselling and discusses the difficulties with obtaining shared interests, what is usually discovered is a realm of other problems (e.g., communication barriers, poor time management skills, parenting disagreements, sexual frustration, and/or difficulties with conflict resolution…to name a few!).

If you and your partner can both agree to wanting to grow and develop together—to wanting to make your relationship work, then know that it is possible without having to be interested in the same things. With the right coaching, you and your partner can (1) create effective communicating skills to address concerns in your relationship, (2) maintain your own personal interests while still having a powerful relationship, and  (3) discover the new and exciting places you can take your relationship.

If you are ready to take your relationship up a notch (or two), click here and book an appointment with us today!

Entry #3 of 3)  Step-parents are often both, “easy targets” for blame and extra stressed in their attempt to join with others in the family who already have well-established relationship bonds. This dynamic, along with past conflict resolution patterns, can make it rather challenging to adjust after separation and remarriage. Excessive silences can be just as detrimental to a relationship as can angry outbursts. In today’s third post in the series, we hear from the wife/step-mom, a self-proclaimed “rage-aholic“, as she identifies her husband’s contribution…

“I’m married to a silent rage-aholic.  When in an argument, he would rather avoid the problem or sweep it under the rug in hopes it will all blow over.  In fact, all it does is make it worse!  When you don’t talk things out or at least try, it just makes the other person angrier and left feeling alone and that they just don’t matter.  How many people out there understand or know what I’m experiencing?
                                                 Wife/Step-mom

Blaming one another only intensifies and extends the problem as our energies are now invested in misdirected ways.  Shifting our perspective away from the other and toward the couple as a team is critical in order to find solutions together. Working through the stresses involved with separation, divorce and remarriage is a complicated process, one that we hope we don’t go through often.  Because of limited experience it can be quite helpful to seek out professional coaching.

Our Oshawa counsellors teach effective coping strategies, increase and strengthen your interpersonal skills and help you stop hurtful conflict by increasing calm and successful problem-solving.

Relationships are constructed one sentence, action or facial expression at a time.

The more we can increase our ability to display loving expression with words, face and tone, we will build healthier and more  satisfying relationships.Painted heart

While many researchers may indicate yes to this question, it doesn’t have to be so.  The initial turmoil and emotional upset following separation and divorce impacts all family members to some extent disrupting family stability, emotional balance and even parental effectiveness.  Of course this may not come as a surprise. When we experience significant loss, grief and the associated increased stress levels we do not usually function as well, both physically and emotionally.

In his article in The Future of Children, Paul R. Amato expresses this concern;

Many single parents, however, find it difficult to function effectively as parents. Compared with continuously married parents, they are less emotionally supportive of their children, have fewer rules, dispense harsher discipline, are more inconsistent in dispensing discipline, provide less supervision, and engage in more conflict with their children.” VOL. 15 / NO. 2 / FALL 2005  

Many parents in this situation come in for counselling feeling “overwhelmed”, at their “whits end” and even like they’re “losing their mind“.

What can be done?  Fortunately, for those parents (even one) who are open to assistance, and willing to put the marital dispute aside, cooperative parenting coaching, is quite beneficial for improving family functioning.  Learning what is useful when adjusting after a separation and developing an effective co-parenting plan that is specific to your situation can greatly reduce stress and improve social, emotional, cognitive and academic or vocational functioning.

Both, children and parents can do better at school and work, and with each other , with a clearly defined and equitable co-parenting agreement.

Our Oshawa counsellors can assist you with adjusting after separation and divorce and help you develop great co-parenting ... Call us today !

So many people make this decision far too quickly and with very limited and or biased information.  After working in the counselling field for over twenty years, I have grown increasingly “pro family”. We often hear the following two main thoughts about separating… “I might as well leave and be happy” or “If I stay, we’ll only fight and be miserable”.  That negative voice in the back of our heads doesn’t want us to think about the other two possibilities… “I could leave and be miserable still” or “I could actually stay and work out things so we’re a happier couple/ family”. What happened to those options?

What can you do about it? There are lots of things we can do to change ourselves, thereby changing those around us (Social Systems Theory).   We receive ongoing training to be great at our careers, hobbies and sometimes even get trainers/coaches for great physical fitness and sports. Great relationships are constructed over time and with plenty of effort.  How about getting coaching to improve mental fitness and great relationships. There are numerous books and professional counsellors that can help you assess your relationship and achieve your goals.

Before you make any major life changing decisions, get accurate and objective information about your options.  Ask us what you want to achieve in relationship and we will draw upon your strengths in the training and effort required to negotiate issues better, problem-solve more quickly and communicate concerns more effectively so you and your partner can have a satisfying, magnificent  romance and family. . Please reach out and call us today

Most of us take parenting skills for granted – that we will somehow instinctively “know” what, when and how to parent. We are gifted with the sage advice of “elders” and (at times) conflicting words of wisdom from friends who claim to have “been there and done that.” Parenting is challenging as both parents and children are faced with more complex and difficult tasks to negotiate at home, work, and school.

Just as the world we live in demands that we constantly upgrade our knowledge to deal with the ever changing technology, parents are finding that they need new tools to cope with the explosion of choices that both they and their children face. Co-operative and Positive Parenting are two such tools. Co-operative Parenting is a skill set that fosters a satisfying parenting experience between couples who are dealing with a degree of conflict. Many separated or divorced couples experience this.

Positive Parenting is a skill set that promotes a parenting experience that utilizes the positive aspects of the child/parent interaction to instill a more harmonious home environment. Both of these skill sets can be obtained through individual, parental and family counselling programs.

Contact Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. for more information.