The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.
  • Post Featured Image

    Tantrums!

    Raise your hand if you've experienced your child having a tantrum. I'm pretty sure anyone reading this would indicate they've seen this behavior before. You are not alone! This blog article will get into some nuts and bolts on how to deal.

    Let's start first with parenting resources. Most of us barely have time to manage our households- and then to be expected to read up on parenting?! There will be some positives, though, if you consider reading the following book: 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan. I will mention some other resources at the end of this article, but if you seek any book/parenting program, this should be your number one go-to.

    1-2-3 Magic is essentially a behavioral management program for kids- and parents! It uses counting and a clear disciplinary approach to parenting. Here are a few things to remember:

    1) Your child is not a little adult.

    2) You make the rules.

    3) Stay consistent.

    4) No monologues.

    5) Follow through.

    6) Use time-outs and reverse time-outs.

    Other resources include No-Drama Discipline by Dan Siegel and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman. They propose:

    1) Discipline is essential.

    2) Pay attention to your child's emotions.

    3) Validate a child's feelings.

    4) Assess your parenting style.

    5) Label emotions in a way your child can understand.

    6) Watch your emotional response.

    The health of your relationship with your significant other can also be of paramount importance in how your child behaves and reacts. Some great resources on healthy marriages and relationships include The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, What Makes Love Last by John Gottman and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, also by Gottman. In these books, you will have opportunities to practice more effective communication skills and develop healthier bonds. This in turn will provide a more safe, calm, stable and loving environment for your child. If those things are in place, you should see tantrums and acting out diminish.

    Remember: To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. -Unknown (www.parenting.com)

  • On Love

    On Love

    Attention couples! Let’s talk “love.” Are you struggling to connect with your partner? Has the spark faded? Feeling disengaged or complacent? Then you’ve come to the right place. 

    Our society has done a number on us in terms of our expectations for romance. Fairy tales are what play out in movies and things seem to “just work out” without much effort or energy by the characters. Love seems to be this euphoric wonderland. But what about reality? What about the struggles of life and the impact those have on a relationship? Mounting deadlines at school or work, raising children, family obligations- where does the romance fit in? 

    Like anything that is important or takes a priority in our life, it takes time and effort. We can’t expect a plant to grow without sunlight, water and nourishing soil. The same goes for our relationships. Once the “honeymoon” period wears off in a relationship, the flaws that we used to consider cute and endearing become annoying and sometimes even off-putting. There’s a fine line between lust and love. It gets blurred. And humans don’t have linear emotions. We are complicated beings with a whole lot going on in those heads of ours. 

    So how do we foster our relationships? How do we regain what we feel we’ve lost? Is it possible to repair what we see as broken? The good news is that we can take both proactive and even retroactive measures to address these questions. Here are a few tips if you are in the beginning stages of a romantic relationship: 

    • Be honest- build the foundation of your relationship from a solid place. 
    • Be mindful of your expectations- gut check how you feel things are going. Something doesn’t feel right? Listen and address. Have too high of expectations? You’ll always be disappointed. 
    • Pace yourself- have you heard of the phrase “fools rush in?” It’s easy to dive head-first into a relationship, confusing love with lust and moving things along at a speedy pace. Slow down. Enjoy moment to moment. 
    • Balance- don’t give up your family and friends. Try to balance time spent with your significant other while also fostering your already existing relationships. 

    What about those of us who have been in a long-term relationship and things seem fizzled out? Let’s touch on some ideas to reignite the spark: 

    • Know your partner- do you know your partner’s hopes and dreams? Likes and dislikes? Get to know them again. 
    • Communicate- healthy communication is the key to “getting” your partner. Do you tend to blame or be defensive? Try empathy and active listening instead.
    • Attune- join with your partner. Be present with him/her and be interested in what he/she is saying or doing.
    • Date your partner- carve out time to spend with your partner. The kids have gone to bed? Perfect. Check-in with each other. How are things going in the relationship? Play a boardgame. Fold laundry together. Do something and connect!

    As these are just a few thoughts on love and relationships, if you need a heavy duty tune-up, reach out to a couples therapist who can help you more successfully navigate your relationship. Sometimes we need a little outside help to lead us down the right path. 

    “The grass is greener where you water it.” - Neil Barringham 

    Resources: The Gottman Institute, Emotionally Focused Therapy with Dr. Sue Johnson

  • Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Finding Peace Amongst Chaos

    Feeling like you’re always sprinting on the treadmill of life? Trying to keep up with our own expectations and the expectations of others can be really challenging. How can we ever slow down to a calm and collected stroll? It may seem impossible, but it just takes a little practice and patience find peace amongst the chaos of our daily lives. 

    Did you know, that according to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high stress in the past month and they also reported that their stress has increased over the past year. It doesn’t take a research study to convince us. Most people recognize that American society is stressed out where many feel the expectation to always be running on a hamster wheel to “stay ahead”. Add in the fact that life stressors can and will occur at any time and a crisis doesn’t really care to check how stressed you already may be or what kind of chaos you are already living in before piling on, and that’s a lot of stress to deal with! 

    Many factors, even what we would define as positive factors, can increase our stress levels. The time of year, holidays, big life changes like getting married or having a baby, moving and changing jobs are but a few examples. Consider if more than one of those things happens within a small time frame? You got it. Stress and chaos.

    So, how do we achieve finding some balance and feeling some peace amongst all this chaos? Let’s talk life hacks: 

    1. Prioritize what REALLY needs to get done
      - as opposed to what you want or think needs to get done in that moment. Take a moment before attacking a big task and break it down into smaller tasks and then put these in a priority list before starting on it. Then, knock each item off your list and celebrate each one!

    2. Take Breaks.
      Mentally you need to take a break between tasks. You will perform better and it will take less time to do each task in the long run. Sitting for long periods is harmful to your health, so get up and walk around for a minute before moving on to the next task.

    3. Breathe.
      Seems like common sense, yet you may find yourself going through your day and actually be subconsciously holding your breath or breathing too shallow. Set an alert on your phone to remind yourself to close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds or better yet, a few minutes.

    4. Ask For Help.
      Communicate to your partner, friends, family or co-workers. Asking for help could alleviate your chaos and you might be surprised how willing others are to jump at the opportunity to help you.

    5. Don’t multi-task.
       While we all like to think we can accomplish many things at once and “save” ourselves time, according to Forbes magazine, multi-tasking does not lead to more productivity and can actually make you less efficient. Do one thing at a time and pace yourself.

    6. Be Present in the here and now.
      Remind yourself you can only be in one place at one time and that there are only so many hours in the day. Be realistic about the time you have versus the tasks you want to complete.

    7. Put Down That Smartphone. 
      Schedule finite amounts of time to check emails and messages and avoid getting sucked into social media.

    8. Stick to a Schedule.
      Wake and sleep times, meal times, break times and any other way you can structure your day will help you stay on task and rest your brain and body along the way. 

    Remind yourself of this above list as much as you need to in order for you to put it into practice. You got this! Now let’s make some peace amongst the chaos.



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCCMeghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 14 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan HERE.

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