Compassion is the Antidote to Judgment!

There is so much disrespect flying around and judgment of all kinds. I don’t know about you, but one of my highest priorities is that my kids become respectful adults when they are grown. Rather than jumping on a bandwagon, howling at the news or your friends expressing displeasure about our country or the happenings in our world, be sure you are being an example of respectful behavior.  There will always be strife in politics and over the years we won’t agree with things we see or hear, at times. Be a model citizen for your kids and show respect for differing opinions and tolerance for those who are different from us. The ultimate antidote to judgment is COMPASSION! Teach it and model it daily!

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting

from a post on MOMIPEDIA on Facebook 11-16-16

With thanks to my village…

When we talk about raising kids, it really does take a village.  When I think back to when my own kids were little, I realize that I couldn’t have made it through without my mom friends. I wouldn’t have known when it was time to give my baby cheerios, or that it was ok to let her cry for a bit if I was just finishing something up. As the kids got older, I had a bunco group that kept me up to date on what was happening at the high school and I had a Mom’s Night Out group who kept me sane.  My friends who would bring their kids over for the afternoon so I could have a playdate, too, and then stayed for dinner and baths were my lifeline…and I could give you so many more examples!  It is with thanks to my village that I write this post today and I hope that you, too, have a village who saves your life each day and restores your sanity!!  Feel free to tag your friends with a word of thanks here!!!

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

Spanking…yay or nay?

Spanking is still a very controversial and heated discussion for many. My belief is that spanking doesn’t teach kids anything useful looking forward. When would they be able to use the tool of hitting someone in an appropriate setting? All healthy parenting tools should be applicable to other situations and parents are constantly modeling how to handle themselves and their feelings. Feel free to disagree with me. What are your thoughts about this article?

http://news.utexas.edu/2016/04/25/risks-of-harm-from-spanking-confirmed-by-researchers

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

The Bridge to Connectedness…

I love when a theme emerges with my clients and this month’s theme has been about feeling “safe” in relationships. When we use respect with each other and truly cherish our partners’ and our kids’ strengths AND weaknesses, we make them feel SAFE with us. They feel able to be honest, able to be vulnerable without fear and able to open their hearts and share with us; this is what leads to true connectedness and intimacy in relationships.  This is what we all crave and yearn for from those we love. Look inward at how you might make your partner or kids feel “unsafe” with you and work to hold your tongue when criticism or harshness comes. Your compassion and unconditional love are your greatest bridges to true connectedness.

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, BCPC
www.BalancedParenting.com

from MOMIPEDIA on Facebook 7-27-16

Talking to Kids About Terrorism


Terrorism and kids. What do we tell our kids about such horrible events in the news such as the Orlando shooting? Of course, only as is age-appropriate, we tell them the truth. There are people who hate and who want to destroy and do it with notoriety. It’s is heartbreaking to know that some people don’t value life in the same ways we do. We must talk about that with our kids and remind them that there are so many more good people than bad in this world. It should be a conversation that continues over time, but always remember to point out the good people who step in to help and repair the communities who are wounded. We all need to be those helpers and repairers.


Mr. Rogers said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”


Wishing you balance,

Bette Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting
www.BalancedParenting.com

Raising Optimistic Kids!

“Optimism: a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.”
Few people naturally default to optimism and many people are actually annoyed by it. Those who believe everything is “meant to be” or “happens for the best” can certainly drive those crazy who believe only what they can see, hear, touch, taste or smell. Frankly, most people I talk to don’t ever give optimism a thought.

Lucky for you, I think about this stuff all the time! To self-disclose, I was a mildly depressed young adult who didn’t even realize that I was depressed because I never remembered feeling anything different. I entered therapy because it was required in my graduate program and the healthier I got the more I was able to see the contrast. When I would feel depressed again, I had little tolerance for it because now I’d had a taste of feeling good! Being depressed was no longer an option. But I didn’t know how NOT to default to it.
Click here to read some great tips to growing your kids’ and your own optimism muscles!

Trusting the Process

For those of you who have read my Balanced Parenting Newsletter, you know what this is going to be about. As a parent, it is very challenging for me to resist the temptation to control things, especially my kids. The older I get and the older they get, the more I’m learning that I really have no control over them, nor should I.

Yes, I should maintain control of the authority in our home, along with my husband. That’s how we help our kids feel safe knowing that we are taking care of the important things. But controlling my kids’ behavior, that’s a whole other topic.

I won’t be able to follow them around all of their lives telling them what they “should” or “shouldn’t” do. They have to figure it out for themselves and I have to remember that their behavior is NOT a reflection of me, nor is it a measurement of my parenting ability. My kids are their own people – people I adore, by the way – and they should make their own decisions. I won’t always agree with them, but I must honor them and trust that, in the end, they are making the right choices for themselves in the long run.

When our kids are little, it may mean letting go of caring if our kids’ socks match. As they get older, we may need to sit back and watch as our child befriends a kid we don’t care for much. Ultimately, (as I’m learning currently) we can’t choose our kids’ colleges for them. They have to live with their choices, so they have to make the choices themselves. (Yes, I’m keeping my mouth shut as much as possible – and it’s so hard!)

Let me know how you have quieted yourself and allowed your kids the space to do the right thing. Did they step up? How was it for you?

Looking forward to hearing from you and wishing you balance,

Bette

New Tools for the New Year!

The first tool I recommend parents work on for this new year is their reactions to their kids’ behaviors. How we handle a situation actually determines how things go. When your child behaves in a way that is challenging, appalling and even embarrassing, I challenge you to take a breath before reacting. Show no emotion, breathe, and think through how you want to handle the moment. Often, how we react to our kids’ behavior sends the whole family down a “rabbit hole” of chaos.

Remember: Stop…breathe…decide on the best intervention.

Wishing you balance,

Bette