Happy New Year! Now, Let’s Make Changes!

Happy New Year,

Everyone is saying it. Kind wishes in 2017 are lovely, but what does it really mean? What does it mean to you? What could you make it mean? I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.  It’s simply that when we are given those wishes, we should think about them differently.

When someone wishes you Happy New Year, ask yourself, “what am I doing right now to actually make it a great new year?”  We all have goals and may even make new year’s resolutions. At the very least, we have things we want to accomplish. I have set goals for my business and goals for myself personally.

What about parenting? We can all set goals to be more patient, to yell less, to spend more time engaged with our kids (without our phones) and to help them to learn to cope with their feelings with our loving guidance.  How do we get there?

Every time someone wishes you Happy New Year in the coming week or two, take a moment to evaluate how you’re doing.  After the first couple weeks of the year, come up with another “trigger phrase” that becomes your reminder to self-evaluate.  Then, ask yourself “how am I doing?” or “where am I headed?” – am I headed toward my goals or away from my goals? Am I being patient with my kids? Am I connecting with my kids? What is getting in my way? What adjustments do I need to make?  (Remember to be kind to yourself as you make adjustments – no self-punishing thoughts or mean comments to yourself!)

Here’s hoping that this small tip keeps you on track all year long – and me, too!

Wishing you balance and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😉

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting

Resolution Success in the New Year!!!

The new year begins this weekend and we are all filled with renewed hope and inspiration to make it a great one! But why is it so hard to stick with our new behaviors and resolutions that we SO want to fulfill? Let’s proactively address what sabotages us so that we can actually lose the weight, save for that vacation, kick that bad habit or whatever your goals may be.
 
We need to live in the present. We are so busy running, running, running all of the time that we forget to be in our lives! We need to spend more time BEING and not DOING. We need to be still once in a while so we can hear what our intuition is trying to tell us. If we are still, we have a choice about what we put in our mouths. If we are still, we have a moment to choose how we want to handle a situation, rather than reacting and regretting.
 
Let’s resolve to spend more time being still and making 2017 what WE want it to be, not whatever happens by default in the smoke of our acceleration.  What do you resolve to do in 2017???
Wishing you balance,
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting

The holidays are all about the miracles you make…

The holidays bring with them a magic that we forget to tap into at other times of the year. That magic is remembering to feel joy at the sights and sounds of the holidays, the pure happiness that comes with giving to others, the charitable giving we do at this time of year, remembering to be patient with the crowds and angry shoppers, the appreciation of family and friends, the flavors of our favorite holiday traditional foods, the hugs of family who traveled to see us or to whom we traveled…and so much more!  I am Jewish and grew up with latkas and the lights of our chanukiah. I also love Christmas music, seeing the lights on my neighbors’ homes and the hustle and bustle of the cold days this time of year.
 
Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season and hoping that I’ve inspired you to remember to stop and take in the things that make you feel grateful this holiday season!! From my family to yours…all good wishes for a blessing-filled holiday!
Wishing you balance,
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting

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

Day of Atonement…2016

Shana tova to our Jewish friends! Those who celebrate the Jewish Holy Days are currently in what we call the Days of Awe. It’s a time for self-reflection, making amends and will culminate with a day of confession or atonement on Yom Kippur, next Wednesday. So, in my own efforts of self-reflection, I must confess that I over-indulge in some behaviors that are not good for me.  As I was about to write this post, it took me about 30 minutes of Facebook exploration to actually buckle down and get to writing.  Ok, I confess.  I am a Facebook addict.  I spend more time on it than I should. It keeps me from doing other things I should be doing that are more productive and overall better for me. I commit to working on this in the coming months and using Facebook for work purposes only during work hours – entertainment in my leisure time only!  What things do you want to work on in yourselves? You don’t have to be Jewish to be self-reflective and to improve as a person.

 
P.S. I eat too many potato chips, too! 🙂
Wishing you balance,
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

Blame It On Rio 2016!

The Olympics are over and I have to say that I’m grieving the loss a bit. It was an emotional ride that I would take again and again. The triumph, the defeat, the pride, the patriotism, the comraderie, the talent, the commitment, the determination, the laser-sharp focus…I could go on and on. I know there were a few blemishes, but don’t let the media attention to those moments overshadow the big picture of what an amazing ritual-filled coming together the Olympics are to the whole world.  This is the kind of thing kids should be allowed to watch for hours (with parental editorials, of course!) I hope you shed a few tears like I did (ok, more than a few!) and were inspired to push yourselves a little further than you might have before.  Feel free to share your favorite events, moments, or any Olympics related thoughts with us!

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

It’s Honeymoon Time!


Ok, here comes school for many and some have already begun.  My own daughter starts next Wednesday.  There is an excitement and a little nervous energy associated with the start of school which leads the way into what I call “the honeymoon”.  The first month or so is everyone getting used to the new year, new teachers, new classes, new routines, new friends, etc…Lots to process and take in for those more sensitive students. After the first month the novelty wears off and kids begin to test the limits and show their struggles. Be aware and attempt to be proactive if you see your child struggling with academics, socially or behaviorally. Remember this post a month from now and I’ll do my best to remember to remind you. Parents, enjoy the honeymoon! <3 nbsp="" span="">


Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com


from MOMIPEDIA post on Facebook

Adaptability

It’s the beginning of a new school year and some kids roll with it better than others. Change is the only constant, right? Our ability to adjust to new situations depends very much on our level of adaptability.  The good news is that for those of us for whom change is challenging, we can increase our adaptability with some effort. 
We must be able to: respond to sudden changes in our circumstances; keep calm in the face of difficulties; shift priorities in the face of changing situations, and much more.  How do we help our kids for whom flexibility is not their greatest strength? 
We need to help our kids (and ourselves) to practice greater levels of patience; to see change as a positive (which requires optimism); to keep an open mind; and to bounce back as quickly as possible when the unexpected happens.  Simply an awareness of wanting to improve our skills in these areas is a great beginning. Breathe…relax…and let life roll on!



Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

from MOMIPEDIA post on Facebook 8-10-16

‘Tis the Season for…ANXIETY!

The beginning of the new school year is a common time for kids and parents to experience anxiety.  The parents are anxious that kids will be happy and thrive in their new grade, new school, with new friends, etc…  Kids are anxious about all of the unknowns, their new teachers, new kids, new school, new classroom, everything is new even if they went to that school last year.  For kids who experience anxiety, as a rule, it’s especially challenging.  Their anxiety that may have been a bit lower in the summer is back with a vengeance! 

Here are a few tips to help your kids and yourself deal with this very anxious time of year!

  • Manage your expectations of your kids and situations realistically
  • Make sure you are taking good care of yourself to ensure maximum patience with your kids
  • Take time away if you need it, meditate, exercise…self-care is of paramount importance, not a luxury
  • When your child is expressing anxious feelings, don’t try to reason with him/her.  Combatting logic with feelings never works!
  • Stay in a place of compassion – “I know this is hard!” “Do you need a hug?” “New things can be scary!”
  • Don’t change plans to accommodate anxiety unless absolutely necessary.  Kids have to learn that their anxiety doesn’t change the circumstance, it just takes the fun out of it.
This is a stressful time of year for parents and kids alike.  The more preparation and proactive planning there is, the happier everyone will be!!
Wishing you balance,
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com

Respect at all times!

Respect at all times! How can we expect our kids to be respectful of us if we are not respectful of them? We don’t deserve respect just because we are the parents, we have to earn it, too, and model how to do that for our kids. Use a respectful tone of voice; choose your words and timing wisely before making a request of your child; remember that just because something is important to you, doesn’t mean it is important to your child or important to others. Remember that those with whom we live deserve as much loving respect and more as those we meet on the street.

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT
www.BalancedParenting.com