Touch Is Foundational For Our Well-being 

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Babies denied skin-to-skin stimulation usually struggle with physical, mental, and emotional developmental issues.  Neglected babies often “fail to thrive” due to touch deprivation.  The good news is that through emotional support and physical touch on a daily basis, the negatives for those babies can be reversed resulting in a happy, successful life.

So science proves that meaningful touch is essential for every child but it is equally important in marriage. Spouses and parents must never underestimate the Power of Physical Touch.  One of the very best ways to stay connected in marriage and parenting is through skin-to-skin contact. Daily, strive to be a wholesome person, spouse, and/or parent by giving and receiving touch with those you love.

TODAY:  Keep track of how many times along with the various ways you touch your spouse, and if you are a parent, your child. 

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Your Marital Ideas May Not Be The Truth

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Mistakenly, most couples think what creates a happy marriage is loving each other but that is simply only a minor start.  The reason:  not only is loving each other usually defined differently by both spouses, often one spouse’s idea of loving each other is a really false perspective that ends up damaging the relationship.

Years ago I counseled a couple and the wife thought it was okay to scream, yell, and call names because she observed her parents exhibiting those behaviors and her parents were still married.  When I asked for a description of the relationship, the husband chimed in with “they strongly resent each other, do almost nothing together, and sleep in separate bedrooms.”  How to have a healthy disagreement discussion was actually foreign to the wife’s way of thinking because her opinion was not a healthy marital axiom.

The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  Likewise, loving each other does not make a satisfying marriage.  Only loving each other with beneficial marital words and behaviors make a gratifying marriage.

TODAY:  Independently, I encourage you and your spouse to make a list of your top ten marital truths that you “think” creates a happy marriage.  Then, together discuss if those ideas are strong marital truisms or merely unhealthy opinions. (If you have children, I urge you to do the same exercise as parents.)

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More Of; Less Of; Just The Right Amount

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Like all couples and parents, you continually want to strengthen your marriage bond and parent-child relationship.  Often, in marriage and family counseling, I will ask each individual to answer three questions:  1) What do you  want to do more of? 2) What do you want to do less of? and 3) What are you doing just the right amount?

This simple exercise can really enhance your relationships.  By answering those three questions you will automatically propel your marriage or parent-child relationship in a positive direction.

TODAY:  Sit down with your spouse and share your responses to those three questions.  If you have a child, ask your child to answer those questions in order to better meet their needs. 

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An A.M. Important 5 Minutes

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

What happens for you and your family members during the first five wake-up minutes in the morning?  Frequently, the first five minutes set the tone for each family member within your home, and perhaps, even determines the outcome of their day.  On the positive side, during this critical “5,” family members may feel appreciated, encouraged, and connected.  On the negative side, a loved one may feel hurt, frustrated, and discouraged.

How can we make this “Essential 5 Minutes” a wonderful experience?  We need to avoid the “Cs”:  criticism, complaints, corrections, and condemnation.  This is also not a time to resolve a problem from the previous day.  In addition, avoid any accusatory questions.

Instead, we can wear a smile or at a minimum have a friendly facial expression. When speaking, project a soft, encouraging tone and share upbeat, positive messages with family members.

TODAY:  Make it a goal to have a positive approach with each family member every morning in order to provide them a great start to their day.

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The Daily Essential 10-Minutes

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

A good synonym for love is time.  We can easily determine what we love or value by how we spend our time.

Several months ago at the end of a couple counseling session, I asked both the husband and wife to request one specific need from each other before bedtime.  The wife asked her husband to spend 10-minutes giving their daughter his undivided attention.   Happily, I can report that he willingly concurred with her excellent idea and both dad and daughter enjoyed special time together.

When possible, I absolutely believe that daily we need to spend a minimum of 10 minutes with every significant family member.  Due to divorce, work, etc. I realize that every marriage and family will have different time schedules so that goal may be difficult to achieve on a daily basis.  However, without regular one-on-one time with those closest to us, it will be a struggle to have a meaningful, rewarding relationship.

TODAY:  Schedule 10 minutes of focused attention on each significant family member. 

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DO A Daily Activity With Your Child

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Like everyone, your child will make mistakes and need discipline but equally important is DOING a regular activity.  Frequently, a child’s disobedience is the result of not enough interaction with their parent.  So DOING a daily or regular activity often will diminish a child’s misbehavior.

DOING an activity with your child increases love and that increases self-respect and that often increases more responsible behavior.  Please evaluate your activity interaction compared to how frequently you find it necessary to discipline your child.

TODAY:  DO an activity with your child:  kick a soccer ball, play a board game, shoot baskets, read a book together, play catch, ride bikes, etc. (March 29, 2017)

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Strive For Obedience NOT Control

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Almost every loving parent believes that a healthy parenting approach is to “control behavior.” Instead, it is better to have the main goal be obedience.  Almighty God, the creator of our universe, could easily control every person’s words and behaviors but God desires obedience that leads to Godly decisions.  Hence, similar to God’s relationship with us, a healthy parent wants to strive for a child’s obedience.

Beginning with the teen years, a child will spend a significant amount of time away from parents and face many temptations and tough decisions that will be made without a parent’s input. To lead a child toward obedience, avoid giving orders and commands.  Instead, with important choices provide opportunities for good decisions.  The more significant choices made within the home, the more likely responsible, Godly decisions will be made outside the home.

TODAY:   Adopt a parenting style that provides choices in order to help a child become a healthy, Godly decision-maker.

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Provide Opportunities for Failure

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

The natural instinct for loving parents is to protect their child from pain and failures.  Certainly, success is really enjoyable, while failure is not as much fun and even somewhat painful.  Yet, it is true that your child and all of us learn more from setbacks than successes.

During your child’s formative years, you want your child to have failures and experience some anguish. So many activities throughout their life are competitive in nature, passing classes in school, getting into a trade school, being accepted to a college, or finding the right job.

Hence, allow your child to join sports teams like golf, volleyball, soccer, etc. as well as tryout for other school activities or programs.  Through participating in various pursuits, your child will hopefully experience a few successes along with some beneficial failures that thankfully may help your child become successful in life.  Childhood failures usually assist in building resiliency and strengthening character, and most important, make your child even more determined to never give up in life.

TODAY:  Begin finding a variety of activities where your child can compete in order to experience both successes and failures. 

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Create A Positive Attitude Within Your Child

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

A Positive Attitude is an extremely important quality for everyone to possess, including children.  Daily life will have ups and downs because life is simply not fair.  If we expect life to be fair we may have a negative attitude and be somewhat miserable.

Creating a Positive Attitude within your child is a primary, essential goal.  As a parent, be a positive role model, encourage your child to give a good consistent effort in every area of life, and help your child identify two or three positives from their day.  Regarding the positives, ask your child to identify what happened that created those positives.

TODAY:  And every day, find the positives in your life as well as encourage your child to be optimistic, confident, and a good finder with people and situations. 

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Eat Meals At The Table

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

With every couple, child, parent, and/or family I counsel, I always ask about how mealtimes are handled by everyone.  Unfortunately, when a child, marriage, or family is struggling, I am often told that rarely are meals happening at the table.  Instead, individuals are eating in the bedroom, living room, or just standing at the counter in the kitchen.  Marriage or family meals at the table allow for positive conversation, excellent eye contact, and a strengthening of family ties.

I have found that a happy marriage is a major challenge when couples are not eating together.  In addition, one research study found that children learned a majority of their life and faith values during mealtime discussions at the table.  So if family members are not sitting together at the table for meals, there is often a disengaged family and a significant lost opportunity for discussing life and faith values with a child.

It makes no difference if only two family members are home or if you are only having sandwiches and chips, a major goal is to have meals at the table as often as possible.  Always avoid discussing any problems so your meals together will be positive times.  Turn off the TV, remove all technology gadgets, have light-hearted conversation, and perhaps share one or two positives from the day.

TODAY:  Begin having marriage/family meals at the table and enjoy making an eye-to-eye heart connection with your spouse or other family members.

Please be sure to “Like” and “Share” when you visit my professional Facebook page so others may receive the post.  If you enjoyed reading this post you may enjoy reading other posts found on my website, www.DrRandallSchroeder.com, under “Categories.”  Thank you!