Relationships

Are You Too Tired, Too Comfortable to Make New Friends?

Are You Too Tired, Too Comfortable to Make New Friends?

by Elise Daly Parker

Do you ever feel like you’ve got enough friends to keep up with? And besides, making new friends can be a little uncomfortable…awkward even. Well I’m generally a people person. I like people. I grew up in a tribe of five. I am genuinely interested in people’s stories and I like to know what makes them tick. I am blessed with a lot of friends. I love them, but I feel like I don’t get enough time with them as it is.

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Are You The Maximizer Or Minimizer In Your Relationships?

Are You The Maximizer Or Minimizer In Your Relationships?

by Susanne Ciancio

Television shows like Everyone Loves Raymond are extremely popular because they hit upon a tender spot in the reality and culture of our family dynamics. Truth is stranger than fiction for sure and sometimes the Barone family problems pale in comparison to what we ourselves and our friends and neighbors are struggling with.

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Marriage Matters: My Top 3 Battles I've Fought in Marriage

Marriage Matters: My Top 3 Battles I've Fought in Marriage

by Noelle Rhodes

Marriage is a journey you travel with someone. It’s not always perfect but that’s okay. We are meant to grow together and get better at being “better people for each other.” I am glad Troy and I haven’t had it all figured out since the beginning of “us.” What a boring story we would have to tell you now if we were always perfectly in love and never fighting! It’s the victories in the tough struggles that give hope.  

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How to Communicate Better in Your Marriage - Connect Before You Correct – Part 2

How to Communicate Better in Your Marriage - Connect Before You Correct – Part 2

by Elise Daly Parker

Does your marriage ever feel more like a business to be managed than a relationship to be cherished?
Are you a Get-It-Done type who has a whole list of things for your husband to do at all time?
Do you ever find yourself barking orders at your husband as you try to manage all the coming and goings of your kids’ and their activities?

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Susanne Says - The 4 Predictors of Divorce

Susanne Says - The 4 Predictors of Divorce

by Susanne Ciancio, LPC

The Gottmans say they can predict whether or not a couple may be heading for divorce within the first 15 minutes of interviewing them. They call these predictors the "4 Horses of the Apocalypse."  Take a look at these predictors to discern if your marriage is in trouble.

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Susanne Says - Does your husband listen to you? A Series on The Power of Listening – Part 1

Susanne Says - Does your husband listen to you? A Series on The Power of Listening – Part 1

By Susanne Ciancio, LPC

So, does your husband listen to you?

I know that can be a loaded question! At the base of much marital conflict there is an issue of not listening well to each other. More than that, couples often struggle with giving the time and attention required to really hear what their spouse is saying. Want to make a wife happy? Give her a husband who devotes focused time listening to her - hearing her heart, her hopes, and her dreams...not to mention her frustrations.  Of course, the same is true for our husbands. [Continue Reading...]

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A Weekend Away with the God-sized Dream Team and Jesus

A Weekend Away with the God-sized Dream Team and Jesus

by Elise Daly Parker

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been skeptical about the World Wide Web. I mean, are the relationships we think we have, real?

Plus, the World Wide Web…well, it can be a scary place, right?

We know there are predators “out there.” Our families can be overly exposed to news, trends, and pictures; evil we fight hard to protect them from.

But the World Wide Web can expose us to good too. [Continue Reading...]

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No Strings Attached…A Marriage Vow Is Not For Ceremonial Purposes Only

No Strings Attached…A Marriage Vow Is Not For Ceremonial Purposes Only

by Elise Daly Parker

My lover is mine, and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16

Chris and I were engaged on February 14, 1984, 30 years ago. And we’re still here—together, married. It was a lovely romantic evening at the historic Summit House in Jersey City, NJ. I had an inkling. Chris and I had been together for four years…we had been talking about marriage. I had my reservations. Not about Chris. About timing.

Were we ready? [Continue Reading...]

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Susanne Says - Do Friends Break Up? Part 3

Susanne Says - Do Friends Break Up? Part 3

by Susanne Ciancio, LPC, Licensed Professional Christian Counselor

What if I'm the one being broken up with? Ouch!  That can really hurt!

You may be very bonded to a group of women you're raising kids with. Then your family moves out of the neighborhood or your kids are a little older and in a different school. At first, you're surprised and then very disappointed when you realize the women in the neighborhood are still gathering and doing all the fun stuff you all used to do together. But there’s one big difference: they're not including you. [Continue Reading...]

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Susanne Says - Do Friends Break Up? Part 2

by Susanne Ciancio, LPC

This month I'd like to look at some practical tips about what to do if we find ourselves struggling in a chronically toxic or imbalanced relationship.

First things first:  I need to examine my own heart. Seek The Lord, not other people who may know this friend. Ask Him to reveal my heart and why I'm feeling so irritated and resentful. I may have been practicing a lot of people-pleasing and self-deception myself. Have I pretended to be more kind and patient than I truly felt so now I'm about to blow a gasket? [Continue Reading…]

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Susanne Says - Do Friends Break Up? Part 1

Susanne Says - Do Friends Break Up? Part 1

By Susanne Ciancio, LPC

Types of Friendships That May Need Some Adjustments

The term "breakup" isn't commonly used when friendships end, but if you've ever experienced it, it does feel like a breakup. There are lots of feelings that go along with this...both positive and negative. Depending on the circumstances, there can be true loss and grieving or possibly even relief when friendships end. Why do friends break up? 

Let's look at three types of friendships that may end in breakups. [Continue Reading...]

 

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Join Our Brand-New Facebook Prayer Group

Join Our Brand-New Facebook Prayer Group

by Chelle Wilson

Starting today we will be hosting a Facebook Prayer community; a place where we can join together to share our prayer needs and our testimonies of God’s provision. It is a forum for us to share what we are believing God for, so that we can knit our faith together.

Prayerfully, thoughtfully, with hearts broken open, we seek those who would not only help us build our community but... [Continue Reading...]

 

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I’ve Got Birthday Issues… Reflections on the Down Side of a Summer Birthday

I’ve Got Birthday Issues… Reflections on the Down Side of a Summer Birthday

by Noelle Rhodes

Do you know how many people ask me, “Oh, were you born on Christmas Day, Noelle?”  Assuming that’s how my parents came up with the name. You should see the look of disappointment on their faces when I break their hearts with my response: “Nope. I was born in August.”  

Besides having a name that doesn’t match the season in which I was actually born, there a few complications and misfortunes that comes with having a “summer” birthday. [Continue Reading...]

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How a Home Filled with Anger and Tears Was Transformed

How a Home Filled with Anger and Tears Was Transformed

by Beth Stiff

When my son left for boot camp to become a sailor, the only item he was allowed to bring was a Bible. He had never owned one as we had not been a church-going family. I determined that if all he was allowed was a Bible, then a Bible he would have.

I purchased a small Sailor's Bible and stuffed it with photos. Post-it notes were also stuck to various pages telling him how proud we were of him and how much [Continue Reading...]

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Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

Today's post is by contributor Susanne Ciancio, LPC, Licensed Professional Christian Counselor.

Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 3

In May, we discussed the difficulties of 

Dealing with angry teens, Part 1

. The key point was to distinguish between when someone is expressing anger—which is normal and needs a healthy, boundaried outlet—and disrespect—which is using our anger against people with disparaging, condescending, mean comments.  We focused on changing the behavioral dynamic in the family between parents and teens and the importance of role modeling and owning our own anger before we can help our teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) with theirs.  We also talked about how our teens need to learn to express their anger in appropriate ways. We ended with the question: Should we permit anger at all?

 

 

 

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Preparing to Let My Baby Go

Preparing to Let My Baby Go

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, Genesis 1:14 ESV

A new day dawns. Sun rises. Birds sing. Flowers grow…It’s a new day. It’s as if all of creation knows, as if all of creation grows…today is a new day for my daughter.

Today, after years of preparation—hard work, sleepless nights, APs, SATs, ACTs, essays, extra help, extracurricular, education—today she decides where she will spend the next four years of her life. [Continue Reading...]

Just like the baby birds in the nest outside my window, Amelia is getting ready to fly. She’s the youngest of four. The last to soar. Will she make the right decision? What is the right decision?

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Ode to My Mothers

Ode to My Mothers

Though Mother’s Day has passed, I have been thinking about the mothers in my life. For me, the word is plural. I come from a family of powerful, courageous, and loving women. My maternal side is full of estrogen, and though I was raised by my mom and dad, I was also raised by my three aunts, in various capacities. These four women are very different, and each have strengths that they have used to bless the generation after them. [Continue Reading...]

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Susanne Says - Dealing with Angry Teens - Part 2

 Dealing with Angry Teenagers - Part 2

6-5-13 Angry Teenager.jpg

Last month I shared the difficulties of dealing with angry teens. (Click here if you missed it.) The key point was to distinguish between when someone is expressing anger—which is normal and needs a healthy, boundaried outlet—and disrespect—which is using our anger against people with disparaging, condescending, mean comments.  We focused on changing the behavioral dynamic in the family between parents and teens and the importance of role modeling and owning our own anger before we can help our teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) with theirs.  We also talked about how our teens need to learn to express their anger in appropriate ways. We ended with the question: Should we permit anger at all?

WHY PERMIT ANGER?

When we permit our teens to express anger, we're ultimately permitting them to be separate from us, have a different viewpoint, become an individual, etc. I have told many parents that one key to saving your kids many hours in the therapist's office as an adult is to let them express themselves honestly and openly in the family. We don't have to agree, just show respect when our teens are speaking to us.

IS ANGER ALWAYS SIN?

Anger is just a feeling.  It's a barometer for how I'm doing in a relationship. The sinning occurs when we use our anger as a weapon against someone, to hurt or denigrate them. So yes, it is possible to be angry and sin not as Ephesians 4:26 admonishes us. For instance, if I'm angry about something and I know what’s going on for me emotionally, I could be free to say something like, "I'm really not comfortable with the decision you made on my behalf. I don't think my best interests are being considered."  If I'm disconnected from my relationship, and myself I might be inclined to say, "Are you kidding me?  I told you I'm not doing that! Not now, not ever!!! You always do this to me. There's something wrong with you! You never listen, you only think of yourself, etc., etc." The former sets a firm boundary while respecting the other person. The latter is combative and hostile. It's like throwing a torch in the relationship. We get to choose. When we role model respect, eventually, it will come back to us from our teenagers.

WHAT DOES AN ANGRY BUT RESPECTFUL EXCHANGE LOOK LIKE?

We need to take some time to really hear what our teens are saying to us. Set firm limits about being respectful, no trash talking, insults, etc. I'm not encouraging us to agree with them across the board, but if we can find one small area where we can legitimately agree or apologize, we should do so! The goal is to show them we care about their feelings, their perspective, and that we value their thoughts. This models respect for others, behavior we want to see our teens repeat.

Surprisingly, in most situations (about 80%of the time) a young person feels better just being able to get things off their chest. Everyone has a deep need to be heard and known. We can permit our teenagers to say, "I hate it when you do that," or "I hate it when things turn out that way for me."

We don’t have to remind them that we’re paying all the bills and that's why we get to make the decision. We can say something like, "I know this is tough; you will be an adult soon enough. Then all the decisions are yours, but so are the responsibilities."

One of the underlying causes of anger for teens is invalidation of feelings from people in authority. Just permitting our kids to have a chance to speak their mind can set them free from a portion of their anger. Remember this: no one skill or interaction changes the sum total of family life or parent/teen relationships. What we’re doing is endeavoring to change the emotional climate in our home. This takes perseverance and effort. We have to do our own emotional training before we require our kids to develop a new behavior.

Next month, we’ll talk about how to maintain influence in our teenagers’ lives, while making sure we avoid losing control. We’ll also differentiate between anger and rage and what to do about each. 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Dr. William Lee Carter's classic book,The Angry Teenager. This book talks about why teens get so angry and how parents can help.
  • The Anger Workbook for Teens by Raychelle C. Lohmann is a great tool for teenagers who are willing to look at their own anger. It is chock full of techniques for anger management, coping strategies for frustration, self-control, and much more. I suggest the first book because most likely you're the one who is concerned about your teen’s anger. Don't buy the workbook unless you have a willing teenager motivated to work on their anger.
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Susanne Ciancio, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Christian Counselor. She has been serving the Christian community as a professional Christian counselor in Essex county and the surrounding area since 1986. Beyond her private practice in West Orange, NJ she is involved in teaching, consulting, and pastoral supervision in various churches in the area. Click here for Susanne's website. 

EDITORS NOTE: While Susanne can’t answer specific counseling-related questions, she welcomes your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about what kinds of topics you’d like to see addressed here at Circles of Faith. Click here to contact us

photo credit: martinak15 via photopincc

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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