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JReisingerGuest Segment...
The Benefits of Summer

Ahhhhhh...... summer is upon us and what joy this time of year can bring if only we stop and allow it's many gifts to enter our world.

For some, the summer months bring new challenges such as juggling work and vacation planning, finding new ways to entertain the kids and welcoming far away family members for short visits in our homes. These are events that we can let bring disruption to our orderly Fall and Winter months’ schedules or we can welcome these short-term changes into our lives with open arms and mental attitudes of gratitude.

Summer months are a time to grow relationships with your kids, distant relatives and friends as well as cultivate your own well-being by finding ways to trust in yourself as you move forward in your life.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit a different city and participate in a large public running event. It was with a leap of faith that I signed up to participate and then followed through with it. What was most amazing was what I learned and you can learn this too...every day is an opportunity to try something new, to allow change to enter into your life as a gift of renewal!!

The run was something new and frankly, a bit scary. The run was something that in days gone by, I would have shrugged off as too frightening to even think of doing. What I experienced was the amazing bonding strength of humankind. There was a heightened level of connection between friends, family and strangers. It was there that new friendships were formed, old friendships were strengthened and family ties became stronger, definitely a gift of renewal to start the summer.

Take inventory of the things you might love to do but have put off in the past because you feel like you don't have time or that it's too scary or too hard. You have the power within your choices to begin to improve your days of THIS summer by enlisting the help of your kids or friends or family to join in with you. It only takes one new adventure to enhance your life and along the way strengthen relationships that are dear to you. Don't worry about conquering a whole list of new things, just one will do. Take note of your feelings before you try something new and after you begin something new. When you notice a positive change in your feelings, you will notice a positive change in your life.

"I'm happy that it's summer. I want to drink in as much of it as I can."

~ Joni Reisinger, Guest Columnist

Emerton SeanneTherapist Corner...
Affairs
(This article was written for the Her View From Home online lifestyle magazine.)

I frequently work with couples and individuals who have had the experience of an affair in their marriage.

I work with both the betrayer and the betrayed.

Both suffer.

Affairs are one of the hardest things to overcome in a marriage. Some couples choose to work on repairing the marriage; others cannot and choose to end the marriage.

Recently a woman told me how grateful she was that she didn’t divorce her husband some 10 years ago when she discovered he was having an affair. They chose to work on their marriage and she claims it is better than ever. That is contrasted with a man who told me he just could not forgive his wife for her affair and he is grateful they made the choice to divorce.

Either way, affairs cause pain and are best avoided.  Emotional affairs can be just as damaging as physical affairs.  What defines an affair is the secrecy surrounding it.

Transparency on the part of the betrayer is the key to healing from an affair. Healing from an affair also means being available to hear your partner’s pain and not encouraging your partner to “get over it”. Your partner has the right to be upset, yet she/he should not be relentlessly punishing.  Trust has been betrayed. The primary relationship, your marriage, has been compromised. Rebuilding trust is slow, hard work. It requires both partners being committed to doing it. Sometimes this just is not possible and when that is the case, it needs to be acknowledged and accepted.

As Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., points out in her book Marriage Rules, you cannot swear your partner to monogamy by just being the best lover or most gorgeous person in the world. “In the world of sheer physical attraction, no long term partner can ever compete with the idea of someone new, erotically speaking.”  Yes, a sexually or emotionally distant marriage will make an affair more likely. Yet it is also true that affairs happen in the best of marriages.

Dr. Lerner advises us to not take “monogamy on faith”. As she points out, affairs are more likely to occur with couples that assume their marriage is affair-proof. That assumption shuts down conversation and lowers the motivation to improve things.

So, don’t be afraid to:
*talk about it (your concerns, the potential for an affair, etc)
*assertively express to your partner your emotional needs
*give to your partner their emotional needs
*set limits, boundaries and parameters for expected behaviors
*keep your marriage alive by having those date nights and vacations away from the kids
*seek counseling from a marriage and family therapist (someone specifically trained in working with                           couples) to strengthen your marriage and your communication
*put your partner first
*pay attention to the relationship, like you would any valuable investment.

~ Seanne Emerton, Therapist


HainATips from our EAP...

Becoming an "Askable" Parent
As a parent, you've given great thought to your child's health, education, and the kind of values that you want to instill in him or her, but how much thought have you given to your approachability as a parent?
How would you feel if your child made a terrible mistake because he felt as though he couldn't come to you with a problem or question?

Some problems never make themselves known until our children let us in on the secret. If your child doesn't feel comfortable talking to you about certain topics because of fear or embarrassment, then you're left in the dark without any way to help.

Children who aren't getting information from their parents will search elsewhere for answers. Whenever your child seeks information or advice outside your home, your parenting influence is diminished and your child is left vulnerable to receiving misinformation or advice that cuts against your family's values.

What is an "askable parent?
An askable parent is one who presents an open and safe channel of communication for their child. Children of askable parents feel safe approaching and discussing difficult and/or embarrassing issues like sex, drug and alcohol usage, peer pressure, or relationship issues.

How to Become an Askable Parent
Overcoming embarrassment. Parents often become unapproachable to their children because of their ownembarrassment and/or discomfort in discussing certain issues. We are all products of our own upbringings - issuesthat weren't okay to talk about with our own parents frequently become taboo for us as well.

While overcoming a natural reluctance to discuss difficult issues may be a challenge, it is important to remember that your child takes his cues from you. If you react in embarrassment to a particular topic, your child will probably be embarrassed as well. Rehearsing difficult subject matter before being put on the spot is a good way to calm potential embarrassment and/or stage fright.

Let's be honest: some topics are embarrassing. It's ok to acknowledge this to your child while reinforcing that she can come to you with any question or problem - especially if it's something she finds to be personally embarrassing.

Arming yourself with Information. Building a broadknowledge base will help to build your child's confidence in their ability to confide in you. When your child asks you a question that you don't have the answer to, openly acknowledge that you can't provide an immediate answer while promising to revisit the issue when you have better information. Always follow up promptly to signal to your child that his or her concerns are important to you.
Honesty and DirectnessParents often worry about giving their children information that they are not old enough to process. A good rule of thumb if you're not sure what is appropriate to discuss is to ask your child what he knows about certain topics and base your discussion on the answers he gives. Bottom line - if he's hearing about it from his peers, it needs to be addressed.
Always be as forthright as possible with your child, not only with information, but also with the values and morals that guide your advice and decision making. When giving advice, it is helpful to include your reasoning so that your child can place your advice into greater context. The ultimate goal is for your child to be able to reason through difficult challenges by using the values and lessons that you have instilled in him as building blocks to come to healthy and responsible decisions without your direct guidance.
~ Anna Hain, EAP Clinical and Program Specialist
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