Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

5 Keys to Being a Great Dad

What makes a great dad? I have found that great dads practice five key principles: love, discipline, nurturing, instruction and training, and provision and protection. Read the following five points, and you'll learn how to not only strengthen your role as dad, but you'll also understand what being a "great" dad is all about.

As a great dad, you will:

  1. Love your children.

Just as the foundation of a new home has to be poured before the building can be framed, a father's love for his family is the foundation that supports and sustains everything else he does. When your actions and decisions are motivated by love, your family is on solid ground.

  1. Discipline your children.

Discipline clearly defines the boundaries of behavior and often dictates where we can and cannot go. Remember, there's a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is for the purpose of teaching your children good character and encouraging good choices. Punishment is often motivated by anger or...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 1 of 2)

One of my first introductions to a blended family was The Brady Bunch. Every Friday night, we tuned in to watch Mike Brady and his three sons and his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters skillfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of their blended family -- and all in less than thirty-minutes.

Some say the Bradys didn’t have it as rough as most blended families, but, hey, what about the time the entire clan had to help Jan cope with the trauma of wearing glasses? Or when Greg was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of voting for someone other than his stepsister to be captain of the cheerleading squad? Boy, those were tough times! If not for the Solomon-like wisdom of Alice, the housekeeper, the Bradys could have easily ended up as just another divorce statistic.

If only step-parenting could be as easy as The Brady Bunch made it look! In reality, blending families together without mixing them up can be enormously difficult and challenging.

Studies show that half of...

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Helping Your Child Process the Illness or Death of a Loved One

In this life, there is no escaping the reality that your family will be impacted by serious illness and death at some time. This is painful and hard for adults, but we must be mindful of the children who are affected as well. 

When someone we love is seriously ill it can evoke within us a sense of helplessness and powerlessness and children feel it, too. Allowing the child to assist in an age-appropriate fashion can help teach them important lessons about caregiving and compassion, help them be distracted from the inevitability of death and give them a sense of purpose and a special connection to the one they love. This may be as simple as drawing a picture for their sick loved one, bringing a drink of water, helping a caregiver adult prepare a meal, or visiting with them as tolerated. 

When a child experiences the death of a family member due to illness or accident it is important for the parent or adult caretaker to speak openly about it. Children can’t be fooled...

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What Buying a Car Can Teach You About Who to Marry

When my daughter was preparing to go to college, we had to shop for a reliable car to transport her around her temporary new community. She had been looking for just the right car for a long time and she could tell us exactly what she wanted and why. She had done an impressive amount of research!

Knowing what she wanted ahead of time really made the decision-making process more efficient and effective and much less stressful. We didn’t have to visit every dealership in town and subject ourselves to high-pressure sales pitches. In fact, the probability of high satisfaction was greatly increased because she had a clear picture of what she was looking for.

If people put this amount of time and effort into knowing what they really want in a spouse, I believe the divorce rate would fall way below 50 percent and they would be a lot more satisfied with their choices. Oh, I know, you can give a lot of thought to who you want as a mate and still end up with a lemon – there are...

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Help Your Kids Quit Procrastinating

When I was growing up I would often hear my mother say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As a child, I hated that statement. It often meant missing a television program or playing with my friends in order to finish my chores or schoolwork.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the importance my mother placed on getting a job done. Unfortunately, many parents encourage their children to procrastinate by allowing them to postpone such things as homework, music lessons or chores. When a child develops the “I’ll do-it-later” syndrome it is very difficult to grow out of it as an adult.

According to a research study conducted by Rhodes College, Psychologists found that parents can program their children to become procrastinators by being late to activities, putting off the signing of permission slips or canceling appointments. The key to remember is this moms and dads, if you want your children to get things done on time you must begin by...

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Divorce

With the divorce rate in the United States over 50% we can’t help but wonder whether those who choose to call it quits have thought through the decision carefully enough – and if they may have been able to salvage their sacred union.

In marriages involving unrepentant adultery, chronic abuse, addiction and abandonment, the option to stay together may not be tenable. However, a large number of divorcing couples just claim to have “drifted apart” or “fallen out of love.”   

A sincere examination of the questions below may help you make the best decision for your future. Ask yourself these ten questions: 

  1. Does your spouse have a sincere desire to work on your marriage? 

If your partner is willing to take responsibility for their part in your marriage problems and has expressed a desire to work on restoration, it is worth making the effort before deciding to divorce.  

  1. Are you emotionally attached to someone other than...
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How Good Deeds Can Affect Your Life

You just never know what impact your actions may have on someone else’s life... or yours. I have a favorite old story that illustrates this fact very well.

Late one night, back in the 1960’s, a man saw a woman standing on the side of the highway in the pouring rain. When he noticed her car was broken down, he decided to interrupt his own plans to stop and offer her a ride. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance towing her car and put her into a taxicab. Although she was clearly somewhat distressed and in a hurry, she thanked the man and took time to write down his address.

Now soaking wet and late, the man went on his way.

A week later the man received a large, unexpected package. It was a giant color TV, which was the latest and greatest technology at that time. The note attached to the package read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along....

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Resolving a Bad Relationship at Work

The average full-time worker with two weeks of annual vacation spends up to 250 days or 2,000 hours each year on the job. Unfortunately, many employees spend this time interacting with co-workers they don't get along with, making their work situation almost intolerable.

If you have a problem with a co-worker and you're growing weary, don't despair. Although you can't guarantee cooperation from the other party, there are some practical things you can do in an effort to turn the relationship around. Review the tips below to see how you can confront bad work relationships.

  1. Take a good look at your own attitude and behavior first.

Before you complain or point a finger at your co-worker, take an honest look at how you might be contributing to the problem. Are you letting your feelings make you snappy, over-sensitive, jealous or uncooperative? Addressing your own negative attitude or behavior can often help decrease the distress brought on by the bad relationship and help...

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How to Fill Your Child's Emotional Tank

Many families have experienced an unusual level of stress this year due to job loss or changes, online schooling, social isolation, and anxiety about illness affecting them or someone they love. Some of you may feel as though your physical and emotional reserves are depleted. If you, as an adult, feel as though you’re running on fumes, you can imagine that your children, who don’t have your years of maturity and experience to draw upon, may be running on empty emotionally. 

Kids who are stressed or depressed may act out their feelings with misbehavior, back-talk, appetite changes, aggression, poor sleep or bad dreams, headaches, tummy-aches and unexplained crying. As a parent, you may not be able to fix everything that’s going on, but you can put some small habits into your relationship to strengthen your children’s resilience. 

Here are some ideas that will help refill their little emotional tanks: 

Demonstrate simple kindness. Say...

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5 Keys to Building Greater Stress Resilience

The first month of the new year has already proven to be a continuation of challenges and stress for many people in our country and around the world. 

With the ongoing needs to cope with and respond to the pandemic, as well as significant political events and transitions, many people face enduring uncertainty and discouragement. They were hoping that, once 2020 was over, life would settle down a bit – but most of the same stressors are still interfering with “normal” life. Clients frequently ask how they can learn to cope more effectively with the stress and negative emotions these challenges present. 

My recommendations for navigating this new year are the same ones I do my best to focus on every year. For me, these 5 intentional strategies have proven extremely effective in keeping me focused on what I need most to strengthen my resiliency to all types of stress. 

Here they are: 

  1. Commit to growing deeper in your faith. 

In an effort to...

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