Your Child’s Love Language

 

As parents, we shower our kids with unconditional love, gifts, words of praise, time and affection. It’s pretty impossible to find a parent out there that doesn’t want their child to know just how amazing, special and loved they really are. 

Sometimes, our efforts to show our love may not be received by our kids because our love languages differ. If you have heard of Dr. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages quiz for couples, maybe you aren’t as familiar with the fact that he has also developed Love Languages for kids!

Here is the breakdown of the 5 Love Languages: 

1. Physical Touch- Feel loved when they are hugged, kissed, embraced

2. Words of Affirmation- Feel loved when they are acknowledged, and told how special they are

3. Quality Time- Feel loved when people do things with them (play a game/sport)

4. Acts of Service- Feel loved when people do nice things for them life help with chores/responsibilities

5. Gifts – Feel loved when they get a gift or a special surprise that shows them you thought about them

As a therapist, I often witness how love gets lost in translation with children. “My mom always wants to be around me! I just need some space!” This is an excellent example of how mom’s love language is probably quality time and she expresses that to her kids (assuming their primary love language is the same). To a teen whose love language is words of affirmation, this can feel like intrusion and like a barrier to their independence. This is why knowing more about how your child gives and receives love can be such a tool in connecting with them and having a strong bond!

I’ve found this to be an amazing tool for couples and families I work with. 

Check out Dr. Chapman’s Love Language Quiz here!

Be well, 

Valerie Spiropoulos,LCPC

The Centered Life

Scheduling Quality Time with Your Partner

Yes, ladies… I said scheduled! I know some may cringe at the thought of actually scheduling time to spend with your hunny; whatever  happened to the “good old days” of staying up until 3AM sharing our deepest thoughts?

Truth bomb: women are busier than ever! We not only care for our children, but also for our aging parents, our homes, our friends and our careers. It’s pretty much a modern day miracle if we can manage to get our roots done in the midst of it all!

Your initial response to this suggestion may be that it feels “forced” or “unromantic”. It makes sense to want that spontaneity that was present in the beginning of your relationship, but equally as important is recognizing and accepting that with time, our romantic bonds evolve and it is crucial for us to evolve along with the changes in our lives.

Here are the facts:

  • Research shows Martial stability is improved by shared leisure time together- the opposite is also true-the less quality time spent together is correlated with lowered marital stability.
  • spending time together builds greater intimacy and connection: the greater sense of connection we have to our partner, the easier it is to forgive and work through conflict. Have you noticed the more disconnected you feel from your partner, the more likely it is that you hold on to grudges?
  • Committing to time spent together prioritizes the relationship above all else. It acknowledges your commitment to strengthen your bond with your partner so that you are resilient in life as a team! It’s you two against the world!(or at least the kids!)

How to start:

  1. BOOK IT! Commit to a weekly “relationship appointment”- put it in your calendar and prioritize it. You give your doc the 24 hour courtesy rule, be respectful of this commitment you made and don’t double book yourself!
  2. Make a list of activities before hand- Fill up a jar with “date night in” and “date night out ideas”- pick from the jar so you have something to look forward to all week!
  3. Let go of expectations and be in the moment – we spend so much of our lives scheduling and planning- when you’re together- practice being present  (the spontaneity will find its way- I promise!)

Val Spiropoulos, LCPC

Love Your Body

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The messages are all around us; on social media posts, magazine covers, television, and movies- that beauty is your worth. It is hard not to critique ourselves, when we live in a world that constantly and heavily emphasizes looks and outer appearance. From Kylie Jenner lip kits, to the pressure to look good immediately after having a baby, I’m not surprised I see so many individuals in therapy feeling these unrealistic expectations. Having these expectations can make teen girls and women feel less than their worth, creating low self-esteem. Social media posts of models and celebrities portray a false sense of security with the amount of followers and likes a person has on their Instagram/Facebook page. Is that really an accurate way to measure a person’s beauty? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

 

As a therapist, I often preach self-care to my clients. A part of that is of course loving yourself and loving your body. How do you do that?

 

Here are some tips to help you feel good about YOU and LOVE YOUR BODY:

 

  • Create a list of all the things that your body lets you do. Be sure to read it aloud and add to it weekly.
  • Be your body’s friend, not enemy!
  • Honor your body. Respect your body.Respect and honor other bodies too. When you begin to see others as the beautiful people they are, you will have a much easier time loving who you are.
  • Write positive notes to yourself and post them on your mirror. “You are beautiful” is just one example.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body.
  • Don’t let your weight keep you from participating in the activities you enjoy.
  • Think about all the things you could enjoy and accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your appearance.
  • Reduce time spent on social media. Unfollow accounts that make you think any less of yourself.
  • Increase positive social interactions with people or pets. Increased interactions allow you to talk about goals and dreams with others while listening to their stories. Interactions with pets help as you can focus your energy on that pet and not completely on yourself. You learn to give and take love unconditionally.
  • Treat your body to a massage or a bath. It deserves it!
  • Every night before you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate it for what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.

Love your body,

Jennifer

 

Let’s Talk About Those Boundaries…

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I have learned that in order to have a healthy and positive self-image, we need to learn how to set personal boundaries. This way, we will be able to tell not only ourselves but others that we have self-respect and self-worth, and will not allow other people to define who we are or what our values are. Being able to have clear personal boundaries is the key to ensure mutually respectful and caring relationships. They allow us to separate ourselves from others, define who we are and allow us to think for ourselves. They help us preserve our integrity and most importantly make us take responsibility for who we are and allow us to execute some aspects of control in our lives.

If you at some point felt uncomfortable by how others were treating you, it may be time to re-examine your boundaries and set new ones. If you think about it, having weaker boundaries will not only make you feel taken for granted, but also may make you feel more vulnerable. Having poor boundaries makes us derive our sense of self from others. No one wants to feel less than, so let’s talk about how to work on resetting your boundaries.

There are many kinds of boundaries, but the main ones I want to mention are: physical, emotional, mental and/or intellectual, energetic, and spiritual.

Physical boundaries define how much space you want between others and you. They help us shape our tolerance for all sorts of touch and affection with others.

Emotional boundaries make us question how we would like others to speak to us and if we can allow others to experience their hurt emotions without having the need to save them. Are we able to allow ourselves to feel sad, angry, hurt or fearful without putting the blame on others?

Mental and/or intellectual boundaries dictate us to respect other people’s beliefs, ideas and preferences even though we may not agree with them. This type of boundary may be challenging if we think we know “best” about something. Remember that your perception may not be someone else’s reality!

Energetic boundaries define what kind of people you want to surround yourself with and what kind of people you want to stay away due to their toxicity. They make us question what sort of situations do you often find yourself in; are they calm, loving and peaceful or chaotic, messy or abusive?

Spiritual boundaries allow us to question our own morale and challenge us to think if we can allow others to have chosen their spiritual life without feeling the need to convince them that they are wrong. They make us think if we can honor our own spiritual or lack of spiritual beliefs and not have to explain or justify ourselves to others.

Now that you have had a chance to examine your boundaries, you may think to yourself: how do I begin to establish healthy personal boundaries in some of the above categories? Here are some of the points I like to focus on when examining boundaries.

  1. One of the most important things is knowing that you not only have the right to have healthy personal boundaries, but you must also take responsibility for how you allow other people to treat you.
  2. Learn how to say “no”. We like to think of ourselves as being nice and wanting to help others and that is okay from time to time. However, if you find yourself trying to accommodate everyone and have been finding yourself being placed at a disadvantage because you have been saying “yes” too many times, you may want to re-examine those situations. I encourage you to start prioritizing your needs and not please others at your own expense.
  3. Trust and believe in yourself. Not only do you know yourself best but you also know what your needs and wants are. With that being said, do not let others make all the decisions for you. Allow yourself to respect your strengths, values, and abilities.
  4. Examine your behaviors and actions and identify those that you find unacceptable. When you feel that your boundaries have been violated, let the other person know that they have crossed the line and made you feel a certain way.

When we experience healthy personal boundaries, not only are we more in touch with ourselves but we also experience increased trust and stability in our relationships. We are able to cope with problems more effectively and can communicate better with others. Healthy personal boundaries help us have a higher self-esteem and self-worth. This means that you can be yourself to a greater extent! It is never too late to work on start working on them!

All my best,

 

Aneta