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7 Essential Goals For A Healthy Parent

A healthy parent desires to lead and guide their child to be a motivated, responsible decision-maker.  A wholesome parent also attempts to do their very best in order to help their child be successful in every area of life.  Focusing on 7 Essential Goals can assist a parent in achieving those objectives. 

1.         Provide unconditional love both verbally and physically. Daily, tell your child “I love you no matter what” and give numerous loving physical touches.  Unconditional love is always important but especially once your child is in double digits.

 2.         Only give your child positive labels, NEVER negative labels.  Your child will fulfill whatever label or reputation you place on their forehead.  Use the words “I appreciate” when giving the positive label.  For example, “I appreciate your positive attitude” or “hard work” or “great decision-making,” etc. 

 3.         Treat your child like they are 3 years older than their age.  Expecting your child to be 3 years more mature than their age will instill confidence, produce a positive attitude, and build excellent decision-making skills. 

 4.         Compliment more than you correct.  Unfortunately, most parents falsely believe the goal is to focus on just correcting errors. Instead, compliment your child’s efforts more than their outcome.  Search for what your child is doing right and give many “I appreciate” compliments. 

 5.         Be consistent, decisive, and have firm limits. It is so easy to give your child a second, third, fourth, and even fifth chance.  However, by not expecting your child to respond the first time, you are being inconsistent and indecisive which can create various difficulties for your child.  

 6.         Lead and guide your child by being brief.  Don’t try to influence your child’s heart by talking and reasoning way too much.  Talking a lot, debating, and arguing with your child will usually create “parent deafness” where they turn off the volume. Simply, be brief, be decisive, and have firm limits!

7.         Be a role model.  Example is not the best teacher, example is the only teacher.  More things in life are caught than taught.  As both an individual and parent, be operating at a higher level in all aspects of life than your child. 

This Week:  Discuss with your child’s other parent or a significant family member where you can improve for the sake of your child. 

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15 Danger Signs A Marriage Is In Trouble

Not recognizing that a marriage is sick and needs outside help from a skilled marriage counselor, pastor, etc. is an “illness” that can easily destroy the oneness of a couple.  Usually before a divorce is even final, one or both partners have been “emotionally divorced” for period of time.

Hence, it is absolutely essential that couples understand the “sickness signs” that may create the slippery slope toward marital brokenness.  Although not an exhaustive list, shown below are 15 Danger Signs

 1.         Positive times together outside the home rarely occur.  In addition, when a couple spends time together, sadly much of that time is more negative than positive.

2.         One partner controls most aspects of the marriage.  The relationship is not a partnership because decisions are one-sided a majority of the time.

3.         Spouses seldom eat meals together which creates a “single mindset” more than a couple relationship.

4.         Politeness seems to have left the relationship, meaning kind words and compliments are rarely given by one or both spouses.

5.         When a hurt or disappointment occurs, an apology almost never happens and/or forgiveness is not given, building a “grudge wall” between the spouses.

6.         One spouse keeps secrets-financial, technology, relationships, passwords, etc.

7.         One spouse does most of the “giving,” while the other partner is more of a “taker.”


8.         One spouse regularly overreacts to minor hurts or quickly becomes defensive when a suggestion is made. Such unhealthy sensitivity often leads to disrespectful arguments that escalate out of control.

9.         Physical touch like lengthy hugs and kisses are infrequent.  Sexual intimacy also rarely happens or is almost nonexistent.

10.       Sarcasm becomes common with hurtful teasing where one spouse is the butt of jokes.

11.       Complaints have become attacks made on a spouse’s character rather than the goal of correcting bothersome words or behaviors.

12.       One spouse is growing and improving, while the other partner lacks the desire to grow and maybe has even slid backwards in some ways.

13.       Opposite sex friendships develop and become stronger than the marital connection.

14.       One spouse has personal issues like anger, selfishness, addictions, OCD, compulsive spending, eating disorders, that have gotten worse over the years creating an emotional divide. 

15.       Communication skills have deteriorated into serious problems like interruptions, mind-reading, memory-matching, extreme silence, negative labeling, yelling, etc.

This Week:  Discuss with your spouse how to prevent the spread of these infectious danger signs in order to have a healthy, happy marriage. 

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How To Evaluate 2018 and Improve In 2019

To improve one’s life, I believe that one of a person’s major goals is continual growth.  The best way to evaluate our efforts in 2018 is to ask three questions with various aspects of life. 

1. What did I achieve?

2. How did I do?

3. What did I do right? 

For example with my marriage, I could ask myself these three questions: “What did I achieve by enhancing emotional closeness with my wife?”  When I hurt or disappointed my wife, How did I do in the area of apologizing?”  Finally, What did I do right in terms of my daily communication with my wife to build up our relationship?” 

For improving 2019, ask three questions with various aspects of life. 

1. What do I need to keep doing?

2. What do I need to start doing

3. What do I need to stop doing

Again, using my marriage as an example and focusing on just emotional closeness. “What do I need to keep doing to strengthen our emotional closeness?” “What do I need to start doing to improve our emotional closeness?” Finally, “What do I need to stop doing that hurts our emotional closeness?”

 The following are aspects of life to consider:  Goals, Integrity, Attitude, Compassion, Mutual Respect, Enthusiasm, Faith in Christ, Personal Development, Marriage, Family, Parenting, Friendships, Health, Learning, Exercise, Organization of Home, Investments, Retirement, Recreation, Self-confidence, Work, Neighbors, Emotional Well-being, etc.

This Week:  Take the time to reflect and even write down your evaluation of 2018 along with your plan to improve your most important life areas in 2019.  Perhaps seek answers from family and friends to the 3 improvement questions.

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10 Steps To Achieving 3 Goals In 2019

New Year’s resolutions are dreams and wishes while goals are objective targets.  Achieving three goals in 2019 will be a significant achievement and make a positive difference in your life.  Shown below are 10 steps to achieving your 3 most important goals in 2019. 

1.         Evaluate all the major aspects of life: faith, family, marriage, parenting, health, fears to be overcome, friendships, income, career, financial planning, etc.  Then, select the 3 most important goals for making a difference in your life and the life of others. 

2.         It is absolutely essential to write down those 3 goals.  Yes, goals must be in writing otherwise they are only dreams.

3.         Be very specific and measurable with your goals.

4.         For each goal, write down the reasons that these goals will enhance your life and those around you. 

5.         Break each of the 3 goals into 5 small steps.

6.         Set a deadline for achieving each of the 5 steps.

7.         Write down the obstacles to be overcome in order to achieve your goals.

8.         Every night plan and write down how you will move toward accomplishing each goal the next day.

9.         Only share your 3 goals with those who will support and encourage you. 

10.       Perfectly visualize what it will feel like to achieve your 3 important goals.  

Before January 1st, intentionally write down your 3 most important goals for 2019. 

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12 Ways To Cope With The Holiday Blues  

Christmas can be a time of great joy.  However the holidays can also be a time of stress, sadness, and even depressing at times.  Some people may be experiencing financial difficulties, grieving the loss of a loved one, missing a military member, in the midst of a divorce, feeling lonely, going through family struggles, etc.  Battle the holiday blues through the 12 ways shown below.

1.         Pray daily.  Thank God for His many blessings, pray for those who are ill, pray for the leaders of our nation, pray for family and friends, and just simply have regular prayer for the needs of others. 

2.         Make sleep a priority.  Get plenty of sleep each night in order to have energy for each day.

3.         Eliminate all types of news.  Most of the time news focuses on various forms of negativity, creating feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, gloom, and doom.  Cut out the news for a certain period of time - one day, three days, or even a week or longer.

4.         Always have a lot of light.  Light combats the darkness of depression.  Increase the wattage of lights, open the curtains, etc. but do whatever it takes to be in the light.

5.         Take time to unwind. Being busy much of the time is not healthy.  Find quiet alone time for yourself and with those who mean the most to you.

6.         Respect your Christmas budget.  Overspending can be stressful and can quickly take the joy out of life.

7.         Write a thank you note.  Express written appreciation to someone who influenced you, helped you in the past, was an encouragement, an excellent role model, etc.

8.         Watch a comedy.  The holidays have enough drama so avoid “downer” shows.  Take time to watch a comedy television program or movie, a feel-good Christmas film, etc.

9.         Remember to Exercise and Eat healthy.  The blues can lead to not eating, overeating, and emotional paralysis to do nothing but sit or stay in bed.  Have a well-balanced diet and eat three meals a day.  Exercise for ten minutes three to four times per week. 

10.       Sing Christmas songs out loud.  It is literally true that we are happy when we sing.  So we can actually sing aloud to become happy. 

11.       Associate with positive people.  Like attracts like. If you hang around critical, negative, or complaining individuals, you will sponge up those emotions and develop that attitude.  Hence, you want to associate with encouraging, positive, optimistic, and upbeat people to combat the blues. 

12.       Give meaningful gifts.  The very best gifts are absolutely not financial!  When we give even small gifts to others we lift our mood. Give significant yet simple gifts like: your time, praise, a smile, a hug, a listening ear, a loving touch, etc. 

 This Week:  Begin implementing one or two ideas to cope with the holiday blues. 

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10 Life Principles To Help With Holiday Stress

1.         Life is NOT fair.  Almost daily something unfair happens to us.  The holidays are no different so expect unfair things to occur during this holiday season.

 2.         Avoid either-or/good-or-bad thinking.  Today is not going to be a good day or a bad day.  Good things will happen and not so good things.  Likewise, this holiday season will have positive occurrences and not so positive happenings.

 3.         Money never brings happiness.  Understand that money, or the lack of it, will not determine your holiday happiness.  Memories and not material things is what you will remember from this Christmas.

 4.         Don’t expect perfection from life.  Perfection is the enemy of good.  Hope for a good Christmas not a perfect one. 

 5.         You can’t change family or friends.  This holiday season accept the fact that your family and friends will be the same as always so take them for who they are and go with the flow.

 6.         Avoid absolute thinking like “always” and “never.”  Thinking we have “always” done it this way or we “never” did that before during the holiday season will only create stress.  Openness and flexibility will lead to a happier holiday season. 

 7.         Don’t have binocular vision.  Avoid focusing on just negative occurrences with the holidays so they don’t become bigger than they really are.  Look at all the positives to have a more realistic outlook on the holidays. 

 8.         Avoid labeling people and experiences.  Others will have differing opinions and behaviors.  Nonetheless, you can still enjoy them and not let that diminish your holiday happiness. Focus on the good qualities of family and friends.

 9.         Think percentages in life.  Every day is somewhere between 90%(A-) to 60%(D-).  Daily, this holiday season will also have a range.  Expect this holiday season to average about a C+ to B-.  Anything more is very satisfying, anything less is then not too disappointing. 

 10.       Avoid mind-reading.  You can never know what another person is thinking.  Look at the facts not your feelings when assessing how family and friends are enjoying the holidays. 

 This Week:  Begin implementing one or two life principles to help with holiday stress. 

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12 Ideas to Help Handle Holiday Stress

1.         Spend time with God.   Set goals to read the Bible, pray, have Christmas devotions, and attend worship services

2.         Be realistic with your expectations.  Ask yourself, “Am I trying to have the perfect Christmas?” A good Christmas is still a good celebration. 

3.         Make time for the things you value.  Focus your time and energy on family closeness, church celebrations, and community activities. 

4.         Exercise is a great way to relieve holiday stress.  A simple, daily 10 minute walk will help fight off stress.

5.         Maintain a sense of humor.  Take a laugh break, share a joke or funny story with someone but do take time to laugh.

6.         Spread out the holiday season.  All festivities don’t have to be crammed between Thanksgiving and Christmas, perhaps have a January gathering.

7.         Put the holiday season into perspective.  How important will this holiday season be in 5 years?

8.         Don’t overschedule yourself.  Keep your “superwoman/superman” instincts in check. 

9.         Look at the holiday season one day at a time.  Worrying just wastes precious energy.  Instead, plan ahead but just focus on accomplishing 2 or 3 tasks each day.

10.        Say “no” without guilt.  Allow yourself the right to say “no” to the things that frustrate you and concentrate on people and activities you enjoy. 

11.        Ask for help when you need it.  Delegate responsibilities to other family members, hire a house-cleaning service, have a neighborhood youngster shovel your sidewalk and driveway, etc.

12.        Always look for the good or positive aspects when things don’t turn out exactly as you had hoped or planned.

This Week:  Begin implementing one or two ideas to handle holiday stress. 

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7 “Like” Questions To Strengthen Your Marriage

It is important to focus on what you like about your spouse and the good in your marriage.  In that regard, please share answers with your spouse to the following 7 “Like” Questions.

  1.  What internal qualities do you like most about your spouse?

  2. What do you like about your spouse’s verbal communication?

  3. What do you like about your spouse’s nonverbal communication?

  4. What do you like about how your spouse works with you on decision-making?

  5. What do you like about how your spouse handles household chores?

  6. What do you like about how your spouse manages household finances?

  7. What do you like most about your sexual intimacy interaction?

TODAY:  And every day focus on the good qualities in your spouse as well as positive aspects of your marriage.  

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8 Connects To Thank Your Spouse

We all look forward to Thanksgiving Day and remembering how truly blessed we are in so many ways in this great nation.  Similarly, this Thanksgiving weekend initiate thankful words and actions for your spouse through 8 Special Connects.

  1. Verbal Connect. Express thankfulness to your spouse by initiating “I love you”; “I care so deeply about you”; “You are so special to me”; etc.

  2. Physical Connect. Surprise your spouse with a lengthy hug and meaningful kiss.

  3. Written Connect. Write a two or three sentence note expressing your love and thankfulness for your spouse.

  4. Time Connect. Spend 15 minutes giving your spouse undivided attention and look into their eyes.

  5. Compliment Connect. Praise your spouse with a compliment in front of others.

  6. Date Connect. Although the “Date Your Mate” may not happen this weekend, share with your spouse the day and time you would like to have a date.

  7. Dream Connect. Plan a getaway with your spouse for one night or if time and money allow for a longer period of time.

  8. Pray Connect. Hold hands and give thanks to almighty God for your marriage and the many blessings you have in life.

Please follow me on Facebook and “Like” and “Share” when you read a post that is beneficial so others may receive the post.  If you enjoyed reading this post you may enjoy reading other posts found on the website,, under “PRACTICAL WISDOM for Marriage, Parenting, and Life.”