Ask Maria

October 2, 2019

The first stage of dating begins with a sense of excitement and eagerness to learn about each other. Many of us enter into a relationship with the hope that this “may be the one”. There are many internet dating services that make promises of finding the right partner for you.  This can certainly ...

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Is there merit in providing an incentive for tasks or chores around the house?  Do chores warrant a reward? Aren’t household duties something our children will have to do their whole life without compensation? Chores are great for all children, assuming they are age-appropriate. They teach ...

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Most children who are bullied keep quiet about it and do not tell an adult or parent. It is embarrassing for the child to admit that they are being bullied. Some signs to look out for include: doing poorly in school and being reluctant to go to school,  having low self esteem, being ...

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Do you ever wonder whether you are doing more than your partner in the relationship?  Do you in fact know that you are doing more in the relationship than your partner?  Thinking that relationships need to be split 50/50 may not always be realistic however, the other extreme is taking it all on ...

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The new school year has begun, and we are back to the routine of getting up early, school assignments, sport activities (which means more driving), early breakfasts, meal planning, and overall more activities. Oftentimes as parents, we begin to take on a lot of the responsibility for our kids ...

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Divorce is ranked at the top of the list of stressful life events and is never easy for parents or children. Children can do well when they have good relationships with both parents. Parents do not need to be married or living in the same house in order to raise healthy, well adjusted ...

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Summer is typically a time we look forward to. Things tend to slow down; we schedule more time with our family; and make a conscious decision to focus on being “in the moment.” Now that summer is quickly coming to an end, it’s natural for us to begin to look ahead to the busy new school year.

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Death is a part of life. It’s also a part of life that we don’t always know how to talk to our children about. To understand how to explain death to our children, we first need to conceptualize how we ourselves view it. Toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-aged children, tweens, and teens will all ...

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This past weekend, our nation experienced two enormous tragedies. As of Tuesday morning, it was reported that at least 31 people were killed in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio just 13 hours apart. The week before, three people were killed and at least 12 others were injured after a 19-year-old ...

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The loss of a child is like no other. Losing a child to a tragic accident is grief that lasts a lifetime. It can be difficult to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving. You may be afraid of intruding, saying the wrong thing, or making the person feel worse. While you ...

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Summer is typically a happy time for most of us — a time of year where all sorts of celebratory milestones are enjoyed. Our kids are out for summer break or graduating; we’re attending family weddings; the weather is enjoyable, and we look forward to the start of summer.   During June ...

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Navigating through a divorce can be very challenging, especially if it has been a long-term relationship.  Although length of relationship sometimes does not matter, it’s the intensity of the relationship and how invested you were that does. Oftentimes we linger on in a marriage even knowing ...

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This is the time of year where many of us have teens who are preparing for high school graduation and college in the fall.  It’s an exciting time for everyone involved but for parents it can be an extremely anxious time as well. As you watch your graduate walk across the stage accepting their ...

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Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents. There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child. Feelings of sadness, anxiety ...

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Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful.  It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom ...

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When our loved ones suffer, it’s hard not to get swept up in their pain. We want so desperately to take away their pain and see them happy. We begin to get involved in their issues and try to find ways to resolve their problem. We easily rationalize to ourselves that we are kind and good people and ...

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Never underestimate the power of talking with someone who really listens. Our culture doesn’t encourage people to talk about their emotional pain. Our culture teaches people to suppress their feelings. People tell each other not to “whine” about problems or not “dwell” on them. People are told ...

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Learning that your partner has been unfaithful can be one of the most devastating and upsetting moments possible.  How to cope with such shocking news can be very difficult to comprehend.  It is easy to lose the concept of who you are, and what you had, and can bring out fear in what your life ...

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Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the death of a loved one. Most of us are not prepared for the long journey of grief which is sometimes devastating, frightening, and often lonely. We may think, do, and say things that are very unlike us. There seems to be no respite, no end to the ...

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An emotional affair is when you turn to a friend or co-worker for emotional (not physical) intimacy. The seduction is that this person gives you what you feel that your spouse does not: support, ego boosts, playfulness, empathy, flirting, and understanding. This relationship begins in a very ...

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It is that time of year when students are receiving either their acceptance or rejection letters from colleges.  Every senior student that I have seen thus far is extremely stressed awaiting the news. Some have already received their responses, while others are on a wait list. It is important to ...

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The Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful. It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom ...

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Have you ever been in a romantic relationship where you wonder how this person is very much like your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend?  How did I not see this coming?  How did I choose the same person once again?  Do you wonder why you choose a certain type?  Perhaps, you choose an aggressive personality ...

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After the holiday rush is over and winter has really set in, we begin to experience the winter blues. According to the Mayo Clinic, “reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.” Some experience (SAD) seasonal affective disorder which is a type of depression that’s ...

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Valentine’s Day is a day filled with Hallmark cards, chocolate covered strawberries, red roses and special dining. It’s a day to express our love and affection to those close to us.  Some of us have expectations that this day will be blissful, we may even receive that diamond ring that ...

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One way to help children belong is to focus on building positive relationships with them. Strong positive relationships can go a long way toward helping children learn to cooperate and be responsible. Four ingredients of strong relationships are: Showing respect, Having fun, Giving ...

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Couples oftentimes look to change the “other.”  “If only” the other would make these changes, or do as I say, our relationship would be great. We tend to focus on the other. We tend to focus on changing the other. We tend to focus on the other’s negative behavior. Couples like to report what ...

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Family systems theory is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. Members of the family are intensely connected emotionally.  What affects one, affects all in the family system.  For ...

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Learning that your partner has cheated on you is one of the worst betrayals you can experience.  Finding out about this betrayal during the holiday season is even more devastating especially when there are children involved. How can one cope with such a betrayal when the holiday season is geared ...

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Family get-togethers are not always easy. Many of us dread having to participate in some of the social events that take place during this time. We may begin to experience stress knowing that our gathering will involve some relatives or immediate family which we really do not like.  We may feel ...

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