Friday, April 27, 2018

Are Elephants in the Room Affecting Your Life?

Can Placing Your Children and Teenagers on an Early Sleep Schedule Benefit Your Marriage? -- YES!

Recently I have been blogging about the the article 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Raise Happier Children.  My belief is that this is a direct link to providing healthy support for couples with children.  As a marriage therapist in Los Angeles one cannot help but witness the modern day struggles of the parents of teenagers in Los Angeles.  The adolescent is a complex individual with challenging needs in a truly complicated society of the greater Los Angeles area. Whether it is the struggles of affluenza within the

walls of Brentwood; or embracing the new normal within the rainbow of West Hollywood; or being the new generation of celebutante in Brentwood, or just everyday teen-life-stressors in Silverlake, Watts, Sherman Oaks, Koreatown or DTLA; teenagers are faced with stimulus overload in this part of the country.  

Social, moral and peer influence is daunting. All this rolls back into the home and the relationship of the family. Thus, working on healthy childhood relationships means increasing a happier marriage during the childrearing years, and during the management of the adolescent.

Thus, the elephant in the room, or the adolescent causing conflict in relationships, must be addressed.  Not just the size, or it’s smell, or its color, but how it is affecting everything in the room. This discussion of the children is crucial if the goal is to have a happy relationship with your spouse in your golden years.  How often analyst and couple’s counselors hear about “the partner’s problems,” or “we’re growing apart,” or “we argue.” Yet, I never hear about the co-variable (the other factor, the child), being a part of the reason for the divide.

So to keep this message short simple and non-clinical:  Start having quality time with your spouse NOW and don’t have the children as the center of the universe.  Your spouse should be a priority over your children. Hard concept to adapt but if you follow this you might be on the way to healthy modeling for your children as well as a healthier relationship in general.  One step in making this happen is simple. Based on the above mentioned article on effective ways to raising happier children, putting your children to bed early on a consistent and regular basis is good parenting. If this is not a practice and your children are staying up until “9ish” set a new rule. Be firm, give a date when the new policy is in place, be consistent, and make sure you and  your spouse are consistent in the new rule. Make sure there are no changes with the bed schedule unless you and your spouse have had a meeting about it and both agree. This fixed sleep time for your children allows for quality time that can range from organizing your time; managing your work responsibilities; investing in quality check-in time with your spouse (emotional support or house maintenance or other); and it might allow time for needed self-care (jump rope outside in the driveway, playing your favorite video game, giving your spouse a facial, or listening to your old Nirvana, Rolling Stones or Marvin Gaye collections).

In the past two weeks blogs about Elephant in the Room - Teenagers Can Be Wedges, and Addressing the Elephant in the Room - Adolescent and Working? Do they Mix, discussed the idea of the teenager as a sharp marital wedge and the guy-talked-term cockblocking.  Having an early sleep schedule for the children dulls the wedge and removes any obstacles blocking intimacy or communication.  As previously stated in earlier blogs, children and teenagers can cause difficulties in partnerships or marital relationships. Placing them to bed early allows for a bit of clarity and non-distractors in the home.  Although the earlier article focuses on the benefits of the child; early bedtimes in this discussion focuses on the many benefits a parent receives.

And to repeat from previous writings:  Children are a task but also a great joy.  It is hard to set boundaries and parental controls.  But the real jarring complex is this: Why are your best years of your adulthood; which include your career expansion, career excitement, and finally getting what life is about filled with this offspring child or adolescent wedge?  Well that is the five session discussion for therapy. So, maybe it might be worth having the teenager in individual sessions if he is causing a disruption in the home. Therapy will allow their self-growth to only benefit your marriage.  Or maybe there needs to be a discussion about -- The Elephant and its presence in the room during couples counseling.
Photo by Sherman Yang on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Rhoads on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash
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