Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘relationships’


Ever been frustrated with your partner because he or she didn’t listen listening skillsto you that one time, and that other time, too? Of course you have – every marriage experiences this. If both partners in a marriage defensively listen to each other, they create distance. However, when both partners listen to each other empathetically instead of defensively, they foster a closer connection. This involves learning how to actively listen. Here are a few principles:

Stop what you are doing. If you try to listen while you are doing something, the probability of you getting distracted is pretty high. Stop, and give all your attention to your partner.
Establish eye contact. Your partner’s big pools of brown eyes may be dreamy, and looking directly at your partner can create a space of active listening.
Don’t interrupt. This is a biggie! Let your partner finish his or her story or thought before you respond. Interrupting is a danger zone fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Repeat what they said in your own words. This ensures that not only did you hear what he or she said, but that you also understand it.
Practice empathy If your partner had a rough day, and you perceive their lack of active listenership or uncharacteristic communication, try to see their point of view. This is very proactive and beneficial. It also establishes the concept of being understood, which is extremely important in active listening.

Not sure where to start? Try asking your spouse how their day went, and put these active listening principles in to action.

How to Actively Listen to Your Spouse


“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” – Leo Buscaglia

While the quotation above is slightly humorous, Hug your way to happinessit does not underestimate the power of a hug. In fact, science supports hugging: research by psychologists shows that when people hug, their brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, which increases social bonding and decreases fear. Also, people who are deprived of hugs tend to have higher blood pressure and resting heart rate.

On an emotional level, hugs are essentially a physical expression of love. Holding a hug increases a person’s serotonin level, which results in an elevated mood and feeling of happiness.

Hugging builds a sense of trust and security, which creates space for open and honest communication and produces active listening. One of the most positive things a hug can do is build positive self-esteem. In addition to increasing hormone levels that lead to positive feelings and being an expression of love, the importance of touch to feeling accepted and loved is ingrained on human nervous systems.

Above all of that, hugging is an investment in a relationship. It encourages empathy, honesty, and communication.

In our fast-paced modern world, the small things are often overlooked, yet it is these small things like a hug that have incredible influence on our well-being.

Leo Buscaglia Quotation:
Importance of Hugs


Creating a  close family is the result of having clear plan, online parenting resourcesa commitment to each other and a willingness to work together to make it happen. It’s a choice: creating a close family is a conscious decision to tackle and master the hardest job on the planet: being a parent.

Raising compassionate and successful children to adulthood takes resources, tools and information:

  • Talking to and sharing with one another more
  • Managing your time more effectively
  • Creating more time for family
  • Reconnecting with your spouse
  • Understanding your family’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Restoring balance and peace in your family
  • Being more organized
  • Teaching your children the things they need to know as they grow up
  • Reducing stress
  • Teaching teamwork
  • Building self-esteem
  • Having more fun as a family

Me in a Tree creates close families through interactive games and activities your whole family will love.


Learning social communication skills Social Skillsare a huge part of a child’s development, and these communication skills largely follows a process:

1. Social intake: noticing the social behaviours of those around you
2. Internal process: interpreting these behaviours and managing your own emotions and behaviours
3. Social output: communicating your emotions, thoughts, and feelings

Research has shown that children with disabilities have difficulty grasping social skills in a natural way that most other children do. In social situations, children with disabilities tend to be less able and quick to solve social problems such as sharing toys with other children; accomplish more complex social skills such as persuasion, negotiation, resistance to peer pressure; or adapt to new situations.

Many social “mis-cues” are a result of an improper or misinterpretation of another child’s behaviour. To help your child recognize the differences in emotions, play a game of “emotion charades”. Write emotions on slips of paper and take turns acting on or drawing pictures of the emotions.

A key resource to teach your child proper social skills is you. In general, children are imitators. They say what you say and do what you do. Teach this skill by modelling it in your own life first. It may be hard, but with persistence and patience, you can teach your child the value and tactics of proper social behaviour.


Parenting can become overwhelming, to say the least. HavingMe in a Tree other people who not only support your role as a parent, but act as positive influences for your child can alleviate a lot of stress and can reap amazing benefits.

These external influences are non-parental adults, who are good listeners, supporters/cheerleaders, and understand youth development. These people can include that strict, yet kind violin teacher who helps your daughter build self-confidence, or your neighbour who hires your son to walk her dogs and subsequently teaches your son responsibility. These people can have a tremendous positive effect on your children by

• demonstrating leadership

• giving encouragement

• challenging your child

The challenge here is to name at least three non-parental adults who are positively involved in your child’s life. IF you can’t, there are plenty of places to look to recruit these influencers: church, community centres, extracurricular activities, coaches, other family members, neighbours, or even friends.

No matter where your child’s non-parental adults come from, ensure that they are a positive influence, share your values, and ultimately aid you in raising your child.

Journal Of Extension: The Important Role Non-Parental Adults Have with Youth Learning Leadership


Do the gifts you give to your children replace quality time with them? Gift of TImeWhile this may seem tough, it is a harsh reality of our culture. For instance, Christmas usually starts at 6am with excited children eager to open their scads of presents. But, what happens after all the presents are open? Everybody becomes preoccupied with their new gifts. What’s quite often left behind is the time that you spend with your family.

Parents often spoil their children with gifts, rather than quality time. This can lead to adverse effects as your family ages. Here are some things you can do to keep from spoiling your children.

Be a good role model. While you may not be the only influence in your child’s life, you are the best one. Model the importance of hard work and valuing what you have.
Determine what it means to take care of your child. You don’t need physical goods to show that you care, but rather giving time to your child will be more effective in creating a special, long-term bond.
• With your child, define the difference between needs, wants, and desires.
Say no. Giving into your child every moment will only foster the desire to want more material things or more attention.
Have your child set goals. Let them determine the things they would like, and outline some steps that your child can take to achieve those goals.

A child spoiled with the gift of quality time is never spoiled. Food for thought.

Check out, an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.


You have probably heard phrases like “you better”, “you should”, or “you must”,Me in a Tree and you have probably inadvertently used these phrases with your children. Even though these statements demonstrate a sense of authority and urgency, they do not, however, communicate how you really feel or what you really want in a situation.

To avoid building any communication barriers, use statements that start with “I”. There are three main components of I-statements:

• “I feel”: say how you feel about the situation
• “when”: refer to the actual situation
• “because”: explain your thoughts on the situation

These components are quite specific to romantic relationships; however, the principles can work in a similar way when communicating with your children. For instance, say “I would appreciate it if you cleaned your room today”. This not only communicates your feelings and needs in the situation, but it also improves your child’s response to what you need them to do. Instead of the authoritative voice of you-statements, this type of communication has a softer tone, and it exhibits understanding and empathy.

These statements eliminate the immediate fight-or-flight, defensive response from the receiver of the message, whether that is your partner, friend, family member, or child. Instead, these statements become a conversation opener, and can be used as an avenue to resolving the conflict.

It is hard to fight the basic response of “you did that” or “you never do this”, but shifting your approach can be more effective and efficient in reaching a resolution.

Check out an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.


Speaking up and voicing opinions are important things to learn as a child, but most children are unaware of when they should or should not speak up. Parents often send mixed messages to their children about their role in communication. Messages can often amount to “you can talk, but only when it’s convenient”. It is important that children know that they have the freedom to voice their opinions.

As your children grow older, they will develop the confidence to speak up when they don’t understand or need something, when they have an idea or opinion, or when they are communicating their feelings. Parents, in turn, must create this communication space and encourage open dialogue with their children.

The keystone to this process is lending a listening ear. Not only do children need to voice their opinions, but they also need to be reassured that their opinions are not falling on deaf ears. Listen actively, and listen always.

According to a study done by the Stranmillis University College, children want to be involved in the learning and decision-making process. They explore and investigate what the issue is, whether it is a need, like, or dislike. This active participation is beneficial to their overall development, so make it priority to involve your children in any decisions that are relevant to them.

And, besides, kids say the darndest (and often truthful) things: check out this cute video.

Sources: The Importanice of Listening to Your Child
Uncommon Parenting: Affirming Your Child’s Voice: How and When to Encourage Your Child to Speak Up Bill Cosby’s Kids Say the Darndest Things


Love Upfront

Research often shows that children who grow up in strong marriages Me in a Treeare more likely to have a strong marriages and relationships. To keep your marriage strong and teach your children some life-long lessons is be intentional about being thoughtful every day and thanking each other for selfless thoughtfulness.

Simple ways of loving upfront can include leaving thank you notes in the lunchbox or the car, and verbally saying thank you to your spouse in front of your kids.

This public display of open communication and verbal appreciation will teach your children that these behaviours are important, and they will imitate this intentional gratitude in their own relationships.

It can be hard to keep the romance alive in your marriage, but something as simple as thanking your partner for their everyday thoughtfulness has such an impact on your children.

Being verbally intentional in front of your children can extend to offering forgiveness to your spouse, admitting when you’re wrong, clear any resentment, and other open communications. These practices will teach your children, who are great imitators, to exhibit these behaviours in their own social relationships with peers and family members.

Saying a simple thank you to your spouse in front of your children is easy and can reap tremendous benefits.

Tiny Buddha: How to Release and Prevent Resentment in Your Relationships


Today’s Businesswoman Magazine has a say about Me in a Tree.

In this fast-paced society, our family foundations have suffered what seems like irrefutable damage! Honour, Relationships, Respect, and Togetherness all seem like unreachable dreams. Imagine my delight in finding out that families can turn this around – not by squeezing MORE time out of their schedules, but by using the exact same time they are already spending! It’s about QUALITY, not quantity.

Me in a Tree – fun, healthy, easy transitions to focus on our families and invest in our futures! I URGE EVERYONE who loves his/her family to talk to the Me In a Tree team right now! When the children are grown, “would-have, should-have” doesn’t do much good!

Kathleen D. Mailer,

Founder and Editor-in Chief, Today’s Businesswoman Magazine.