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Doug’s amateur soccer team had just lost its playoff game, and Doug needed a pick-me-up. He decided to stop by the local animal shelter on his way home because puppies always put a smile on his face. He was by no means looking to adopt an animal, but Delia, a five-month-old mutt, changed his mind. “I had her for 17 years,” Doug said, wiping away tears in our psychotherapy session.
Many aspects of a person’s life can influence their parenting style. The way an adult was parented, as well as parenting books and other guides, are a few factors. A parent’s unique fears and hopes for their child are another major influence. Cultural factors, such as gender roles, the community in which the family lives, religion, politics, socioeconomic status, and ethnic norms also play a role.
A friend once asked me about his son, who was about to turn 20. As a teenager, the boy had a quick temper. His dad assumed that his short fuse was related to that awkward stage of life. But now, on the brink of adulthood, the young man seemed to be getting worse. He’d been less able to deal with criticism, minor upsets, jokes, or comments contrary to his point of view.
Why is it that some people can stay in love for decades while others fall out of love as soon as the novelty wears off and the rose-colored glasses become clear? Surely, the attitude we bring to a relationship before it even begins contributes greatly to its longevity. We must know that love requires a lot of attention and is hard work at times.
Some sayings might be well-intended, but that doesn’t make them true, let alone easy to hear. Case in point: “You can’t find love until you learn to love yourself.” The people who come to me for help tend to hate that thought. “If I knew how to love myself more,” they say, “I would have started long ago. In fact, I wouldn’t even be in therapy if I had that figured out.”
Your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, handle your emotions better, or simply to feel more positive and energetic, there are plenty of ways to take control of your mental health—starting today.
Nagging doesn’t work. Neither does yelling or spanking. You know why? Punishments tear down children, whereas positive parenting builds up their self-esteem and behavior.
More and more, do you find yourself fighting feelings of worry? Do you feel increasingly anxious and tense? Do you obsess about things that may or may not happen? If so, you may be one of the millions who suffer from anxiety.