Friday, June 26, 2009

"Date Night" (part 2):How To Find A Date...

1. Be sure you want a date.

Often people think they do want someone but may not yet be resolved about a past relationship (maybe anger, trust issues, etc.). If that is the case it's going to be difficult to welcome someone new into your life. We also tend to project that ambivalence to others, making it less likely that someone will approach us. On the other hand, it's important to KNOW that you are looking for a "date" and not a spouse. You'll tend to dismiss potential dates who may not "measure up" as someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Even if marriage is your long term goal, get a date first. Get to know them. Then (maybe) consider their potential as a partner.

2. Visualize Mr. or Ms. Right.

The better that you can visualize the person that you want to be with, the more likely you will meet them. This is not magic (although it can certainly feel like it), it just makes sense. If you know who you're looking for, you'll more easily recognize and be motivated to connect with that person. Also, you will send out a vibe that attracts that person to you. That is, when interacting with this person you will be more relaxed and comfortable, project and invite interest (ie. smile more, make good eye contact, feel and appear to be more confident, etc), and listen better. All of this makes it more likely that you'll make a connection, with the right person.

3. Pay Attention. Make Eye Contact. Smile.

Now that you know who you're looking for, it's important to be mindful of your goal in the various social situations that you find yourself in. And just about everything you do outside of your home is in a "social situation". When you are out pay attention to the people that you come into contact with. Project confidence (even if it is an act right now). Get into the habit of making eye contact with people. And smile more. Smiles are more inviting than frowns or the impersonal ("stay away") look most of us walk around with.

You have to be patient. It will be worth the time that you have to put in to find a good date. We've all been on bad dates. They are the opposite of fun! Practice paying attention to people who notice you. Practice making eye contact, saving your smile until you feel more comfortable (and confident) sending out that kind of invitation.

4. Go Ahead And Meet People.

The bar scene is not for everyone. And you really can meet people anywhere. Let's first address the internet. I have known people who have had success with dating sites (for example, and eHarmony), or the various social networks (for example, Facebook and MySpace ). Just because they weren't around in our earlier dating days is not a good reason not to trust it. But of course, be careful. Other places to explore are bookstores (sit, read, and be seen), Starbucks,the beach (many beautiful sights out there), bowling, skating, dog parks, the mall, etc., etc.

5. Be Careful. (Don't Trust Love At First Sight

Don't fall in love too quickly. Trust your gut feelings, and pay attention to "red flags". Of course, the "right" date is going to be fun. He or she may be a good listener, seem caring, and feel good. That is a great start, but you have got to get to know them. Give yourself AT LEAST six (6) months before "falling in love." The effort that you put in now will pay off later!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Date Night": If The Obamas Can Do It, So Can We

Michelle and Barack Obama have a date night every week. At least they try very hard to do so. Of course, if the President is visiting troops in Afghanistan, and attending high-level meetings in the Middle East one week, then they may have to reschedule. The First Lady stays pretty busy too. They both have parenting responsibilities, and do many of the other things you and I have to do. But as busy as they are, they usually find some time for each other. Date Night.

Perhaps the Obamas don't have some of the obstacles that the rest of us do. Finances, babysitters, getting reservations, or having Secret Service protection available (just kidding!). But those are things that we just have to figure out. The value of finding time to spend with your partner is priceless. We all need the opportunity for individual loving attention. The acknowledgement that we are worthwhile and appreciated that is reflected in our loved one's eyes. And it doesn't have to only be date "night." It could be date day, or weekend, or couple of hours alone. It can be breakfast out, a sporting event, or exploring some new activity. Find some time for the two of you to enjoy together, alone.

And for those of you who ask the question: "What's date night, without a date?" Well, it's an opportunity to find one. But I'll address that in a future blog posting.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Parents, ... Your Kids Will Follow Your Lead

This applies more so to younger children, but also to adolescents depending on how good your communication is with your teen (see my blog of 11/9/07, "Teenagers,... What Can I Say?"). People are sometimes surprised when I tell them that I work with very young children. I have frequent success helping families fix their kid's behavior problems. That would be tantrums, aggression, self-stimulation, defiance, eating problems (eg. pickiness, or refusal), bed-wetting/toilet-training, hyperactivity, school problems (once they become of age), or other problem behaviors. Actually, my experience has been that young children's behavior tends to change fairly dramatically shortly after they begin treatment. This primarily depends on the participation of the parents.

Your child's problem behavior is often in response to their effort to adjust to a new situation, the stress level in the home (or school), a need for more or different attention, their diet, or other situations in their life. Parents are typically the ones with control over the child's environment. Young children also have not yet had time for the behavior to become a habit.

So if your child's behavior needs to change, consider changing yours and see how it affects them. The approach I use (and not just with children) is ABC. 'A', for antecedent (what's happening before the behavior that may be triggering it). 'B' for the behavior. And 'C' for the consequence of the behavior, ie. what typically happens as a result of the behavior. Try changing 'A' or 'C' and the behavior is bound to change. Figuring this out can be as simple as A, B, C!