Avoiding Affairs: Tips for Keeping Your Pants On

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The other day I read this OUTSTANDING article on how to avoid affairs by a super couples and family psychologist, Dr. David Palmiter.  I have never seen an article like it! I love his candor and forthright advice on avoiding affairs.  Seriously, it is worth checking out.

Among his 10 tips, I especially liked the following:

Tip #2: “Throw water on the spark. If you start feeling titillation towards another person do something to kill that. Putting some distance between you is always a good idea (e.g., stop having contact, make sure you are never alone together, don’t complain about your spouse to this person or encourage the same from him or her, avoid mixing contact with substance use).” 

I love this! So simple to say, hard to do in some cases, but right on the money in terms of affair avoidance advice.  Sometimes the most simple actions are the more effective.

Tip #8: “Reflect on what the pain from divorce is like.  Engaging an affair significantly increases the likelihood of a divorce and few human experiences are more stressful or painful than that.”

Divorce is unavoidable at times, avoidable at others – but the subsequent pain is always there.  Particularly when children are involved.  Best to think twice, three times, then over and over again before starting an affair.

And my favorite, Tip #1: “Be humble. Realize that an affair can happen to anybody.”

Nobody gets married thinking they will have affairs and get divorced, yet it happens everyday.  Not taking our partners and our relationships for granted is something for all of us to keep in mind.

To read the rest of Dr. Palmiter’s tips for avoiding affairs, check out his Blog for Hectic Parents.


5 Questions with Dr. David Palmiter

A couple of months ago I posted a review of Dr. David Palmiter‘s book, Working Parents Thriving Families.  It’s a great book, and I’m thrilled to have Dr. Palmiter here today to answer a couple of questions! Welcome, Dr. Palmiter!

Dr. S: In your book, Working Parent Thriving Families, you talk quite a bit about your own family. What did your wife and kids think about that? Did they give you any advice when you were writing the book?
Dr. P: I think the only concern they had was whether I’d say something completely idiotic, which they seem to believe is a vulnerability of mine! Seriously, they were okay with what I wrote.Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 2.32.42 PM

Dr. S: Your book includes 10 steps to a happier, healthier family.  If you had to pick THE MOST IMPORTANT one, what would it be?
Dr. P: Chapter One: Special Time. I say this because it is the intervention that most promotes a sense of worthiness in a kid and a sense closeness between a parent and a child; in my travels it is the latter which is especially important to we parent-lunatics.
Dr. S: Are there any steps or strategies you wished you had included but didn’t?
Dr. P: I would probably have said more about bullying, diversity training/dialogue and violence prevention; I seem to be dealing with these issues more and more in my professional life and in what I see in our culture at large.
Dr. S: What are you working on these days? Any new books in the works?
Dr. P: I’m working on a book proposal for teaching graduate students how to do cognitive-behavioral therapy. The working title is “OMG, What Do I Do If My Client                            : A Practical How-To Guide for Doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Children and Adolescents.”
Dr. S: One of the things I often write about is stress management.  We all know yoga and meditation are great, but I am more interested in unique, creative ways for managing worry.  What do you do to manage the stress in your life?
Dr. P: Scream at TV broadcasts of the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Orioles (the coaches can perhaps hear one, and benefit from one’s counsel, if one is loud enough ;-), play low stakes poker with my boys, use humor whenever and wherever possible and practice magic tricks to show my students and child clients; at the end of the day I’m a huge exhibitionist, so I’m learning to just go with that. lol

Thanks for taking time to answer my questions, Dr. Palmiter! Check out his book here.

Stay tuned for upcoming book reviews! I’ve got a huge stack just waiting to be read, written, and posted! In the meantime, if you have suggestions for me to read and review, please send ideas along!

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Book Review: Working Parents Thriving Families

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A few things before I start this review:

1. I typically don’t care for parenting books.  They tend to be preachy, too complicated, and make me feel like a lousy parent after reading them.  Read more about my thoughts on parenting books here.

2.  Dr. David Palmiter, the author of Working Parents, Thriving Families, is a colleague of mine so I’m not totally un-biased when it comes to this review.  With that said, one of the reasons he is a colleague is that I consider him an excellent psychologist and teacher.

3.  I have read this book a couple of times.  The first time was so I could write a quick review to go into the book.  The second time was for this blog – so I consider myself a real expert on this book! To read my review (along with a bunch of others), click here.

OK, with that stuff out of the way, here we go:

While I’m not sure if the “Working” in the title refers to parents who work outside the home, or a recognition of the fact that parenting is “work,” the title sets the tone for this down-to-earth, super accessible book that deals with a lot of real-life issues. Dr. Palmiter doesn’t focus on step-by-step techniques or discipline strategies that need a PhD to administer.  He simply talks about the basics of parenting and what needs to happen in order to raise a happy family – while acknowledging that none of us is perfect and we all get overwhelmed and frustrated with ourselves, our partners, and our kids from time to time.

A few of the things I like best about Dr. Palmiter’s book:

  • “Special Time.”  Dr. Palmiter suggests we spend an hour each week with each of our children doing nothing but watching them engage in something they enjoy, and then commenting, praising, and encouraging them in that activity.  He suggests how awesome it might feel if we (as adults) heard things like: “You prepared that dinner beautifully” or “Wow, you really managed the kids like a pro today” on a regular basis – and the same goes for our kids.  I love tips like this because they are free, aren’t hard to master, don’t have side effects, and can make a huge impact on families in a relatively short period of time.  I know, I know, I’m not sure I can really do that for what would equal 3 hours per week either (and he comments on that complaint), but it is something to work toward for sure.
  • His humor and lighthearted tone.  Parenting is a funny endeavor – but you would never know it by looking at most of the books, blogs, and websites out there.  Dr. Palmiter did a great job making me laugh. A couple examples are when he offers some comebacks to common kid complaints:

Kid: But all of my friends are allowed to do it!

Parent: Do you think their parents would consider adopting you?

Kid: But, you let (name of sibling) do that!

Parent: I love her more than you.

  • I didn’t feel like crap at the end.  As I mentioned above, lots of parenting books make me feel like a bad parent.  Either because I never have the energy or motivation to do all the things they tell me I should, or because my kids never look like their examples.  The thing about this book is that my family DOES look like Dr. Palmiter’s examples, and he even shares his own quirky family and parenting blunders with us!  He also seems to get that modern family life is crazy, hectic (his website is even hecticparents.com), and frankly ugly at times.

To learn more about Dr. David Palmiter check out his website.  To buy the book, check it out here.



Taming Tween Tantrums

I was recently asked to be a part of this article on dealing with tantrums in tweenagers over at mom.me.  This was a new site to me, and it seems pretty cool – with lots of good info.  I got to participate in the discussion with one of my favorite psychologists, Dr. David Palmiter whose blog and book (Working Parents, Thriving Families) are some of my favorites. (In fact, if you check out the reviews of the book here, you will see mine in the list!)

Anyway, when Alison Bell contacted me about doing a story on tween tantrums – rather than the typical toddler tantrums – I thought she was brilliant!  So many parents struggle with this issue, and most of us think we are alone.  Clearly, we are not.  Many kids ages 7-12 have tantrums, and the article offers super solutions for parents.  My faves? “Catch Them Early” and “One-on-One Time.”

Thanks for including me, mom.me!