If I Knew Then What I Know Now





happinessIf I Knew Then What I Know Now

I was recently thinking about the concept of success.

I am not referencing the kind of success defined by how many material things you have acquired, the balance of your bank account, the number of diploma’s on the wall, or degree’s behind your name.

The question that came to mind was what has to happen for someone to feel they are having a successful relationship with you. This may include your relationship with a customer, the relationship of a doctor and patient, or relationships with your family, spouse, or other loved ones.

I was once told that a patient will tell you what is wrong with them if you just take the time to listen.  

The concept of listening can be invaluable in determining the direction our lives may take.

What do people really need to consider their time with you a success?

I suspect the responses could fill many pages if a poll was taken. Everyone may have multiple points that they consider vital for a relationship of any kind to florish.

In my opinion the most critical steps anyone must take to make a relationship a success can be reduced to the following four points:

1. Listen-pay attention to what the other person is telling you. Don’t just hear them, listen to what they are really saying. We should spend most of our time with another just listening. Only then do you have the permission to give your opinion about the issues presented.
God gave us the gift of two ears and a mouth so use them appropriately. Take the time to crawl into someone else’s world and find out what makes them who they are.


2. Compassion- show a sincere interest in anothers problems, desires, wants, and needs. Let them know you care and have their best interest at heart. Give them confidence that you will do what you can to help them achieve what they want or relieve their suffering.


3. Empathy- take the time to listen and understand where the other person is coming from. Why they feel the way they do. What has happened in their life that created the thoughts and idea’s that make them who they are, today. What trials and tribulations have influenced how this person responds to different situations.


4. Trust- if you want to have the optimal relationship, of any kind, you have to develop trust. The other individual involved needs to feel secure in revealing themselves to you. This all starts with just listening, understanding their situation and demonstrating a sincere interest in helping them find a solution to their problems or obtaining something they desire.

Let the other person know they are safe with you and nothing will come between you. That you are a team and together you will find a solution to their problems and concerns.

Some conversations with others are filled with conflict and quickly spiral out of control. If you find someone is attacking you for what you say or stand for it is time to take a deeper look at what is creating the hostility. Frequently hostility arises out of poorly understood intentions.

They may not feel you have their best interest at heart.

You need to find out what the deeper commitment is that is driving this person to push you. If you take the time to stop and say “I think I am not understanding where you are coming from or why you feel the way you do” it will give them the oppurtunity to explain. Finding common commitments will make you both more at ease and allow you to ressolve differences and move forward. This will result in a more productive and rewarding relationship.

Most conflicts in life and relationships arise out of someone having unfullfilled expectations, unressolved intentions, or undelivered communication with another.

Get your cards out on the table. Let people know up front what they can and cannot expect from you.

If you want to move forward in your own life, keep the debri cleared out of your way.

If you have something on your mind or someone has done something that is eating at you bring it up to the one involved.

Let them know you want to get this out in the open, and all you want them to do is listen. This will help you clear your mind and allow you to continue moving forward with a more rewarding life.

If you do nothing else, do the following:

Actively listen
Show compassion, be generous
Understand to be understood
Crawl into their world
Find anothers commitment to words, recognize common commitments
Build trust one conversation at a time

If you make these steps a part of you daily life, in dealing with others, you will change the outcome and quality of your life.

Starting today, listen to what another is try to tell you, take the time to understand, offer to help find a solution, and build trust.

Follow the above with all of your heart and people will do anything they can for you.

You have to give something before you can expect anything in return.

Then you will never have to say……….if only I knew then.


The Effects Of Divorce On Children Over Time

Long Term Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce will take a toll on the adults and children who are touched by the breakup of a marriage.  Children are at most risk for suffering from long term effects of divorce because they don’t have the support and resources that are usually available to adults. 

The divorce rate in the U.S. hovers around 50%.  This means that 50% of marriages that are started this year will end in divorce at some point in the life of the spouses.

The changes in technological advancements, travel and cultural norms have hit the institution of marriage the hardest.  In a 2005 European convention it was declared that out of every 10 households that were currently married 8 were divorced at one time.  These rates are higher than those in the U.S. 

The long term effects of divorce on children who don’t receive emotional and psychological support are varied from mental health issues, ability to bond with another person later in life, a decline in the ability to trust another person, failure of their own marriage and emotional instability.

Some of the long term effects suffered by children include bullying, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, lack of trust and respect, emotionally withdrawn and fear of abandonment.    They also suffer from an inability to maintain long-term committed relationships themselves, a tendency to develop abusive behavior, prone to resorting to crime, tend to have a lack of respect for other people and lack of family values.

Many of these long-term effects are alleviated when the children of divorce are offered the support and resources to help them process the event in a developmentally appropriate manner. 

In fact, in a 15 year longitudinal study researchers found that divorce wasn’t the acute crisis it was once thought to be.  Instead the negative effects were a result of the post-divorce quality of life and the relationship of the child with their parents.

This means that those children who were able to live outside of poverty, with a parent who was willing to offer support and develop a strong relationship with the child was more likely to emerge from this crisis with little to no negative effects.  But because the majority of women take a 40% cut in lifestyle after a divorce and are often the residential parent children will experience a change in the quality of their life. 

In another study Wallerstein described an effect where up to 66% of the women who were interviewed post-divorce had a resurgence of anxiety, fear, guilt and anger that had been suppressed for many years.  These feelings tended to resurface when the young adult was attempting to make their own major life decisions.

Children who are offered support and resources as they are going through a divorce have better initial outcomes and are more likely to seek counseling or support when they experience a resurgence of feelings at later points in their life.

What Are The Short Term Effects Of Divorce On Children

When dealing with a divorce with children involved the short-term effects of divorce on children should be of priority concern.

Divorce takes a toll on the children, the adults, the cousins, aunts and uncles.  In-laws become out-laws and the once-married couple estranged. 

Today approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Although the statistics are staggering so are the short and long term effects of the divorce on the children and the extended family members.

Depending upon the situation children can have intense feelings and reactions to the initial announcement that their parents are separating. 

In some cases the separation, although painful, is a welcome relief from an abusive situation but in most cases it can come as a complete surprise to the children making the burden even greater. 

Regardless of a child’s age, sex or developmental level most children are inadequately prepared for an impending divorce of their parents. 

A study in 1980 found that less than 10% of children had the support of adults other than their relatives during the initial phase of a divorce. 

Today churches, schools and other social service agencies have begun to address the needs of children both in the acute stage and the long term stages of divorce.  The hope is that children are having their needs met earlier than before.

However, addressing the needs of young children also depends upon whether or not people are aware of what is happening in the family.  Many times both the children and adults do not easily share the information that the marriage has dissolved.

Children experience a unique blend of pain during the initial stages of divorce.  These feelings are a composition of a sense of vulnerability because the family has disintegrated and changed drastically. 

They also have grief reaction to the loss of the family member who has moved out and a feeling of intense anger at the parent they blame for the divorce or separation.  Mixed among all of these feelings are strong feelings of powerlessness.

Unfortunately, unlike other times of bereavement children who are experiencing the stress of a divorce aren’t offered the usual means of support because adults have their own stressed reactions to the divorce process. 

In some instances friends of the family turn away in their ignorance or unwillingness to give support to the children or the family in this time of need.

Divorce, and the resulting changes to the family unit can have a significant and life-altering impact on the growth and development of children and adolescents. 

Depending upon the developmental level of the child a divorce can impact almost all aspects of a child’s life including the relationship between the child and both parents and the ability of the child to cope with stressful times in their lives.

Following a separation or divorce it’s important for parents to recognize the impact on the children and offer them the emotional and psychological support needed in order to help them grow to be well adjusted adults.

There are things that parents and other adults can do to help the child process the event in a manner that decreases the risk of life-altering changes and developmental arrest. 

The amount of trauma a child feels in a divorce is based on the child’s experience of the divorce and not just on the event.  Different children in the same family can have different experiences and emotional reactions based on their developmental level, ability to communicate their needs and reactions and the amount of support and help available to them.

Parents can help by being honest about the potential for experiencing trauma during this event.  Allow them to communicate their feelings and needs openly with an adult, preferably their parent.  Encourage them to describe how they are feeling.  Offer them choices whenever possible so they feel a greater sense of control in their lives.

Parents who find support for themselves and their children have better outcomes than those parents who struggle through this even on their own. 

Support can come in the form of counselors, other children who have experience divorce in their lives, therapists and church groups.  But above all children need a sense of continuity in their lives. 

They must have a certain amount of structure and be able to predict what will happen next to give them the security they need to work through this process.