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The Anything Game: How to Connect as a Family at Meals

A lot of us don't eat meals together as a family, and even when we do, we often don't know what to talk about. Here's a simple game we used to connect our kids with our growing up lives... we call it "The Anything Game."

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

I’d love to hear your comments or answer your questions

Want to Raise a Truth-Seeker? Aim to Have No Opinions!

Your child is growing up in a world of liars. It is mind-numbing how many people in the media and online are simply twisting the truth. It gets even worse around elections and wars. How do you help your students discern the truth AND love it as well?

It may seem a bit odd, but I have a personal aim of having no opinions and worked to instill this path in our kids. Of course, I can’t help it, I do have opinions (and lots of them); but I know of nothing that helps me more in the relentless pursuit of the truth than this approach.

Now, before you go haywire, understand that I’m a Bible-believing Christian who has been in the hot pursuit of truth for around 4 decades. Frankly, I don’t think the Bible is a book of opinions…instead, I’d say it’s a book of facts. If God wrote it, and He is right, then ‘facts’ is the right word.

Facts deal with what is true and what matches reality.
Opinions are about viewpoints not necessarily based on facts or knowledge.

The problem arises when we form an opinion and ARGUE about it like it’s a fact. I can tell you as one with a doctorate in Applied Theology, lots of my peers spend endless amounts of time and energy arguing their theories (theologies) as though they are facts.

When we learn to separate the two, we can start using amazing phrases like, “I could be wrong,” and “I don’t know, but I’d guess…” This adds humility and clarity to our lives because we aren’t over-dominating the communication. We also get better at pointing out facts, which people really have to (usually) agree with!

So, in parenting and education, my recommendation is to help establish this distinction so we can tone down the conflict and tune in to the truth. The opinions we have could have a good basis in logic and evidence, but until we KNOW…shouldn’t we just admit it’s our best guess for now as we seek the truth.

Frankly, this is the subtle side of John 8 where Jesus declares, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” It is freeing to me to know The Truth and lots of the facts on earth that are true.

Off to learn,

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

5 Steps to Stop Tantrums

Do Tantrums HAVE TO Happen? Well, by my very question you should know that I think the answer is, “No, tantrums don’t HAVE TO happen.”  Of course, I’m biased— Jody and I reared 5 children and never saw a single tantrum… so we are skeptical.

Now, I will say quickly that I know some of you are thinking that we didn’t define ‘tantrum’ properly…but I assure you, as God is my witness, we never saw a single fit, conniption, tantrum, or violently rude / outlandish behavior!  How can that be?

As crazy as it sounds, there are some people who know how to throw a football, manage their time, and run an office.  Couldn’t a few people just actually figure out a few things about parenting?

Well, before I tell you, I did find an article I’m pretty fond of:

How to Survive a Grocery Store Tantrum

This was posted as a comment to my I want the big cookie success story, but I had to highlight this success story as it again shows me how amazing our kids.

Honestly, this is really aiming in the right direction, but it still involves more pain and suffering than is necessary.

Here’s what to know about tantrums:

If you see it…it’s encouraged

Sorry, this is straight from my book , The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child Change.  The reality is that tantrums are taught.  Now, the article above is definitely aiming at teaching a child how not to have tantrums…but, in my view, she started a bit late.

We began to teach our kids from before being toddlers that ‘demanding’ their way wouldn’t work.

You figure it out for your family…but I assure you…unless the child perceives the behavior is worth it—she won’t keep doing it.

Naturally, there is a little more in the ‘how to’ portion.  However, if you’d like to skip figuring it out, just join our coaching club and we’ll help you skip the painful learning curve.

In the meantime, here are a few steps you might find useful:

1.  Assume you are rewarding the tantrums (because you are)
2.  Look for why it is worth it from the child’s point of view to have a tantrum
3.  Stop giving the reward for the tantrum (the reward is what makes it ‘worth it’ to the child)
4.  Tell the child what you expect (no matter how young the child is)—like, “We want you say ‘OK maybe next time’ when we say ‘No’ or ‘Not now’.  This is just an example.
5.  Give them some kind of reward (even if you dance a jig for them ) for doing what you want (expect).

Well, those are a good start.

Blessings,

 

Fred and Jody Lybrand

Child Discipline

I’m a big fan of anyone who gets it!

Today I ran across this article by Mrs. Silver which I found to be pretty nice on the topic of disciplining children.

You can read the full article here:

What to Do When Your Child Resists Discipline

www.life360.com11/23/11

This article is the second in a 3-week series about parenting ideas. Last weeks article was, “The Key To Becoming a Better Mom.” Last week I wrote about the difference between reacting and responding, and reading about a

Here’s what I like the most:

  • Using Discipline encourages a child to learn from the consequences of his actions, which is where true learning comes from.
  • Discipline is a prearranged agreement between parent and child to share what will happen if the child doesn’t follow the rules.
  • Discipline also allows the rules to be the bad guys, not the parent.

Essentially what you see is that she is working from PRINCIPLES to PRACTICE.  Most of us don’t think that clearly…we just look for some method / action/ tactic…without understanding WHY!

If you understand the WHY, the WHAT is seldom an issue.  Frankly, discipline IS all about how children learn…working from external discipline to internal discipline.  It is best when it is a prearranged agreement.  It is about making the ‘rules’ the bad guys instead of Mommy and Daddy.

What a nice thing to see we are not alone in this world…common sense is still around!

I’d love your thoughts or practical applications!

Blessings,

Fred

 

IS THIS THE RIGHT PERSON FOR ME? 10 Questions That Point the Way…

Relationship Quiz: Is this the Right Person?

By Fred Lybrand, author of Glaen

Mark your answers from 1 to 10, with 1 being “No Way” and 10 being “I Think So”

1.     I can easily picture being with this person 10 years from now.

2.     We agree on everything that is really important to me.

3.     We finally solve our conflicts, even if it takes a while.

4.     If this person stays just the same forever, I’ll be pretty happy.

5.     I feel good chemistry with this person at least once a week.

6.     Our closest friends have good relationships.

7.     I believe growing a soul mate is as right as finding a soul mate.

8.     We always give each other the freedom to say “No” without getting in trouble.

9.     I’ve read or listened to a talk to help my relating to others within the past year.

10.    I am sure I would not be the one to call it quits in this relationship.

Add up you points and consider this common sense scale:

90-100   Fantasy Land (please re-take the Quiz with a little less pretending)

75-90     You are as close to a sure bet as it gets in a world without guarantees

55-75     You have a good relationship that would likely blossom with a little work

40-55     You probably need to find some outside help from some wise friends or mentors

25-40     The relationship needs professional help (pastor, counselor, etc.)

<25        The relationship has almost no chance until you change your mind

 

The 3 Must Haves for Successful Relationships

Friends who won’t speak. A husband and wife who are ‘done’ with the whole thing. Co-workers who no longer look each other in the eye. These three have far more in common than you might think.

Every year around Valentine’s Day, we all elevate our thinking about love and friendship to the sublime idea of Romantic Love. More than affection, this kind of love makes are hearts skip and keep our minds distracted. Surely all of us experience this kind of fantastic imaginary ideal at least once in our lives, if not again and again from time to time.   While romance has been romanticized, it is still the fondness and commitment that makes relationships really feel like what they are—a deep connection between two persons. All of these relationships can run aground in the sea of life. The reason for a shipwreck, however, is that what really works in a relationship is neglected.

It isn’t about love languages, or fresh ideas, or even listening (though all of these are fine). Instead, it is at the heart of Glaen’s message and it can be describe by three simple ideas.

At its core, every successful relationship has three essential elements.

1.     The Point

2.     The People

3.     The Price

The Point simply refers to what a relationship is about at its core. It is not about what you can get, what you can give, or how well two people can change one another. The point of a relationship is relating…which means connecting. We use words like bonding and being on the same wave length. In a romantic context it has as its aim a more intense version of connection called oneness. Honestly, the names don’t matter, but the point does. Relationships that work stay on point and they keep connecting together. Fights are division, coolness is distance, and silence is death. The point of connecting together can only happen in real time (that means, right now). Connecting again and again in real time is what builds strength in the bond; be it friendship, romantic love, or to team members pitching in together at work.

The People are the second essential and refers to the influence those around us wield on our lives. Glaen says, “You’ll never be like the people you don’t hang around.” The truth is that you will drift toward the character and interests (on some level) of the people you are in the greatest connection with. This explains why getting new friends distances you from old ones. It also explains why there is a repetition of connecting with one failure after another (sorry for the bluntness). A failure to recognize this plain fact is a step toward the destruction of the relationships you have or want. Sometimes it is uncomfortable because we really need to change, but in fact, starting with a vision for the kind of person you want to be can lead you to find, keep, and grow the relationships you long to have.

The Price for successful relationships is Truth. Yes, it is telling and living the truth. “But the truth about what?” you might ask. The question itself already says you are in trouble! It is the truth as anything (and everything) comes to the forefront. It is the truth about beliefs, and goals, and faith, and politics. Why does Truth matter? Well, the simple fact is that a successful relationship is an authentic connection with another person you’d like to be like (more or less). For that connection to happen, it is absolutely necessary that you are the ‘real you’ and the other person is the ‘real them’ in the relationship. This truth-based being real means that you and they are connecting and relating and growing together as the real thing. As soon as a mask goes up, the game’s afoot. The best you can hope for without truth is a good relationship with someone you don’t really know…which, of course, isn’t a success by any measure.

For more information about Glaen:

A Novel Message on Romance, Love & Relating,

Friendships, dating, romance, and marriage—it’s all confusing to college grad-student Annie until the day a white-haired stranger appears in her life. Glaen is an unusual professor and unconventional mentor who guides Annie on a path of discovery that unlocks the secrets of real relationships. Annie discovers the mystifying affect of how learning to tell the truth changes everything in friendship, family, and love.   The solutions Dr. Fred Lybrand offers in Glaen book will astound and free you to quit doing the very things that take away your ability to find the love and friendship you want. More importantly, you’ll discover a fresh path to the possibility of greater connections with those you care most about.

 

glaen

 

 

 

The Secret to Stopping Conflict (Once It Starts)

Though I’m writing this on Christmas Eve Day, the same principle applies anytime. Holidays are especially given to conflict when family’s get together because we tend to easily punch each other’s buttons (they know our buttons because they installed them!). Now, to stop conflict dead in its tracks, we need to understand how it works. Of course, I mean ordinary conflict between individuals (I’m not trying to talk about the Middle East here). Basically, this diagram, if you can imagine it getting multiplied, explains a common cycle:

Bear in mind that this can be either IMAGINED or REAL, but for the cycle to work it must be PERCEIVED. Either way, someone feels blamed and defends herself, which then comes across as blame, which leads to the other person defending himself. Feel free to mix up the hims and hers in this example.

The game escalates until a final meltdown or someone walks off. Maybe they come back later and apologize, but what if you could just stop it when it’s happening?​

What else contributes?

What to do makes sense once you know one more thing: SPLITTING

Splitting is also known as black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking, which simply means we can tend to decided that someone/something is 100% wrong or evil (or right or good). While it goes hand-in-hand with certain personality disorders, it is also something we can all do. Long term cultural and national conflicts use this tendency. Examples include, “All Jews/Blacks/Whites/Arabs/Mexicans/Americans/Rich/Poor/Republicans/Democrats are evil.”

While this is lame and irrational, it still can capture someone in the moment. If you are thinking the other person is 100% wrong, then you won’t have much of a path ahead except to ‘fix’ them as the evil source of blaming you, true?

What Do You Do?

The key is to snap out of the black-and-white thinking AND chill-out the sense of blame. Sounds easy, huh? ;-)Here’s what you do: SHOW A LITTLE RESPECT or APPRECIATION. When there is still respect/appreciation in play, then no one can really look at things in an all-or-nothing-you’re-blaming-me way. Here’s how you do it:

1. FIRST, tell the person something you appreciate related to the conversation (yes, you have to mean it!)2. SECOND, tell the person whatever else you want to say

I’ve found you can also mediate well in this manner. You describe what you appreciate in one person (and what you are concerned about / disagree with), then you repeat it for the other person. A professor of mine named Norman Geisler taught us to list what was ‘good’ about the other point of view BEFORE we gave our arguments against it. Great approach!

So, here is how it might sound.

“I appreciate that you are staying in the conversation and want to resolve it, but I’m frustrated that I can’t finish my thought without being interrupted.”

“I appreciate that you care so deeply for racial equality, but I don’t see how you are considering both sides of the debate.”

“I really respect your talent for debate as a means of understanding the issue, but it doesn’t seem you are open to someone sharing new information.”

Obviously you may need to run at this a few times, but you’ll find that if you FIRST keep sharing something you respect or appreciate related to the conflict of the moment, then things will most often calm down. Of course, with humans nothing works all the time! What this does tend to do is to get it out of the black-and-white-blame loop because you are reaching toward their heart with something good.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

P.S. This approach works even better if you and the other person can both agree to communicate with appreciation or respect before sharing the point of disagreement.