One of my fondest counseling experiences was with a single mother who came to me seeking help for her fifteen-year-old daughter, who she described as having poor social skills and issues with explosive anger. The mother was exasperated because she and her daughter fought constantly and the daughter was starting to get into fights at school. In the mother’s mind, her daughter needed help to learn how to better handle her emotions. She was hopeful that I could assist.
So, yes, I officially turned 45 years old today. 45 years! What does this even mean? How does thinking about it effect me? Does it cause me to re-evaluate my life? Or mourn the passing of my youth and youthful vigor? Does it conjure a slew of thoughts about my own mortality? After all, birthdays effect everyone differently and, no matter how we approach these milestones of time’s annual passing, different birthdays carry different types of meaning with them. Turning 10 for instance, then 13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40… all unique experiences. Turning 45, what did I really think about this? Well, this morning I got my answer, courtesy of a thought I didn’t remotely expect to have.
Rarely does a film come along that offers equal parts full-throttle bravado, tender-hearted sentimentality, and rich grist for the philosophical mill, but this is exactly what Neill Blomkamp (Elysium, District 9) achieves in his latest contribution to the science-fiction milieu of robotics. I’m not a film critic, so I’m not going to write this article as if I were one, yet I will say this: CHAPPiE is brilliant.
This article is actually an email I sent to one of my clients who was dreading having “the divorce conversation” with her kids. Like many faced with this daunting task, she assumed her children (both between the ages of 5 and 10) would be devastated by the news. Two days after sending my 8 tips, I received the following response from her: Thank you SO much for this help! [Spouse’s name] and I read it over several times and did just as you laid out– and all is okay! The kids seem fairly unaffected so far and were happy and excited about xxxxxx’s apartment having a pool. Anyway, I guess as far as this talk goes, it was really successful. You pointed out several things I wouldn’t have thought about, so thank you. And thanks for always being available and willing to help. You rock!! This article shares the 8 tips that I offered her.
Manipulation gets a bad rap. In The Two Truths About Love: The Art & Wisdom of Extraordinary Relationships, as well as in my counseling sessions with clients, I explain how each and every one of us has 99% control of every relationship. Upon occasion, a client will remark, “Oh, but I don’t want to be thought of as controlling.” What a travesty! Such a person has yet to awaken to the limitless rewards that come from being manipulative. My goal, as a therapist, is to help people realize the essential role that skillful manipulation plays in our pursuit of success and happiness.
You might wonder how the art of giving permission relates to parenting, especially towards young children. After all, are you expected to give permission for your son to play with a set of steak knives or for your daughter to jump on top of a friend’s dining room table while you’re stopping by for a visit? Are you really expected to give permission to everything?