By Families For Life

The teenage years are confusing and difficult years for child and parent alike. However, they are also critical moulding years – the behaviours and habits that your teenage child adopts now may affect their personality in future and shape their character in the long run.

Many parents feel frustrated during this period of time. Frequent clashes in attitude may make you feel that you are slowly losing your bond with your once obedient child. However, you need to accept that your teenagers are likely just trying to find themselves and to push the boundaries of their values and what they can live with and accept in themselves and in others. 

Things need not be complicated and there are many ways for you and your child to manage a healthy relationship through mutual respect and love. All it requires is for you to keep a cool head and exercise patience, as you adapt to the fact that your child is now a young adult.

Understand Their Angst

We have all been teenagers; we understand the confusion and changes that we have to adapt to.  When we make an effort to understand their angst, we give them an outlet and a source for comfort. Most of the time, you will find that you can relate to their frustrations and may be able to offer suitable advice to help them.

Use Your Own Experiences

Teenagers are at a unique stage of their lives where they are trying to discover and understand more about their world and the society. This may get them into trouble with the authorities as they develop a rebellious streak.

In such a situation, the last thing you should do is to be quick to judge your child. Instead, put yourself in their shoes; think of how you felt when you were a youth and what helped you to cope. Offer the same words of comfort that you needed as a teenager to your child now. 

Technology Can Be Your Friend

With the internet, teenagers have access to far more information than any of us ever had growing up. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, play integral roles in your teen’s life, and are important tools in keeping in touch with your teen’s movements and behaviour in society. Learn to use these same tools and reach out to your teen in the same language and in the same media and build more bridges between yourself and your teen.

The Road To Respect Works Both Ways

As parents, there is nothing more offensive than a disrespectful child. Put aside your pride as a parent, and remember that respect is a two-way street and this will help maintain a healthy family. Simple things can help build respect between you and your teenagers; action such as giving them their privacy, treating them like young adults, and respecting the choices that they make. 

Stay Calm

Always take a few seconds to remind yourself to stay calm. It can be frustrating when your teenager behaves rudely, but threats and shouting matches will only serve to make matters worse. As the adult, take a step back and ask yourself what your child could have been trying to say. For example, there could have been a point they were unable to express clearly, so think of ways to get them to communicate more effectively. If you find yourself unable to keep your composure, choose to continue the conversation when you feel calmer.

Show An Interest In Their Interests

It is important for parents to take an active interest in what their children are doing, and learn more about their interests or hobbies. This is the most direct way to make your teenage child feel that you care; it will also help to create more conversational opportunities for both of you. 

Get To Know Their Friends

Take the time to find out more about your child’s friends. Being active in their social life can lead to healthier relationships between you and your teenager. As a parent, this allows your children to communicate with you about their social life. More importantly, you will know if your children are mixing with the right group of people, and this will give you greater ease of mind when your teen is out.

Allow Your Teen A Bigger Role In The Family

Being part of a household is more than doing chores or looking after the house. It helps to create a sense of ownership and responsibility. Include your teenager in family discussions and treat them as a young adult with proper opinions. Get your teenager to set their own rules, and ensure that they stick to them.

Keep Talking

Have regular conversations with your teenager. They may have things on their mind that they feel uncomfortable telling their friends and you may be the perfect outlet for them. Again, tap into your experience as a teenager and offer the advice that they need. In some situations, you may not always need to be the one talking. 

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11 Ways to Become a Better Communicator

By Mental Floss

Knowing how to communicate effectively is the key to any relationship. Whether you’re giving a presentation at work, working out a disagreement with your significant other, or just having a chat with a friend, knowing how to articulate your ideas—and listen to those of others—is crucial. But though we spend much of our time each day talking to each other, that doesn’t mean we’re all great communicators. Communicating effectively can be surprisingly challenging. So whether you struggle to get your points across or just want to brush up on a few pointers, here are 11 ways to be a better communicator.


Active listening is the basis of all good communication: If you aren’t paying attention to what others are saying, there’s no way you’ll be able to respond effectively. Focus on what your conversation partner is saying, and if necessary, repeat it mentally to make sure you understand the points they’re making.


Pay attention to your conversation partner’s body language: Are they fidgeting or standing still? Yawning or smiling? Pay attention to your own body language as well—if your words exude confidence, but your body language expresses nervousness, your conversation partner will pick up on that. It’s important both to read others’ body language, and to pay attention to your own stance.


It’s important to understand your audience. If you’re giving a presentation at work, study how others do it (or watch videos of famous lectures by academics, businesspeople, or professionals in your field). If you’re nervous about how to act at a networking event or party, take cues from the people around you.


Occasional lapses in conversation are natural, so don’t sweat it if conversation lags. Plus, letting pauses occur naturally is a good way to make sure you’re not interrupting anyone’s train of thought.

Read more https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/71966/11-ways-become-better-communicator

10 Uncomfortable Truths We Must Accept In Every Relationship

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

If you want easy, simple, or convenient, then dating these days is perfect for you!

Some people may read this and immediately recoil at the idea of dating being ‘easy’ or ‘simple.’ They will rant about how things are so complicated now and how nobody wants any commitment and is just looking to hook up or chat forever and never meet.

Which is exactly my point.

It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s convenient — because it’s all on the surface.

These things are not trying, or challenging, or difficult. They do not require depth or substance or emotional commitment — they just require swiping right a few times and an invite for ‘Netflix and chill.’

But if you want a real, solid, long-lasting relationship — there are some things you’re going to have to admit to yourself (and your partner) before you actually get there.

1. Things are going to suck, eventually.

If you’re expecting the fairy tale ending, that’s not how things actually work. If you think that my hundreds of articles and videos about romance are meant to imply that things are always sunshine and rainbows — then I’m sorry — that was never my intention.

The reality of life is that every relationship is going to face challenges. There are going to be illnesses. Family struggles. Disagreements. Disappointments. REALITY. The sooner you understand things are not going to be perfect — the sooner you’ll be able to accept all phases of a relationship. Good, and bad.

2. You’ve got to lose a lot before you win.

So, you’ve been on 3 dates and you’re ready to give up, eh? Well, such is life (or c’est la vie, as the French say). Dating is a lot like playing the lottery — sometimes you’ve got to lose a lot before you win. But, if you never play, then you’re guaranteed to not win.

3. You’re expecting way too much from people.

You absolutely need to set a certain level of standards for yourself, with one million percent certainty. You need to make sure you never (ever) settle for less than you deserve, and only give your time to people who truly earn it.

However — I think we are taking this a little too far and expecting perfection from people. We need to be flexible and realize that nobody is perfect. We need to understand that we need to make compromises at times and accept people for who they are — not who we want them to be.

4. You’re obsessed with re-creating a fantasy land.

I know, your favorite insta-couple with 6 bazillion followers is currently selfie-ing in Tahiti while skydiving off of a waterfall flexing their perfect abs and landing on Unicorns before riding off into the sunset.

Stop comparing your ‘behind the scenes’ with someone else’s ‘highlight reel.’ You don’t need the picture-perfect relationship, you just need one that makes you happy and fulfilled.

Often, the two are not the same.

5. You can’t get more than you give.

Too many people hold their partner to higher standards than they hold themselves. You want someone who does crossfit 5 days a week and trains for Triathlons in their spare time, but you can’t wait to finish off that box of Hot Pockets when you get home from your 26-second stroll around the back yard?

All jokes aside, this isn’t about physical fitness — this is about lifestyle and general effort put into yourself and your relationship. Do not hold expectations for other people that you would not meet yourself.

6. Nothing is ever going to be how you pictured it.

If you want the Golden Retriever, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids frolicking around the yard while doing cartwheels and waving their little American flags in the air, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.

One of the beautiful things about relationships is that we have absolutely no idea what the hell they’re going to look like. Our happiest moments are often ones that we never saw coming — and that’s what makes them great.

7. Actions speak louder than words.

Telling someone you care about them isn’t enough — you’re going to have to put in consistent effort to show them. And, they’re going to have to do the same for you.

8. You have to leave your past behind you.

Your windshield is bigger than your rearview for a reason — the mirror is there to help you glance back at where you’ve been, but if you focus too much on it, you’re going to crash.

We are ALL affected by our past and we are ALL reminded of it now and again — but we cannot live in it, unless we want to repeat it over and over again. We need to learn from it, take lessons from it, know what’s good (and not good) for us, and adjust accordingly.

Mistakes are only mistakes until we learn from them — and then they become lessons.

9. You’ll have to be the bigger person sometimes.

Your significant other isn’t always going to know how to communicate, or apologize, or compromise, or ask for forgiveness.

Sometimes, you’re going to have to be the one to step up and be the bigger person. You are going to have to accept an apology you never got. You are going to have to clear the air — to make something less awkward — to understand they didn’t mean what they said — to say something bothered you when they might not realize it.

10. You need to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with anyone else.

The most important relationship you’ll ever have, is with yourself. If that one isn’t healthy — none of your others are going to be.

Source: https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com

How to cope with a covert narcissist

What Is Narcissism?

The word narcissist is a term regularly used in common discussions to describe anyone who seems a bit self-involved. However, in terms of clinical mental health, someone needs to meet a specific criterion in order to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

Most of the time, it is easy to spot the narcissist in the room. They are the ones who are working the crowd, loudly sharing fabulous stories that convey a sense of importance and accomplishment so that they can feel admired. Someone behaving like this tends to send out a clear signal to those around them that they are not approachable or compassionate.

Could there be other people in the room with those same exaggerated motivations for admiration and importance, yet possibly harder to identify? Yes, in fact, there could be someone close to you who is a narcissist but shows up in less obvious ways.

What Are Narcissistic Traits?

Common narcissistic traits include having a strong sense of self-importance, experiencing fantasies about fame or glory, exaggerating self abilities, craving admiration, exploiting others, and lacking empathy.

In general, people with narcissistic personality disorder are those who are preoccupied with their own success and with a grand sense of self-importance that influences their decision-making and interactions.

Narcissists find it difficult to build or maintain connections with others because of their manipulative tendencies and lack of empathy. They often feel entitled and lack compassion, yet crave attention and admiration. Here are some elements of narcissism.

A covert narcissist is someone who craves admiration and importance as well as lacks empathy toward others but can act in a different way than an overt narcissist.

When considering the behavior of narcissists, it might be hard to imagine how someone could be a narcissist and be inhibited in their approach and behavior. A covert narcissist may be outwardly self-effacing or withdrawn in their approach, but the end goals are the same.

For example, this might be described as listening to your favorite song while blasting the volume, compared to listening to that same song on a low volume. The song itself hasn’t changed, just the volume in which you are listening.

Overt vs. Covert

Covert narcissists are only different from overt (more obvious) narcissists in that they tend to be more introverted. The overt narcissist is easily identified because they tend to be loud, arrogant, and insensitive to the needs of others and always thirsty for compliments.

Their behaviors can be easily observed by others and tend to show up as “big” in a room. When we think of an overt narcissist, we could say they demonstrate more extroverted behaviors in their interactions with others.

Signs to Look For

Although there are some clinical criteria that need to be met in order for someone to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, there are some general traits and patterns to look for in everyday interactions if you suspect you might be dealing with a covert narcissist.

Being aware of these traits can help empower those who are interacting with the covert narcissist, helping them to recognize and better navigate potentially unhealthy interactions.

Passive Self-Importance

Where the more overt, extroverted narcissist will be obvious in their elevated sense of self and their arrogance when interacting with others, the covert narcissist may be less obvious.

The covert narcissist certainly craves importance and thirsts for admiration but it can look different to those around them. They might give back-handed compliments, or purposefully minimize their accomplishments or talents so that people will offer them reassurance of how talented they are.

The reality for both the overt and covert narcissist is that they have a fragile sense of self.

The overt narcissist will demand admiration and attention, where the covert narcissist will use softer tactics to meet those same goals. The covert narcissist will be much more likely to constantly seek reassurance about their talents, skills, and accomplishments, looking for others to feed that same need for self-importance.

Blaming and Shaming

Shaming others is a wonderful tactic of the narcissist in order to secure their sense of an elevated position in relation to others. The overt (extroverted) narcissist might be more obvious in their approach to gaining leverage, such as explicitly putting you down, being rude, criticizing you, and being sarcastic.

The introverted, covert narcissist may have a more gentle approach to explain why something is your fault and they are not to blame. They might even pretend to be a victim of your behavior or engage in emotional abuse to put themselves in a position to receive reassurance and praise from you.At the end of these interactions, the goal of the narcissist is to make the other person feel small.

Creating Confusion

Although not always sneaky, some covert narcissists can take joy in creating confusion for someone they are interacting with. They may not engage in blaming or shaming, but instead, causing people to question their perceptions and second-guess themselves.

Another way to create leverage between them and another person, the covert narcissist needs to use tactics like this to elevate themselves and maintain power in the interaction. If they can get you to question your perceptions, then this allows them the opportunity to manipulate and exploit you more.

Procrastination and Disregard

Because their need for self-importance reigns supreme, covert narcissists will do whatever they need to do in order to keep the focus on themselves. So, where an extroverted narcissist will blatantly push you aside or manipulate you to accomplish their goal, the covert narcissist is a professional at not acknowledging you at all.

It is not a coincidence that narcissists, in general, tend to gravitate toward interacting with caring and compassionate people. The covert narcissist recognizes those opportunities for manipulation as well.

Rather than explicitly telling you that you’re not important, they might stand you up on a date, wait until the last minute to respond to texts or emails, always show up late for events with you, or never make confirmed plans with you at all. There is no regard for your time or interests, leaving you feeling small, unimportant, and irrelevant.

Emotionally Neglectful

Narcissists are inept at building and nurturing emotional bonds with others. How could they know how to do maintain bonds with others if their energy is always focused on themselves? The covert narcissist is no different. So, although they may appear kinder and less obnoxious than their extroverted counterpart, they are not emotionally accessible or responsive either.

You will likely not receive many compliments from a covert narcissist. Remembering that they are always focused on staying elevated to maintain their sense of self-importance, it is easy to understand how a covert narcissist would find it difficult to compliment you. There is usually little regard for your talents or abilities—usually, the narcissist has no regard for these things at all.

Just as with overt narcissists, you will likely find yourself doing most of the heavy emotional lifting in a relationship with the covert narcissists. Although the covert is more likely to appear emotionally accessible, it tends to be a performance and usually done with intent to exploit or eventually leave the person feeling small through disregard, blaming, or shaming.

Since one of the hallmark traits of narcissistic personality disorder is lack of empathy, the covert narcissist is not going to be emotionally responsive to their partner in a healthy way.

Giving With a Goal

In general, narcissists are not givers. They find it difficult to put energy into anything that doesn’t serve them in some way.1 A covert narcissist might present themselves in a way that looks like they are giving, but their giving behavior is only demonstrated with the intent of getting something in return.

A simple, everyday example could be something like putting a tip in the jar at your local coffee shop. A covert narcissist would be much more likely to put their tip in the jar when they know the barista is looking, in order to help facilitate some kind of interaction that allows them to be praised for giving.

What to Do

You may currently be in a personal relationship with a covert narcissist, whether it be a family member, a coworker, or your significant other. It may be helpful to note that although we cannot control with the narcissist does, we can take control of how we are behaving and interacting with them. There are certain steps that you can take to protect yourself if having to deal with a covert narcissist.

Avoid Taking It Personally

When we are dealing with a narcissist, whether covert or overt, their manipulative behavior can feel very personal. The lack of regard, sense of entitlement, patterns of manipulation, and deceptive behaviors of a narcissist can feel very personal when we are on the receiving end of their ways.

No matter how painful the impact of the behaviors of a narcissist might feel in the moment, it is important to remember that it has nothing to do with you.

It is okay to look at the situation and the interactions in regard to how you contribute to them. However, it is very important when dealing with a narcissist that you let them “own” their part.

The narcissist wants you to take it personally because that is how they maintain leverage. Remember, a narcissist feels small, so they have to make themselves “big” somehow.

Set Boundaries

Narcissists do not have healthy boundaries. Because covert narcissists lack empathy, have a strong sense of entitlement and exploit others, boundaries are something that get in the way of their goals. The more you can practice setting boundaries with the narcissist, the more consistently you are conveying to them that their tactics are not working.

Setting boundaries can be very difficult, especially if you have never done that before. Not only is it possibly unfamiliar to you, but setting boundaries with a covert narcissist can be pretty intimidating.

Remember that boundaries are just a way for you to let someone else know what your values are. Consider what is important to you, what your values are, and work to create boundaries to support them.

Understanding why you are setting particular boundaries can help you have more confidence in establishing them and can keep you on track if a narcissist attempts to violate or disregard your boundaries.

Advocate for Yourself

When interacting with a covert narcissist, it can be easy to lose your voice. Because the patterns of interaction are so manipulative, it may take time for you to realize that the relationship left you in this place of not knowing how to advocate for yourself.

Take time to tune back in with yourself, who you are, what you are about, your values, your goals, and your talents. Strengthening your relationship with yourself is key in being able to speak up during interactions with a narcissist.

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com

How to take care of your mental health: 10 effective tips

There can be no denying that the year or so has been incredibly difficult for just about everyone. The stress and worry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been amplified for many by the restrictions and loneliness of lockdown. At such times, and as we move forward, it’s more essential than ever to take care of your mental health.

We take a look at why it’s such an important topic, how events such as Mental Health Awareness Week can help, and some proven methods for helping you take care of your own mental health.

What is mental health?

Let’s get things started with a mental health definition. The term mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. The World Health Organisation further defines it as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

What are mental health issues?

So, when we talk about mental health, we’re talking about both internal and external factors that impact an individual and their emotional health and wellbeing. And when we use terms such as ‘mental health issues/disorders/problems’, we’re talking about conditions that affect a person’s mood, way of thinking, and ability to cope.

There is a range of mental health problems that can impact us, and many of these are more common than you might think. A UK-wide study in 2014 found that 1 in 6 people in England reported experiencing a common mental health problem each week. Similarly, data from the US show’s that around 18.1% of the population experience anxiety disorders every year.

The list of mental health issues that can affect people is quite long and varied. What’s more, such diagnoses can only be made by a medical or mental health practitioner. However, some common examples include:

Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorders
Eating disorders
Personality disorders
Within each of these categories are often multiple conditions. Usually, medical professionals will classify these issues using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification for Diseases (ICD).

Why is your mental health important?

So why is it important to care for your mental health? As we saw from our definition, it’s a subject that can have far-reaching implications. Taking care of your mental health can impact your personal wellbeing, relationships, resilience, and various other factors. Let’s explore a couple of these areas in more detail:


Many studies have shown the link between positive mental health and overall wellbeing. In fact, the two concepts are closely tied together, and many suggest that physical and mental health should often be addressed simultaneously.

There are several examples where this link between mental and physical health are seen, some of which are outlined in our open step on diet and mental health:

Those with serious mental disorders have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even some cancers.
People suffering from depression are also at an increased risk for cardiometabolic disorders, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Those disorders – in turn – increase the risk of depression.
Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders are much more likely to have a higher prevalence of adverse mental symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
Those with depression commonly report gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation and bloating.


The people around us and our place in society play a significant role in our mental health. Studies show that those who are more socially connected are generally happier, healthier, and live longer than those who are less connected.

Those who struggle with their mental health may, at times, find it hard to maintain these relationships, which can often make matters worse. Again, this proves why mental health is important.

Source: https://www.futurelearn.com