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Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family – Spend 1:1 time with each child

Many people make resolutions around their own lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life. While we tend to make unobtainable goals, many people still have a go, and some succeed. Researchers call this feeling the “fresh start effect”. They have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new beginning (like the start of the week, month, year, season, etc.) as a marker to put past behavior behind us and focus on being better. It brings opportunity to reflect on the previous year and anticipate what you want the New Year to look like.

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally In 2019. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about the quality of time you spend together versus the quantity.

  • Hengchen et al (2014) came up with 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own household.
    1. Spend 1:1 time – If you have more than one child how can you make them feel special and loved? Spend time with them individually! Kids crave one-on-one time with their parents. It makes them feel special, you get to connect and catch up with that child, and it can strengthen your bond. Make sure both parents take turns. Some examples: have one child run errands with you, take a walk around your neighborhood, do your chores/projects together, play a favorite game with them, use your time in the car driving your child to activities.

    By setting intentions for family time, it takes pressure off of you and your family to accomplish those unreasonable resolutions. Use this year as an opportunity to create a fresh start. Be intentional with your family.

    Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

    References

    1. Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014) The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or support with a couple or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

    PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… Is your SmartPhone use antisocial, causing arguments and endangering those around you?

    We have seen how smartphones can enhance our lives, but there is a fine line where use can be perceived as antisocial, causing arguments and endanger those around us.

    We are all increasingly enthusiastic users of this technology and doing so across a growing range of social (and solo) situations, always or very often when spending time with friends, walking or watching TV.

    A recent report suggested that almost a quarter of mobile consumers use their phones ‘always’ or ‘very often’ talking to friends and when eating at home, or eating out with family or friends. And a disturbing 1 in 10 of us use our smartphones when crossing the road or driving.

    Consider your use of mobile technology, and consider those a round you. Is your behaviour anti-social, causing arguments or potentially endangering those around you?

    Source: Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016

    http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… be willing to invest the time and effort to developing new habits and balance

    Social media has changed the daily lives of couples by:

    • How they stay in touch with others (and reconnect with people);
    • The way couples make friends, how they find acquaintances and how others find partners by connecting with people anywhere in the world;
    • How couples do business, how businesses connect to buyers and potential buyers;
    • How they reveal themselves and share information;
    • How couples allow their voice to be heard – to amplify a message; and
    • How they learn.

    This technology also creates difficult situations for couples involving emotional intimacy and fidelity, including the ease of access to personal details, the ease at which private communication can take place and access to pornography. Facebook is increasing cited in divorce proceedings in both the US and UK.

    The late Stephen Covey suggests consistent and continued refinement and attention to all of the following four areas in our lives:

    1. Physical;
    2. Intellectual;
    3. Social and
    4. Spiritual.

    Often we find we live our lives narrowly focusing on work or home. Think about your life and the balance you maintain. Change is possible and often easier than you think.

    Attempting to balance exercise, nutrition and stress management (physical); by reading, visualising, planning and writing (Intellectual); focusing on clarifying values and our commitment, dedicating time to study, our faith and/or meditation (Spiritual); and through our service, being empathic, being synergistic and ensuring security (Social), ensures success.

    Don’t get caught up in the demands of life and forget ourselves and our partner. Be proactive and do this for your relationship. “We are the instruments of our own performance, and to be effective, we need to recognize the importance of taking time to regularly sharpen the saw in all four ways”.

    You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort to developing new habits.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… Take breaks from electronic devices and make time for focused attention on one another

    Couples are using the internet and mobile technology to communicate with one another, to keep up-to-date with information and news about others. Combined with the ease of access to these communication mediums and their instant and constant influence over couple relationships, its presence and impact cannot be underestimated or ignored.

    With over 62% of Australian internet users on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter and average usage at >6hrs/month on social sites and rising (53% women and 47% men), there is little wonder that social usage will be a problem for some relationships.

    Consider changing your habits and develop an action plan for your relationship goals:

    Is the myriad of today’s electronic devices an ever-present distraction in your home? Do your smartphones have a place at your dinner table? Is your television on more than it is off?

    Take breaks from electronic devices and make time for focused attention on one another. You might not even realise how ingrained these habits have become, until you consciously try to break them!

    Have you experienced these challenges? Perhaps there are things to celebrate also. Make time to not only celebrate and reflect on how far you’ve come over the years, but also to establish hopes, goals, and resolutions for the year ahead.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself

    Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag.

    In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team. From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

    Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

    • Consider how you communicate

    Everyday communication patterns like using text or email might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best! Arrange specific time to sit down and discuss your plans and checkin on progress regularly. Commit to a regular checkin and follow up on your actions and report back at your next session.

    The standard tools of effective communication taught in marriage and relationship education are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… Couples, the Internet and Social Media: Being distracted by the wired world

    Social media has changed the daily lives of couples by:

    • How they stay in touch with others (and reconnect with people);
    • The way couples make friends, how they find acquaintances and how others find partners by connecting with people anywhere in the world;
    • How couples do business, how businesses connect to buyers and potential buyers;
    • How they reveal themselves and share information;
    • How couples allow their voice to be heard – to amplify a message; and
    • How they learn.

    This technology also creates difficult situations for couples involving emotional intimacy and fidelity, including the ease of access to personal details, the ease at which private communication can take place and access to pornography. Facebook is increasing cited in divorce proceedings in both the US and UK.

    Whilst most of the qualities that help sustain a good relationship have not changed – commitment, effective communication, constructive conflict and patience, honesty, forgiveness amongst others – there is strong evidence that couples are using these technologies to enhance their relationships. Both the opportunities and threats associated with the use of internet and mobile technologies including the stress associated with their use by couples must be understood and considered to ensure effective communication in all their life stages.

    While younger adults in serious relationships are more likely than older couples to report that the internet has had an impact on their relationship, this impact can cut both ways. Many young couples view technology as a way to bring greater intimacy to their relationship, even as it introduces new sources of tension.

    • 45% of online 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say the internet has had an impact on their relationship – 21% say a major impact.
    • 42% of 18-29 year olds with a mobile phone in a serious relationship say their partner has been distracted by their phone while they were together.
    • 41% of online 18-29 year olds in serious relationships felt closer to their partner because of online or text conversations.

    “Technology is everywhere and our relationships are no exception,” said Amanda Lenhart, lead author of the report and Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center. “And for younger adults and those in newer relationships, tools such as mobile phones and social media are there at the beginning and play a greater role today for good and for ill.”

    Reference:

    • Cowley, D, 2017: Social Media Statistics Australia – April 2017: https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-april-2017/
    • Hampton, K.N., Rainie, L., Lu, W., Shin, I., & Purcell, K. (2014). “Social Media and the Cost of Caring.” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/15/social-media-and-stress/

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Jennifer Mason – the 2018 recipient of the Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA) award for excellence.

    Congratulations Jennifer Mason on being the 2018 recipient of the Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA) award for excellence.

    The award recognises outstanding or exceptional service or contribution to marriage and relationship education.

    It seeks to recognise those who meet two or more of the following criteria:

    • Demonstrated excellent, consistent and innovative service to the field;
    • Provided continuous outstanding service to the field;
    • Implemented an outstanding or novel initiative;
    • Made significant improvements to the content or process of relationship education;
    • Shown a commitment to the ongoing development of the profession: and
    • Shown dedication to the support and encouragement of others in the field

    Jennifer has been dedicated in her work with relationships in and outside of Centacare working across age groups from young children to adults. She has been dedicated to the betterment of the field and been an active committee member of MAREAA and the former CSME for many years. Her wit, humour intelligence and professionalism have built and delivered work with high integrity always.

    Jennifer was an incredibly skilled FOCCUS trainer and in all her work made sure it was of a very high standard and quality. Aside from these qualities she has been very supportive as a peer with an enthusiastic, energetic and embracing attitude to current research and findings that better her work and the outcomes for couples and children.

    Congratulations Jennifer Mason!

    Shane Smith

    Director, PREPARE/ENRICH Australia

    President, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia Inc.

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… No screens at bedtime or during family time

    According to a recent survey, we are fast becoming (if not already) an always-on mobile society. Our addiction to our favourite device and the apparent need to check regularly and respond instantly must be in response to our growing fear of missing out or perhaps our love of being always-on.

    For children, this obsession can start early but needs to be tackled by parents to ensure good habits are learnt and distractions from mobile technology don’t impact negatively on their health and learning abilities.

    Here are some tips:

    2. No screens at bedtime or during family time.

    You don’t have to confiscate their phones, you can get an app that can automatically block activity at a certain time or when a time limit is exceeded.

    By installing a child control app on all devices that your children use, you can set various time limits for the Internet, PC or mobile device and even specific programs, apps and websites. some even shut the device down automatically, displaying a lock screen.

    In your search browser, type ‘manage your kids screen time’. Use the app as a starting point for conversations about screen use, not as a replacement for them.

    Reference:

    Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016: http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Victoria State Conference and National AGM, Saturday August 4, 2018 East Melbourne

    AMANDA LAMBROS PRESENTING: Daring to be Vulnerable to be Brave and From the Bedroom and Beyond

    Daring to be Vulnerable to be Brave (Brene Brown Session)

    How does your ability to be vulnerable impact on you and those you work with? Have you taken the time to reflect on how bravery helps or hinders you? Would you be willing to take steps towards being more daring in life, work and relationships? If so, how will this impact what you do going forward? By drawing upon the research of Brene Brown, this is an interactive workshop which will get you thinking about vulnerability, bravery and daring. How these impact you personally and how they have the ability to impact on the people you work with. If you don’t know anything about Brene Brown, that’s fine, this workshop will include video clips and an activity workbook.

    From the Bedroom and Beyond (Intimacy Session)

    OMG – There’s a Sexologist in the room! This light-hearted and interactive workshop will have you question what you know about intimacy and sexuality and how to help couples grow in this space to engage in the most fulfilling, sexually healthy relationship possible. A workbook with activities to help you define and reflect on the concept of intimacy, with suggested activities for those you work with will be provided. Come with an open mind and a willingness to question, question, question.

    Conference Program

    9.00am Registration
    9.30am Welcome and opening
    10.00am Morning session (including morning tea)
    12.30pm Lunch
    1.30pm Afternoon session (including afternoon tea)
    4.15pm Summary and evaluation
    4.30pm MAREAA AGM
    Wine and cheese

    Book here: https://mareaa.asn.au/events/victorian-branch-state-conference-2018/

    Parking:

    Limited parking is available. Enter off Lansdowne Street.
    The venue is in close proximity to Parliament Station and trams.
    (refer to Melway Map 44 A7). Conference entry from car park.

    Bookshop:

    An excellent range of books and resources will be available for purchase at the conference courtesy of ‘St Luke’s Innovative resources’ bookshop.

    An opportunity not to be missed!

    Victorian State Committee: Offering three (3) FREE registrations to Victorian members and one (1) FREE registration to an interstate membership

    Our Victorian State Committee is offering three (3) free registrations to Victorian members and one (1) free registration to an interstate member who would like to attend the MAREAA Victorian State Conference to be held on August 4th 2018.

    This is an opportunity to assist and encourage those members who may not otherwise have been able to attend to participate in professional development.

    The amount covered will be $140 (conference registration). As always the MAREAA Vic State Conference will be a valuable learning and networking day. You will find information about the conference theme and presenters on the MAREAA website HERE>

    We believe this is a positive contribution to assist in ongoing professional development for marriage and relationship educators in Australia.

    The conditions for application:

    1. The applicant must be a current MAREAA financial member.
    2. (to join go to MAREAA:  www.mareaa.asn.au)
    3. The applicant is not in receipt of a subsidy to attend already. eg. from his/her workplace or other organisation, unless the organisation does not provide for professional development.
    4. The email application outlining your case is to sent me by Friday 6th July 2018 to newsletter@mareaa.asn.au

    The Committee will make the decision and notify successful applicants via email by 11 July, 2018.

    Kind Regards,
    Leonie Nolan,
    MAREAA Victoria
    C/- CatholicCare
    PO Box 196, East Melbourne 8002newsletter@mareaa.asn.au

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    Text, Twitter, Tweet… Cyber bullying is most likely to occur behind a closed door

    A recent study claims that there is anecdotal evidence of parents needing to lock away their children’s devices for fear of midnight video watching, texting, and gaming.

    According to the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016 – we are fast becoming (if not already) an always-on mobile society. Our addiction to our favourite device and the apparent need to check regularly and respond instantly must be in response to our growing fear of missing out or perhaps our love of being always-on.

    Here are some tips:

    1. No technology in the bedroom. The number one recommendation from experts in addressing cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is most likely to occur behind a closed door.

    For children, this obsession can start early but needs to be tackled by parents to ensure good habits are learnt and distractions from mobile technology don’t impact negatively on their health and learning abilities.

    Reference:

    Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016: http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Welcome Shane Smith, incoming President of MAREAA

    PREPARE/ENRICH director Shane Smith was recently elected to the role of MAREAA President, replacing outgoing President Denise Lacey, who whilst still on the Executive, has chosen to step-down from the lead role.

    I am thrilled to welcome Shane to the role…. In November 2014, Shane was appointed as the Vice President of the Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA) and has been a wonderful support to me and the whole Executive. He is a natural leader, has passion and commitment to marriage and relationship education and will provide strong direction and creative for the future of MAREAA.

    Shane has delivered a wide variety of parenting and relationship education programs since 2007 and with his wife Mandi, have grown PREPARE/ENRICH and CoupleCheckup to support over 8,500 facilitators across Australia, training over 400 new facilitators each year and supporting over 500 couple inventory completions each month. Supporting the technology and social media platforms, Shane has played a pivotal role in uplifting MAREAAs engagement with relationship educators, celebrants and couples across Australia through the provision of web, weekly social media blogs and regular newsletters.

    Shane commented, “Given MAREAA believes and strongly advocates for the development and maintenance of healthy, committed, nurturing relationships in all their diversity, there is no better time for MAREAA to be part of public discussion, supporting and respecting the dignity of all individuals, inclusion, belonging and equality for couples irrespective of age, sexual orientation, cultural or religious background. As we continue to become a more diverse culture, making a long-term commitment to a partner, whether that be in marriage or a cohabiting relationship, overwhelmingly points to physical, psychological, emotional, social and financial benefits for men, women and children (and our society in general) and it’s a privilege to contribute and continue to advocate that.”

    “For the Committee, I want to bring that all together in a highly collaborative and transparent environment… and we’ve started off the year just this way with our strategic planning meeting last month. For our members, we appreciate your continued support, clearly demonstrated at the highly successful National Conference held last November. Throughout this year and years ahead, we look forward to continually improving what we do, how we collaborate with each other and across the sector and with government and looking always to the positive impact on couple and family relationships”, Shane said.

    MAREAA has a great tradition and history in supporting relationship educators and influencing the public agenda and I believe we can continue to positively contribute and advocate for the ongoing growth and provision for early intervention and prevention programs in Australia. We have tremendous knowledge and diversity within the leadership team and I thank the Executive and members for your continued support. I am still on the Executive and on the MAREAA Vic committee and very committed to Relationship Education. I will support Shane and the MAREAA Exec in everything we do.

    As Director of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia and now President of MAREAA, in his spare time he is also an intentional husband and father of three teenage children. Shane works alongside many like-minded professionals and organisations who support and advocate for individuals, couples and families. He believes that all couples have the opportunity to develop and grow their relationship skills that assist them maintain strong and healthy relationships.

    Shane has a broad understanding of digital technology (Unlike me!!) and the impact of the internet, mobile technology and social media has on couple relationships He is a regular writer and blogger on this topic. With over 20 years’ experience in IT and Telecommunications, Procurement and Contract and Commercial management, Shane has a Master of Dispute Resolution at the University of Technology (Sydney), a Master of Business Administration (Law) from the University of New England, a postgraduate certificate in Adult Education in Training and a bachelor’s degree of Applied Science in Information Studies from UTS.

    Welcome and thankyou Shane for accepting this position.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Denise Lacey
    (former) National President

    Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA)