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Tip of the Week
07/27/2010
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Rainy Day Activities for Kids and Dogs
By Colleen Pelar, CPDT, CDBC
www.LivingwithKidsandDogs.com


'It's raining, it's pouring, everything is boring!

Rainy days with stir-crazy kids and dogs can try your sanity. When your kids wail that there's nothing fun to do, have them try some of these simple games with the family dog.

Hansel Gretel Trails. This is a really basic activity, but kids love it! Give your children a small bowl of treats and tell them to create a trail for the dog to follow. Keep the dog near you while the kids put a treat every 2 to 4 feet. When they have laid out the entire path, have them come back and tell the dog to sit before releasing the dog to follow the trail. They'll follow along behind the dog cheering for each successful find.

Commando Crawl (for mid-sized dogs). Have the kids lay a trail of treats running under your coffee table from one end to the other. Teach the dog to belly-crawl across the floor to get the treats.

Dog Bowling. Arrange empty plastic 2-liter bottles in a bowling triangle in the hallway and have the kids take turns calling the dog for a treat. Whoever gets the dog to topple the most pins as he races down the hall wins.

Tiny Teeter-Totter. Lay a piece of plywood on the floor. Have the kids give the dog treats for stepping on the board. Once the dog is not at all concerned about walking on the board, lay the board across a broom to make a 2 high teeter-totter. Keep rewarding the dog for walking over the board. Remind the kids to keep their fingers away from the board while the dog is on it!

Rainy Day Come. Give each child a small cup of dog treats. Tell one child to go 'hide in the kitchen. At first the child won't really hide, she'll just stand in the center of the kitchen and call the dog. While dog is trotting toward the kitchen, send another child to the dining room.

After the first child has had the dog sit to get a treat, the child in the dining room can call the dog . . . and while the dog is coming to the second child, the first child will head to the living room. When it's her turn to call again, she'll call and the dog will head for the kitchen only to find that she's not there! While the dog looks for the first child, the second chooses a new spot.

As your dog gets better at this game, the kids can make it more challenging by standing behind doors or sitting in unusual places. The game is over when the kids are out of treats; then everyone can head to the kitchen for a cookie break.

Remember to use lots of treats to make these games as much fun for the dog as for the kids. The idea is to offer the children simple training opportunities in fun, easy-to-implement ways.

Don't allow anyone to push or pull the dog to get him to do something. If the dog seems confused or resistant, look for ways to make the challenges easier. Watch for any signs of frustration#151;on either the kids' or dog's part#151;and step in right away to help.

Soon your kids will be hoping it rains more often.

Colleen Pelar, CPDT, CDBC, (www.LivingwithKidsandDogs.com) is the author of Living with Kids and Dogs . . . Without Losing Your Mind and is America's Kids and Canines Coach. Colleen has more than 15 years' experience as the go-to person for parents trying to navigate kid-and-dog issues. Because every interaction between a child and a dog can be improved by a knowledgeable adult, Colleen is committed to educating parents, children, and dog owners on kid-and-dog relationships. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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07/27/2010
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Stop Stress byExpanding Your "Circle of Nice"
By Winn Claybaugh
www.beniceorelse.com


Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait for summer vacationto start? Now that you're an adult, vacations often mean standing inline, sitting in traffic, and dealing with economic stress. Instead ofletting stress get you down, remember that it's not the situation thatcauses stress but how you interpretthe situation.

In The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople, Stephen Covey told aboutbeing on a crowded subway with a man whose children were out ofcontrol. Covey was getting irritated, until he learned that they werereturning from the hospital where the man's wife had just died. Covey'sattitude instantly shifted from stress to sympathy.

Avoiding stress can be as simple as changing your beliefs. Supposesomeone steals your cell phone while you're on a trip. You could rantabout the inconvenience, or you could choose to believe that your phonewas taken by a struggling waiter with five starving kids. When youdon't know the real story, why not choose one that makes you feel good?Wouldn't you rather think your phone helped to feed five hungrychildren?

In Be Nice (Or Else!) I wroteabout circles of influence. You have aninfluence on everyone you come in contact with. You can be waiting inline with perfect strangers, and your attitude and behavior can make orruin their day. I also talked about your circle of nice, which is aslightly different concept. This circle includes everyone you'vedecided to treat nicely. In a"be nice" world, the ultimate ambitionfor each of us is to include in our circle of nice the same exactindividuals as those in our circle of influence--both people we knowandmany we don't know.

To expand your circle of nice, take out four pieces of paper and createthe following lists:

1.Your current circle of influence.This will be a lengthy list ofanyone and everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis, even ifyou don't know their names or actually speak to them.

2.Yourcurrent circle of nice. These are the individuals to whom you'vealready made a conscious decision to be nice. Next to each of thesenames, list the specific actionsyou take to care for that person. Howdo you let them know they're included in your circle of nice?

3.Yourimmediate goals. These are the people you want to add to yourcircle of nice right now and they would be easy to add. Make aconscious decision to take actions toward including them in your circleof nice.

4.Yourlong-range goals: These are the people who are not in yourcircle of nice and you aren't quite sure how or even if you want to addthem yet. Choose one person from this list to begin moving into yourcircle of nice.

Can you imagine how different our society would be if everyone made thecommitment to expand their circle of nice? Instead of televisedshouting matches, town hall meetings would become courteous exchangesof opinions and ideas. Road rage would be a thing of the past. Travelwould be pleasant and enjoyable again. There's just no telling whatmight happen in our homes, our relationships, our workplaces, and ourhealth if we all agreed to expand our circle of nice!

Winn Claybaugh is the author of BeNice (Or Else!) and "one of the best motivational speakers inthe country," according to CNN's Larry King. A business owner for over25 years with over 8,000 people in his organization, Winn is theco-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchell's school division. Winn hashelped thousands of businesses build their brands and create successfulworking cultures. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the IrvineCompany, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rentmagazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is a frequentguest on national radio and a regular contributor to onlinepublications. Visit www.beniceorelse.com to sign up for his freemonthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter. Permission granted foruse on DrLaura.com.

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07/27/2010
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Should You Give YourSpouse an Ultimatum?
By Mort Fertel


Have you thought about givingyour spouse an ultimatum? Something like, "If you don't stop XYZ, thismarriage is over."

Is your spouse having an affair, hooked on porn, an alcoholic, aworkaholic, or obsessive about a hobby?

How do you get your spouse to stop behavior that's destroying yourmarriage?

An ultimatum is an interesting idea. I bet a friend or family membereven suggested it. I'm sure it's crossed your mind. Maybe it was evenadvised by your counselor. But will it work?

If you want to restore your marriage, do not give your spouse anultimatum. It will not work. Let me explain why. And let me explain howyou can get your spouse to end their affair or stop their addictive orobsessive behavior.

In a sense, it's empowering to think, and even say to your spouse,"Your behavior is unacceptable. And if it doesn't stop, I'm leavingyou." An ultimatum offers the ultimate role reversal. It puts you, thevictim, in control.

Understandably, that's appealing. And there's no doubt that in theshort run, you'll feel better. But it also feels good to eat dessertafter every meal. Just because something feels good does not mean it isgood. The question you have to ask yourself is: Will an ultimatum giveme the result I want?

The answer is no.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Mort, what about tough love?Shouldn't I set borders and boundaries?"

If you give your spouse an ultimatum, you'll establish clear rules foryour marriage. You'll set borders and boundaries. But where will themotivation come from for your spouse to live by the rules? In otherwords, the rules will be clear, but why would your spouse want toadhere to them?

You see, if your spouse is a workaholic, an alcoholic, having anaffair, into porn, or involved in obsessive or destructive behavior,the problem is not a lack of rules; it's a lack of motivation to liveby the rules.

Your spouse knows their behavior is wrong. Even if they won't admit it,even if they justify it, deep down they know that their behavior isimmoral and that it's destroying your marriage and soiling their soul.The problem is that they don't care. The problem is that they lack aninternal motivation to do the right thing.

Your spouse has to want to stop. The key is their inner motivation,their will. An ultimatum imposes rules from the outside; it doesnothing to address the lack of motivation on the inside.

Bottom line: although giving an ultimatum feels good, it misses yourtarget.

Your target is your spouse's inner motivation. And how do you affectsomeone's inner motivation? The secret is to connect with them.

Life begins as a connected experience in the womb of our mother. Whenwe're born and that physical connection is severed, we yearn to connectagain. How we go about creating that connection and how well we succeedbecomes the story of our life.

People who make healthy and meaningful connections with other peoplefeel fulfilled. People who lack an emotional connection with othersgrasp at anything in an attempt to fill that void. That's what leadspeople to sex, alcohol, hours of mindless TV, or an obsessivecommitment to money, success, work, or a hobby. These trappings offer amomentary filling. But the cause of the emptiness your spouse seeks tofill is a lack of a meaningful connection in their life.

When you create that connection with your spouse, you accomplish twoprofound things. First, you eliminate your spouse's desire for theirdestructive behavior. You take the wind right out of its sail. You cutit off at its source. There's no more hole to fill. You filled it!

Second, you offer your spouse a permanent filling for a hole that'sbeen insatiable probably since their childhood. And their desire foryour connection will trump any momentary interest in seductivepleasures.

So how do you get your spouse to stop their destructive behavior? Youcreate a connection with them.

Now don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that your spouse'sinappropriate behavior is your fault. It's not your fault you need marriage helpeither. But it is your responsibility. Meaning, that you can choose todo something about it. You can impact your spouse's choices. But you'llneed to learn to forge a real connection with your spouse, and you'llneed to learn to do that without your spouse's cooperation.


Mort Fertel is a world authority on the psychology of relationships andhas an international reputation for saving marriages. He's been afeatured expert on NBC, the Fox News Network, and in Family Circle. Clickhere for Mort's FREE report "7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage."
Permissiongranted foruse onDrLaura.com

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07/27/2010
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The "Golden Years" Needa Brass Ring:
Why a Sense of Purpose is Crucial for Retirement

By Mary Lloyd
Author of SuperchargedRetirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote,and Do What You Love
www.mining-silver.com


When you're working full-time,"retirement" is the brass ring you strive for. But whatkeeps you going once you retire?

Doing nothing. The popularfantasy is that you won't wantto keep going--that doing whatever you want all day every day will beperfect. But satisfaction with doing nothing typically lastsabout a year. And then?

For many retirees, it's the start of a long, frustrating time oflife. You've reached the Promised Land, and you don't like theprogram. Now what?

Doing anything. Manyresort to filling up their calendars--joining clubs and volunteeringfor everything that comes along. Maybe it beats meeting the guysat McDonald's for coffee every day, but you still feel empty. Pretty soon you quit because it's not working. Then you volunteersomewhere else, and the cycle repeats. And the emptinesscontinues.

Doing something authentic. Boththe "extended vacation" model of retirement and the "jam the calendar"model lack a sense of purpose. Knowing what's important and whatyou want to do about it is a huge piece of creating a satisfyingretired life.

Why PURPOSE? To reallythrive, you need to act on more than your own needs. You believe in what you need to dorather than just "having to get it done." Purpose keeps youexcited about life and that has a lot of pluses.
  • Purpose helps you physically. In one study, nuns who reached advanced age never exhibited symptoms ofAlzheimer's even though the physiological characteristics were evidentwhen their brains were studied after they died. The nuns were involvedin something more important than themselves even at age 100. Theyhad a reason to continue to function effectively. So they did.

  • Purpose helps you emotionally. Doing work you believe in confirms you're competent andrelevant--reinforcement that's hard to find in a leisure-centeredretirement.

  • Purpose helps you mentally. Doing purpose-defined work keeps your mind functioning moreeffectively. You learn new concepts and try new things to makethings happen. You seek and implement solutions. Acting onwhat's important to you keeps your world expanding and your learningcurve going up.

  • Purpose helps you socially. Being involved in something bigger than walking the dog connects you toa larger social sphere. You build relationships with people with thesame interest. You make contacts to learn more. That kindof involvement means you're less likely to be depressed. You'realso less likely to dwell on everyday aches and pains.
A sense of purpose if the very first thing anyone planningretirement needs to come up with--even before the money part. (Itmakes your financial planning easier because what you want to dodetermines how much money you'll need.) Purpose helps youthrive. It saves you money by helping your stay healthy. It's crucial.

Only you can find your purpose in retirement. Starting before you retire can make that alot easier.

Mary Lloyd is a consultant and speaker and author of SuperchargedRetirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What YouLove. Her focus is on using on the potential of those over50. For more, please visit her website http://www.mining-silver.com. She can be reached at mary@mining-silver.com.
Permissiongranted foruse onDrLaura.com

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Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Relationships
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