Dove with Branch
April 30, 2012 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I am considering marriage to a woman who has two teenage children. I like her children and they like me but her concept of discipline is very different than mine. She doesn't punish them when they violate the rules. Also she won't let me discipline them when they refuse to obey, even if he is not present. Should we still get married when this issue is unresolved? How do we go about resolving it? - Alex in OR

Dear Alex, You shouldn't get married until this issue is resolved. The two of you need to have a discussion so that each of you will understand the other's views on parenting. You then need to devise a plan that will work for both of you. You both need to agree to support the plan and to fully support the other parent's efforts to carry it out. Any discussion or disagreement should not be in the presence of the children. You might start with the question of whether you are going to teach the children responsibility, or just to obey authority. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband's children are unruly and are always picking arguments with me and my children. My husband supports his children and thinks mine are snobs. How can we solve this problem? - Sandi in AZ

Dear Sandi, You don't have a family. You have two families living together under the same roof. I suggest you solve this problem now, or you may need to find an additional roof. Your problem is very similar to Rebecca's. You and your husband need to get together and decide how you are going to parent, and then do it in a way that is supported by both of you. It is important that you think of your step-children in the same way you think of your own. Family is the issue, not blood. Who you live with is your family. It is up to you to have the kind of family you want to have. Happy families require love and respect from each to all. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

We often have a very definite opinion about what is right and what is wrong and exactly how others should act. When others don't do it the way we think is right, we get angry and think they should be punished.

Take the law shielding confidential information for reporters, for example. We can make a very good argument why their information should be protected; and we can also make a very good argument for why it should not. Society needs to consider those arguments carefully, and develop a rule that will best serve in this situation - one that considers both points of view and is in line with our underlying social principles.

Instead of just deciding what we think is right and then fighting to make that the law, we would be better served spending our energy looking for solutions that will be best for our society as a whole. When we have differences of opinion and want to live in peace with each other, we need to respect the other's point of view and search for common ground. When I read letters to the editor, blogs, and tweets about the political news I am amazed at how much disrespect is displayed for people with opposing points of view. My way or the highway is not the best answer if we want to live at peace with each other.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Anger exposes our weaknesses. It causes us to lose control and to act in dogmatic ways. We make foolish decisions, we waste time and energy, and we may become obsessed with our self and the people we are angry with. We antagonize the people we love, and we lose friends. We do crazy, destructive, sometimes illegal things. We have stress, high blood pressure, intestinal problems, heart problems, and other physical discomforts.

We have all heard of the placebo effect. It is sometimes referred to as wellness thinking. Because we believe something is going to cure us it does. It is such a strong effect that all research on medicines is done without letting the patient know whether he is taking the real medicine or just a sugar pill. The opposite also applies. When we think we are going to get sick we most generally do. If we want to be happy and well it is extremely important to believe that we are. A recent study of the immune system shows that constant negative emotions cause certain cells in the immune system not to reproduce thus weakening the immune system and shortening an angry person's life by an average of eleven years.

Take a few moments and think about what fear and anger are costing you. Think of the friends and opportunities you have lost because of them. Think of some of the things you wanted to do that they have held you back from doing. Think of some of the things that you have not gotten because of your negative emotions - or those of others. Is the price of anger too high for you?

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you get upset when others act in ways that you believe they should not.

Tuesday: Think about things that upset you but do not upset other people.

Wednesday: Think about things that upset other people but do not upset you.

Thursday: Think about how you use anger to control the actions of other people.

Friday: Think about ways to control the actions of other people without being angry.

Saturday: Think about allowing other people to act as they choose when it does not affect you personally.

Sunday: Resolve to accept the rules of other cultures as appropriate for them.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes
 

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."

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Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.

I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to drdean@lifewithoutanger.com

 

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