How to avoid your parents without hurting their feelings

“I hurt my child’s feelings without even realizing it!” a friend of mine told me. She and her children were walking through Home Depot, and her daughter kept pulling things off the shelves. She asked the little girl to stop, but her daughter kept right on touching everything, so finally she asked her daughter to hold her hand as they walked along.

“Do you see your brother walking around without holding my hand?” she asked her daughter. “That’s because he knows how to obey, and you don’t.” Ouch. My friend is really a great parent, but as soon as these words were out of her mouth, and she saw her daughter’s sad face, she realized her discipline efforts had ventured into the realm of hurt feelings.

But go easy on yourself when you do accidentally hurt feelings. Mend them with an apology and hug. And look at these 5 ways moms hurt their children’s feelings, sometimes without even knowing it.

1. Correcting them in public.

It’s happened to most of us… we’re at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or another place where there are lots of people around. Our child says or does something that is wrong, and often embarrassing. Whew. Before you jump into “let me show these people that I will not put up with that type of behavior mode,” take a deep breath. Give your child a stern look and take him to a private place. If there is no place you can go, whisper in his ear, “What you did was not a good choice. We will talk about it more when we get home.”

You want to avoid shaming your child or disciplining him in public. While it might seem like that type of treatment will make the discipline method you choose even more effective, it won’t.

2. Doubting their abilities.

This is a subtle way moms cause hurt feelings in their children. It’s often something we do without even realizing it. “I heard Josh ran for the student forum,” you might say. “Maybe if you work on your self-confidence this year, you can run in 6th grade.”

Or, “Hey, let me slice those carrots. I don’t think you’re ready to do that yet.”

Our children hear a message of “you’re incapable” when we talk to them like that. Anytime we send the message that we doubt their abilities, their feelings can be wounded.

3. Being distracted.

“Mom! Mom! I got an A on my quiz!” Crickets… We’re often so busy with our work, chores, paying bills or social media that we don’t fully give our children the attention they crave. “Uh, great, honey.”

Kids can tell when their mom deems something else more important than them.

Kids can tell when their mom deems something else more important than them.

4. Getting personal.

“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be like your brother? You’ll never learn!” Most moms only say these types of things when they’re really angry, frustrated, or tired. If you’ve said something like this to your child, don’t be too hard on yourself. When it happens, apologize to your child as quickly as you can. Tell her what was behind your loss of verbal control.

If you say things like this on purpose, to motivate or punish your child, realize that your words will have the deeper effect of hurt feelings.

5. Withholding affection.

Getting angry or frustrated at our children is a fact of mom life. It happens and it is often justified. What’s not justified is withholding our affection from our children. Let’s say that you have just disciplined your child for something he did wrong. Afterward, they walk toward you and lean their head against your leg. Well, you’re still upset, and you pull away. Do your best to avoid this, even if your anger is still festering. When your child comes to you for reconciliation via affection, be ready to give it.

When’s the last time you slipped up and hurt your child’s feelings?

Saying NO to a parent’s request without feeling guilty is extremely difficult for most of us! However, the ability to set limits with loved ones is a crucial skill needed to maintain emotional, physical, and spiritual health. When caring for an elderly parent, we need all the energy, rejuvenation time and emotional stamina we can muster. In order to keep ourselves full rather than drained, boundaries are necessary to protect our inner reserves and physical health. For without our health, we will not able to help anyone else. This means that it is actually our responsibility to create a balance between healthy self-interest and compassionate giving. Easier said than done, right? My motto on setting limits is, “it is better to feel a short-term twinge of guilt than to carry the long-term weight of deep resentment.”

My mother died of ovarian cancer over ten years ago. My brother and I were her primary caregivers during her illness. I gladly took a leave of absence from work and went with her to chemotherapy treatments, surgeries, doctor’s visits, and hospital stays. At the time, I was not as clear on my personal boundaries and did not know how to ask for help. I also neglected to monitor my own needs and ended up feeling chronically fatigued, anxious and overwhelmed. The month after my mother’s death, I noticed what I thought was a new freckle on my leg, but when I got it checked out by a doctor, we discovered that it was malignant melanoma. I was lucky that it was caught early. My belief is that I ran my emotional self and my body’s immune system down during this traumatic and painful time. I had ignored my own physical and emotional needs for far too long. This is certainly not to say that everyone who runs themselves down will get ill, but most people will pay some kind of price when chronic stress is mixed with continuous self-neglect.

Caring for an elderly parent that is in constant need is demanding, no matter how much satisfaction we derive from helping or how useful we may feel. If I had to pick just one skill that is most crucial in supporting caregivers in maintaining their overall sense of health and well-being, it would be SETTING BOUNDARIES.

What are boundaries? Boundaries are imaginary lines we establish around ourselves to protect our body, mind, heart, and spirit. They serve as an invisible force field designed to regulate our exposure to people, places, things and situations that are not in our best interest or healthiest for us.

Why do we need boundaries? Having boundaries enables the caregiver to separate their individual wants and needs from that of the person they are caring for. This is vital, because many of us dismiss and devalue our own needs while placing the other person’s needs in a place of higher importance. We stop listening to and honoring our inner voice and end up feeling tired, angry and resentful. By setting boundaries, we actually have MORE to give because our emotional and physical tank is full, rather than empty. From this place of strength, we can generously and compassionately offer our time and attention to others.

Why do we have such a hard time setting boundaries?

The simple answer is FEAR. If you frequently find yourself saying YES in situations that you would really want to say NO in, fear is most likely a factor. Examples of common fears:

1. Fear that not complying with the other person’s request could cause harm to or lead to potential loss of the relationship. This restricts our ability to be honest with ourselves and the other person.

2. Fear that we will hurt the other person’s feelings. Since many of us have been taught to avoid hurting people’s feelings at all costs, we repress our desires and comply – hurting ourselves instead.

3. Fear that we will look selfish or uncaring. Not wanting others to think poorly or talk badly about us, we try to protect our perceived reputation and don’t express our true feelings.

4. Fear that we will be overwhelmed with guilt. Because we may be in the habit of over-extending and over-committing ourselves, guilt probably will arise when we start taking care of ourselves. Consider this feeling of guilt a sign of progress and a welcomed replacement to long harbored anger and resentment.

5. Fear that your boundary will not be honored or respected and you won’t know how to stand your ground. With tools, practice, and support you can gain confidence in your ability to stand up for yourself on a continuous basis.

What boundary is critical?

The boundary I recommend most highly is to designate Sacred YOU Time. Set certain times for yourself when others know that you will not be available to them.

Recently, one of my clients, Caroline, set a reasonable boundary with her live-in mother. She informed her mother that she needed decompression time when she returns home from a full day’s work. For her, this meant having about 45 minutes of alone time while sitting in her favorite chair sipping tea and reading the newspaper – uninterrupted. She felt horribly guilty saying anything because her mom was starved for attention after not having had much interaction all day. She feared she was the only one who could give her the attention she desired and, that she would be considered a “bad daughter” if she requested any time for herself. I encouraged her to explain the situation to her mother and to find alternative ways for her mother to get connection with others.

Caroline is fortunate, she has two older daughters who live fairly close by and she asked them to share in the caregiving responsibilities. They now alternate days keeping Caroline’s mother company in the late afternoon and every other Saturday.

Now, are you ready to take action and designate Sacred YOU Time? No matter what time of day you decide on, make sure to communicate this new boundary with love, not as a way to vent about the past. Setting boundaries and saying NO, is a skill that you can master. At first, it may be awkward, but with practice, it will be a natural and empowering experience.

Whether it is family support, professional assistance or community resources, please consider asking for help. Don’t let pride stand in your way. It is actually a sign of strength to own up to your imitations. You will be an example for others through your willingness to reach out, as well as a future resource.

How to avoid your parents without hurting their feelings

If those questions sound familiar, you might be a millennial whose baby boomer parent is downsizing — and trying to give you all their stuff.

Many of us have a simple answer: No. We don’t want it.

It’s not because we don’t love our parents, and it’s not because we’re ungrateful for their generosity. But we appreciate minimalism and want to avoid clutter in our lives.

If you want to avoid becoming a repository for your parents’ possessions — without hurting their feelings — keep reading. I asked experts in psychology, elder care, and organization for their tips on what to do.

1. Be kind

The most important rule is also the simplest: Don’t be a jerk.

Licensed professional clinical counselor Erin Wiley said it’s important to be gracious in your rejections.

Here are some phrases she suggested using:

“It’s so special you want to pass that down to me.”

“That’s such an interesting collection of [Russian nesting dolls].”

“I don’t want to disappoint you, but I simply don’t have room for any extra furniture.”

“I don’t think I’d use that, but thanks for offering.”

Lastly, she offered one important reminder: “If the person offering their possessions to you has an emotional reaction that makes you feel bad, they are grown-ups and can manage disappointment. It’s not your job to alter your life to protect other people’s emotions.”

2. Ask questions

Don’t understand why your dad keeps trying to give you his beer can collection?

It might not be about the items themselves, explained Joy Loverde, author of the forthcoming book “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?” It might be about leaving a legacy.

If you think that’s the case, Loverde suggested redirecting the conversation with questions. Learn more about the item by asking your parent “Where did you get it?” or “Why does it mean so much to you?”

Asking questions, she said, “conveys validation and respect” — both of which will go a long way in smoothing your rejection.

3. Explain your reasons

If your parent understands why you can’t take their items, they might be more willing to accept your decision.

And no, your reason shouldn’t be “I don’t like your taste” or “That was a silly purchase.”

Instead, explain your reasons truthfully and kindly. It could be that you don’t have enough room or that you live a minimalist lifestyle.

If you don’t have a specific reason, your stance can be that someone else would appreciate it more.

Ann Zanon, a professional organizer in Connecticut, suggested saying the following: “I understand this tschotske is important to you — but for me, it doesn’t have any memories tied to it. Let’s let it go to a family who will create their own memories with it.”

4. Take something

Although you have the right to refuse every single thing your parent offers, it might be wise to acquiesce once in a while.

“Keeping a few of the small items helps to soften the blow,” said Eddie Chu, owner of home care company Qualicare. “People hold on to items for the memories associated with them. … This serves the same purpose of keeping the memories alive while also being efficient with your available space.”

In other words, you don’t have to take the entire teapot collection — but if it’s important to your parent, maybe take one. You’ll demonstrate that you respect their possessions (and your space).

5. Find an alternative home

It’s wise to help your parent find an alternative home for all the stuff you don’t want. One of the best options is another friend or relative.

“I’ve seen a lot of distant relatives willing to store or keep the antique furniture, which typically keeps our client happy that it stays in the family,” said Chu.

Just think: Aunt Edith probably would be delighted to add that hutch to her collection — and your dad likely would be happy to see it there rather than in the dumpster.

6. Sell or donate the rest

No willing takers? Then it’s time to sell or donate whatever remains.

You could hold a garage sale, bring the items to a consignment shop, or sell them online through eBay, Craigslist, or Letgo. Use some of the money to fund a bonding activity. Mom might not miss that dining room table so much if it means a day out!

If it’s more than you can manage, you might want to organize an estate sale. Look for companies in your area or consider a company like Everything But The House (EBTH). Available in 27 cities, EBTH takes care of the entire process — sorting, photographing, cataloging, and arranging payment and delivery — for you.

Of course, you also can donate the items to a local charity.

If your parent resists, ask them this question from Linda Barlaam, a professional organizer with House to Home Organizing: “Wouldn’t it be better for someone to actually use or want the items, as opposed to them sitting in storage?”

As our parents age, more of us are going to face these issues.

By demonstrating we care and showing respect, we can navigate these delicate waters and keep our relationships strong.

This article was co-authored by Katie Styzek. Katie Styzek is a Professional School Counselor for Chicago Public Schools. Katie earned a BS in Elementary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She served as a middle school mathematics, science, and social studies teacher for three years prior to becoming a counselor. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling from DePaul University and an MA in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Katie holds an Illinois School Counselor Endorsement License (Type 73 Service Personnel), an Illinois Principal License (formerly Type 75), and an Illinois Elementary Education Teaching License (Type 03, K – 9). She is also Nationally Board Certified in School Counseling from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

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Friends are essential to our lives as social beings—we confide in them, look to them for support when we’re feeling down, and celebrate with them when we experience success. As we grow and evolve over time, our friendships will change, too, but sometimes not in a good way. You may feel your friendship has run its course—maybe you no longer have anything in common, or maybe your friendship has become toxic—and decide it’s time to end the friendship. But how do you do it without drama? This article will help you determine if it’s truly necessary to end the friendship and, if so, how to do it as gently as possible.

How to avoid your parents without hurting their feelings

A Massachusetts school principal has cancelled his school’s Honors Night in the belief that it would cause students who are not receiving an award to feel self-conscious and disappointed in themselves. According to Principal David Fabrizio of Ipswich Middle School, Honors Night could be “devastating” to the students who worked hard, but did not earn good enough grades to receive an award.

“The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point average,” Fabrizio penned in a letter to parents.

Fabrizio asserted that he decided to cancel because academic success is often contingent upon support at home, which not all students are lucky enough to have.

Predictably, many parents are angered by the principal’s decision. “It’s been a tradition in Ipswich, and you’re very proud as a parent to see your child, as well as some of the other children who made, really, some great efforts,” said one of the parents, Dave Morin.

“I am mortified at the comments Mr. Fabrizio made,” Facebook user Patti Rairden wrote on Wednesday. “Accomplishments should be recognized. They encourage more strides toward excellence.”

Another user, Joey Tiberio, wrote that it’s people like Fabrizio “that are killing this country.”

“Maybe it would encourage other students to work harder,” Nancy H. Murphy DelSignore wrote, referring to keeping Honors Night.

In response to criticism, Fabrizio defensively responded that he will include the honors ceremony in an end-of-the-year assembly where students will be recognized in front of the student body, rather than in a separate evening in front of families only.

“Ipswich Middle School is dedicated to high achievement in every facet of our students’ lives. We did not cancel honors recognition as erroneously reported by FOX News Boston,” he wrote. “We changed our Honors Night from an exclusive ceremony at night to an all-inclusive ceremony during the day in the presence of the entire student body.”

He continued, seemingly contradicting the letter he sent to parents explaining the change, “This isn’t the dumbing down of America. This isn’t everyone getting a trophy. The same kids who were honored before are being honored now.”

He now asserts that the change is an improvement because it will allow the students who have achieved good grades to be honored for their success and serve as positive examples to their peers. “We had a situation where our best students were being honored exclusively away from the rest of the school. The problem was, those who needed that motivation weren’t there,” Fabrizio told the IPSwich Chronicle.

Yet if the students who excelled were honored in a separate ceremony away from the other students, would that not actually prove to be less “devastating” to the students who don’t get the awards, according to the principal’s logic?

TheBlaze countered Fabrizio’s new position: “On the flip side, there’s also the fact that holding an evening event was special and offered children who deserve praise the necessary accolades. By simply merging this event with the larger, end-of-year assembly, the unique nature of the awards disappears.”

The entire ordeal is reminiscent of the popular children’s film, The Incredibles, wherein superheroes were forced to go into hiding because their presence made average citizens feel inadequate. In an effort to abide by the new rules, the superhero mother tried teaching her superhero children to hide their heroic abilities, much to the chagrin of her children. During a heated discussion on the subject with her son, the mother argued, “Everybody’s special,” to which he astutely replied, “Which is another way of saying nobody’s special.”

Similar politically correct efforts to guard students from any negativity are pervading education systems across the world and are interfering with children’s educational development, as well as social development. In the United Kingdom, teachers are banning children from having best friends, forcing them instead to play in large groups.

“I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together,” U.K.-based psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni told The Sun. “They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

While the effort is being touted as a means to protect students from hurt feelings, some psychologists believe that hurt feelings are a necessary component of growth. “I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives,” asserts the organization The Campaign for Real Education, which advocates for more parental choice in state education. It adds that the “ridiculous” policy was robbing children of their childhood.

Spokesman Chris McGovern notes, “Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.”

A school district in Maryland outlawed hugs, classroom treats on birthdays, and handing out of party invitations at school if the entire class is not included.

All the political correctness prompted The Inquisitr to write:

Trying to sanitize our children’s lives from every harsh reality of life is both futile and counterproductive. Learning how to deal with little stumbling blocks prepares children for the hurdles they will face later on. I very distinctly remember my Dad explaining to us at an early age that life wasn’t fair. As a result, we never stomped our feet or threatened to hold our breath until our faces turned blue because of some perceived injustice that blatantly flew in the face of fairness.

Ipswich Middle School is just another fatality in the war on “hurt feelings” in our schools. The end-of-year assembly, which will now include the handing out of honor’s awards, is tentatively scheduled for the week of June 17.

How to avoid your parents without hurting their feelings

Raven Clabough

Raven Clabough was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is the oldest of five children. She acquired both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Albany in upstate New York. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children and has been a writer for TNA since January 2010.

A survey has shown that the clothes women would love to see on the men in their lives differ greatly from baggy hip-hop pants and faded jeans, to cashmere, tuxedos, and wing-tipped dress shoes. Both men and women can sometimes be unhappy with the way their partners dress. If you are one of those people who want to elevate their boyfriend’s style, there are things you should know before making your partner throw away all his clothes.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve collected some tips that will help you change your partner’s look for the better with love and tact.

1. Plan a shopping trip for the 2 of you.

It’s not that easy to engage a man with shopping, so it’s better to limit it in time and visit only men’s departments. In this case, you will pay all your attention to your boyfriend’s wardrobe and avoid the temptation to pick up some clothes for yourself. Remember to be positive: instead of saying that you hate your boyfriend’s T-shirt, tell him how attractive he would look in a smarter shirt.

2. Strategically gift him clothing items and accessories.

If your man hates shopping, don’t insist on it. Instead, buy him a clothing item you like and gift it with some nice words. Tell him that when you saw that item in the store you thought of how great he would look in it and how happy it would make you feel. When purchasing that gift, make sure it matches your boyfriend’s personality, not yours.

How to avoid your parents without hurting their feelings

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If you’ve opened this article, it is likely that you are going through a tough patch in life. To say things aren’t going the way you want them to is an understatement, right? Every decision you’re making turns out to be the wrong one so you just don’t want to make them anymore. It can be anything. School. Work. Life at home. I know a guy who wanted to kill himself because he felt he had no one to talk to. In fact, most of the time people feel suicidal is not because they have a reason to kill themselves. They just don’t have a reason not to.

You don’t want to get up in the morning. Others don’t understand. Most of the time, it’s not that you feel destructive- you just don’t feel anything. You stop going out because you don’t feel like it. You don’t care that you’re distancing yourself from friends and family. You want it all to stop but you feel scared of taking that last step. Not for yourself, but for others.

For you, it only hurts just once. But for those whom you’re bonded too, it will hurt for a lot longer than that. Even if it doesn’t, you don’t want to hurt them. Why should they pay for your choice? Which brings us to why you opened this article in the first place. There is only one way to kill yourself without hurting anyone.

Please don’t stop reading. Let me carry on.

I know what it’s like to be suicidal. I was two seconds away from jumping off the edge of a building before I saw a friend of mine standing below, looking up at me. If I’d jumped, it would have traumatized him for the rest of his life. So I didn’t. That guy is the reason I’m alive and he doesn’t even know.

This is real life so I’m not going to say everything got better after I didn’t jump. It got worse. I did horribly in my studies. I had to go to a horrible university and life at home became almost unbearable. It made me regret not ending my life when I had the chance. But that was two years ago.

And right now, there’s nothing that would bring me there again. It’s not because things got magically better. It’s because I became more aware of what I had and I don’t want to lose it. My mother lost all her siblings. One was in a motorcycle accident. The other killed himself. They were younger than her.

Her parents, my grandparents are still alive. I can say without a doubt that there’s nothing in the world which is more painful then what they went through. My own dad lost both his parents before he reached adulthood. He didn’t live an easy life. He told me how his teacher kicked him out of his school because his fees were overdue.

Today, he has more than a hundred people working for him and is the managing partner of a law firm. My mom is a real estate agent who is working two jobs- not because she has to, but because she wants to.

Take it from someone who knows- life gets better. Not because things change, but because you do. Don’t take a single thing for granted. Make use of everything you have around you. If you’re upset, talk to someone about it. If you know someone who is, ask them to talk to you about it.

A burden shared is a burden divided. Happiness isn’t a constant state that needs to be achieved. It comes in bursts but when it does, it overpowers everything else. It’s worth it. Life is worth it. You’re worth it. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Note*: This article is inspired by a poem from the book “Our Numbered Days” by Neil Hilborn.

For many people, especially women, much of their mental energy goes into stuffing their feelings so far down they don’t even know they have them. They spend their life pleasing others, seeking the approval of everyone but themselves.

“We are nobodies. We are in hiding. We don’t know who we are,” says psychologist Emilie Ross Raphael, Ph.D., of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She means “we” not in the collective sense but in the personal sense. She includes herself among those who have—or in her case, had—to learn how to be honest about her own feelings.

Typically, says Raphael, the problem involves always saying “yes” when often you mean “no.” And the resolution typically comes down to giving yourself permission to feel angry—and finding the courage to say what’s on your mind without fear of losing the love of others.

Until this happens, it’s not possible to have a healthy relationship. Hurt feelings are inevitable in relationships, bound to arise in a fast-paced world of imperfect communication between people.

The trick is speaking them. That requires expressing anger appropriately—one of the great challenges of being a grownup and managing ourselves. More often people hold their feelings in, then at some minor infraction explode out of proportion to the cause, often bewildering everyone around them.

It’s not an overnight process. You have to learn to set limits with others. And to move the sources of approval inward, from outward. “This is the story of my life,” says Raphael. “It comes from having hard-to-please parents who set high standards. When we grow up we carry the critical parents around in our head. We become the critical ones. We are, for example, forever discounting compliments. And we maintain a low self-image by selectively focusing on negative input from those around us.”

For starters, you have to begin to think of anger as a constructive emotion. It’s a signal that your feelings are hurt and you must move into conflict resolution. Raphael sets out the steps in her book Free Spirit: A Declaration of Independence for Women(Washington House).

Here is Raphael’s advice for expressing anger appropriately.

&bull Examine whether your current anger or resentment or hurt feelings are the tip of a much larger iceberg. How long have you had such feelings? If you get upset with your husband because he’s going out with his buddies for an evening, maybe it really isn’t about that instance but about how much of his himself he generally gives to you and your feeling that it isn’t enough.

&bull Learn to be brave. If you feel that you are easily intimidated into backing down, write down your feelings and give your writing to the other person.

&bull Don’t make blaming statements. Conflict resolution begins with the understanding that truth is relative. So much depends on one’s perspective, and none of us has a lock on the whole picture of anything. Nevertheless, most people start with exactly the most destructive question: Who is right and who is wrong. Two people spend time trying to convince the other of the rightness of his or her own position. But in fact, most disagreements are based on interpretations that come directly from private experiences in life, not some verifiable Truth.

The single best way to resolve conflict is to listen to the other party. Most people just want to be heard; it is a basic form of validation. And often the solution suggests itself from what is spoken.

&bull Allow your partner to express his or her grievances. This is a good thing, because otherwise these feelings build walls between people.

&bull Take responsibility for your part in creating problems. Ask yourself: How did my actions and the things I’ve said or failed to say helped to create this situation or crisis?

&bull It’s the final step that people most commonly fall short on—accepting responsibility for making things better. “You need to seek out what will make the situation better in the future so this situation doesn’t arise again,” observes Raphael. “Further, you need to tell the other person, ‘this is what I need from you now to make things better.’ You need to take responsibility for what will fix it now. Is it merely listening? Is it an apology? Most people miss this piece.”