Strong Willed Children Are Blessings

Strong willed children are very challenging to parent. That’s an understatement.

But the fact is, it is a huge blessing to have a strong willed child because they will grow up to be an assertive and confident critical thinker. They are natural leaders and innovators that our world cannot do without. As their parent, you are charged with the important and difficult task of guiding them. To do this successfully, this will require more work upfront, but the end result is a child that you will not have to worry about.

A compliant child is either 1). eager to please people, or 2). they don’t feel strongly about their opinions. They are much easier to parent when they are children, and when they grow up, they are easy to get along with. The trade off for a parent is the future worry that they will not stand up for themselves or fight for what makes them happy.

Do you want a child that has “fight” in them, or a child who doesn’t have “fight” in them? Actually, it doesn’t matter what you want, because children are typically born one way or another. The part you get to decide is how you will parent them.

Ultimately, it is probably easier to guide a strong willed child because you can win them over with logic and reason. It is much harder to instill determination into a child’s head. If your child is content and complacent with following orders and letting people have their way, how do you convince them to push back?

What is Love?

Valentine’s 2019 is upon us, time to celebrate love!

What is love? What does it mean to you? What is romantic love, as opposed to the other kinds of love that humans have for each other? What makes romantic love unique?

In contemporary English, the word “love” describes a whole bunch of different things–

  • a feeling, an emotion that is felt towards people, objects, activities or events, e.g. “I love Oregon”, “I love my job”

  • the interpersonal bond between people, the mutual loyalty and commitment, which is found in romantic love as well as with family, friendships, and can also be extended to the bond between a pet and its owner

  • the state or status of being “in love”, e.g. “we are in love”, “she fell in love”

  • a virtue representing human kindness and compassion

  • “An act of love” describes the behaviors that result from any of the things above

In Greek, there are different words that describe different kinds of love–e.g. “eros”, “philo”, “agape”, etc. (refer to Wiki article) In Chinese word that means love is “ai” (Mandarin) or “oi” (Cantonese) which is used similarly to the English word love, but there are other words that describe the bonds and loyalty between spouses, friends, and family members.

In the movie “Dan in Real Life”, Steve Carell is told that love is an ability. As a therapist, I say that love is made real through actions and choices, or else it is just an abstract, empty concept.

What does “love” mean to you?

Satisfied Ever After

… as opposed to “happily ever after”.

Hollywood, fairy tales, and romance (erotic) novels have created an unrealistic expectation in peoples’ minds. Such expectations are a set up for constant disappointment and discouragement, this is what kills relationships.

You know why “happily ever after” is impossible? Because happiness is a fleeting emotion, and emotions come and go. Secondly, it is an impossibly heavy burden to ask your partner to keep you happy every single second for the rest of your life.

The concept of maintaining satisfaction in a relationship is more practical. “I am not satisfied” is much easier to fix than “I am not happy” because satisfaction can be evaluated and achieved in concrete terms while happiness is abstract and subjective. Thinking in terms of satisfaction, the two people would examine their needs and create reasonable expectations of what is “satisfactory”. Once needs and expectations are clearly communicated, it is much easier to reach and maintain the sense of satisfaction.

Similar to the way companies conduct customer satisfaction research, couples should routinely check in with their spouse/partner to make sure needs are being satisfied.

When and Why a Person Ends a Marriage

Normally people talk about “why did the marriage fail” or “the problems that lead to divorce”, but what if we looked at this from the perspective of just one of the people. After all, the only thing you know for sure is your own perspective, and you only have the power to change yourself. So, let’s talk about how people reach the decision “it is time to end the marriage”.

People come to this decision when they have enough evidence that led them to the conclusion “things are not working and there is no way to fix it”. Essentially this comes from a subjective sense of helplessness. This is a list of the most common situations that lead to a person feeling helpless in their relationship:

  • when it seems like there is no way to make the other person happy

  • when it seems like there is no way to get through to the other person, communication is broken and any attempts to talk will lead to a fight

  • the other person doesn’t hesitate to fight in front of the kids or even bring the kids into the conflict

  • the other person threatens to leave you

  • the other person is acting like they don’t care anymore

  • one or both of you see each other as an enemy, therefore are constantly thinking about how to protect yourselves rather than thinking about the other person or the relationship as a whole

  • along similar lines, one or both people assume their partner has the worst intentions

  • seems like the other person doesn’t even like you anymore, let alone treasure or appreciate

  • when it feels like you cannot be yourself in the relationship


Even one of these criteria show up in the relationship, it could lead you or your partner to reach the conclusion that there must not be help anymore. But don’t give up without trying. Sometimes it’s actually a huge misunderstanding, and other times it is a conflict that can be resolved through creating agreements.

I’m obviously going to tell you to find a couples therapist to help you, after all, that’s the reason that this profession exists at all–that professional help actually helps. Not all the time, but enough of the time, otherwise there would not be such a profession and the world would have even more divorce attorneys (if you could imagine that).