Sanity Savers and More...
August 2005


Do you know anyone getting married? My new book (co-authored with Annie Gilbar), Wedding Sanity Savers is the book for them (and everyone in their family and bridal party.) Nobody should lose their sanity over a wedding and this is the book that will prevent that. In this edition of the newsletter I am celebrating marriage and families coming together.

As the intense summer heat blankets the country, it makes sense to be more mindful of how to take care of yourself. And it is not only about staying hydrated. Walk slowly, consider how you spend your time outside, and be mindful of both the positive and ill effects of air conditioning! Rushing into cool spaces from intense heat can play havoc with your own system. Remember, it is all about balance.

With this 8th newsletter, I continue to be grateful for your encouraging feedback and will incorporate your questions and concerns into the sanity savers and tips. Please pass along this newsletter to your friends, loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.


In this issue
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
  • Dr. Dale on the TODAY Show
  • TIPS:
    Loving your Spouse and Loving your Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    Now in Paperback

  • Wedding Sanity Savers

    My newest book, co-authored with Annie Gilbar, Wedding Sanity Savers: How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes, and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day is the handbook every bride (and anyone who is close to her) needs.

    This is THE GUIDE for the emotional ride through all stages of the wedding process.


    Becoming a step-family is not easy but yet can be very gratifying. Among the elements involved are: time, patience, careful planning, flexibility, humor, a willingness to listen to and accept various (and often conflicting) points of view, habits, histories, rituals and traditions.

    Many step-families attempt to “blend” together. People are not fruit drinks. Rather the goal is to integrate each member of this new family while maintaining an appreciation for the unique aspects of each individual. Children are capable of closely bonding with many people. Carefully thought out, there can be room for each adult to play a significant role in the child's life.

    There is no such thing as an instant family or instant love. Everyone, particularly the children (and a lot depends on the age and expectations), needs to deal with the issue of loss and change from their previous families. Over time this new family needs to define itself with its own traditions, rituals and personality. This can only happen when everyone risks emotional involvement.

    Here are 6 sanity saver points that focus on healthy stepfamily relationships:

    1. Step-families need time to adjust to the new roles, new personalities, new rules and expectations, and new ways of relating.
    2. Step-parents are not replacement parents and can offer their step-children experiences and outlooks that are different and new. Be sure to make time to connect with one another individually AND as a family. Everyone has his or her own time table. There is no ONE way to become comfortable as a step-family.
    3. Adjustment to a new step-family situation takes time, patience, understanding and empathy. Accept the myriad feelings you have as a member of a step-family and appreciate that these feelings are not always positive and that is okay.
    4. Communicate openly and respectfully about expectations, chores, discipline, rules, consequences, differences in traditions and styles, morals and attitudes.
    5. Nurture the marriage to help set a loving model for your new family. Find couple time.
    6. This is a learning experience. You can learn alot about yourself from your new step-family and each person involved. Be open.

    Dr. Dale on the TODAY Show

    August 1st, Monday, 9:00 Hour
    Topic: In-Law Relationships

    August (Date and Time TBD)
    Topic: Empty Nesters

    Loving your Spouse and Loving your Children

    Having a strong, dynamic, vital love relationship with your spouse is a wonderful gift to give your children. The love you feel for your spouse and the love you feel for your children are different kinds of love. And you have plenty for each.

    There need not be a competition. Don’t get hung up with whether you love your spouse more or less than your children. It is futile to ponder whether you would save your children or your spouse if you were in a sinking boat. What is important is not to pit your spouse and your children against one another and to make one feel “less loved” than the other.

    It is all about balance. Here are some tips to keep balance in your marriage while raising a family:

    • Stay Connected - Be playful, open and stimulate desire. Touch base with each other during the day and after a long day.
    • Try New Things Together - Work together for a cause, take a class, do something you have never done before or something you let slide that you did when you first met.
    • Problem Solve Together - If one of you has a problem with the other it becomes a problem for both of you. Find ways to work it out respectfully.
    • Be Nice to Each Other - Don’t take each other or the marriage for granted. Be respectful, appreciative and helpful.
    • Talk About Things Other Than the Kids - Current events, classes, community activities, your future, your values.
    • Remember What's Important to Your Spouse - Take interest in what your spouse values and be aware of what he or she finds important.
    • Have a Fixed Bedtime for your Children - Create rituals around bedtime such as reading out loud, talking about the day or cuddling. Reserve the rest of the evening for your spouse. Children need structure and parents need private time.
    • Carve out "Couple Time” - Stay away from the internet, t.v. and cell phone. Don’t be afraid to lock your bedroom door or use a do not disturb sign. Explain to your kids that mom and dad need private time and shouldn’t be disturbed unless there's an emergency. Teach your children how to respect your boundaries.
    • Hire a Baby-Sitter or Exchange Child Care with Another Parent - Plan dates. Unless you put it on your calendar, it won’t happen. Get away for an overnight without your children.
    • Demonstrate Your Love for Your Spouse as well as Your Children - Everyone needs a hug, a kiss and hearing "I love you".

    I'm OK, You're My Parents
    Now in Paperback

    I'm Ok, You're My Parents: How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works is now in paperback!

    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and media commentator who appears regularly on the Today show.

    She has more than twenty- five years of experience as a relationship expert, focusing on families, couples, parenting, aging well and stress management.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including Sisters; From the Heart: Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives; Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children; I'm OK, You're My Parents and the soon to be released Wedding Sanity Savers.

    Find out more....
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    Dale's Advice on Weddings at WeddingChannel.com

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