Amber Creek Blog

Staying ATTUNEd: Creating Emotional Trust in Marriage

By Spencer Hinckley, CSW (Click HERE for a complete bio) What is trust? Longtime relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman believes trust in a relationship requires two things: 1) Transparency, or a belief that one sees the true reality of their partner, and 2) The feeling that one's partner is there for them in time of need.* In other words, partners must be able to answer yes when asked “Are you truthful?”...

Thawing a Frozen Heart

I just saw the new Disney movie, Frozen.  Have you seen it?  It has received high praise this year, and rightly so.  It’s a beautiful story and very well-done.  There were a number of elements in the story that I found very meaningful, though much of that is probably because I am a therapist and hopelessly trapped in that mindset when I watch...

Suicide: There Is Hope! Simple Steps to Recognize & Respond

By Rick Rawlins, LCSW (Click HERE for a complete bio)

Recently there has been increased media attention and awareness given to the topic of suicide.  Too often the subject of suicide causes people to feel uncomfortable and not want to discuss it.  Yet when someone is suffering and considering suicide, talking about it is exactly what is needed.

Suicide occurs...

Don’t Show Your Teens the 3 Bad Reactions: Hurt, Anger, & Fear

If you're just joining this series now, be sure to check out the last 4 posts in the parenting series. Hurt, Anger, and Fear.  Feeling these emotions isn't the problem.  And if they hit you because of life stressors or pressure, then by all means, let your kids see you show them-- within careful limits and in healthy ways.  The problems come when we...

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Emotion to Your Kids

If you missed the first 3 parts of this parenting series, make sure to click HERE, HERE, and HERE. A lot of parents get so tired from their busy lives that they unintenionally operate in either a "superficial happy" state, or in anger (which is often just a way of hiding their underlying sense of feeling overwhelmed). We don't do it on purpose,...

Don’t Forget to Follow-Through

If you missed the first 2 parts of this parenting series, click HERE and HERE. Believe it or not, kids thrive on consistency.  Really!  They may rant and rave about how they hate your stupid rules and how you have no idea what the world is like today, but they still thrive when they have structure and consistency.  Research proves it! So, one of the...

Don’t be Afraid to Be a Parent

If you missed the first post in this parenting series, be sure to head over & read it HERE. Kids need friends, and they crave acceptance.  Growing up is hard, and the social world that our teens face today is, in many ways, more ruthless than ever.  Finding a safe, reliable friend who will stick with them through thick and thin is a challenge.  As...

The 4 DON’Ts When Raising Teens


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Raising teenagers is never as easy as the 80's sitcom Full House made it seem.  I used to watch that show, and Danny Tanner, the father of three girls, could literally resolve any concern that his teen daughter was going through by the end of a 30 minute episode.  Each time the TV family ran into...

Toss Your List of New Year’s Resolutions!

New Year's Eve has arrived!  For many of us, that means a party to attend, a day to sleep in, and then a list of goals to consider, commit to, feel overwhelmed by, minimize, and then discard by Valentine's Day.  Sound familiar?

May I suggest that instead of making a goal-driven "list of despair," that we focus instead on 2...

Holiday Tradition Ideas

The Holidays are here!  

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Gifts are being wrapped, family is visiting, and we all hope that we are building memories that will last.  With so many things to get done, you may push yourself to do more and sleep less.  May I suggest that if a happy and meaningful memory is what you're after, the quantity...

Traditions- Valentines day


Family rituals can be categorized by the needs they fulfill.  Here are some examples which may seem familiar, and some others which you may want to implement in your own family:

Connection rituals are ones for everyday family bonding and emotional connection.
  • Family meals
  • Morning and bedtime routines
  • Arrivals and departures at home 
  • Family outings
  • From small trips to the ice cream store to family vacations
  • Visits to and from extended family
  • Family celebrations (holidays, baptisms, weddings, etc.)
  • Remember...

Must-Haves for a Strong Family: Tradition!

All of us can remember family traditions that we have been a part of at some point in our lives.  Going to a favorite family camping spot, having Thanksgiving dinner with relatives, or even the daily hug we give our young children when we walk in the door. Sometimes family traditions and rituals seem to start on their own, but many times lasting traditions have to...

Helping a Child Grieve

Here are some insights in response to the Newtown tragedy. I hope they give comfort and guidance to parents. I wish that there were one perfect way to describe how to help all children grieve a loss. Sadly, there are many different factors which will make a universal answer difficult to provide: the circumstances that a child endures, the support that they may or may not...