Do You Have a Bad Relationship if You Have Problems?


The fairytale of relationships I believe is deeply rooted in our culture. You know, the idea of Mr. Amazing sweeping you off of your feet and showering you with the picture of happily ever after. However, the reality is we live in a world where there are no perfect people, with no perfect relationships, and a fairytale consists of brief moments of bliss with the one you love. Outside of those brief  moments there are problems and a lot of work making your relationship exist. But problems in a relationship are not necessarily a bad thing for your relationship – here’s why.

Problems can be Good for a Relationship

Problems highlight what’s not working in your relationship. This is an opportunity for you to clean house in your relationship by discarding the trash causing problems. For instance, you may find you’re arguing more, misunderstanding each other, or spending less time with each other. Arguments are a sign of needing to be seen or heard by each other. You need to see each other, and find meaning in your connection with each other. So fight about it, argue about it and duke it out or whatever, but find a solution to the problem. Fixing problems in your relationship help you grow stronger and tighter as a couple. This is because there is less trash separating you and your partner.

Problems help you to grow closer as a couple. Problems have a way of opening the door to the perfectly imperfect. Having the humbling experience of growing through problems and issues is not only relieving but real. You will begin to experience a realness in your relationship and connection that’s harder to break. Understanding your faults and your partner understanding theirs offers a sense of grace and acceptance not experienced in other relationships. Working through problems deepens your bond and strengthens your connection in ways others may not witness or experience as family or friends.

Problems can be Good for You, Too

Problems can be good for you, too because they make you more self-aware. Many times I hear “I had no idea I was doing that to my partner”! Facing and accepting problems in your relationship has a funny way of making you look at what you are doing to your partner. Facing your faults is painful and a very humbling experience. The funny thing is, from that humble place you grow deeper in your connection with your partner and you find you can trust them more because they are accepting your faults and forgiving them. Knowing you can change and knowing your partner can change strengthens your relationship in unimaginable ways. You both will begin to trust that each person will come back with accountability and seek forgiveness, instead of judging or dragging problems out longer than needed.

Don’t think of problems as relationship breakdowns, but rather as buildups! If you don’t face problems or address them then, yes, the relationship will breakdown. This does not have to be the case and I hope you embrace problems as a way to strengthen your relationship and grow closer to the one you love.

Tristan Beymer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and marriage and family counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She specializes in helping couples rebuild their relationship to be strong, healthy and passionate. She also works with individuals to overcome difficulties related to trauma and addictions.

How to Deal with a Monster-in-Law


No one likes having drama and disagreements with an in-law, but for one reason or another, it sometimes just can’t be avoided. Of course, when it comes to keeping the family dynamic happy, it’s in everyone’s best interest to resolve tensions as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Read these simple tips and keep them in mind for when you need to work out any of your basic Mother-in-Law disagreements.

Understand Her Perspective

Nothing takes the edge out of a fight as quickly as an acknowledgement of the other party’s feelings. Showing a little bit of sensitivity to your MIL’s concerns can do wonders for her opinion of you and her sensitivity to you in turn. Take a moment away to sit down and coolly consider everyone’s behavior. Try and figure out repeating themes and patterns in your arguments. Are you always disagreeing over the same thing? Is it a cultural problem that is causing you to clash? For example, maybe you come from a liberal family and she is conservative. In these kinds of situations, it’s important to remember that no one’s perspective is necessarily wrong or right. They are simply not compatible. Set some ground rules, such as agreeing to avoid discussing certain topics that seem to tear you two apart.

Understand the Complicating Factors

Before working out your problems with your MIL, it’s important that you have expressed yourself tojournal about the problems or write a letter to your husband or your MIL (that you will absolutely NOT send to anyone!). It might sound silly, but this is your opportunity to vent your frustrations so that you will be calm and collected by the time you talk to your husband, and you can reflect on what the real underlying problems are. Maybe it’s not your MIL that you have a problem with, but the fact that you feel like he always takes her side. Come up with a plan of action with him. Get his perspective on which of your behaviors or actions might be causing his mother exasperation. Figure out everyone’s boundaries and help him understand how he could help you in future situations.
your husband and you’ve heard his concerns and feelings. However, this is a situation where you need to tread very lightly. People can be sensitive about their mothers, even when they know mom is in the wrong. Take your time to consider your words and know which battles are unwinnable. One helpful tip: take a minute to

Have a Conversation (or Don’t!)

If you’ve had a significantly problematic fight, it may be a good idea to sit down with your MIL (with or without your husband, depending on the issue), and have a civil conversation. If you do feel that you need to follow this course, be sure you do not go on the attack. Start out with something positive. For example, if the cause of your fight is that you felt she said or did something inappropriate at your wedding, start out by telling her how much you appreciate all the help she gave you in planning and organizing the wedding in the first place. A little bit of appreciation can go a really long way.

Be empathetic. Maybe your husband is an only child, or maybe he’s the baby of the family. Mothers are extra protective in these cases. You need to make it known that you understand where she is coming from, but also that you both need to work out your differences for his sake.

You should probably only have an actual sit-down conversation with your MIL if you need to discuss some very bad behavior or some large problem that has been going on for some time. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that, with all of your good reflection in mind, you can start fixing your relationship with your MIL in more indirect ways:

• At your next meeting with her, come prepared to be very helpful and attentive to her. If she’s throwing a party, offer to come early to help set up or to stay late to help clean up. Be attentive to her and make her feel admired and appreciated by asking her questions about things she likes to discuss, like her recent projects or hobbies. Take it a step further and get her something to complement her hobby. For example, if she loves to paint, get her a set of nice oil paints. Tell her you came across them and thought of her immediately.

If you need to, come prepared with a mental list of good and bad topics of discussion. Know what subjects trigger fights with your MIL, and think of some clever ways to divert conversations that are straying close to sensitive topics. If you feel that you can’t stop the conversation subtly, it will be entirely okay to say, politely, “I would actually prefer it if we could talk about something else.” Try to make light of it, but be firm: “I remember how loud we all got last time we talked about that. I wouldn’t want to ruin everyone’s good time with a bad conversation!”

• Think of subtle ways to show appreciation. Compliment her on things that matter to her, like her cooking, her eye for decorating, or her recent promotion. When she invites you and your husband over to her home, consider bringing a little gift like a nice bottle of wine. Afterwards, think of a creative way to say thank you, like sending her some sweet treats with a nice card. Small gestures like this will show her that you are setting your differences aside and that you are appreciative of her.

It’s never too late to work on developing a better relationship with your MIL, and it can do wonders for your family life. Help everyone out by being the bigger woman and taking the first towards a relationship repair.

5 Tips for Transitioning Back to School with Ease


With August just around the corner, that means the first day of school is only a few weeks away.  With most schools starting on or around August 24th, your kiddo has a month to get back on a school schedule; so now is the best time to start preparing your child for those early mornings and structured days.  If both you and your child are feeling the stress of the approaching first day, check out the tips below.   

Tips to Get Your Kids Ready to Go Back to School

Reestablish a Schedule
Whether your children are starting school for the first time or transitioning to a new school, they need  During the summer months, children are able to sleep and snack as they please; however, in four short weeks this is all about to change.  Start slowing transitioning to an earlier bedtime and set that alarm clock at little earlier every week.  Also, helping your children get back on a structured eating schedule, meaning lunches are served at a similar time your children will be eating at school, will them adjust to this schedule so they aren’t having to do so over the first couple of school days.  
to start reestablishing a sleeping and eating schedule.

Create a Little Structure Throughout the Day
Get to know your children’s school schedule and start to integrate that into their day.  Having taught children kindergarten through 12th grade, I know how important creating structure throughout the summer months actually is.  Children go from abundant free time to a structured, on average, 7-hour day.  The teachers I have worked with are more than open to discussing schedules with parents.  Contact your child’s teacher to get an idea of what his or her schedule will be throughout the day and echo that at home.  If you child is going to be reading first thing in the morning, go to the library and check out books to start this routine.  Instead of allowing your child to watch TV, pick up a few math or science workbooks and do a few activities throughout the day.  I’m not suggesting you schedule an 8 to 3 for your child, but helping him or her start off on the right step by slowly integrating learning activities into the day will make the transition easier.

Get Organized
Get those school supplies and clothes purchased.  Organize book bags, transportation, afterschool activities and, if necessary, practice the drop-off and pick-up transition.  Helping your child, and yourself get organized, will ease the anxiety.  Develop a “to do” list with your child and mark things off as you two accomplish them together.  Allowing your child to be a part of this process not only helps develop self-efficacy, but will lessen the back to school butterflies.

Readjust Your Schedule
Your children aren’t the only ones who need to adjust their schedule.  You and your partner may have to have a conversation about how your schedules are going to be impacted by them transitioning back to school.  Sit down with your partner and figure out who is in charge of what.  What are everyone’s responsibilities?  Again, the more organized you are, the less worried your child will feel.

Ease the Anxiety
Heading to school, whether it’s for the first time, a new school, or just a new teacher and class, can be a time of anxiety for children.  Allow the space for them to express their concerns.  Communicate to your child you are here to listen.  Listen to the fears and worries and validate their feelings.  It is not uncommon for this transition to cause a sense of anxiety.  Teaching your children some breathing techniques, grounding skills such as squeezing then releasing their body, or creating a list of positives they can tell themselves when these feelings surface, will help them learn to regulate the anxiety, hopefully making that transition a little easier on all of you.

Preparing Now Helps a Successful School Year

Whether your child is starting preschool or approaching his or her senior year, helping him or her manage the back to school transition will help develop self-efficacy skills, impacting his or her self-esteem.  To help your child start the year off on the right foot, start establishing a schedule and add a little structure to the day; getting organized will not only ease their anxiety, it will also ease yours.

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted.

Turn Your Relationship Around


Most times couples come to counseling hoping that their partner will change. What therapists know is that as one partner changes it definitely affects how the other partner participates in the relationship (in other words, when you change, your partner changes, too). Yet there is often a fear that if one gives up the fight their partner will just get worse. “If I stop nagging he will never change!” or “If I was to give in to her demands she would walk all over me!” And around and around they go. I am here to suggest an alternative! You, alone, can change the relationship. You do not need your partner to know or participate in the change process to get your relationship to a better place.

Ways You can Change Your Relationship

1) What is your part in the difficulty? 

Take a big breath, this is going to be difficult to hear, but YOU are half the problem. It could be that you have certain expectations about how your partner should be. Some of those expectations are deal breakers but for the vast majority of couples, their fights are about negotiables. Yet as time goes on folks transfer what was negotiable into the deal breaker category. So Take everything out of the “deal breaker” category except for true deal breakers!

Know your non-negotiables and stick to them. For instance physical violence or chronic affairs can definitely be deal breakers in a relationship but chronic lateness may not be. That is not to say that you don’t set boundaries. For instance you may say, “I value getting to places on time. If you are more than 10 minutes late I will take my own car.” No fuss, no muss, no blaming. Your partner can decide to be late. You can decide to be on-time. When folks have stopped nagging or fighting about the negotiables it is really amazing how the other partner changes the irritating negotiable.

2) Notice what is working!

There are likely hundreds of things your partner is doing well! Take an inventory from morning to night of everything that is working. Really pay attention to them. Generally, couples fight about very few things but they fight often about them and they tend to consume the relationship.

"There are likely hundreds of things your partner is doing well"
I had one client who broke up over a situation that happened about 3 times a year. Yet they would fight about this situation for months afterward. It was a “negotiable” but the chronic fighting that happened afterward deteriorated all they had built together. “How can he be so pig headed? Doesn’t he see this hurts me?” “Why is she so rigid, I cannot deal with her drama!” Yet, when asked, about what he/she did do well they could name many things; they just didn’t dwell on what was working. To the extent that you dwell on what is working, is the extent that you will be satisfied in your relationship. As you tell your partner what he or she is doing well you can bet that those things will continue or occur more frequently.

3) Surround yourself with positive people who support your relationship!

It can become pretty easy to meet up with your friends and complain about what is not working in your relationship. Your friends only really know what you tell them and they are easily convinced that you need to bail if you give them the daily blow by blow. Rather, I suggest, to surround yourself with as many happy people as possible who have thriving relationships. When you see others happy in their relationships it can help change your own perception of your relationship. Just like “misery loves company” so does happiness! You don’t have the luxury of negativity in your life. Also your friends are very well likely to remember the fight you told them about long after it is over for you.

This can lead to doubt on their part, and doubt is contagious. It may be difficult for them to celebrate your new home or your five year anniversary if they are still remembering the last, worst fight you described in great detail during a night of cabernet and complaining. Brag about your partner. You’ll leave feeling better about your relationship and so will they! It is important to protect your relationship against the naysayers and critics. If you truly need to vent, find a professional counselor who will encourage and support your relationship not a person who will give you a high five or a “go girl!” when you complain about your partner. Ultimately, if you want a satisfying relationship, first start with changing yourself! Give what you want to receive. Is it fair? Maybe not, but in the long run you’ll get exactly what you want: a better relationship!

Roxanne Bamond, Ph.D., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She specializes in helping individuals and couples to create healthy relationships. She also assists and helps individuals through transitional difficulties such as a divorce, separation, or life crisis.

Is He The One? 4 Tips for a Successful Relationship


Not only have I heard this question from others, but this has become a plaguing and frequent question I ask myself. In fact, this very question has become somewhat traumatic for me to face and even attempt to answer! There tends to be so much fear in the “what if” moments and assumptions about what the future may hold. There is no magic secret recipe to finding out if the guy you’re with “is the one”, but I’ve put together a few ideas that increase the chances of a successful relationship.

Tips for a Successful Relationship

Don't be afraid to fall in love! There have been several surveys done over the years on how many times you can fall in love in a lifetime. From my research, you can fall in love up to 7 times! Well that’s not comforting if you’re like me and need specific yes and no answers and have the need to cut as many variables as possible out. So what to do? Accept. Accept the love you have for someone openly with yourself, partner and others. Don’t let the “what if’s” stop you from being with the one you’re with now. If it’s not meant to be – you will know.

Have people on your team. Have supporters you trust to tell you if the relationship you’re in is healthy and stable. Having gone through a divorce, I have a good deal of fear when I think of trusting and exchanging vows again. Being able to bounce fears and ideas off the ones I love and trust has been very helpful because they will tell me if I’m being crazy, stupid or if I need to move on. These people are people who know me very well and speak not only highly of me, but of the people I’ve dated. They never put people down, but have the courage to say when something is not right in the relationship. When your team supports you in who you're with, your fears diminish and you have more security in your decisions.

Makes the best come out of you! We should never be dependent on our partners making us better, worse or in charge of our happiness. However being with someone who encourages you to be a better person, or brings happiness into our lives is a different story. We get to choose to be with someone who is going to affirm us; point out our good qualities; support our dreams; and be willing to hold us accountable when our actions or attitudes are poor.

Protect your heart! We cannot determine or control the actions of our partners, but we can set
expectations for how we want to be treated and protected. Personally I want to be with someone who can be direct with me; trust I can handle the worst of them; be honest; and who see’s meeting your needs as a gift rather than a burden. I recently heard a comment that meeting the needs of your partner can be abused and turn into manipulation! This is very true, but I find that only to exist in toxic and poor communication relationships. Meeting needs is a form of protecting the connection between you and your partner and not something to be taken for granted.

Are You His Only One?

I want to know I’m the only woman he wants! Ladies, we want to be with someone who recognizes our contributions and gifts to the relationship. We want to know our partner’s needs are met, we fill up their cup and they feel cared for by us. I don’t want my partner wanting another woman or someone else because I’m not paying attention to his needs. I want him to feel safe and secure enough to tell me what he needs. I also believe if he is finding himself attracted to someone else he has the courage to talk about it with me. I once heard a pastor talk about being open with your partner about attraction outside of your marriage. He stated if you can do this, the other attraction tends to lose its hold on you.

Of course we want to be with someone we are compatible with – shared interests, goals, love language, values, beliefs, etc. but don't forget these things to enrich the connection and safety of a long lasting relationship.

6 Tips for Staying Positive (Even When Your Partner Isn't)


Let’s face it, in relationships it’s sometimes difficult to not be impacted by our partner’s negative mood.  A simple look, tone of voice, or just their demeanor can throw you into a negative spiral, leaving both of you in a huff.  If this sounds remotely familiar to you, there are ways to stay positive so you don’t get sucked into your partner’s spiral of negativity.

You CAN Stay Positive Even When Your Partner Isn't 

1) Take responsibility 
If you were in a good mood and one look or snide remark from your partner completely shifted your emotion, that’s on you.  Too often we blame others for making us unhappy or angry.  While people can do and say something to try and ruin our day, by reacting negatively, we’re actually letting them.  I know this may be tough to sallow, but you’re the only one who is responsible for your feelings.  You control whether or not you’re happy, that job doesn’t fall on anyone else.  

2) Breathe
Breathing helps us stay present in situations of high emotion.  Slow, steady belly breaths will help regulate you so you are able to think rationally, as opposed to speaking from emotion.  Staying logical will help you decide how to most effectively handle the situation.  Try breathing instead of becoming instantly upset and letting that mood influence the remainder of your day.

3) Cultivate your mindfulness skills
Slowing the situation down can help you stay present instead of emotionally responding to others.  When you are able to slow down your thought process and understand why you are emotionally reacting to your partner or absorbing his or her emotion like a sponge, you will be able to connect while still managing your own emotions.  Next time you find yourself reacting or taking on another’s emotion, ask yourself why?  What is coming up for you?  The more you are able to understand your thoughts and feelings, the easier it will be for you to stay connected while regulating your own emotions.

4) Create a little separation
If you are noticing that your partner’s negative mood has altered your mood, create some space.  Let your partner know you are there if he or she needs you then leave the room.  Try something as simple as, “It seems you’re having a rough day and I’m here if you need me.  However, I want to respect that you might need some space to process.”  Giving both you and your partner a little space will hopefully help you control your emotions and help your partner process his or her feelings without using you as a verbal target.

5) Don’t take it too personally
In the moment, don’t take it personally if your partner just took his or her bad day out on you.  If you can remind yourself that your partner is responsible for his or her own feelings, it makes it a little easier to not get too upset.  However, it is okay for you to share you’re feelings.  If you feel as though your partner is being rude, note certain behaviors and discuss them later.  I like to use “I” statements during these conversations to remove the undertones of blame.

6) Change your thoughts
You can change your attitude by changing your thoughts.  If you notice you’re getting sucked into a negative mood because you’re partner is in a negative headspace, change your thoughts.  Try to understand why your partner is upset without taking on blame.  In doing so, you won’t become so defensive.

Don't Get Sucked In

Next time you feel yourself getting sucked in, try practicing these tips.  Breathing and staying present will help you in the moment.  When you’re able to give yourself space, change your thoughts so you aren’t taking things too personally.  If those fail, try to engage in an activity you enjoy so you are able to stay positive and emotionally regulated.

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted.

Is It Selfish to Not Want Kids?


Dear Aaron and Rachel,

We’ve been married for about 4 years now. We met in college and dated for a while, then when we both landed great jobs, we decided to get married. It’s been great for the last four years and we’ve really enjoyed being married and being together. Lately, though, it seems that all our friends are having kids...some are even having their second one! It’s getting difficult to find friends to go out with because they all have kids. We’ve talked about it and discussed that it’d be nice to have kids but we’re both pretty nervous. Having kids is a big commitment and neither one of us want to screw it up! But, admittedly, our biggest holdup is that we kind of like our current lifestyle and we’re not sure we want it to change just yet - even if that means we don't have as many friends to go out with.

How do you know when you’re ready to have kids or do people always feel this way? Is that selfish not to want kids just so it doesn’t interrupt our lifestyle?

Sincerely, childless but happy.

She Said

It’s okay to not want children, and it’s okay to not want children for any reason under the sun. Having children will absolutely change your entire lifestyle. Those little ones can add lots of joy to your life but will absolutely rock your happy boat. Your relationship and life will be changed forever when you take on the responsibility of raising a child for the next eighteen years. Does this sound horrible? If so, you probably aren’t ready. 

When it comes to family planning, you need to be practical, though, too. How old are you? If you are 30 or over, your clock is ticking. Since you have already found the guy, you don’t want to decrease your chances of being able to get pregnant or have healthy babies if this is what you want. 

You have to do some soul-searching to figure out if you and your husband really want kids. If you do,  then ask yourself if you are financially prepared to have them. (I hear diapers are expensive these days!) If you are at the age where your fertility is declining, and you’ve got the man, the desire, and the money, get on it. Don’t wait until you are 100 percent emotionally prepared to sacrifice your lifestyle, because that day may never come, and you might regret it. 

He Said 

The best advice that I ever heard about having kids was actually personal advice I received from a spiritual adviser. He told me that if I waited until I was ready to have kids I would never have them. I laughed at first and then as time went on I realized that he was right on. The truth is, nothing can prepare you to have kids. I have three of my own and  no matter how prepared I thought I was for each of them, they all had surprises. There's really nothing that can prepare you to have kids but that's the comforting thing about it. Millions of people around the world have kids and no matter how challenging children can be they're able to pull it off (most of the time anyway). Have some confidence in yourself and trust that you'll be able to figure things out. 

As for whether it's selfish to not have kids, there's nothing wrong simply deciding not to. There's no law saying that you have to and it's certainly nobody else's prerogative what you and your husband decide when it comes to family planning. Having said that, I can't help but wonder where you get the message that it's selfish of you don't have kids. Do some soul searching and ask yourself if you're feeling this way because of somebody else's expectations or if you feel this way because there's a piece of yourself that believes this. You're the one who has to sleep with yourself at night and you don't want to have this nagging feeling going on for too long. 

About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. You can find her at

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships.

Are You Overscheduling Your Kids?


With summer in full swing you're plenty busy. You have swimming lessons, baseball practice, soccer practice AND summer vacation coming up. Add the sleepovers and weekend picnics and you've got a pretty full plate. But this is good, right? After all, you don't want your kids to be couch potatoes during the summer. You want them to be active and to have a great summer filled with as many fun activities as possible before they have to go back to school. But did you know that overscheduling your kids can be bad for them, too?

It's true, overscheduling your kids can be just as bad as underscheduling your kids. In some ways it can actually be worse.  When kids are overscheduled they start to feel anxiety and stress because they don't have time to relax. Even if your kids are old enough now to not need naps they still need enough downtime to decompress and relax a little. Just like a grown up, this helps them collect their thoughts and recharge for the next activity. If they don't have this downtime to recharge then they begin to feel stress and pressure which is often exhibited behaviorally (like yelling, throwing things, or just being downright ornery).

Children Need Structure but Not Too Much Structure

Another benefit of having downtime is that children get the opportunity to create their own fun. As a parent, you want to provide your child with all the opportunities you never had. So you sign them up for baseball or horseback riding lessons, etc. These kinds of structured events are good because it gives your child something predictable to look forward to, but too many structured events can actually stifle your child's imagination and self-reliance.

Through unstructured play time, children are forced to come up with games of their own to create their own fun. Creating their own fun does a lot of good for their development. For example, it teaches them social skills as they work with other children to create activities, it also teaches them self-reliance so they can depend on themselves when they want entertainment or something fun to do without it being given to them. Unstructured free play also teaches your child to use their imagination and invent new kinds of play and fun. This helps them get to know themselves by exploring and developing their own self-interests.

How Much Is Too Much?

One of the most common questions I get as a family counselor is "How do I know when I am overscheduling my kids? Well, there are a couple of predictable signs that your child will give you to help you know.

1) Sudden disinterest. If your child loves soccer but suddenly doesn't look forward to going or doesn't want to kick the ball in the back yard anymore, that's a good sign that they may be beginning to resent it.

2) They become temperamental. If your child is 12 or under they have a hard time describing what they're thinking and feeling. That part of the brain just hasn't developed yet. So instead of talking about what they're thinking or feeling they act out. So you may see them suddenly start withdrawing or behaving badly. They may start arguing with their siblings more or getting suddenly angry over small things. When their brain doesn't get to rest they experience stress and you see start seeing bizarre behavior.

3) They want to stay home. While children may not be able to describe what they're feeling they can (and do) express what they want to do. As a result, they may start telling you that they want to stay home or they don't want to go certain places. When this happens, listen to them. They may not be able to describe what they're feeling but they still know - and show it.

4) They start fighting more. Just like a grown up, when your child starts feeling stressed or overscheduled they become a lot shorter with you and their siblings. This means that they'll start arguing more, fighting more, and being disagreeable. You'll also see a lot more sibling rivalry. But don't take it personally. Take it as a sign they need to relax more.

5) Their sleep becomes irregular. If your child starts sleeping more than usual, that's a good sign that they're needing more down time. Or if they start sleeping less and being more cranky that's a good sign of the same thing.

With summer or anytime of the year you want to make sure your kids are having enough activities to keep them active and happy. But too much of a good thing is still too much. Watch for these signs and feel free to let your child be bored once in a while. The consequences of infrequent boredom are a lot better than overscheduling them. Plus, they get a chance to relax and unwind - which is an integral part of a carefree childhood.

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