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Lo Último En La Avenida

Metro News en Español

octubre-diciembre 2001

Feliz Navidad 2001

enero - marzo 2002

abril ­ junio 2002

julio - septiembre 2002


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Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs

Volume 2 Number 1 October - December 2002


Anniversary Issue!
Dr. Wally Goddard, family life specialist at the University of Arkansas Extension Service and keynote speaker for the 4th Annual Family Conference, offers some insights into family life.  
A Few Discoveries in Family Life
by H. Wallace Goddard, Ph.D.

On Marriage
There have been many discoveries that have changed our lives. Think of the influence of penicillin, Teflon, electricity, and wireless communication. The discoveries are innumerable. Yet, in the vital area of close relationships, we often operate under badly outdated assumptions. For example, many people in the 1960s and 1970s promoted a medical model of marriage, i.e., notice anything that is wrong with your partner, think about it, talk about it, and invite your partner to fix it. It seems so reasonable. Many marriage programs have been based on skillful communication of discontents, but there is a new approach to marriage that is emerging from remarkable research.

Dr. John Gottman, University of Washington psychology professor and founder of the Gottman Institute, conducted a detailed study of marriage dynamics and offers some helpful hints for marriage couples. For example, he recommends editing what you say (some things don't need to be said), using positives (kindness), and self-soothing techniques (calmness and gentleness). In successful marriages, partners value the relationship over being right (repair attempts). Happy couples make the creative use of differences, work to build their relationship, and actively invest in their love. It makes sense that a focus on problems only binds up the mechanisms of marriage. In fact, in some studies the best predictor of positive family relationships is simply the level of kindness.

On Raising Children
When it comes to raising children, many people are looking for some magical combination of rules, consequences, timeouts, and rewards that will teach their children to be good citizens. Decades of parenting research confirm that nothing matters more than love. Urie Bronfenbrenner, Jacob Gould Sherman Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and of Psychology at Cornell University, eloquently stated, "Every child should spend a substantial amount of time with somebody who's crazy about him or her . . . There has to be at least one person who has an irrational involvement with that child, someone who's in love with him or her, and whom he or she loves in return."

Timeout, for example, is less important than loving and teaching a child. In fact timeout has often been misused as a means for punishing children. The assumption was that parents must make children suffer for their misdeeds. The fact is that the best use of timeout is for soothing or helping people to calm down. Timeout is as effective for parents as it is for children. When we feel calm, we are better able to solve problems.

In recent years there has been a renewed cry in some circles for toughness in dealing with children. Ironically, the recommended actions will probably help some children while harming others. If parents are always trying to appease their children, they may need greater toughness, clearer rules, and more reliable enforcement. Yet, for parents who are not good at listening to their children and understanding their world, more toughness is the wrong answer. Some parenting programs recommend that parents figure out the child's motive for misbehavior from the options of attention, power, revenge, and inadequacy.

New research suggests that the best parents minimize blaming of children or of themselves. In the most effective methods of problem solving, parents invite their children to explore their own meanings rather than try to analyze their psychological motives.

For example, a traditional parent's response to a child who got in trouble on the bus was to load them with trouble at home. In contrast, a parent can use compassion and understanding to invite the child to explore the experience by possible saying, "You probably felt very humiliated when the bus driver chewed you out." When the child feels peaceful, the parent can invite the child to find solutions and might consider asking, "What can you do to avoid such painful experiences on the bus?" Blame is not necessary to problem-solving strategies.

Some of these recent discoveries probably agree with our own good sense. Some of them challenge us to think in different ways. When we use the best ideas in our family relationships, they can make us more effective and more contented.


Defining Nontraditional Families

Germ City: Clean Hands and Healthy People

Grading the Graders

Integrating Social Work Practice With Ecosystem Management

La Familia

Let's Backtrack!

Safe Holiday Shopping

Teaching Wise Holiday Spending to Children & Teens

The Demographics of Living Single

Travel Tips for the Holidays

Trees are Your Friends


Editorial Staff & Content Areas

If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate editorial staff member by content area. When in doubt, contact the editor.

Wendi Williams (Editor/National-International News)
wawillia@aces.edu

Jeanetta Anderson (Proofreading/Distribution)
jwilliam@aces.edu

Jannie Carter, Ph.D. (County News)
jcarter@aces.edu

Edna Coleman (Specialist News)
ecoleman@aces.edu

Julio Correa, Ph.D. (Spanish Programming)
jcorrea@aces.edu

Kevin Crenshaw, Esq. (Legal Issues)
kkcren@aol.com

Jean Hall-Dwyer (Print/Electronic Design, Spanish Programming)
jhall@aces.edu

Erica James (Administrative News/Distribution)
ejames@aces.edu

Jacqueline Johnson, DVM (Online Database)
jujohnso@aces.edu


Contributors:

Jeanetta Anderson, Administrative Secretary

Jannie Carter, Ph.D., State Program Leader, UANNP

Donnie Cook, Ph.D., Health & Nutrition Specialist

Julio Correa, Ph.D., Animal Scientist

Kevin Crenshaw, Esq., Legal Consultant

Jean Hall-Dwyer, Communications Specialist

Erica James, Secretary

Marilyn Simpson-Johnson, Family Welfare Specialist

Wendi Williams, Assistant to the 1890 Administrator

Bernice Wilson, Resource Management Specialist

Phone: 256-851-5710 Fax: 256-851-5840