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Perspectives about finance in a marriage?

How do couples deal with varied world views and perspectives about finance in a marriage? It’s normal for married couples to have different views on money management, but if one of them works so hard to earn the family’s income and the other spends like there’s no tomorrow, there can be a big problem there. What is your advice to people who are married to big spenders? Let’s say a husband has just found out that his jobless wife has taken out a huge loan or incurred high credit card balances, or has been hiding bills and shopping around like crazy. How can this situation be best handled? What can the husband do to achieve a compromise? Is it a good idea to confront the wife right away? A marriage is built on the foundations of respect and regard for each other and the relationship’s well-being. Therefore, the objective is to communicate this in a manner such that both parties embrace a sense of commitment, understanding, and discipline in achieving this fundamental objective •    Have an open dialogue on how one person’s overspending affects the overall goals for the future. •    Discuss and come to an agreement to set limits and boundaries on what your family’s realistic spending for the month should be. •    Be open and transparent about liabilities, debts, loans with each other such that both of you feel equally accountable and responsible for clearing them with controlled spending. •    Set a clear budget for the month on the “necessities” and the “desirables” - set priorities. Is it wise for couples to keep joint or separate accounts? If both couples are earning, for instance, is it good to keep a joint account for their paychecks and monthly bills? Should they agree on a monthly allowance? It truly depends on the couple and how mindful and responsible they are on spending and expenditures. This decision should primarily be driven by: •    A sense of Responsibility to keep each other “in the loop” as far as their respective earnings, savings, and balances are concerned. •    A sense of commitment to keep each other informed when the accounts are accessed for withdrawals. •    Respect and regard for each other’s earnings. •    A shared sense of commitment to controlled spending. •    A shared sense of commitment to save for the future. •    A transparent and open dialogue between the couple on their earnings and their goals for the future. Based on your experience dealing with couples, who are often the big spender in the marriage, is it the wife or husband? Why? Does family upbringing or culture have something to do with this? Spending is not necessarily gender-based. However, upbringing and outlook towards money and spending in the past can influence their current style of spending. To get to the bottom of this trail and establish a controlled sense of spending, it is important to understand how an individual views money- •    An object of pleasure? •    An object of power? •    An object that is a status symbol? •    An object of authority? •    An object that makes you “feel and look good”? •    An object that is a source of comfort during times of distress and sadness? •    An object that is respected and treasured? •    An object that is a necessity for survival? •    An object that helps to secure your future?

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March 12, 2019
Sailaja Menon
Counseling Psychologist
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The Right Apology Can Change Your Life

It happens so often that even after apologizing, the issue becomes an argument and forgiveness is out of sight. This is simply because we do not know how to communicate the “right” way to say sorry. Don’ts: Do not use “but”. Using this word after saying you are sorry, tells the other person that you are trying to justify in your favor and get away from the error. Do not expect forgiveness. Forcing and arguing with the other person that your apology deserves forgiveness, will lead to being counter-productive. Give up being defensive. It is innate in people to be defensive. While accepting their error, they feel the need to defend themselves which either comes across as “if I'm going down, I'm taking you with me!”. Don’t over-apologize: “to err, is human”, it is acceptable to make some mistakes. Thus make amends, however, do not over apologize and overcompensate for the same. The Do’s Make your intention clear. Let the individual know, what led you to make that error. Help them understand what you thought you would gain out of this. Recurrence: Make sure you communicate that you will not do it again. Responsibility: Accept the problem created and the emotional disturbance it caused. Express that you understand the consequences and the hurt or discomfort caused because of the error. Let them know you empathize. Formula: Expressing regret+ your understanding of the situation+ your promise of zero recurrences. I am sorry that me doing this, hurt you and made you feel unimportant, that was not my intention and will not do such a thing again. As they say, never ruin an apology with an excuse!

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March 11, 2019
Jyotika Aggarwal
Clinical Psychologist
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Unlocking Your Teenager: Tackling The Greys

Communication is the key that unlocks your teenager. How it is important to listen, respond positively and share your own anxieties with them. However, despite their best efforts, there are bound to be instances in every parent’s life that take their words and breath away, when they are at a loss as to how to respond: the so-called grey areas where the line between the acceptable and unacceptable blur, and it looks as if all the good work that has so far been put in will be undone. Imagine this. You are aware that your teenage daughter is sweet on a boy who used to be in her class. In fact, she is quite comfortable discussing him with you. As a reasonable parent, you are aware that this is an inevitable part of growing up and treat it as such. They have hung out a few times with your permission, but always as part of a group. Today, however, she tells you that she wants to spend the day with him, at his place this time as his parents are away. “Who else is going with you?” you ask cautiously. “No one. It’s going to be just the two of us,” comes the hesitant reply. “Ryan is leaving Dubai soon, and he wants us to spend some time together…alone.” Two eighteen-year-olds spending time alone has its implications. You can hear warning bells ringing in your head. “But you know—” “Mom, we love each other. I know he’s the one for me,” she says with finality. As a parent, you are terrified. You understand what your daughter is talking about, but it is difficult for you to accept. A hundred worries come to mind. “Is he a good person?” you wonder. “My daughter is still a child; is he right for her? What if she is under pressure – from him or their friends?” If you belong to a collectivist culture where premarital intimacy is frowned upon, there are additional worries. You also wonder how this is going to affect her life, her standing in the extended family and society. However, your overarching concern remains her well-being. You strongly believe that she is not emotionally ready for such a commitment, and you want to protect her from the consequences. It is, however, not easy to communicate that to your child. “At this point, the last thing you want to do is to make a false move, which will make her clam up or become hostile,”Understand that at that age, their hormones are raging. They are just discovering themselves and their body, finding love, and building relationships that may or may not last in the long run. A desire to be accepted and loved by a partner, which also involves intimacy, is normal.” That said, as a parent, it is also your duty to have a conversation with her about the seriousness of the step she is about to undertake. “Take a deep breath, sit down, and buy time. Allow yourself to think and formulate a reasonable response. It's better to take a little time than to blurt out your anxieties.” Ask for a glass of water, sip it slowly, think fast and hard. An impulsive response, like getting outraged or dismissing her request as silly or impossible, can break the fragile bond of communication that you have worked hard to establish. After all, she trusts you enough to be honest with you. Next time she may not, which will be infinitely worse.” “Be considerate and empathetic. Validate her emotions. Tell her you to understand she is in love, and that you are happy for her.” “Talk to her about what it means to her, what she feels about this step. Ask her if this is what she wants. Give her the option of maybe waiting a little more before going all the way. Speak to her about the implications of the step she is about to take. But do it rationally, and not in an emotional, judgmental manner.” “Teenagers are often extremely insecure. It is possible that your daughter is worried that if she refuses him, he may leave her. Assure her that it need not be so, and ask her to speak to him. Empower her.” Don’t speak directly to the boy. “Unless you sense that he poses some kind of threat or harm to your daughter, don’t intervene. Guide her, but give her the chance to handle the situation in her own way. The fact that you trust her enough to do that will make her think better of herself and you, and give her the confidence she needs.” Being reasonable, empathetic and considerate can go a long way in any situation, but more so when handling such delicate situations with your teenager. Easier said than done, of course. But then, who said being a parent is easy?

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March 11, 2019
Jyotika Aggarwal
Clinical Psychologist
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BULLYING

Bullying is a very serious concern gripping educational institutes around the world today. While schools adopt a zero tolerance policy, it still exists. Bullying involves repeated, unwanted, overt/covert acts of verbal/physical aggression, towards another child or group. This can lead to a lot of psychological trauma for the child, including lowered self-esteem, depression, eating disorders and in really serious cases even suicide. At such an impressionable age, it is hard for the “bullied” to stand up for themselves. Getting the message that they are not “good enough”, children start to believe it. They are afraid of being judged as “weak” or being threatened, hence they don’t see the option of talking to their parents about it. To the bullied child it feels like a lose-lose situation. Hence, it is of utmost importance to talk openly and to educate your child about it. This includes telling them about the 4 types of bullying. Verbal - Teasing, writing mean messages, name-calling Physical - Hitting, tripping, breaking things Social- Spreading rumors, leaving someone out Cyber- Posting hurtful comments/pictures/videos Talking about this, lets them know that you’re there to help them. Be clear that bullying is unacceptable and no matter what the bully threatens, your child must never keep it a secret from you. Help them formulate solutions of how they can protect themselves right from the beginning. Parents should keep an eye out for the following signs of bullying: Unexplained bruises. Books being torn or things missing. Sudden mood swings, increased irritability, crying or the desire to “be left alone”. Sudden nightmares, crying while sleeping or even bed wetting is a red flag. Not wanting to go to school nor wanting to talk about school anymore. Random complains of body aches or illnesses so as to avoid school. Changes in perception of self and ability. Sudden thoughts of “I’m a loser”. Talks of suicide or harmful behavior towards self. Extinguishing bullying is as important as being able to identify it. To achieve this, it is necessary to create an empathetic and safe environment, where a child can immediately approach an adult for help. Taking assertive, quick and organized action towards the bully, would set an example and keep other bullies at bay. It would allow bystanders and other bullied children to come forward. Parents and Institutes must make it a goal to be vigilant and protect their children from this damaging experience.

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March 11, 2019
Jyotika Aggarwal
Clinical Psychologist
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OVERCOMING POST VACATION

Although holidays are an exciting and joyful time for many, it is not unusual for people to get post-holiday blues when they get back from a holiday. It can trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety for many in different degrees due to the uncertainties or their anticipations that they left behind not sorted at work or in their life Following are a few tips to get back into the mood for work Stay in Transit for a day: It will be beneficial if you take a “day off “or stay in transit mode for a day when you get back from your holidays. This can help to ease the transition of the post-holiday blues and also help in gathering your energy, thoughts, and schedule together to resume work. Re-Organize your workspace: Rearrange your desk or the position of the furniture in your room, have some flowers or photos of friends and family on your desk. Set a favorite picture of your recent holiday as your screen saver. Reevaluate your personal growth: Do you have any skills that you would like to develop further? Enroll in a certificate/continuing education course. Set Goals: that are specific, observable, achievable within a time frame, broken down into small steps and that they are compatible with long term goals, reevaluated at specific intervals and rewarded when achieved Conduct a realistic appraisal of your job: Evaluate if you feel passionate about your work and if it is challenging you? Request for a job review from your manager. Be assertive and request for support if you need to fulfill your responsibilities, discuss areas of work you need guidance, support, and adequate direction. Pace and balance yourself: Take mini-breaks (5-10 minutes) through your workday. This can be refreshing and can help you focus on your job better. These breaks most often times can aid in increasing mental alertness and productivity and help to eliminate tension and stress. Get organized: Get up earlier so you don’t have to rush; set aside time for processing email; break large projects into smaller achievable tasks. After work activities: Enroll in sporting or social activities with friends and family so you have something to look forward to in the evenings or at weekends. Nourish your wellbeing: Get more sleep, take part in regular exercise and eat nutritious meals these changes will help you to think more clearly and feel less stressed and more relaxed. While it’s not unusual to feel blue when you first get back to work, it’s not usual for this feeling to continue. If you do continue to feel this way for more than two weeks and you constantly feel down and tearful for no apparent reason, please speak to someone you trust or see a Psychologist.

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March 11, 2019
Sailaja Menon
Counseling Psychologist
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