Does It Distract or Inspire?

It isn’t necessary to be raised by hoarders to learn organization, survive agitated depression to learn compassion, live with a loved one who gaslights & deflects to master the art of seeking & offering clarification, or experience a restraining order from a mentally unwell young adult to know the pain of “only as happy as your most unhappy child” . . . but having traveled that path, I can attest to my awakening: it softens the heart and sharpens the mind to win the battle for one’s soul in the face of these, along life’s sacred journey.

Some view challenges as obstacles or distractions from balance & wellness; others embrace them as invitations to self-improvement. You are defined by what you do with opportunities along your journey rather than by the ‘opportunities’ themselves.

“Blessings are curses turned inside out. Credit the light for shadows of doubt.      Without the ‘source’ no ‘block’ can be. Behind each cloud the Sun shines free.”

© 2018 by Universe’s Secretary

How Your Hobby May Heal You

Your body is your business and your brain is the CEO. It communications through whispers and shouts.  When the whispers are ignored, ‘shouts’ come in the form of illness. One might ask, “So what’s a whisper and how can I pick up on it?”

Effective listening includes recognizing your own mood (the whisper) and catching it before it impacts major organ systems. Specifically, whispers that are ignored may impact the gut (i.e. constipation, diarrhea, gas), musculoskeletal system (i.e. backache, muscle tension), and so on. The good news is that tapping into what gives you joy provides cures.  Joy brings inner peace; inner peace facilitates balance and wellness. For some people, a hobby is their key to relaxation and/or joy. To read more about that click here.

Holiday Health & Wellness


Holidays represent different things to different people.  For most, a wide variety of emotions unfold. Some greet holiday time with eager excitement; others, with anxiety driven anticipation. Self-reflection may help reveal questions and answers that can lead to greater awareness, appropriate preparation, and a more joyful experience. There are many types of self-reflective questions that help identify and clarify our hopes, dreams, and goals; they may even help guide us so we can have greater control over the reality that follows.

Embarking upon a self-reflective journey may begin by including questions that help us identify strengths and weaknesses, so we can pair whatever gives us ‘stress’ with something that feeds our passion. One may begin by asking:

How do I feel about hosting vs being a guest? Why do I feel that way?

This may lead to clarification regarding self-perception of the tasks / pressures/ pleasures involved with each. For example, you might discover that hosting represents

  1. Sending out invitations
  2. Taking responsibility for all preparations including
    • food (and related preferences/ sensitivities),
    • baby-proofing the house (for guests who bring toddlers),
    • making sure the temperature and lighting around the table is appropriate for elderly guests and those with limited eyesight etc.

One or more of the above listed tasks may be your passion; alternatively, one or more may bring you stress. Being a guest may involve responding to invitations and may include choosing which to accept and which to graciously reject.

How do I feel about the guest list? Do I prefer to make it or be on someone else’s?

Concerns surrounding ‘social obligation’ are difficult for many. Once you clarify these, the next steps become easier. This leads to additional key questions such as:

Am I including people (or accepting an invitation) through social obligation?

. . . the answer to which facilitates clarification, making next steps more logical and somewhat easier.  Each question may help highlight one or more personal passions as well as ‘holiday associated energy blockers’  which may trigger a stress response (including anxiety).

Additional self-reflective questions may include:

Why am I uncomfortable around a particular friend or family member who seems to be easy going and/or the life of other gatherings I’ve attended? (Do I feel jealous or threatened?)

You may be shy and/or easily overpowered by that particular person’s energy. In this case, you might attend the gathering but remain physically apart from that person.  If, however, your distaste for a particular member of the family creates such tremendous anxiety that it keeps other family members from getting together and /or puts a strain on one or more family members who otherwise enjoy holiday time, a professional mental health provider might be able to assist by facilitating the healing necessary to turn holidays into a harmonious experience for all.

Whether or not you or someone you know is a role model for countless admirers, most people find it helpful to use this filter before speaking: “is it kind, necessary and true?” Using this filter may help when trying to decide whether or not to say something. The guide is: choose not to speak if the answer to any of these is “no”. This informal rule may help when in conversation with another – especially when that person is grieving the loss of a dearly adored relative, friend or family pet. For those experiencing loss, holiday time may intensify the grief.

Click here for additional ideas.

Since the “Holiday Season” is filled with so many mixed vibrations – both positive and negative, it helps to have a few handy tools to help keep balanced before, during and after. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to look forward to each gathering with comfort, confidence and the ability to bring wonderful, healing vibrations to the celebration? If you are interested in learning more about how to neutralize anxiety, dissolve guilt, and provide peace and comfort to guests with whom you come into contact, you might enjoy the presentation entitled “Family Healing . . . in time for the holidays” on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 from 7:00 – 8:00 PM at the Pawling Free Library. (Space is limited so call the library in advance)

Cooling Inflammation

Inflammation is a signal that involves pain, stiffness, and oftentimes weakness in the affected area. When we live with ‘chronic inflammation’ of any kind, it behooves us to recognize that this ‘signal’ is a symptom of a greater imbalance.  Taking anti-inflammatory pills ‘as the treatment’ is similar to using masking tape over your car’s ‘check engine light’  . . . which one might do if on the way to the mechanic – but certainly not when we are setting out on a road trip.

Life is the road trip.  Inflammation is the ‘check engine’ light. Your mind/ body/ spirit balance is ‘the engine.’

Functional medicine guides us to get to the source of the problem. When we have pain from inflammation, we ask questions such as:  “Is this a genetic predisposition over which I may have some degree of control through carefully chosen lifestyle choices? If so, which ones? What system is sending the signal? Is it muscular? Neurological?” . . . and so on. Once we are certain there is no life threatening emergency, we set out to reestablish ‘balance’ by listening to the unique communication offered by our body, and addressing each system respectfully, paying careful attention to the engine (mind/body/spirit balance).

Once we decide to implement lifestyle choices in our effort to regain control over physical comfort, the first step is often to become mindful of our present lifestyle and daily habits.  For example, we begin to notice how we sit, stand, and walk. While sitting, do we lean on our elbows?  How is our posture at the computer? Are we hunched over the keyboard? In the living room or den, do we often slouch into the couch? At the dinner table do we rest on our forearms and/or stoop down to the dinner plate?  During the day, while standing, do we lean forward, sideward, or in any way lean against the countertop or post beside which we might be standing? While walking, do we look ahead or down at our feet?  These and other questions begin our journey to healing the imbalance signaled by the inflammation.

The second step often includes keeping a daily journal of dietary habits. If this is beginning to sound overwhelming, you might be more interested in the conventional medical approach to your healthcare.  If, however, this is beginning to sound exciting – feeling as if you are being offered a roadmap towards your continuing adventure through life, read on.  There is much more to come. The journal would begin with what you feel before you eat, what food you choose, and how you feel during and after eating it. No changes need to be made to the foods you eat for two weeks. During that two week period, you observe how your energy, mood, joints, sleep pattern, bowel habits etc., all respond to your choices – and these are recorded by you over that same two weeks.

The third step is to evaluate your journal, answer your body’s signals, and follow the instructions your body continues to offer.  If you need assistance, then share your discoveries with your functional medicine practitioner so that together you can learn how to interpret your body’s unique communication, and craft a plan of action to facilitate the comfort you deserve.

A few resources you might find helpful:;

Relationship Gone Sour: Parents & Adult Children – Getting Back On Track (‘Can This Relationship Be Saved?’ Part II)

If children are like little caterpillars guided by the Universe into the parent’s meadow of life, then it would be logical for the parent to expect a butterfly to one day emerge – ready to take flight. Parents hopefully offer the best environment they can (mind/body/spirit) to assist their children to recognize their own pure beautiful inner spirits. Ideally parents also offer mind/body/spirit survival tools to help their young fulfill personal and professional potential.

As children go off into the wide wonderful world, they need to know their parents are available to emotionally support and encourage them, with acceptance and love – no strings attached. (Feel free to leave comments – especially if you disagree).

Lucky is the parent whose adult children choose to perpetuate healthy patterns and break unhealthy ones set during their upbringing. Blessed is the parent whose children continue the family traditions, holidays, and dinners enjoyed by all during childhood. What happens when this is not the case? What if the children become interested in traditions outside of those with which they were raised? Deep breath. Stay centered. Read on.

Parents of adult children often need to be very patient, gentle and kind in the face of what may appear to be blatant rejection by their offspring – especially when the children enter their twenties, and become interested in trying out all sorts of lifestyles introduced along their journey. Paths, choices, friends, even dietary preferences may differ from those with which they were raised. Parents need to remember: every journey is sacred. Your child was a caterpillar guided into your meadow. It was your responsibility to provide all you could until the time your child would spin that chrysalis and break through with wings. It is healthy for adult offspring to respectfully reject the parents’ ways as the emerging adult offspring selects a personal lifestyle which may conflict with choices made by parents.

Parents who accept the offspring – even if they don’t adopt the newly chosen lifestyle rhythm for themselves, create feelings of unconditional love. When parents reject the new lifestyle choices, children may feel they themselves have been rejected. This could complicate the adult relationship that follows. Ideally, children and parents trust and respect each other enough to get past lifestyle differences.

Coping With The Emptying Nest

It is a blessing when a parent can be confident in the skills she or he provided to the child(ren). Preparing offspring with tools necessary to navigate life’s unpredictable terrain with gratitude, joy and centered peace is what a responsible parent does. Parents who offer love without fear, encouragement without strings, support without guilt, and who sincerely believe their children have tremendous potential – as well as the ability to fulfill it, often have less anxiety about children leaving the nest than do parents who used fear, shame and/or guilt to control their children during youth.

Setting the stage for positive relationships. Offering children skills to find their own happiness sets the stage for acceptance, trust and respect going forward.  Parents are able to cultivate gratitude within the family unit when they themselves were raised with respect and love without bitterness, control or fear. Though easier to follow this pattern when raised this way – anyone can learn how to do it.

The first step is honest self-reflection. Ask yourself a few difficult questions regarding your own fears, shame & guilt. If this creates anxiety, then the next step may be to find a reputable, well trained mental health professional to create a safe space for you to review & reflect. Your goal is to embrace the following truth: you deserved better in your youth, and now need to offer better to your own children. Where there is life there is hope.

Once healed enough, a heartfelt, “I know what I did wrong, where I let you down, how I screwed things up, and I now understand how to nourish a healthy adult relationship with you” can begin to repair your parent/child relationship – if both are interested and willing.

The promise is big. The relationship may require a third party who is a well-trained mental health professional to get it back on track.

Reestablishing Communication

The parent and child may begin to resolve once a safe space is able to be maintained for an hour, once a week, for a few months (even if only through ‘cyberspace’ – i.e. SKYPE, if geography is a factor) .

What happens when the parent reaches out to the adult child, but consistently finds the child is interested only in either (1) viciously attacking the parent or (2) engaging solely in small talk? This does seem complex – because of the extraordinary maturity and focused energy required on the part of the parent, but is able to be resolved if (1) both parent and adult child sincerely want resolution and (2) neither has an uncontrolled personality disorder or lives with an unaddressed brain chemistry imbalance. Additionally, the ages of the people involved, life experiences, and mental status of both impact the outcome.

That having been said, there is never an appropriate time to accept abuse of any sort. It is often valuable to draw a healthy boundary beginning with, “this is clearly a hot topic for us. Let’s agree to discuss it with a mental health professional as our third party.” This boundary helps create a safe space, shows you are interested in the discussion and resolution, and demonstrates recognition that you require guidance to be certain you both hear each other accurately.

Chances are greater that resolution can occur if both parent & adult child are (a) mentally well (i.e. neither suffers with an unresolved personality disorder; for example, one such as BPD, unless there is a successful treatment plan in place facilitating healing and resolution) and, (b) the parent is in his/her 50’s / the adult child in his/her 20’s – than if there is an uncontrolled personality disorder in one or both, &/or if this is between an 80 year old parent and adult child in his/her 50’s.

In the case where the parent is around 80 years of age and the child around 50 years of age, chances that the child built a life around a long-standing ‘disconnect’ is greater than the scenario in which the parent/child team is 30 years younger. Recognizing that, unless there is a personality disorder in one or both and/or if age and lifestyle built around the dysfunction for more than 10 years is working against the relationship, there are steps each can take to re-build the healthy, happy relationship both desire.

Values. A possible way for one or the other to begin: “I want to see if we can improve our relationship. I’d like to tell you what I value and I wonder if you would feel comfortable to share what you value. That way, we can each communicate in a way the other can appreciate.”  The more values you have in common, the easier it is to reestablish the caring relationship you both state you want. Mutual respect grows when people accept and understand each other.

~ Worst Case Scenario ~

In the case wherein a retired father in his 80’s and a busy, jet-setting son in his 50’s agree they both wish to reconnect emotionally, the father might discover that he values deep heartfelt discussions with his son while the son values donating all his spare time at a soup kitchen. Both father and son have separate needs – each defining himself by different externals. The father seeks self-definition as ‘a father’ and the son seeks self-definition as ‘a philanthropist’ – but neither one can satisfy the other, given their separate goals. The son might find a relationship with the father takes too much energy – energy he prefers to spend elsewhere in order to satisfy his definition of ‘self’.

~ Is mine a ‘worst’ or ‘best case’ scenario? ~

In the example wherein the father has time and desire to have deep philosophical discussions, address past disconnects, mend unresolved issues, walk in the woods or take a father/son fishing trip – essentially feels driven to build a future relationship, he might begin with a question similar to this: “Son, we’ve grown apart. I know you are very busy and doing your best to balance a hectic schedule. Do you miss our time together?” The son would then say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If the son agrees that a closer relationship is what he wants, the father’s next step would be to say, “I realize your schedule is tight. What I value is quality chats. Do you value these, too?”  This gives the son an opportunity to agree, disagree, or redefine in accordance with his own values.

Hints and tips that clarify truth. The son might say, “I absolutely love quality chats.  You and I  have them all the time.” In this response, the son makes clear he is satisfied with the current level of communication. To be sure the father understands, he might follow-up by seeking clarification: “Son, are you saying you are okay with the way things are between us? No issues to discuss? Nothing to work on?”  If the son says, “Yes” then the father needs to realize the son is satisfied with the current level of communication – even though the father is not. The father needs to defer to the son’s stated preference and recognize that his son is his own person; his journey is sacred. Let it go. Remain available. Stop pushing.

On the other hand, the son might say, “I absolutely love quality talks and I miss them also.”  In this response, the son suggests a desire to work to improve the relationship. This opens the door for the next steps.  Now that father and son agree there is something missing, and share a desire to fix it, a return to the initial statement focuses on the elephant in the room: time. The father might say, “Realizing your schedule is tight, when can you possibly squeeze me in?” The son might say, “I can call on my way home from work.  I will have about 15 minutes to chat.”

Father and son agree on a time to chat. Once on the phone, the father (since he started this mending scenario) would have to be considerate of the boundaries of time from the son’s perspective. The goal is to build trust by honoring (without fear, shame or guilt – given or accepted) the son’s time. This means the father could, during that ‘on the drive home’ chat, state a concern that weighs on his mind, without expectation that an answer would be given in a specific time frame dictated by the father. The concern is stated, then an indication that ‘no answer is expected at this time – but that one would be greatly appreciated whenever the son gets around to it’ opens the door to the next defining steps.

Learning where you are on the other’s ‘list of priorities’ defines the relationship & impacts energy you invest going forward

The value of the above stated approach (letting the other person know what you value, and seeing where it falls on that person’s list of priorities) – in this case, from the father to the son, affords the father an opportunity to see where he is on his son’s full plate.  The father needs to be ready to understand that just as he might be honored as front and center, he might not be on the plate at all.  Sadly, he might not even be at the table from the son’s perspective (and the son might or might not even be aware of it).  The father’s status becomes clear in the timing and quality of the son’s response after that chat – and in the ways in which the son handles clarification sought by the father.

Rejected: by someone you respect? REFLECT; by someone you don’t? REJOICE.

Respecting rejection. If the son takes several days to respond to the concern, without offering an ‘interlude’ email or phone call excusing himself from giving this the attention it deserves (knowing it is of value to his father), the father might recognize he is not as much of a priority to the son as the son is to him. From the son’s perspective, the fact that he even thought about his father that day might mean (to the son) that the son invested more energy in the father than the father deserved.

The son might have repressed deep-seated anger or resentment. By the same token, the son might have – on his own, with or without therapy, long since resolved any issues with his father, to the point where he concluded he never really wishes to reconnect in the way the father wants/ needs.  Whether the son has firm self-protective boundaries because of unresolved childhood trauma or has truly healed enough to permit himself to move on without catering to the father’s needs – the son’s reality must be embraced and respected by the father.

What would not be appropriate would be for the one who rejects the other (in this case the son rejecting the father’s reaching out) to twist the reality to appear ‘as if’ the one rejecting the other has been rejected by the other. We see this in families and friendships when the one who rejects another claims to be the victim of the short end of the stick, poor treatment etc., without owning the recognition that she/he is the one who boxed out the other.

Awakening in recognition of truth. Whether it is repression of trauma or awakening through healing, if the son elects ‘no relationship’, the reality won’t become clear until the father makes himself vulnerable, and permits the son to be in the position of power – to reject the father on the son’s own terms.  Unless the father permits this, he risks distracting the son from the reality that the son rejected the father’s reaching out. This may morph into the possibility that the son might self-victimize ‘as if’ he was rejected – when in truth, it is the son outgrowing the need for a relationship with his father that drives the division. The son rejects the father; the son needs to own it; the father needs to respect it.

After all is said and done, children have the right to ‘move on’ – even if it disappoints the parents. If you are the adult child rejecting the parent/child relationship:  own it. When and if children choose to reject the parent(s) – for whatever reason, the adult children owe it to themselves to admit they accept responsibility for rejecting the parent(s). Parents have the responsibility to offer the best they can to their children, and remain available to the best of their ability.

If or when children outgrow, reject, cut off communication etc., the parents need to accept and remain available. If you are the parent rejected by your adult child: recognize your child has the right to draw boundaries where she/he chooses. This is his/her life. She/he has a sacred journey to travel. The best you can do is send positive energy through the Universe for healing and guidance to all your children – those who accept as well as those who reject you and/or your lifestyle choices. [To read Part I, click here]

I wish every reader healing of mind, body and spirit – and, with gratitude for your time in reading this very long article, I invite you to disagree with any point made.  May you and those you love be blessed and centered.


Dr. Nancy Iankowitz

Relationship Gone Sour – Can It Be Fixed? (Part I)


Wondering where you stand? Here are a few clues: when a family member with whom you once shared unconditional love says:  “Call me only in an emergency” there is a clear self-protective boundary being drawn. This suggests that person doesn’t feel safe with you on some level – be it physical, emotional or spiritual.  That individual may have once been (or may at some time in the future be) interested in working on repairing your relationship; however, right now – time, distance and space may be required.

As you honor that space, giving that person control to reduce ‘exposure’ to you, the comfort and trust you earn over the hours, days, weeks or months that follow hopefully permit time for that person to regain perspective. Once ‘enough’ time has passed, resolution initiated by the one who requested the time/space, may begin. Note: At no time is it appropriate for one person to lean on time and silence as if they erase past events. The trigger for the disagreement may require a third party to moderate – but ignoring the issue serves only to build resentment.

How much time is ‘enough’?

In a love relationship, wherein two people share the same bedroom, it may only take a few hours; two people (friends or a couple) with separate residences or who share a common residence but do not share a bedroom, it may take a few days; two adults – either siblings or parent and adult child, a few weeks or months might be necessary.

The time apart ideally permits a respectful return to work together as a team to tackle the issue.

If, however, the one honoring the request ‘for space’ (made by the other) is somehow ‘faulted for the space and/or time’ offered in deference to the request by the other person, or is otherwise disrespected/ attacked, and/or approached in an abusive way, then larger issues are likely afoot. A professional mental health provider might be required to facilitate reconciliation.  Mentally balanced individuals who request space for self-reflection usually regain enough perspective to bring up the topic of the ‘disconnect’ – with gratitude in recognition for the respectful distance afforded by the other person.

Method of communication. Be mindful that, unless you both offer and accept information in a similar way (both either bottom liners or detailed and wordy) sentence structure, energy brought to the discussion, word choice and number of words, even body posture (subtle vs. drama) might be the source of repeated issues. In this case, as long as values, trust, love and respect are all intact, resolution of the disconnect serves to strengthen the relationship.  Any ‘rift’ distracts – at least initially, from the relationship. Communication style between a wordy, detailed sharer and a ‘bottom-liner’ may be a recipe for disaster – if both people drive each other nuts, feel unheard, get overloaded or don’t feel validated. Patience becomes an important skill to master in order to nourish the relationship.

Trust and respect to the rescue. While rifts caused by issues surrounding styles of communication may feel as wide as those caused by lack of trust and/or respect, they are less complex to heal. People who share mutual trust and respect lean on these strengths as they sort through issues surrounding communication styles. On the other hand, two people lacking mutual trust and/or respect may be at a disadvantage. Without trust and respect, either or both often implement heavy self-protective boundaries which, by definition, distract from sharing ‘unconditional love’; that is, one or both tend to lean on the boundaries rather than the heart of the other to feel safe.

Q: How can you figure out where the rift is and what caused it?

A: Sometimes you know.  Sometimes you don’t.


I know where I went wrong. If you know exactly what you did to cause the rift, it is actually up to you to initiate the repair, especially if there was a close, trusting relationship prior to the request for space. If you have absolutely no idea what is going on or why that request was made, seeking clarification may further aggravate the situation. In most healthy, well balanced relationships, disagreements are inevitable. The key is: willingness to give each other the appropriate space to calm down, then return to the issue at hand. The ‘space’ required is usually no longer than an hour or two before ‘perspective’ kicks in. At that point, both people are often able to lean on their mutual love & respect, feeling safe to approach the topic of disagreement as a team. As noted above, relationships grow in strength when this takes place.

What happens when one feels ready to work on the relationship, but the other does not? If both agree that space apart is needed, and one seems consistently ‘ready’ to work things out before the other – patience needs to be cultivated.  If there is chronic refusal on the part of one partner to return to the issue, and/or if pouting, victimizing, tantrums and/or abusive language or behavior is a predictable part of given scenarios, this may indicate deeper issues unrelated to any small disagreement. Intervention that includes an unbiased, professional mental health provider may be of value.

Repeatedly leaning on a friend or family member, no matter how well educated or well-meaning, may set up a potentially unhealthy dynamic. Of course, minor disagreements that are singular in occurrence, as well as debates about ideas regarding vacationing, interior decorating and the like which may go off track can benefit from a friend or family member lending perspective; however, when there is a familiar issue that continues to inject itself into daily life, becoming more labor intensive as it threatens balance, joy and the relationship itself, professional intervention is often helpful.

When arguing ‘is’ and ‘is not’ healthy. Again, when two people in a loving relationship share a mutual desire to help each other fulfill potential, part of that experience does include disagreements from time to time. Communication during these moments defines the relationship. Over years, patterns emerge. If one’s partner, for example, adopts the attitude, “I just need to not rock the boat” one might wonder: “is this an attempt at self-preservation – because the other person controls by throwing temper tantrums, or is this an illusion indicative of a wounded toddler who was emotionally (or physically) beaten into submission-now an adult lacking in healthy relationship tools?”

Dr. Randi Gunther, a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor suggests that abandonment, power and ownership are often at the root of certain disconnects between couples – and there are particular phrases used to indicate underlying issues. Click on her name to read more about that.

I wish every reader healing of mind, body and spirit – and, with gratitude for your time in reading this very long article, I invite you to disagree with any point made.  May you and those you love be blessed and centered.


Dr. Nancy Iankowitz

(Please click here to continue to Part II)

Children In Second & Third Grade Crave Healthy Interaction

Reading interactively is a wonderful way to open up important conversations, create a safe environment for your children to ask questions that are meaningful to them, and an excellent way to share your ideas about topics you might not otherwise touch on.

“Marcy and Her Friends” (click here for details)  is a book written to answer the concerns of 2nd and 3rd graders and those of their parents and teachers. “Marcy and Her Friends” is filled with stories generated by students, parents and teachers – based on real life situations. Each story demonstrates healthy parenting, and offers coping tools that may be used at home as well as in the classroom. If you are a parent or teacher and wish to help build your students’ or own child’s self esteem, click here. To help your 2nd or 3rd grader deal with a bully, click here for a guide.

To see a demonstration of “interactive reading” click here to watch & listen to the video demonstration.  The title of the story is, “Worries About Friendship”  from the children’s by by N.E.C. Iankowitz “Marcy and Her Friends.”

If you’d like your own copy, click here.

Have a beautiful day of blessings and gratitude.  ~Dr. Nancy Iankowitz

Children Are Our Legacy

Parents want the best for their children and are often confused by so many varying approaches to rearing – in particular, limit setting, investment of time and energy, diet and nutrition, sleep and the list goes on.  New parents ask: “Is there a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it all?”  The answer to THAT questions is: “Yes, there is a right and wrong . . .” The issue, however, is not “right” or “wrong” per say – but rather, “How can I determine what is best for MY child, to help facilitate fulfillment of his/her potential/ highest good?”

Learning to Ask the Correct Questions is KEY

It helps to keep in mind what your goals are.  If you have a secret desire to create a caretaker for yourself in your old age, then you might choose parenting techniques that instill fear, shame and guilt. The brutal truth regarding this approach is as follows: Unless your child grows into an adult lucky enough to find a well educated mental health provider, his/her life will be filled with years of frustration, anger and resentment. So, unless you are interested in creating a societal misfit emotionally incapable of investing in a mutual loving relationship with another human, consider dissolving the fear, shame and guilt approach at its source.  The source may be YOU.

Am I able to give the best of myself to my child? Once we become parents, old wounds from childhood are suddenly ripped open.  We often make conscious decisions to never follow the poor examples set, and to only follow the good ones . . . and yet, unless we are really resolved, we are destined to not only repeat the old poor parenting patterns to which we were exposed, but we invent new dysfunctional patterns. Click here for recommendations about how to break old toxic patterns.

How can I avoid robbing my child of an adulthood filled with balance and internal peace?  Consider recognizing that your little bundle of miracles came into this world to experience joy and channel positive energy – as did you.  Your child deserves unconditional love, and the best you have to offer.  If you are able to channel positive energy, peace and comfort, you might be healed enough to be able to give the best of what you have to your child.  However, if you (&/or your parenting partner) struggle with addiction, phobias, fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, or even rage, try to embrace the truth that these don’t define the true spirit. These flag that the person was damaged as a child and deserves to be healed.  You might find this resource helpful: click here.  For additional resources, click here.

Ready to embark upon a healthy parenting adventure

How can I help my toddler become an independent thinking adult?  Once you are healed enough to offer your ‘best parenting self’ to your young, you are ready to set limits and boundaries in a way that facilitates your child’s healthy development. Click here to read guidelines offered by the Parenting Assistance Line.

How can I help my child become a go-getter? If your goal is to inspire your toddler to become a ‘go-getter’ – be aware of the pros and cons.  While you wish to give your child a competitive edge, the risk you run is that you might accidentally create a self-protective person who believes success is a ‘win-at-all-cost’ adventure. If this is not your goal – reconsider your question. While you might strive to help your child embrace life’s journey safely and with wisdom, you might actually create a young adult who has one goal: to ‘be the best/ be top dog’ and one who has a  ‘win at all cost’ attitude. Click here to read more about the possible outcomes to be considered.

What is the best way to set limits?   There are as many opinions on this issue as there are children on the planet.  For a few tips on age-appropriate limit-setting, click here to read a few easy-to-navigate blogs. Appropriate limit setting helps children feel secure, safe, confident and loved. Using fear, shame or guilt are not ever  appropriate. These tactics are distractions to healthy development, create frustration and anger, and may even arrest your child’s development. This creates a ‘wounded toddler’ – setting the stage for unhealthy life choices, poor interpersonal skills and a lifetime of misery.  We are all ‘wounded toddlers’ to a degree. In order to avoid perpetuating this pattern of poor parenting, click here for a few insights.

To read more about ‘wounded toddlers’ and the life poor parenting (using fear/shame/ guilt) may set children up for, click here.    It is essential to set healthy boundaries and appropriate limits. To understand why, click here.

What about diet and nutrition for my toddler? Dr. Mark Hyman has a few wonderful, very easy-to-read and even easier to implement recommendations. Click here for useful hints and tips.

Life is filled with obstacles, mazes, challenges and lessons which, once mastered, are followed by a continuing adventure filled with even more paths that help us fulfill our potential. I wish you a journey filled with blessings, and the ability to embrace all with gratitude and good humor.  wishing you balance, wellness and positive energy,

~Dr. Nancy Iankowitz

Building Lasting Relationships

Learning how to earn trust & respect from yourself & others, as well as how to recognize when trust &/or respect are lacking in a relationship, helps us not only redefine goals & boundaries, but these lessons go a long way in helping us achieve the mind/ body/ spirit balance we so richly deserve. Here’s to your best health, wellness, inner peace & joy. ~Dr. Iankowitz & Dr. Cohen

Click here to listen to a lively discussion regarding respect and trust.

Protecting Our Children From Our Anxiety

The vibration between parents trickles down to children and animals in the home. This is not news to anyone who lives with other people. So how can parents who are over-burdened with anxiety regarding tight finances and distress over the nation’s politics, compounded by health issues, work (or unemployment) and perhaps even issues surrounding disagreement about parenting decisions neutralize negativity enough to create a loving, supportive, nurturing environment at home?

Click the link (far below) to listen to a lively and heartfelt interview with Dr. Daniel Cohen PhD, Psychologist, Executive Director of the NY Testing and Guidance Center Emeritus, Professor of psychology, licensed marriage and family counselor, (and so many additional credentials – more than are practical to list here).

He shares insights and techniques to assist parents and partners – whether stressed or calm, in their effort to cope effectively with ‘spirited’ children who might attempt to ‘divide and conquer’.  In addition to learning how to help YOUR offspring accept responsibility, self-reflect and fulfill personal and professional potential, you will hear Dr. Cohen offer hints and tips to strengthen the bond between partners, citing early indicators that the couple might be “off-track” – and offering interventions to get you back on the same page.

Click here to enjoy this brief video (allow about 20 minutes to watch the entire conversation).  Please feel free to share with anyone who might benefit from it.  Here’s to you mind/body/spirit balance, successful nurturing of the next generation, and to your joy, inner peace and best health.  ~Dr. Iankowitz