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Tanna K. Strom
MS, LMFT, LPC, RPT-S, CCPS
Licensed Marital & Family Therapist
Licenssed Professional Counselor & Supervisor
Registered Play Therapist & Supervisor
Certified Child & Parenting  Specialist


Creating Branches
BUILDING OKLAHOMA RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH HOME & COMMUNITY FUN 
MINI VACATIONS & ACTIVITIES IN OK
Check out my new blog in which I post on a weekly basis Activities in the Tulsa and OK area for Couples and Families.  Activities to enjoy at home are also included. All of these activities are intended to help a couple or family build and support their relationship. A section on Relationship Building tips can also be found on my blog. 
You can receive my blog posts directly to your email if you go into my blog and enter the private response section and indicate that you wish this to happen.
Current Classes & Workshops 
offer a Support for Moms workshop series. These are offered at my office and also can be replicated at an off-site location.  
These include:
  • Support for New Moms
  • Support for Moms at Home
  • Support for Moms Who Work Outside the Home
  • Support for Empty Nest Moms
  • Support for Grand Moms
Call me at 918-749-1550 for the next scheduled workshop or check on my website.
Family: Creating a Healthy Home Base
CREATING FAMILY VACATIONS OF CONNECTION
Family vacations can be connecting and help build healthy family relationships.  What is the purpose of our family vacation?  Have your family meet and talk about this together. You will only want to ask for input on things that they can help decide or you feel they should have some input on . Make the discussion at their level of understanding. Before you begin to get input, as the parents you will want to have decided ahead of time how much time you have and how much money you comfortably have to give to your vacation.  Starting out explaining these parameters can help everyone be reasonable and not become disappointed. Some potential questions to discuss might be:
  1. Do we want to use all of our time and money on one place and one time or do we want to consider doing two mini vacations, etc?
  2. Let’s make a list of the kinds of things we might like to do together on our vacation. What are some of your ideas? 
  3. After looking at this list we have put together, what are your top three you would like to do, with # 1 being the one you most want to do, # 2 being the next best, etc. 
  4. What are specific places you would like to visit as a family?
Special Notes:
  • Letting everyone have an activity included as to one of their top preferences can make your vacation one of collaboration and cooperation.
  • Part of planning the schedule, will involve the balance of relaxing and stimulating / active involvement.  Too much planned can be overwhelming and feel like work. Too little might feel a bit boring or disappointing. Decide on the best balance for your family.
  • Consider the age of your children and their developmental needs. 
  • As parents asking yourself, “What is the purpose of our family vacation?”
A Professional Quarterly Newsletter
for
those interested in 
Individual Well Being and Healthy Relationships
Relationship Building Vacations   
In this issue ...
  1. Individual Growth & Well Being - TIME FOR OUR SELF TO RENEW
  2. Creating Branches Blog - MINI VACATIONS & ACTIVITIES IN OK
  3. Couple Connection & Intimacy - YOUR COUPLE VACATION 
  4. Classes & Workshops - SUPPORT FOR MOMS SERIES
  5. Family: Creating a Healthy Home Base - CREATING FAMILY VACATIONS OF CONNECTION 
  6. Thoughtful Parenting - VACATIONS THAT FIT YOUR CHILDREN
  7. Positive Thinking - MINDSETS THAT CREATE SUCCESSFUL VACATIONS
Individual Growth & Well Being
TIME FOR OUR SELF TO RENEW
One of the foundation pieces for having a healthy relationship is to first of all have a healthy relationship with ourselves. Then we can move on to strong relationships with others. As the focus for this newsletter is Relationship Building Vacations, I am starting at the ground level of our individual self. Setting regular times to renew our self can be very helpful in staying in touch with our self and redirecting our self back on the path we want to be on. So . . .  schedule your own time to relax, reflect and be with yourself. Find a place and time that works for you. It may be sitting in a flower garden and wandering the garden path for a bit. Or you may choose to go to a museum or take a hike. Or it may be just to take a vacation day to stay at home and just be by yourself. Choose whatever makes you feel rejuvenated and alive. You deserve it!
Couple Communication & Intimacy

 YOUR COUPLE'S VACATION 

As a couple, it can be ever so freeing and lovely to take a Couple’s Vacation.  This is a wonderful way to re-connect and send a message to each other that you are worth this time together. It shows concretely that you are important to each other and that enjoying the fruits of your labor is something you want to do with each other.

This is different than a vacation with family or with other couples. This is a special one on one time to really BE WITH EACH OTHER.  Your destination would not include a family member or friends. These kinds of vacations are fun too, but not a true couple’s vacation. 

If you have children, finding people that you trust and feel are capable of caring for them while you are gone is crucial.  Setting up a time frame that your children can handle and be ok with can help too. This will allow you to relax and concentrate on each other. Having a detailed discussion about what you both would like to do and finding something you both enjoy is important.  

As much as possible, create a technology free time. If you must, ask your partner, “Is it ok to check for voicemails?” etc.. Do these technology times together if need be or decide together how to limit this, as your time together is your focus. 

Thoughtful Parenting
VACATIONS THAT FIT YOUR CHILDREN
I was on a vacation this last weekend and had an opportunity to see lots of parents and children interacting. Two scenes stand out in my mind.

  1. Scene 1: We were on a plane and the family to the left of us was a good example of planning a plane ride for children in a thoughtful way to fit the needs of the children. First of all, they had planned ahead for as much space as possible by reserving a bulk head. Good choice for a two year old and a baby. They had enough space for the two year old to move and play a bit on the floor in front of them. Dad was showing and telling the two year old everything that was going on. He pointed out the pilot as she came out of the cockpit and this elicited a wave from the pilot to the little girl. Then at take-off, I noticed Mom nursed the baby and dad gave the two year old some berries to eat, I am assuming to keep ears from hurting. Dad told the little 2 year old girl what was going on in detail as the plane began to take off.  They had brought a bag of things to do for the two year old, story books, etc. As this wore off and the two year old become agitated, dad took her for a walk up and down the aisle. Later, when the child wanted to into our space across the aisle, mom calmly said, “This is your space.” And she pointed to the space of front of them. The little one was ok with that.  I wanted to video them, but I am sure they would have been embarrassed. Good job Mom and Dad!

  2. Scene 2: We were hiking up a mountain trail and we encountered a mom and her two year old son coming down. He was screaming and appeared very scared. We stopped and asked her if she needed anything. She said no, that he was fine and that he was just scared and needed to walk down.  She proceeded to push him along the path. At one point he plopped on the ground. We could hear him screaming on their way down. I know his mom probably thought this was the best thing to do and that she was helping him face his fears. My concern is that when children (or adults for that matter) are forced to do something before they are ready, it can leave a really bad memory and a lack of motivation to not do this activity again. I wonder how the child might look back on his time with his mom and on the experience of hiking. Considering the age and specific personalities of our children as we decide on vacation plans can be extremely helpful. And I think realizing that sometimes something that we feel will work, may not. Figuring out how to adapt and keep it a positive experience can be challenging, but I think worth the effort. This all said, I am not suggesting that just because a child does not want to do a particular something, is a reason that we have to change all the plans, etc. (as long as our activities are a match for their age). Having a balance of activities, with something for everyone is respectful, again as long as all are capable. In the case of this young two year old, a shorter, more level trail may have worked, with the caveat that there may be some carry time involved. The results a child enjoying one of his first hiking experiences and having a memory of him and mom having a good time together. 

 MORAL OF THESE TALES: It is best to set your vacation environment up to match with the developmental age of your child. And even then, it may be necessary to adjust and adapt. 
Positive Thinking 
MINDSETS THAT CREATE SUCCESSFUL VACATIONS
We can plan, organize and think thoughtfully about our vacations (all keys to a successful vacation); but, we will almost always run into something that was not in THE PLAN or something that does not meet the expectations of us or our family. Starting out knowing and accepting this as part of travel can help to keep our vacation as being a GOOD VACATION in our mind. Just because the lights shined in your cabin all night or the menu does not have exactly what you hoped for or the plane is delayed an hour, etc. does not mean it was a bad vacation.  It just means life happened!
On purpose at the end of each day doing a check in with everyone and asking what they liked most about the day can help to keep everyone focused on the positive. Our minds love to go the other direction and if they do, we can acknowledge those challenges we coped with and then move on to what we liked and what we are grateful for.  And there is so much to be grateful for! Take care and happy travels. 
5228 E. 69th Pl. | Tulsa, OK 74136 US
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