Tanna K. Strom MS, LMFT, LPC, RPT-S, CCPS
Licensed Marital & Family Therapist
Licensed Professional Counselor & Supervisor
Registered Play Therapist & Supervisor
Certified Child & Parenting Specialist
WAYS FOR TULSA AREA FAMILIES & COUPLES TO CONNECT
I am excited to introduce my new blog. This will be a weekly blog in which a post will be made in the following sections each week. This will be a weekly blog with a new activity added under each of the categories listed below each week.
This will be a private response blog only with no names or emails displayed for the public. I look forward to trying to inspire myself and others to more playful, in the quest to spend more time where it really matters.
Note: In a few weeks you should also be able to access my blog through my website
Current Classes & Workshops
SUPPORT FOR MOMS WITH EMPTYING AND EMPTY NESTS
This workshop is to be held at my Tulsa office, 5228 E. 69th Pl. There will be a limit of 8 people. This class will be held on Friday, May 3 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm. The cost for this class is $50. Pre-registration is required.
This workshop is set up to specifically address the issues of moms who have children who are in process of leaving home or have recently left home. This might be moms with teens going to college or who are in college, moms with adult children getting married, etc. Opportunities and strategies will be shared that fit for this particular stage of life for women. You may find the detailed flyer with additional information and enrollment information on this class on my website
www.stromtherapy.com in the section Classes and Workshops.
This class may be replicated for a group outside of my office by special arrangement. Contact Tanna at 918-749-1550.
This class is part of a Mom’s Support series. Other mom’s workshops that will be offered in the future include:
- Support for New Moms
- Support for Moms Who Choose to “Be With” Their Children at Home
- Support for Moms Who Work Outside the Home
- Support for Grand Moms
Family: Creating a Healthy Home Base
BALANCING TECHNOLOGY WITH REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES
Our families are saturated with our electronic devices – computers, iPhones, iPads, Wii, video games, TV, etc., etc. Yes, some of them open up new worlds to knowledge in a quicker, more efficient way. Yes, they can be fun and used as a family together. BUT …. there are things to consider in creating a healthy home base in which RELATIONSHIPS are paramount. It is not so much that electronic devices are evil in nature, (even though there are things that we should question as to if we want our children exposed to), it is about how they take away from REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES. This is something we appear to be moving away from. Children (as well as adults) need real life humans to interact with to feel nurtured and loved; plus they need this interaction to learn about how to communicate with others in a socially acceptable way. It is about learning to become a thoughtful, emotionally capable human being. This for the most part takes place through real life experiences. As families, we face the challenge of balancing needed and helpful technology and real life experiences. As parents it is part of our job to create a healthy home base filled with lots of real life hugs, one on one conversations and modeling of what it is like to be a thoughtful, interactive human being. Nurturing emotionally intelligent children mean giving children positive, real life experiences.
POSITIVELY POSITIVE WEBSITE
I discovered a new website recently that I am passing on to you. This is an example to me of a positive use of our technology. I have signed up for their Daily Positive Digest. It is nice to get a shot of positive every day. I try to pick and choose from what stories they are highlighting that I find might be most helpful for me to read. I have to keep myself from getting lost in their site. Sound familiar? The website address is
A Professional Quarterly Newsletter
those interested in
Individual Well Being and Healthy Relationships
Balancing the Wonders of Technology & Our Relationships
In this issue ...
- Individual Growth & Wellness - EXAMINING OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY
- Creating Branches: ways for Tulsa area families & couples to connect - INTRODUCTION TO NEW BLOG
- Couple Connection & Intimacy - MANAGING YOUR TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP YOUR PARTNER TURNED "ON"
- Current Classes & Workshops - SUPPORT FOR MOMS WITH EMPTYING & EMPTY NESTS
- Family: Creating a Healthy Home Base - BALANCING TECHNOLOGY WITH REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES
- Thoughtful Parenting - CREATING HEALTHY TECHNOLOGY BOUNDARIES FOR OUR CHILDREN & OURSELVES
- Positive Thinking - POSITIVELY POSITIVE WEBSITE
Why I chose this topical issue . . .
As our technology continues to grow and we become increasingly “plugged in”, I find these issues coming into my office more frequently. I was out at a restaurant recently and four young women were sitting at the next table. All four of them were on their iPhones texting. What was interesting was that they never spoke a word to each other throughout the entire meal. They ate their crab legs and texted, but never spoke. Their eyes never left their iPhone screens. They were together but alone! Yet, another time I saw a dad and his adolescent daughter having lunch together at a cozy, small restaurant, a perfect spot to talk and connect. What I saw was the adolescent watching a movie on her laptop throughout the entirety of the meal. No visiting, no connecting. Again together, but alone! Lastly, I saw a cute couple eating at a very nice restaurant and he was on his iPhone the majority of the time as they were eating. It was very sad. A potentially romantic evening out was spent doing business or play on the phone (I am not sure which) opposed to “being” with their partner. Yet again, this is another case of together but alone. So I have put together a newsletter on this issue to get you thinking. It is a complex issue, but so important to explore. Here is to a more thoughtful approach to our technology!
Individual Growth & Well Being
EXAMINING OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY
Technology is a wonderful thing. It allows us to communicate in ways that we never thought possible. We can email, text, Facebook, tweet, blog and more. We expect so much more from ourself and each other as to staying in touch and in responding within minutes. It is wonderful, but at times overwhelming. It is stimulating and inclusive, but can lead to a feeling of invasion. It can be oh so helpful, but addictive too.
What is your personal relationship with technology? Who is in charge? Managing our technology so that its our friend and not our stressor is important to our mental well-being. Consider who is in charge. Do you respond in a Pavlovian way when you hear a ding, da ping, buzz or ring? Do you spend hours, at times lost to time when you are on the net? If so you are not alone. Consciously choosing when & how we respond and how much time we spend with our technology is a way to make ourselves in charge. We all need “off” time to truly be with ourself and our own private thoughts. At the same time we can use our technology to help ourselves and others. So take charge of your technology, creating the balance that is right for you and your sense of well-being!
Couple Communication & Intimacy
MANAGING YOUR TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP YOUR PARTNER TURNED “ON”
Ok, I have your attention. I see a lot of couples in my office who state Facebook, texting, TV, etc. as problematic in their relationship. Why? There are specific individual issues for these couples. But there are also some general ones that I would like to share to get you thinking about making thoughtful decisions about the use of your different electronic devices.
One of the biggest complaints is that I hear that someone in the partnership is spending all their time on Facebook, on their iPhone or watching TV, etc. It is common knowledge that it takes attention and focus for a relationship to grow and stay healthy. We sometimes forget this very simple action of attention and focus being so crucial to keeping our partner turned “ON”. Let us not forget! Even though, our technology has a strong, addictive pull on us and can be a lovely escape, it does not actively foster our relationships.
A more destructive activity to our relationship with our partner is if we have formed a personal “online” or texting relationship that takes away from our intimate bond. Especially one that is secretive in nature or one that one partner feels uncomfortable with. This could indicate that this connection is a potential threat to your relationship. The boundaries can get very blurry between friendship and an emotional affair.
Some affair proofing strategies to consider in our highly electronic world are:
- Ask yourself. Who do I communicate with the most? Is your partner way up at the top of the list?
- Consider using technology to turn “ON” your relationship. Yes a tasteful, sexy text or an “I love you!” text to your partner can be a turn on. And don’t forget we can use our lovely smart phones to still talk directly to our loved ones. It may be the next best thing to seeing your sweetie face to face. Truly being there physically and talking directly to your partner so you can hear all the nuances, see the body language and get a feel for things is always the BEST form of communication and the most “Relationship Building”. A strong relationship is one of the best defenses against affairs.
- Think carefully as to how you use Facebook. It can pull you into an inappropriate relationship if you are not being watchful. And equally as problematic, it takes away precious time with your partner. One strategy is to make your "online friends" your partners friends also. Talking about your partner on Facebook makes it clear you are in a committed relationship. Does Facebook cause conflict in your relationship? If so, take time to sit down together and come up with a plan to safeguard your relationship.
CREATING HEALTHY TECHNOLOGY BOUNDARIES FOR OUR CHILDREN AND OUR SELVES
This is not always the most fun part of our jobs as parents, but its oh so necessary to protect and educate our children to become emotionally competent human beings. Protecting and teaching, is this not our primary duty as a parent? I do think so. There is no other role more important than our role as parents. It is important work we do. We yield incredible power to help create awesome, emotionally equipped human beings we can be proud of.
In the area of boundary setting with technology, it is challenging and we will probably get “push back” as most children and adolescents, just as adults, are a bit addicted to their electronic devices. But as adults we have a fuller picture than our children, so it is ok to for us to set some healthy boundaries. These will look different for different families depending on value systems and what our goals are for our children. I have listed below some possible things to consider as you determine what is best for your family.
Questions to Consider for Healthy Technology Boundaries for Your Children:
1. How much time is it healthy to be on electronic devices?
2. Are there times you consider it not appropriate for them to be using their electronic devices?
3. Is it ok to actively be on an electronic device and communicating or listening at the same time?
4. Are there specific forms of social media that you feel are not safe for your child or adolescent or that you feel some specific boundaries are needed?
It is important to ask ourselves the same questions for ourselves as we are models for our children. So let’s look at the following thoughts in regard to boundaries for ourselves as parents.
Considerations for Setting Boundaries for Ourselves as Parents in Regard to Technology:
1. Remember how powerful a teaching tool modeling is, even when we think our children are not watching us. There is a good chance our children will emulate us. So it makes sense to model what you want.
2. Family rules that include parents can make them easier for children & adolescents to accept. Some possible rules that might apply:
• When we communicate with one another, we have to completely stop the use of our electronic device and look at the other family member with full eye to eye contact until the conversation is over.
• No electronic devices are allowed at the dinner table or for use at a restaurant. (Yes, there are exceptions but the more this can be modeled the more the family will see it as a normative, healthy behavior.) I know one family that has a basket where all cell phones go before setting down to dinner table.
• One hour a night is the limit for electronic devices other than for work or homework. (You will have your own ideas on amount of time.)
• Specific family activities are done with no technology devices in use.
I see children at times who are not happy as they feel that their parent are not “there for them” due to them being on their iPhone or iPad. Also, I see parents who are not happy as they feel their adolescent is spending all their time on their phone texting or on Facebook and “not connecting with them”. It goes both ways, so addressing it from both ends may be the most helpful approach.