Parenting Perfectionism by Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

parenting Parenting Perfectionism

by Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.


Most first-time parents experience anxiety about their newly acquired role.  No matter how well we have prepared ourselves through books or relatives’ helpful advice, parenthood brings us into uncharted territory.  For most of us, the unknown feels scary!
To compensate for our fear of seriously messing up our children, we may become rigid in our parenting.   Anxious that we won’t do it “right,” we become invested in our children’s futures, and investment leads to attempts at controlling and forcing outcomes.  (We may also compensate with over-permissiveness, but that is a topic for another time.)

We may fear others’ negative opinions of us as parents, so we try to look good by “making” our children good.  We pray our kid won’t have a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store or pick a fight with the pastor’s son and deck him.  How humiliating when our parenting “inadequacy” displays so publicly!

We attempt to avoid the humiliation by trying to be the perfect parent.  Perfectionism, however, suffocates the joy of parenting.  It blocks our sense of playfulness and inventiveness.  It sucks the life force out of our relationship with our kids.
Relaxing is the best antidote for perfectionism. While relaxation increases with parenting experience, it starts with letting go of the need to be perfect and dismissing the belief you have to control everything.

Relaxing means you don’t have to accomplish raising a competent, responsible and enjoyable human being all in one moment.  Simply live today.  Instead of seeing each event with your child as a problem, see it simply as a situation to handle.  Tap into your inner wisdom for this situation, and you will strengthen your skills for the next one, and the next.  Focus on loving your children, understanding them, listening to them, and spending quality time with them.
Let’s face it.  Raising children is messy business.  You will never do it perfectly, so don’t kick yourself when you “mess up.”  It’s normal for seasoned parents to look back on their child-rearing experiences and feel regrets about all kinds of things. You won’t avoid feeling this regret, yet you can diminish it by accepting it as part of parenting.
Accept that messes have value, and don’t make them wrong.  Mistakes provide fertile ground for learning about and changing ourselves.  They give helpful feedback about what lives in our shadow, the inner places we keep hidden from ourselves, like anger or phoniness or timidity.  When I heard myself talking to my then three-year-old son in harsh, unkind tones my father had used with me, I acknowledged my anger.  I sought help through a parenting class that proved extremely valuable for years afterward.

As long as love presides in how you relate to your children, you need not fear the outcome.  Love weaves through your kids’ childhood experiences like a silver thread, touching and lighting up the so-called negative experiences.  Add your authenticity to love and you have a formula for raising emotionally and psychologically healthy children.

Marta Adelsman, Psy.D., practices as a Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness in the Verde Valley of Arizona.  She writes and coaches from the authenticity of her educational, relational and spiritual journey of over 50 years.  For appointments (couples, parents and individuals in person or by phone), email or call 928-451-9482.

Our Children: Our Greatest Teachers by Marta Adelsman, Psy. D.

childOur Children:  Our Greatest Teachers

by Marta Adelsman, Psy. D.

If we open to the idea that our children can be our teachers, we will notice what unwitting little instructors they are.  Now that my three sons have grown into young men, I have let each one know how much I appreciate him as a teacher for me.
My children have taught me so much.  The lessons I share with you here only scratch the surface of what I learned from them.
They taught me the courage to say “no” when they wanted something not in their best interest.   Their negative responses encouraged me to temper my  “no” in a way they could hear.  I learned to let them hate me for a time.  I learned not to take it personally, knowing they could not see the bigger picture.  I saw how, in order for our children to feel secure, they need to know their parents are in charge.
My children helped me learn discernment about when I needed to remain firm and when to let something go.  When I didn’t make a big deal out of choices they made, such as hairstyle and clothes, our household functioned with more peace and good will.
Through my children, I learned to rely on my intuition.  Parenthood brings power struggles, and I learned no one wins them.  When I refused to go there and listened inside instead, a deeper wisdom showed up to reveal a new and different path through conflict.  Touching the wisdom of that still inner voice, I relaxed more and more into its stillness and quiet, and I learned to draw it forth.
I also learned, in order to have a good relationship with my children, I needed to deal with my anger.  It seemed to show up out of nowhere.  The anger revealed where I could face some deep family-of-origin issues hiding out in my shadow self.  If we pay attention and allow ourselves to look, we bring those issues into the light where we can handle them.
Perhaps the biggest gift of all, my children taught me to be authentic.  When I came across as “real,” they acted more cooperatively, and we had easier interactions.  From a young age, my oldest son had an uncanny ability to let me know whenever I put on a parental persona.  Whatever role I played – commander in chief, psychologist, moralist, judge, or critic – he resisted it.  In non-verbal ways, he let me know I had donned a mask.  In later years, whenever I failed to relate to him from my true self, he called me on it directly (“Mom, you’re not being real!”).
Young children have not yet built up years of conditioning from their environments, so their innate wisdom remains largely intact.  I encourage you to open to what they have to teach you.   Listen underneath your surface reactions to the deeper messages, and open to the wisdom that resides in them and in you.

Marta Adelsman, Psy. D., practices as a Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness in the Verde Valley of Arizona.  She writes and coaches from the authenticity of her educational, relational and spiritual journey of over 50 years.  For appointments (couples, parents and individuals in person or by phone), email or call 928-451-9482.

Medical Intuitive 
by Robin Eagle Sage, Medical Intuitive

unhappyMedical Intuitive 

by Robin Eagle Sage, Medical Intuitive

Have you ever wondered if your physical pain is caused by unresolved emotional experiences? Each month, Medical Intuitive, Robin Eagle Sage, will share one of her medical intuitive readings with you. Using her clairvoyant abilities, this wise Sage will unravel the causes and cures of a patient’s illness. In turn, you will discover the great power capable of every individual to heal from within! Pseudonyms are used to protect the patient.

Patient: Felicity

Medical Issue: Stabbing sharp pain throughout entire body. Lower pelvic pain, abdomen pain, dysfunctional uterus bleeding, fibroids, iron deficiency-anemia, ovarian cyst, ovarian ruptured cyst, pre-cancerous lesion on the cervix, pelvic inflammatory disease, migraine, headaches, indecisive, mentally exhausted, frustrated, un-ease, blocked. Lack of concentration. Unable to express thoughts and feelings. Unable to tolerate noise. Worry, fear, doubt. I feel off-balance, blocked, mood-swings, emotionally exhausted, hurt, guilty, unhappy.

When I asked what is causing Felicity’s health issues, I saw a number of spirits, entities and people in her crown chakra trying to confuse her and feed off of her energy. I saw that Felicity is intelligent, funny and dynamic too. But all of these spirits and people are trying to put out her fire! What this means energetically, is that Felicity is agreeing to it, on a subconscious level. My job is to find out why.

I saw that Felicity is unsure about who she is. I asked her about this and she agreed and said it started happening about a year ago. I believe it started much earlier than that. Felicity’s confusion about who she is, is both the cause and effect of these beings who control her. When there is confusion and doubt about one’s identity, it creates a magnet for energies to enter and take over the body. It also furthers the process of confusion. I did some healing work on Felicity’s head and crown chakra to clear some of these entities and taught her how to voice her need for space and to ask them to leave.

Next, I saw a past life of an old black man with grey hair wearing overalls and holding a pitch fork. He was an inebriated slobbering hick telling his granddaughter (Felicity) a bunch of nonsense. I felt love from him toward his granddaughter, but I also saw that he was giving Felicity a lot of excuses for his debilitating behavior and inappropriate actions. Her grandfather was a sex-offender who “took” every opportunity to have sex right in front of the young girl. He did “it” with anyone and all the time.

Her grandfather told Felicity, “In order to survive in life you have to be strong.” He said this to imply that what he was doing was right and that it was up to HER to be strong. This confused Felicity. She loved and trusted her Grandfather who was her only family, yet he was doing terrible things. Felicity could not understand if his addictions were right or wrong. She trusted her granddaddy. She even wondered if these issues were her fault.

I asked Spirit how this past life is affecting Felicity now. I heard, “These past experiences have made her buy into what other people say, even when they are false. Felicity lacks self-trust and believes that other people’s actions are okay when they are not.” I told Felicity that she must become clear about what is right and wrong. I told her that she must let go of guilt and that all people, especially children who are victims of sexually inappropriate behavior, believe it is their fault. As long as Felicity believes this on any level, both spirits and people will invade her space and continue to dupe her. I suggested counseling for Felicity in order to help her understand that her past experiences are neither her fault nor appropriate. And that she can stop believing everything she is told.

At this point, Felicity told me that in this lifetime, when she was 17 years old she was corralled into a job selling magazines across the nation. In truth, she was kidnapped, could not leave the “job” and was trafficked into a haram with an older man who raped and tried to kill her daily.  These were Felicity’s exact words. Apparently, every time she tried to escape this man would control her and tell the police it was simply a domestic quarrel. Sadly, the police believed this award-winning con-artist, pedophile and sex-offender. This continued for years before she finally escaped. Felicity said that many years later, she is now in the process of a court case to put this man into jail once and for all. Apparently the police have been looking for him for years. Now it is Felicity’s chance to empower herself, but she will have to be strong and do whatever it takes to remain safe.
I explained to Felicity that the reason she had this experience is because she hadn’t healed and learned from the experience with her grandfather in the past life. In order to grow, Felicity must: acknowledge that it was not her fault, stop believing what everyone says, learn to call a spade a spade and let go of shame and guilt. In addition, her daily routine must be to fill her womb with her own female beauty, self-trust, love and self-acceptance and to know that she is a worthy child of God who deserves a safe life. Felicity and I spoke about how she can become more empowered and self-assured and what she can do in order to feel this way. I am not an advocate of guns, but I saw that if Felicity feels safer and more empowered with a gun, pepper spray, a guard dog or police protection, that she should employ such protection as she builds her courage and inner strength. It will be important for Felicity to feel safe in order to fully heal and let go of the past, so that such harmful experiences need not occur again. When the cells of the body (human energy) turn from fearful to safe and whole, one is out of harm’s way. Felicity is a strong soul and she deserves to have a healthy body and a joyous life! My blessings are with you Felicity.



Robin Eagle Sage is a medical intuitive, healer, clairvoyant reader, author and teacher. She writes the Medical Intuitive Corner in Whole Person Magazine in Los Angeles and in Sedona Conscious Magazine in Sedona, AZ. Robin gives energy readings and healings over the phone and Skype worldwide. She is the founder of Sage School of Light and teaches a Medical Intuitive training program for beginners. Robin is the author of the book, “The Financial Alchemist; The spiritual and material recipe for financial success,” the CD “Soul Love; An interactive meditation to attract wealth, health and the relationship of your dreams!” and three audio meditations: “Financial Success & Abundance,” “Releasing Stress and Fear” and “Love & Joy.” For more information visit Robin at:  

Brevity: Talking With Kids in a Way They Can Hear by Marta Adelsman, Psy. D

kidBrevity: Talking With Kids in a Way They Can Hear

by Marta Adelsman, Psy. D

How you were raised – the conditioning from family and society that formed your beliefs and your habits – sets the groundwork for the parent you become.  We often don’t know how to raise children who communicate effectively with others without sinking into power struggles, so we need to be taught how.
Through parenting my three sons, then later through formal education, I learned the subtleties, which exist, in our communication with children.  When you put time and energy into listening for those subtleties and then practicing certain tools, you can work the magic of transformation in your relationship with your kids.  I share one of those tools with you here.

It’s called brevity.  Sometimes parents go into lengthy explanations, using way too many words:  “Billy, if you go to Sam’s for an overnight tonight, you have to get up early in the morning for soccer practice, and you know how you don’t enjoy mornings when you haven’t had enough sleep.  Plus you’ve had the sniffles lately and you may be coming down with a cold.  And what will you do about the promise you made to your dad to help him in the backyard this evening to get ready for the barbeque here on Sunday?”  When you go on and on like this, your child will most likely tune you out.

In “The Mindful Express,” Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., wrote, “Researchers have shown that the human brain can keep only four ‘chunks’ of information or unique ideas in short-term (active) memory at once.  This amounts to about 30 seconds or one or two sentences of speaking.”

Using brevity in the above example, you could say:  “Having an overnight at Sam’s is complicated because of all the things going on this weekend.  Let’s figure out if it makes sense for everyone concerned or if another night would be better.”

Here you limit your response to a couple of sentences, much easier for Billy to absorb.  You invite cooperation in further conversation because you have communicated your desire for a solution that considers everyone’s needs and does not remove Billy’s overnight with his friend from the equation.

Responding with brevity in expressing yourself to Billy will more likely produce a response of collaboration and respect and ward off a power struggle.

Brevity requires you to remain present to the words you speak.  Brevity, used with an even and matter-of-fact tone of voice, communicates calm in the midst of unresolved or anxiety-producing situations.  It helps everyone refuse to make a problem out of the situation.

Have confidence that a solution exists which can serve all involved, and use brevity, calm and wisdom to invite your child to discover the solution with you.  In the process of modeling effective communication – no surprise here – you teach your children to communicate effectively!



Marta Adelsman, Psy. D., practices as a Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness in the Verde Valley of Arizona.  She writes a newspaper column and is author of the book, Why Wallow When You Can Soar?  For appointments (couples, parents and individuals in person or by phone), email or call 928-451-9482.

Exploring Alternatives: Helping Children Solve Problems By Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

guidanceExploring Alternatives: Helping Children Solve Problems

By Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

How tempted are you, when your child has a problem, to give her advice?  In some cases, telling our kids what to do may help them.  In the long run, however, it will more likely thwart the development of their self-esteem.

Giving advice trains your child to depend on you for answers they can provide for themselves.  Also, if the advice doesn’t work, it sets you up as the target for blame.  It’s better to support the child to discover her own solutions.

The best way I’ve found to offer that support occurs through a skill called Exploring Alternatives, as described in a parent training program about which I have written before – STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting).  With the tool of Exploring Alternatives, you guide your child to name possible ways to solve his problem.

Here’s how:
1) Listen thoroughly to your child’s feelings. In a caring and sensitive way, reflect back to him the feelings you hear or sense, which encourages him to tell you more.  “It sounds like you’re feeling mad and disappointed that Billy won’t play with you.”
Sometimes, through reflective listening, your child will discover his own solution.  If not, be careful not to short-circuit the process of fully hearing and understanding his feelings by moving to the next step too soon.

2) Help him brainstorm possible alternatives for solving the problem.  After thoroughly hearing his feelings, ask, “If you’re interested in getting along better with Billy, what are some things you could do?”  Tentatively offer your own suggestions only after he has exhausted his solutions: “Have you thought of…?”

3) Support him to pick a solution from the brainstormed possibilities.   Ask, “Which idea seems like the best one to you?”

4) Ask him to project possible outcomes of the action he chooses.  “What might happen as a result of doing that?”

5) Support him to commit to one of the alternatives.  “What have you decided to do?”  You can support him to commit to the action he chooses with the question, “By when do you want to do this?”

6) Then set a time to evaluate how well the idea is working:  “How about if we talk about this again on Wednesday to see how it’s going?”
Use Exploring Alternatives with a range of challenges, from a broken toy to receiving poor grades to becoming the target of bullying.  This process, when you engage it out of respect and appreciation for your child as a capable human being, will support her to develop traits of self-reliance and self-esteem.  You insure that she internalizes a sense of confidence to navigate obstacles she encounters in life.
You will feel delighted at the increased trust and respect that develops between you!

Dr. Marta practices as a Life Coach In Communication and Spiritual Consciousness in the Verde Valley of Arizona.  She writes a newspaper column and is author of the book, Why Wallow When You Can Soar?   For appointments (couples, parents and individuals in-person or by phone), email or call 928-451-9482.

Parenting with Natural and Logical Consequences By Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

Parenting with Natural and Logical Consequences

By Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

If you want to raise well-behaved children with a healthy sense of self-esteem, punishment does not work.  I used to teach a parenting program called “Systematic Training for Effective Parenting” (STEP) by Dinkmeyer & McKay.  I like it because it offers alternatives to punitive methods of child rearing.

My husband and I started applying the STEP program when our sons were quite young.  One of the alternatives to punishment, Natural and Logical Consequences (abbreviated here as NLC), pretty quickly yielded some positive behavioral results.

One of the lesser challenges in our household revolved around table manners.  Paul, our youngest, liked to eat with his fingers while his unused fork remained next to his plate.  Using NLC, my husband and I said in a friendly non-judgmental voice, “If you want to eat with your fingers, you’ll need to take your plate and eat in the kitchen.  If you choose to use your fork, you can stay in here and eat with us.  It’s up to you.”

You can see from this example how, instead of arbitrary punishment unrelated to the behavior, the NLC approach related to it directly.  NLC didn’t tap into the ego’s need for  “power over,” but rather flowed with the rules of the social order in our family and in American society.  Delivered in a calm voice that communicated good will, it gave Paul a choice.
Rather than implying “you’re bad,” NLC lets go of moral judgments.   It treats the child like a worthwhile human being, keeping the offensive behavior separate from his personhood.  Allowing the child choices about his course of action nurtures mutual respect and instills in him a sense of responsibility, self-reliance and self-esteem.

Natural and Logical Consequences have an advantage over reward and punishment in that they eliminate power struggles.  Rather than forcing your child to comply with your wishes, NLC enables her to learn from the reality of the natural or social order.  Because it makes sense, it decreases resentment toward you that often accompanies discipline.  It lets her know you trust her to make responsible choices (assuming you have let go of your opinion about what choice she makes!).  Even if she doesn’t like it, she will know deep down that it’s fair.
With the use of NLC, power struggles decrease in all kinds of situations:  waking up and getting out the door in the morning, not wanting to wear a jacket in cold weather, missing the bus, or getting poor grades.  If you choose to use it, be patient.  It may take time for NLC to yield positive results because children may at first test the limits.
To complete my story about Paul and his table manners, at first he opted to go into the kitchen to eat.  After a brief time there, he chose to rejoin the family in the dining room.  From that point, eating with his fingers ceased to be an issue.  And the disappearance of fights at the dinner table served everyone’s good mood!

Dr. Marta practices as a Life Coach In Communication and Spiritual Consciousness in the Verde Valley of Arizona.  She writes a newspaper column and is author of the book, Why Wallow When You Can Soar?   For appointments (couples, parents and individuals in-person or by phone), email or call 928-451-9482.

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