Happy parents raise happy kids

The Ten Commandments of Good Marriage

Ronit and Gal celebrating many years of good marriage

This week Gal and I celebrate 34 years together, including many years of good marriage. To celebrate, we decided to go on a trip to Thailand. The photo above is of us at the top of one of the most beautiful places in the world – Ang Tong National Park in Ko Samui. This trip was one of the first times in the last 25 years that we took 2 weeks off. It was the first time since we became parents that we took time away from work and kids, and went away on a vacation. It was wonderful.

The question that we often get, after 34 years together, is “How did you do that?”. The answer I have in mind is, “one day at a time”. 34 years, each with 365 days of love, challenges, excitements, disappointments, happiness, anger, joy and frustration. It had both its ups and its downs. I guess we need the sun and the rain in order to appreciate the rainbow. Our love to each other has changed, for the better.

One of my clients, who has been married for 2 years, talked about married life being boring. She asked me if being married to the same guy for that long is not boring. I told her that I can say many things about my relationship with gal, but it is far, far from being boring. So she asked me about my tips and I came up with my own ten commandments of marriage.

Save Your Marriage: The Nitpicker

Nit comb

In the last chapter of save your marriage, I explained how a “king/queen” mentality can impact even the most wonderful of relationships. Over time, kings only strengthen their position of feeling superior, which can drive any “servant” out of the relationship.

In this chapter, I will talk about the king’s cousin, the nitpicker.

In a similar way to the king who adopts his mentality from his upbringing, the nitpicker adopts his habits from his parents. Growing up with a parent who is a nitpicker starts a pattern that children carry on into adulthood. Depending on their emotional state, kids will choose to either adopt or totally reject this mentality. They will either be like their parents or avoid their company and adopt a completely new way to communicate. This is not a conscious decision. Most people are not even aware that they do it. That is why external help is necessary if you want to change from a nitpicking communicating style.

This post is part 23 of 23 in the series Save Your Marriage

Student Leadership Program Myths

Globe with the words Learn and Lead - it

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead Myth #1: Leadership is a natural ability Some people think leadership is a skill you are born with and that leaders have a natural ability to make others follow them. [...]

Moving House Made Easy: Unpacking

New house, front yard and large tree

You have gone through the huge process of moving to your new house – packing, scheduling, planning and the moving day itself. The hard part is over. The only thing left to do is unpacking all the boxes. This can be a very long process and will set the tone for living in your new house. Here are some tips from my experience.

My first suggestion is not to rush it. It is best to take time and consider where to put what, otherwise you will end up moving things back and forth from one place to another.

Another suggestion is do it yourself. Some years, I employed a packing and unpacking services. It worked well in some cases, but the unpacking was always a hassle. It seemed like a good idea but they put pressure on you to decide where to put things. It was never the right decision. Unpacking takes a bit of thought, and trial and error.

This post is part 12 of 12 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Postnatal Depression Related to Domestic Abuse

Pregnant woman - does postnatal depression await?

Postnatal depression and other mental health problems related to pregnancy and childbirth are recently getting a lot of attention.

Many mothers become very sensitive while going through the stressful period of pregnancy and childbirth. They are much more susceptible to mental health challenges such as postnatal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For many years, these disorders were linked to hormonal changes and the trauma of the birth itself. Recently, this view has begun to be criticized. It puts a lot of pressure on mothers and does not examine other reasons for the mental challenges women go though after pregnancy and giving birth.

A study done by researchers from North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Colombia wanted to check the relationship between partner abuse and women’s postpartum mental health. They measured various types of abuse, including physical, psychological and sexual, and mental health disorders, including depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. They discovered big correlations.

Moving House Made Easy: Moving Day

Moving Truck - here comes moving day

When you and your family are moving house, the moving day itself is one of the most exciting days for everyone. The day also brings up a mixture of anticipation and fear. You will often find yourself consulting your to-do list to make sure you remember everything without feeling overwhelmed. I love to-do lists. They make my life very easy. That is why I have added a list here to help make life easier on your moving day.

If you have people hovering around on your moving day, make sure they are helping and not getting in the way. Some people make themselves at home and jump straight in. But other need you to host them. This is not helpful on your moving day. Keep visitors for another time.
Make sure you have a plan for your trip to the new destination. If you are travelling long distances, you may need accommodation on the way, petrol for the ride, make sure your car is serviced. If you are moving overseas, consider visas, passports, flight tickets. And it is a good idea to have a few copies distributed between the adults. Make sure you have enough cash for the move.

This post is part 11 of 12 in the series Moving House Made Easy

To Work or Not to Work? A Mother’s Dilemma

Child playing peek-a-boo

To work or not to work? Every mother faces this dilemma with every newborn baby. I had three kids, each born in a different place in the world and each in different circumstances, and I had the same dilemma each time.

When Eden, my 25 year old, was born, I could not really choose. I was still studying for my degree and working for a living. I had to go back to college and work a month after I had given birth to her. Fortunately for me, I could leave Eden with Gal, who was juggling his studies and his work to care for Eden. It ended up being the most wonderful experience both for Eden and for Gal.

When Tsoof, my 18 year old, was born, we lived in California, USA. This was far away from our families, after we had lost two kids. When he was 4 months old, we moved to Thailand. When he was about 10 months old, I felt like I was going nuts staying at home and we got a nanny. This allowed me to go to work, have adult conversations and keep my sanity.

When Noff, my 13 year old, was born, we lived in Melbourne, Australia. I started a business and she went to a family day care twice a week. This allowed me to fulfill my obligations to my clients.

Moving House Made Easy: Just in Case

Checklist - good for moving house

Moving house is a very time-consuming activity. When things do not happen as you expect, they require even more time, which you probably cannot afford. That is why it is better to be as prepared as possible before you move. Arrange the move as if you are starting a new life in your new house. Here is a list of things to do to make life easy and help you start new.

Back up your computers, just in case. Make sure you have more than one copy.
Find all your warranties and put them in one place so you can use them in case something happens during the move.
Make a folder with all of your essential documents and information: dental records, doctors contact details, schools information, medical records, passports, insurances…

This post is part 10 of 12 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Obedience: Should You Teach it to Your Kids?


One of the biggest dilemmas in parenting is how to teach your kids to react to authority. The reason this is a dilemma is because you are the first authority figure they will meet and you want them to obey you because you have their best interests at heart. But not every authority in their lives will be the same. And if they obey you blindly, they will do the same for other authorities.

Kids are born completely helpless. They look up to their parents and their lives are highly dependent on them. Parents become authority figures. They have so much power during this time, a bit like Gods, deciding their children’s fate.

Whether you like it or not, as part of your job description as a parent, you must decide what your stance is on the question of authority.

Moving House Made Easy: Changing Address

Moving to a new home address

Many people who are moving to a new house are stressed about changing their address. No matter how many times you move, you still worry about missing letters, statements, services and people. But there are ways to make this change easier.

The easiest way to manage this is to have the post office divert your mail to your new address for the first 3-6 month, until you can notify all the services that have your previous address. The fee is reasonable and if you keep getting letters over time, you can see who you need to contact to change your address.

Another way to make sure your mail gets to you is to talk to the new tenants in your old house and give them stickers that say, “Moved to a new address, 54 Smith Street, Valley Creek”. The post will either forward the mail to you, or reply to sender with your new address now stuck on the front. All at no charge to you.

Christmas, birthdays, holidays and special events are a good opportunity to send people information about a new address. Make a sticker or a business card with your new address and attach it to your cards.

This post is part 9 of 12 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Ronit Baras

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