How to Uncover the Root Causes of Anger in Your Family: A Guide for Married Parents

How to Uncover the Root Causes of Anger in Your Family: A Guide for Married Parents

In family life, emotions often run deep, and none perhaps as potent or complex as anger. For married individuals with children, daily life is woven with many challenges, joys, and moments of frustration. But what lies beneath the surface of these emotions? Why does anger sometimes rear its head in ways that surprise us, leaving us bewildered and disconnected from those we love most?

At the heart of this issue lies a journey through the past, a reckoning with the patterns and beliefs inherited from our upbringing and past relationships. Adult children knowingly or unknowingly carry their parents’ expectations and traditions with them. The familiar cadence of our parents’ responses to challenges and the echoes of their words in our reactions form the backdrop against which we navigate our present relationships.


Consider this exercise:

Perhaps you find yourself grappling with a particular issue that triggers intense emotions. It’s essential to pause and explore why this challenge strikes such a chord. What memories or past experiences does this situation evoke? How does it mirror patterns you observed in your family growing up? Understanding the roots of our emotional responses is the first step towards healing and growth within our relationships.

Let’s focus on the present moment and practical strategies for fostering understanding and communication with our partners. One powerful tool is the practice of “I” messages and reflective listening. 

Instead of placing blame or making accusations, “I” messages allow us to express our feelings and needs in a non-confrontational manner. For example, “I feel frustrated when I don’t feel heard during our discussions about household chores” opens the door to constructive dialogue, whereas “You never listen to me” may lead to defensiveness and further conflict.

Reflective listening, too, is a cornerstone of effective communication. When we practice reflective listening, we strive to understand our partner’s perspective fully. We paraphrase their words and reflect on their emotions, demonstrating empathy and validation. This simple yet powerful practice can foster deeper connections and mutual respect within our relationships.

But what other avenues exist for self-discovery and growth? Mindfulness, for one, offers a path toward greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. By cultivating present-moment awareness, we can observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment, gaining insight into the underlying triggers of our anger. Journaling can also be a powerful tool for processing emotions and exploring patterns in our relationships. We can uncover hidden insights and clarify our experiences by putting pen to paper.

Of course, for some individuals, seeking therapy or counseling may be necessary to address deeply ingrained patterns and beliefs. A trained therapist can provide guidance and support as we navigate the complexities of family dynamics, offering new perspectives and tools for healing.

In conclusion, understanding the roots of anger in marriage and parenthood requires a willingness to delve into the past and confront the patterns and beliefs that shape our present experiences. We can foster greater understanding and connection with our partners by engaging in reflective exercises and practicing effective communication strategies. And by embarking on a journey of self-discovery and growth, we can cultivate healthier, more fulfilling relationships for ourselves and our families.

As we navigate the ebbs and flows of family life, may we approach each challenge with curiosity and compassion, knowing that beneath the surface of our emotions lies the potential for healing and transformation.

Joe is a husband, father, grandfather, author, speaker, educator, course creator, and parent/family coach.

He helps parents develop unity, find clarity, communicate, and develop consistency in their parenting with the Four C’s of Successful Families. You can find his work on social media.

In addition, the Four C’s newsletter is enjoyed by many as it encourages parents to self-care, build their relationships with their partners, and raise their children. 

And he loves to golf! 

Maintaining Love and Respect: A Guide to Addressing Partner’s Communication Styles

Maintaining Love and Respect: A Guide to Addressing Partner’s Communication Styles

When it comes to communication, especially with our spouse, every person brings their own temperament and life experiences to the relationship. It is those differences that can, at times, make communication more difficult. It is easily understood when you consider the culture one person comes from compared to another.

Cultural differences significantly shape our communication patterns. As an example In Western cultures, direct eye contact during conversation is often seen as a sign of honesty and attentiveness. In contrast, many Eastern cultures view prolonged eye contact as disrespectful and a display of humility. These nuances illustrate how diverse cultural backgrounds can affect our interactions.

This can also be true of the home culture one of the partners grew up in. If one parent grew up in a home where sarcasm was a way of communicating, they may not see it as a form of anger and passive aggression. Suppose another person grew up in a home where emotions and feelings were protected by not showing or speaking of them. In that case, you can see how resolving differences or even agreeing on ways to raise a child could be at risk.


If you receive our weekly newsletter, we discussed four communication styles and how they show themselves in detail. Of course, each of us is responsible for our own way of communicating and not so much for how others communicate. However, we may need to address unhealthy communication styles in our partner or spouse to build a healthy relationship.

Before we discuss some steps for addressing those styles of others, here is a review of four communication styles.

    • Passive: Passive communication includes poor eye contact or soft speech. It may also include not expressing an opinion, even when asked, or pretending not to care. Often, passive communication is used when one person does not want to rock the boat.
    • Aggressive: Aggressive communication destroys relationships because it aims to hurt or damage the other person. It may look like threatening, name-calling, bullying, or teasing. Aggressive communication leaves no room for others to express their needs or opinions.
    • Passive Aggressive: Passive aggressive communication can be seen in procrastination, carrying out chores incorrectly, or getting hidden revenge. It might be displayed by saying, “You are right,” when it is not meant or using sarcasm and teasing to disguise their anger.
    • Assertive: An assertive communication style empowers you to express your needs and opinions clearly and respectfully. It is direct, calm, and respectful and is most likely to nurture healthy relationships.

Now that we have defined four communication styles, the question we are addressing is: what if our partner or spouse uses these forms of communication? Can we handle this and maintain assertive (calm and respectful) communication with them?

Now for the steps you can take:

      • Self-Reflection: Start by examining your own communication style. Ensure that you are not inadvertently contributing to the issue. Self-awareness is the first step towards resolving communication problems.
      • Open and Honest Communication: Initiate a calm, non-confrontational conversation with your partner. Express your concerns about the communication style you’ve observed. Use “I” statements to describe your feelings and experiences rather than accusing or blaming your partner. For example, say, “I feel hurt when…” instead of “You always…”
      • Active Listening: Encourage your partner to share their perspective. Active listening means giving them your full attention, empathizing with their feelings, and seeking to understand their point of view without interrupting or passing judgment.
      • Empathy: Try to understand the reasons behind your partner’s communication style. Sometimes, it may be rooted in past experiences or personal challenges. Empathize with their feelings and struggles.
      • Set Boundaries: Clearly define your boundaries regarding acceptable and unacceptable communication within your relationship. Ensure your partner understands these boundaries and agrees to respect them.
      • Seek Professional Help: Consider couples therapy or counseling if communication issues persist or escalate. A trained therapist can provide a neutral and supportive environment for both of you to address and resolve the issues.
      • Practice Assertiveness: Encourage assertive communication within your relationship. Share resources or articles about assertiveness and its benefits, and discuss how you can incorporate assertive communication techniques into your interactions.
      • Model Healthy Communication: Lead by example and demonstrate healthy communication styles. Show your partner how effective communication can resolve conflicts and improve the overall quality of your relationship.
      • Reinforce Positive Changes: Whenever your partner tries to improve their communication style, acknowledge and appreciate their progress. Positive reinforcement can motivate continued growth and change.
      • Evaluate Progress: Regularly assess your communication dynamics. Are you both making progress in adopting more appropriate communication styles? Be patient and understanding, as change takes time.

Remember, addressing communication issues in a relationship requires patience, empathy, and a mutual commitment to improvement. It’s an ongoing process, but with effort and understanding, you can work together to build healthier and more harmonious communication patterns.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

5 Reasons Your Teen Isn’t Sharing Their Feelings With You Anymore

5 Reasons Your Teen Isn’t Sharing Their Feelings With You Anymore

Parents, guardians, and all those navigating the often tumultuous waters of raising teenagers, welcome! If you’ve found your way here, it’s likely because you’ve encountered the age-old mystery of why your once-chatty, open-hearted teen has suddenly transformed into a cryptic, monosyllabic enigma. Fear not; you’re not alone! In this blog post, we will delve into the five reasons your teen isn’t sharing their feelings with you anymore. And as promised, we’ll offer you some insightful suggestions to rebuild those bridges of communication.

Fear of Judgment

Picture this: Your teenager arrives home after a seemingly ordinary day at school, their shoulders slumped and a solemn expression on their face. You inquire about their day, and they respond with an unenthusiastic “fine.” Sound familiar? Well, the first reason your teen might be tight-lipped is the fear of judgment. Teens often hesitate to open up about their thoughts and emotions because they fear being misunderstood or criticized.

Suggestion: Create a judgment-free zone by actively listening without interruption or judgment. Let them know that you’re there to understand, not to criticize or lecture.

Peer Pressure and Identity Crisis

Teenagers are like chameleons, constantly changing to fit in with their peers. This natural desire to belong can sometimes lead them to conceal their true feelings, especially if they fear that sharing those feelings might result in ridicule from their friends.

Suggestion: Encourage them to embrace their authentic selves and reinforce the importance of authenticity. Let them know it’s okay to be different and that you accept and love them just as they are.

Privacy Invasion

Have you ever tried to enter your teenager’s room without knocking? If so, you may have unwittingly contributed to the communication breakdown. Teens cherish their privacy, and a perceived invasion of that privacy can make them hesitant to share.

Suggestion: Respect their space and boundaries. Knock before entering their room and ask for permission to access their personal belongings.

Technology as a Distraction

The digital age has provided teens with many screens and devices, creating an alternative world that sometimes takes precedence over real-life conversations. The allure of social media, online gaming, and texting can distract them from engaging with you.

Suggestion: Set aside tech-free times for the family to bond, like dinner, game nights, or weekend outings. This will encourage open communication without the interference of screens.

Stress and Overwhelm

Teenagers face a multitude of challenges, from academic pressures to social issues. Sometimes, they keep their feelings bottled up because they’re afraid to burden you with their problems.

Suggestion: Let them know that you’re there to support them, no matter what. Create an atmosphere where they feel safe discussing their concerns and offering guidance when needed.

Now that we’ve identified the reasons behind the communication gap let’s bridge it with some other suggestions:

Respect, Patience, and Detachment: The Key Virtues to Unlocking Communication with Your Teen

In the grand symphony of parenting, where the melodies of love and understanding play a pivotal role, three virtues stand out as the conductor’s baton, guiding us toward harmonious communication with our teenagers: Respect, Patience, and Detachment.

Respect: It’s the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, and its significance cannot be overstated. Respect their thoughts, opinions, and feelings, even when they differ from your own. By acknowledging their individuality and valuing their perspective, you lay the foundation for trust and open dialogue.

Patience: In a world where instant gratification often takes center stage, patience becomes a precious commodity. Building a strong, communicative relationship with your teen may take time. Be patient in waiting for them to share, in allowing them space to grow, and in letting them navigate their own path.

Detachment: This virtue, often misunderstood, is the art of being present without being overbearing. It’s the ability to listen without needing to solve their issues. You can ask them, “What do you need right now: a listening ear, a brainstorming session, or suggestions or advice?” By offering them choices and respecting their preferences, you empower them to take charge of their emotions and decisions.

Incorporating these virtues into your parenting journey can help bridge the communication gap with your teenager. So, embrace respect, nurture patience, and practice detachment. Remember, your role isn’t just to guide them but to be their unwavering support as they navigate the complex tapestry of adolescence. As you master these virtues, you’ll find that the bonds of trust and understanding between you and your teen will grow stronger, creating a harmonious connection that will last a lifetime.

In conclusion, remember that navigating the teenage years can be challenging. Still, it’s also a time of growth and self-discovery. By fostering open communication, respect, and understanding, you can help your teenager navigate this tumultuous journey with confidence. So, take a deep breath, embrace the uniqueness of your teen, and keep those lines of communication wide open. You’ve got this!

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

The Art of Asking Questions in Marriage: Building Deeper Connections

The Art of Asking Questions in Marriage: Building Deeper Connections

In the intricate dance of communication within a marriage, questions are like the delicate brushstrokes on a canvas, allowing you to paint a more detailed and vibrant picture of your partner’s world. Just as listening holds profound power, the art of asking questions is a skill that can breathe life into your connection and deepen your understanding of one another.

Questions become the threads that weave together the tapestry of understanding, love, and connection. They are the tools that help you explore the depths of your partner’s soul, celebrate their joys, and provide solace in their sorrows. When wielded with care and intention, the art of using questions can transform your communication into a symphony of shared emotions, thoughts, and dreams—a melody that resonates throughout the journey of your life together.

In the delicate art of communication within a marriage, the journey is not just about asking questions; it’s about how you ask, how you listen, and how you cherish the moments in between. Once you’ve posed a question, give your partner the gift of your undivided attention. It’s a way of saying, “You matter. Your words matter.” Be patient and allow them the time they need to formulate their response. Remember that some people require a little more time to process their thoughts and emotions, and that’s perfectly okay.

Additionally, it’s crucial to be mindful of distractions. If you notice that your partner is preoccupied, gracefully wait until they can give you their full attention. A distracted mind can’t engage in meaningful conversation, so it’s best to pause and then reiterate your question when they are ready to engage.


Here are some practical tips to help you ask better questions:

Curiosity as a Catalyst: At the heart of using questions effectively lies curiosity. The desire to know and understand your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences is a testament to your commitment to their well-being and the growth of your relationship. When you ask questions born out of genuine curiosity, you create an environment where your partner feels valued and heard.

Open-Ended Questions: The magic of open-ended questions is that they invite exploration and deeper sharing. Instead of asking closed-ended questions that elicit a simple “yes” or “no” response, pose questions that encourage your partner to express themselves more fully. For instance, instead of asking, “Did you have a good day?” you might inquire, “Tell me about your day. What were the highlights?”

Empathetic Inquiries: Empathy is the glue that binds hearts. When your partner is facing challenges or celebrating triumphs, your questions can serve as bridges to their emotions. By asking questions that express empathy, such as “How are you feeling about this?” or “What can I do to support you?”, you communicate that you are not just a passive observer but an active participant in their journey.

Reflective Listening: The art of using questions is intimately tied to the art of listening. When your partner shares, follow up with questions that show you are engaged and seeking to comprehend their perspective. For example, if they share a concern about work, you might ask, “Can you tell me more about what happened?” This not only demonstrates your interest but also invites them to delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings.

Respectful Boundaries: While questions can be powerful tools for deepening your connection, it’s essential to respect your partner’s boundaries. Not every topic may be open for discussion at all times, and some questions may trigger discomfort. Create a safe space where your partner feels comfortable setting boundaries and let them know you respect their choices.

Shared Vulnerability: In the delicate dance of questions and answers, remember that vulnerability begets vulnerability. When you share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly, it encourages your partner to do the same. Through this shared vulnerability, you strengthen the bonds of trust and intimacy that are the foundation of a resilient marriage.

Communication Between Marriage Partners: The Beautiful Dance of Connection

In the intricate choreography of marriage, the steps of listening, asking questions, and responding with empathy blend harmoniously to create a dance of understanding and love. It’s a dance that requires patience, presence, and a commitment to nurturing the bond you share with your partner.

Listening, as we explored in an earlier post, is the art of giving your undivided attention and creating a safe space for your partner to express themselves. It’s about hearing not only their words but also the emotions and unspoken thoughts that lie beneath.

Asking questions, as we’ve just discussed, is the art of curiosity and empathy. It’s about wanting to know more, to explore the depths of your partner’s mind and heart, and to support them through their joys and challenges.

Responding with empathy and vulnerability is the final step in this beautiful dance. It’s about sharing your own thoughts and feelings openly, creating a sense of reciprocity and trust. It’s in this vulnerability that you bridge the gap between your worlds, finding common ground and deepening your connection.

But remember, this dance is not just about words; it’s about actions too. Small gestures of kindness, affectionate touches, and shared experiences also play a vital role in the symphony of communication between partners.

In the end, the dance of communication within a marriage is a lifelong journey—a journey of growth, discovery, and evolving connection. It’s a journey where you learn, adapt, and grow together, finding beauty in the uniqueness of your partner and in the shared moments of understanding. As you continue this dance, may your communication always be a source of strength, love, and joy in your cherished union.

In our next post, we will further explore what blocks great communication.  Stay tuned for more insights on strengthening the bonds that matter most in your life. As you strengthen these bonds, your children learn to have successful relationships.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

The Art of Listening:Strengthening Your Partner Relationships

The Art of Listening:Strengthening Your Partner Relationships

In the intricate tapestry of a life and parenting partner, there exists a profound power, often overlooked yet undeniably transformative—the power of listening. The essence of a deep and meaningful connection unfolds within the realms of this silent but profoundly impactful act.

In its most accurate form, listening is the commitment of your undivided attention to your partner. It’s a conscious choice to be present in the moment, putting aside the noise of your thoughts, worries, and to-do lists. In those moments, you are not merely hearing words; you are actively seeking to understand the unspoken emotions, nuances, and vulnerabilities beneath the surface.

When you listen with your heart wide open, you’re signaling to your partner that they are your priority at that moment. It’s an eloquent declaration that their thoughts, feelings, and experiences matter deeply to you. This undivided attention is the most profound display of respect one can offer, a cherished gift that transcends words.

In the sacred space of listening, a remarkable alchemy takes place. Your partner begins to feel seen, heard, and valued. They sense that you are not just hearing them but truly listening, embracing their words with acceptance and empathy. This act, in itself, is a potent motivator for them to share even more. It encourages them to open up, reveal their heart’s inner workings, and entrust you with their most profound thoughts and emotions.

Here are some practical tips and strategies to help you and your spouse enhance your listening skills:

Be Present: When your partner speaks, make a conscious effort to be fully present. Put away distractions like phones, tablets, or the TV, and focus your attention entirely on your spouse. This sends a clear signal that you value their words and opinions.

Maintain Eye Contact: Eye contact is a powerful non-verbal cue showing engagement and listening. It conveys warmth and attentiveness, making your partner feel heard and validated.

Practice Empathy: Try to understand your partner’s perspective by placing yourself in their shoes. Empathize with their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their point of view. Reflecting on their emotions or paraphrasing what they’ve said can show that you’re tuned in.

Use Non-Verbal Cues: Nodding, smiling, and other positive non-verbal cues can encourage your spouse to continue sharing. Your body language can convey warmth and receptiveness.

Avoid Interrupting: Avoid interrupting or finishing your spouse’s sentences. Let them express themselves fully before responding. Interruptions can derail the flow of conversation and make your partner feel unheard.

Give Feedback: After your partner has spoken, provide feedback to confirm your understanding. Say things like, “I hear you saying that you felt frustrated because…” or “It sounds like you had a great experience when…”

Practice Active Listening Skills:Active listening involves hearing words and paying attention to tone, body language, and emotions. It’s about understanding the deeper meaning behind the words spoken. It may be easier to begin practicing with someone other than your partner. No matter how you apply your newfound listening skills – everyone will appreciate it fully.

Ask Open-Ended Questions: Instead of asking yes-or-no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage your spouse to share more. Generally, open-ended questions begin with “what” or “how.” For example, instead of saying, “Did you have a good day?” you can ask, “What was the highlight of your day?”

Take Turns:

  1. Balance the conversation so that you and your spouse have equal opportunities to speak and be heard.
  2. Avoid monopolizing the conversation or making it one-sided.
  3. At the same time, be careful not to jump in immediately when you believe they have finished.

Sometimes, a pause permits them to continue with thoughts they may have been concerned about saying previously. Confidence can grow in a moment of silence.

Avoid Judgment:

  1. Create a safe space for your partner to express themselves without fear of judgment.
  2. Even if you disagreeing with their perspective, refrain from criticizing or belittling their feelings.
  3. Do your best to avoid asking “why” questions, which can immediately put the other person on the defense.

Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques can help you stay present and focused during conversations. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can improve your ability to listen without distraction.

Seek Clarification: If you’re unsure about something your spouse said, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It shows that you’re genuinely interested in understanding them.

Set Aside Time for Conversations: In the busyness of daily life, it’s easy to overlook meaningful conversations. Schedule regular times to talk with your spouse, whether over dinner, during a walk, or before bedtime. This dedicated time allows for open and uninterrupted communication.

Apologize and Forgive: If you’ve been a less-than-attentive listener in the past, acknowledge it and apologize. Likewise, forgive your partner if they’ve made similar mistakes. Creating a forgiving atmosphere encourages open communication.

Attend Couples Counseling: Sometimes, seeking professional guidance through couples counseling can be helpful. A therapist can provide insights and techniques tailored to your specific relationship dynamics.

Remember that developing strong listening skills is an ongoing process. It requires patience, practice, and a genuine desire to improve your connection with your spouse. When both partners try to listen and be heard, it can lead to a more fulfilling and harmonious marriage. 

So, as you navigate the intricate landscape of life and parenting, never underestimate the transformative power of listening. It is not a passive act but a vibrant force that breathes life into your relationships. Through the simple yet profound art of listening, you create a haven of acceptance and understanding. In this sanctuary, the most profound connections are forged, where love and trust flourish, and where the beauty of each other’s souls is cherished.

Stay tuned for more insights on strengthening the bonds that matter most in your life. As you strengthen these bonds, your children learn to have successful relationships.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!