On the Green Couch with Dr. Kelsch • Families Going Green

May 05, 2016

Posted By: Shaunescy

Written by Donna Kelsch

How does a family go green? Like everything else, with care and respect for our environment. The daily environment that impacts us the most is actually our family.

Isn’t it sad that our family usually gets the worst of us, meaning the least amount of care and respect? Let’s look at care and respect, and make a commitment to change.

Care: The provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of someone or something, serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk.

Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.

I love my family, but I spend the least amount of time with them. I went into private practice so I could control my time and spend more of it with my husband and children. Unfortunately, there is always a client who “needs me,” and I place their needs above my family’s desire to have me around to laugh and joke with. I need to care more about my time and show my husband and children more respect by being present when I am home. They need my serious attention so that we can be a green family.

I can help my clients be green too. Every client is part of a family, traditional or not. As a counselor, I believe my primary job in working with clients is to assist them in respecting each other, usually in how they communicate with each other. I often hear derogatory name calling from parents to children, children to parents, spouses to each other. That is not showing respect in the least. I know they truly love and care for each other, but are not showing it. Words and corresponding actions are the best way for a family to become green. Making sure you are communicating with each other by listening to what the others are saying, not what we anticipate they will say. Repeat back to the person what you believe they meant when they spoke. This is powerful. Often we anticipate what another is going to say and respond to what we think they are saying. Go green and repeat back to your loved one what you think they meant. It will show that you respect what they are trying to communicate and that you care about what they have to say.

Growing up in my family of 11, each of us acknowledged something we respected about another member every evening. I don’t have time to do that with my family (hmmm…), but we always take time on Sundays to discuss what was important to us from the previous week. It helps us feel grateful for the family and it does make us more respectful to each other when we know what others in the family value. This assists all of us in valuing and respecting each other more.

Yes, respect and care should eliminate fighting in families. Fighting, bickering and arguing result from a lack of respect and care. Fighting is contrary to being green. As I type this, my two youngest are fighting about a tablet charger. My husband is dealing with this situation by bringing to their attention how much fun they were just having a few minutes earlier when they were talking nicely and laughing with each other. He asked them to stop yelling and take a look at the other person’s perspective. Sounds good. And it did work? After 30 minutes, it did.

Going green is hard. But isn’t green what you want in your family environment?

Dr. Donna Kelsch is a licensed professional counselor with Tri Therapy. Tri Therapy provides counseling and assessments for teens, couples and families. Call 406-404-1009 for an appointment or contact her via web at tritherapymt.com or email dkelsch@tritherapymt.com . Dr. Donna lives in Bozeman with her husband and three children. 

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