Alison Armstrong: Keys to the Kingdom

Simple, Sweet Stages of Male Development:
How to Cope and Support Males at Each Stage

I enjoyed this book. Armstrong uses a simple story line to introduce the stages of male development. This book rang true about the stages of male development and how to respond at each stage. While it could be viewed as anti feminist, it feels like she captures meaningful differences between men and women and treats them in a very respectful way. Even though it is a little cutesy, she also shows how loving, passionate and very happy marriages can go off the tracks with competing male and female expectations about relationships.

I was struck by how many men wrote on Amazon that they liked the book. I would have hesitated to ask a male to read it, assuming they wouldn’t be interested. Some things she describes in the book I had discovered with my own husband and sons because I wanted so much to understand them, some came from my Clinical Psychology training and practice. This book puts it together in a simple, little package. My friends who are happily married and “get” their sons seem to get her messages. I wish I had read it sooner. I have already recommended to clients. Click here to purchase.

Real Life, Real Families

Real Life Real FamiliesReal Life, Real Families: new study launched

 Family life getting frenetic? Real Life, Real Families: Listen & Talk Series 1 is a new study piece from MennoMedia for small groups, Sunday school classes and parenting groups ( A leader’s guide comes with three CDs (or audio downloads) of interviews with real families or experts on child care dilemmas, parenting after divorce, media issues and more. The study is based on Shaping Families radio programs. For more info or to order, call 1-800-245-7894 U.S. and 1-800-631-6536 Canada.

My interview is included in Unit 2, Session 1, “Surviving Parenting.”

 “The family arguably has the most profound impact on child development,” says Brenda Jones Harden in a study looking at stability for foster children and published in Future of Children Journal (Winter, 2004) from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University/Brookings Institution. “Children are more likely to have trusting relationships with caregivers who are consistent and nurturing, which leads to a number of positive developmental outcomes,” says Harden.

 From a Christian perspective, “We know that family life is important to individuals, churches, and the broader community,” says Amy Gingerich, director of print media for MennoMedia. “We hope this new study piece will enhance conversation using the real stories of families and experts on family topics. The audio pieces can serve as a springboard for conversation—sometimes on difficult topics.” Audio segments range in length between three and eight minutes.

 The curriculum features interviews with Ken Medema, Carol Ummel Lindquist, Gloria Rhodes, and Kirsten Klassen, among others. It also includes inspirational “My Turn” segments by rotating Shaping Families speakers, Natalie Francisco, Steve Carpenter, Rebecca Thatcher Murcia, Harvey Yoder, Sam Heatwole, and Emily Ralph.

 Structured into three units of four lessons each, the curriculum is flexible so that groups can use as many or as few lessons as they want. Units include: “Seeds for Healthy Families,” “Raising Children,” and “Families in Today’s Culture.” Topics include marriage, divorce, intergenerational families, memories, early parenthood, working and parenting, media, substance abuse, family meal time, and teaching peace to children. The leader’s guide includes Scripture passages, Bible backgrounds, suggestions for gathering times, discussion questions, and ideas for closing moments.

 The curriculum comes with a printed leader’s guide for 12 sessions with three audio CDs or in a downloadable format. It is available for $34.95 for a print leader’s guide with CDs, or $19.95 downloadable online. A sample lesson and audio interview can be found at To order, call 1-800-245-7894 (U.S.) or 1-800-631-6535 (Canada).

 Shaping Families is a 15-minute weekly radio program heard in the U.S. and Canada on 21 stations and online at MennoMedia is an agency of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada producing media resources for living Christian faith.

My Book Named Finalist in Marriage Readers’ Choice Awards 2012

2012 Readers' Choice Finalist

I’m excited to post that my book, Happily Married With Kids: It’s Not a Fairy Tale, was named a finalist in the Marriage Readers’ Choice Awards 2012. This is one of the web’s largest networks and a true honor.

Voting is open through March 21, 2012. You will be able to vote ONCE PER DAY in each category. To vote click here.

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Here is the notification I received:

Congratulations!  We’re writing to inform you that your book has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 Readers’ Choice awards.  Based on the nominations we received, Happily Married With Kids has made it onto the final ballot at .

 To learn more about the awards program , visit for an overview of the categories and program.  To learn more about the overall awards program visit
And just so you know, users must provide an email address or log in via their Facebook or accounts to vote. Votes are limited to one vote per award category per user per day, and any votes not originating from the domain will be rejected. We have internal checks in place to detect fraudulent voting activity, and in some cases the poll results shown during voting may not reflect the accurate final counts used to determine winners.

Tips for Avoiding Affairs

No one knows of any surefire formulas for preventing affairs. Most people are tempted at some time. Marriages can recover from affairs, but avoiding them in the first place is much less painful. To recover from an affair, you must understand what happened, what the affair partner was thinking to allow the affair to occur, and what each of you can now bring to the marriage that will improve it and prevent this from occurring again.
Tips for Preventing and Healing After Affairs

• If you have an affair, see a therapist right away. Many couples survive infidelity.

• Discuss with your partner what he thinks he would do if he or she ever felt like having an affair. Tell him you would like the two of you to talk about it.

• Discuss and set guidelines together about what is appropriate and comfortable with regard to time spent with other people both at work and socially.

• Openly discuss affairs and possible affairs and your comfort with your partner’s behavior with people outside the marriage.

• Nothing you can do absolutely guarantees that your partner won’t have an affair, so don’t worry, make a strong marriage and enjoy the life you have.

Review: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too  

I have loved this book for years and recommend to my clients often. It brilliantly describes how to handle sibling rivalry but also encourages you to examine your own sibling rivalry issues that may affect your interactions with your children. Very illuminating, but easy to read, like talking to bright, articulate friend. Click here or on book cover to order this book.

Review: Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Parent Saver & Marriage Saver

In my many years of experience as a clinical psychologist when a Mom says that she has a difficult child or a spirited child I recommend this book. Mom’s know when their kid is harder than average. Spirited kids are great kids who will become interesting people.
This book opens your eyes about how to work with your special child at lots of ages and stages. We were blessed with one high maintenance child and one low maintenance child. One made us look like parents of the year and the other made us feel like parents hanging on until I read this book and relaxed into simply what was. I wish I had found it much earlier. Click here or book cover to purchase Raising Your Spirited Child.

Review: Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary

By Wendy BeharThis book is brilliant because it actually gives concrete solutions for how to talk to a narcissist. I use this in my clinical practice and clients find it really useful. Most narcissist books describe the narcissist in negative blaming ways and describe dumping them as fast as possible. This one recognizes their vulnerabilities and teaches you how to protect yourself and your feelings while talking to the narcissist in healing yet effective ways. If you have read a lot of narcissist books, skip to last chapter which is the most clear and practical. Click here to order this book.

Review: The Wealthy Spirit

By Chellie Campbell

This is a fabulous book. Chellie is an amazing story teller with great practical lessons. I loved learning about sharks, dolphins and tunas. Goodbye tunas! Hello, richest man in Babylon. It set me free to take action.

I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in high conflict couples and couples with young children. I have always had my own psychological issues about money probably because my dad often joked when I was in my teens that if it weren’t for his four lovely daughters, he would be a millionaire by then. When I confronted infertility in my 20’s, I felt I ashamed like I should be a millionaire already because we didn’t have kids.

As a result I had read a ton of books about money: personal finance, (don’t-buy-lattes-daily books), biographies of successful financiers, books on financial planning, the stock market, teaching kids about money and books on one’s deep psychological issues about money. This book is different.

This book finally cured my money issues. I became happy and stress free about money in my life. I couldn’t believe it. It even made me a better therapist.

Chellie not only gets the solid practical aspects of personal money management, she gets the psychological aspect of truly permanent attitude change about money with affirmations and stories. And her stories stick. Her book’s page-a-day format works great with my clients who don’t like to read or feel just plain too busy.

I read this book 7 years ago and it keeps on giving. My finances have never been better and more importantly my husband who had different big money issues than mine can now talk with me about money without feeling shame.

Recently, I finished Chellie’s Financial Stress Reduction workshop. The time was well spent as I got a lot more insight and handy tools for helping us make better financial decisions and make money stress free in our life. To purchase this book, click on the cover above or click here The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction

Doctor Carol Interviewed on Resonate Radio!

Doctor Carol was interviewed on Resonate Radio by Founder and CEO of Resonate Social Media, Eric Harr. Doctor Carol discussed the gift of a happy marriage, and provided specific tips found in her book, Happily Married With Kids.

[audio:|titles=Interview with Doctor Carol on Resonate Radio]

Did the interview spark any new ideas for you as to how to have a happier marriage? Please post them here, so we can all enjoy them!

Podcast: Dr. Carol Interviews Renowned Therapist Dr. Sue Johnson

Can love and sex get better over time?

Sue Johnson is Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California as well as Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Couple and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Research in Family Therapy Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. Dr Johnson’s best known professional books include, The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection (2004) and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (2002).

We covered a lot of ground in this interview, primarily talking about Sue’s latest projects as well as her thoughts on parenting and generational happiness. I know you will enjoy listening.

[audio:|titles=01 – Sue Johnson]

What do you and your husband think of Sue’s idea that your love and sex can get better over time?