Time-outs are not just a useful tool in disciplining your kids. You can actually use this in your marriage as well. Time outs can give you and your spouse time to calm down before a disagreement makes a turn for the worse and goes out of hand.

Couples fight – that’s a given. However, anger can make someone do crazy things, say things he or she would not normally say. During the heat of the argument, barbs may be thrown at each other way to a point where the wounds inflicted can cause permanent damage. Responding out of anger, annoyance or exasperation will not actually help resolve a problem. Anger can cause you to resort in name calling, making threats or throwing insults. According to Utah counselors, it will work best for the couple to take a breather rather than allow the argument to escalate.

A time out can help:

– Cool tempers down so as to be more able to communicate more effectively – to listen as well as to express one’s thoughts.
– Give each other time to gain perspective, especially about the other spouse’s point of view on the issue.
– Enable each other to express their emotions and thoughts clearly, more rationally.

After a time out, couples can now buckle down towards resolving the conflict at hand in a healthier and loving manner. That way, couples learn to fight fairly and ultimately, enjoy a stronger, happier marriage. According to Provo counseling, time outs can also prevent you from saying or doing things you may later regret. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Working to heal emotional wounds caused by words spoken in anger is harder than avoiding those words in the first place.

Here are some tips with regards to establishing a time out:

– Talk about it and make an agreement beforehand. Before you even get into an argument, it will be good for you to agree on a signal on having a time out. It may be as simple as saying, “Let’s take a break.” Or, “I need to go out.” When someone signals a time out, the other spouse is obligated by their agreement to let the argument lie rather than insisting on continuing with the argument (i.e. following your spouse to continue the argument even after one has signaled a time out).

Beforehand, you should talk about how long the time out will be, whether this means that one of you should just stay on the other room or should leave the house for a moment. Before you leave, make sure that the other spouse understands that you are taking a time out. And that no one is walking away from the argument. Rather, taking the time out to be able to resolve the argument with a win-win outlook.
– Come back after the time out. You should also talk about committing to getting back to the conversation or the argument once the time out is finished. Check whether the both of you are ready to talk more calmly. If not, you may ask to extend the time out.
– Time out is not silent treatment. Take note that taking a time out is not to be equated to giving your spouse the silent treatment. The latter is a passive-aggressive way of trying to manipulate your spouse to do things your way. The former is an effort towards forging better communications, to enable one to manage one’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the argument. A time out says that you are willing to work things out, only that you need time to calm down so that you both can do things properly.
– Practice relaxation techniques while on your time out. This can include taking slow, deep and cleansing breaths. Or thinking calming thoughts. Rather than working yourself up to more anger, work towards gaining an understanding of your spouse’s point of view. In a marriage, one spouse does not “win” an argument. So, don’t aim towards winning the fight, rather, it should be an exercise towards resolving the issue that caused the fight in the first place.

Practicing good communication techniques may require work and help from a third party, such as Utah marriage counseling. Taking time outs is just one of the techniques that you and your spouse can put into practice to improve communication between you. With the help of an experienced Utah therapist, you and your spouse can learn to fight fairly and build a stronger marriage and build trust.


Perhaps it all started with one sip or one puff. Then come the reasonings:

  • The other kids do it as well and they look so cool.
  • I couldn’t say no to my friends.
  • They said that Ecstasy is a great way to party.
  • I thought I could stop and get out anytime I wanted.

Sadly, substance abuse is growing into a major problem for teens. Teens are trying a whole list of substances – tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and even progressing on to more dangerous stuff like cocaine and heroin.

Based on findings from the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, young people ranging from 16 to 20 comprise a whopping 36.3 percent of current illicit drug users. What’s more, there are over 1 million teens aged 12 to 17 that can be considered dependent on illicit drugs and close to a million dependent on alcohol. There are also over 10 million young people ages 12 to 20 that drink alcohol with almost half considered to be binge drinkers.

This is every parent’s nightmare – to see their healthy and dynamic child being held in the grips of substance abuse. Substance abuse results in increased vulnerability and risk for teenagers. Not only are their mental and emotional health impaired, it also makes them more prone to be involved in risky behaviors. These include being involved in traffic accidents (some resulting in death), risky sexual behaviors (i.e. sex without protection, having sex at an early age), and delinquent behavior at home and in school and involvement in criminal acts.

Knowing the signs of substance abuse

Parents must be vigilant to the changes taking place in the lives of our teens. We may sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the changes in behavior are just part of a phase. We also may be too busy with our own lives, so that we don’t notice these signs in our teens. Changes in the behavior of your teen may point to substance abuse, especially if the behavior seems more than a phase and lasts for weeks or is sudden and extreme:

–          Sudden decline in school performance, reports of truancy or delinquency

–          Discipline issues at school

–          Changes in overall attitude, temper outbursts that are unusual

–          Extreme reactions, flare-ups, unexpected aggression to the point of being physically or verbally abusive to others

–          Disinterest in activities and hobbies that he had previously enjoyed and regularly indulged in, withdrawal from family and other social activities

–          Avoids bringing friends over; changes in circle of friends

–          Nervousness and secretiveness (although being secretive can also mark a teenager’s desire for increased privacy)

–          Being extremely sensitive to inquiries about where he’s been and what he’s been doing

–          Decline in hygiene and grooming habits

–          Tends to wear sunglasses, even at occasions and places where they’re not called for

–          Declining concentration and forgetfulness

–          Change in wardrobe, especially the tendency to wear long-sleeved shirts (even during warm or hot weather)

–          May start asking you for money for “projects” or may start borrowing money from siblings and friends

–          Items in the home that mysteriously get “lost”

–          Breaking the curfew

–          Having drug-related paraphernalia on their person (such as pipes, needles, syringes and so on)

Getting help for Substance Abuse

It is important to recognize the signs and to act quickly. The longer the teen uses these substances, the more difficult it will be to break free from them. One way to get help is to work with a substance abuse counselor. Substance abuse counseling sessions will help the teen identify and recognize the fact that there is indeed abuse. Then the counselor will lead the teen to the realization of consequences of the substance abuse and provide a path to finding alternatives to it.

Parents may also need to get family counseling as they struggle to deal with their teen. Substance abuse counseling can provide parents with crucial tools to help them support their teens during this difficult time. Even when teens are unable or unwilling to attend counseling, couples counseling can help parents control their reactions as well as apply intervention measures and strategies to help the teen break free from the substance abuse.

To help you during this time, you need a therapist who understands what you’re going through and who has extensive experience dealing with troubled teens. Triston Morgan is one such therapist. He has spent years helping Utah teens combat addiction. This includes acting as a therapist in Utah in rehabilitation clinics, wilderness therapy programs, community therapy centers and residential programs. Triston is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and holds his practice in Provo, Utah.

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