Caregivers Articles

3 Ways to Answer Kids’ Questions about School Violence

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

3 Ways to Answer Kids' Questions about School ViolenceExtreme school violence continues to be a major problem in the United States. As such, stories about school violence are frequent on news programs. No matter how much a parent may try, children may see and hear instances of school shootings.

A study out of my research lab four years ago (McDonald, Leahy, et al., 2010) found that 80 percent of kids exposed to trauma often ask their parents about that trauma. So parents need to be equipped to answer these questions in helpful ways.

Our research has uncovered three helpful tips to guide your discussions about school shootings and violence.

Healing My Inner Child

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Healing My Inner ChildDear Inner Child,

You’ve been through so much and I am not sure how you coped. Your strength inspires me with every memory I recover. I know you are the reason we are alive today. And I thank you for all you did to keep going. Sometimes, others ask me how I lived through it and I don’t know the answer.

You carried that burden. And to some extent, you still do.

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

Too Stressed to Meditate

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Too Stressed to MeditateFor the past couple of years, meditation has been easy. I’d put in some hard work over the previous decade and had found a place of stillness each time I took to the cushion. Sure, sometimes what I met as I observed my mind was difficult, but my practice had become productive and indispensable.

I spent the last two years as a stay-at-home dad of a toddler. I did all of the dad, and much of the mom, stuff. I managed the house, cleaned (badly), cooked (very well), arranged activities and play dates, and did what I could to keep the family satisfied.

None of this was easy, but my daughter napped every day. And while she napped I had a solid 35 minutes to meditate, without fail. I taught a couple of classes each week, and led a Wednesday night drop-in meditation group, but that was more rewarding and fulfilling than taxing.

Then it all came to an end.

How to Make Peace with Your Childhood

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

How to Make Peace with Your ChildhoodYour childhood probably is tucked safely away in the past. But many of us underestimate the degree to which childhood events continue to affect our adult lives. It’s hard to imagine that events that occurred decades ago can stay with us, but underestimating their effects — even into adulthood — can be detrimental to our well-being.

Our most critical and influential developmental stages occur in childhood. We’re like sponges, absorbing the good and the bad all around us. It’s during this time that we develop our view of the world and of ourselves. These viewpoints may be developed early on but they often leave a permanent imprint.

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: Staying in Touch — And in the Loop

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Siblings by Travis Swan

It’s difficult to know where you stand when your sibling is diagnosed with a severe mental illness. Their treatment can take up so much time and their symptoms can be so encompassing that there may not be a lot of room for you, let alone your relationship.

The dynamics of the family change after a diagnosis and you may feel like more of a caregiver than a brother or a sister.

6 Ways to Survive Your Teen’s Eating Disorder

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

6 Ways to Survive Your Teen's Eating DisorderIf you have a teen who is struggling with an eating disorder, you know it can be overwhelming, frustrating, lonely, scary, and sometimes feel like a full-time job. Your teen may be reacting angrily one day and the next day melt on the floor in tears.

Eating disorders can disrupt family and work life, create stress in relationships and be a financial hardship. Here are some tips to weather the storm:

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: Why Does it Happen?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: Why Does it Happen?Researchers believe that society is more willing to report, talk about and act on allegations of the abuse of vulnerable adults. Over the last two years, the number of reports of abuse has risen by almost two percent, according to statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre in Leeds, England.

Although it is impossible to determine whether this marks a real increase in adult abuse, or simply an increase in reporting, there are reasons to suggest that the latter may be more likely.

Before & After: Learning to Fit Yourself Back into the Schedule

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Before & After: Odd Days, I Do Everything I Can for Mom. Even Days, for Me.I’m writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we make and break habits –  an issue  very relevant to happiness. Each week, I post a before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit. We can all learn from each other. If you’d like to share your story, contact me here.

Powerful Parenting: Anger Management Tips for Children

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Powerful Parenting: Anger Management Tips for ChildrenAnger occurs when a person of any age is feeling overwhelmed and overpowered. It is our way to say “No, stop it! I don’t like it. It is unfair. I can’t handle it,” and so on. Since children have many rules to learn and follow daily, they are likely to feel challenged and frustrated often. Therefore, parents should not be surprised that children question and challenge boundaries.

Anger is natural. It is about our sense of feeling wronged and attempts at boundary setting. It does not have to be toxic and abusive, but it might escalate to that level. It happens when people don’t know how to express and handle it appropriately. It is important to allow children to express their anger and teach them how to go about it.

Psychology Around the Net: August 30, 2014

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

workplace-mobbing-bullying-business-woman

Do you care for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease and wonder how you can better help them — and yourself — make it day by day? What about a fear of asking for advice? Ever heard of sleep drunkenness? We have it all and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

Risky Situations At Work Lead Women To Feel More Anxiety Than Men, Says Study: A new study recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association found that women are more likely than men to fold under the pressure of risky situations at work and, thus, perform worse than they would during normal situations.

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