Children and Teens Articles

What 2 Little Words Can Have a BIG Impact on Your Relationship?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

What 2 Little Words Can Have a BIG Impact on Your Relationship?

No one — including your partner — has to do anything for you. Remember that.

“Thank you.” Two simple words that feel SO good to hear.

So, why do so many couples use them so infrequently?

William James, the great American psychologist, said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

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.

Addicted to Affluence

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Shoe shoppingMany people mistake affluence for self-worth. You can buy what you want to buy. Live where you want to live. Own what you want to own. You’ve made it! What a worthy, wonderful person you are!

So how come you’re still feeling that it’s not enough? You bought what you wanted to buy. You feel great. Yet, a day later, rather than feeling pleased, you’re bored.

So, you rack up additional purchases on your favorite digital device. It’s so easy to shop these days. Or, tired of shopping, you plan another trip. You create another social event. And still it satisfies only for the moment.

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.

Do You Connect or Control?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Do You Connect or Control? My youngest always fought with me over the littlest of things. Lately I had even resorted to bribing her in return for the peace it brought.

“Put away your plate,” I reminded her after dinner the other night, “otherwise no iPad.”

“I don’t care,” she retorted. “And you can’t stop me.”

The Middling Effect of ‘Hit and Run’ Parenting

Monday, December 8th, 2014

The Middling Effect of the "Hit and Run"Parenting the older adopted child (or any child, for that matter) can be trying. I forever seem to be competing against his impressions that I just can’t relate to his beliefs, ideas, or perceptions, however reasonable they might or might not be.

After all, adults from his past likely were not paragons of physical, mental, or emotional stability. Notwithstanding more than four years together, why should he regard my intentions any differently? Variability in his trust in me to parent him while sensitively meeting his needs still leaves me with little wiggle room to make the right impression.

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.

4 Tips for Teens Who Are Dating

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

true-loveRecently, a mother asked me for advice on how to keep her teenage daughter, who just started dating, from getting hurt.

First, I assured her that her daughter will get hurt. I don’t know anyone who has loved without pain.

Even more important than trying to avoid pain is helping our sons and daughters (and ourselves) to know that they are strong, capable, and powerful — and that they can overcome hurt.

Resiliency, self-respect, self-esteem, confidence, perseverance, and wisdom are the things to focus on instilling in your children, as these things will both help them to avoid pain and to recover from it quickly.

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?Who is the person you speak to most frequently?

Why, it’s yourself, of course.

And what is the nature of those conversations? Do you tend to be harsh, nasty and punitive about who you are and what you’ve done (or haven’t done?) Do you frequently expect too much of yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? Does your self-judgment pierce your heart, deflate your energy?

If so, it’s time to take two paths to change your inner voice from foe to friend.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

Friday, November 21st, 2014

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC: Part 1In Massachusetts — supposedly one of the most enlightened and liberal states you can live in in our fine United States — a facility is engaged in a horrifying business. Some have even call it state-sanctioned torture on American soil.

They degrade human beings daily, calling it a form of “treatment.”

They do this regardless of the lack of scientific evidence on the treatment (outside a few flimsy studies published by the facility’s former disgraced director, Matthew Israel). They do it even when important safeguards were lacking for years.

Yes, I’m talking about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. And yet another survivor from that institute is speaking out.

Family &
Parenting



Recommended Books

  • Tending the Family Heart
  • Connecting Your Family in Disconnecting Times, a parenting e-book by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
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  • by Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D.
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