Recently, my daughter turned 4 years old. I …
Recently, my daughter turned 4 years old. I …
At times like these, we all search for meaning. We all look to make sense of tragedy. We need to put it into some organized containers, because otherwise it just becomes too overwhelming.
This time, the shooting involved 20 elementary school-aged children. At school. As well as another 6 or 7 adults.
To even begin to wrap your mind around it causes most of us emotional pain and anguish.
In short, how do we make sense of such tragedy?
Traditions are the foundations of the holidays. They cultivate bonds between families and friends. They make great memories. And, even if they’re ridiculous, they make for great stories (and hilarious pictures, no doubt).
Traditions are as unique as the families they originate from. For instance, every New Year’s Eve, my family cuts loose to old school Russian music, eats lots of European cuisine and exchanges presents at midnight. When my father was alive, every Hanukkah, we’d blast the Barry sisters, use the living room as a dance floor, and only take breaks for bites of potato latkes.
With the holidays in full swing, we wanted to know how therapists celebrate the season. Below, in this month’s Therapists Spill piece — a regular series that gives readers a glimpse into practitioners’ personal and professional lives — clinicians reveal their favorite rituals below.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn’t just affect the individual. It affects the entire family, according to Mark Bertin, MD, a board-certified developmental behavioral pediatrician and author of The Family ADHD Solution.
Parents of kids with ADHD not only have to navigate a complex neurological disorder, but they also have to contend with criticism and judgment from others, he said.
For instance, parents might be told that ADHD doesn’t exist or that their child’s disorder is their fault. Or they’re criticized for putting their kids on medication.
Not surprisingly, studies show that parents of kids with ADHD are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, relationship problems and divorce, among other issues, Dr. Bertin said.
That’s why focusing on ADHD’s effect on parents is critical. Without it, “we aren’t addressing ADHD fully,” he said.
Most progressive parents know that lying to our kids is not a good idea — it’s not respectful or kind, and is likely to erode the trust our child has for us.
However, what about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns? Is it okay to tell our child that Santa Claus and the like are real? Are these just innocent ‘white lies’ that we all tell our kids so their faces light up with joy as they indulge in the pleasure of make-believe?
Or is it a dangerous path that deeply affects our child’s capacity to trust adults when they eventually find out the truth?
Both my husband and I grew up believing in Santa and never felt betrayed when we figured it out. However, my eldest son, Jack, was told Santa was real, and boy was I unprepared for the fallout when he eventually found out the truth.
Pollution can be ugly. Just think of an industrial chimney spewing smog into the air. It has devastating effects on the environment, plants and wildlife. And we know that pollution has a negative effect on our physical health. Since the 1970s, a recent article in Monitor on Psychology reports, we’ve studied the harmful impact of pollution on our cardiovascular and respiratory health.
A growing body of evidence indicates that the impact of pollution goes beyond physical health. According to the Monitor, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children’s cognitive abilities, increase adult risk of cognitive decline and may even contribute to depression.
The issue is not as visible or taken as seriously as it should be, according to Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.
Discussing and exploring the well-being of one’s partnership isn’t often on the list of baby preparation to-dos. After all, pregnancy can be a joyful time — one that elicits feelings of anticipation, newness, and excitement. Immersed in the pregnant possibilities of motherhood, energy focuses on what will be gained by starting a family. Baby showers mark this time by gifting the family with the necessary gear to outwardly navigate and welcome this new life.
“Get a lot of sleep.” “Go see a lot of movies.” “Take a Babymoon.”
When advice is offered, it often centers around the notion that couples can prematurely fill up their well-being reservoirs, meeting needs that won’t be fulfilled for a while postpartum, as if these can be stored in the ’happiness’ hump of marital satisfaction.
While these are all wonderful suggestions, highlighting the changes couples are about to experience, they ignore the emotional preparation that so often helps pave the way for the passage to parenthood.
Money can’t buy you love. Yet that doesn’t stop many of us from trying. In our hearts we know very well that pricey presents don’t make the perfect holiday. (There’s no such thing, anyway.)
Still, many of us get sucked into the holiday spending spree.
“When we are pressured to match a transaction of cash and heart-felt emotion, it feels like we can never spend enough,” said Mara Glatzel, MSW, a coach who helps women cultivate the lives they deserve.
Gift-giving is a loaded topic with many layers. For instance, it sparks comparison-making and fears about not being good enough, according to Ashley Eder, LPC, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo. “It’s natural that some people turn to high-value items to soothe their fears about gift exchange,” she said.
“You hear a lot of dialogue on the death of the American family. Families aren’t dying. They’re merging into big conglomerates.”
~ Erma Bombeck
They are called stepfamilies, blended families, reconstituted or reconfigured. The modern family often includes multiple people from multiple relationships. More than any other time of year, holidays highlight the departure from what has been seen as the “traditional” family.
As with most things, this can be an affirmation of successful reconfiguration of one’s family or a reminder of all the things that were, and perhaps still are, wrong. For most, it’s a complicated mix of regrets, relief, anger, sorrow and joy.
For most, it’s how the adults manage the situation that determines the health and safety of the heart part of the new configuration of the family.
I met Jay when he was four years old. He came into my office because he said, “She’s a bitch and I would like to fuck her” to a preschool girl.
He was four.
I truly believe that he had no idea what he was saying and what the actual words meant. However, he had been exposed to these words and had even witnessed many things that he never should have. Jay had been recently removed from his parents custody and sent to live with his grandfather.
Why am I telling you this? Your kids are going to school with other Jays now. He’s the little boy with behavioral problems. He’s the grade-school kiddo who french kisses girls on the bus. He’s the sexually promiscuous teenager.
Some people can’t get enough of scary movies. They’ve seen scores of scary films – over and over. They catch horror flicks on opening night. They have DVD collections at home.
Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead watching a scary movie. They freak me out, leaving me unsettled for days — the images a record player in my mind. In fact, I have a hard enough time sitting through the scarier scenes of “Sons of Anarchy.” (I watch it with my boyfriend, and sometimes need to leave the room.)
With Halloween upon us — the prime season for horror films — I was curious to find out why some people savor scary movies. And others, like me, can’t stand them.
Cinderella is mistreated by her wicked stepfamily, which gives her an awfully hard time about going to the ball and meeting her Prince Charming. Dorothy finds herself following a yellow brick road as she journeys to Oz and encounters evil along the way. Alice falls down a rabbit hole into Wonderland, a completely mystical world.
Classic fairy tales are actually not as child-like as we may presume.
While some may take the stories at face value, for the sole purpose of entertainment, other researchers tell us that these are wise stories infused with meaning and symbols.