Family Articles

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving Relationship

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving RelationshipThere is an undeniable connection between siblings. You came from the same family and grew up in the same environment. There will always be a shared past between siblings, whether they are close or not. But when your sibling is diagnosed with mental illness the personal history and the things you had in common can seem to disappear.

Life seems to stop and be consumed by their illness. An intangible connection can be seemingly swept right off the page. Something that therapists never told me was that one day I would just be happy to take what I could get.

ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and Household

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and HouseholdRunning a household takes effort. And it can be especially challenging for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD impairs executive functioning in adults (and kids), making it harder for people to plan, prioritize, organize and follow through with various tasks — especially boring ones.

Of course, that’s exactly what you need to do when everyone in the family has a demanding job, goes to school, is involved in extracurricular activities, and has other commitments.

What It Means to Teach People How to Treat You

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

What It Means to Teach People How to Treat YouWe often hear the advice that it’s important to teach people how to treat us. But what does this really mean? What does it actually look like?

According to marriage and family therapist Michael Morgan, teaching people how to treat us is a process that involves teaching them “what is acceptable and unacceptable. It is knowing what we need and want and being able to communicate it effectively to others.”

5 Helpful Practices for Families

Friday, January 16th, 2015

5 Helpful Practices for FamiliesIn his book The Secrets of Happy Families author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler turns to various fields and individuals — the military, Silicon Valley, sports coaches and Green Berets — for insights into creating stronger, more connected families. He also tries out these tips at home with his own family, which includes his wife and twin daughters.

In the book, Feiler shares all kinds of tools for teaching kids values, creating a more peaceful household and having more fun as a family.

Here are five tips and tools from The Secrets of Happy Families, which you might want to adopt for your family.

6 Tips for Building Emotional Muscle When Life Gets Tough

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

If your emotional muscle is damaged from the past, it’s up to you to build it back up.

The scenario happens so often, it’s practically cliche:

A woman or man in an “unhappy” marriage meets someone new. Instantly, there’s a powerful connection, and maybe even an affair occurs; and, instantly, this person thinks she or he now knows how to be happy again.

Why Compliments are Powerful

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Why Compliments are Powerful

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ~ Mother Teresa

Psychologist John Gottman most likely agrees. His widely respected research found that in good marriages, compliments outnumber criticisms by more than five to one.

My book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love:30 Minutes A Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, tells exactly how to hold a successful marriage meeting. They are short, gently structured conversations with your spouse which fosters romance, intimacy, teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues.

6 Ways to Tell If You and Your Partner Are In a Toxic Relationship

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

upset couple backs bigst

Are you giving everything and getting nothing but hurt? It’s time to move on…

The unspoken dating rule is that once you’re bonded with someone, you don’t want to let go, even if things aren’t going great.

Since most of us like to avoid our feelings, we don’t want to do the grieving that’s necessary to let go. But when you’ve had a loss, there are a certain number of tears you must cry to let go — getting on with the crying is the fastest way. Even if the dissolution of the relationship was your idea, you may be clinging to a dream — in denial.

A bad relationship can become like an addiction — a difficult habit to break, because you are emotionally attached, and the attached part of you wants to keep trying, while the rational part knows you need to let go.

How to Make the Most of Therapy for Your Child

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

How to Make the Most of Therapy for Your ChildTherapy isn’t just helpful for adults. It’s important for kids, too. Therapy provides kids with “a ‘safe’ place to process and explore their world without the inhibitions that the world places on them,” said Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a child and family therapist.

Therapy can help kids with everything from nightmares to social anxiety to difficulty concentrating in school to trauma to mental health issues, she said.

In therapy kids are able to work on these issues without worrying that they’re hurting their parents’ feelings or disappointing them, she said.

Feeling Down? Three Attitude Changers for a Happier Life

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

just-be-happy-positive-psychology-smiling-woman

Are you buzz-killing your own joy? Here’s how to tell…

Gift-giving time? Skip the over-priced mall-bought gifts forgotten the day after a birthday, an anniversary, etc. There is a better gift to give everyone — it will change their life and yours.

Embrace the concept that there is treasure in everything and fully trust that you are in the right place, at the right time. Decide that you are in charge of your life and your happiness. And the best way to share the gift of happiness with others is through gratitude.

Think you already have an attitude of gratitude? Well, think again.

Partner Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder? 10 Truths You Need to Know

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Therapist listening to the couple sit on the couch in front of h

I was 18 years old, pregnant, scared and lonely when I met my now husband. We became best friends and two years later, he married and had a baby. Fast forward six years, we were madly in love and engaged, then married.

One year after that, my husband came home after work, sat down at the kitchen table and told me he wanted a divorce. I refused. Not very nicely.

A few months after that, he was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, and our marriage was in for a hell of a ride. Ten years later, I’ve had a book published about our marriage, a lot of sleepless nights, and a heck of a lot of a lessons learned about loving someone with bipolar disorder. Here’s a few biggies:

3 Steps to Empower Yourself Using Your Own Anger

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Consequences of Emotional AbuseDo you struggle with with releasing anger and forgiving?

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddah

Rare is the individual who doesn’t have feelings of anger or disappointment towards some member or members of their family. After all, we’re all human, imperfect and limited in our perspectives.

Learning from Abusive Relationships

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When Depression Becomes DepressingRelationships are hard for everyone, but especially for survivors of child abuse. Before I started my recovery work, I spent years in relationships that were obviously abusive and damaging to my emotional wellness, but I was too blinded by my own trauma to see it.

My family had always taught me that survival depended on having a man in my life. In my family, women kept abusive men around because of this belief.

It was critically important for this to be ingrained in each family member as early as possible. There could be no understanding of their individual power. They must believe they could not survive without a partner or the abuse might not be tolerated.

Family &
Parenting



Recommended Books

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  • Connecting Your Family in Disconnecting Times, a parenting e-book by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
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