Children and Teens

5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is vital for adults. It reduces anxiety and depression. It’s been linked to greater well-being, emotional coping skills and compassion for others. Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time practicing self-compassion. Instead we default to blaming, shaming, and bashing ourselves. We assume that self-criticism is a more effective approach. (It’s not.)

This is one reason why it’s important to teach self-compassion to our children — to give them a solid foundation for the future. A foundation for being kind and gentle with themselves and processing their thoughts and feelings without judgment. These are important skills for being a healthy adult and building healthy relationships.

But kids also need self-compassion now.
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Anxiety and Panic

I’m Not Lazy, I’m Agoraphobic: How One Mother Copes


I'm not lazy, I'm agoraphobic.

I used to spend my days at work, my nights in Manhattan, and my weekends filled with adventure and road trips. Now, if I am able to leave my house for a medical appointment, it’s an accomplishment.

I’ve had “episodes” that lasted months, where I’d be unable to leave my bed -- not because I’m lazy but out of fear.

I suffer from a very misunderstood disease called agoraphobia, which is the fear of open spaces (a very generalized definition).
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Books

3 Strategies for Supporting a Loved One with Depression

Your loved one has depression. Maybe they’re isolating themselves. Maybe their energy and mood have taken a nosedive. Maybe they’re irritable and angry. Maybe they aren’t enjoying much, if anything, anymore. Maybe they’re having a hard time concentrating or remembering things. Maybe they’ve mentioned feeling hopeless or worthless. Maybe they make negative comments about themselves. All. The. Time. Maybe they wear a happy face, but you know they’re struggling.

And, understandably, it’s really hard to watch. Because all you want to do is fix their pain. To make it go away. To make it all better.
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Anxiety and Panic

When Mental Illness is Hereditary

As a child I remember my mom constantly saying "my nerves are bad." I didn't know that my nerves were bad, along with the little pills she took, and her alcoholism, were personal attempts to alleviate the anxiety and depression she felt.

Back then it wasn't talked about. Children were seen and not heard, and that was just how it was. It was very confusing as a child. I didn't understand why my mom was not happy and why her "nerves were bad."
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Family

Are You Turning Towards Your Partner?

Well known couples therapists and founders of the Gottman Method for couples therapy, John and Julie Gottman have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what keeps couples together in a healthy relationship and what can break a relationship apart. In what they coined The Sound Relationship House, the foundation and inside of a healthy relationship rest on things like trust and commitment, fondness and admiration, turning towards and a positive perspective of your partner, as well as a healthy conflict style, and shared meaning.

Today I am focusing on the idea of turning towards instead of turning away from your partner. In Gottman’s research (in which he interviewed newlyweds and again after 6 years) he noticed one thing that stood out was that those who were still married after 6 year were turning towards one another 86% of the time, and those that divorced had turned towards only 33% of the time. What I gather from this piece of evidence is that the idea of turning towards instead of turning away plays a huge role on the health of your relationship and overall success of it.
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Celebrities

What Tig Notaro’s New Show Gets Right about Child Sexual Abuse

In the new Amazon series One Mississippi, loosely based on the life of comedian Tig Notaro, she finds herself living back home in Mississippi following the sudden death of her mother. Staying in her childhood home with her stepfather, Bill, and her adult brother, Remy, Tig isn’t just facing the grief of losing her mother, she’s recovering from breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, and suffering from a C. diff infection. She’s also dealing with the ghosts of her past. Tig -- as she's also called on the show -- was molested by her grandfather throughout her childhood.

Although it's estimated that
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Children and Teens

What ‘Stranger Things’ Can Teach Us about Parenting

If you are one of the few out there who have not seen it: Stranger Things is a science fiction series that is very reminiscent of "The Goonies." The story takes place in 1983 and the central plot line follows a group of four boys. In the first episode, one of the four boys goes missing. The three remaining best friends do their best to find and rescue their friend. They do so independent of adults. They work together as a team (mostly) and it all involves a lot of bike-riding. We all love the nostalgia in this throw-back drama. As an instructor of college courses in Infant and Child Development, I was immediately hooked on how the show depicted the preadolescent gang of boys.

Prior to the disappearance of their friend, the main characters spend their free-time riding bikes and playing Dungeons and Dragons, a table-top role-playing game. After the disappearance, they use the skills learned through years of friendship and freedom to participate in their own mystery man-hunt. If these kids survive what they are up against, every major CEO would want to hire them. They are smart, creative, team-players who are confident in their abilities to solve problems.
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Anger

6 Tips for Cutting Off Contact with Narcissistic Family Members

Our family has the ability to frustrate us like no one else can. But what can you do when the family you were born into is not only frustrating, but cruel, condescending and downright abusive?

We all have our limits and if you were raised in a household where abuse or mental illness was part of everyday life for you, your willingness to tolerate your family’s bad behavior may be higher than most people’s.

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Anger

Moving on from Dysfunctional Relationships

Not so long ago, I joined a Facebook group for abuse survivors, in hopes of finding support and encouragement. While I was encouraged and supported in the best way an anonymous person on the Internet could be, I felt there was too much reliance on the word “narcissist.” As I tried to find intelligent solace in reading members' posts, I discovered many people playing the martyr. (I had observed that behavior in my own mother). Many of these people seeking and offering advice probably suffered from some mental or personality disorder as well.

I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I have also been told I have low self-esteem. Despite my plethora of issues, I am still able to see myself and others through a clear lens.

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Family

Coping When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

Jaci came to see me one month before the christening of her niece, for whom she was honored to be named godmother.

Jaci could turn off the familiar anxiety video playing in her head. This is what Jaci imagined would happen at the christening, given her past experience with her narcissistic mother, Betsy.

Jaci would be taking with friends and family at the party after the service, having successfully avoided her mother’s company at church. She’d be feeling happy. It would be a joy to hold the baby and know her sister trusted her to be godmother. Then, Betsy appears at her side, cutting into the conversation.
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Family

There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Question

You would think that a simple question would be met with a simple answer. On occasion, that is true. But often, a simple question stirs up a barrage of emotional baggage. Here are two examples:

He says: Do you know where the flashlight is?
She says: You never put anything away and then you expect me to find it. How am I supposed to know?

She says: It’s raining; will you drive carefully?
He says: Get off my back! I’m not an idiot!

Communication is not what you say; it’s what the other person hears you say. And when you have a history with that person, a simple question can conjure up a frenzy of emotions.
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