Children and Teens

Why You Should Support Your Child’s Interests

My 11-year-old son Tommy collects stuffed bananas. You know, stuffed banana plush toys. He found his first one (and all of them, in fact) at the thrift store. This initial stuffed fruit was not just an ordinary banana, it was a stuffed Rastafarian banana complete with dreadlocks.

“What is this?” he asked.

“It’s a Rastafarian banana,” I said with glee.

Needless to say, Tommy had to have it. The price was right -- $3. We bought it and took it home.

This purchase brought on an extensive Internet research project on the Rastafarian religion.
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Anger

How to De-Escalate Fights with Family Members

Ever find yourself on the receiving end of verbal attack? Many people have loved ones who lash out in verbally abusive ways. Some of these people refuse to listen to reason when angry. They take no accountability for their role in creating strife. They might insist that you are the cause of their abusive behavior and they would stop hurting you if only you would change. But relationships are always about two people. Each person interacts and affects the other.

For example, Moira, a 45-year-old wife and mother of three, was abused as a child. Moira was easily triggered into jealous rages. These rages could be set off by the smallest thing: perhaps her husband glanced inadvertently at another woman, or complimented a coworker. Or perhaps her teenage daughter talked back to Moira or expressed affection for a teacher, igniting Moira’s jealousy.

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Family

What to Do with a Cruel Inner Critic

Our inner critic might be loud and clear: I’m such an idiot! It’s always my fault. I can’t do anything right. What is wrong with me? I don’t deserve this happiness. I don’t deserve this success.

Or our inner critic might be more subtle -- and even unknown to us. Yet it still exerts its power, dictating the actions we take.

Each of us has an inner critic. Some inner critics are crueler than others. As we grow up, our self-worth and self-esteem derive their roots from our environment and surroundings. Our caregivers and anyone close to us has a big effect on both.
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Children and Teens

What to Do When You Feel Unmotivated in Your Career (And 3 Ways to Do Your Best Work)

We’ve all faced days at the office where we’re just not feeling motivated. Off days happen to everyone and it’s tough -- if not unrealistic -- to constantly do your best work. There are bound to be times when you procrastinate too much, lack focus, or struggle to start important projects.

You may react by getting down on yourself, wondering where your determination has gone. It can be disappointing to feel like you’re not living up to your aspirations, especially when there’s important work to be done, which there almost always is. Speed, efficiency, and productivity are what drive results, and when our energy doesn’t match our ambition, it can be frustrating.
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Anxiety and Panic

A Husband’s Guide to Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Approximately 20 percent of all postpartum women experience a perinatal mood disorder such as postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety. These are medical conditions which can be successfully treated. Knowing the risk factors and understanding the signs and symptoms are important for a spouse in order to get his wife the appropriate care and help.

Any new mom can develop a perinatal mood disorder; however, there are some risk factors to be aware of:

Personal or family history of depression or anxiety
History of severe PMS or PMDD
Chronic pain or illness
Fertility treatments
Miscarriage
Traumatic or stressful pregnancy or birthing experience
Abrupt discontinuation of breastfeeding
Substance abuse

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Children and Teens

5 Ways to Help Young Kids Communicate Their Emotions

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your child is to identify and manage their emotions. Doing so shows them that experiencing a range of emotions is normal. Kids who learn healthy ways to express and cope with their emotions show less behavioral problems. They feel more competent and capable.

“Being able to talk about emotions sets the foundation for healthy problem solving and conflict resolution,” said Sarah Leitschuh, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in helping families develop healthy ways to communicate about and cope with emotions. These skills also help kids to maintain healthy relationships right now and as they get older, she said.

Sometimes, however, parents teach or model the opposite to their kids: They inadvertently create a space where a child feels uncomfortable expressing their emotions, Leitschuh said.
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Brain Blogger

9 Personality Traits Risky for Developing Postpartum Depression


Postpartum depression is a very serious condition affecting 10-15% of mothers in most developed countries (that’s 400,000-600,000 women per year in the US). Research shows that mother really is the heart of the family, and when she is hurting, the whole family unit is at risk, where the stress and low quality of mother-infant interactions can affect the child’s brain development, with long-term negative consequences for school years and beyond.

Despite how common and devastating postpartum depression can be, or how effective therapy is, it is still a societal taboo. Many mothers don’t even want to mention the words, with studies showing that most women choose to hide their burdens and turn down much needed help.
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Anxiety and Panic

Should You Have Kids If You’re Depressed?

“Were you frightened to have children with your history of suicidal depression?” a young woman asked me the other day. “Did you have to stop medication while you were pregnant?”

In the last 10 years writing about mental health issues, these two questions keep surfacing, especially among young women who dream of pushing a baby stroller to the park and disciplining a toddler and yet are daunted by a history of serious depression. Every time I answer them, I do so with a different perspective and new research.

Yes, I was terrified to have children.
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ADHD and ADD

A Day in the Life of a Mom with ADHD

7 a.m.: My 6-year-old, Max, wakes me up because he has to go to school. “Five more minutes,” I moan from under the pillow.

7:15: “Oh my gosh!” I leap out of bed and hit the ground running. We have to be out of the house in 20 minutes and I have to get breakfast made, make sure my son has all of his books, folders, lunch, and the papers that should have been signed yesterday but I put them down somewhere and now I can’t find them. I do, however, find the paper that reminded the parents about Pajama Day … which was yesterday … shoot. I look over at my son to see if I can spot any signs of the irreversible damage that I’ve inevitably already caused the poor kid. He is sitting at the table, eating his cereal, seemingly unaffected by the repercussions of having me as a mother.
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General

Happy Mother’s Day, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day!

None of us would be here if not for our moms, even if they later they found ways to let us down or not be in our lives the way we wanted or had hoped. For some, this day is a painful reminder of the break from their own mom (or child), and the unhappiness of that relationship.

But for many others, moms are a happy reminder of the joys of our childhood. Of a supportive person who was (nearly) always there for us, helping us understand the ways of the world. How to be a respectful individual who treated others the way they themselves want to be treated. Who stood by us even during very trying or difficult times... Someone who may not have always agreed with our decisions, but respected our right to make them.

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Anger

Spanking: 50 Years of Research Shows How Detrimental It Is

Children who were spanked are more likely to defy their parents, exhibit antisocial behavior and aggression, and experience mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin which analyzed 50 years worth of research involving more than 160,000 children. (Researchers defined spanking as an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities.)

The use of spanking to discipline children had the opposite effect.

"Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," Elizabeth...
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Books

7 Creative Shortcuts and Solutions to Simplify Life with Young Kids

Life with kids can feel anything but simple. Things rarely go as planned. You’re exhausted and could sleep for days. You feel like a mess surrounded by a whole lot of mess. Expert advice only makes you feel less-than and like you’re doing everything wrong. Which, naturally, only makes you feel more overwhelmed.

That’s what happened to author Asha Dornfest. Dornfest felt like she was drowning. For help she consulted parenting and productivity books and sampled time management systems, among other things. She assumed that other “more qualified people” would have the answers she needed.

“But expert advice didn’t fix my new life,” she writes in her book
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