Psychology Around the Net: August 20, 2016

A few weeks ago, my beau and I decided to tackle a huge home improvement project together.

According to Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, "Working through the ups and downs of a big project helps you hone your communication skills [...] The sense of accomplishment and teamwork that results from a challenging shared experience strengthens a couple’s bond. (Her quote is featured in 7 Relationship Milestones That Are Just as Meaningful as Marriage.)

Thus, it seems working on this project is a way to strengthen our relationship. This project is not an improvement our home needs (i.e. we're not renovating a bathroom with a leaky toilet and busted shower tiles); it's an improvement we -- as the homeowners -- want (basically, we're a large part of our backyard into a sort of outdoor oasis). As such, creative ideas are flying everywhere. We have both collective and separate visions, and we're working to combine those visions while making sure each of us is happy.

We haven't thrown any paint brushes at each other yet, so I'd say we're succeeding so far.

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Children and Teens

4 Tips for Parenting Teens

Parenting is tough. It can get tougher when your child enters the teenage years. Understandably, you might feel overwhelmed when your child starts acting differently and stops wanting to spend time with you, preferring to hang with their friends. You might feel overwhelmed with their mood swings. You might feel anxious about navigating this next phase. You might be unsure.

What do you do? What actually helps? We talked to two experts, and an important theme emerged: empathizing with your teen and making sure they feel heard. Here’s how.
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Anxiety and Panic

5 Tips for Helping Your Troubled Teen

It can be tough to tell when a teen needs help. Because adolescence is a time of transition -- and even turbulence. Your teen is likely irritable and moody. They question their identity. In fact, they try on different identities, which can lead to inconsistent behavior.

According to psychotherapist Sean Grover, LCSW, this is known as developmental depression, which is totally normal for teens. “[T]eenagers go through a dramatic transformational period driven by biological and psychological maturation, hormone imbalances and irregularities in brain development.” Which fuels their emotional instability, he said.
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Best of Our Blogs: August 9, 2016

Anxiety can be crippling, but you can learn to manage it. Grudges might hurt you more than the "guilty" party, but you can let go of past grievances. Sometimes, it's easy to let others dictate how they'll treat you in a relationship, but you can set boundaries and show people what you expect -- and won't tolerate -- from them.

Get ready to explore new paths you can take

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Family Matters: Self-Preservation Tips

“Maybe when he is older, he will understand mental health’s impact. He will have a girlfriend and, one day, he will get it,” my late mother whispers to me.

I nod, more to appease my weary mother. Her eyes glow when discussing her three sons. With an infectious cackle and mischievous smile, she would tease me about my eccentricities. When I absentmindedly misplaced that night’s homework assignment, she would endearingly refer to me as “Barnacle Breath.”

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5 Tips for Doing It All–Really!

We often hear and read that we can’t do it all. We must pick and choose. We need to make serious sacrifices. We can either have a great career or a great family. We either volunteer or have a side business. But we need to resign ourselves to the fact that we can't have everything. It’s a message women regularly receive.

However, writer and author Linda Formichelli asserts that we can do it all. For instance, if your version of doing it all means cultivating a connected family, building a fulfilling career, enjoying fun hobbies, and traveling regularly, you can have that.
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Why Narcissistic Parents Infantilize Their Adult Children

One trait that nearly all narcissistic parents have in common is the need to infantilize their children. This can be as direct as making the child feel incompetent every time they try something new, or it can be as subtle as always stepping in and offering to do something they can clearly do for themselves.

Unfortunately, this behavior rarely stops even after the child becomes an adult. In fact, it can sometimes become worse as the narcissistic parent fears their children’s growing independence and the end of their narcissistic supply.

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How to Deal with Difficult Parents

As kids, we put our parents on a pedestal. When we were growing up, they could heal every wound, solve every problem and fix anything that was broken.

As adults, we realize they don’t actually know everything and also have shortcomings. Sometimes, the tables turn -- our parents begin to come to us for financial help, relationship advice, or career guidance. We may start to feel like we are their parents and have come into a role of supporting them much sooner than we expected.

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Children and Teens

7 Ideas for Date Night When You Have to Stay in with Your Kids

Maybe your babysitter cancels. Maybe you’re trying to save money. Maybe you’re not ready to leave your baby. Maybe you don’t trust anyone else to watch your child. Maybe you’re too exhausted to leave the house. Maybe there’s some other reason. Either way, the end result is the same: You’ve got to stay home with your kids, and you’d like to spend some quality time with your partner.

“Nourishing your connection with your beloved is essential in your relationship and ultimately, your family thriving as a whole,” said Lily Zehner, EdD, MFT-C, a Denver-based therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy and relationships.

But date night doesn’t have to mean going out. As Zehner said, staying in “just gives you an opportunity to think outside the box.” Below are seven connection-strengthening, stay-at-home ideas.
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Confidence-Building and the Special Olympics

Tommy was terrified to travel to Columbus. He was scheduled to compete in the Special Olympics that weekend. Tommy has anxiety disorder, ADHD and autism, and anything out of the ordinary such as a road trip to a place he’d never been before threw him way off. “Talk to Daddy,” he kept telling me. “I don’t want to go. Can you tell him I don’t want to go?”

Steve was not surprised at Tommy’s resistance to going to a new place and doing a new activity. It was the story of our lives.

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How to Promote Your Child’s Good Mental Health

Everyone knows the importance of good mental health, but how do you help your children achieve it? Here are some points to consider.

1. Give your child unconditional love.

Every child deserves and needs unconditional love from his or her parents and other family members. Love, security and acceptance form the bedrock for a child’s good mental health. Make sure your child knows that your love doesn’t depend on them getting good grades...
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Anxiety and Panic

Spirituality vs. Mental Disorders: God Doesn’t Hate Medication

I grew up in a family that had high expectations of me, and I have personally struggled with anxiety. For several years, I thought that my anxiety was a normal part of life. I didn’t realize that I should not have been having full-blown anxiety at the age of nine, but I was.

My family didn’t believe in mental illnesses, besides those that were obvious to the untrained eye. We did, however, attend a church regularly. I was highly interested in Christianity and studied it on my own. I was able to combat the unnatural anxiety through my relationship with God, and was able to overcome the anxiety throughout middle and high school. College, however, was different.
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