Teaching Your Child to Pay Attention Amid Digital Distractions

Technology has its pros and cons. A TV show or iPad app can help kids learn about everything from history to animals. However, too much time with electronic devices starts to hamper attention and steal time away from other important things.

In her latest book Parenting in the Age of Attention Snatchers: A Step-by-Step Guide to Balancing Your Child’s Use of Technology psychologist, researcher and attention expert Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D, shares a slew of helpful strategies. She shows parents how to help their kids sharpen “voluntary attention.” This kind of attention requires effort and helps us achieve our goals.

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3 Reasons Why Therapy Isn’t Helping Your Child

It's difficult for parents to get their children into therapy. After all, few children volunteer to be in therapy, and are frequently delivered to therapists' offices like indignant hostages.

After much strain and stress, you may luck out, and your child may agree to see a therapist. But what do you do if after weeks or months of therapy, you see no change in his or her behavior?

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How Working Moms Can Make the Most of Their Time

Today, the prevailing narrative is that of the harried, overworked, stressed-out mom. The woman who doesn’t get enough sleep. The woman who sacrifices self-care. The woman who either has a successful career or a happy marriage. The woman who can’t have it all.

In her latest book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time Laura Vanderkam shows that women can have a fulfilling career and family life -- and even get enough sleep.
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Brain and Behavior

Why We Can’t Put Our Phones Down

There is a certain cultural phenomenon that everyone with two eyes and a smartphone has experienced. I just witnessed it again, for the umpteenth time, at a choral concert at my daughter’s elementary school.

As the curtains opened on a three-row arrangement of ebullient second-graders, hundreds of cellular devices lit up in the audience. Moms and dads morphed into a clamoring mass of parent paparazzi, frantically searching for the record buttons on their smartphones and iPads.

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Talk Therapy is Strong Medicine

I’d just finished a family session one October morning when my emergency line rang. The faint voice of one of my long-term patients croaked, “Dr. Deitz. Please. I need help.”

It was Lauren, a 43-year old woman I had been treating for years with medication and psychotherapy. Stable for several years, she and I met monthly to monitor her medication and discuss her marriage and children. She rarely called between sessions.

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Why Kids Shouldn’t Be Incarcerated for Giving Dad the Silent Treatment

My husband's parents divorced when he was in middle school. When I asked how they shared custody of him and his younger sister, he said, "We got to choose who we wanted to live with." I marveled at that statement. I wasn't allowed to make any decisions under my father's roof. Come to think of it, neither was my mother. I can tell you right away who we would have chosen to live with.

I wasn't asked where I wanted to vacation or what movie I wanted to see. I wasn't allowed to be repulsed when my parents smooched -- because it made my father feel judged. I wasn't allowed to give the silent treatment or to sulk after being beaten. I wasn't allowed to be angry, loud, energetic, silly or moody. I had no right to anything. I lived under a narcissist's roof.

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Children and Teens

5 Crucial Things Parents Tend to Forget

Being a parent is hard. It’s the most difficult setting on the most difficult game you have ever played. The only way to succeed is to get in there, get your hands dirty, and be willing to learn.

You go and go and go until you feel like you cannot go anymore (and then you go more anyway). You go and go so much that your children are probably to blame for your caffeine dependence and your excruciating headache. In the midst of all this chaos there are principles that can make our lives a whole lot easier.

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Children and Teens

8 Insightful Quotes about Life from ‘Wish I Was Here’

The 2014 Kickstarter-inspired release, "Wish I Was Here," starring Zach Braff and Kate Hudson, features a multifaceted narrative for middle adulthood. Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, is a husband and father who faces obstacles regarding career choice, parenting, faith and impending loss. As the natural progression of life runs its course, new (and rather challenging and emotionally painful) experiences manifest.

Here are eight insightful quotes from this poignant film:
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How to Survive When Your Child Has a Mental Illness

There are times when surviving is all a parent feels like they are doing. From broken bones to broken hearts, we survive one crisis after another. Parenting can be difficult enough if your child is healthy, but if they have a mental illness it can be life-altering.

My son was 11 years old when he told me that life was not worth living. That statement started our family on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs for over 10 years. My son’s illness brought pain and heartache into our lives, but it also brought an awareness of gratitude. How I responded to his needs defined our relationship for the future.

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The Harsh Reality of Raising a Teen Addict

I can never protect him from the real threat -- the threat of an addictive brain.

After more than 24 hours of labor, I'm exhausted and barely awake; yet, I recognize the baby screaming from the nursery as my own. I'm a mom. The nurses bring him to me to soothe him. He continues to scream as I try to latch him to my breast.

"You've got a fighter there," the nurses tell me.

And at barely a day old, the fight begins.

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Anxiety and Panic

How We Deny Ourselves Joy Without Even Realizing It

"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." - Rumi
There's a funny thing about depression and self-esteem. Even when we feel like life is good, maybe even great, and we have everything we could possibly want, we somehow can't believe it. We wait for the other shoe to drop. Why? Because we're not even aware of the fact that we have a long history of denying ourselves joy.

The pattern is pervasive. We make jokes that undercut how well we are feeling at the moment. It's almost superstitious. If we said out loud, "My life is wonderful. I am happier than I ever could have imagined. I'm excited about the future," the whole thing will instantaneously go up in flames.

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Children and Teens

10 Tips for Supporting Children Through a Spouse’s Mental Illness

A parent's mental illness can leave a child feeling scared and unstable.

Dad's mood changes. The whole household feels the effects. Everyone quickly switches gears, puts on their best behavior, and attempts not to cause any waves. Mom tries to put on a happy face and hopes that the kids don't notice. Nobody mentions this change in mood, but the tension in the household is obvious.

Everyone quietly distances himself and waits for the storm to pass. The adults understand what is happening, but the kids are left to draw their own conclusions. They begin to wonder why mom and dad are acting differently. Why is dad so sad, or so angry? Why won't he play outside like he used to?
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