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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Parents, It’s Time to Have ‘The Talk’

April 16th, 2014
Attention, parents of tweens and teens: If you haven’t had “the talk,” it’s time. Kids need information about sex -- both its joys and its dangers -- from people they love and trust. However uncomfortable it may ...

Teen Daughters Need Moms Instead of Friends

Instinctual Detection of Deceit better than Conscious Efforts“I’ve tried so hard to be her friend. Why is she doing this to me?” Ginger, the mom I’m talking to, is upset and mystified. Fourteen-year-old Jessy has been acting up. She talks back to her mom. She doesn’t do all ...

Transforming Struggles with Kids into Parenting that Works

Transforming Struggles with Kids into Parenting that Works Kyle, a happy, active, strong-minded 5-year-old, was busy playing after dinner when he was supposed to be clearing the table. His dad called him repeatedly, trying to get his attention to come help. Kyle, seeming oblivious, did not ...

The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology & the Self

BOOK REVIEW.
“The moment a child is born, a mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~ Rajneesh, spiritual guru To be human is to engage in relationships with other humans, and, by these interactions, to be transformed. In The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology, and ...

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

Six Ways to Help your Perfectionist Child Find BalanceFour-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he ...

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding Perfectionist

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding PerfectionistI once met a young man who had had many successes in his youth. He was intelligent and outgoing. He had always been the star in high school and had enjoyed the praise he received from others, but ...

Perfectionism’s Trap: Matthew McConaughey’s Impossible Chase

Perfectionism's Trap: Matthew McConaughey's Impossible ChasePerfectionism is an addiction, meaning we’re repeatedly unable to stop our perfectionist behaviors. Like other addictions, perfectionism varies in severity and can have negative consequences. It harms our self-esteem, makes us unable to accept other people’s differences and their mistakes and ...

Bullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies & Bystanders

BOOK REVIEW.
I heard my share of mean comments about my weight, height, and personality while I was in school, but as someone who has never truly been “bullied,” I always just saw it as part of the growing up process. Thus, I never truly understood what bullying is and the impact it has. As a result, ...

Helping ADHD Children Make Friends

Helping ADHD Children Make FriendsAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as defined by the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, presenting in two or more settings, and ...

Mental Health for the Whole Child

BOOK REVIEW.
>Children make 3 billion new connections in their brain every second. That is 3 billion opportunities for growth, or 3 billion missed connections.  With rising rates of ADHD, autism, and other mental health disorders in American children, it seems like more and more of these connections are being missed. And medications that we give our kids ...

The Connection Between OCD & Psychosis

The Connection Between OCD and PsychosisWhen my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) became severe, he was in college, fifteen hundred miles away from home. My husband and I arranged for him to see a psychiatrist near his school, who telephoned us (with our son’s permission) after ...

Child Temperament: New Thinking About the Boundary Between Traits & Illness

BOOK REVIEW.
Are you the firstborn child of your family? Did you turn out to be the most responsible, the parent-pleaser, or the motivated one? According to Alfred Adler and researchers of personality and temperament, firstborns tend to “outperform” their other siblings. In fact, about 21 of the 23 astronauts and the majority of U.S. presidents have ...

How to Manage a Critical Mom

How to Manage a Critical MomCasey’s mother is coming to visit next weekend. She doesn’t feel she can say no. After all, her mom and dad often have been very helpful. They paid for the two kids’ camps last summer. They are generous at birthdays. But ...

Parental Guilt Over Kids’ Perceived Failures, Part 2

Parental Anxiety Over Kids' Perceived Failures, Part 2Children’s struggles or failures -- real, perceived or anticipated -- can activate strong reactions of disappointment, shame and guilt in parents. Typically, this is most relevant in families with high-achieving parents whose children are inherently less driven and have ...

Phantom Pregnancy (Pseudocyesis): The Mind-Body Connection

Phantom Pregnancy (Pseudocyesis): The Mind-Body ConnectionPregnancy is an exciting time for expectant mothers. It’s a high point in women’s lives and one that will bring great changes. It brings many physical and emotional symptoms. A woman may feel complete and fulfilled when she knows that she ...

Boys Need Help with Self-Esteem, Too

Boys Need Help with Self-Esteem, TooI’ve been writing an advice column for years. Lately, I’ve been receiving more and more letters from boys who feel bad about themselves, who are depressed that the only friends they have are online, and who feel directionless. Some aren’t doing ...

Parental Anxiety Over Kids’ Perceived Failures, Part 1

v Sometimes when kids don’t succeed fully, it reverberates with parents’ own dread of failure, leading to personalized reactions, or overreactions, and a cascade of negative cycles between parents and children. Certain families with children who are not high achievers, or who have impediments, are more vulnerable. ...

OCD, Lying, Hyper-responsibility & Honesty

OCD, Lying, Hyper-responsibility & HonestyMy son Dan was an honest child; an unusually upfront, truthful boy, who as far as I know, never lied to me. Teachers and relatives would comment on his honesty as well, saying things such as, “If we want to know what ...

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderMichelle was terrorized for much of her childhood. Her father was an inconsistent presence and her mother expressed outright disdain for her. Often when Michelle went to her mother for comfort, she was accused of exaggerating or being a "crybaby" and sent away. Starting at age 4 until she was out of the house at 16, Michelle was molested by several family members -- including her brother, her uncle and a couple of cousins. As she grew up, different men in the neighborhood also sexually assaulted her. At 19, she began dating Carl, who initially was very affectionate. However, he then began to be suspicious of different friends of hers and concerned about how she spent her time. This escalated into more and more controlling behavior and occasionally he was physically violent.

9 Tips for Destressing Getting the Kids to Bed

9 Tips for Destressing Getting the Kids to BedOne of the sweet pleasures of parenting can be the nightly ritual of tucking a child into bed. It can also be a waking nightmare. It’s up to us. And, yes, it’s important. Children who feel loved, cared ...

Postpartum Depression & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Postpartum Depression & Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderPregnancy and childbirth bring feelings of joy, excitement and anticipation. They also can complicate existing mental health issues and can create new mental health problems during the pregnancy, at the time of the birth and afterward. Mother and baby both can ...

Fathers Reconnecting with Abandoned Kids

Fathers Reconnecting with Abandoned KidsJesse came to therapy with an important project in mind. Mine was not the first office he’d been to. He’d already been in a rehab program where he kicked a 10-year drug habit that had ruined his health, his marriage and his ...

Making Happy Changes in Your Holidays

Making Happy Changes in Your HolidaysThe holiday season has started and I’m often reminded of an elderly friend of mine. Whenever someone said “Have a happy holiday!” she always replied, “No, make it one.” She was right, of course. Happy holidays don’t just happen. Holidays are ...