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Autism

Your Autistic Teen and Family Holiday Gatherings

Little kids with autism grow to be teens with autism. As is true with all adolescents, pressures both inside their bodies and in the social world can make them sometimes be irritable and reactive. Parents who live with them adapt and adopt new strategies for supporting their children over time. Relatives who see the kids intermittently often aren’t prepared for what it means to interact with a bigger kid who can’t be as easily directed or managed as when they were young. This is especially true if some of the teen’s behaviors are socially awkward or even potentially frightening.

Christmas is a time of year when many families have a big family gathering to celebrate. Parents of teens with autism and their extended family members are often torn: The teen is a loved member of the family who should be included, but will including him be disruptive to the family or even harmful to the teen?
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Children and Teens

6 Expert Tactics for Talking with Kids in Multiple Situations

Parents talk to their kids a lot. In a single day, they can issue a multitude of instructions, orders and requests as they converse with their children. Rarely do they stop to wonder if their kids understand what they are saying.

What most parents fail to realize is that their kids are constantly looking to them for cues on how to act and behave. The way you speak to your children shows how you want them to speak back to you and it greatly determines whether they’ll listen and respond to what you say.
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Children and Teens

Talking to Your Children about the Threat of Nuclear War

On Nov. 29th, the Today Show reported on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and then my 13-year-old son Tommy asked, "Is North Korea going to bomb us? Mom, is this going to be our last Christmas?"

I was struck by Tommy's intelligence and lack of innocence in his startling inquiry. I was born in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and grew up during the Cold War. But I would have never had the wherewithal to ask something such as this. Schools had stopped teaching duck and cover. I don't think I even knew in junior high what a nuclear bomb was. The only hint I had that these types of weapons existed was the fact that my older brother had a poster on his wall which offered advice about what to do if a nuke bomb went off. It said, "Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."
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Anger

What Does Conduct Disorder Look Like?

A conduct disorder involves both behavioral and emotional problems found in children who do not adhere to what is socially acceptable. Kids who understand, but choose not to follow rules, can often fall into the category of conduct disorder. Teachers frequently reprimand these children more often than others from an early grade.


There is no known cause of conduct disorder. While it was originally thought to have been a product of poor parenting, the general consensus has changed. There are multiple factors that may play a role in this particular development. The most common areas of concern are: genetics, environment, and psychological problems.
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Children and Teens

Parenting Fails that Won’t Doom Your Kids Life

Parenting is really tough and despite our best intentions, no parent gets it completely right 100% of the time. When it comes to parenting, we have to accept that embarrassing gaffes are just par for the course. The upside -- other than having that adorable bundle of mischievous energy in your life -- is that these goofs are comedy gold that make your parenting journey utterly delightful.

Fortunately, kids are more
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Children and Teens

How Parents Can Overcome the Consumerism Trap This Holiday Season

Consumerism and materialism can be challenging for parents as the holiday season is approaching.

Many people experience pressure to buy gifts, sometimes in excess of what they might be comfortably able to afford. Kids often have high expectations for receiving gifts based on how many gifts their friends are getting and messages from the media telling them that they need more and better.  

Without mindful awareness, we as parents can easily fall into the trap of going on automatic pilot and doing what we think we “should” do to keep up with societal expectations instead of making choices based on what is most meaningful to us.

Here are a few suggestions for how to step out of the consumerism trap this holiday season:
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Children and Teens

Becoming a More Confident Parent

A typical modern family is so different from one a few generations ago that it’s like a “Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus” paradigm. The kids, propped up by their sub-culture, have usurped the power parents used to have, while the parents, on the defensive, struggle to maintain confidence and control.

Parents are often unsure about what to say; how to behave; whether to punish. Their offspring, in contrast, have no hesitation challenging their parents about their unfair, stupid rules. They counter their parents’ attempts to be in control with impudence, insolence, interruptions and what might be best described as "copping an attitude."
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Children and Teens

Knives, Fire, and Running with Scissors: On Letting Our Kids Take Risks

Before we begin I feel the need to point out that the title of this piece is facetious. Of course your children shouldn’t be allowed to run around with knives, scissors and fire. That being said... let them ride a bike!

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently about the way kids are coddled these days. Normally I am not a “Back in my day” kind of guy. But when I see how little children are allowed to spread their wings in the modern age, I can’t help but feel a bit of that curmudgeon surface.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Social Media Feeds Social Anxiety

Fingers flying, incessant texting, phones held to ear as secondary appendages gives the illusion we are well connected. We are chattering and snapping and “selfieing” (I think I just made that word up -- you can do that these days) all the live long day. Meanwhile scientists quietly dispense reports underlining an incredible finding: We are socially anxious people. Extremely socially anxious. So what gives?
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Children and Teens

Behind the Mask: What the ‘Good Daughter’ of the Narcissistic Mother Would Tell You if She Could

As a psychotherapist treating Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I see how her daughter, trapped in the role of the "Good daughter," hides her true self behind a mask of faux perfection. In this article, I explain how she becomes disconnected from her essential self to please her mother and lives a life that is not her own. 

You might miss her unless you know what to look for.

Plastering on a beauty queen, camera-ready smile that functions more like a mask than an expression of joy. It's the smile that insists, “I’m fine, perfect in fact. Why would you ask?”

There is no joy, nor ease in that smile. It is more militant than confident. The smile is designed to keep you out rather than invite you in.
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