Hot Topics & Thought Provoking Articles 

Check out these Hot Topic articles! As a child and adolescent therapist, I am always reading up on whats new in today's world from various perspectives. Visit this page regularly to find links to new articles that will keep you informed and engaged. Also, here are various book recommendations that may be useful. 

Adolescence and Parents as Valuable Informants:

There is a full disclosure question most adolescents wrestle with during their growing up: “How much should I tell my parents about what’s going on in my life?”The answer is complicated because while telling parents the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth may contribute to gaining their trust; at an age when independence is very important, such an open declaration can trigger more parental alarm than appreciation. When it does, instead of truth-telling setting the young person free, it can do just the opposite. Thus in alarm at what they have been told, parents may exclaim: “You did what? You are doing what? You intend to do what? No way you get to go!”.........Read More

Responding to the Adolescent Push for Freedom:

For parents, their adolescent’s push for freedom can take some getting used to. Repeated with many variations, their complaint can sound something like this. “No matter how much freedom we allow, he’s never satisfied! Whether it’s a later curfew, sleep overs at friends’, or a higher allowance, he always wants more. Yet when we want something from him, we only get an argument, an excuse, or a delay. It’s all about what he wants and doesn’t want to do! He’s much more self-centered than he used to be. What about what we want? How can we stop the pushing, get him to slow down, and encourage better cooperation?” So there were really three questions in one. And then there is the matter of the Cultural Divide. Start with the questions.........Read More

Dove Short Film Embraces 'Selfies' to Redefine How We Perceive Beauty:

The 7-minute short film called Selfie follows a series of teenagers and their mothers who are asked to take self-images that highlight their insecurities about the way they look. In an experiment reminiscent of Dove's viral "beauty sketches" ad, the participants learn some of their disliked attributes are what others consider to be the most beautiful........Read More

The Ultimate Happiness Plan:

“Don’t tell me what happiness is,” a dear friend advised me as gently as she could, “Tell me what I need to do.” After some moments of righteous indignation—after all, I am a serious writer—I decided that breaking things down into doable steps is indeed helpful and that I can and will deliver, right on time for the holidays. Consider my ten steps to be ten gifts, more than you got for Hanukkah and less than you should get for Christmas. I even tell you, when to open your gifts, which is why they constitute a plan, the ultimate happiness plan that is, sanctioned by science, common sense, and Eastern wisdom. So, let the unraveling begin:.......Read More

Appreciating Fear in Adolescence:

During adolescence, should fear become significantly disruptive or disabling, if separation anxiety or social avoidance or panic attacks develop for example, some professional evaluation should be sought. When fears become this intense, a young person’s healthy functioning is at stake. But what about lesser fears that are a normal part of growing up? I believe parents should be sensitive to these, although this can be hard to do when many young people are reluctant to disclose when they feel afraid. Why?.......Read More

Self-Injury: One Family's Story:

Dawn was a junior in high school when her secret was discovered - she was practicing self-harm, she was cutting herself. That was eight years ago. Today, Dawn is nearly 25, and has transformed herself and her life. She has focused her career goals on helping others with emotional problems. Dawn and Deb (her mother) hope that, in sharing their story, they can help other families come to grips with the problem of cutting.......Read More

Soaring numbers of teenage girls are self-harming due to "unprecedented toxic climate' they are growing up in:

The 'unprecedented toxic climate' that children are growing up in is causing an increasing number of teenage girls to self-harm, experts have warned. Hospital admissions for self-harm among teenage girls have jumped by 10 per cent in just one year, new figures reveal. In the 12 months to June, there were 13,400 cases of self-harm among girls aged 15 to 19 that required hospital treatment - up from 12,220 in the previous year. The England-wide data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also shows 4,000 cases of self-harm among 15 to 19-year-old boys......Read More 

Ask 7 Questions When Starting Your College Search:

What, exactly, should you look for in a college? You'll certainly want an academic program that suits your abilities and interests.  But the school you attend will become much more than the place that grants your degree; by graduation, it will have been home for nearly one-fifth of your life. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you work on finding the right fit.......Read More

What is Self-Injury?:

Sometimes called “deliberate self-harm,” “self-injury,” “self-mutilation,” “cutting,” or “non-suicidal self-injury”, self-injury typically refers to a variety of behaviors in which an individual intentionally inflicts harm to his or her body for purposes not socially recognized or sanctioned and without suicidal intent (Favazza, 1996). Self-injury can include a variety of behaviors but is most commonly associated with:......Read More

Making a Child Comfortable in Two Home:

Having two places to call home -- Mom's and Dad's -- can be confusing to children, especially when a family is in the early stages of a separation or divorce. "Moving from household to household means change, and kids are not known for welcoming disruptions to their routines," says William Doherty, Ph.D., director of the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Then again, a child also has the excitement of a new home, a new bedroom to decorate and a new neighborhood to explore. Whether you're setting up a new address or maintaining the present one in the midst of your separation or divorce, there are lots of things you can do to make the switch to dual residency more comfortable for everyone........Read More 

Teens & Friendship:

Friendships are an important part of the teen years. Friends provide the guidance and support teens used to seek from their parents when they were younger. As a parent this can a difficult situation to accept. While as a parent it may seem as if your thoughts and opinions matter little to your teen, in reality, your influence is probably far greater than you realize. Research indicates that teens tend to pick friends with similar values. Those values are generally transmitted from parent to child. Although as a parent your influence may not be direct, you have a lot to do with whom your child chooses to befriend..........Read More

Parents Fighting In Front of Kids: When Is It Ok?:

In a perfect world, couples wouldn't fight, and they certainly wouldn't do so in front of their children. In the real world... yeah, right. After a Wall Street Journal article sparked interest in the subject, "TODAY" invited HuffPost Parents managing editor Farah Miller, dad blogger David Vienna and child and family psychologist Jennifer Hartstein to discuss how problematic it really is for parents to let children see them in conflict. Their consensus? Don't pretend that arguments aren't going to come up -- and when they do, try to show effective problem-solving skills.........Read More

'I Leaned In to Freshman Year': A Student's Advice for Overcoming High School Fears:

I’ll admit it—the first day of high school was nerve-racking, terrifying and full of surprises. I grew up watching movies and TV programs that showed high school freshmen getting thrown into empty trashcans and their heads dunked into dirty toilets. What if I couldn’t make it class to class on time? What if I was going to get shoved into a locker and made fun of? What if my schoolwork was harder than I expected? Fear overwhelmed me to no end. I didn’t know what expect, but I knew high school was an important time in my life. It would shape me into the person I was going to become and help me find what I wanted to do with my life. I was afraid of messing up and not being satisfied with the results........Read More

Hey Sport Parents! Behave Yourselves:

Most parents—indeed, all parents—want their children to succeed in youth sports. Okay, let’s admit it: Parents would like their children to be stars. That’s normal. And they want to be involved in their star’s—er, child’s—sport activities, that, too, is normal. In fact, parental involvement is a critical element in the overall success of youngsters’ sport participation. Youth sports should be viewed as a part of child rearing, and parents obviously should be part of that process. But parents’ obligation to participate must include taking responsibility for behaving appropriately. Coaches, program directors, sport officials, and the athletes themselves have a right to demand that parents conform to acceptable standards of behavior. ......Read More

Why do we get the 'Grumpy Hungry?':  

Hangry. Grumpy hungry. No matter what you call it, we've all experienced it: that overwhelming irritability that takes over when we've gone too long without food. Turns out, there's some science behind it -- skipping meals can trigger us to feel overwhelmed with feelings. According to appetite behavior expert Paul Currie, a professor of psychology at Reed College, hunger can certainly prompt us to become emotional, and that can often manifest as feeling stressed or anxious........Read More

"The Act Of Sex Scares Me':  

To me the word "sex" means... a lot of different things. I think sex is something that teenagers crave, but for all the wrong reasons. Like everyone, we have physical needs, but I think we recognize the wrong ones. I remember on my 14th birthday my dad sat down with me to have "the talk." I was terrified. "The birds and the bees" were things I definitely did not want to discuss with one of my parents... let alone my father. He began with one question. That question was simple. "What is sex?".......Read More 

Eliminate Stress for You and Your Tween (or Teen):  

Anxiety and stress with teenagers are at an all-time high for tweens. They are transitioning from child to teen and want to show us (parents) that they are nothing like us and they no longer need us in their lives. Tweens are bombarded with internal and external stressors. School, dating, peer pressure, technology, and hormones are just some of the factors that can cause tweens stress and anxieties. They feel awake when we think it is bedtime and in some cases need to be awake at extremely early hours. Time on the computer, phone, and in their rooms with the door closed, creates a disconnect with parents. Underneath it all they are scared, confused, and stressed. In many cases they may actually feel lonely and isolated. Being a tween today is unlike anything we have ever imagined or experienced.......Read More

Inspirational Quotes To Get Through The Week:  

It's the start of a new week, which means it's time to shake off your weekend, take a deep breath and try to think positive, energizing thoughts. We can help. Click through the slideshow below for this week's mood-boosting inspirational photo quotes. (And feel free to read, rinse and repeat as needed.).......Read More

Mastering Middle School:  

When Alexandra Haake was 11, she was nervous and excited about starting sixth grade  -- in Davenport, IA, where she lives, that's when junior high school begins. "I'd heard that the food was so much better than the goop we got in elementary school," says Haake. "But also that the teachers were really tough.".......Read More

Preventing Tween Behavior Problems:  

Smoking, drinking, huffing, sexting: it's a scary world ahead. Start now to build the bonds that will keep your kid on track. Last summer while we were visiting family, my then 12-year-old daughter, Anna, and her cousins went to a neighbor's BBQ to hang out with their friends under the watchful (or so we thought) eyes of the adults there. Less than an hour later, they were back at the house. What happened, we asked? "Some kids were sneaking beer and getting drunk, so we decided to leave," the girls said........Read More

Research on Spanking: It's Bad For ALL Kids:  

In a new article, “Spanking and Child Development: We Know Enough Now to Stop Hitting Our Children,” Elizabeth Gershoff reviews recent research on spanking. Spanking is defined by Gershoff as “hitting a child on the bottom with an open hand” (p. 133). Parents use spanking generally in order to reduce undesirable behavior and increase desirable behavior but because it is targeted toward an undesirable behavior can only possibly meet the first parenting goal. But does it work? Researchers have looked at effects on three undesirable behaviors in children who are spanked: non-compliance in the short term, non-compliance in the long term, and aggression.  This area is hard to study in the home because spanking rarely occurs at all nor in front of strangers. It is hard to study in the laboratory because of the prohibition against hurting subjects.......Read More 

What to Do When Your Child Won't Go to School:  

Does your child complain of a stomachache right before going to school? If your child stays home, do the symptoms vanish, only to reappear the next morning? Does your child have a tantrum when you try to make your child go to school? If so, your child may have what’s known as school refusal. Children with school refusal have a very difficult time getting to school and/or staying in school, usually due to some type of anxiety.School refusal is not the same as truancy. Truant children are more typically defiant and deceptive, and theirarentsre not aware they are not in school. In contrast, school refusers more often than not are well-behaved  and compliant kids, except for this particular circumstance. In addition, their parents know they are not in school. These parents of likely spent plenty of time and energy trying to get their child to school, but with no success.......Read More

Tips to Ease Back-to-School Stress:  

It’s hard to believe, but there are only a few weeks left of summer and a new school year is on the horizon. How are your kids feeling about the upcoming school year? This transition can bring feelings of excitement for many children; a fresh start with endless possibilities. For some though, this excitement is stifled by feelings of anxiety and concern. Whether your child is entering school for the first time or starting a new school, this anxiety is normal; especially after a long summer break. Here are some tips to help ease your child’s back-to-school stress.......Read More

When Adolescents Become Their Own Worse Enemy:  

“We have met the enemy and they are us,” cartoonist Walt Kelly wryly wrote many years ago. Although most parents would wish otherwise, this humorous and harsh observation often rings true in adolescence on those contrary occasions when the young person acts against his or her better interests by engaging in self-defeating or even self-destructive behavior....... Read More

Hello Flo's 'Camp Gyno': Best Tampon Ad in the History of the World:  

In the sixth grade, my best friend Ilene and I -- both living with single dads -- would go to the grocery store together and try to ratchet up our courage to buy a box of tampons. Made desperate by our own treacherous bodies, we would nervously pace the store as if casing it for a robbery, eyes peeled for young and sympathetic female cashiers. We would then walk up and down the aisles, placing a few superfluous items in our basket to make it look as if the tampons -- snatched from the shelf in a bold, heart-pounding rush after we had assured ourselves the aisle was completely empty -- were an afterthought. Then, too horrified to giggle, we would pick our best bet cashier and stand in line, sweaty and anxious. The moment we had paid and the tampons had been slam-dunked into a paper grocery bag, Ilene and I would rush from the store............Read More

The Sex Talk... 8 tips for how to talk to your kids about sex and intimacy:  

We live in a pretty open household. There aren’t any topics that are off limits. My oldest son first asked me about where babies come from when he was 8 and we were expecting our 4th son. We went over the science of sperm and eggs and mommies and daddies loving each other. The basics that everyone learns. There were a few questions in between and many interjections by me about sex, pornography and healthy relationships. At age 10, he gets the process...........Read More

A Father's Day Blog: Its Not About Winning:  

Everyone who plays games with children quickly learns a first lesson: How important it is for them to win. For most children (and, to be honest, for many adults), these games matter. He does not want to win; he needs to win. Winning, by whatever means, evokes in young children a feeling of pride; losing evokes a feeling of failure and shame. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of these emotions in the lives of our children, especially young boys..........Read More

Zak's Dyslexia Genius- How My Brother Memorized Hamlet:  

My brother Zak, who has dyslexia, told me several years ago how he used his visual skills to master a memorization task that would otherwise have sunk him.  His creation of his own picture-language showed me how learning differences can actually fuel some of the most brilliant thinking.  Here’s his account of his technique, along with his well-justified frustration with teachers who failed to appreciate his accomplishment:.........Read More

Tips on How to Reduce Kid's Screen Time:  

Now that school is out are you finding that your child or teenager is watching too much TV or playing on the Xbox, tablet or phone constantly?  In today’s world of technology it can be difficult for parents to limit screen time without creating an argument. Here are some tips to limit screen time without stress.........Read More

15 Ways to Beat Anxiety Now:  

I’m halfway out the door in the morning with a heavy bag in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other. Then I wonder: Where did I put my keys? And so begins the 20-minute panicked reconnaissance mission for the keys I swore were on the coffee table. I start to feel flustered and irritable as I frantically search. My memory gets foggy as my heart starts to pound and my palms sweat. It’s another anxious morning..........Read More

Advice for High School Freshman:  

After mentioning the potential of High School Advice posts in my last Sunday Spiel, I received many comments requesting that I post about the topic! I am so excited to share some of my advice and tips that will hopefully benefit some of you girls who are apprehensive and uncertain about high school or school in general. While I have broken this up into different grades, I see many of the tips blending seamlessly throughout the years of high school and even middle school or college!.........Read More

20 Pillow Talk Questions for You and Your Child:  

Here are 20 Pillow Talk Questions from iMOM to help you jump start your relationship with your child. For daily Pillow Talk Questions delivered to your email inbox (sign up for the Espresso Minute Daily Email). 1. What do you like to dream about? 2. What is your best memory this school year? 3. Who is your hero? Why? 4. How would you describe your family?.........Read More

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World:  

When my family moved a few miles away to a smaller town last year, we swapped a huge school district for a smaller, more rural one, a push mower for a broken down riding one that my hubby fixed and city sewage for our very own septic system (just don’t play in the sprinklers). And while we are still close to The City (and by city, I mean Target and Chick Fil A), it was time we two-stepped over to the other side–and became a boot-wearing family”.........Read More

Problems of Curiosity Between Parents and Adolescent:  

For child and adolescent, curiosity is attracted to what is unknown and so is often filled with dangers of unexpected discovery. For example, the pre-school child painfully learns how a fascinating flickering flame is not only pretty but can burn, setting her clothes on fire, even leaving her with lasting scars. While the high school adolescent, wanting to sample the fraternity life of college friends, drinks so much alcohol so fast at a keg party that he bypasses drunk, passes out, and wakes up in the local emergency room, learning he is lucky to be alive.“Curiosity killed the cat,” indeed. Since satisfying youthful curiosity is not without risk, parenting requires vigilance: “What is my child and my teenager going to get into next?”.........Read More

Creative Consequences for Kids:  

After 8 years of parenting and reading more books than I can count, I feel confident in only one thing. This parenting thing is HARD, ya’ll. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for our parenting questions. I really thought that there was. Follow a formula and your kid will do “this.” If you, put them on a schedule…they will sleep through the night at 3 months. If you are consistent in your training…they will obey the first time you ask. If you conduct a potty boot camp…they will potty train in less than 3 days. I have come to realize just how laughable this really is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the above ideas. In fact, most of them have worked for me at least with some of my kids, some of the time. The trouble lies in our demanding that they work in all situations. And if we do that, we are ignoring the fact that children are humans. Natural born, flesh filled, sinners (Romans 6:23). Even the best of us are prone to give in to momentary pleasures, throwing caution to the wind..........Read More

50 Low or No Cost Summer Activities:  

Summer is here, which means you're bound to hear the words, "I'm bored!"  While we are firm believers that "boredom" is good for kids (and adults, too), we also believe that there are times when you need to provide kids with some play ideas and starters.  Certainly, providing them with some materials that allow them to create and imagine is a great way to encourage them to think "outside of the box".  You can get them started, and stand back and let them take over! Here's a collection of some awesome activities we've found around the web.........Read More

How to Help Children Bounce Back:  

All children, even the most fortunate, suffer emotional injuries. At home, in school and on the playground, all children experience disappointment, frustration and failure; criticism and disapproval; and exclusion by peers. All children experience moments when they feel discouraged and alone, even unloved. Many of these experiences (especially when kids are bullied or have difficulty learning to read) evoke in children a profound feeling of shame. Every emotional injury also evokes some self-protective behavior - some form of protest, retaliation or withdrawal, and some hardening of a child’s protective shell..........Read More

College Rejection Therapy:  

Jack Thornton, a senior at Niles West, was upset when he received a thin envelope from Carleton College in the mail this spring. He was waitlisted. Thornton’s first reaction was to tear it to shreds. So he did. He then put the shreds in a Ziploc bag with some water. He froze it, and later watched it melt. Just like his dreams? Not quite. It was just a way for him to cope..........Read More

30 Ways to Raise Confident Kids:  

My son is only six, but we've already had a whirlwind of confidence issues. He's the kindest person you'll ever meet, next to his father. My son is so very handsome, talented and very smart, (I may be a bit biased), but he's always torturing himself with his low confidence.  So I set out and made goals to help him build his confidence up. I've found some amazing techniques through trial and error, the internet and doing some research. What I found is MANY simple ideas and most of them need to be started when they're VERY young. I'm going to be linking up many ideas around the web, so make sure to click through them as well and see for yourself the inspiring ways to build up your child's confidence.........Read More

Divorced Parents Reveal Their Secrets:  

Kids have fuller schedules today than they did in their parents' generation. These parents juggle to fit sports games, play dates, music lessons and other activities into their family’s weekly schedule. As a result, parents are more stressed than ever and it is taking a toll on their relationships with their spouses. So, how on earth do moms and dads take the time to relax and recharge? When it comes to this question, married parents may have something to learn from divorced parents. While most of what I hear as a therapist relates to the trauma and pain associated with divorce, a number of clients have disclosed a surprising sentiment: they secretly like the time off from parenting........Read More

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10:  

Grace is rounding the curve to ten.  I am not sure how this is possible. I feel ever more aware of her girlhood and looming adolescence, and of all the things I want her to know, as if I could somehow instill values and beliefs into her, like pressing a penny into soft clay.  I know I can't; the best I can do is to keep saying them, keep writing them, keep living them. Ten things I want my 10-year-old daughter to know.........Read More

Seven Ways Busy Parents Can Help Their Children Feel Special: 

Do you ever wonder, "Will my children suffer because they have a working mother? Will they be deprived?" The answer: That depends on what you believe and what you do. Many happy, successful people have been raised by working moms. It is not the circumstance of life, but how we perceive those circumstances and what we do that has the greatest impact. Each person decides whether challenges will be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones to joy and success in life. Understanding this does not negate the struggles and concerns of working moms, but it can offer hope and a basis for dealing with the struggles in ways that benefit rather than harm children........Read More

There's A Lion In The Bank: 

The television ad shows a mother and young daughter sitting near a lion’s den in a zoo.....But wait -- go back – watch it again, for this ad captures and illustrates an important concept that a parent needs to understand. It is a perfect example of how a child thinks, for when the mother aims the camera at the lion, one sees on the screen what is in the mind of the child – a lion in a bank. The child took the results of aiming the camera at the lion literally and concretely...........Read More

Yoga May Help Mental Health Disorders, from Depression to Schizophrenia: 

Yoga has gained such momentum in the U.S. in recent years that it’s hard not to pass a yoga studio on your daily commute or read of some new research study touting the health benefits of the 5,000-year old practice. Researchers behind a new study wondered “whether the evidence matched the promise” when it comes to yoga's ability to improve the symptoms of psychiatric disorders like stress, depression and ADHD.......Read More

The Best Friend and Worst Enemy Bully: 

Very commonly, elementary aged girls are bullied by good friends. Surprised? I was, too. Girl friends bullying girl friends is the premise of the book, Little Girls Can Be Mean. One of the authors, Michelle Anthony, Ph.D., walked me through the book over coffee recently. Initially, when she told me about her book, I felt shocked. Friends as bullies? Then I thought about girls. And how they can be. Are you with me so far? Except, it’s not what we’ve been teaching our children about bullies. We’ve been teaching kids that the bullies are mean kids. Not our friends. Never our friends........Read More

Why Parents Need to let their Children Fail:

Overparenting is characterized in the study as parents' "misguided attempt to improve their child's current and future personal and academic success." In an attempt to understand such behaviors, the authors surveyed psychologists, guidance counselors, and teachers. The authors asked these professionals if they had witnessed examples of overparenting, and left space for descriptions of said examples. While the relatively small sample size and questionable method of subjective self-reporting cast a shadow on the study's statistical significance, the examples cited in the report provide enough ammunition for a year of dinner parties.......Read More

10 Rule for Friendly Fighting for Couples: 

A healthy relationship requires knowing the skills necessary for “friendly fighting” — dealing with conflict respectfully and working together to find a workable solution. Friendly fighting means working out differences that matter. It means engaging passionately about things we feel passionate about, without resorting to hurting one another. It helps us let off steam without getting burned. Friendly fighting lets us “fight” and still stay friends..........Read More

Why a Teen Who Talks Back May Have a Bright Future: 

If you're the parent of a teenager, you likely find yourself routinely embroiled in disputes with your child. Those disputes are the symbol of teen developmental separation from parents. It's a vital part of growing up, but it can be extraordinarily wearing on parents. Now researchers suggest that those spats can be tamed and, in the process, provide a lifelong benefit to children.........Read More

Obstacle Courses, Charades Are 'The Secrets of Happy Families' : 

Bruce Feiler Spent Years Researching Keys to Family Bliss.Could the secret to a happy family be sweating it out with your three kids while a former special ops Marine barks orders? Or is it playing a goofy game of charades? Or is it Kyle Richards, a star of Bravo's reality TV series "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," playing barefoot backyard basketball with her four daughters? According to best-selling author Bruce Feiler, your family bliss can be found in all three..............Read More

Family gets Discount on Restaurant bill for 'Well Behaved Kids': 

Considerate children in classy restaurants are apparently cherished enough to warrant discounts. Laura King, 28, was delighted when four dollars were deducted from her receipt at an Italian restaurant in Poulsbo, Wash. for "well behaved kids." "This was definitely a random act of kindness," King told the Daily News. "We didn't go to the restaurant expecting a reward. We expect our kids to act this way whenever we are out and about. This was just a small surprise."........Read More 

 

37 Rules to Fighting Fair: 

Thousands of people have written about fighting fair.  Here’s a compilation of some fair fighting rules.  Resources are available at the bottom.  All partners and couples engage in conflict, but the key is resolving conflict without being destructive. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to Fighting Fair.  I suggest copying and pasting it to a word document, then add and substract to tailor it to you, and print off a couple copies (one for you, and one for your partner).  When you start really getting into it, both of you should have these near you to remind yourself of how to fight FAIR!........Read More

11 Practical Ways Parents Can Help Build Self-Esteem: 

Self esteem is one of the most important aspects of our children’s development. Having a healthy and positive self esteem means our children feel good about themselves, have the courage to try new things, the confidence to do things independently, to stand up for what they believe in, to take pride in themselves, to set goals and to accept and give love. As discussed previously, we are generally pretty good at the positive reinforcement and praise elements of building a positive self esteem, and are doing this well, particularly in the early years of development (think how excited we get when they take their first steps…or the jubilation with which we respond to a first wee on the potty).......Read More

Adolescence and Self-Dissatisfaction: 

It’s something I believe parents should be sensitive to once their child enters adolescence: expressions of self-dissatisfaction. In counseling, I take them seriously because they are variations of a single damaging statement: “I don’t like how I am or how my life is going.” Self-dissatisfaction is a common, low-level complaint of self-dislike that is so endemic in adolescence that it is often just dismissed as teenage angst; but what starts as occasional angst can become constant, and what becomes constant angst can end motivating choices of the self-defeating, even self-destructive kind.......Read More

It's not just you: Facebook envy makes people miserable, studies show: 

As someone who doesn't prioritize dating, I rarely catch myself mulling over the lack of romance in my life … until I look at my Facebook Newsfeed. Seeing countless posts by friends who are getting engaged, married, or starting families can wipe the smile right off my face and leave me feeling lonely. According to researchers, I'm not the only one who can turn into a sourpuss after after using the social.........Read More

Girls' Bathroom Stall Note Offers Hope and Comfort to Other Women: 

It's not unusual to walk into a bathroom stall and see a mix of short notes, graffiti and stories. But it is unusual for someone to take the time to craft a thoughtful response. That's just what one Reddit user saw when she entered the girls' bathroom at her university. "In a girls' bathroom stall at my university, girls have written about some of their most horrifying life experiences," wrote Reddit user chellylauren on January 14th. This week, someone replied."..........Read More

A Different Kind of Parenting Resolution: 

What if, this year, you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to be more patient as a parent, didn’t promise to be more attentive, or didn’t vow to be more (insert here whatever you’re feeling most remorsal about not being)? Many moms and dads make a sweeping resolution to be better parents at the start of each new year. However, if you forgo this tradition, then you will likely be doing yourself a favor by saving yourself from guilt later. Why? These are resolutions you probably can’t keep—not just because you decide to, anyway.........Read More

Beautiful Brains: 

Although you know your teenager takes some chances, it can be a shock to hear about them. One fine May morning not long ago my oldest son, 17 at the time, phoned to tell me that he had just spent a couple hours at the state police barracks. Apparently he had been driving "a little fast." What, I asked, was "a little fast"? Turns out this product of my genes and loving care, the boy-man I had swaddled, coddled, cooed at, and then pushed and pulled to the brink of manhood, had been flying down the highway at 113 miles an hour. "That's more than a little fast," I said..........Read More

Your Child and Anxiety: School Stress Starts Early: 

Call it pressure. Call it great expectations. Whatever its name the result is the same: school stress. It starts as soon as kindergarten. It turns play into competitive sport. It turns the joy of learning into a struggle to excel. It turns friends into social connections and charitable acts into a line on a resume. In his 31 years of teaching, Richard L. Hall, PhD, has never seen a more stressful time. Hall is assistant headmaster of Atlanta's Lovett School, which enrolls some 1,500 students from pre-kindergarten through high school. "It can be overwhelming," Hall tells WebMD. "Students are put in a position of feeling they just must not stop. They are not given a sense of support. They are put in an environment where they are not accepted for themselves but only for what they are going to achieve. All this builds stress.".........Read More

21 Creative Consequences: 

Disciplining our children takes dedication and effort.  It also helps to mix in a little creativity when needed.  The consequences below from parenting expert, Lisa Welchel, might seem a little strong, but let them inspire you to come up with your own, and pair them with the 7 steps to Tried and True Discipline. 1. If time-outs don't work, try a "time-in." This can be accomplished by sending your child to a designated spot where he must complete a task that has a definite beginning and end. This could be putting together a small puzzle, stringing 50 beads on a piece of yarn, or tracing the alphabet. A time-in diverts his energies and encourages him to focus on something positive...........Read More

When Kids Defy Gender Roles: 

Picture this: You are a single mother raising a son. You walk into your 4-year-old's room and find him wearing his sister's tutu and his face smeared with lipstick. DO YOU: A. Get on the phone with your pediatrician, sure that the lack of a male role model at home has caused irreparable harm. B. Tell him peach is more his color and grab your tube of “Coral Sea.” C. Shrug and reach for the wet wipes........Read More

How Technology Makes Us Afraid of Intimacy:

One of my clients, Lisa, 25, a socially anxious software engineer, hadn’t been to a party, let alone on a date, in months. She was far too busy racking up points on a new online multiplayer game. “I’m lonely most of the time, she confessed “but when I get lost in the game, I forget all about how terrible I feel." On the face of it, Lisa’s solution to social discomfort seems harmless enough. After all, the occasional night alone, kicking back with some Sangria, snack chips, and an epic video game, can be as much fun as a night on the town. In Lisa’s case, unfortunately, her “breaks” now spanned not just hours but entire weekends...........Read More

Allison Tate: The Mom Stays in the Picture: 

Last weekend, my family traveled to attend my oldest niece's Sweet Sixteen party. My brother and sister-in-law planned this party for many months and intended it to be a big surprise, and it included a photo booth for the guests. I showed up to the party a bit late and, as usual, slightly askew from trying to dress myself and all my little people for such a special night out. I'm still carrying a fair amount of baby weight and wearing a nursing bra, and I don't fit into my cute clothes. I felt awkward and tired and rumpled...........Read More

Selfish vs Self-ish: 

No question but that the whole notion of selfishness is devoid of positive connotation. Arguing that it warrants being viewed as virtuous (as does Ayn Rand) is, finally, about as convincing as Gordon Gekko's egomaniacal affirmation that "greed is good." Essentially, selfishness goes against our universal ethical grain. There's just nothing pro-social, or laudatory, about it--no recognizably redeeming characteristics. Just consider the various synonyms dictionaries provide for the term (i.e., no matter which particular meaning you ascribe to it, such behavior is inundated with negatives)........Read More

Manners Can Be Taught: 

We all want our children to be well-mannered, but we also know how hard it is to convince them to do anything, much less be polite and respectful. With poor role models on television — and right beside them in the classroom — how do you get your kids on the path to good behavior? We spoke to experts about teaching your kids manners at every age..........Read More

Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking To Kids: 

Parenting is one of the most challenging, yet meaningful life tasks. Unfortunately, popular wisdom and misconceptions about how to raise responsible kids can lead to ineffective communication and power struggles  Some parents use authoritarian parenting strategies that do not allow the child an independent voice or sense of efficacy. Other parents overcompensate with overly permissive parenting that doesn’t teach kids about limits and self-control. Research shows both extremes can interfere with kids’ ability to regulate emotions and form healthy relationships as adults. The best type of parenting is fair, flexible, respectful, and has learning, rather than submission as its goal......Read More

Female Bullying: 

Unfortunately, while most women believe they would never be the cause of loading such emotional stress on a friend or acquaintance, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many of us never really outgrow being a bully, says Cheryl Dellasega, a women’s studies professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of the book Mean Girls Grown Up. “The [aggressive] behaviour just gets a little more polished and subtle [as we get older].”........Read More

Parenting a Mildly-Moderately Alienated Child: 

Here are 10 things to do with your mildly-moderately alienated child to maintain the bond when it is under attack from the other parent. (1) Invite your child to tell you how s/he is feeling about the relationship and to routinely “clear the air.” This can ensure that your child is not harboring any lingering negative thoughts and feelings. (2) Create relationship markers such as family rituals, slogans, emblems, routines, games, etc. so that your child has a strong identity of being a part of the relationship. For example, if you give your child a Hershey's Kiss and tell him/her that this is a kiss from you and you regularly give your child a Hershey's Kiss, then every time your child sees a Hershey's Kiss s/he will think of you.......Read More

19 Things we should say to Children: 

1. I love you! There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.

2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one!

3. It’s all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do.......Read More

Are You Too Busy? Take A Lesson from Lucy: 

Do you ever stop to wonder why you are so busy? Probably not very often, because you’re too busy to stop to wonder why you’re so busy!  Today, I want to hit the “pause” button and think about it for a minute. A few years ago, I passed one of my professor colleagues in the hallway and greeted her by saying, “How are you?”  She responded with a sigh and a smile, “Too busy.  You know, it’s just life in the modern world.”  Her comment made me stop in my mental tracks, making me think about the pressures of this contemporary culture of ours...........Read More

Your Personal Time Zone: 

You know the types: The early bird who rises with the sun, clear-headed and eager to take on the day. And the night owl, practically comatose if roused before noon, but sharp in the evening. Whether you're a lark or an owl affects much more than the amount of coffee you need to start the day. Your circadian type affects cognitive functioning: "The part of the brain that regulates your ability to think clearly and solve problems is heavily influenced by the body clock," says David Dinges, chief of the division of sleep and chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. An increasing body of evidence also links one's inner clock to mood fluctuations and fitness; it's even linked to personality..........Read More

Why Can't I Sleep? Six Common Reasons You Can Fix: 

You're exhausted, you can't wait to sleep. Your head hits the pillow and - frustration. You open your eyes in the middle of the night and find yourself staring at - the clock - which coldly stares back. And you just read that people who sleep less than seven hours die younger and last night you got...Cool it. Americans have gotten so used to chronic sleep deprivation maybe 95% or more of us no longer knows what it's like to feel fully alert, awake, and aware.........Read More

50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby: 

This is a list of things that people have told me or I would have liked to know before I had my little bundle of joy!  I hope they help you too!! I am a first time Mom, not a doctor, so not all my information may be accurate.  As I am writing these tips, I am a new Mom of a 2 month old.   I have been very lucky to get many of these tips from friends and family. Growing up I was not around children often. This is advice that I would give any friend or relative that will soon be a proud Mom.  This information may be different for everyone.  I hope my experiences will help in one of the best events of a person's life.  I hope you read this information and collect other information to make your own decisions.  What a beautiful season of life!  If you are currently experiencing physical pain during your pregnancy remember the time will end.  You are slowly creating life!........Read More

15 Tips for Raising Kids with a Positive Body Image: 

1. Never use the word fat in a derogatory way.

2. Never imply that you can't do something or wear something because of your size.

3. Never compliment others based on size.

4. Point out the beauty of diversity in people and nature.......Read More

Lessons For Living: 

Impressing others, managing money, advancing your career: No matter what your aspiration, there's a wealth of accumulated knowledge to help you reach it. But if your highest goal is to lead a satisfying life, your best shot is to seek out wisdom that helps you cultivate strong relationships of all kinds. Studies show that people who enjoy close ties with friends and family are happier, have fewer health problems, and are more resilient to the stresses of our times. "Good social connections aren't just important to living a fulfilling life—they're vital to any type of healthy life at all," says Will Meek, a psychologist at Washington State University. "When we lack stable and supportive relationships, we can become depressed and anxious.".......Read More

Got Good Parenting? It's Not Just about Breast Milk or Extracurricular Schedules: 

It’s no surprise that the older our children get, the more likely it is that they are sexually active. Which sexual behaviors are considered appropriate at what ages varies from person to person, family to family. What most agree on, however, is that our children live in an increasingly sexualized world where initiation into intimate relationships may be happening earlier than ever before. According to Teens Today research from SADD, while older teens are more likely to report being sexually active than are younger teens, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of 6th graders reported some type of sexual activity other than kissing. Tellingly, SADD’s data also points to a significant spike in such behavior between the 10th and 11th grades........Read More

Fifteen for a Moment: 

It’s no surprise that the older our children get, the more likely it is that they are sexually active. Which sexual behaviors are considered appropriate at what ages varies from person to person, family to family. What most agree on, however, is that our children live in an increasingly sexualized world where initiation into intimate relationships may be happening earlier than ever before. According to Teens Today research from SADD, while older teens are more likely to report being sexually active than are younger teens, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of 6th graders reported some type of sexual activity other than kissing. Tellingly, SADD’s data also points to a significant spike in such behavior between the 10th and 11th grades........Read More

When Kids Want Discipline: 

Ever heard your kid say, "Hey, Mom, I'd really like you to send me to my room"? Of course not. But that's because "discipline" isn't the same as "punishment." The best kind of discipline is more akin to teaching: showing our children how we expect them to behave in the world. Clear rules -- and parents who stick to them -- are what a child needs in order to feel secure. Here's when your child is actually begging you to set him straight.......Read More

10 Actions that Kids Learn from their Parent's Marriage: 

Last week at the National Youth Workers Convention I was asked (in one of my seminars) if I intentionally taught my kids about marriage. The answer is yes… and, no. Yes, there are times when we’ve talked specifically about marriage (either ours or ones that our kids have observed). But, for the most part, Cathy and I have been wise enough to know that our kids are constantly watching and learning from us. Our actions (both good and bad) are always teaching them about marriage. I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that Cathy and I share… it’s definitely not perfect, but we’re both very proud of what we’ve developed over 26 years.......Read More

5 Things You Can Do with Your BABY to Make it Easier to Potty Train them Later:

With my first child, I approached potty training in the typical post-modern American way. Babies wear diapers, and you change out those diapers periodically. Duh. Then, when they’re toddlers, usually around two and a half, you introduce the potty and “train” them in a new way of life. Potty training is something you start thinking about when your kid can run and climb and talk, and it’s an event, one that usually lasts anywhere from a day to a few weeks. But when that potty training didn’t go so easily or quickly, I knew there had to be a better way. My first son would occasionally pee in the potty with ease from the time he was 19 months old, but didn’t go number two consistently in the potty until about a month before his third birthday. It was a long and challenging process......Read More

How Firstborns and Secondborns Compare:

People have long been fascinated with birth order and how it shapes our lives. If Abel weren’t the younger brother, would Cain still have jealously murdered him? Is Alec the most successful Baldwin because he is the eldest?  What role did birth order play in the destinies of the Kennedys, the Bushes, or the brothers Clinton? There are countless books on the subject, though the claims they make are not always based on objective evidence. But thanks to recent research conducted in Belgium and the Netherlands, we now know that first- and secondborns do indeed see the world differently in ways that impact their motivation and likelihood of career and personal success.......Read More

Why Do Children Cheat?:

When we think of cheating in an exam, we tend to envision a solitary sneak who, if discovered, would be received opprobrium and rejection. Surely most students would look askance at a cheater and take comfort in drawing a firm boundary between the genuine hard-working student and the lazy student trying to gain marks by deception. The recent exposure of wide-spread cheating on state exams in one of New York City’s most prestigious public schools raises huge questions about the real effect the emphasis on assessed merit is having on our children.......Read More

Cyberspying and Defriending: How Facebook is Finding it's Way to the Therapy Couch:

As a psychotherapist in private practice, I can't help but notice that Facebook is wreaking mischief in some of my clients' personal lives. One client caused a family scandal when he established privacy settings that prevented some, but not all, of his relatives from seeing his status updates. A 14-year-old client gave up Facebook for Lent, yet still managed to become entangled in a high school "de-friending" drama. A third client "disallowed" her arch Conservative brother from commenting on her statuses after he started arguing with her politically liberal friends. And finally, a 20-something client tried to gauge the temperature of his on-again-off-again girlfriend based on how often she "friends" or "de-friends" him......Read More

The Ideal Age to Have a Baby:

“She’s an older mother!” The obstetrician bellowed to the attending staff and everyone else in earshot as I was rolled in the operating room to deliver my son. “Do you have to announce that to the entire hospital?” I cringed. Even as more women wait until their mid-thirties and early forties to become parents, most physicians consider them to be of “advanced maternal age” and high risk simply because they’re older. In one way, the extra attention paid to each advanced maternal aged patient is reassuring.........Read More

What Drives a Kid to Bully:

I recently saw the heartbreaking documentary “Bully.” The film tells the stories of five children, ranging in age from 11 to 17, who are harassed physically and emotionally. In two cases the abuse was so bad it drove the children to commit suicide. When I left the theater, I couldn’t stop thinking about the film. So far the primary focus of these blogs has been to demonstrate how using the tools can empower individuals. But after seeing “Bully” it struck me as equally important to describe how the tools can positively affect the culture of institutions such as schools, where most bullying takes place........Read More

Joking and Pretending: More Than Just Child's Play:

If you’re the parent of a toddler or preschooler, you already know that silly jokes and make-believe play can bring plenty of joy to your busy days. But according to new research, joking and pretending can be much more than just fun and games. Joking and pretending are associated with all kinds of benefits. When children engage in make-believe play and try on different roles, they can develop their creativity, solve problems, and learn about their world. When they learn to playfully and appropriately joke, they will be more likely to manage stress, make friends, and get along with others......Read More

Fostering the Skills Critical to Success:

For the past 20 years, I have enthusiastically endorsed summer camp as a great growth experience for children. At times, I wondered if I might be overstating the case slightly. For the first 17 or 18 years, I suspected that I was too excited about camp. I am now convinced that I was understating the power of the camp experience. Why is that? Because of technology. I understand that this does not initially make sense. How does attending a camp devoid of technology help a child succeed in a world defined by it? Let me explain.......Read more

The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Emotions:

Your emotions are crucial to your ability to adapt to the challenges of your daily life. When you feel good, you're able to shrug off even the most burdensome of tasks, but when you're miserable, you view even an enjoyable activity with a sense of gloom and doom. Emotions also affect our relationships with others. If a friend tells you a tragic story and you react by snickering instead of looking sad or concerned, you'll seem rude and insensitive. On the other hand, if you frown when you should smile at your friend's jokes, you'll cause offense for different reasons......Read more

At Last- a Rejection Detector!:

Self-esteem, it turns out, is a lot like love. We often go looking for it in all the wrong places. We attempt to bolster our sense of self from within. We may even resort to repeating simplisitc self-affirmations. But in fact, self-esteem is more a reflection of our relationship to others. In a bold new theory that turns conventional wisdom inside out, psychologist Mark R. Leary, Ph.D., proposes that self-esteem is a kind of a meter built into us to detect—and to prompt us to avert—the threat of social rejection.....Read more

21 Things We Should Have Been Told at Graduation:

The education that we receive barely prepares us for the challenges that lie ahead. This is what we should have been told at graduation instead of all the misplaced, self-congratulatory platitudes. 1) We strived to give you the best education. But what is the best education? The best education is not that which enables you to make a good living, nor even that which enables you to make a social contribution, but that which enables you on the path to freedom and individuation, and which, in the longer term, leads to the fullest living and the greatest social contribution.....Read more

High School Years: College Prep or Life Prep?:

We observe and celebrate coming of age in many ways, including religious ceremonies, such as confirmation or bar and bat mitzvahs, and honors and responsibilities, such as becoming an Eagle Scout or getting a driver’s license. But the coming of age ceremony we share most widely as a society is high school graduation, and graduation from high school is inextricably tied to a child’s academic career and, for many students, preparation for college. For these teens, the rest of their existence, feelings, dreams, goals, and fears—including getting to know oneself and one’s talents, thinking about friendships and other relationships, and gaining skills necessary to adapt to life’s continual change—often take a back seat to college prep timetables and priorities, beginning as early as middle school.....Read more

8 Steps for Helping Your Older Child Adjust to the New Baby:

“When we told our 3-year-old that we were going to have a baby, she packed her teddy bear in a gym bag and headed for the door. We asked her where she was going and she said, 'I have to find new parents.' What should we do?” Your little girl is actually very astute. She senses that your news implies big changes for her. After all, your daughter is currently the princess, relishing all your attention. Intuitively, she knows that soon she will have to share your love and all the possessions of the kingdom. To help her adjust to the change, your child needs reassurance about your love, an opportunity to talk about her feelings, and an understanding of the challenges ahead. Here are some steps you can take to smooth her transition......Read more

Fact or Fiction: Childfree Couples Are Happier than Couples with Kids?:

Just this week I was a guest on a morning talk show, and my host was a married man with a child. He mentioned that children are often a bonding factor for couples and he wondered how how childfree couples are able to build and maintain a close relationship without a child. My response surprised him! Intuitively, it seems that children would bring a ray of sunshine to a home. Likewise, a couple that is drifting apart or lacking for conversation at the dinner table could bring new energy to their marriage with the addition of a bundle of joy. The reality, however, is that this does not usually happen.....Read more

Why and How to Report Suspected Child Abuse:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that five children in our country die every day from child abuse and neglect. An article in Reuters reported that a study in the journal Current Biology found that children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat, that childhood maltreatment is known to be one of the most potent environmental risk factors linked to later mental health problems such as anxiety disorders and depression, and that another study found that people who suffered maltreatment as children were twice as likely as those who had normal childhoods to develop persistent and recurrent depression, and less likely to respond well or quickly to treatment for their mental illnesses......Read more

Toxic Friends; Protecting Yourself from Poisonous People:

We've all heard the studies about the important role that friendships play in our emotional and physical well being. Most of us would agree that having a few good friends to whom we can turn in times of joy and sorrow or even for simple distraction is a real plus in life and, at times, necessary for our survival......Read more

The Top 10 Relationship Myths and Why They're Myths:

Perhaps no area in psychology is as laden with myths as that of close relationships.  First and foremost, love and infatuation are strong emotions. Our feelings of happiness on a daily basis reflect the ups and downs of our relationship life.  Strong emotions cause us to look for information to guide us so that we can maximize pleasure and reduce pain.  As a result, we may look in the wrong places for advice on how to have fulfilling relationships.....Read more

Parenting Confessional and the Importance of Green Play:

For my first blog entry I decided to set aside a Saturday afternoon to review the research on outdoor play and children. Nature and children are natural playmates--they're both wild and messy, unpredictable and beautiful. Kids just don't play out like they used to. Earlier this week Dame Fiona Reynolds, chief executive of the UK's National Trust, said, "Children are missing out on the sheer joy and physical and mental well-being of being able to play outside and experience nature in all its messiness." Taylor & Kuo (2009) found that activities done in green outdoor spaces reduced symptoms of ADHD in children more so than those done indoors. The act of playing outside was shown to benefit the children in this study. As a parent, I want my children to experience what we could call "green play." Except maybe when I am trying to write about it.......Read more

Early Adolescence and the Negative Mindset:

In addition to more disorganization (distractibility, messiness, and forgetfulness), what notifiesparents that early adolescence has begun is the young person's more negative mindset, or what they often say is his "bad attitude." Early adolescence usually begins between the ages of 9 and 13. At this juncture, parents wonder what has happened to the child who was full of enthusiasm all the time and such a pleasure to live with. Now it's like someone pulled the plug on the young person and all that positive energy for fun and constructive activity has been drained away....Read more

How Technological Distraction Destroy Connections:

I have been concerned of late about how much difficulty college students seem to be having with formation of close personal relationships.  I fear for them because college experiences train students for the kind of adults they will become.  As a psychologist who specializes in helping couples to build strong marriages, I fear that young adults' relationship-building difficulties bode ill for our nation's future families....Read more

Radical Acceptance:

We are born into a world that is not of our making. We are given a place to grow up, parents, a family, a home, neighbors, teachers, friends—and an era in which we evolve. We don't get a choice in so much that really counts. Are you good looking, ugly or in the middle? Are you smart, challenged or just different? Are you tall, short—skinny, heavy—charismatic, marginalized—befriended or alone? Are your parents happy or even together? Do you have a brother or sister that you are close to - or are you bullied relentlessly? Are you born into a time of peace or a time of war, a time of impoverishment or a time of plenty, a time of faith or a time of cynicism?  If you take a deep breath and look at the circumstances of your early life, you will have to see that the whole project is essentially unfair. Some people are born into riches of all kinds, while others are burdened from the very beginning......Read more

Facebook: Friends' Happy Pictures Make You Sad?:

There are plenty of reasons to feel down in today’s fast-paced, hectic world, and you wouldn’t think that the world’s most popular social networking site would be one of them. But that’s exactly what a new study at Utah Valley University has found. According to the study, Facebook is making us sad. Why? It’s all about the kinds of pictures people to post on their pages. Facebook photos generally depict smiling, cheerful people having good times, conveying a sense of happiness. Of course everyone likes to smile for the camera, so that good cheer may be inflated or false. As others view the photos, they may believe this conveyed sense of  intense happiness is real, making them think that their friends are much happier than they are....Read more

Boys Vs Girls -Who's Harder to Raise?:

Every child is an individual, of course. His or her innate personality helps shape how life unfolds. Environment (including us, the nurturers) plays a role, too: "There are differences in how we handle boys and girls right from birth," says David Stein, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Virginia State University in Petersburg. "We tend to talk more softly to girls and throw boys in the air." But it's also true that each gender's brain, and growth, unfolds at a different rate, influencing behavior. Leonard Sax, M.D., author of Boys Adrift, believes parents raise girls and boys differently because girls and boys are so different from birth -- their brains aren't wired the same way. But it's also true that each gender's brain, and growth, unfolds at a different rate, influencing behavior. Leonard Sax, M.D., author of Boys Adrift, believes parents raise girls and boys differently because girls and boys are so different from birth -- their brains aren't wired the same way.....Read more

Top 10 Tips for Balancing Work and Family:

There is no single formula for attaining a balanced life. It is a personal decision how one combines their career, spouse/significant other, children, friends and self into an integrated whole. The key is to develop creative solutions as you approach the challenges of balancing the responsibilities and joys of your multiple roles. Some of the same skills and strategies you use at work such as planning, organizing, communicating, setting limits and delegating can be used effectively on the home-front for achieving a satisfying, fulfilling and well-balanced life both personally and professionally.....Read more

10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person:

There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage. The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility. One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone. A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are. The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them....Read more

Talking to Your Children about Divorce:

For children, divorce can be stressful, sad, and confusing. At any age, kids may feel uncertain about what life will be like, or angry at the prospect of mom and dad splitting up for good. Divorce isn’t easy, but as a parent you can make the process and its effects less painful for your children. Helping your kids cope with your divorce means providing stability in your home and attending to your children’s physical and emotional needs with a reassuring, positive attitude. To make this happen, you’ll need to take care of yourself—and work as peacefully as possible with your ex. It won’t be a seamless process, but your children can move forward feeling confident in your unconditional love....Read more

Family Meals: More Then Just Eating at Home:

When something has to give, it’s easy to understand why family meals may fall by the wayside. And yet, family meals are not only a time for strengthening family ties and keeping track of your children’s lives, they can actually lead to better physical and mental health for your children....Read more

How to Tell Your Child about an Upcoming Visit to a Therapist:

Sometimes kids, like adults, can benefit from therapy. Therapy can help kids develop problem-solving skills and also teach them the value of seeking help. Therapists can help kids and families cope with stress and a variety of emotional and behavioral issues. Many kids need help dealing with school stress, such as homework, test anxiety, bullying, or peer pressure. Others need help to discuss their feelings about family issues, particularly if there's a major transition, such as a divorce, move, or serious illness.....Read more

Going to Therapy (Adults):

One of the number one issues that causes people anxiety about therapy is that first session.  It’s scary since you don’t know what to expect and you know that you’re going in there to talk about things that are hard to talk about.  It’s totally normal and OK to be nervous, but I’m going to try to cover the most common things that are going to happen in a first session. Depending on where you go, you’ll probably start off with some or a lot of papers to sign and/or fill out. This will be confidentiality agreements, releases (to talk to your psychiatrist or PCP, if necessary), and treatment contracts.  A treatment contract usually lays out things like the therapist’s cancellation policy and the expectation that you’ll attend sessions. Many places will have you fill out a health history form as well ....Read more

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