Understanding Family Dynamics

Can't we all get along? That's a tall order when your limelight has been snatched away by your adorable new little brother. Family: You love them and you hate them. There are so many things to consider when you think of family: there's birth order, rivalries, and the only child, to name a few.

Recent Posts on Family Dynamics

What Happens When the Whole Family Plays with Food?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Singletons
What to make for dinner? What will the kids eat? How to get everyone to the table for dinner in spite of packed schedules? Challenges worth meeting. Family therapy can be helpful, but family dinner is transformative.

How to Deal with Your Moody Teenager

How to Get Through to a Moody Teenager Who Doesn't Want and Resents Your Advice or Solutions

Can Money Create Inequality in Your Relationship?

Combining households does not always entail pooling income. Which couples are most likely to income-pool and what are the consequences of their money management decisions for within-household differences in economic well-being and for relationship satisfaction? Are differences in money management driven by pragmatic concerns or by beliefs about gender, family and fairness?

Why Kids Hit Siblings and How to Help Them Stop

Any child who repeatedly hits is pushing feelings down inside, but that means he's pushing away his good feelings, too. He disconnects from us. His cup is empty, but filling it is tough because he can't take in our love. So we have to build trust, safety and connection, and then we have to help him with his tangled up feelings.

The Failure of Child-Centered Parenting

Parents love their children. So why wouldn't they want to be child-centered?

Parenting With Attitude

I love you kid, but I'm not your buddy...

The Digital Revolution & the Nature of Adolescent Passage

The very essence of communication has changed. The various social media, 24/7 news cycles and the ubiquitous presence of smart phones keep us connected whether we want to participate or not. As families have become more comfortable with allowing their children to have cell phones, there seems to be an evolution in the nature of the dynamics of child development.

The Hidden Costs of Overparenting

Why are today's college students are so anxious and insecure?

Suicidal Friends & Relatives: a Cartoon Story

By Anneli Rufus on May 15, 2015 in Stuck
A cartoon story about suicidal friends and relatives.

8 Reasons It's So Tough to Overcome a Bad Childhood

Trauma experienced in childhood has special power to wound and can often lead to alcohol and drug use as a way to numb the pain or, conversely, to feel something, as those of us in the addiction treatment field know too well. But help is available and the recovery process can be helped along with an understanding of the things that so commonly get in the way of healing.

Sibling Revelry

The qualitative gains of sibling relationships beg the question, “Do friendships forged at summer camp elicit the same positive outcomes?”

5 lessons from Bruce Jenner

we need to start by using different language and asking different questions as we seek to understand and make space for diverse gender identities and expressions

10 Ways Mother's Day Provides Life Lessons to Children

By Kate Roberts Ph.D. on May 09, 2015 in Savvy Parenting
Mother's Day is much more than what advertisers make it. It's a chance to celebrate mom, while teaching children some very valuable skills and life lessons.

A Woman's Father is Key To Her Power

By Mark Matousek on May 09, 2015 in Ethical Wisdom
The daughter of an alcoholic, Greatest Generation pilot father was shocked when he called her to his deathbed for a series of life-changing exchanges that healed their relationship and freed Pythia Peay as a woman. Deeply moving, universal, and wise.

Mother's Day Blues: Adoptive and Birth Mothers

Most of us have only one mother, but adult adoptees often have two. When adoptions are open, or after a reunion, either the adoptive or the birth mother may feel excluded on Mother’s Day.

Discipline Rooted in Nurturance and Living Example

Discipline is pointing the way. Living example demonstrates the message in vibrant color impacting a child even more than words.

Child Custody Issues for Polyamorous Families

Sexual minorities usually fare poorly in court when family members (often an ex-spouse or parent/grandparent) or institutional representative from Child Protective Services challenge their custody of their children. This blog explains five things parents or families who are concerned about custody can do to prepare themselves in case their custody is challenged.

Makings of a Child

What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?

What We Now Know About Jealousy in Relationships

An extreme form of jealousy, possessiveness is the desire to put a wall around your partner to ensure you have exclusive access. Take a quiz to find how possessive you are, and what this might say about you and your relationship.

The Mother's Day Post

A simple guide for enjoying this holiday regardless of whether you have children or not.

The Culture Wars and Parental Guilt

A massive cultural change that has taken place in a fairly brief period of time has led to the infamous culture wars between the forces of individualism and those of conformity. Gender role expectations have dramaticly transformed. This has led to a massive explosion of parental guilt, which has resulted in problematic parenting practices that lead to impairment in kids.

What Do Women Look for in a Mate?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Some researchers have named those qualities that women look at in choosing a mate as the Three Gees - good genes, good providers, and good fathers. Men who can demonstrate all three of these qualities stand the greatest chance of winning the mate selection competition. But how important are these traits? New research from China puts the Three Gees to the test.

My Son Is Attracted To Me

What To Do If Your Son Is Attracted To You

Mother's Day for Those Raised by Narcissistic Parents

Mother’s Day is approaching. Is it time to run and hide or stumble into a Hallmark store to desperately search for that empty card that says nothing upon which you simply sign your name? How sad, awful, taboo, and misunderstood this is for adult children raised by narcissistic parents. Who woulda thunk it?

Angry Tears

It’s become increasingly common for therapists to note that underlying your anger are feelings of hurt. In fact the more pronounced your anger, the greater the hurt it conceals. So if the phrase “angry tears” sounds oxymoronic to you, that’s because it is: It’s profoundly descriptive of human experience yet, on the face of it, certainly seems contradictory. . . .

Life is Beautiful?

He hit me about the head with newspaper and yelled furiously at me. I am five years old. It is one of the most wonderful memories of my life.

Pain in the Family

There are approximately 116 million people currently suffering from chronic pain. And if you’ve read the headlines recently, you know that many people with chronic pain are also struggling with opiate dependence. When we think of treatment and intervention, many of us only consider the person in pain. However, family and friends are impacted as well.

Which Parent Do You Love More?

Parents are told not to favor one child in the family, but there are no rules that govern how children ought to feel about parents. One theory of family relationships can help provide perspective on this surprisingly under-researched area.

Choosing to Be Child-free

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in A Sideways View
More and more people in the west are choosing not to have children. Is this a puzzle for evolutionary psychologists? What does the research say on this topic?