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

The Enduring, Ghoulish Legend of Lizzie Borden

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on August 31, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
The story of Lizzie Borden has taken on mythical proportions over the years. Despite her acquittal in criminal court in the nineteenth century for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie has always been considered guilty by the public as a result of ghoulish media and cultural representations of her.

How to Have a Husband on the Side

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on August 31, 2015 in Living Single
What if you are married with kids, but you don't consider your spouse the most important person in your life? How can you arrange your life to honor the people you care about most, and also maintain the important place of both parents in the lives of the kids?

Entitled Teens: 3 Causes, 3 Solutions

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on August 29, 2015 in Fixing Families
Entitled teens feel they can do what they want and get away with it. Unfortunately to their own detriment often do. Three causes and their antidotes for reining in runaway teens

Life May Never Be the Same: Parenting Kids in Recovery

Parenting an adult addict is a difficult path. How different is parenting the recovering adult addict?

A Game of Cards: A Gateway to Social Literacy

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 27, 2015 in On Having Fun
It becomes a better game, not because of the particular rules that you’re playing it by, but because you’ve played it so many different ways that it becomes a celebration of a growing bond between each and all members of the community.

Sorry, I Can’t Fix Your Clueless Husband

By Jared DeFife Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in The Shrink Tank
What can you do if your husband won't get marriage counseling? More than you think.

Who Is Living with Whom?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on August 25, 2015 in Living Single
Alongside the well-known increase in the number of people living alone is another very different and less heralded trend – people who are living with all sorts of other people who are not their spouse or romantic partner.

When Parents and Adolescent Get Stuck in a Hard Place

One trap for parents and teenager when in a hard place with each other is to think hard thoughts and feel hard feelings. By doing so, matters get worse. To make them better it helps to violate negative predictions and disempower feelings from influencing decisions.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 4: Dementia

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on August 22, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
Creative and individualized strategies to help a person with dementia retain some dignity and reasons for living are feasible in the early and mid-way stages of the disease, and support and therapy can help family members cope when their loved one is alive, as well as make the grieving process less painful.

My Daughter Can't Handle College

By Barbara Greenberg Ph.D. on August 20, 2015 in The Teen Doctor
What to do about daughter's inability to manage her life

Should You Divorce Your Mother?

By Peg Streep on August 20, 2015 in Tech Support
Some personal choices make us profoundly uncomfortable, and chief among them is the decision to end contact with a parent. Should we be tolerant and understanding instead? Taking an informed look....

One Simple Way to Protect Yourself from Narcissists

By Craig Malkin PhD on August 19, 2015 in Romance Redux
Narcissistic family members may make you want to run for the hills, but sometimes leaving isn't an option or just causes more problems. Here's an easy alternative.

Connecting With Your Children in a Disconnected Culture

While parents are more kid-focused than ever, it seems ironic that today’s children say they feel disconnected from their parents and wish their parents would spend more time really listening to them. It is also ironic that in a culture in which we are constantly connected via technology, families have become ever more disconnected...

Love Is a Feeling, Love Is a Plan

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
Don't tell me you love me if you don't feel it, but tell me you love me when you don't feel it, yet still want to stay together.

Food, Water, Shelter

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on August 18, 2015 in Minority Report
Food, water, and shelter are considered the essentials for survival in the wilderness. But some Asians believe this same mentality can work in raising children (i.e. give their children food, provisions like clothes and a college fund) will suffice. To even consider the child's emotional world is viewed as an anathema to their Asian culture and tradition of stoicism...

Public Faces Vs. Private Thoughts: the Actor's Paradox

Many therapists seem to think that patients behave in their offices in ways typical of how they behave in other social contexts. This is very naive. We all present different aspects of ourselves, and hide other things, depending on the goals we are trying to reach with certain others, or because of loyalty to our family system and its beliefs. We lie even to ourselves.

The Impact of Divorce: All Children Only Get One Childhood

Navigating a divorce is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges for parents and for kids. Sadly many children are caught in the middle of overt or covert battles and silently suffer in the process. However, divorce may be managed in a civilized and sensitive manner, and may turn out better for all concerned. We offer some guidelines to help prevent untoward hardship.

What Men Owe Their Mothers

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on August 14, 2015 in Listen Up!
Beyond the sentimental stereotypes, there is a deep relationship between men and their mothers. And it can be hard for a man to acknowledge that debt without again feeling like a little boy clustered around a woman's skirt.

Who Gets the Dog?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 12, 2015 in So Sue Me
When can your vengeful ex successfully take your precious pet away from you? It is more complicated than you think. Learn how to protect yourself and your furry best friend.

Want a Memorable Life? Take a Vacation.

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 in Singletons
Some not-so-obvious benefits of time off—from improved sleep and sex life to stronger family bonds and reduced risk of dying from a heart attack.

4 Major Relationship Communication Mistakes That Ruin Love

Do you experience communication challenges in your relationship? Here are four major mistakes couples make in interpersonal communication, which often lead to conflict and resentment...

Mama's Baby, Papa's, MAYBE: Baby Names & Fathers' Anxieties

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on August 08, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
Can a child’s name ease the anxiety of new fathers? Naming children after their fathers may be an intentional strategy used by mothers to foster stronger bonds between children and their fathers.

A Mother Battles Suicide

By Martha Manning on August 06, 2015 in Living With Depression
In the midst of a suicidal depression, a psychologist is coaxed back to life in a way she never imagined.

A Riddle For All Ages

By Kaja Perina on August 03, 2015 in Brainstorm
When my son was old enough to understand the basic concept of infinity (but hardly its nuance), he presented me with a “trick riddle.”

When Parents Date Someone New, What's Best for the Kids?

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on August 01, 2015 in Nurturing Resilience
Though parents are moving in and out of romantic relationships more often, there are things they can do to make these transitions easier for their children.

Make Me a Match Made in Heaven - A New Crash Course

By Eyal Winter on July 31, 2015 in Feeling Smart
"Make Me a Match Made in Heaven" What Evolution, Psychology and Economics say about romance and reproduction. Stay Tuned!

Hey, You—Get Out of the Water!

Doctors should pay attention not just to what is wrong with the patient's body, but to what other people are saying about it.

Yet Another Reason Why It’s Good to Be a First-Born Child

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research finds that eldest siblings are better at picking up second languages.

Can't Stand Your Self-Absorbed Parent?

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in Creating in Flow
Got an aging parent or in-law who's a narcissist? They're arrogant, have a sense of entitlement, are always ready to instill guilt, they insist rules don't apply to them, and they fly into a rage if challenged. There's help for you.