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

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?

You Can't Fix Everything

I’m much more at peace since I stopped trying to fix everyone’s life, including my own. It’s making it easier to take those unfixable moments in stride and to appreciate happiness and joy when they happen to come my way.

Developmental Dislike of Parents During Early Adolescence

One function of adolescence is to grow parent and adolescent apart. Dislike of parents is part of what allows this social separation to occur. Most important for parents to remember is that this loss of liking for parents does not mean any lessening of of adolescent love.

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn admitted that Russians were occasionally like insects. But he didn't like it.

All Kids Lie To Their Parents. But When? How Much?

Respecting children's boundaries while staying strict and engaged is the best way to encourage them to share information and to keep them from lying.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Is Birth Order a Myth?

Most people believe that birth order shapes our personalities and has impact on the careers we choose, and the ways we behave. Is this real, or merely an illusion? What do we really know about birth order effects?

6 Tips for Managing Life With a Control Freak

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on April 17, 2015 in Fixing Families
It's difficult to live with someone who is always controlling in a variety of ways. Some tips for not taking it personally and for changing the dynamics.

The Upside of Jealousy

Simply put, jealousy is motivated by fear. When fear is driving your behaviors, it is essential to tune into the cognitive components that accompany the fear to help you break it down and make it containable.

Harming the Innocent to Punish the Guilty

By Peter Toohey on April 16, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
There are three harrowing stories here, one modern concerning Katherine Knight, and two from Greek mythology concerning Procne and Atreus. Mental derangement, jealousy and resentment, and profoundly dysfunctional families are at the heart of the cannibalistic stories. They dramatize the harm that is inflicted on the innocent in order to punish the apparently guilty.

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

When Your Four Year Old Hits Your Two Year Old: a Script

Rewards and punishment don't usually stop the hitting, because they don't help kids with the underlying feelings, or teach them a better way to solve the problem that caused the hitting. When things do go wrong, we want them to find a way to repair the damage they've done to their relationship.

Hire an Au Pair? Help Yourself; Help Her; and Help the World

So many moms, and dads as well now, have too much to do with juggling work and home life. Ever thought your family could use a nanny? A nanny may also need you!

Reframing Parent-Child Time Can Reduce Stress

Mentally reframing how you think about parent-child time can lessen stress and help you better appreciate the time you spend with your child.

How Much Should Parents Protect Their Children?

A legitimate question about how much risk parents should allow their children to take, and how protective of their children parents should be has been all but drowned out by extreme emotion.

4 Ways That Breaking Up Could Improve a Relationship

By Wendy Paris on April 14, 2015 in Splitopia
Many people assume that since hate is the opposite of love, discord must be the opposite of marriage. But some former couples get along better unmarried. Four reasons why this might be true.

Why Some People Let Us Down When We Need Them

If someone has experienced a particular event, they’ll sympathize with those going through the same experience. But those who have gotten through difficult situations tend to be the harshest judges of those who fail under similar circumstances.

Sex Is Disgusting But We Keep Doing It

Disgust and sexual arousal seem at odds with each other but they're also more closely related than you might think.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

Her Marriage, and His

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 11, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Why it is so hard to make a marriage last.

Who's to Blame?

By Paul Gionfriddo on April 10, 2015 in Finding Tim
The right question isn’t “what more could I have done for my child?” It’s “what can we all do for all our children?” We need to start by identifying and addressing their needs early, and not pitting parents, clinical professionals, and educators against one other. We begin by standing together, not falling apart.

The Best of Times or the Worst of Times for Marriage?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in Living Single
Fewer people are marrying than ever before, as claims about the power of marriage—for adults, for children, and for society—intensify. How accurate are those claims? What are the implications of offering more incentives to people to get married and more benefits and protections once they do?

Jealousy, Simple and Complex

Simple jealousy functions in many adult relationships as a kind of distance-regulator. When the partners drift apart, the pang of jealousy motivates more attention and connecting behavior.

You Want Couple’s Counseling But Your Partner Does Not

By Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., J.D. on April 08, 2015 in All Grown Up
“Should I still come to counseling to work on my relationship if my partner won’t come? Maybe I should just give up. We’re doomed, right?” I hear this type of question quite often. It’s unfortunate, but often the partner who really needs counseling refuses to show up. Still, my answer to anyone wondering, “Should I get counseling even if my partner won't come?" is... Yes.

How Parent-Child Relations Have Changed

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in The Prime of Life
The parent-child bond in the twenty-first century.

Failing Our Fathers

Many studies of fatherhood leave out nonresidential fathers, particularly those of lower educational and financial backgrounds. A new book by Ronald Mincy and colleagues offers rich insight into the challenges faced by U.S. economically vulnerable nonresidential fathers.

An Open Letter to Parents Who Let Their Kids Drink at Home

What To Do About Letting Your Teens Drink At Home

Adolescence and Making Parents Proud

While the attached child tends to be happy to make parents proud, the detached adolescent can be more ambivalent about being a source of parental pride.