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

When Adult Struggle With Their Relationships

By Geoffrey Greif Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Buddy System
Are sibling relationships getting you down this time of year?

Seven Simple Ways to Fight the Holiday Blues

By Jennifer Haupt on November 25, 2015 One True Thing
During this season of giving, it's often the small gifts and everyday gestures of kindness that matter most. Here are 7 low or no-cost ways to help you find your holiday spirit.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Surviving the Holidays

No matter how functional your family is you are guaranteed to be disappointed by the holidays in some way, and also to disappoint. But you can get ahead of all this with my help; forewarned is forearmed. Here are some easy do's and dont's to help you navigate through the Helliday minefields and to even possibly have a good time.

Going Home for the Holidays — Tragedy or Comedy?

If a family’s drama can’t be handled or the dysfunction runs too deep or lies too close to the surface, keeping your distance may be the only choice. In other cases, do what you can to show how well you’ve turned out — because of, or in spite of, the family that raised you.

20 Questions to Ask This Holiday Season

Our friends and family know what to expect when they come to our house for a meal: Jeffersonian conversations. Thomas Jefferson seated all his guests at one table for dinner, where he asked each guest a single question for all to hear…no side conversations or small-talk allowed. Sounds rigid, but these sorts of dinners are FUN over the holidays.

All Electronic Devices Should Be Off the Thanksgiving Table

These are kids for whom it is not unusual to make a quick leap from the first awakening of sexual awareness to the first consummation of sexual experience. They haven’t had to wait for anything else--why wait for that?

What Do You Need This Holiday Season?

The holidays don't have to be stressful. A few mindset shifts can go a long way.

6 Tips for Avoiding Family Drama

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 Friendship 2.0
The holidays are upon us—and every year, family tensions can cause more indigestion than that lumpy gravy. Here are six concrete steps to take in preparation for holiday drama, to help you banish stress and increase your enjoyment of the day.

Three Ways to Manage Worry This Thanksgiving

Whatever the reason, millions of us have to deal with worry during the holidays. Here are three easy things ways to manage your worries.

Birth Order Determines...Almost Nothing

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 The Last Taboos
Everybody tends to think children have particular personality characteristics determined by their position in the family: firstborns are achievers, middle children are peacemakers, and the babies in the family are individualists. A new study shows how it isn't so.

Politics, Money, and Religion: Happy Thanksgiving

Are you stressed about spending the holidays with family? A simple strategy for dealing with 'those' relatives can help.

Happy Holidays—Or Else!

Being haunted by the idea that other people are “better” at holiday celebrations than we are can drive us to “fix” our own family’s time together. But this preoccupation with “getting it right” can become an emotional wedge between ourselves and those we’re trying to please.

An Evolutionist’s List of Thanks

From an evolutionary perspective, gratitude is a significant social emotion. It drives us to connect with others - and it works to remind us of the fact that we are always part of something larger than ourselves. Here is a list of 6 things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving (and all other days of the year as well).

Will Your Child Be Part of the Collateral Damage of Divorce?

Rather than looking at the negative consequences of divorce as fixed, we need to examine the origins of the problem – the so-called pathogenesis – to recognize that these consequences are the results of symptoms acquired over the course of a child’s lifetime.

How to Make a Great First Impression at Family Get-Togethers

Been invited to attend a family gathering by your "significant other" or boss? Here are 11 ways to "wow the relatives" when you're the newcomer to Thanksgiving dinners, family reunions, and other special occasions.

The End of Rural Communities: Why Young People Leave

Research shows that young people prefer to remain in their rural communities if they have access to education and employment opportunities. It will take governments and the private sector to build resilient rural spaces that stop out-migration.

Going Screenfree: Sheer Madness or Sheer Genius?

Whether a parent senses screen-time is having a negative impact on a child or simply feels there's way too much of it, constantly managing electronics use can drive parents crazy. Here are three tips to help parents go from thinking "something needs to change" to taking decisive action.

Why It's Hard to Be Thankful on Thanksgiving

New research reveals what stops us from being grateful during the holidays.

The Unparented Child

Wrong child/wrong parent: how to heal a mismatch and champion your neglected inner child

Altered Minds

By Hara Estroff Marano on November 20, 2015 Nation of Wimps
In a new film, Altered Minds, director Michael Z Wechsler bases the psychological suspense on covert mind-control experiments.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence: Can we break the cycle?

Like Water: Why We Attract Who We Attract

If you want to know what needs work, look at your choices of mates. The answer will surprise you.

Parental Pressure Takes a Toll on Young Athletes

Emphasizing whether a child wins or loses in a sport harms self-esteem.

'Altered Minds' Brings Modern Crises to the Big Screen

Michael Weschler’s newest film, Altered Minds, provides an over-the-top glimpse into family dynamics gone awry. One reason that family dynamics and resultant mental health issues can be so messed up these days pertains to evolutionary mismatch. Here’s how.

4 Reasons Thanksgiving is the Loneliest Holiday

By Kira Asatryan on November 18, 2015 The Art of Closeness
Can a holiday cherished for family togetherness induce the most loneliness? Absolutely. Learn why it's so common to struggle to connect with others on Thanksgiving.

The Elephant in Sigmund Freud's Consulting Room

By Rebecca Coffey on November 17, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Imagine growing up gay in a household where your world-renowned father calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. And it is always, he said, caused by the father and curable by analysis. Now imagine that he analyzes you.

Can You Prevent a Bad Divorce . . . While Married?

By Wendy Paris on November 17, 2015 Splitopia
Committing to treating each other well, whatever happens with your relationship, can help prevent a bad divorce and strengthen a marriage.

5 Ways to Defuse Holiday Stress

By Peg Streep on November 17, 2015 Tech Support
Is the thought of the holiday season getting you down or making you anxious? If so, you're not alone...

Does Your Birth Order Actually Matter?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Singletons
Personal experience often trumps scientific facts: We expect the oldest to be responsible, the middle child to rebel. New proof shows that birth order isn’t as influential as we think in determining adult personality or intelligence. Are you confusing birth order expectations with age difference?

Is It Holiday Blues or Seasonal Depression?

If you’re feeling down this holiday season, don’t ignore your pain. By addressing your issues, you’re much more likely to keep symptoms from spiraling out of control — and that means a much greater chance that those happy holidays we’ve been primed to expect will live up to their promise.