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

Are You A Strengths-Based Parent?

When it comes to parenting your kids do you spend most of your time pointing out what they’re doing wrong or what they’re doing right? If you’re like most time poor parents the chances are you’re quicker at identifying the things your kids need to improve upon, but is this the best way to raise kids who are resilient and able to cope with stress?

Siblings Are the Awesomest: Children Talk About Siblings

I figured if Piaget was able to develop entire theories and write countless books on cognitive development based on observations of his own children, I can at least write one article using the perspectives of my own offspring.

Play Makes Children Smart, Happy and Prepared for the Future

This blog is about the myriad benefits of play for children. Too much cerebral focus and too little spontaneous thought can be damaging for creativity, intellect and overall wellbeing.

When Adolescents Continually Lie

Continually lying to parents needs to prove counter-productive for the adolescent.

A Love Letter to Mothers of Sons

Although mother-daughter relationships are often fraught with conflict, mothers and their adult daughters seem to have an easier time with each other than mothers and their adult sons..Read about the real nature of a man's relationship with his mother, the first love of his life, and how and why it changes so drastically.

America: The “No-Vacation Nation”

How your boss isn't feeling much love towards your down time.

Who Do You Fear, and Why?

Being afraid of another person, except in very rare cases, doesn’t really make sense. It’s time to sort out how much of your fear of others is based in reality and how much is based on your own preconceived notions. Overcoming those fears will help you improve both your relationships and your well-being.

An Honest, Heartfelt Portrayal of Bipolar Disorder

Hollywood depictions of mental illness usually are far off the mark. In Infinitely Polar Bear, Mark Ruffalo gives a rich, three dimensional, and deeply sympathetic performance as the bipolar father of two young girls.

Fun Home and the Gift of Being Out

By Mark O'Connell L.C.S.W. on June 24, 2015 in Quite Queerly
The Tony Award-winning musical, Fun Home—based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel—show us that living our truth leads to a livable life.

Love for a Killer: "A Very Evil Kid”

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on June 22, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
When Adam Lanza massacred school children, people asked about his genes. But that was the wrong question. Genes are inert without experience. Families of victims of Dylann Roof’s gun rampage forgave him. It’s a show of love that he probably needed much earlier in his life.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 2: Severe Head Injury

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on June 21, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
Severe head injury is a family's worse nightmare. Are there ways to make the recovery process less stressful and even fun?

Ode To Dad (and Me)

By Rick Miller LICSW on June 21, 2015 in Unwrapped
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but updating the relationship with your father may be well timed and just what you need to reboot your life. A cleaner, less complicated connection is rewarding for everybody.

Inside Out: Emotional Intelligence Made (Maybe Too) Easy

This movie makes it fun to ponder emotional conflict, but it needs a sequel on the risk of using sadness as a way to get love. Til then, we can learn more about our inner conflicts from gorgeous graphics than boring buzzwords.

Talking With Mom or Dad About Driving

Most of us will have to talk with our parents about their driving at some point. Let's discuss how not to fall into some common traps.

Sibling Incest in the News

Having worked in the child sexual abuse field for 30 some years, I am continually struck with a sense of sadness when yet another family comes forward with admissions of sibling sexual abuse. Rather than judgment it is important to be aware of treatment and healing options. Jumping to quick labeling without understanding the help needed is dangerous.

Which of Us Has Looked Into His Father's Heart?

By Pythia Peay on June 19, 2015 in America On The Couch
A man of his time, Joe Carroll had been shaped by previous eras as much as his era had shaped my own. Like one of those Chinese nesting boxes, his psyche had been formed by the psyches of each of his own parents, who had in turn been shaped by events of their time—and so on back through generations.

Movie on Bipolar Disorder Speaks To Any Challenged Family

By Tina Traster on June 19, 2015 in Against All Odds
New movie on bi-polar disorder shows nuances of family life

How to Plan Your Child's Summer "Work Week"

By Tamar Chansky Ph.D on June 19, 2015 in Worry Wise
The radical (to your child) idea is that you can do some work in the summer—whether that be pitching in around the house, or reviewing math facts— and still have a great summer. Don’t want to be the bearer of bad news? You’re not. You didn’t invent this. It’s called life. And it’s actually good for them—and you.

Infinitely Dad

Insight into how confusing and paradoxical mental illness can be for the rest of the family.

8 Reasons to See the Film “Infinitely Polar Bear”

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 18, 2015 in Singletons
The true story of one family’s resilience, determination, and love in the face of odds most of society and much of the medical industry think insurmountable.

Humanizing the “Mentally Ill”

Want evidence to believe in the human spirit? Want to see how the world looks from the most stigmatized element of society? Check out Infinitely Polar Bear.

Healing Unloved Daughters and the Art of Kintsugi

By Peg Streep on June 17, 2015 in Tech Support
What do we mean when we speak of being healed? When it comes to getting past the influence of a bad childhood, is healing or becoming whole possible? Or even desirable?

“Daddies Are Not Mommies”

Irrelationship starts as reversed caretaking often initiated because parental resources are stretched thin. Irrelationship is less likely if parents are being taken care of—if they are taking care of each other, are able to be empathetic, intimate with each other and to share parental responsibilities. A "Direct-Care Dad" is someone who does just that: Happy Father's Day!

Ways to Honor Lost Fathers

In spite of what many think is a crisis in fatherhood, there are still some fathers out there, alive and deceased who have had a positive impact on their children's lives. It's important to stop and reflect on the teachings and wisdoms of those men. This article offers personal and universal ideas on how to do this.


In and out of psychotherapy since age 14.

Who Shares Better, Same-Sex or Different-Sex Couples?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 16, 2015 in Singletons
For most heterosexual couples, the partner with the fatter paycheck does less on the home front. Not so in same-sex couples. Those of us in traditional marriages and partnerships can learn a lot from “modern families”…and feel happier and less burdened.

Why Patients with Borderline Personality Don't Get Better

People who exhibit symptoms of borderline personality disorder, despite being intelligent and showing no signs of psychosis, persist tenaciously in their troublesome, self-destructive behaviors. They will not stop no matter what other people try to do to get them to. They will not tell you about the horrifying reactions they get from family members when they act better.

When Parents Get Angry at Their Adolescent

One primary responsibility of parents is to teach their adolescent how to manage anger well through their instruction, interaction, and example in family life.

Why Do Men’s Preferences for Wives and Daughters Differ?

When asked to select from a list of ten items the two or three traits that they most valued—including different ranking of intelligence, attractiveness, sweetness, independence, and strength—men report different priorities for wives as for daughters. What does this tell us about men’s relationships to women and their attitudes regarding gender equality?

When the Doctor Has Very Bad News

By Temma Ehrenfeld on June 12, 2015 in Open Gently
It's not easy telling people the truth, and sometimes part truths are kinder. You can help.