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

Don't Make Me Tell You Again: Getting Kids to Listen

Having to constantly remind your kids to do something is the ongoing frustration of many parents. Here's how to make it stop.

Seven Quick Ways to Stop Being Irritable

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on October 08, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
Irritability is the carbon monoxide of emotional pollutants, but here's what you can do about it.

Jonny Hawkins Explains Why Mental Illness is a Family Affair

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on October 07, 2015 Brick by Brick
Johnny Hawkins of the band Nothing More shares his family's story of mental illness and how he is working to raise awareness for mental health.

Are Pets Really Family?

We should be cautious about using the phrase “pets are family” as an endorsement of the way companion animals are currently treated or as a sign that all is well, but should use the language of family very mindfully and with attention to what is at stake.

My College Daughter Hates Me

What to do when your college child distances herself.

The Borderline Daughter

Is your daughter developing a Borderline Personality? Is she difficult or truly in trouble? Here are some clues that should prove helpful.

What I've Learned From Having Kids 10 Years Apart:

Ever wonder what it would be like to go back and redo your parenting? What would you change? This is what I have learned (so far) from having my children a decade apart.

From Should to Could to Wow! Living Your Best Life

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Living Single
In his review of "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century" in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hugh Ryan told me what I've been doing with my life the last two decades.

Famous Replacement Children

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on September 28, 2015 In Flux
The replacement child is the product of many factors including unresolved parental grief, survivor guilt, and the search for an identity of their own apart from a deceased sibling. However, their special gifts and talents may set famous replacement children apart, helping them to creatively forge their own unique identity.

Whatever Happened to Assertiveness Training?

Getting mellow and relaxed in response to stress can be a good thing, but it can also lead to staying in a bad situation that might otherwise be fixed, particularly in dysfunctional families. Cognitive behavior therapists used to counsel their patients on how to speak up for themselves, but seem to have forgotten the "assertiveness" techniques they used to champion.

Secrets of a Long and Happy Marriage

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on September 28, 2015 Turning Point
How do you keep the love tank full? Discover the secrets of long and happy marriages.

5 Little-Known Parenting Hacks That Take Less Than 1 Minute

5 little-known but easy parenting hacks that can get your kids to listen more and argue less--all in less than 1 minute

Sex and Parenting

By Isadora Alman MFT on September 24, 2015 Sex & Sociability
The comfort of good loving often falls to the bottom of the To Do list, just when it is most needed.

The Day I Played Against Yogi Berra, and He Let Me Win

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 23, 2015 Living Single
Many years ago, George Plimpton chose me to play on his team of fans. We took on the Mickey Mantle All-Stars in Yankee Stadium, and Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and the rest of the team let us win.

Divorce Your (Bad) Mother: How to Love Her and Still Be Free

"The daily beatings stopped when I left home at nineteen, but the psychological abuse and manipulations were never-ending. I chose to love her from a distance and heal myself." Magdalena Gómez.

Married With Children . . . and Divorced Friends

By Wendy Paris on September 22, 2015 Splitopia
It can be hard for married parents to reassure their own children about the permanence of marriage, given the high divorce rate and other changes in the "typical" American family. Parents can talk to their children about the durability of family. Those of us in positive post-marriage relationships can help spread of sense of stability within our communities.

Manipulation in Families with Eating Disorders

It is extraordinarily difficult and wearing for family members to deal with a child with an eating disorder. When manipulation enters, it is easy to lose recovery ground. Understanding and responding to manipulation with compassion and authentic expression can be achieved.

Top 10 Parenting Tips

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on September 19, 2015 Emotional Fitness
The mystery of what your children will be and how you can affect that outcome is what family life is all about. Give all you can, keep your cool, and stay in the game. Raising a family while keeping your life balanced is an art form. Here are 10 tools that make life in the family lane a much nicer ride. The results and your own joy will surprise and reward you.

Men Seeking Health

By Peter B. Gray Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 The Evolving Father
Masculinity is often viewed as a detriment to one's health, and for good reason. Men tend to live shorter lives than women. But men's work and family lives can have both positive and negative impacts on men's health. Men's families may help motivate their health-seeking behaviors, even as the time needed to maintain work and family life can help shape a "dad bod."

The 'Big 3' Keys to Relationship Success

Learning to navigate the “Big 3” relationship deal-makers and to use friendship-cementing behaviors offer a little extra assurance that your love is here to stay.

Single and Lonely? The Truth May Be Exactly the Opposite.

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 14, 2015 Living Single
Who is most likely to maintain social ties with parents, siblings, friends, and neighbors? Who is likely to help those people and receive help from them? Is it married people? Previously married people? People who have always been single? The answer is always the same, and it comes from nationally representative surveys.

Grandparents as Parents

Do you know a grandparent who is raising their grandchild? People in this situation face specific challenges, and in celebration of Grandparent's Day, we take a look at those issues.

Geographically Challenged Grandparents

Do you live far away from your grandchildren and want to know how to connect with them? Here are some tips!

Does Conditional Self-Acceptance Keep You From Being Happy?

Do you have a tendency to disavow compliments? Deny credit if what you accomplished was done with minimal effort? Or might you attribute your successes more to luck than to social skills, intelligence, or innate gifts? If any of these characterizations applies to you, you’re probably preventing yourself from experiencing what all of us most desire.

Grieving My Mother

My mother died this year, and she continues to give me some valuable lessons.

5 Questions Better Than "How Was Your Day?"

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on September 08, 2015 Friendship 2.0
Kids worldwide are back at school-- and parents are eager to hear how it's going. If your child seems to stall out at "Fine" when asked how his or her day went, these five questions can set the stage for a more interesting discussion.

Venus v. Serena Williams: Reflecting on Sibling Relationship

By Peg Streep on September 08, 2015 Tech Support
What a tennis competition between sisters can teach us all about this most extended of family relationships...

The Simplest Way for a Couple to Boost Intimacy

Couples are constantly looking for ways to improve their relationships, but there’s one easy way that can be part of your everyday routine. Sharing a meal does more than feed the body, it also feeds the quality of your emotional well-being.

Why Being Luke’s Father Mattered

Are you totally psyched for the upcoming Star Wars films? Understanding Evolutionary Psychology can help you appreciate Star Wars even more! Here’s how.

When Kids Leave Home

The transition to college or work is a major milestone for our kids. Yet it's a potential nightmare for parents, who naturally worry about countless problems their young-adult children may face. Here are some tips that may help parents survive this important, if not critical, time in family life.