Novels About Mental Health & Illness

No doubt these are heavy themes to read about. Yet it’s to the most emotional places we dare to travel that true compassion can be found.

Complex Marriages Depicted in Fiction

While there are lots of terrific nonfiction self-help books aimed at couples starting out, getting hitched, navigating rough patches, or even contemplating calling it quits, for the deep dive on marital relationships, I turn to fiction.

Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

We tend to think of adolescence as a problem waiting to happen. Many have incredibly low expectations for the period and are satisfied if kids survive these years without something terrible happening to them. While the plasticity of the adolescent brain certainly makes it a more vulnerable time, plasticity cuts both ways. I want parents and educators to start thinking...

Characters With Special Needs Make for Exceptional Stories

I recently spoke at the American Montessori Conference in Dallas alongside the remarkable Temple Grandin, author of "The Autistic Brain." She mesmerized me with her anecdotes about how her insightful mother nurtured her at a time when little was known about autism. Her real life stories stole my heart; she got me thinking about the fictional characters I’ve loved.

Exploring the Bonds Between Fathers and Daughters

Are there family stories that have shaped or entertained you? Are you looking forward to reading books on this topic this summer? I’m drawn to novels about fathers and daughters. Simple stories of love and encouragement and conflict-rich stories fraught with the misunderstandings and missed opportunities that are germane to family life.

Fiction About Family

Women shouldn’t be the only ones reading about families. Without a doubt there are lots of good reasons for men to read fiction. In the thirty years I’ve counseled families, I’ve seen firsthand how family life education of any kind leads to positive attitudes toward motherhood and fatherhood, changing the way we think about children.

Strong Parent-Professional Partnerships

There’s simply no doubt that parental involvement is directly linked to students with higher self-confidence and more positive attitudes toward school and learning. From better attendance and grades, to higher homework completion and graduation rates, the most consistent predictor of high academic achievement and positive social adjustment for children is engaged parents.

Learning From Our Children

Skip the beach read and dig into memoirs about parenting exceptional children. Marianne Leone, Emily Rapp, Priscilla Gilman and George Estreich have so much to teach you about wholehearted living. And each poignant memoir will show you what you have to learn from your children too.

Lessons Learned From Reading The Anti-Romantic Child

The Anti-Romantic Child is a spectacular story aimed at parents to be sure, yet I could see so clearly as I lost myself in those pages, how powerfully Priscilla Gilman's messages would resonate with educators, therapists, and medical professionals. I invited Priscilla to chat with me as part of my series Conversations. I’m delighted she agreed to an interview.

The Power of Fiction

In Lynne Griffin's ongoing series, Conversations, she talks with people who have something compelling to say about family relationships. Today Lynne is chatting with Rachel Simon, bestselling author of "The Story of Beautiful Girl" and "Riding The Bus with My Sister."

The Secret Powers of Middle Children

How middleborns can harness their unexpected and remarkable abilities.

How Children Succeed

Grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character. Why some children succeed while others fail.

Navigating the Emotional Terrain of a Child's New Diagnosis

In a new series of posts called Conversations, I’ll be taking an important family life topic and getting the inside story from a parent or expert –someone who can give us insight into the nuances of the issues.

Risky Business

It's true that today's teen is exposed to real and virtual threats to personal safety. Then why is it that in my travels, talking to so many parents, when I ask them if they know what risk-behaviors their children engage in, most parents honestly say they don't know?

Time is the Currency of Self-Esteem

"How do I give my child a self-esteem?" "If my child doesn't get a [fill in with sticker, souvenir, lollipop, trophy etc] won't that damage his self-esteem?" People ask me lots of questions about self-esteem as if it's an entity or unit that can be measured. Yet "the self-esteem" doesn't sit in some mysterious place in our minds or bodies.

Grieving a Suicide

In the last few weeks we've been inundated with lists: The most fascinating people, the best films, best books. I've never been much of a fan of these subjective directories, especially when compilers remain anonymous, instead I favor going deeper, telling readers about books with the power to create lasting change. Books that teach.

The Case for Keeping Santa

Are you worried you'll lose credibility with your child once he or she finds out about the mythical nature of this children's story? Santa is more of an asset than a liability for parents who want to keep the focus of Christmas on teaching values. It's all in how you incorporate this celebrated gift-giver into your holiday rituals.

The Musical Family

Exposure to music has always enhanced how a child thinks and learns. It's an effective stress reliever and allows everyone in the family a creative way to deal with feelings, handle stress, and connect with each other.

Understanding Eating Disorders

Earlier this year I read a fantastic memoir about one mother's journey, trying to understand anorexia. Brave Girl Eating gives readers a glimpse inside the struggle to beat an eating disorder. I hope you'll gain new perspective after reading my interview with author Harriet Brown.

The Upside to Boy-Girl Friendships

Here's the good news. You can encourage and support opposite sex friendships between boys and girls without encouraging romantic interest.

Why I Work with Families

Family life is complicated and sometimes even messy, though one thing is clear: Positive interpersonal relationships are the single most powerful force in shaping a highly functioning family despite negative influences coming from within it or as a result of external pressure from the popular culture or forces beyond our control.