When I was a child, I enjoyed our family meals. In my family, everyone was a big talker. It was hard to get a word in edgewise! Everyone had something to say about just about everything! My mom was a great cook, so we all enjoyed her home cooked meals. In the 1950’s when I was growing up, fast food hadn’t been served yet. We had many sit down meals every week. Believe it or not, a big treat was something brand new-- TV dinners! Frozen in aluminum trays, and heated in the oven, we did something revolutionary at the time. We watched our small black and white television while eating our... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
Recently I was talking to a parent, Joe, who was concerned about his spirited 9 year old, Sarah. She loves to debate with her parents—“Why should I put away my toys? No, I don’t want to stop playing with the phone!” She doesn’t usually respond to his first request. Her parents have to repeat themselves several times, and even then they get an argument! Sarah and her parents get into frequent power struggles. Guess who usually wins?
I was reminded about my youngest daughter, Naomi, who was a spirited child. Mary Lou Kurcinka wrote two great books about kids like her—“Kids, Parents... Read More
I read a recent essay titled, “Sliver of Sky: Confronting the trauma of sexual abuse” by Barry Lopez, a well-known author, published in the January 2013 issue of Harpers. It is well worth reading, but I must warn you, it is painful.
Mr. Lopez chronicles his childhood, as a young boy growing up in California. His parents divorced, his mother was befriended by a psychopath, masquerading as a physician in a hospital for substance abusers. The author describes the years of sexual abuse he endured by this authority figure. It is an extraordinarily honest and frank description of his... Read More
Every year, I see scores of children who live with an alcoholic parent. With millions of alcoholics in our country, there are millions more family members who live with a mother, father, husband or wife who has a drinking problem. I hear their sad stories, filled with shame, anger, and hurt. This experience leaves life long scars.
Recently, I talked to a youngster whose father had been through inpatient alcohol treatment several times, but continued to abuse alcohol. He shared me with his story, and he gave me permission to share it with my readers. Here it is, in excerpted form.... Read More
Ask any adult—they remember every detail about being picked on, called names, or bullied as a youngster. My middle brother was overweight as a child—he recalled kids who would mock him—“Joseph, Joseph two by four, can’t fit through the bathroom door!” I remember children who would make fun of my last name and add a four-letter expletive to the end of it. I still remember being pushed down when I was 13 years old by a bigger kid. All of his friends snickered and laughed at my humiliation. I don’t think anyone ever forgets these encounters.
These experiences are painful as a child—but... Read More
How can we help adults who are diagnosed with ADHD?
For many individuals, simply understanding that they have a condition which is causing them to struggle at home, work, or school can bring relief. These adults may have been frustrated by their inability to function effectively. Commonly, they blame themselves—thinking that they are lazy, incapable, or incompetent. One of the most damaging effects of having ADHD is its impact on self-esteem. Realizing that they were born with a life long neurodevelopmental condition is liberating.
Medications can help too. There are both... Read More
Twenty years ago, medical professionals did not believe that adults struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We believed that this was a childhood condition that disappeared in adulthood. But about ten years ago, long-term studies demonstrated that many symptoms of ADHD persisted into and through adulthood. More recent evidence suggests that almost two-thirds of children who are diagnosed with ADHD as children have significant problems during adult life. Our understanding of this condition has changed.
ADHD is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity,... Read More
Self-doubt is a regular visitor in adult life—most often an unwelcome guest at our emotional table.
As a parent, self-doubt is our constant companion! It starts when they are infants. What does it mean when Sarah cries? Is she hungry? Wet? Uncomfortable? Fortunately, there are only a few choices at 1 month old! So, our best friend is trial and error. Eventually, we get it right.
When my oldest was born, she decided to stay up all night and sleep during the day. Our young pediatrician told us not to let her cry— instead feed her, pick her up, soothe her, or change her. This... Read More
Are you patient?
I frequently meet people who tell me—“I am not a very patient person”. They are being honest. They find themselves rushing around, interrupting others, finishing their partner’s sentences, irritated with older drivers who are going too slow, rushing through tasks they don’t enjoy, and often, feeling annoyed with others. They feel a sense of time pressure, no matter how much time they have. They are constantly thinking about the next thing they have to do while they are doing something else.
“Why can’t he hurry up? Come on move a little faster!, Why is it... Read More
Joe arrives home, in a sunny mood. His wife, Joanne, greets him at the door—“I’m really ticked off at you! I really didn’t like the way you handled our daughter last night!” She’s mad. Their teen, Sarah, came home 30 minutes after her curfew. Joe talked with her about it, but Joanne was upset with his approach.
Mary’s sister Beth is always asking her for help—money, rides, and you-name-it! If Mary can’t help, Beth becomes angry and hostile. And, she can be pretty guilt inducing too! It’s very hard for Mary to say no, even when she wants to.
The joys of conflict.
Most... Read More