child development

Skiing – A Metaphor for Emotional Regulation

When we enter the world, we transition from an insulated environment to one that is full of challenges.  We must learn how to navigate around both expected and unexpected events. It is a journey that is easier for some and more difficult for others.  As adults, it can be easy to overlook the process our… Read more »

Learn More

How Do Adverse Childhood Events Impact Us?

…And can positive childhood events provide protection? In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, a physician from Kaiser Permanente was running an obesity clinic through the Department of Preventive Medicine. After several years, much to Felitti’s puzzlement, more than half of the people participating had dropped out despite successfully losing weight. Determined to find out why,… Read more »

Learn More

Defense Mechanisms

“When children are faced with pain and anxiety in their developmental years, they develop defense mechanisms to cut off that pain. But the tragedy is that in cutting off the pain, you also cut deeply into their lives, so that defenses that were basically survival-oriented psychologically also serve as terrible limitations to the self.” ~… Read more »

Learn More

Mr. Rogers is Right: Secure Attachment Allows for Growth After Trauma

Childhood is a critical time for discovering and enhancing the secure attachment ideally built in the early years of a parental relationship with a child. Our earliest relationships do a great deal to establish our sense of self and wellbeing. Knowing, “I matter, my needs matter, and my loved ones will help keep me safe”… Read more »

Learn More

How to Improve Relationships By Knowing Your Attachment Style

Our first relationships profoundly shape how we connect with others. A baby’s earliest lessons teach whether to depend on an important person for comfort and acceptance, or whether to expect distress, disconnection or shame. An infant begins life learning if important people can be good sources of comfort and safety. A baby may learn that… Read more »

Learn More

What Kids Really Need from Their Parents

Being a parent comes with a lot of pressure to do right by our kids. But boiled down to specific, daily decisions, this pursuit also comes with a lot of confusion. It’s easy to get caught up in the checklists of items that we hope will benefit our children: special classes, programs, and parenting methodologies…. Read more »

Learn More

Dealing with Unresolved Trauma

Recently, a friend of mine who suffers from chronic lower back pain came back from yet another visit to the doctor with a bit of unexpected advice. Instead of the usual discussion of shots, medications, physical therapy, or even surgery, his doctor recommended a book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection. The book by… Read more »

Learn More

The Wait for the Acceptance Letter: Helping Teens Cope with Stress

The time of year has come when high school seniors are starting to receive letters from colleges. The brief breath of relief of mailing in their final application has given way to the held breath of waiting to hear back from schools. This moment of anticipation is one of the most stressful times in a… Read more »

Learn More

Is Being Proud of Your Kids Really about You?

Parents often exclaim that they are so proud of their children. “She got into Harvard.” “He got the highest SAT scores.” “She is the most brilliant musician.” “He is the captain of the football team.” Parents particularly express pride in their kids when they demonstrate a talent or quality that the parent values. And while we all want parents… Read more »

Learn More

Helping Children Thrive: How I Spoke Up for One Little Girl

When I first met Rikki in the parking lot of a Motel 6, she effortlessly captured my heart. I had actually started to care about her even before that first meeting. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer preparing for my first case, I had read Rikki’s file. I knew she was 10, she… Read more »

Learn More