parenting

Facing Into the Rough Winds of a Challenging Time

For a sapling to emerge as a stable and sturdy tree, it establishes a deep root system and a thick trunk. From there, growth takes time and support. It must withstand environmental stressors, competition for water, nutrients, winds and other adversities. In the forest, a canopy provided by the more mature trees shelter the small… Read more »

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Is This More Than the Baby Blues?

I have yet to meet a mother, or any parent for that matter, who has described the experience of becoming a parent as easy or exactly what they expected. Bringing a new child into the world, whether it is your first or your fifth, is big adjustment and can bring up feelings that are often… Read more »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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The Myth of a Perfect Mother

This Mother’s Day was the 40th one that I have celebrated as a mother. And it has occurred to me that I have earned the right to answer the question: “What piece of advice would you offer about being a mother?”  I used to think that only perfect mothers were qualified to speak on this… Read more »

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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 »

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Why It Is So Important For Parents to Validate Their Children

Validation is a way of letting someone know we understand him or her.  Being understood is an essential ingredient to feeling connected and supported.  When someone important to us understands us, their hearing us helps us to tune into ourselves and accept our emotions as real and meaningful.  This ultimately supports the growth of self-compassion… Read more »

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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 »

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The Fantasy Bond or Primary Defense

This is the first in a series of blogs describing my theoretical approach known as Separation Theory. It represents an integration of psychoanalytic and existential systems of thought and describes how early interpersonal pain and separation anxiety and, later, death anxiety, lead to the formation of powerful psychological defenses. The primary defense is the fantasy… Read more »

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