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Beat the Back-to-School Blues: How You Can Help

A recent three-year longitudinal study confirmed what family therapists have observed clinically for decades: that patterns of family interaction have very important effects on children — both for better and for worse. Here's the bottom line: if you want your kids to succeed in school, build a stronger, more loving family. Melissa Sturge-Apple, a researcher from [...]

We are Family: Tips on Sibling Rivalry

The Gerson family overwhelms our office with noise and activity from the first moment they arrive for family therapy. The three boys, aged 7, 11, and 13, immediately begin to argue over who sits where. Pouncing on each other’s laps, they push and poke. The youngest one screams as though he’s been mortally wounded. Mom and [...]

And the Worst Relationship Killer Is…?

Contempt. It can destroy marriages. It can wound a child's self-image, poison the workplace, and push friends away. If you don't know exactly what is meant by contempt, it’s disdain for another person, openly acting patronizing, insulting, and disrespectful. Contempt is criticism with a twist. When you have contempt for another, you put myself above them. [...]

Communication: 5 Simple Tips

We're constantly shocked by just how easy it is to hurt or be hurt by our loved ones due to problems with communication. Communication is supposed to consist of both talking and listening in somewhat equal measure. But regrettably, sometimes there is one but not the other. Sound familiar? In some families, everyone seems to [...]

Family Rules

Rules provide a road map for helping family members get along with each other and with others in the outside world. They fall into several basic categories. First and most crucial are rules that keep children and teens safe. Protection is the reason for teaching small children not to get in cars with strangers and [...]

Too Permissive With Your Kids?

Family researchers have known for years that healthy families create environments that balance large doses of love and warmth with sufficient firmness and structure. Kids thrive in these settings. Without love and warmth they tend to feel abandoned and resentful, and without firmness and structure they will often become anxious and/or have behavior problems. Over the [...]

Too Much Family Closeness?

Parents are bombarded with advice these days about building strong bonds of attachment with their children. It’s natural for loving parents to want to feel close to their kids, but is there such a thing as too much family closeness? Too much involvement or connection? Studies on families It turns out that an important key to [...]