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When Empathy Goes Awry : Mirror Touch Synesthesia

When Empathy Goes Awry : Mirror Touch Synesthesia

How do we come to understand another person’s emotions? Within our brain are a cluster of nerve cells that scientists call “mirror neurons.” These cells and circuits turn on and develop when, as infants and toddlers, our primary caregivers express on their own faces what they sense in us. We are wailing because we are in pain? A caring parent has some of that same suffering in their facial expressions. We laugh and smile when we begin to recognize our…

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We Can’t Choose our Parents

We Can’t Choose our Parents

It’s true; we can’t choose our parents. Whatever skills or deficits they possess as people: their readiness or disinterest at caring for us, their physical and mental health, and their ability to meet basic needs for food, shelter and safety have an immediate and lasting effect on our own development. The human brain is shaped every day by the way we are cared for by those closest to us, and grows fastest during the first two years of life. If…

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Attachment Parenting : You’re Mom Enough Without It

Attachment Parenting : You’re Mom Enough Without It

The cover of TIME magazine (5/21/12) with the beautiful 20something mom breastfeeding her 3 year old son had me shaking my head. What WAS she thinking taking that picture, and having her full name on the magazine cover? Ten years from now her son is going to have to face his friends when they ask him what it was like to suck his mother’s breasts. Because they have proof. A million covers of TIME magazine, internet pages and downloads later….

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College Mom: I’m Trying, But It’s Hard

College Mom: I’m Trying, But It’s Hard

We dropped our first born off at university this week. We have spent the last year plus supporting him as he got ready. From taking AP classes and exams, to doing half of his senior year of high school at our community college, our son was looking forward. We thought frequently about how the transition to college would be for us all, and he and I often would tell each other that we would certainly miss one another and that…

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Parenting is Still an Artform

Parenting is Still an Artform

As the summer ticks away, I am spending a lot of time with and for my teenagers. It has me thinking about this generation of youth, how they have been parented, and how many have bemoaned their development. I’ve written about it in my latest GoodTherapy.org blog posting. I hope you’ll visit it there, comment, and let me know how you feel about the children of the Baby Boomers. Parenting is Still an Artform

Parental Authority vs. Family Leadership

Parental Authority vs. Family Leadership

When I meet with families and teens, the form of family that most often seeks family therapy, the issue of Authority arises pretty quickly. It is frequently The Issue when it comes to teenagers and their parents. As teens grow and develop their nascent emotional self, they need to take on more and more self control, discipline and choice. This conflicts with their parents’ familiar patterns of control, decision making, discipline and tolerance of conflict, the sense of which has…

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The Adolescent Effect: Part 2

The Adolescent Effect: Part 2

Parents of adolescents don’t have much fun. Fun, for many parents of teenagers, is something they watch their children have. Fun at school, fun at the mall, fun on the playing field, fun at parties. What used to be happy times as a family with pre- and elementary school children has transitioned into good timesĀ  for the teens, and being the ones who not only pay for those, but also drive the kids to and from these teen-centered events. Having…

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The Adolescent Effect : Part 1

The Adolescent Effect : Part 1

As our children are neck-deep into adolescence, I’m trying to pay attention to what this developmental transition does to our family relationships. We are pretty early in the game. Son is 16, daughter is 13. We have gotten here relatively unscathed, moving through most of middle school with solid parent/child connections, positive opinions of one another and every body part accounted for (not counting wisdom teeth, sports injuries or general repairs). But lots has changed, and what has changed is…

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Fear and What’s Possible

Fear and What’s Possible

Today is 9/11. The bells toll, and the wars continue. In an email from our school district, we have been informed that the H1N1 virus is up and running. Several children have tested positive, and we are all encouraged to be alert and aware. NPR reported this morning that a single vaccination (instead of two) may be all that is needed to immunize adults, allowing more vaccinations to go to more people this fall. In listening to the media coverage…

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