Before the election my colleague Stacey Schwenker posted an excellent blog on striving to thrive during the holidays. Since then we have seen stress levels skyrocket as folks are contemplating a Thanksgiving with family members polarized across the political divide. Whether you are facing one holiday meal or a few days of enforced family time, does thought of the upcoming Thanksgiving feel overwhelming or horrifying? If so, here are some ideas that might help you navigate this minefield.
Welcome to Our Blog!
This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
Saturday Night Live’s sketch of Adele’s Hello song was the talk of the 2015 Thanksgiving season. The scene opens with a family sitting down for a Thanksgiving meal, with five adults and a child (a young girl who looks about 10 years old). Within a few moments different opinions are flying and the family is in heated argument. The little girl takes a deep breath, gets up, and turns on a cd player. Adele’s newest song, Hello, which had just been released a month prior, begins its melodious chords. The 5 adults straighten. Their faces turn gentle and soft. They begin to reach across the table and hold one another’s hand. “Hello from the other side…,” they sing along. After a few lines, the music fades. The adults compose themselves. Then, in an instant, they begin to squabble again. The girl goes back to the CD player. The ballad resumes. Faces soften and hands reach. It seems that the only way to connect the family is through this song. The sketch is aptly named, A Thanksgiving Miracle.
All families who come into my office, no matter what their particular issues are, all share one common characteristic; their family system is experiencing stress. In addition, most families have not been able to sit down together and effectively address each other’s concerns. Indeed, few families do; while it is common in many settings for people to meet together to solve problems (volunteer organizations, work, etc.), few families regularly set aside time to address concerns. As weeks fly by in a rush of work schedules, carpools, and sports practices, problems can often build up. Making time for family meetings can help families focus on improving the family atmosphere and family relationships, and head off problems before they build up. Here are some ideas for making meetings work:
In the past few decades, and particularly in the last few years, there has been more open conversation about young people and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. As children in our families, schools, and communities come out into the open, parents, uncles and aunts, and neighbors and friends consider how they can be supportive. Here are some guidelines that may be of use to adults who are considering how they might support their own children, or children in their families and communities.
After my daughter was born, the last thing I wanted to think about was leaving her to return to an office. It was a feat getting out the door on time for playgroup, let alone putting on a work-appropriate outfit and carrying on a conversation that didn’t revolve around sleep and how to get more of it. For me, I felt lucky to have the opportunity to take a long maternity leave, but I also had many friends who were happy to go back to the office earlier. Regardless of when it happens, returning to work after baby is a source of anxiety for many parents. It can be a difficult transition filled with worry and fear.