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.
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:
For many parents, August brings the beginnings of a new school year, and many accompanying changes: outgrown clothes, new school supplies, and another grade level. Even with these clear markers of change, it can be hard for parents to perceive the incremental growth that their kids are experiencing; they might be performing their morning routines more independently, or making friends more easily. As hard as it is to see such growth in our children during times of change, it can be that much more difficult to see everyday growth in others in our lives: siblings, friends, love relationships, and colleagues.
Most people think about “fighting” as a sign that something is wrong with their relationship. While some fights are destructive to relationships, the truth is that all couples argue. The stress of managing a life together generate can conflict in even the best of relationships. Couples who are successful find ways to address their differences in a way that minimizes harm and lays the groundwork for more understanding. Marriage researcher John Gottman has observed hundreds of couples, and has found that couples who manage their conflicts successfully are much more likely to be satisfied and stay together. Here are some tips that can help you manage conflict in your couple relationship:
As teenagers become more independent, they often spend more time away from home, and when they are home they are often behind closed doors or focused on other things. It might also feel like your child is less interested in talking to you, but there are plenty of things you can do to maintain a strong positive relationship and stay connected with your teenager. Hint: It’s the little moments, not the big occasions, which can really count.