Stepfamilies, here defined as a union that includes at least one child, a biological or adoptive parent, and a new partner, face many distinctive challenges. Unlike first marriages, most stepfamilies form in the wake of losses such as divorce or death. The structure of a stepfamily, as distinct from first marriages, typically includes “insider-outsider” coalitions; children and their biological or adoptive parent nearly always have stronger ties than those between stepparents and stepchildren. Many children feel threatened by arrival of a stepparent. Unlike most couples in first marriages, couples in stepfamilies do not have opportunities to develop their relationship before raising children; at the same time, raising children is usually more complex because the stepparent’s role in parenting is usually initially unclear. When stepfamilies form in the wake of of divorce, there is nearly always “another household” to contend with that can threaten the integrity of the stepfamily unit. [Read more…]
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.
If you are a parent of a child with an intellectual, learning, or developmental disability such as autism or Down Syndrome, you probably face particular challenges as your child approaches adulthood. Whereas parents of typical children face the challenge of the “empty nest syndrome”, you may be struggling to help your child grow in independence, even as you face an increased burden of care. As your child ages out of a full-time school program, available resources generally become both less available and less coordinated. The task of maximizing your child’s independence and relieving the burden of caretaking may begin to feel urgent. [Read more…]
Poverty can have a devastating effect on children and families. Rates of domestic violence, family break-up, and substance abuse are all high in poor communities. But affluent children and families have a number of difficulties as well. Recent studies have found that, beginning around middle school, both boys and girls whose family income exceeds $120,000 suffer from higher rates of depression and anxiety than those from middle-income families. Affluent girls from the pre-teen years onward suffer from higher rates of eating disorders than the general population, and affluent teen boys are at higher risk for abusing drugs and alcohol. Children from more affluent families demonstrate higher levels of social aggression and rule-breaking than children in the general population, and may suffer from higher levels of psychopathology in adulthood (Luthar and Latendresse, 2005). [Read more…]
The teenage years can be a demanding time for both youth and their families. Adolescents face increasing academic responsibilities and new social pressures, even as they grapple with rapid physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. While some thrive in the face of these challenges, other teenagers begin to experience difficulties. Depression, anxiety, poor school performance, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, and conduct issues all may manifest themselves during the teen years. Conflict within families may increase as teenagers alternately reject adult direction, demand more privileges, and engage in risky and irresponsible behavior. [Read more…]