Video games are often used in excess, which may result in parent-child conflict. Parental concerns are not without merits. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has produced guidelines on screen and media usage, along with negative associations on development. Alternatively, some studies have shown positive associations with video game use. Arguing about the merits of video game use, however, places the focus on the video game itself rather than the important teachable moments that are made available.
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.
One of my fondest memories growing up was family dinners. Every night we sat down and ate dinner together – all six of us. No matter if any of us had the best or worst day at school or work, we would stop to share food together. It wasn’t simply eating dinner together that was remarkable, it was what my parents did with this opportunity of having us all together. They created a positive and nurturing environment while modeling priceless life skills: love, social skills, and healthy eating habits. Although there were many times I wished our family was one of the “cool” families that ate dinner in front of the TV, now as an adult and parent I recognize the importance of having family meals. Don’t get me wrong, our family dinners were far from perfect. Sometimes they were disasters, but they did provide important messages.
When my grandmother was nine years old, her parents sent her off alone to America. She went with a bundle of belongings and a Russian-English dictionary, across the ocean to live with a married, older sister in New York City. The family had scrimped and saved to make this possible, knowing all the while that they might never see their beloved daughter again. She had worked hard to prepare, mastering frugality and other life skills, and she flourished here, despite the poverty. Now one-hundred and seven years have passed and I, too, am heading to New York. Although I am only going for one week, I am taking more with me than my grandmother took when she emigrated. Furthermore, I am probably leaving behind in my house more things than her entire community (either in Russia or in New York) possessed. While my grandmother was challenged by the scarcities in her world, children today have to learn to manage the abundance, even excess, of ours.
As children grow, they tend to turn away from parents and toward friends. If you start talking early on, it is easier to maintain rapport as they grow into adolescents and young adults. Taking the time to have a quality conversation each day fosters a close emotional bond between you and your child that can endure as they grow and develop.
Surrounded by piles of laundry and bags to still unpack, my exhausted husband turned to me after our first travel experience as new parents and said, “That was NOT a vacation, it was a trip!” With a growing family and these reduced expectations we slogged through the next few years of family travel. But I really did want to take a vacation … as a family…with our children. To go somewhere new together, have fun, see the world through my children’s eyes, experience things as a family in a different way, enjoy each other, and build special memories.