For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a mommy. My favorite photograph is of a pig-tailed 7-year-old “me”, pushing around my toy carriage. I had 8 or 9 dolls in tow, and my little pink night gown was stuffed with pillows, indicating more little dollies on the way. “Oh, yes,” I exclaimed confidently, “one day I am going to have 100 children!” Although this magic number (thankfully!) decreased as I got older, my love for children and my desire to be a mother never waned. I often referred to myself as the “second mother” to my sister 7 years my junior, and was a beloved and much sought after baby sitter through middle and high school, and even college. I even earned the nickname “baby whisperer” as I could seemingly soothe any baby to sleep. My studies in child behavior and development in college and graduate school, as well as my work thereafter, only solidified my dreams of having children of my own. There was no doubt in my mind that between my love of children and knowledge of child development, I could (and would!) be the “perfect” mom.
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.
The end of the year is often a natural period of reflection where we take inventory of our lives over the past 12 months. For some of us, our thoughts naturally gravitate toward the moments of individual and familial triumph and success in the last year. The moments when we met our goal of having a date night with our spouse once a month, shared a quality conversation with our adolescent, or spent time in play enjoying our children throughout the year. When such memories come to mind we feel proud, joyous, and grateful! For many others of us, our end-of-year reflections more readily remind us of the disappointments, setbacks, or hurts of the year—goals we set that have yet to be achieved or maintained with consistency, fights with partners and children where mean things were said and remembered, or even the loss of loved ones. These memories are often accompanied by regret, sadness, or anxiety. [Read more…]
The “dog days” of summer have arrived. The sun is blazing, the mosquitos are biting, and the kids are, well, barking (at least in my house!). Summertime certainly brings its share of joy and laughter, but after 3 months of relaxed schedules, unpredictable routines, and normal “jitters” about the start of a new school year, many children (and parents!) have become downright cranky.
In a previous post, I talked about adolescence as a time of transition for the entire family, especially the relationship between teens and their parents, and the important role that parenting has on later development. As a child moves into early adolescence (around 13-14 years), established routines between parent and child will shift and reorganize to accommodate the emerging identities for children and parents. A high degree of variability may exist in the way parents and children interact during this time, which may feel as though conflict has increased in its intensity and frequency, and may not show stability until late adolescence (around 17-18). It is important to remember that some degree of this conflict is expected, and as mentioned in my previous post, how parents approach their children is important during this developmental period. Because a certain level of conflict can be expected, we can prepare and support our teens’ transition through adolescence. One way of doing this is to engage in a healthy way to resolve conflict through communication.
Every parent’s number one responsibility is to keep their child safe. Since pictures of missing children began to first appear on milk containers in the 1980’s, parents .have responded by teaching their children about “stranger danger.” Many children are instructed from a very early age not to talk to strangers. Yet the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), whose photos of lost children appear on milk containers, believes that this message is both insufficient and counterproductive in keeping children safe. NCMEC and other child safety professionals do not support the message of “stranger danger” for the following reasons: [Read more…]