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General

Does a Handout to the Homeless Help or Hurt?

We walk down a city street or stop at a stoplight and the panhandler is there, cardboard sign in hand, seeking a handout. What should we do? Close our eyes or open our wallet? Most crucially, no matter what course we decide on, are we helping or hurting?

Because I treat those who are mentally ill and addicted, a population widely represented among those on the streets, I am sometimes asked what I think is the appropriate response when approached for money.
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Are Sibling Battles Hurting Your Kids’ Mental Health?

“He hit me!” “Who said you could wear that?” “Make her leave me alone!” Such is the soundtrack of most parents’ lives, and to a certain degree, we shrug it off. After all, siblings fight, and why wouldn’t they? They are captive audiences – forced to share belongings, attention and personal space. It’s fertile ground for conflict.

The good news is all that squabbling can teach valuable social lessons, such as negotiation, compromise and patience. But increasingly, research is making clear that the fighting we tend to accept as just part of growing up is also capable of inflicting lasting psychological wounds.
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Is Sleep for Losers?

You snooze, you lose. It’s a saying that’s too often interpreted literally. We see the day as much too short and the competition as much too fierce to allow for the indulgence of a full night’s sleep.

But that’s the problem: Sleep is not an indulgence. It’s essential to our physical and mental health, and it’s crucial for performing our best. Even so, it’s easy to buy into the mindset that the true movers and shakers of the world are not the ones snoring in their beds, and that those who need their sleep are somehow the weak members of the herd.
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Baby Boomers: No More Strength in Our Numbers?

We baby boomers have been lucky. Born into post-World War II prosperity, we grew up with more access to nutrition, medical care and education than any other generation in history. We’ve had opportunities undreamed of by our ancestors, and through our sheer numbers - 78 million strong - we’ve dominated the political and cultural landscape.

So why are we so unhappy?

According to research that has tracked us as...
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5 Must-Have Conversations for Back-To-School Season

This is the time of year when shopping for school clothes and the latest electronics and accessories is foremost in your child’s mind. But, for parents, back-to-school season brings up more pressing concerns that should find their way into conversation, whether casually at the mall, in the car or watching TV or in a more formal family discussion around the dinner table.

#1 Alcohol Is Off-Limits

The old adage is true: education...
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5 Realities of College Life Every Parent Needs to Know

Thousands of recent high school grads are stocking up on dorm essentials and packing their bags for college. Since your blossoming young adult may be far from home for the next few years, and they’ll be none too quick to call with updates, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the dark about what really happens at college. Here are five of the less savory aspects of college life every parent should be on the lookout for:

#1 Stress Leads to Drug Use, Binge Drinking.

Transitions can be extremely stressful, especially for young people trying to balance a full load of classes, a part-time job, a social life, and new responsibilities like cooking, shopping and cleaning. Whether it’s the stress of school, the first taste of freedom or an attempt to fit into an unfamiliar environment, studies show that substance abuse and other risky behaviors increase significantly during this time.
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Stuck in Adolescence: Helping Your Young Adult Act Like One

She looks like an adult, sounds like an adult and occasionally dresses like an adult. But take a closer look and you’ll see someone who more closely resembles a teenager than a bona fide grown-up. The increasingly common phenomenon of taking the long road to adulthood goes by different names - failure to launch, Peter Pan syndrome, the boomerang generation - but is becoming a pressing concern for many families.

Most young people don’t struggle with the transition into adulthood, and of those that do, there are often understandable - even healthy - reasons for it. Some are busy seizing other opportunities - trying on different jobs and romantic interests to see which fits, traveling, or building job skills at unpaid internships. For these youth, living at home and settling down later makes sense.
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