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Difficult Feelings

When Kids Bully Parents


Most parents have had the experience at one time or another of their child having too much power in the family. This can happen in different ways, at different times, for different reasons, but it always feels terrible – for parents and kids. When we feel competent as parents, being around our children is often a source of pleasant emotional experiences. This helps us to feel attached to our kids, which in turn allows us to...
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anxiety

Bearing A Mother’s Fears Alone

In last week’s post, I wrote about how maternal can play out in a marriage. There were several comments about the post on my Facebook page that let me know the piece had clearly struck a nerve. At least a couple of moms who commented on the post could relate to the experience of holding more anxiety about children than their husbands. I thought I would explore this topic a little more this week...
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anxiety

When Parental Anxiety Affects a Marriage

Maternal anxiety is a special kind of hell. Fear hijacks our nervous system and takes our thoughts hostage. When a child is sick, when he is careening off course, when we know something is wrong, even though we don’t know what it is, maternal worry can fill our days and nights with dread.

Sadly, it is also often isolating. Depending on the cause of our apprehension, we may feel ashamed of sharing it with others. Friends and...
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Fairy Tales

Listening to Our Instincts

I suspect that parenting is more difficult than ever because of the proliferation of expert advice everywhere one turns. Advice can certainly be helpful. There are those who have done this before, who figured out things that can be helpful. There are scientists who have studied children and their behavior. There are therapists who have spoken with dozens of parents, so have an enriched context for understanding.

However, sometimes sources are untrustworthy. There are political agendas that...
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General

Cultivating Creativity While Mothering


Sasha entered treatment with me when her back pain became unmanageable – and nothing else she had tried was working. Sasha was trained as an opera singer, but had stopped performing when pregnant with her daughter. Though she had intended to go back to music in a professional capacity after her child was born, one thing after another got in the way – her husband’s job required them to move; she had difficulty finding reliable childcare;...
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Fairy Tales

When Motherhood Defeats Us

It is a human need to experience ourselves as competent. When we are mothering children, whether we feel competent can play a significant role in determining how satisfying we find this role. While some women come by a sense of competence easily after becoming a mother, others may have a more difficult time. Some women find the infant and baby stage easy, but feel at a loss when their child becomes a toddler. Others may not...
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Archetypes

Teaching Kids to Value the Inner Life


Last time, I wrote about how becoming curious about our inner life – and helping our kids to do the same – can be helpful in managing difficult emotions. Relating creatively to our inner life brings other benefits as well. When we cultivate openness and acceptance toward our thoughts and feelings, we develop a capacity to engage life symbolically.

One of Jung’s great insights was that psychological growth requires that we separate ourselves from thoughts and...
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General

Helping Teens Manage Big Emotions

Research indicates that emotional regulation is one of the most important skills we can teach our children. Teens who lack an effective way of managing distressing emotions may choose maladaptive ways of coping, such as avoidance or numbing through addictions. Managing difficult or complex feelings requires a capacity for self-reflection. The quality of interiority – an awareness of and interest in our inner, psychic landscape – is essential for self-reflection.

When we know ourselves to have a...
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Difficult Feelings

What if I Feel Envious of My Kid?

Janice had been seeing me for a few years, but I had never seen her quite this uncomfortable before. She was telling me about her daughter’s high school graduation party. Janice was a devoted mother who had worked hard to support her daughter through some academically tumultuous high school years. The daughter’s successful graduation and acceptance to one of her first-choice colleges ought to have been a cause for rejoicing, but Janice felt something much more...
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