Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Family Link

The Favorite Parent

I spent many of my elementary school years trying to be viewed as the favorite student in the eyes of my teachers, however, the feeling of wanting to be favorite has completely escaped me as an adult. I’m always excited to learn I am not the preferred parent. Each of my kids has gone through a “Daddy!” phase in the early years

The Risk of Playing Games

“Can we play Risk?” my son asks me on a Shabbat afternoon. I quickly glance at the wall, unsure of what excuse I can give this time. Usually, I say that I have to take care of our toddler; most games are impossible to play with him around because he generally tries to be included in the activity and ends up ruining it

Sometimes We Cry Over Spilled Milk

With a loud thud, the cardboard carton fell over on the kitchen table. My son was pouring himself milk in his bowl of cereal, and while I was proud that he was doing it himself, he accidentally dropped the nearly full container. It lurched out of his grasp, overflowing his bowl, spilling milk on the table, and onto his lap.

The Rules of Being Sick

I am not a fan of television, iPads, computers, or any other screen-device. I hate all electronics, which directly translates into how much my kids hate me, because I forbid them to use all of these things. We are not Amish in our home; we do own technology, but we severely try to limit its use as it seems to suck the life out of

A Fish’s Tale

There is something miraculous about the longevity of carnival fish. Either the fish dies within a few hours of bringing it home and having just purchased food and a bowl, or it lasts forever and ever. It’s always a gamble; the pallid, slow swimmers can burst with life when you bring them home, and the really gold and shiny ones

The Short Lives of Painted Pottery

Around once per year I indulge my kids and take them to a painting-pottery venue. I have always enjoyed these excursions because of the creativity it elicits, but don’t always enjoy bringing the creations home. We have a lot of pointless statues—ornaments that sit, collecting dust, one eye accidentally painted to look shut,

Psychological Insights From the Torah “At the Threshold Your Sin Awaits You…”

A story is told of a young man who approached his rosh yeshiva hoping for a bit of the empathic advice he was known to offer young marrieds. His anguish was clearly visible as he described in detail the transformation of his sweet, loving wife, into a “witch.” After only four years of marriage and three children, her exemplary midot of

Science Says: Eat With Your Kids

The Conversation is funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alfred P Sloan Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Our global publishing platform is funded by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

As a family therapist, I often have the impulse to tell families to go home and have dinner

Unleash Your (Inner) Child

I suppose that before I had kids of my own I used to secretly roll my eyes at parents who strapped a teddy-bear backpack to their child, and trailed behind him with a leash. “Control your kids!” I probably thought, feeling bad for the shackled youth who must have felt like a little helpless puppy. But then I had children and

Parenting Challenges: Can I Really Manage My Household?

Consider the following example: Rachel, a mother with four children under the age of 9, is always running around trying to take care of their needs. While she is boiling a pot of noodles, she is upstairs trying to run a bath for her son. While she is trying to balance these activities, she hears yelling and screaming downstairs. Rachel is

Pants on Fire! Teaching Kids Not to Lie

Research fellow for Security, Department of Psychology at Lancaster University

Lying is often seen as bad behavior in children. Fairy tales and folk stories, from Aesop’s Peter who cried wolf to Washington’s cherry tree tell children to be honest and never lie. But what can we do to encourage

The Worst Snack Sender

There was a time when my kids tried to convince me that they had no friends at camp because I wasn’t sending them Gatorade in their lunchboxes. Forget bullying, social skills, athletic ranking. It was plain and simple. Nobody would like them if they didn’t have the “poison drink” (it is lovingly termed this in our home because it