Self-Harm: Understanding What it Is (and Isn’t) and Knowing How to Respond

A quick tour of online resources for parents of teenagers reveals that the subject of self-harm is frequently raised, usually in the form of parental concerns over cutting behavior. Parents asking for advice or support when they discover that their son or daughter is self-harming are understandably alarmed and upset. They also tend to run…

Strategies for Building Empathy in Kids

Empathy represents a complex, often misunderstood, and sometimes taken-for-granted set of skills that help us to navigate our social and emotional world. It includes not just feeling concern for others who are in distress, but also our ability to “see” things from another’s perspective as well as to imagine how someone else might be feeling.…

Intolerance of Intolerance

I recently saw an Internet meme that questioned whether a tolerant society should or can tolerate intolerance. After all, to be fully tolerant, you must accept (or at least hear and allow to exist) all points of view, even if they differ from your own, even if that viewpoint is based in total intolerance of…

Playing to Build Social Skills in Young Children

Even for toddlers and preschool children, friendships are key. Research suggests that early social development and peer relationships are critical for later academic success, social adjustment, and the ability to handle challenges and adversity. Friendships in early childhood also provide opportunities for children to develop the skills that they will need for social interactions in…

Depression in Teen Girls Much More Prevalent than Previously Believed

It is no secret that depression is an issue facing many teens, particularly teen girls.  But a large new study published in May has provided some alarming data suggesting that depression among teen girls is much more common than we previously thought.  The study found that by the age of 17, 13.6 percent of boys…

Validate, Validate, Validate

When someone we care about is in need, it is common to want to help or even try to “fix” the problem for our loved one. Though our hearts and heads may be in the right place, unsolicited advice or attempts to “fix” a perceived problem may actually lead to more distress for our loved…

Parents: Daily Dose of Praise Goes a Long Way!

Children experience daily stress of doing well and working hard in school. Spring break is not only a good time to relax and de-stress, but also an opportunity for parents to reboot their child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, which often gets compromised in the face of stress and sometimes criticism throughout the school year. This can…

8 Breathing and Mindfulness Apps That Promote Wellness for Parents and Kids

At this point, most of us are aware that practices like deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness practices are frequently recommended to reduce stress and promote both psychological and physical well-being.  However, it still isn’t always easy to incorporate such practices into your daily routine.  With the advent of smart phone technology, there is an ever-expanding…

Tolerating Uncertainty

Uncertainty is ubiquitous.  Throughout every stage of life, one must face new circumstances and new questions about the future.  A child starting middle school in the fall has to cope with the challenges of navigating a new school building, meeting new teachers and classmates, and learning how to balance increased academic demands.  A teen who…