Aug 16 / Simcha

Understanding the Adolescent Brain

Starting in 1991, Dr. Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging at the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, starting taking pictures of children’s brains over a period of nine years, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  He and his colleagues studied some 1,000 healthy kids (including two of his own) at intervals ranging from two weeks to four years.

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Aug 15 / Simcha

Living with Teens 101

The more respected your teens feel, the more open they will be with you. The more power you share with them (without abdicating your role as a parent), the more trusted they will feel and in time, the more cooperative.

Parental coercion invites resistance. Rigid parental rules invite the breaking of those rules. How then, ask parents so often, do we get our teens “to behave”?

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Aug 14 / Simcha

Effective Parenting in a Nutshell

One of our most fundamental needs as human beings is to feel we belong. A child’s misbehavior is driven, not by a desire to displease the parent (whose loving acceptance s/he craves more than anything in the world), but by an unconscious need for attention and belonging (even if that is to be achieved in negative ways).

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Aug 11 / Simcha

The Pause that Refreshes

Many of us, possibly most of us, find it challenging not to react immediately to various triggers without anger, irritation, or defensiveness. Rather than take the time to contemplate and reflect, we react much like Pavlov’s conditioned dogs.  And thus we go through life, repeating the same script over and over, with little awareness that we have the choice to respond differently.

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Aug 11 / Simcha

Learning from the N. Ireland Peace Negotiator

Harri Holkeri, a former Finnish prime minister (1937-2011) who helped shepherd talks that led to the historic 1998 peace agreement in Northern Ireland, died this week in Helsinki.  In a speech in 2008, Mr. Holkeri cited several reasons he and his colleagues were able to guide the long-divided parties to a deal. I wondered, as I read the NYTimes obituary, whether these might be helpful in navigating our own everyday disagreements and conflicts.

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Aug 10 / Simcha

Handling Tough Conversations

One of my favorite books on the subject of handling tough conversations and situations is Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Stone, Patton, Heen & Fisher, 2010). Based on 15 years of work at the Harvard Negotiation Project and consultations with thousands of people struggling to communicate effectively in tough situations, the authors answer the question: When people confront the conversations they dread the most, what works?

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