The following beautiful poem captures the moment many of us have known when we dare to look at ourselves in the mirror, in search of our authentic self and our authentic voice. On that day, writes poetry critic Roger Housden (Ten Poems to Change Your life), “you simply know that you cannot continue to play by the rules you have accepted for years.” On that day you embark on a journey in which a new self, no longer controlled by the past, can mature and blossom.
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.
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”?
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).
Montreal psychotherapist Rhonda Rabow discusses what is reasonable to expect from a healthy relationship and what is asking too much. What behaviors, she asks, are red lights to be paid attention to before a long-term commitment is made, and what behaviors are part of the workings of real relationships and can be forgiven?
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.
A poem that has always touched me, and to which I return often, is David Whyte‘s Self-Portrait. To me it speaks of the longing to live life courageously and passionately, and in a meaningful and connected way. I was not surprised (but I was pleased!) when I learned he had read this poem to a crowd of 3000 therapists at a recent Psychotherapy Networker conference (2010).
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.