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What My Son Learned The Day My Car Was Repossessed

  Mom, there’s a guy in our driveway with a tow truck, my son reports. With miscalculated insouciance I reply, No worries, dude, I’m sure it’s Bill. Bill, our neighbor, owns a service station. He’s hooking up your car, mom. I run outside to yell at this man, who’s not Bill, and end up handing […]

Don’t Do A Victory Dance When Your Kid Says You Were Right

  Heidi was a 15 year old girl who came for therapy at the behest of her parents. “She’s been furious with us ever since we had her transfer to a charter school,” her mother told me over the phone when setting up her first appointment. “Her father and I were convinced she’d do better […]

GPAs Don’t Tell the Whole Story

  When it comes to selecting indicators of a young person’s favorable adjustment to adult life, many American educators and parents opt for the measurable kind—grades, class rankings, RBIs, how many extracurriculars, etc. Some like to use the binary kind, too—uses drugs or doesn’t, in National Honor Society or not, shows leadership potential or doesn’t… Granted, to do […]

Have a Moody Teenager? What to Do When You’re Tired of “Walking on Eggshells”

      “Julia is so sensitive I can’t say anything to her without it causing a big blow-up!” exclaimed Julia’s mom. “How am I supposed to raise this kid? I’ve got to be able to talk with her—she’s only fifteen!”  Julia’s mother had a good point. She did need to be able to “parent” […]

Mother-Blaming Signals a Need for Better Mental Health Training

In her 12/30/12 post to “The Conversation” (, psychiatrist Dr. Peggy Drexler ( writes about the inordinate blaming of mothers for their children’s problems, offering as an example clinical conferences in which there appears to be disturbingly naive thinking on the part of some mental health professionals: “In case conference after case conference, it was always […]

Are We Over-Protecting Privacy Rights at the Expense of Security?: Response to Paul Steinberg’s article, “Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia”

Good article by psychiatrist Paul Steinberg ( in The New York Times (“Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia,” He writes bravely about the way in which the rights of mentally ill American citizens wind up encroaching upon the rights of other citizens to feel decently safe in public from the more malignant expressions of violence […]

Surprise! Psychology Matters

Surprise! Psychology Matters Follow this link for an article about reputable research indicating that psychological factors play a larger role in a person’s ability to adapt and succeed than do material advantages or even raw IQ. But we know this already, or should know it. People continue to be surprised when—once again—character, civic-mindedness, and emotional […]