Joey, aged 7, pitched a fit at the grocery store when his mom wouldn’t let him have a candy bar. His mom was embarrassed and it seemed like every eye at the store was on her. She relented, and let him have the candy “just this one time”. Mary, age 15, came home one hour after curfew. Dad was furious and grounded her for two weeks. After two days, she begged and pleaded to be let out of jail. “I promise I will never be late again” she pleaded. Dad felt bad about the severity of his punishment. He relented. Bill’s bedtime was at 8:30 p.m. All games were to be shut off, teeth brushed, and in... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
I recently returned from a five-day workshop on “Mindfulness” based Cognitive Therapy for depression. These days we frequently hear about “mindfulness” and it’s application to a variety of conditions and situations. It’s become a popular term.
But what does it mean? When I think of mindfulness, I think of being aware of other people’s feelings or being careful (as in be mindful of where you step). But this type of mindfulness is different. It’s all about being aware of your own experience.
“Mindfulness means being able to bring direct, open-hearted awareness to what you are... Read More
Children (and adults too) thrive on a recipe of 2-3 cups of “sameness” with regular pinches of “new experience” thrown in. Kids want to eat the same breakfast cereal every morning. They want to watch the same movie a hundred times. They want to go to the same playground. They want to hear the same bedtime story every night. Why?
There are many reasons for this need for predictability. But one reason is that kids are absorbing vast amounts of new knowledge and information every minute. Like sponges, they are soaking up new rules, values, norms, expectations, and social data in... Read More
At her birthday party, I asked her what were the most important lessons she’s learned over her 95 years of life. Without pausing a moment she said—“ Be kind to everyone around you. Take no offense and if you do, be quick to forgive.” This is a simple, direct message from an unassuming woman who has lived through the greater part of the 20th century. They are words of wisdom.
Why is it so much easier to be kind to strangers than to friends and family?
We take each other for granted. Familiarity breeds—familiarity. We simply stop noting all of the small loving deeds and moments... Read More
My father, like most men of his generation, knew little about being a dad. As a parent in the 1950’s, he came home late on weekdays and on weekends he filled his day with chores. As a young child, when my father was holed up in his study paying bills, I would hide under his desk just be near him, secretly soaking up his company. When we did talk it was about school or activities. We had no language for feelings.
We spent so little time together that those moments, however mundane, were like a drink of water to a parched throat.
Fifty years later, men now have enough leisure... Read More
As an adult, I have been mostly overweight. And a quick look around tells me I’m not alone. But when I watch TV, read magazines, or go to the movies, all I see are slim, tall, muscular men and women. When I go to the beach, I see a parade of bathing beauties. Unfortunately, I can’t march in their procession. Growing up, everyone in my family struggled to keep their weight down. My childhood saw a cornucopia of the latest, new-fangled, guaranteed-to-make-you-skinny diets. High-protein, low carb, all liquid, low-fat diets lay littered across a vast wasteland of lost and found pounds.
... Read More
A couple of weeks ago, I met with the “Chief Pharmacist” at The Everett Clinic to discuss his concerns about the use of sedative-hypnotic sleep medications (like Ambien) for older adults. At this meeting, I naively asked him at what “age” does older adulthood begin. I learned, to my surprise, that I am on the doorstep of older adulthood! Admission begins at age 65!
Recent medical reports have called into question the safety of these sleep medications for all adults, but particularly for those of us who are getting older. Older adults, even those of us in our 60’s, are more prone to... Read More
Late summer comes early to the Northwest. Those long, warmer days, lazily spent by the water, or in your yard, will soon be replaced by shorter, cooler days. The slower, more relaxed pace of summer will quicken as September comes into view.
By now, I hear children complain about the boredom of unstructured summer days. I can feel a slow, but steady build-up of energy and excitement as youngsters turn their attention toward the start of school---just a few days or weeks away.
Preparing children for school starts early. Back to school shopping sales are in high gear. The new... Read More
Some years ago, a middle-aged patient of mine, Joe, walked into my office, and pleaded, “Paul, please talk me off the ledge”. He had struggled through a long period of work and relationship disappointments and problems with his youngest daughter. He grew up in a family with domestic violence and verbal abuse. He was at the very lowest I had seen him for a long time. He was experiencing the suffering of clinical depression.
Robin Williams’ recent suicide has brought the spotlight to this painful, but relatively common condition. Dr. Kay Jamison, a well-known psychiatrist, who has... Read More
My wife picked up the newspaper yesterday and broke into tears. She saw the sad news that Robin Williams, a beloved comedian, committed suicide.
I felt the same way. I remember Robin Williams in the TV comedy—“Mork and Mindy” which was a zany show about an alien from another planet. Williams was a genius and his career in the movies, television, and stage was launched. He was one of my favorite comedic actors.
Why are we so shocked? For one, it’s hard for us ordinary citizens to imagine that a successful, famous, talented, wealthy screen personality would commit sucide. He... Read More