elementary schoolersMenmomsparentingpreschoolers

Tell Your Kids About Your Work!

As I discussed in this post about the fact that you are allowed (and even encouraged!) to ask for love from your kids, and this one about how you shouldn’t let your kids treat you like garbage, today’s post is about why and how to tell your kids about a …


You Can Validate Your Adult Child’s Complaints About Their Childhood While Still Cherishing Your Own Positive Memories

I work with many older adults who struggle with their relationships with their adult children.  These adult children often have deep-seated and long-standing grievances about their childhoods, and they desperately wish for their parents to recognize and validate these feelings.  Often, the parent feels deeply hurt and shocked by their …


Would You Want Your Son’s Wife To Treat Him Like You Treat Your Husband?

I work with many women who adore their sons.  This is often in marked contrast to the husbands that they view with disappointment and even contempt.  How would your frame change if you considered the very real fact that your interactions with your husband are forming a subconscious template for …


Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families: You’re Allowed To Ask For Love From Your Kids

 I work with many Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families who were raised by difficult parents in sad or chaotic homes.  Many of these people had parents who used guilt and shame as ways to exert control and get their needs met by their kids.  Narcissistic, BPD, and depressed parents all …


Mothers: Share Your Feelings With Your Son To Help Him Later Understand Women

I work with many male clients, both individually and as part of a couple, that do not understand their wives at all.  While people differ in their ability to empathize for many reasons, they frequently have a common denominator of having mothers who did not share their deeper thoughts, emotions, …


“A Face Only A Mother Could Love” Doesn’t Make Sense For Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

There is a saying, “S/he has a face ‘only a mother could love.’  This saying means that a mother’s love is so unconditional and her feelings about her kids are so universally positive that even if a child was unattractive, the mother would love their looks anyway.  The idea is …

child psychologyparentingReader Q&A

How To Talk To Your Kids About Your Difficult Childhood

Reader Difficult Upbringing Problems writes, I had a question on your “parents with sad stories” post but I don’t want to out myself to Facebook. I am constantly torn between being honest when my kids ask questions about my own childhood, or sugar coating. Either way feels wrong. We have …

child psychologyHighly Sensitive Peoplenarcissismparenting

Being Made To Constantly Listen To Your Parents’ Sad Stories Is Emotional Abuse

Many of the clients I work with are people-pleasers, nearly phobic about upsetting other people, especially within intimate relationships.  Often, these people experienced childhoods in which one or both parents overwhelmed them with their sadness.  The parents recounted stories in which they figure prominently as an undeserving victim, and expect …

codependencydivorce and stepfamiliesmarriage/monogamyparenting

Are You Deluding Yourself That Your Kids Don’t Notice Your Marital Conflict?

I work with many clients who are anxious about the potential effect of their marital distress on their kids. Thinking about how your kids are harmed by your marital conflict is so hard and shameful to reckon with that most people subconsciously attempt to minimize it in their minds. While …

elementary schoolersparentingpreschoolers

Don’t Compulsively Verbalize And Validate Your Kids’ Emotions

As I discuss here, parents today are so terrified of invalidating their kids that they often swing like a pendulum in the opposite direction, training their kids that their emotions should be the center of the universe. Then they are upset and surprised when their kids turn into self-centered adolescents …