Browsing All Posts filed under »Family Systems«

Who Owns the Overweight Problem: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 2, 2015 by

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Everybody worries about a chubby child.  Thin parents and overweight parents, especially those who suffered from fat-kid syndrome themselves.  Even Michelle Obama weighs in on this topic. Yet nobody knows what to do about it, except make September a National Child Obesity Awareness Month. Thanks a lot. One thing surely won’t work: a parent trying […]

Family systems: Children Acting Out Parental Power Struggles

November 20, 2014 by

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Charlotte* was a energetic, exciting, dominant woman.  She chose Charlie,* her opposite. Charlie ate the same menu almost every day: 2 eggs, chicken salad for lunch, chicken or pasta for dinner.  This drove Charlotte wild, and she let Charlie know how boring she thought he was. She loved changes and adventures, gourmet food and fine […]

Does Your Holiday Family Event Make You Itch?

October 25, 2014 by

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Well, you made it through last year’s Thanksgivukkah.  But don’t relax yet; the big season of joy is coming up again fast. Being with your extended family can make you squirm, either due to their direct questions or simply as a results of the difference between your life situation and that of the larger group. […]

But I got here first!: How birth order can effect sibling roles

October 24, 2014 by

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I’m a bit of a softie for sibling roles in family dynamics, and although there are definite limits to the validity of utilizing birth order to explain behavioral and personality traits, some value yet remains. Older research asserted a variety of characteristics to various birth-ordered children. It ranges from the 1975 Wark, Swanson and Mack […]

You CAN Stay: Making It Work

October 20, 2014 by

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Judith and Jay* had a checkered relationship, as so many long-term marrieds do. They had weathered raising the children, as well as the empty-nest syndrome. Sometimes she drove him round the bend with her non-stop chatter and tendency to cheer-lead; she not so infrequently considered offing him when he began one of his political tirades, or went […]

The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

October 16, 2014 by

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Molly* is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning. It seems little escapes Molly’s critical eye, despite the fact that her mother Marge* has […]

The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”–Part II

October 15, 2014 by

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In his book, Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, Robert Burney writes that “there are four basic roles that children adopt in order to survive growing up in emotionally dishonest, shame-based, dysfunctional family systems.” The children take these roles because they sense that the family’s dysfunction is so great, without their wearing the mantle of […]

The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”: Part I

October 12, 2014 by

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Remember the wondrously insane and macabre Addams family? (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky/They’re all together ooky. . . .”) They were the anti-Partridge family, the inverse Brady Bunch, fabulously perverse, with two ghastly children, Wednesday (as in “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”), and her partner-in-crime Pugsley, whose unique hobby is stealing […]

All in the Family: The Identified Patient

October 10, 2014 by

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“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” You only had to make it through the first chapter [first line, to be honest] of Anna Karenina to find this out–and there will be no quizzes assessing your knowledge of the novel after, so you’re home free now. Despite Tolstoy’s […]

The Ties that Bind–Up and Over

August 24, 2014 by

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As Mario Puzo informed us–and he ought to know–“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” So far, so good. But loyalty to, precisely, which part of the family and when–and what does that have to do with, say, the price of tea in China? […]

All in the Family: The Genie in the Genogram

August 21, 2014 by

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As some of the past posts have shown (take the post on triangles, for example), utilizing the genogram within the family systems approach often has significant explanatory powers for why a person finds him or herself stuck within current relational patterns. But it can do more than that, too, I believe, if we use it to […]

Raising Nice Adults: Overfunctioning for Your Already Launched Adult Children

October 28, 2013 by

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Over a year ago I posted several blogs on helping to launch your young adults who haven’t yet found work, job, insurance, or significant other.  See “Fixing We’ll Just Fix It For You: Letting Your Children be Adults: the Two Principles,” and“But What If? Adult Children with Extenuating Circumstances.”  Recently, an extended version of that […]