Posts Tagged ‘Ph.D.’

A Gift From The Heart

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I was so jazzed to learn that my buddy and writing colleague, Tina Tessina, Ph.D., was intrigued by my post about my new quilt (made from my son’s baby clothes) from Campus Quilt Company.

Seems that Tina and her husband, Richard, had saved many t-shirts from their travels together, and she had been thinking, for years, of having them made into a quilt. When she saw the beautiful quilt created for me by Campus Quilt Company, she decided to order one of her own.

It’s goegeous! I’m so glad I was able to share something here that sparked an idea in a friend, leading to a wonderful gift for her husband.

Check out Tina’s quilt over on her Dr. Romance Blog. And check out the rest of the blog, too. Hey, every parent deserves a little romance in his or her life. It ain’t all about diapers and curfews, people!

Are You Taking The Bait?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Today we’re featuring a terrific guest post from family therapist Corey Allan, Ph.D. who blogs over at The Simple Marriage Project. Corey and his wife, who celebrated their 15th anniversary this month, have a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. (And a cool dog named Otis — see below.) Thanks for sharing this with us, Corey!

Spend any time with a parent, and you are bound to hear tales of his or her children’s escapades. Stories about when they said the most inappropriate thing at the most inopportune time, when they continue to test the boundaries and rules, or when they’ve thrown a tantrum at Target. It’s enough to drive almost anyone crazy. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

Parents worldwide have gone through or are currently in the midst of the storm as well. Take advantage of the times when you can swap stories with other parents in the trenches. It can be hilarious, enlightening — and you may walk away from the conversation thankful for your children’s "tame" behavior.

Have you ever stopped to contemplate your role in your child’s behaviors? Could it be that they feed off you? I believe the answer is yes.


Applying this thought to parenting is the way to begin to gain control over your child’s behaviors. And the most effective way to do this is to get a better handle on your own emotional reactivity.

Let me explain. You come in after a long day and your child is in a bad mood due to a run-in he had with his teacher at school. You are already predisposed to reacting badly to any negative behaviors due to your tough day, and your child decides this is the best time to inform you that he did not do any of the chores you assigned him for the week. He even goes so far as to add a few colorful descriptions to his replies.

Do you take the bait and jump all over his disrespectful attitude? If you do, you’ve allowed him to change the topic of conversation, which was his incomplete chores. It’s easy to react when our buttons get pushed, but it is also the way they kids the subject. And they only get more expert at this skill as they grow older.

When it comes to arguments with another person, especially children and teenagers, the rule is this: Whoever controls the mood and the direction of the argument will win the argument.

My belief is that if, as a parent, you get into an argument with your child, they’ve already won. While they may not have changed the responsibility or the consequence, the fact that you had to argue about it keeps the "power" in their court. They controlled you by pushing your emotional buttons. When our emotions get the best of us in conversations, most people either over-react or shut down completely — leaving a possible wake of damage behind.

To take charge of your child’s behaviors, learn to react less emotionally to their instigations. It will change the dynamic between you and leave them wondering what to do next. After you have learned to react less, you are then more capable of creating an appropriate consequence for the behavior.

As a parent, you’re not raising puppies. You don’t have to catch your child in the act. Take some time to contemplate an appropriate consequence. Confer with your spouse. Search the Internet. Then get back with your child and calmly inform them of the consequences of their actions.

Do this consistently and over time, you will be in charge of the playing field in which your children reside. There will also be far less damage repair needed after the emotional upheavals.

Incidentally, the principles of being less emotionally reactive work with spouses as well.

So Your Kid Was Rejected By Her #1 College Pick? Have Her Read This

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Today I’m happy to welcome Rob Gilbert, Ph.D., professor of sport psychology at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, as a guest blogger. I love his perspective on college life, and I plan to save this post to share with my own son when he gets a bit closer to college age.

Dr. Gilbert is the author of How to Have Fun Without Failing Out: 430 Tips from a College Professor. And his blog offers great motivational tips for students. (Yes, he’s a busy guy!) Thanks for joining us today, Dr. Gilbert!

REJECTED? I CAN HELP!

You got the dreaded thin letter and found that the college you desperately wanted doesn’t want you.

Of course, you’re devastated—look at all the time, effort, and money you and your parents put into the whole college application process with guidance counselors, private college consultants, tutors, test-prep courses, college visits, interviews, essays, SATs, etc.

It’s not true that all your hopes and dreams are now destroyed. Your future is not over. Once I saw a poster that read, “It’s not the end of the road; it’s just a bend in the road!”

I’m not going to give you some Pollyanna-type pep talk and tell you not to worry. What I’m going to tell you is that wallowing in your misery is not the answer. You must regroup and refocus — starting right now!

Maybe I can help. I speak from over 40 years of experience. I’ve been on a college campus since 1964 — first as a student, then as a staff member, and for the last 29 years as a professor at Montclair State University.

However there’s one big mystery about college I’ve never been able to solve.

Why are students putting so much time, effort, and energy into finding their so-called “right” college, and so little time, effort, and energy into figuring out what their personal passion is once they’re in college? I see students devoting more time to determining where they’re going to spend the next four or five years of their college lives rather than concentrating on how they’re going to spend the next 40 to 50 years of their professional lives — in their careers.

And here’s a warning if you did get into the college of your dreams: Be careful of the “Yale Syndrome.”  Donald Archer, an expert in higher education and the author of “Cool Colleges,” reports that some students are so obsessively focused on receiving the “fat envelope” that getting admitted becomes an end in itself. Remember: Gaining admissions is not the end of the adventure — it’s the beginning!

The late psychiatrist and radio talk-show host Dr. David Viscott once said, “The purpose of life is to discover your gifts. The meaning of life comes from giving your gifts away.”The purpose of college is to find your gifts, to find your passion, to find your life’s work.

Right now stop regretting why you didn’t get into that school that was “perfect” for you and start refocusing on the future. Whatever college or university you’ll be attending in September, you can have a spectacular, life-changing experience there. There’s mounting research that shows that your future success is not determined by the college you attend.

However, no professor, advisor, or classmate is going to show you how to follow the yellow brick road to your passion. Sure, you’ll receive a lot of help, but it’s primarily a do-it-yourself job.

Where you attend college is not nearly as important as what you’re going to do once you get there. Here’s some advice for when you arrive on campus in September that’ll help you find your passion:

#1. Find out who the most passionate professors on campus are and enroll in their courses —regardless of what they teach or when the classes meet. I joke with my students that most of them probably would not take Religion 101 if it met at 8:00 a.m. even if it were taught by Professor J. Christ!

#2. The noted mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” What are the subjects or activities that you find endlessly interesting? What are the things you like to do that energize you? Be a detective. Listen to your heart. Find what you love.

#3. Professor Joseph Renzuli from the University of Connecticut advises students to carefully examine what they loved to do as a child because this might give some insight into what they might really want to do for a career. Did you know that when they were kids, Sesame Street’s Jim Henson loved to play with puppets and Walt Disney loved to draw?

Of all the things you can discover in college, the most important is your passion.

Look at it this way: College is a fountain of knowledge. Some students come to drink. More come to sip. But most come just to gargle. Make sure you take a big gulp!

Can’t Say No to Your Kids? Here’s Help

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

In response to my Feb. 27 post, "Are You Crazy Busy?" Susan Newman, Ph.D., a social psychologist and author of 13 parenting and relationship books, including The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It — and Mean It — and Stop People-Pleasing Forever got in touch and offered to share these tips, from her wonderful book, with the rest of us:

When something needs to be done, you’re the one to do it. It often feels as if you’re the only reliable person you know. The trouble is: Everyone else thinks that way, too. Especially your children.

Children have no trouble saying no. But it’s a word you avoid because it sets your guilt meter running, particularly where your children are concerned. You don’t want to disappoint them or make them unhappy. When you say yes to your children’s every want and whim, you wind up saying no to yourself, being overwhelmed and exhausted. You can’t be a happy, effective parent if you always function on overload.


At times, it seems a child’s needs involve you in different and demanding ways every waking minute. You have every right to say no to a child who asks to stay up later or eat more candy than you think is healthy, just as you do to an adult child who seeks dollars to start a seemingly risky venture.

NO Teaches Life Lessons

In some situations, no is the obvious answer, but what happens when your child asks to add another extracurricular activity to her already-full schedule? You’re proud of her initiative and want her to excel, but at the same time, your brain calculates the extra costs, both monetary and physical, that will result if you give permission.

When faced with the decision to add another activity to your child’s crowded schedule, grant a privilege or buy the latest electronic gizmo, listen to your gut feeling and ask yourself these questions: Can you afford to invest the time or money? What will it take away from other children in your family? From your job? How much stress or pressure will it add to your life?

By calling up a no when you need it, you gain a bit of deserved time for yourself, and equally important, no prepares your child for the “real” world. Parental no’s teach children how to cope with disappointment, how to argue, how to strike a balance between work and play, time management and task prioritization — essential experiences that aren’t always taught in school. When children grow up learning these concepts, they are more likely to be successful in their academics, relationships and, later on, in their careers.

10 Tips for Saying NO

In The Book of NO I point out that you have certain rights.
Among them: Using no to get your life in control and to be in control
of it; requesting details before committing; refusing anyone, including
your children, who insists on an immediate answer. Exercising your “no”
rights will change how you think when your children’s requests seem
excessive, unnecessary or impossible to meet given your other
commitments.

In our culture of “yes parenting,” here are suggestions and reminders to make saying no to your children easier:

•    Don’t get in the habit of putting your children’s wants and wishes before yours.
•    Forget about keeping up with the Joneses (one of the reasons many parents say yes).
•    Think about what’s really involved (in terms of time, money, health, pressure — yours and theirs).
•    Children get over disappointment far better and faster than parents do.
•    Don’t say yes to avoid confrontation.
•    Appropriate use of NO teaches important life lessons.
•    Saying NO helps instill your beliefs and values.
•    Remember, it is your parental right to say NO.
•    Park your guilt. As adults, your children will find something other than your refusals to fault you for.
•    Your children may even thank you for teaching them how to say no.

Thanks, Dr. Newman! For more on how to say NO to your children, friends, family and at work, visit www.thebookofno.com.

Yes You Can(!) Teach Your Baby to Love Veggies

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008


Want your baby to learn to like fruits and veggies? If you’re breastfeeding, you can start by eating these healthy foods yourself, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers also suggest offering your baby plenty of opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables as she makes the transition to solid foods, by repeatedly exposing her to these healthy foods — regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula.

“The best predictor of how many fruits and vegetables children eat is whether they like the tastes of these foods. If we can get babies to learn to like these tastes, we can get them off to an early start toward healthy eating,” says study author Julie A. Mennella, Ph.D.

The researchers studied 45 infants between four and eight months old, 20 of whom were breastfed. The results revealed that breast-feeding confers an advantage for a baby’s acceptance of foods during weaning — but only if the mother regularly eats those foods.

“It’s a beautiful system,” says Mennella. “Flavors from the mother’s diet are transmitted through amniotic fluid and mother’s milk. So a baby learns to like a food’s taste when the mother eats that food on a regular basis.” Babies are born with a natural dislike for bitter tastes, explains Mennella. “If mothers want their babies to learn to like to eat vegetables, especially green vegetables, they need to provide them with opportunities to taste these foods.”

Apparently a look on a baby’s face that says “yuck!” doesn’t mean all that much, the researchers note. They found that babies’ facial expressions did not always match their willingness to continue eating a particular food, noting that infants innately display facial expressions of distaste to certain flavors. They urge parents to provide their baby with repeated opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables, focusing on the infant’s willingness to eat the food instead of on negative facial expressions during mealtime.