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The Button Game – Teaching Young Children Emotional Maturity

 

About 18 months ago, Saliha, my son and I did this drawing called the Button Game. No doubt there were hundreds of conversations that let up to this drawing. As with everything in life, we arrived at this moment by taking a million tiny steps over time. But it is this kind of creative culmination that results when life lessons are purposefully marked and made accessible through artistic expression. In this case, illustrations of visual symbols. Continue reading

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Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?

An epidemic of loneliness is killing millions of American men. Here’s why.

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On a cold February night a few weeks ago, Professor and researcher Niobe Way presented findings from her book Deep Secrets here in New York. (Her book is available on Amazon.) She was hosted by Partnership With Children, a groundbreaking organization doing powerful interventions with at risk children in the New York’s Public Schools. Continue reading

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The Sadness Ghost: A Six Year Old Deals With Sadness


Psychotherapy Networker Magazine has published the Sadness Ghost in it’s January, 2012 issue.

In the summer of 2011, here in New York City, an eight year old boy was murdered. He got lost walking the few blocks home from day camp. It is a chilling story. Even more so for parents of young children.

When I read about it, my first response was, “I have to get Sam away from the city. This place is not safe. We have to go somewhere SAFE.” Continue reading

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Why America’s Culture of Shame is Killing Us

Put an end to shaming by doing one beautifully simple thing.

For Americans, shame is how we make people to behave in the ways that we approve of.

We use it on our children to get them to attend to us. We use it as a heavy-handed short cut in our adult relationships. We use it in our political debates and public discourses. Whether its about the cultural, the sexual, the political, or the religious, we don’t just disagree, we shame those who don’t speak or behave in ways we approve of. We express shock, anger and outrage at their core personhood. We say, “you should be ashamed of yourself.Continue reading

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The Brutal Message to Straight Dads About Expressing Gender Differently: You’d Better Not…

 Liberated views of manhood and gender are all fun and games until a baby shows up.

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Recently, a friend whose opinions I highly respect made the following comment during a discussion on gender: “Men can legally express gender in any way they like”. As if that particular battle has been won and now its simply up to men to throw off the chains of our own fears and express gender in more diverse ways. The path is clear. Continue reading

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Boys and Self-Loathing: The Conversations That Never Took Place

 Being deeply unhappy, even in the past, is not a story men are encouraged to share.

As a teenager, I carried such negative internal narratives that they resulted in actual physical responses of tightness and nausea a dozen times a day. These sensations of self-loathing would wash over me, creating a prickling sensation that raced across my skin, followed by a wave of heat resolving into a physical pain in my chest. It was like being shocked or hit. For me, it happened when I interacted with others or even imagined myself interacting with others. It happened when I looked at girls, spoke to my friends or simply saw myself in a mirror. Continue reading

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The Last Late Show with My Father

 I don’t remember a day when he was suddenly gone.

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My father left when I was six years old. The age my son is now. I don’t remember my father leaving. Did he walk out with a suitcase? Did they engineer it so he left while we were at school? I remember an argument, in the back bedroom with the door closed. I remember doing my little-child Saturday chores as the spring wind blew through the house, I remember that. But his exit, days or weeks afterward, is not something I recall, forty five years later. I don’t remember a day when he was suddenly gone. Continue reading

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Tools: Got a Six Year Old? Then Start Saying Less

 Just let them know what you need in the simplest way possible. And then stop repeating why.

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One of the most challenging things about having a six year old is the number of times you find yourself saying “flush the toilet” or “Don’t just drop your pants right where you take them off, put them in the dirty clothes basket” or any number of other things we, as parents, repeat over and over again. Continue reading