In this issue...
Generational Gaps
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February 2018

Dear Subscribers and First-Time Readers,

The NJPA E-Newsletter editorial staff is pleased to welcome you to winter with an issue focused on concerns related to generational gaps. The issue contains helpful tips that are pertinent to the experience of individuals from specific age groups and to the relationships between family members of different generations. We recognize how the priorities in our life change drastically over time. In addition, aspects, such as technology, have significantly widened many generational gaps. Our contributors cover life challenges ranging from placing a parent in a nursing home, to parenting young teens in the digital age, to dating in your 50s. This issue also includes a word search with a “Generation” theme that we hope you enjoy.

Of further note: This is the last issue with Sue Breckwoldt, PhD as co-chair. We are grateful for her tireless editing and creative efforts since the start of this E-Newsletter that made this publication what it is today.  

We welcome hearing from our readers.  You can reach us via email at [email protected] (our new co-chair, Michelle Miller, PsyD) or Allison Dorlen at [email protected].

Co-Chairs: Sue Breckwoldt, PhD & Allison Pastor, PhD

Just Like You, Your Parent is Only Human
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

One of the hallmarks of becoming an adult – not just hitting the age of majority – is learning to see your parents as human. It means giving up the fantasies of who you wanted your parents to be and accepting your parents for who they were and who they are now. It also means taking responsibility for who you are as a person. To do all this, it is extremely helpful to understand how your childhood experiences have affected who you have become as an adult.

As a child, your survival was in your parents’ hands. Having your parents in an all-powerful position, you had an innate need to receive their approval.  Even when parents fail their children in significant ways, those children generally continue to try to please their parents. Rather than seeing their parents in a negative light, they often view themselves as flawed. If only they were smarter, more talented, or more capable, their parent would love them. This is all preferable to seeing their parents as flawed, which would make them more vulnerable in a dangerous world. It might even leave them in charge of their own survival that, as a child, is a task that they are not up to.  
Parenting:  Am I the Problem?
By Eric Herschman, PsyD

Sometimes, I can help parents with their troubled child’s behavior without seeing their child.  No one knows inherently how to be a good enough parent.  Our own parents can be good role models, but sometimes they may not.  The dance of effective parenting can be very complicated with many variables to consider.  There’s lots of trial and error. I have never met a parent who says to him or herself, “How can I be a bad parent?”  I will address some examples of what I have found to be helpful to parents in making positive changes for a less stressful family life.

Remember, that while children learn from observation and watching you, genes and biology influence their behavior as well.  When possible, a powerful tactic is to ignore negative behavior and praise and acknowledge desired behaviors. Carefully pick and choose the battles you want to engage in.

The power of distraction is an effective approach, but often not utilized when parenting a child.  For example, when your child is having a tantrum, ask them about a new Lego toy or TV show.  That question can deflect and derail their meltdown.  Depending on the child and situation, you can say, “Is that the best tantrum you can do?” Maybe add, “Try laying down on the floor and flailing your arms more or stamp your feet, like this.”  Your child will be taken aback by this comment and likely stop the tantrum because they’re so perplexed by you joining with them in their fit.  read more...
Social Media Across the Generations:
An Essential Primer

By Janie Feldman, PsyD

Social media, the manner of conducting social interactions via Internet websites, became the mainstream arena for maintaining relationships and even starting them. Merriam-Webster defines social media as: forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos). For the purpose of this article, social media or social networking sites (SNS) include such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Other SNS worth mentioning are Internet dating sites, however, Internet dating deserves its own treatment. Social media  sprinted beyond just becoming a conventional mode of communication in our culture, to emerging as the premier means of communication that transcends gender, demographics, and age groups. It seems that almost everyone engages in some form of social media by visiting SNS.  read more...
Nursing Home: The Dreaded Conversation
Mary Kelly Blakeslee, PhD

Are you worried about your aging parent, but too afraid to have the “Nursing Home Conversation?”  Afraid your parent will be angry, uncooperative, or in denial? These are all real possibilities, however, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the conversation.  It is never easy, but often necessary to talk to Mom or Dad about the next level of care.  Here are some things that can help:

Be Prepared
Get the information you need about their health and concerning behavior.  A discussion with siblings or other relatives, health care professionals or a trusted clergy person can be helpful.  Determine what is optional and what is non-negotiable.  Then consider the logistics of the conversation.   All four siblings may overwhelm your parents, and it might not be the best time for the confrontational sibling to lead the discussion.  Acknowledge your own feelings and avoid judging your experiences of anxiety, anger, or sadness.  read more...
Guys Dating in Midlife: There Must Be 50 Ways to Find a Lover!
by Jeffrey Singer, PhD

‘Making Nice’ with Your In-Laws
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Generation "Why?” Kids
Michael Zito, PhD
From the desk of the editors-in-chief
Editors in Chief:
Allison Dorlen-Pastor, PhD
Michelle Miller, PsyD

Staff Editors:

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Marianne Herzog, PhD
Lynn Schiller, PhD
Michael Zito, PhD

Find more information on our contributors here.
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