Having a 12 year old is like having a bad boss:

“Dad help me make …. No you can’t do it that way.” This kind of ‘help me you can’t help me’ behavior in an adult would be called, “Borderline Personality Disorder.” In a tween to teen it is perfectly normal.

My 12 year old daughter wants to be involved in everything that goes on but holds the opinion it can’t possibly be done the way I want to do it. I just have to be wrong from definitions of words to how to improvise on a recipe i.e. Micromanaging. I have been cooking for over 30 years yet have to acquiesce on how to do a recipe to my 12 year old!

You can only know what you know so whatever is, just IS. This in a 12 year old means a huge sense of Entitlement. Kids don’t think where things like the food on the table or the things in their room come from. They exist and are hers and that is that. You don’t appreciate what are just nature’s givens. Me saying I bought all this for you just doesn’t resonate to a 12 year old. They can’t see anything more than, it’s mine then it’s mine. Why are we talking about this?

Yes indeed the saying a family is a team is true but to a 12 year old this means what’s yours is mine too.

I have to keep reminding myself that although we might run head to head in a power of wills my 12 year old really has no investment whatsoever in whatever it is we are fighting about or whatever annoying behavior she is tenaciously displaying. She lives 100% entirely in the here and now and a huge blow up over something can be no more than in that moment she was just bored and focused on whatever it was. An hour after the tantrum she can be entirely fine with the world and like, Hi dad what you doing? It is my job as the adult to let it go and enjoy this good moment with her.

Sometimes it is hard. With a bad boss I would just quit.

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Socioeconomic rise and loss or simply the Generation Gap:

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes uses the phenomena of the swan who finds herself raised in a family of ducks as to why one feels out of sync in their family. Anytime you can find your story in a self help book it means this is a pretty universal feeling.

Each generation works hard to give the next what they believe they will need to do best in life but in doing so the socio economic and social context from one generation to the next is completely deferent. Therefore every generation has difficulty relating to the previous one and to the next one. You can only know what you know so whatever your experience it is THE NEW NORM. You can’t explain feeling and experience you had to someone who didn’t have those experiences in a way that will make them feel as if they had. A good novel or movie gives one an inkling of what it would be to actually have been there but few of us are this kind of story teller.

Rather than trying to make your parents or children understand or to try to appease them by just acquiescing realize the best way to maintain some balance of self and other is by being yourself and role modeling the life you are trying to achieve.

It is not easy for as one goes up the socioeconomic ladder there is often more individuality and less community due to things that suck lots of time and energy in order to maintain that are part of increased socioeconomic strata like mortgage and debt. As much as community can be a holding back factor as in drama and everyone being in everyone else’s business it also always a loss when one moves out of it as community is a large part of one’s self identification.

I am from a family that started in the lower middle class, basic worker bees. They worked hard slaving six days a week to provide a better neighborhood and an education for their kids that they didn’t have growing up. They left behind an extended family all living walking distance from one another. The better school district and lack of common experience mixed with no time to focus on making new social connections caused them to live as fish out of water in the neighborhood where I was raised. They didn’t fit in thus I didn’t fit in affecting peer relations growing up.

Their lower middle class values from ethnic Brooklyn certainly did not reflect the reality of the higher middle class suburbs. My parent’s mottos operandi being: work hard, sacrifice, and live through the accomplishments of one’s kids.

The Suburban mottos operandi more reflected the USA’s economic engine philosophy of success. Work to buy things in order to compete with ones neighbors and spend money on vacations and time shares and large mowers.

Growing up in entirely different educational, and social economic, and proximity to extended family, realities made it impossible for my parents and I to relate to each other. They maintain libertarian republican views of staunch individuality and “its mine.” Where I am more of a liberal democrat of why can’t we all share and we need regulations to ensure we play fairly. I missed out on the camaraderie of living in an ethnic close family neighborhood but I also missed out on the drama involved with that.

There is no real solution for the generational divide, it is what it is. I do appreciate my parent’s hard work and sacrifice but that doesn’t change the fact that the way they see the world is narrow and deleterious to the human race as a whole. They are for Trump and I am for Bernie Sanders.

It is what it is, I hope they lose!

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How much does a glass of anxiety weigh?

I just read the story where a teacher asks her students how much does a glass of water weigh? The answer being how long it is held. A few minutes no problem  and hour it becomes heavy and a few days causes pain , strain and fatigue. Anxiety works exactly the same way.

This is what differentiates anxiety from a disorder , can you put the glass down , or in my case get distracted and forget your holding the glass then put it down by mistake and cant find or remember what you were doing? Works just as well.

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GSAF vs. Hakuna Matata:

My daughter developed a fidgety habit of hair pulling and twirling which caused her to develop a bald spot. She then started becoming anxious about social situations fearing the spot would be seen by others. This led to avoidance behaviors. Tonight we had a long talk about how Guilt, Shame, Anxiety and fear can alter a person’s behaviors and start restricting their lives. “You can’t let guilt, shame, anxiety, or fear, determine your behaviors or you will stop taking risks, exploring, your world will narrow and you will get trapped by these emotions.” Anger and sadness can be added in as well thus really you can’t trust emotion.

They say trust your instinct but I say if you are going to trust your instinct you have to learn to question your emotion. Instinct is based on emotion as emotion is 12x faster than intellect. Emotion keeps us alive but can also cause our lives to be chaotic roller coasters. We have to understand emotional data isn’t data at all but is just what it is, emotion.

One has to learn how to let emotion pass and it always will. Emotion takes a lot of glucose in the brain to maintain thus it can’t be consistent, it can’t last. People try to make it last by passing it on to another. If my emotional crisis causes an emotional crisis in you then you can pass it back to me. But if you remain neutral my emotional crisis will die out as it can’t maintain entirely of itself, it’s to exhausting.

Science, Spirituality, and philosophy all offer variations of the theme, perspective, as how to handle emotions.

In science one can step outside on a starry night look up and ponder the vastness of the infinite universe. In relation to this infinity ones own problems are entirely negligent. In relation to the All they make not one iota of a difference.

Spirituality says to give up ones concerns to the greater all and have faith it will be as it is meant to be.

Philosophy says in 10 generations you and your effect on anything will be 100% entirely erased so again don’t worry as it really doesn’t matter.

Now these are only ½ the picture as of course on a local immediate level it does matter and we do touch others with our decisions, choices, and behaviors. Both are always true. Everything both matters greatly and matters not a twit at the same time. Hakuna matata (no worries), Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be.)

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It should have been worse

click on link to learn the-theory-of-cosmic-mediation

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Pecking order and the Rules of engagement:

A 15 year old aspergers female was brought to me for lashing out at school, being impulsive and aggressive. She was getting lots of detentions. Mom expected me to medicate her to fix her problems.

On inquiring I learned she was being bullied in school and constantly being made fun of. She in return would retaliate over the top and it just kept escalating. This was not a medication issue but normal human behaviors.

I had a long discussion with both of them about how humans are territorial animals and that we have pecking order behaviors. I.e. we compete for status, who is better than who and we compare and contrast and point out what is different about each other. This is normal and no amount of anti bullying federal programming is ever going to change these behaviors. But that being said we have choice on how we approach the pecking order.

If we approach the pecking order form the standpoint of a victim we will always be on the bottom. Directly engaging and fighting back to bullying is the lowest level of pecking order behaviors as displayed by our 15 year old now. Over time one can become very successful in these behaviors as did the New England Patriot player Aaron Hernandez. But despite being successful in his career and earning millions of dollars as an adult he still plays the victim and engages via direct retaliation on the lowest level of pecking order behaviors. When confronted poorly he shot someone in the face!

This is in contrast to Sam Berns (life according to Sam) who suffered from Progeria. His disorder turned him as a kid into a wizened looking old man. Instead of being a victim he became an advocate for himself and his disorder. He educated, taught and role modeled to where he became his schools mascot. He raised money for his cause and did ted talks and had a HBO movie made about him. His struggle became an inspiration to others.

The same is seen in the true story “Front of the Class” when afflicted with tourettes Brad Cohen has to advocate for himself eventually gaining his dream, respect, admiration, and teacher of the year award. His struggle became an inspiration to others.

Instead of engaging at the bottom of the pecking order in direct conflict these people went to the top advocating for themselves and role modeling for others.

Our 15 year old is playing a victim. She wants both to fit in , be invisible, and be like everyone else but that can never happen. At the same time she wants recognition, attention and to be special -the conflict of every young teen. In leaning to advocate for herself, maybe have her school play these movies, talk about asperger’s to her school she will be like Sam and Brad, an inspiration.

In medicating her into complacency we would just be enabling her and delaying the inevitable. She would still need to learn to advocate for herself but would less likely do so. She would take this lack of skills into adult hood and eventually suffer for it just as Aaron Hernandez did.

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It is all adhd:

There is a cultural trend currently that just drives me nutz. Everyone thinks all their problems are because they have adhd. Doctors reinforce this notion because the DSM5 is based solely on symptomology. If people have 5 symptoms of such and such then they have a disorder. No one asks why or what’s going on in their life. This is silly as common sense would often dictate another explanation besides having a psychiatric disorder but there is no common sense to our culture.

Perfect examples are when we make little kids sit still and pay attention for 6 hrs which is developmentally an incorrect thing to do. Schools adopting multiple recesses (about every 2 hrs) are finding no one meets the criteria for adhd anymore where before it was up to 1 in 4.

Another example is a woman I saw diagnosed with adhd by her family doctor and sent to me for treatment. When you listened to her life’s story it was obvious her meeting ADHD symptoms on the check list was absolutely meaningless. In other words if anyone given the same situation would have the same symptoms then it isn’t a disorder but something called being HUMAN!

Her story:

She is a 56 year old Hispanic woman who came to the USA as a toddler with parents whom could not speak English and would never learn English. By the time she was 6 she was their main translator for all social interactions outside the family and by 12 she was in charge of the family finances, billing, all mail correspondence to the outside world and anything else requiring English communications. Meanwhile she maintained b/c grades at school but complains she was a bit distracted. She remained throughout life her parent’s caretaker to their deaths from cancer a few years back. She also was caretaker for many years to an alcoholic husband while also working and bringing up 3 successful children and still taking care of increasingly ill parents.

Who, given her life’s situation, wouldn’t meet criteria for adhd ! Upon complaining to her family Dr. that couldn’t focus and that she was having trouble at work and home he gave her an adhd checklist and she had every symptom. He put her on stimulants to which at first she thought really helped but then made her increasingly irritable and aggressive. Of course they helped as would caffeine or any stimulant but not because she was mentally ill. She just hat a lot on her plate and being able to do more of it wasn’t really in actuality good for her. It enabled her to make her life even more complicated.

She didn’t set boundaries in her life, she never said no. Being able to do more just allowed her to agree more to things she could not in reality complete. She shouldn’t have been the only one doing everything in the first place. Enabling her to do more of the same just in the long run was making her situation worse! When this type of person finally reaches their limits they often completely crash. All or nothing. But nothing could take 56 years to reach and by then they interpret their life as a complete failure because they didn’t fix everything for everyone. Their life’s sacrifice didn’t in the long run change anything.

Medicating people but not looking at the big picture only allows us to enable people to continue to make the same mistakes they are already making longer.

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The new norm:

A friend was explaining this weekend why a mutual other friend put up with her mentally ill husband for so long, 10 years before divorcing. I realized her “new norm” explanation generalizes to just about every relationship.

She basically attributed it to the frog in hot water story. If he just suddenly changed one day and became a total bastard out of the blue that would have been that. But that is not how relationships work. They always start off great or there would be no relationship in the first place. Then over time things deteriorate or change one way or the other. The water heats up slowly and just as the frog doesn’t notice the warmer water the couple doesn’t notice their increased dysfunction it just becomes the new norm.

Most of the time things can coast even with some dysfunction but this doesn’t work as well once children are thrown into the mixture. Children’s needs heat the water or stress the family system rapidly. Things get noticed. Sometimes the new norm is again adjusted to and the couple makes the mistake of adding another child once again heating the system. Any change from here can heat the water to much to bear. Everything is now noticed. A change for instance the loss of a job or the loss of an extended family member and the system boils, the frog jumps out, divorce.

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Black sheep?

For the last few years Susan (made up name) has been justifying her bad decisions and self loathing by being the black sheep of her family. She compared herself to her successful sister in medical school where she dropped out of HS and worked menial service jobs. Her Uncle and brother she said also made good money as compared to her.

Turns out Susan is of a crime family steeped in drugs. Her uncle makes and diverts the product and her brother distributes it. The sister not Susan is actually the black sheep in the family as she is the only one consistent with cultural expectations as compared to family expectations. The medical student sister is like Marilyn Munster. The sister instead of being praised and supported by the family is just not understood and never affirmed. She in order to maintain her culturally consistent lifestyle has to have nothing to do with the family. Meanwhile Susan although not steeped in the illegal part of the family business makes poor self decisions that continually immerse her in crisis. She is 100% consistent with family values, expectations, and decisions. She is enmeshed and immersed with all the families’ poor boundary and codependent craziness. Susan also needs to become a black sheep.

If people knew objective truth they wouldn’t need counseling.

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On this the last night of Hanukah, Don’t let the light go out.

On this the last night of Hanukah, Don’t let the light go out.

click on the link above for a Hanukah Davar ( exploration on a theme)

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