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Michael Tobin

Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of WholeFamily.com. He's  been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.

The compliment can about appearance, about a positive act, about something he or she did for you. Be enthusiastic, be detailed, and make sure you’re heard.

For most couples the first thing that gets neglected in their busy lives is their relationship. Your date becomes your regularly scheduled time for your marriage. Doesn’t matter what you do but try to make it a time to connect, to have fun, and to recharge your marital batteries.

Dear Visitor, Let me begin by saying the obvious: Communication is the heart of a successful relationship. Your words, spoken or written, soul to soul, are what foster change and growth in your partner or your loved one. Your openness to the words of your spouse, parent or child is what deepens your connection with him or her and with yourself.

I must confess. I, too, was once a teenager. So was my older sister. I owe a lot to her. I would sit on the stairs and watch her and my parents go at it. They would scream about her boyfriends, her grades and the late hours she would come home. But what really made them foam at the mouth was when they would invariably find a new pack of Marlboros hidden in some forbidden corner of her room. My father would accuse her of throwing her life away and she would snarl and snort and scream that living in their house was like having two prison guards for parents.

Dr. Michael Tobin Comments on: Teenage Suicide. Ellen is seriously suicidal. Why? How did she reach that point? Do her problems seem to be more severe than anyone else's? Okay, her parents have problems - they fight. But how many children grow up in families in which parents fight and suicide never even crosses their mind? Other kids may think that she's even popular. So how come a kid like Ellen thinks seriously about killing herself? I think the answer can be summed up in one sentence: Ellen feels absolutely and totally cut off, alone. Ellen feels that she's in a world in which she has no connections with friends, with family.

MISLEADING TITLE! It doesn't have to be a battle. Here's the good news: It's possible to live in peace with your teen. You may wonder how I know that. Here are my credentials: 1. I am the father of three teenagers - two girls and a boy 2. I was once a teenager 3. As a psychologist who specializes in parent teen relations I have 25 years of experience listening to parents and teens complain, cry, scream and moan about their "impossible" adolescent/parents. I want to share with you my laundry list of thoughts, ideas and practical suggestions on how to relate to a teenager. At the end of this list you can add your own suggestions.

Jenny doesn't see herself as a grown up. When dealing with her kids, she easily regresses to being one of them. She says things like, "Aw, come on..." and "I don't care." Children deeply resent a parent who is afraid to parent. Being an adult is a scary thing. It means taking responsibility for our lives and our actions. Jenny may have grown up with parents who did everything for her or she may have grown up feeling discounted rather than supported and secure. She has little self-confidence and looks outside herself for reassurance. Jenny is not in touch with her own inner authority.

BACKGROUND Before we talk about the specifics of teenage drug use let me first mention the obvious. General drug use and/or abuse are an accepted part of our society. Hardly anyone questions the basic assumption that you take drugs to reduce tension, to lose weight, to concentrate, to get rid of a headache, to feel sociable, to sleep better, to kill a cold, etc., etc., etc.... Drugs temporarily hide those nasty annoyances that accompany life at the end of the Twentieth Century.

My husband and I married during his medical residency. With the understanding that he had greater time constraints than I, I took over most of the household duties, including finances, and when our son was born all the child care.

In the classic triangle, the roles shift between the two people as they take on three different roles: victim, rescuer, and persecutor. In this drama, the couple compete for the preferred status of victim. The partners each claim to suffer and then expect their partner to take on the role of rescuer. They compete for victimhood and when neither wins, they become persecutors, blaming and attacking the other for their problems and pain.

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