Parenting


28Dec 2009

The Problem with Trying to Be "Fair" With Your Children

In my role as a family coach for wealthy families, one of the common issues that arises is the parents’ desire to be “fair” with their children and grandchildren. (I put “fair” in quotation marks because it really is an unusual term that is defined differently by many people and is almost totally based on perception.) For whatever reason, and

17Dec 2009

Creating New Family Traditions Around the Holidays

A “new tradition” is sort of an oxymoron. By definition, (“a long-established, inherited way of thinking or acting”), a tradition is some action that you have been doing for a while. But I believe it is both possible and helpful to intentionally create new traditions for your family. We need to recognize that families go through a variety of life

21Nov 2009

The Opposite(s) of Thanksgiving

We usually think of opposites in terms of a simple, “either-or” relationship — such as light and darkness, large and small, heavy and light. And these opposites exist on a single continuum, with the opposing characteristics being on the ends of the spectrum. But there are some relationships which are more complex, where there is more than one characteristic that

15Nov 2009

Mentoring — Transferring Information & Experience to the Next Generation

I started reading a good book this week — A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring by John Wooden and Don Yaeger. It was recommended to me by a good friend, and I always try to pass on worthwhile reading to others. The first part of the book covers the seven mentors that influenced Coach Wooden (for those

31Oct 2009

Managing College & Career Anxiety — for Parents

This past week I had the opportunity to speak to about 70 parents at a private college prep high school.  The anxiety level in the room was moderately high because these parents were there to hear answers about how to get their students to take seriously the process of finding a career path and choosing a college to attend. Earlier

10Oct 2009

Understanding Violence: Anger + Constant Violent Images + Poor Impulse Control + Societal Acceptance

Recently, there has been an “outrage” expressed in the media and in some communities about the continued increase in violence in our country. About two weeks ago an honor student was beaten to death by peers in Chicago — and the violence was captured by cell phones. In response to this incident a number of community leaders have called for

13Sep 2009

Father & Sons — Some Observations

Most of the work I do is with families — family-owned businesses, families who work together, families who have sold businesses and now manage the resulting assets together, and just plain families. And in my everyday life I have the opportunity to interact with and observe families of all configurations. Add my own personal life, of being a son, and

16Aug 2009

The Pride and Pain of Success in Parenting

When I talk to parents, either in family meetings, counseling sessions, or lectures, I always describe one of the main goals of parenting is: “to raise independent functional adults”. First, you try to keep them alive so that they will at least become an adult (e.g. avoiding fatal car accidents as teens). Secondly, you want them to move toward independence,

02Aug 2009

Subtle Aspects of Life That Wear Us Out

Part of my job as a psychologist is to observe — observe patterns of behavior, be attune to my own thoughts and feelings, and to derive some potentially helpful information form patterns I see. In recent months and weeks, I have observed some factors in life that really wear people down — they are not really hidden but are often

29May 2009

Family Reunions — Celebrating Unity & Diversity Across Generations

This past week we had the privilege of attending a family union with my wife’s family in Chicago.  There were almost 40 of us, ranging in age from 3 to 74, including my wife’s parents, six of the seven adult siblings (and spouses), and 23 of the 25 grandchildren (and two spouses).  Although it was a cool and sometimes rainy

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