Getting unstuck from parenting power struggles

October 24, 2016
parenting struggles

Meghan is the parenting columnist for the Washington Post and a certified parent coach. She is the mother of three daughters and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow her online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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There are so many places to get stuck while parenting: From power struggles to chores, from sassiness to ignoring, there is no shortage of ways and reasons to struggle with children.

Before you can deal with the drama of your children, you must figure out why you are struggling with your children.

Key questions to ask yourself about why you are struggling:

  • Am I having the same struggle over and over about the same topic with my child and expecting different results?
  • Am I angry, resentful, or sad about something from my childhood?
  • Am I always disagreeing about parenting with my partner?
  • Am I
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3 steps to let go of that grudge

October 10, 2016
holding a grudge

Holding a grudge can be all-encompassing. Just the mere thought of someone who was rude to us, betrayed us, or otherwise hurt us triggers a tightness in our throats all the way down to our stomachs. Getting angry can feel empowering at first. But staying mad causes collateral damage in ways we may not even realize.

For one thing, harboring negative feelings can block us from experiencing positive ones. What’s more, when we dwell on how we’ve been wronged, we tend to talk about it a lot. If this is true for you, how might the grudge you’re holding onto be affecting your relationships? Is it possible that you’re so wrapped up in what happened that you aren’t as available to friends and family members as you’d like to be?

Staying mad also zaps our energy and can affect our health and well-being. Dr. Karen Swartz, a psychiatrist and clinical programs
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Making decisions in pencil

September 26, 2016
making decisions in pencil

A few years back, I was at a career crossroads and fortunately had an insightful coach to guide me.

I’d always imagined my life as a chess game where I could see multiple moves out — if I do this, it puts me in position for that, which will ultimately land me at my goal. My crisis was that I no longer saw the chess board and I couldn’t tell how the opportunity I was considering would play out in the long
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Why are we afraid of change? How change affects our social lives

September 12, 2016
change relationships

This is part four in our series exploring the science of our discomfort with change.

In the first post of this series, when we explored how human beings handle uncertainty, I mentioned a dream job across the country that you might, or might not, apply for. I mentioned how scary it can be to consider all the unknown outcomes of such a decision, such as where you’d live or whether the job would live up to expectations. But there’s another facet to such decisions: the impact of such a major life change on your relationships. Taking a job across the country could mean leaving family, friends, and a romantic partner behind and having to start over among strangers.

When I interviewed experts in a range of fields about how human beings make decisions, break habits, and handle things like loss and uncertainty, several of them cautioned against thinking solely in terms
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Why are we afraid of change? Examining the allure of habit

August 29, 2016

This is part three in our series exploring our fear of change.

“Lizards don’t learn very much,” writes neuroscientist Marc Lewis in his book, “The Biology of Desire.” “Their repertoire of skills is innate.”

By contrast, mammals have brains that “are designed for learning — they are designed to change — in sync with their environments.” We humans have evolved to adapt to cold weather, to fashion new tools, to adventure to new lands.

So why is change so hard for us, when we are, apparently, so used to it?
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Why are we afraid of change? How fear of loss holds us back

August 22, 2016

This is part two in our series exploring our fear of change.

Why is it so hard to give up what we have in exchange for something that seems better? It turns out, there’s a lot of research into how people make decisions in the economic arena that can help us understand why it can be difficult to change course, even when we say we want
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Why are we afraid of change? The science of uncertainty

August 15, 2016
Fear of change

So many of us struggle to change careers, to leave a bad relationship, to go back to school. In my social circle, I can think of just two friends who are notably good at change; the rest (myself included) tend to freeze up when we consider breaking with the past in a significant way. Neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s new book, “Idiot Brain,” addresses the ways our brains trip us up. I asked him why humans might be wired to resist making changes even when we say we want them.

“In an evolutionary sense, the brain doesn’t like uncertainty. Anything uncertain is potentially a threat,” Burnett
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Diary of a procrastinator

August 8, 2016
diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.


Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left large projects to wilt and die
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Being scared is brave

August 1, 2016
Lauree Ostrofsky

In high school, I was afraid to walk across the cafeteria to throw out my trash. All of those unforgiving teenage eyes watching and judging. I had mastered being anonymous just about anywhere, and then the tumor happened. Even after hair had grown over the scar and I learned to hide my hearing loss and shaky balance, people still saw me for something I’d rather they’d forget, and I felt them seeing me.

And now I was going to stand up in front of all of them to talk about “How My Brain Tumor Will Change Your
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If I have to spend one more minute with this person, I might scream!

July 26, 2016
annoying coworker

We all have “that” person at work, that annoying coworker with an uncanny ability to get under our skin — even make the environment feel toxic. Whether it’s the office know-it-all or a passive-aggressive button-pusher, every interaction makes our blood boil.

Unfortunately, dodging them in the hallways or fantasizing that they’ll get fired only works for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face them. (Sound of sad trombone.)

The good news is, it’s possible to feel better. The harder news is, doing so is up to you. It’s not enough to behave impeccably despite someone acting horribly; your reactions to them are making you unhappy. So it’s time to change your reactions.

Here are six things you can do to keep “that person” from ruining your day
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