Boys2Men2

Dr. JI ended my last blog (From Boys to Men) with an old sports adage, “no pain no gain,” a reference to the notion that a certain amount of pain is a by-product of sustained effort that leads to an increase in stamina and muscle definition. It seemed appropriate to begin this post with another reference to sports. Muhammad Ali, known equally well for his athletic prowess as his ability to turn a phrase, once quipped, “What really counts in the ring is what happens after you are exhausted.” Continue reading

Book Review: Diary of a Social Detective by Jeffrey E. Jessum, Ph.D.

Social DetectiveMiddle school is a challenging time of life for most students. They often feel uncomfortable in their own skin as their bodies and brains mature and they also have become more aware of being the focus of attention. If they aren’t constantly looking in the mirror, they are checking to see if someone else is watching them. For students with social communication issues or Autism Spectrum Disorder, this transition can be particularly confusing and painful. Suddenly, social interactions are way more complex and these kids are bewildered at the same time they would like a little social support to smooth their path. They often desire friends but have difficulty recognizing signals from others and getting the social context right. Continue reading

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When Communicating with Teens, Less is More

There are a few changes parents typically expect as their youngsters grow into adolescence. Most parents know to expect a good portion of brooding, irritability and social drama. They expect their children’s bodies to change and their sexuality to become more pronounced. Parents know that kids will rebel and talk back, and that they are likely to experiment with things you wish they wouldn’t. Continue reading

Chaos to Order

11 Ways to De-Clutter Your Mental Workspace

The research is clear, multitasking doesn’t work, yet we do it anyway. Parents worry about their children growing up in a buzzing, chirping, and otherwise media-interrupting world, but adults too are being swallowed up by distraction. In an attempt to get more done at once, we are becoming less productive. We are passively allowing our work and personal lives to be interrupted again and again with little to show for it. It’s time we put some real thought into how we manage the information flow in our lives. If you want to see better work habits in your children, you can start by taking care of your own. Here are some ways to clean up your mental clutter and improve your productivity. Continue reading

Book Review: A Disease Called Childhood

photoOver the past 30 years or so, ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) has grown from an inglorious collection of symptoms into a household name. Approximately 11 percent of children and 15 percent of adolescents in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Each American child is 6 times more likely to receive the diagnosis than a child in France and 60 times more likely than a child in Finland. In her recently published book, A Disease Called Childhood, psychologist Marilyn Wedge set out to find out why ADHD became an “American epidemic.” She concludes with a decisive stance against the medicalization of childhood behavior, rampant prescription of stimulants classified as addictive and widespread misrepresentation of research in the name of ADHD. Continue reading

Freud or Betty Crocker: What’s Cooking?

Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund, was also an influential psychoanalyst and worked predominantly with children who experienced deprivation. She was the first psychologist to recognize the importance of food as a therapeutic tool. Providing food was seen as a “corrective emotional experience” for children whose basic needs had been inconsistently met. This point of view had its detractors and it became suspect to “gratify children’s wishes”.   Hostility to the pleasures of food and eating is a theme that continues today in rigid diet regimens and the constant barrage of food-bashing in the media. Continue reading

From Boys to Men

Dr. JBy Dr. Charlie Johnson

I have worked with pre-adolescent and adolescent males, primarily African-American, but other racial and ethnic groups as well, for more than 25 years. In my 15 years at The Kingsbury Center, I have specialized in working with those who have some sort of learning disability, be it a struggle to read, despite average intelligence; or slow processing, which inhibits the ability to work in “real time”; or internal distractions, like attention or anxiety, which make it challenging to be an effective learner, both in terms of academics and in appropriate social and emotional functioning. My overarching goal is to help these boys successfully transition to manhood. What I have observed in emerging young men over the years leads me to share my personal perspective on a phenomenon that causes me great concern: too many young men are not being successfully “launched.” Continue reading