Monthly Archives: January 2014

POV – The Changing American Family

A report just out by the New York Times indicates our traditional family is changing. Today, blended family is encompassing husbands, wives and children from various marriages and ex-spouses and ex-partners in varying degrees.

First, the report indicates “families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago – than even half a year ago”.

America is about diversity; Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, and Lesbians & Gays to name a few groups are part of what we have grown up with today. The fastest growing immigrant groups to American are not Latinos but Asians.

Asian Americans are exceptionally stable, “they are less likely to be divorce than Americans in general” (16% infants out of wedlock, compared to 41% over all and 80% raised by two parents versus 63% overall; Pew Research).

As a psychologist, I find that we are in a society where diversity is accepted and unlike a generation ago we have grown up with all ethical, racial, religious, and stylistic diversity. What is troubling is how it affects our children and our life.

There is often a debate whether this is a positive or negative change. Yet, the decline of the two-parent household has affected the income of single parents. New York Times study indicated 63% of children live in a household with two parents. The majority of single parents are single mothers. There is evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fair particularly poorly”.

A few more statistics in this study:
-More than 40% of American babies are born to unmarried women, most in their 20s and 30s
-The traditional family of stable married parents with their children is educated elite
-Believe in romance – yes – hearing the word “family” answers were Love, Kids, Mom, and Dinner
-72% of adults under 30 view the ideal marriage as husband and wife both work and share in childcare
-28% of married women are more educated than their spouse
-Divorce is declining and the decline is for middle and upper middle income couples with college degrees
-Increase in out of wedlock births has occurred for all but the highly educated woman
-Men and women are waiting later to marry (men 28, women 26-27)

In summary, go to college, build finances, marry, build more finances, have children does build confidence in yourself and the ability to survive and to succeed.

POV: How to Deal with Toxic People


As a psychologist I deal with “toxic” people. “Toxic” people can be due to addiction, depression, grief and loss, and loneliness. The difficulty for family and friends is how to deal with “toxic” people. First is to realize we need to help those with depression receive the treatment they need and having friends and family acknowledge their concerns will help.

As a relative, it is important to recognize your family members and friends that need to be directed to seek psychological, medical or counseling care.

Today, we are finding an increase in depression due to chronic stress, loss of jobs, importance of two income families, isolation due to loneliness, lack of face-to-face interaction and the reliance no social media, texting, sexting and the increased use of video games.

There are healthy ways to deal with your depression and addictions by learning how to use coping skills to deal with your issues to become happier, healthier and more confidence in yourself.

How do you deal with a toxic relationship?

  • When friends and/or family become toxic to you it may cause exhaustion of you mentally. Friends that are toxic may become unhealthy to you and your life.

Here are some points to recognize when this occurs:

  • Do you give more to them then they give to you?
    • If so then, there may be a lack of balance.
    • Balance is never 100% it is never 50-50. Yet, it has to over time result in 100%. It has to be with a person that enhances your life as you enhance theirs. It may be 20-80, 70-30, 100-0 yet, it always has to be a loving and caring relationship. In summary, both in a relationship have to give.

A major area of knowing the person is toxic is asking yourself are they a “Giver or Taker”?

  • When there is a lack of balance in a relationship between giving and taking it does not work.
  • For a giver, who takes nothing in a relationship, this lack of balance can result in feelings of isolation, alienation, emptiness and loneliness.
  • If you are a “giver” you have control over, whom you seek as friends and as lovers. You get to decide which people will be your friends and reject others.
  • Takers have no power without a giver.
  • We choose those with whom we want to have a relationship.
  • We can choose whether to have relationships that consist of too much taking and not enough giving. At any point, if we are unhappy or unfilled, we can decide to severe the relationship.

In a toxic relationship how do you fix it and when to you decide when to end it?

  • First you need to make sure you have made the effort to be caring and supportive in the relationship. Sometimes “toxic” is the lack of communication and ability to focus on building the relationship. This can be accomplished by recognizing your differences and seeking ways to be together that are healthy, try to plan activities that both of you enjoy. Get out and experience a new adventure. Take yourself out of your “normal” routine and do something fun and spontaneous.
  • Often, I find relationships feed on negativity and it affects the confidence of both individuals. One person whom you spend an enormous time can affect your confidence in yourself. When this occurs, then you need to end the relationship. This is difficult, a person in a toxic relationship may be unable to severe the relationship due to the belief they deserve no better and continue in a cycle of negative and destructive relationships.
  • The good news is the cycle can be broken if you learn to be aware of what you do and what you want and need from a relationship.