Archive for the 'marriage and coparenting' Category

spanking doesn’t work!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Parents must know that while spanking may work in the very near term to stop a child from misbehaving, it ultimately backfires.  For starters, spanking teaches your child that the bigger, stronger person in a disagreement always wins.  And that in order to make your point, you must strike another person.  The irony is that children are often spanked for hitting or kicking another child.

An article by Lisa Belkin in this morning’s New York Times Magazine Blog, “When Is Spanking Chid Abuse?” shares the findings of Alan E, Kazdin research.  Mr. Kazdin is the Director of the Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic at Yale and reports that 63 percent of parents physically discipline their 1-to 2-year-olds.  I find this statistic staggering and alarming.  In a piece Mr Kazdin wrote for Slate, he says there’s “a strong natural tendency to escalate the frequency and severity of punishment.”  Here is the part of what he says that I wish every parent would understand.

“The negative effects on children include increased aggression and noncompliance—the very misbehaviors that most often inspire parents to hit in the first place—as well as poor academic achievement, poor quality of parent-child relationships, and increased risk of a mental-health problem (depression or anxiety, for instance). High levels of corporal punishment are also associated with problems that crop up later in life, including diminished ability to control one’s impulses and poor physical-health outcomes (cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease). Plus, there’s the effect of increasing parents’ aggression, and don’t forget the consistent finding that physical punishment is a weak strategy for permanently changing behavior.”

I have to believe that if parents really knew what was at risk with corporal punishment, they would work harder to seek an effective solution.  Stay posted for a seminar on this very topic.


Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Jo Frost will be in NYC soon at a Babies R’Us Store near you.  She is the star of ABC’s hit show “Supernanny” and author of Confident Baby Care.

Friday May 9th at 1 pm in Union Square Babies R’ Us

Saturday May 10th at 12:30 in Westbury Babies R’ Us

Saturday May 10th at 4 pm in Staten Island Babies R’ Us Store

making marriage work(shops)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

If you’ve been reading this blog or know me at all, then you know I’m a big fan of the Gottman Institute. They have a calendar of couples workshops coming up that are intended for all couples interested in investing in their relationship. This workshop, offered several times in 2008 and 2009, is facilitated by Drs. John and Julie Gottman.

The Art & Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples

2008 Workshop Dates
June 21-22
September 13-14
December 6-7

What You Will Learn at the Workshop
Drs. John and Julie Gottman have designed this workshop to teach you how to foster romance and harmony in your relationship. At this workshop you will learn:
*How to strengthen your friendship, the foundation of your relationship, by sharing a deeper understanding of each other’s worlds
*Ways to navigate conflict discussions with calm
*Skills to break through and resolve “gridlocked” conflict
*How to manage stressful conversations respectfullyRegistration

If you have questions or wish to register, please call Linda Wright in the Couples Department at (888) 523 – 9042 ext. 1 or visit

Research-Based Relationship Tips
1. Seek help early
2. Most couples wait six years – and live with unhappiness far too long – before seeking help with relationship problems.
3. Have high standards
4. The most successful couples are those who, even as newlyweds, address hurtful behavior from one another.
5. Take a break. If an argument gets too heated, take a 20 minute break and approach the topic again when you are both calm.
6. Soften your “start up”
7. Bring up problems gently, without blaming or criticizing your partner.
8. Do small things often. Small, considerate acts add up over time and can make a BIG difference, such as leaving your partner a love note or saying thank you.

bringing baby home on good morning america

Monday, July 30th, 2007


This morning, Good Morning America featured Bringing Baby Home, a program Swellbeing is proud to offer as part of our parent workshops. The piece titled, “Baby Makes Three: Dealing with Children in Your Relationship” focused on the emotional toll welcoming a baby into the family may take on mothers and fathers and, subsequently, the marriage.

“Thirty percent of fathers have postpartum depression symptoms,” said Relationship Research Institute executive director John Gottman. “Fifty [percent] to 80 percent of moms have symptoms of postpartum depression.”

I must clarify that having symptoms of post partum depression and meeting the criteria are not the same thing. Experts generally agree that the incidence of PPD is between 10%-15%. Postpartum blues (“baby blues”) is the phenomenon whereby 50% or more of moms meet some criteria for depression, however those symptoms tend to lift within days to a few weeks. When those symptoms persist and worsen, they can lead to the more severe postpartum depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing some of the symptoms of PPD (lack of interest in anything, sadness or irritability, thought of harming self or baby, change in appetite or sleep), please contact a helping professional immediately.

During pregnancy a great deal of attention is paid to preparing for labor and delivery, and preparing the nursery, but very little, if any, attention is given to the most important building block of all: the parenting relationship. John and Julie Gottman have done extensive longitudinal research on relationships to understand and identify what makes a relationship successful. They have used their findings as the pillars of the Bringing Baby Home Workshop designed to prepare expecting couples and new parents alike for the changes that occur once the baby arrives. The goal of the workshop is to teach couples how to care for one another as well as the baby. The results for couples who attend these workshops are impressive: a drop in post partum depression rates from 67% to 23%.

Programs such as Zero to Three have illuminated the critical importance of those first few years in a child’s life developmentally. Unfortunately for most couples, these early years of family life are wrought with sleepless nights, marital tension and a lack of harmony.

“About two-thirds of couples had serious problems in the first three years of the baby’s life, where their happiness with one another went down,” said Gottman, who has researched relationships for 30 years. “Their hostility increased.”

Swellbeing is delighted to be staffed by Certified Gottman Educators. We are offering Bringing Baby Home workshops this September. Contact us for more information or to register: