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The Decline And Fall Of Parental Authority

and What Therapists Can Do About It

January/February 2012
American parents today face a perfect storm of cultural and social circumstances that undermine the very foundations of parental authority. In response, mothers and fathers are beginning to see therapists as irrelevant and to challenge the entire social, educational, and economic context of childrearing.
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In Consultation

Doing What's Best for Mom and Dad: Helping Contentious Siblings Find Common Cause

September/October 2010
A parent's failing health can stir up a hornet's nest of trouble among adult siblings.

Carrying the Hope

Parenting a child with Asperger's

July/August 2009
When a child is diagnosed with an autism disorder, everything in a family changes. Good-enough parenting must give way to the demands of uber-parenting: always mindful, always well-paced, always at the child's learning edge.

The Second Family

A Teen's Peer Group Is a Rich Resource for Family Therapists

May/June 1996
When family therapist Ron Taffel wrote this article in 1996, an explosive upsurge of youth pop culture called into question the very idea that parents must reestablish firm authority over teens. With the advent of smartphones and instant, constant access to peers, this cornerstone of family systems theory has crumbled even further. The central question Taffel asks is even more urgent now: if pop culture reigns, and teens are firmly embedded in a peer-driven “second family,” what role, if any, can parents play in providing guidance to troubled adolescents?
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Bringing Up Father

How My Children Taught Me the Secret of Fatherhood

May/June 1988
When author Frank Pittman became a father, he discovered that the childhood absence of his own father left him with no idea how to relate to his kids. This piece plumbs many men’s difficulties in connecting with their kids, and suggests how therapists can best help “amateur dads” learn the vital lessons for raising their children.
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