Child Custody: In Whose Best Interest?
New York Times
When parents divorce, their child custody plans are supposed to place the "best interests of the child" first. We know children's needs change as they grow. Unfortunately, the way we develop and maintain custody schedules ignores that, and often makes children feel helpless by denying them any influence over the arrangements that govern their lives.
Beating the Valentine's Day Blues: Redefining Intimate Relationship Success
Valentine's Day inundates us with images of warmth, romance, and closeness, and although we enjoy the spirit of the day, it also exacerbates loneliness, as our own lives -- whether single or coupled -- seldom seem as rich or passionate as the ones on TV. Surrounded by social expectations and sentimentality, we judge our own relationships (or lack thereof) harshly, and often end up feeling like failures.
Why Heroes Kill Themselves
Suicide is now the most common form of death in the Army, claiming more lives than combat or motor vehicle accidents. This enemy will not be defeated until we recognize the link between Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and suicide, and are able to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat TBI.
The War on Sex: The Contraception Controversy's Hidden Agenda
The many condemnations of Rush Limbaugh's remarks about law student Sandra Fluke are appropriate, but they have thus far ignored the important subtext of his comments -- specifically, a contradiction so powerful that it is changing laws across the country to the detriment of both men and women.
Divorce is painful for children, but Ruth Bettelheim urges us to see what kids can gain when one family becomes two.
No Fault of Their Own
New York Times
As we have just passed the 40th anniversary of that much vilified institution, the no-fault divorce, it is an appropriate moment to re-evaluate how divorce affects families, and particularly children. The California law took effect on Jan. 1, 1970, and was followed by a wave of marital separations that continues to this day.
Outdated Teaching is Failing Our Children
Our public schools are turning millions of normal children into dropouts and failures. This isn't because of a few bad teachers or principals, but because the natural learning behaviors of children are routinely penalized instead of praised. Initiatives such as "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top" won't change this, because they don't adequately take into account research about how children learn.
We Can't Afford to Neglect Dementia Research
We all hope never to endure having our minds slowly diminished and devoured by dementia, but the odds of that are worse than you might know. In fact, there's about a 40% chance that your brain is programmed to self-destruct while you're in your 80s. Your chances of developing dementia increase steadily every year.
Key Security Threats Ignored 10 Years After 9/11
Failure to understand or act on intelligence goes a long way toward explaining the attacks of September 11, 2001. On this 10th anniversary of those events, we seem, once again, not to grasp the import of the information being provided by our intelligence services. Lee Hamilton, former co-chairman of 9/11 Commission, recently said, "Everybody I know in the national security community thinks another attack will eventually succeed." The fight against terrorism is not over. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is enfeebled, but our safety and security are still at risk. This time, the origins of the threat are in South Asia, not the Middle East.
An Obvious, But Ignored Strategy to Defeat the Taliban
Osama bin Laden is dead but the Taliban is not. Despite nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan, the Taliban has still not been defeated completely. We cannot afford further losses of human life and treasure, but neither can we afford to withdraw unless America's basic security requirements are met. The most effective way to critically disable the Taliban is to drastically reduce their income and delegitimize them among local populations. What has not been achieved on the battlefield may yet be accomplished in the marketplace.
Gabrielle Giffords and You: The Truth About Brain Injuries
Pretend for a moment that you are Gabrielle Giffords, about whom we are at last being told the truth. After 6 months of inpatient treatment, the best that money can buy, you can't speak fluently and must rely upon facial expressions and hand gestures to make up for words that vanish as you search for them. But continuing rehabilitation will not be available to you because your insurance won't pay for it.
Sex and Stress: Male Vs. Female Political and Domestic Strategies
Neuroscience research confirms that when stressed, men tend toward 'fight or flight' reactions, while women prefer to talk -- and that men take more risks, while women are generally more cautious. However, neither the mechanisms underlying these findings, nor their implications for businesses, politics and families, have been adequately explored.
No Victory for Surge of Brain Injured Veterans
Normally we think of the costs of war in terms of dollars spent and body bags delivered to loved ones. However, this perspective overlooks the enormous financial and social burdens of veterans' long term disabilities such as those caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is both under diagnosed and largely untreatable. As Dr. John Hart Jr., the President of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, notes: "A majority of the soldiers returning from the Iraq and Afghan wars are at risk of developing TBI."
Anxiety in America: Behind the Health Care "Debate"
Why do so many of our fellow citizens ignore the facts and actual issues in the current health care debate, and instead blindly insist that the health care reform proposals are a terrible danger to us all? At recent town halls and other meetings, the Democrats' bills have been described variously as "the systematic dismantling of this country," "trampling on our constitution," "communism," and "nothing short of evil." Protesters claim that "the government will choose to kill people instead of saving their lives" and "they have death panels that will kill the elderly and infirm." Interestingly, the protesters making these statements confirm that they or their family members are dependent on and happy with Medicare, even while they denounce the dangers of a health care proposal that would extend Medicare-like coverage to a small additional percentage of the US population
Hell Hath No Fury: The Sodini Murder/Suicide
George Sodini, who committed suicide after killing 3 women and injuring 9 others on August 4 at an LA Fitness gym in Collier Township, Pennsylvania, has been described as "hate filled," "Gal-hating" and a "madman, and "possibly psychotic." None of these terms accurately represent the feelings expressed in his blog, or clarify the emotions that underlie assaults on the people who reject us, whether those assaults are verbal or physical, as in cases of domestic violence, or as in this instance, a murderous revenge against the desired but unattainable object.
Crowley vs. Gates: The Heart of Prejudice
A heated debate about "racial profiling" was the immediate response to the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University by Sergeant Crowley for disorderly conduct on his own front porch. It became, within moments of publication, an intense argument about the whether or not racial profiling had taken place in this instance. The two men became protagonists in torrent of commentary in which some painted Gates as a long suffering victim of social injustice, a sort of black everyman standard bearer for all people of color, and Crowley as the unjustly maligned police officer, a champion for the forces of law and order. The press, pundits, bloggers, and virtually everyone else immediately took sides as if for a gladiatorial contest, all of them framing the situation in the same kind of "us vs. them" way.
Hypocrisy in High Places
David Vitter, Mark Sanford, Chip Pickering, John Ensign, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, Henry Hyde, Rob Livingston, Mark Foley: all are Family Values politicians and former leaders in excoriating Bill Clinton and others for sexual misbehavior who have been caught with their pants down.
"Victims" of Infidelity?
It is hard to imagine four more successful, intelligent, and tough - or to use the press description, 'steely' - women than Hillary Clinton, Jenny Sanford, Elizabeth Edwards, and Silda Spitzer. In addition to their accomplishments, these four women have another point in common: their husbands have all been involved in highly publicized extramarital affairs.
When Disaster Response Is Its Own Disaster (and How We Can Easily Fix It)
Sunday a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri, destroying whole neighborhoods. Last month tornadoes left tens of thousands homeless, and in March we were riveted by images with hundreds of thousands displaced by the earthquake and then tsunami in Japan.
Family Mediation Quarterly: Spring, vol.9, no.2, "No Fault of Their Own"
Early Schooling in Asia (with Ruby Takanishi), McGraw-Hill Inc.,US (February 1977)
"Binuclear Man" (published in What Makes a Man, Rebecca Walker ed., Riverhead Books, 2004).