Relationships, Parenting, Happiness
Children as young as five are treated for anorexia
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 12 November 2011 20:32
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Do you think it is cute when a five-year old girl is conscientious about her weight and evaluates other girls as being “chubby-wubby”? You should not, says a Globe and Mail reporter Zosia Bielski. According to the research, young girls with body-image issues are more at risk of developing eating disorders later on. They attributed negative feelings to teasing from peers, pop-culture images and parents (the ultimate role models) audibly criticizing their own bodies. In her second publication on this topic this past summer, Zosia Bielski brings to our attention the alarming fact, that children as young as five are treated for anorexia, questioning among other factors parental modeling.

According to another study, Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), 44% of the adolescent girls and 29% of adolescent boys display weight-related problems. Data collected for this study between 1998 and 2007 also suggested that about 40% of overweight girls and 20% of overweight boys engaged in at least one of the disordered eating behaviours (binge eating and/or extreme weight control). Weight-teasing by family, personal weight concerns, and dieting/unhealthy weight-control behaviours strongly and consistently predicted overweight status, binge eating, and extreme weight-control behaviours among teenagers 5 years later.

More food for thought -- “MissRepresentation”, a documentary about the media role in shaping women’s image in society, screened during the last Vancouver Film Festival.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 November 2011 16:50 )
Business community attracted to Gottman's research on relationships
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 02 April 2011 13:38
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Can hard data help us to learn soft skills? Can we apply our knowledge about family dynamics to organizations? Looking for answers to these questions, Harvard Business Review senior editor Diane Coutu interviewed Psychologist John Gottman, renowned relationship expert.

Dr. Gottman has studied marriage and divorce since 1969. Observing both high and low points of a couple’s life and by mathematically analyzing the data, Gottman has generated hard scientific evidence on what makes a relationship work and what does not.

To give you a taste of his research approach, here is one example. Couples were asked to complete a “paper tower task”. They were given a newspaper, scissors, Scotch tape, and string. One man said to his wife, “So, how are we going to do this?” The woman replied, “You know, we can fold the paper, we can turn the paper, we can make structures out of the paper”. He said, “Really? Great.” It took them few seconds to build a tower. The wife in a second couple started by saying, “So how are we going to do this?” Her husband said, “Just a minute, can you be quiet while I figure out the design?”

Can you predict who is heading for divorce? Dr. Gottman can.

There is more to it and as simple as it may look, these dialogs alone do not give us a whole picture. Gottman and his research team paid close attention to the facial expressions, heart rates, and stress hormones. And with follow-up interviews more data was added (e.g. like fidgeting during the conversation and palm sweating). All this background knowledge leads to a stunning (more than 90%) accuracy rate in predicting divorce [compared to a 53.8% as an average prediction rate among people “who know a good deal about marriage”,  as referred to in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.  Analysing Gottman’s breakthrough in our understanding of relationship dynamic, Gladwell comments that using this knowledge “the truth of a marriage can be understood in a much shorter time anyone ever imagined”].

Talking about his biggest discovery, Gottman uses a metaphor of a saltshaker filled with “yeses” to describe a good relationship. In a troubled partnership, the saltshaker is filled with all the ways you can say no. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It does not mean, however, that a conflict-free relationship is a happy one. Gottman found that we need to embrace our differences in order to work through our life with them.

Good relationships are not just about knowing when to fight and how to patch things up. We also need humour, affection, playing, silliness, exploration, adventure, lust, touching – all those positive emotional connections. In couples who divorce or who live together unhappily, such moments are rare. Most affairs are not about sex at all. They’re about finding somebody who finds you interesting, attractive, fascinating.

What are the ways to achieve connections at work? Gottman talks about marriage – the most intense relationship of all. What about intimate relationships at work? Is there a difference between emotional and physical affairs? Is there such a thing as an ideal relationship? What do people fight about? Can these findings help us to develop hiring techniques?

The original interview was published in the Harvard Business Review.

Check out our events for info about the upcoming Gottman’s workshop in Surrey BC.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 02 April 2011 15:19 )
Thoroughly Modern Marriage
Written by CBC   
Thursday, 20 January 2011 00:00
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From Prince William & Kate, to Archie & Veronica, marriage is making headlines like never before.  Yet there are more single people than married for the first time in Canadian history, due to a high divorce rate and the popularity of common-law unions.  More of us are saying “Why bother?” rather than “I do”.  Thoroughly Modern Marriage examines our most fascinating social institution and asks, is it worth saving?

“Marriage is being forced to adapt to changing times,” says Sue Ridout, director and producer. “Brides and grooms are older – five years older on average than in previous generations – and more couples get settled with houses, careers, even children before they tie the knot – if they do at all.  We’re at a controversial tipping point, with more Canadians who are single rather than married, and it raises the question of whether marriage as an institution has a viable future. ” full story and video

Last Updated ( Monday, 24 January 2011 11:57 )
Hyper Parents & Coddled Kids
Written by CBC-TV co-directed by Sharon Bartlett and Maria LeRose   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 00:00
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Are today's well-meaning parents giving their children a leg up in life, or creating problems that will last their child's lifetime? The new CBC documentary Hyper Parents & Coddled Kids explores the cultural pressures on parents to be hyper-parents and the impact it has on their children.

The current trend of over-parenting began in the early 1980's when baby boomers - who ended up having fewer children, later in life - started having kids, and it has continued down the line.

At first, Baby on Board signs in car windows proudly announced "precious cargo" inside. Today, however, it is not enough to wait until the baby is born. While pregnant, parents start their single-minded search for ways to create an über child - and there is no shortage of products to help them, including 'prenatal education systems' that claim to give Junior an intellectual, social, creative and emotional advantage. Once the baby is born, the race to keep him or her ahead of the pack intensifies - with baby videos, baby ballet, gymnastics before they can walk, and parents' near-fanatic devotion to finding the right pre-school.

Full story & video


Last Updated ( Monday, 24 January 2011 11:59 )
An Interview with John Gottman, PhD
Written by Randall C.Wyatt, PhD   
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Wyatt:Welcome, Dr. Gottman. Thank you for being with us today and sharing your insights and work with our readers at Many therapists are familiar with your couple's and marital research, which you have written about extensively in several books and articles. Today I want to focus more on the therapist's end of it as much as the couple's end of it, because this is going to be going out to therapists of all stripes. You have often quoted Dan Wile, who said that when you choose a marriage partner, you choose a set of problems, a whole set of difficulties. That doesn't sound very hopeful. Is that as pessimistic as it sounds?
Gottman:Well, it's interesting. It changes the way you think about marital therapy. When we brought couples back into the laboratory four years later to talk again about their major issue in their marriage, 69 percent of the time the couples had the same problems, same issues, and they were talking about them in exactly the same way, so that the instability in the marital arrangement was enormous. Still, 31% of the problems had been solved.When we looked at the masters in marriage, how did they go about solving these solvable problems? That's when we discovered this whole pattern of really being gentle in the way they approached solvable problems - a softened start-up, particularly guys accepting influence from women, but women also said things to men, it was a balance, they both were doing it. The ability - again as Dan Wile says - to have a recovery conversation after a fight. So it wasn't that we should admonish couples not to fight but that we should admonish them to be able to repair it and recover from it. That became a focus of the marital therapy that I designed. Read the interview
Last Updated ( Friday, 22 January 2010 21:09 )
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