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John Duffy, Psy.D.
For more, visit my web site at I also offer a free series of parenting tips and videos at

Entries by John Duffy, Psy.D.

The Houses We Build

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 5:38 PM

It has been unusually warm in Chicago these past few days, and I have taken the opportunity to take a run through my neighborhood in shorts and a t-shirt, an unexpected winter treat.

I noticed yesterday, toward the end of my run, some carpenters on a work site for a...

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To an Available December: A Plea to Every Human Being

(2) Comments | Posted December 6, 2015 | 5:08 PM

Enough of this bullshit.

Everyone take a giant step back for a moment.

And let's agree, just for now, that we've had enough. Enough with this harsh, brutal, frightening climate we've all collaborated to create. Enough with the absolutely absurd rhetoric, resounding from all ends of the political, social, and...

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The Impact of Marriage Equality We're Not Discussing, But Should

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 5:03 PM

A quick scan of the cable news channels or the Twittersphere shows clearly that the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage has drawn sharp feelings from both sides of the issue. Most of these reactions were easily predictable. People across all media are exhibiting their feelings loudly, as the...

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Parenting the Long Game

(6) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 2:15 PM

Parenting, the verb, makes me nervous. It suggests doing things, taking action, actively guiding and cultivating and lecturing. And so we parents today, we do things. A LOT of things.

We sign our kids up for stuff. We push them to get their homework done. We drive them around....

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That's A Laugh: My Ode To Walt

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2014 | 8:19 AM

Today is my father's birthday. He would have turned 84 years old today, had he survived beyond the way-too-impossibly-young age of 68.

Though it's closing in on two decades since I last shared my day with him, road-tripped with him, or swam with him out to that little sand bar...

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Eyes Up: Breaking the Worry Habit

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 3:52 PM

You see it in the eyes.

During the middle of my workday, the light filters through my office window just right, highlighting my clients' faces.

And it's easy to be fooled at first. Well put together. Decked out. Hair done just right. Good shoes. Maybe a North Face....

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The Crisis Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 7:17 PM

"Dr. Duffy, please call me back right away. We're really in crisis here."

There was nothing unusual about this phone call. After all, I'm a psychologist. People rarely call to let me know things are rolling along smoothly.

And this Mom definitely had something salient on her mind. She...

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Why Texting Rules: The Silver Lining Parents Are Missing

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 3:55 PM

My son George, my one and only child, is now an 18-year-old man. In a few short months, we will be dropping him off at college. He's busy focusing on his senior year in high school. That moment hugging his Mom and I goodbye on some quad a few months...

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Foster the Big Moment: A Parent's Mandate

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 3:10 PM

My son George is a high school swimmer. He was a swimmer, I should say. The area Conference meet was held this past weekend, which also marked the final meet of George's high school career. As my wife Julie and I approached the pool, I was filled with anticipation and...

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Nurturing Your Inner Adult

(4) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 6:13 PM

I have a brilliant young client who, in a burst of insight, offered the following in a recent session:

"When you spend all of your time nurturing your inner child, you are that child."

Man, he is so right.

In this particular instance, the young man, we'll call him...

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The Bright September Sun: Teenagers Remember 9/11

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 7:45 PM

There is hope.

Those of us who were normal workaday adults on Sept. 10, 2001, making lunches, sitting in traffic, watching the clock, checking inventory, we remember. That was the last ordinary day.

The fear, anxiety and despair that marked the next morning will be forever etched vividly into...

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The Devil You Know: Embracing Your Teen's Screens

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2011 | 12:04 PM

A few months ago, the "NBC Nightly News" ran a very informative piece on the effects of electronics on the brain of today's teenager. We all know that teenagers have abundant access to technology that was considered far-off and space-aged just a few short years ago. Further, many...

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The Case for the Family Vacation

(18) Comments | Posted August 23, 2011 | 1:14 PM

I write this from the road, literally. I am in the midst of a good old-fashioned family road trip. Now, the nature of my work dictates that I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways in which families work, those things that create a cohesive unit. And I'm...

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The Evolution of the American Father: Dad Redefined

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2011 | 8:41 PM

Thinking back, my father and I exchanged precious few words in a given day. Some days, Walt and I hardly even saw one another. I feared him as a kid. "Wait till your father gets home" worked on me. It took me many years to learn who he really was...

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Bin Laden and the American Teen

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2011 | 3:58 PM

To this day, I'm not sure whether it was a good idea to go in to work that day. The second tower had just fallen, and there were rumors that another runaway jet might be headed for the White House. And we weren't sure how many planes were still out...

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The Lowdown on 420: Guiding Your Teen Through the Weeds

(7) Comments | Posted May 10, 2011 | 4:34 PM

A highly astute, very funny client of mine suggested the other day that, if you're the parent of a teenager, and you don't know what "420" is, you must be high.

Some 30 or so years ago, legend has it, a group of Bay Area high schoolers decided they would...

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A Tribute to Bad-Ass Moms

(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2011 | 3:15 PM

Being a mom is one bad-ass job.

I worked with the mom of two teenagers last night. She came in alone, with nothing in particular on her mind, no pressing issue, no crisis to resolve. She wanted to talk about the way in which she parents her kids, a gut...

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Avoiding the Parent Trap: How to Change Your Thoughts About Parenting Teens

(50) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 10:28 AM

It's hard to say how it started.

I know for a fact that we parent teens today with more fear, ego and judgment than calm, confidence and openness. There are countless theories as to why.

Maybe it's a lack of familiarity with their lightning-paced world of Facebook, texting and YouTube....

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