Research on children's aggression tells us that encouraging bare-knuckle beatings of other children may not meet children's long-term developmental needs. Maybe parents looking for activities for aggressive children should avoid mixed martial arts.
Where parents and teachers see 'attention seeking', 'disruptive' and 'distracted' behavior, research shows that the kids themselves label their behavior in more positive, or neutral ways. All that misbehaving can actually be a coping strategy.
The best thing that parents of Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin could have done is hand each teen a box of condoms. At a time when rates of sexual activity among teens is equal to what it was four decades ago, or going down, and teen pregnancy rates are in dramatic freefall, it makes no sense to preach abstinence.
Research shows that adolescents are "coming out" younger and younger. That means they'll need their parents to help them adjust. Here's some suggestions for what parents can do to help their teenagers feel good about their sexual orientation.
Just because a father is deployed, it doesn't mean that he can't still stay connected to his children. Here's some strategies for how to succeed as a parent based on research with fathers deployed overseas in all branches of the American military.
When the parents of a 15-year-old girl asked the courts to help get them the computer address and name of those responsible for bullying their daughter, they challenged the cyberbully's anonymity and went from bystanders to allies for their child. Read More
Both Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker, and renowned Child Psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter, remind us that children and adults are more likely to be resilient when their families and communities give them opportunities to flourish and the space to practice their talents. Here's some examples. Read More
When should our children read books that contain sexual content? Discuss topics like incest, rape, or gangs? The answer is simple: when they've decided they're ready. Here's some suggestions for gauging what children are ready to read and when, and some great young adult fiction that you might want to put on your child's bookshelf. Read More
Whether politicians and other public officials lie or tell the truth, they are all role models for our children. Children learn ethical conduct from the adults they encounter. Whether it's a British Prime Minister who doesn't have the stomach to say what he thinks, or an emergency room doctor who tells it like it is, our children are learning what integrity means from those who make the news.
A few weeks ago, a group of children were playing hockey on a suburban street in my community when a neighbor complained. The police came and the game ended. I can only imagine where the children went afterwards. Likely home to their computers and gaming stations. They had little choice but to became sedentary, adding further to problems like obesity and social isolation. Read More
How parents handle a divorce makes all the difference to whether children will show the resilience needed to cope. Here's 8 tips on how to ensure children survive a divorce without emotional scars. Read More
Believe it or not, our children want to go to school. They don't want to be truant, or delinquent, and they aren't reluctant to learn. Making them feel engaged and welcome in their classrooms depends on educators and parents providing children with ways to feel like they belong and that their studies matter. Read More
Children who help look after their parents' emotional and physical needs aren't necessarily disadvantaged. When they know they're needed, and recognized for the contribution they make, being "parentified" can actually help children grow into successful adults.
While most parents want their children to be sensitive, kind, caring individuals, there's some troubling research on primary school children that shows that in higher stress environments (like during a divorce, when being bullied at school, or threatened with violence) it's the insensitive child who does better than his or her more sensitive peers.
If I took my children far beyond the tourist resort, it was because I wanted them to challenge their assumptions about what they need to be happy. Judging by the looks on their faces, it seems to have worked.
Holiday gift-giving can be a wonderful way to help our children feel connected to their families and show their creativity. Here's five gift ideas that parents can suggest to their children to encourage them to put a bit more of themselves into the act of giving. Read More
We pose a real danger to our children when we fail to provide them enough risk and responsibility to develop into competent, caring, contributing adults. Over-protective parenting denies children "the risk-taker's advantage." Read More
If, as I showed in my last blog, boot camps don't work except when they provide counseling in heavy doses, then what should we do to help delinquent young people make changes that stick? As simple as it sounds, kids change when they find a parent, or parent-like substitute who can remind them, "You matter!" Read More
Though I know parents would prefer to believe that boot camps help prevent troubled young people from continuing their delinquent behavior, in fact the evidence shows that quasi-military-like treatment programs for troubled youth don't prevent them committing more crime. What does work, however, may surprise you! Read More
We love to believe that it is the rugged individual who overcomes adversity, but the truth is that resilience is much more dependent on the quality of our families, neighbourhoods, and political systems than any individual character traits. Read More
Two months ago I was in Northern Canada, then Colombia and now Australia. All over the globe, I get to meet the most fascinating children and their parents. Here's ten parenting tips I've heard recently from families all around the world.
Though I recommend in "The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids" (Da Capo, 2009) to watch the news with our children, especially when they're adolescents, lately I've been feeling that all my children are learning there on the couch with me is how to think selfish thoughts. Read More
What happens when an over-protected and irresponsible child grows up and throws a wild party for 30 friends? You get a trashed house, lies, and an all around lack of commonsense. Such problems are avoidable when we give children early opportunities to experience the risk-taker's advantage. Manageable amounts of risk and responsibility are good for kids. Read More