Understanding Child Development

The speedy physical and psychological changes that children undergo from birth through adolescence often leave parents wondering how best to care for them at each stage. PT's experts weigh in on topics such how to talk so kids will listen, and when to back off and allow them to fail.

Recent posts on Child Development

Why NOT Circumcise Your Boy? Risk for Autism

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
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Should Bedrooms be No-Phone Zones for Teens?

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on February 17, 2017 in Psy-curious
Three ways parents can help their teens log off before turning in for the night - without the power struggle.

ACEs and Parental Alienation

By Amy J.L. Baker Ph.D. on February 17, 2017 in Caught Between Parents
When is an ACE a bad thing? Parental alienation as an adverse childhood experience.

America's Spelling Is a National Disaster

Spelling errors tweeted within the Trump administration raise the issue of why spelling matters. Spelling needs to be taught!

3 Strategies to Talk With Kids About Suicidal Thoughts

There is no age limit for suicidal thoughts. Parents and healthcare professionals can learn to talk openly and safely with children about suicide.

All Problems Are Betrayals

By Nick Luxmoore on February 17, 2017 in Young People Up Close
For young people, all problems provoke primitive anxieties of betrayal: reminders of an original betrayal they can't consciously remember but can't help feeling strongly about.

The Problem With Sensitivity

By Maureen D Healy on February 16, 2017 in Creative Development
Is your highly sensitive child exhausting you?
Jens Maus

Brain on Fire

By Stephen Gray Wallace on February 16, 2017 in Decisions Teens Make
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been called one of the “best known but least understood” mental health conditions. Why is it so well known?

No Mom, You Can't Read Your Daughter's Diary (or Texts)

By Nancy Darling Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Thinking About Kids
Your gut tells you that it's wrong to snoop in someone's diary or texts. But why? Twenty years of research backs up your gut. But also tells us when it might be okay.

Early Brain Over-Growth Is Indicative of Autism as Predicted

The imprinted brain theory links brain growth to autism, and a new study confirms the association.

Why Boys Really Need Boy Dolls

By Karlyn Crowley Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Woman Power
Boys deserve healthy masculinity and doll play will help get them there.

6 Reasons Why You May Not Know What You're Feeling

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Evolution of the Self
It might seem almost unfathomable that someone might not be able to recognize what they’re feeling. But the phenomenon is much more common than most people realize.

Can We Heal Our Country by Listening to Parents and Babies?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on February 15, 2017 in Child in Mind
Our current political climate reflects a profound deficit in our collective capacity for listening. Does contemporary developmental science offer a solution to this problem?

A Life-Pivoting Change of Identity

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in Ambigamy
Hunger for pride can become dangerously addictive. Abandoning pride and being proud no matter what, don't solve it. Instead, change what you're proud of.
CCO Creative Commons

What Young Athletes Really Need

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in The Power of Prime
This article is aimed at early in the sports pipeline where the foundation of young athletes’ attitudes are laid, which often determines how long they stay involved in sports

Psychosexual Stages: Freud’s Theory of Personality

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in A Sideways View
Is it true that many of our adult behaviours are a function of unresolved conflicts in childhood?

Are You Addicted to Your Kid?

By Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W. on February 13, 2017 in Adoption Stories
It's possible for people to be addicted to other people—including their children.

A Conversation About Underage Drinking

It is silly to think that turning 21 makes one a responsible drinker. Knowledge, above all else, is the dividing factor, and education can start at any age.

What Adults Did to Me at Birth: A Baby’s Point of View

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 12, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
You civilized people don't know what you are doing to babies. Here's my story.

Adolescence: Your Parenting Work Is Not Over Yet

A parent’s job changes at a child’s adolescence. Be available while letting go. Argue. Laugh. Love the person your child really is, underneath all the identities they’re trying on.

When Children Lie

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on February 10, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Research into how effective adults are in detecting deception in children have turned up some surprising findings.

Motor Skills, Movement, and Math Performance Are Intertwined

By Christopher Bergland on February 10, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
There is growing evidence that children who are physically active do better in school. A new study found that kids who move their bodies while learning math get higher test scores.

10 Ways to Love the One You're With

The hard work for us as parents is accepting who our child is, including the things we wish we could change and cherishing him or her for being that person.
"Brain Clock"/bzztbomb/CC BY-NC 2.0

Autism, ADHD, and Executive Functioning: Parenting Insights

By Barb Cohen on February 09, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We have tried visual strategies; we have tried planning discussions; we have tried scripts' we have tried first/then; we have tried IEP goals; and we have tried threats.

Help! The Teacher Says My Child Is Misbehaving

By Janet Hicks Ph.D. on February 08, 2017 in Raising Parents
How can I help my child when the teacher says he/she is misbehaving?

What “Counts” for Autism Has Been Dropping: Is That Good?

By David Rettew M.D. on February 08, 2017 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Compared to decades past, the diagnosis of autism now encompasses many more children with “milder” behaviors. This likely underlies much of autism’s apparent increase in rate.
Markus Spiske

Falling to Pieces

By Stephen Gray Wallace on February 07, 2017 in Decisions Teens Make
How to process the permanence of loss? Of course, there are the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression (or despair) and, ultimately, perhaps, acceptance.

"Free-Range Kids?" It Depends

By Alfie Kohn on February 07, 2017 in The Homework Myth
Conservative outrage over so-called "helicopter parenting" may be one reason so many want children to be given more freedom

Margaret Mead and the Great Samoan Nurture Hoax

Margaret Mead’s claim that nurture prevailed over nature in Samoan childhood and adolescence has been shown to be completely fictitious.

Finding Some Middle Ground in the War on Sleep Training

By Vanessa LoBue, Ph.D. on February 06, 2017 in The Baby Scientist
Whether it's harmful to sleep train your baby has become a controversial issue for parents. Here's some research suggesting that sleep training might be nothing to lose sleep over.