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

The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear*

By Alfie Kohn on October 03, 2015 The Homework Myth
Sit in a school auditorium listening to a list of rules and procedures, on the one hand, and numbing banalities about how "all children can learn," on the other hand -- and dream of a presentation that gets to the heart of what schooling could be like if kids (and learning) really mattered most...

Fear of Damage to Children in Polyamorous Families

Because polyamory is stigmatized in conventional society, many poly parents or other adults who love children being raised in poly families are concerned about how growing up in a polyamorous family might affect children. In this blog I include a question from a concerned mother and my response to her concerns about how her relationships might impact her kids.

The Power of Talk

By Lydia Denworth on October 01, 2015 Brain Waves
What is the best way to nurture a child's brain? The answer is simpler than you think.

Malnutrition in Children: What Parents Need to Know

Identifying malnutrition in children can be difficult for both parents and providers. Even if food is plentiful, your child may be unable to absorb the necessary nutritionists to stay strong and combat illness. Knowing what to look for can help identify malnutrition earlier and get your child on the right path to optimal health.

How does childhood trauma affect the adult brain?

What is the affect of negative childhood experiences on the adult brain?

Why Does Misinformation Continue to Affect Thinking?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 01, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Vaccination for childhood diseases like Measles and Whooping Cough was one of the most significant public health victories of the second half of the 20th century. When I was in elementary school in the 1970s, these diseases had been relegated to the past.

The Hidden Agenda Behind 21st Century Learning

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on September 30, 2015 Mental Wealth
High-stakes testing, obsessive data collection, and lofty promises of technology’s potential to “revolutionize” education are contributing to alarming amounts of school-based screen-time—without regard for screens’ numerous impacts on learning and mental health. Teacher and public education advocate Tara Eckhre describes the deceptive web behind 21st Century Learning.

How To Make Teen Volunteer Work More Than A Resume Builder

New research explains how to inspire teens to "service beyond self."

You, Me, and the Narcissist Next Door

By Peg Streep on September 29, 2015 Tech Support
The term "narcissist" gets tossed around with a fair amount of abandon. Who's a narcissist and who isn't? Well, the answer offered up by a new book might surprise you. Welcome to healthy and unhealthy narcissism....You're all included.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

By Susan Scheftel Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Evolving Minds
Dollhouses seem to provide a perfect venue for little children to work out big ideas. They are a must-have for all those working with children of both genders.

Let's Not Take It Out on the Children

When the modern women’s movement began to turn its attention to girls – as in books like Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls (published in 1994) – they were already doing better than boys on many measures of educational achievement, including college enrollment. Feminism should now, among its other campaigns, fight to make classrooms more boy-friendly.

One Easy Question Can Help Break the Anxiety Cycle

By Christopher Bergland on September 29, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Researchers have identified that asking yourself one easy question can help break the anxiety cycle.

Dangerous Daydreams

What do future serial killers think about before they kill someone? In the beginning, not much more than many traumatized children.

Please Stop Whitewashing Autism

By Amy S.F. Lutz on September 28, 2015 Inspectrum
Steve Silberman's new book NeuroTribes is just the latest media account to recast autism as a "gift." These Facebook posts reveal, however, that the disorder can also be profoundly disabling. As we set research and policy agendas regarding treatment, education, housing and employment for autistic children and adults, we cannot forget about the most severely impaired.

Kids, Screens and Play: Solutions to a Common Problem

By Kenneth Barish Ph.D. on September 28, 2015 Pride and Joy
Recent research on kids and screens is alarming. Almost everyone now agrees that parents should establish rules and limits with regard to the amount of time kids spend in front of screens. It matters, however, how we do this.

Bad Teachers Can Damage You-- or Make You Stronger

From one very bad teacher, I learned that intelligence without emotional generosity means nothing, that narcissism unchecked is poisonous and that sometimes it is far more honorable to be refused membership to a group than to be part of it. That lesson left welts.

What Does the Family Foster: A Lovable or Unlovable Self?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on September 27, 2015 Moral Landscapes
Pope Francis said that “family life as the place where we come to learn the meaning and value of human relationships.” The sense of self is built there and carried forward into the rest of life. Will the child build a sense of being lovable? Or will the individual forever feel inadequate, self-loathing or unlovable?

Career Tips for Boys' Parents: Helping Him Explore Careers

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 27, 2015 How To Do Life
Part 2 in a series on career advice for parents of boys and for men.

Talking with Your Kids about Setbacks

By Gail Heyman Ph.D. on September 26, 2015 Let's Talk
Parents can help children view difficulties as stepping stones for success.

Why Is Commonsense Common?

Some commonsense is hard-won with experience, yet at the same time infants the world over seem to understand how some things in the world work.

Too Much Homework from a Student/Teacher Perspective

In a given school year, many students spend hours upon hours each night working on school assignments. Add to that work, sports, and extracurricular activities and it’s no wonder we have a lot of stressed out teens.

Career Tips for Boys' Parents: Toward Moderate Self-Esteem

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 26, 2015 How To Do Life
Part I of a four-part series of career advice for boys and men.

Test Stress in Children: Rx with Brain Friendly Studying

By Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed. on September 25, 2015 Radical Teaching
Tests are often one of the most stressful experiences facing children. Because we can’t make them go away like bad dreams, we can help reduce that stress by guiding kids to study using brain-research based strategies that increase memory and understanding.

Mindfulness in Children

By Maureen D Healy on September 25, 2015 Creative Development
Are you raising mindful children?

Variability in Sleep Schedule Hinders Brain Development

Regular sleep can aid brain development in adolescence.

Overcoming Two of Parenting's Greatest Challenges

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on September 25, 2015 Compassion Matters
Although, as parents, we recognize the importance and seriousness of our task, many of us still wonder just how much effect we are going to have on how our child will turn out. Here are some tips we can all take that will help us raise emotionally healthy and happy children.

What to Do If You Think Your Child Is Gifted

Instead of asking "Is my child gifted?" or "What is his IQ?" it’s better to ask, "What does my child need in order to continue learning to the best of his ability?" "Does he have areas requiring special attention?" and "What can we do to help?"

Who’s Running the Show? You, Your Kids or Your Doctor?

By Michael W Corrigan Ed.D. on September 25, 2015 Kids Being Kids
Let’s face it, as kids wrestle with behavioral and maturity issues and juggle expectations related to academic and social challenges, some of the behaviors they display can be quite concerning. But guess what? For centuries parents have been capable of helping challenged children overcome semi-annoying and concerning behaviors. How do they do it?

5 Little-Known Parenting Hacks That Take Less Than 1 Minute

5 little-known but easy parenting hacks that can get your kids to listen more and argue less--all in less than 1 minute

Let's Talk Numbers: How Are You Feeling?

By Kirsten C Sharma Psy.D. on September 24, 2015 Children in Mind
As your child gets back into the daily routine of school, you may notice him acting out. Asking a few simple questions can go a long way in helping them cope and plan strategies for a successful day.