All About Parenting

Parenting is the ultimate long-term investment. Be prepared to put far more into it than you get out of it, at least for some time. Given the structure and stresses of contemporary North American society, the happiness of couples plummets the minute they become parents. And it gets worse before it gets better. In the long run, however, it can be the most rewarding job of your life.

From talking and reading to infants to making values clear (best done in conversations around the dinner table), parents exert enormous influence over their children's development. They are, however, not the only influences, especially after children enter school. It is especially important that parents give children a good start, but it's also important for parents to recognize that kids come into the world with their own temperaments, and it is the parents' job to provide an interface with the world that eventually prepares a child for complete independence. In a rapidly changing world, parenting seems subject to fads and changing styles, and parenting in some ways has become a competitive sport.

But the needs of child development as delineated by science remain relatively stable. There is such a thing as overparenting, and aiming for perfection in parenting might be a fool's mission. Too much parenting cripples children as they move into adulthood, renders them unable to cope with the merest setbacks, and is believed to be a major cause of failure-to-launch syndrome.

There is such a thing as too-little parenting, and research establishes that lack of parental engagement often leads to poor behavioral outcomes in children, in part because it encourages the young to be too reliant on peer culture. Ironically, harsh or authoritarian styles of parenting can have the same effect.

Recent posts on Parenting

Sending the Wrong Message

By Adam Price Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in The Unmotivated Teen
How the best parental advice might backfire

First aid for when your toddler doesn’t communicate

Every parent knows the feeling of both joy and anxiety when a baby starts growing up and discovering the world, trying everything and experimenting.

Resilience - A Sustaining Gift for Your Children

Resilience in learning, as in life, provides the capacity to persevere through setbacks, take on challenges, and even risk making mistakes on route to reaching goal achievement.

Good Grandparent Moments

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in How To Do Life
Some reminders of things to savor

Why Parents Make Us What We Are

Imprinted genes are critically implicated in nurture via their role in the brain and REM sleep.

A Simple Strategy to Help Worried Kids

The more parents say, “It’s fine. Don’t worry!” the more anxious kids demand, “But what if…?” Here's a way to help children use their imagination to manage worries.
pixabay

A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Building Relationships

We build our relationships upon the strengths and weaknesses of our parents, as well as our own. An exercise in discovering the challenges and the keys to overcoming them.

Unloved Daughters and the Culture of Shame

By Peg Streep on June 23, 2017 in Tech Support
Shame plays many roles in an unloved daughter's life, especially on the road to recovery when the cultural notion of filial obligation becomes yet another obstacle.

What Older Dads Need To Know

Are geeks taking over the world? The sons of older fathers are more geeky, and do better academically in success-predicting academics. The "Geek Index" helps us study geekiness.

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 1

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What might rappers, gender studies academics, and abusive parents have in common?

Making Peace with Your Adult Children

By Kathy McCoy Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Complicated Love
Want to enjoy better health as you age? Improving a certain relationship may be the key!

Is There Really a Boy Crisis?

By Rob Whitley, Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Talking About Men
Some scholars have long stated that we are in the midst of a ‘boy crisis’, manifesting itself in educational under-achievement and poor mental health. But is this the case?
Melville, AL School District yearbook photo

Can Marriage Survive When Your Child Dies Under Your Watch?

Marriage can survive the tragic loss of a child. Having these tools in place helps.

The Question of ADHD

Is ADHD really biologically based? Genetic? Or a socially constructed disorder? Read on for why we should be careful of what we readily accept as true.
"Stoop Storytelling"/Leah Miller/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why We Share Our Private Stories

By Barb Cohen on June 22, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
How do we find our place in the world? By standing up and telling the stories in which we play the starring role.

Four Reasons Why People Become Empaths: Trauma to Genetics

Why do people become empaths? As a psychiatrist and an empath, I’ve seen that there are four main factors that can contribute to heightening one's sensitivities.

Aggression and Fear Can Be Reduced in Specific Dog Breeds

New data provides a possible alternative to breed-specific legislation to control aggression and fearfulness in dogs.

Cannabis for Kids: Can Marijuana Treat Childhood Seizures?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on June 21, 2017 in Psych Unseen
Smoking marijuana may not be helpful for seizures, but new research suggests that cannabidiol may be.

Should You Negotiate with Your Child?

Sometimes that means we just have to say no and stick to it. Even when our limit is greeted with tears. But remember, there's no reason to be mean about it.

Now What? How to Talk with Your Millennial Kids about Love

Young adults want their parents to talk with them about the complexities of romantic relationships. The "Marriage 101" professor shares some questions to help you get started.

Caution, Moms: Your Daughters Are Listening

It’s summer. For millions of women, wearing a bathing suit in public is agonizing. Do we keep beating ourselves up or try something new this year for the sake of our daughters?

When We Outsource Talking to Toys

Many of us are drawn in by the promise that electronic toys will help our children learn. But do they live up to this promise?

Parents, Your Millennial Wants to Talk with You about Love

A new report from Harvard indicates that millennials long to talk with their parents about romantic relationships. Here's how to get your intergenerational love dialog started.

Why Is ASD Often Associated with Social Anxiety?

"We can say that all, if not most people diagnosed with ASD have remarkable issues with social interactions, however not all people on the spectrum end up with social anxiety."

Collaboration When a Family Has ADHD: Like Parent Like Child

Finding an empathetic, mutual path around ADHD aims families towards a shared goal instead of a battle, while adults build the same skills they’re aiming for in their children.

Enhance?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 18, 2017 in How To Do Life
New discoveries are moving us closer to a time when parents could opt to ensure their child have high intelligence. Here's a short-short story that explores an implication.

Sins of the Mothers: Perpetuating Older Feminine Stereotypes

Sometimes it's the little things that count when trying to change things up for future generations of girls.
Dexter & Ellie credit: Randi Hutter Epstein

Does Your Child Need Growth Hormone?

New guidelines help doctors, parents, and patients decide.

Does Your Child or Teen Have Oppositional Defiant Behavior?

Is your child or teen's defiant behavior maddening? Do consequences only make things worse?

Reflections on a Father's Day Mystery and Its Impact

Why did he run away from the orphanage at 14 and hop freight trains across Canada? What led him to settle into a life that sought security but harbored unfulfilled dreams?