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

Forget Co-Parenting With A Narcissist, Round 2

Establishing peace of mind and parenting rules, despite a toxic ex is possible. Here are five additional tips.

The Price of Being a Loner

By Barb Cohen on May 21, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Without a social brain, imperfection is never “normalized;” the soothing mantra “Everybody feels this way sometimes” cannot be internalized.

When Is the Best Time to Have Sex?

Except that misinformation about sex is just about as pernicious as no information about sex. Both are worse than having lots of information about sex.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Cheerleading

You can cheerlead for a loved one with encouragement, logistical, or material support. In showing love by expressing priorities, you helping them respect and love themselves.

Failure Is Unacceptable

Your son sucks at school, but maybe that is not so bad.

Negotiating with Your Teenager

Your child is not your enemy. You have to be willing to negotiate and prepare your own thoughts and reasons for why you say what you do and to share those reasons with your child.

Acknowledging Children's Emotions

Acknowledging anger does not encourage it.

5 Tools to Heal Your Ability to Love Unconditionally

Before we can experience unconditional love from outside, or give it to our children, we need to give it to ourselves.

Being Parents of a Perfectionist

Being parents of a perfectionist: For some parents it’s a dream, for others a nightmare. For the kids, it trends toward the latter.

Not Always Happy

By The Book Brigade on May 18, 2017 in The Author Speaks
Perfection is alien to child-rearing. And so choosing to adopt a child with Down syndrome seemed natural. After all, we all have something that makes us vulnerable in the world.

Presume Beneficence

By Amy S.F. Lutz on May 17, 2017 in Inspectrum
Why is the right (and responsibility) of parents to advocate for their severely autistic and intellectually disabled children being challenged by some Disability Rights advocates?

Teach Your Teen About Alcohol

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 17, 2017 in Open Gently
Twenty percent of U.S. high school students say they'll get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.

When Discipline Worsens Performance in Competitive Sports

Harsh parenting behaviour burdens the child, hindering performance.

What's So Hard About Parenting a Child With a Disability?

Have you ever told a parent of a child with a disability to "lighten up"? Perhaps that's not the best approach.

Fathering Fosters Virtuous Aggression

David Hicks explores masculine aggression in a new novel, White Plains, that is engaging, insightful, and funny.

7 Ways to Co-Parent Peacefully After a High-Conflict Divorce

Recovering from the circus-like atmosphere of a contentious divorce means taking care of your mind, body and spirit in order to parent with peace of mind. These 7 tips can help.

Let’s Make an Effort to Be More Reflective and Less Reactive

We cannot be reflective while in a reactive state, because it interferes with our listening abilities and lends itself to misleading accounts and impressions.

Emotional Resiliency in ASD Teens

One of the biggest challenges parents with teens on the Autism Spectrum face is teaching their teens how to develop emotional resiliency.
Carl Pickhardt Ph. D.

Adolescents, Parents, and the Power of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem not only defines a person, but that definition can influence perception and motivation to the good or not so good.

Remember Anna Freud?

By Marty Babits on May 15, 2017 in The Middle Ground
Remember Anna Freud? A new exhibit brings her brilliance alive.

Children in Polyamorous Families Part 4

This blog offers a sneak peek into the ongoing fourth wave of research on children growing up in polyamorous families by focusing on the experiences of young adults.

Can You Know Your True Self?

How do you access your True Self? How is the True Self defined and does it have significance in your life?

Doubt

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 14, 2017 in How To Do Life
19 issues we shouldn't be so sure about.

Divorce Island

People change and act differently during divorce. I like to call it divorce island - a place where new rules apply. Learn more.

Let Your Children Enjoy Your Parents

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on May 14, 2017 in Grand Rounds
"Will I ever stop worrying," I asked my Aunt Mary. "Now that you're dad...not really," she answered. "That's the way it works."

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Take an Earlier Train

By following through on promises, responding to what a loved one needs or wants, not making assumptions, and thinking of consequences before we act, we show love with sensitivity.

I Just Graduated But I Don’t Have a Clue

Advice for parents of recent college grads
Suniya Luthar

Mothering Mothers

Just as children need to receive unconditional acceptance, so do their mothers, who are charged with providing it continually and across a period of decades.

Mother’s Day Manifesto for Grieving Mothers

By Allen J Frances M.D. on May 13, 2017 in Saving Normal
It is time to get back to the original intent of Mother's Day: a loving tribute to all mothers, especially those who are grieving the loss of a child.

Is It Okay To Dislike Young People?

By Nick Luxmoore on May 13, 2017 in Young People Up Close
We pride ourselves on liking young people. So when we inevitably find ourselves disliking some young people, it disturbs our equilibrium. What's going on? How do we move forward?