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

Shouldn't Lawyers Understand the Art of Persuasion?

Lawyers could more effectively represent their clients if they understood the art of persuasion.

What Are the Proper Purposes of a System of Schooling?

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on April 23, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
Our compulsory school system was designed, long ago, for very specific purposes. Those purposes may now be outdated. What should be the purposes of a system of schooling today?

Overcoming the Paralysis of Toxic Shame

How might toxic shame play a role in your anger?

Ranking the Last 14 Presidential Marriages

By Stanton Peele on April 22, 2017 in Addiction in Society
The American presidential marriage, from FDR and Eleanor to Barack and Michelle and beyond demonstrate a remarkable range of marital partnerships and intimacy.

Learning How to Tease and Be Teased

By Nick Luxmoore on April 22, 2017 in Young People Up Close
Young people spend hours teasing each other and being teased. Why? Why do they do it? And how do they learn when to stop?

16 Tweets on Relationships

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 22, 2017 in How To Do Life
Short takes on romantic relationships, friends, parenting, and dogs

What Is the Difference Between Conflict and Bullying?

Gratuitous references to bullying will create a “boy who cried wolf” phenomenon in which adults no longer act with urgency to protect the children who need them most.

Teen Prescription Med Abuse Skyrockets, Parents Clueless

7 warning signs for parents and how to protect kids.

How to Break the Cycle of Shame With Your Child

The more empathic you are as you set the limit, the more your child will accept the limit, and WANT to shift gears to channel his impulses into more acceptable behavior.

Hardiness and Grit

One might argue that any therapy has as an implicit objective to help the individual acquire the characteristics associated with hardiness.

Beyond Recess: Synchronized Play Improves Kids' Cooperation

We all know the elated feeling of swinging side-by-side with someone in synchrony. Now, researchers have identified unexpected benefits of synchronized movement during childhood.

Are You Confusing Love With Something Else?

As parents we want to hold onto the illusion that we can fix or control our children. We cannot fix or control them; it is an illusion.

Does Prince Harry Reveal How To Cope With Loss?

...the counterintuitive finding is that such a profoundly negative experience as losing a parent during childhood, can lead you to feel more gratitude or appreciation for life...

Divorce and Autism: Familiarity, Stability, Consistency

Children with autism thrive on familiarity, stability, and consistency. In divorce, work to maintain your child's relationships in the neighbourhood, school, and family.
Shutterstock

What Makes a Happier Marriage?

By Wednesday Martin Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Stepmonster
One writer gleaned marriage advice from around the world.

What New Moms Need to Boost Their Mood and Enjoy Parenting

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
A new longitudinal study reveals connections among mothers' basic psychological needs, postpartum depression, and parenting behaviors.

Children in Polyamorous Families Part 2

Children in polyamorous families experience unique practical and emotional advantages but no unique disadvantages that are not present in other forms of blended families.

4 Ways to Support Your College-Bound Teen

May 1st is just around the corner, but it's never too late to show your child that they can turn to you.
Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

When Older Adolescents Want to Form Happier Relationships

Older adolescents may wish for happier relationships than they have known, but can get caught in repeating relationships of the unhappy kind.

A Simple Trick to Get Your Kid to Stop Whining

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 16, 2017 in The Squeaky Wheel
You can get your child to stop whining if you follow this formula:

Can We Talk About Sex on Campus?

By Marcia Morris M.D. on April 15, 2017 in College Wellness
Sex is one of the toughest topics to talk about with your college-aged children, but also one of the most important.

How Common Is Childhood Mental Illness?

Think childhood mental illness is rare? Think again.
Guas/Shutterstock

What Is Your Teen Hearing About Sex and Pregnancy?

By Guest Blogger on April 14, 2017 in The Guest Room
Families describe a complicated social world filled with strict rules, inconsistencies, silence, gossip, control by adults, and pushback from teens.

The Big D

By Janet Hicks Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Raising Parents
How can I help my child survive our divorce?

Zombie Outbreak!? "Spice" and the Synthetic Cannabinoids

By Joe Pierre M.D. on April 12, 2017 in Psych Unseen
Synthetic cannabinoids in "Spice" products have been responsible for "zombie outbreaks" across the country. Should parents be concerned?

Three Key Considerations in Selecting Your Child’s Therapist

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Singletons
What’s more important? Managing your child’s behavior or making your child feel safe? Do you know why?

Disorganized Attachment: Fears That Go Unanswered

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Me in We
How disorganized attachment in infancy impacts emotional and social development.

When Your Child Gets Angry: Here's Your Gameplan

Children develop emotional intelligence when we teach them that all their feelings are okay, but they always have a choice about how they act.
CARE

It’s Time to Talk

If we don’t take the time to talk with—and really understand—our teens, how can we expect to know much about the choices they face and the decisions they make?

Who Killed JonBenet (Part 3): The Grand Jury

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in Evil Deeds
What did the grand jury know about the JonBenet Ramsey case that we don't?