Turning “Inside Out” inside out.

Should we take comfort from the blockbuster film Inside Out or is it a prophesy of bad things to come?

Child Proofing versus Tool Using

We may be “protecting” children from valuable experiences.

The Reluctant Teacher

Of course “good” teaching is rare, why should we expect otherwise?

Coercive Pedagogy

What is the nature of the pedagogy traditionally employed to enhance compliance in reluctant scholars?

The Roots of Schooling

What can we learn about learning and teaching by examining earlier educational institutions?

The Reluctant Scholar

While evolution has shaped humans to be voracious learners—almost from birth—the conditions under which this learning takes place have almost never included anything that looks like contemporary classrooms, teaching and lessons.

What’s in a Name?

One can help notice the trend of giving children names that are quite original. Has this been common in the past? What's driving it today?

Baby-Parading: Childcare or Showing Off?

Father involvement in childcare is surprisingly rare cross-culturally.

Devils or Angels

Let’s not turn the mother's or family’s eagerness to smother the little cherub with affection and attention into the child’s basic needs.

Babies Aren't Persons

Persons aren't born, they are socially constructed.

Detachment Parenting

For most of the world's societies, attachment is not a problem but, rather, maintaining emotional distance from the vulnerable newborn.

The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

When parents choose quality over quantity, children benefit.

Talking Like a Book

Savvy parents have an arsenal of strategies to get their kids to "talk like a book."

Nanny Angst

We should not treat the employment of nannies as some unfortunate but necessary deviation from the ideal but rather as a continuation of child care practices that have prevailed throughout most of human history.

Talking Trash or Taking it Out?

Why do we have such a difficult time getting our children to do chores when, just a generation or two back, household chores were the norm?

Babies: The Movie

How representative are the babies in Babies (the movie)?

What About Swaddling?

Is infant swaddling merely a historical artifact or is this widespread practice applicable to contemporary parenting?

Celebrating Babies

On January 1st we celebrate the New Year by saluting the first baby of the year and his or her mother. This essay acknowledges the great strides we've made in improving the odds for healthy and successful pregnancy but cautions that our celebrations may be a bit premature.

Toys or Tools?

What lessons do our children learn from toys? Primarily they're learning to be avid consumers. 

What Price Happiness?

 Should we expect children to always wear a smiley face? Might they be better off, especially in the long run, to experience the states of hunger, cold, frustration, failure, and the pain of a scraped knee? Is being "picked last" the same as being bullied? Should their wish-list be our shopping list?


What children learn while playing games like marbles.

Cowboys & Indians and the origin of the couch potato

In village settings around the world, children observe the activities of those older and eavesdrop on their conversations. From these gleanings, children construct scripts for rich play episodes and acquire much knowledge of their culture. But there's a downside: If left unchecked, the passive absorption of information, e.g. TV addiction, can be harmful.

Leave the Kids Alone

In this first installment of Benign Neglect, I introduce a particular perspective on childhood and parenting—that our culture is over-selling parent-child play. Its absence should be no cause for alarm on behalf of either parent or child.