Psychology for Flourishing

“A shared story is the basis of the ability of any people to live together as an organized society.” Cultural stories or narratives shape attitudes and behaviors, influencing everyday psychological functioning. David Korten says that we have our story wrong, one that heads us toward self-destruction. There is an alternative, life-promoting story...

The Bracing, Empty Self versus the Open, Heart-Minded Self

The anthropologist, Colin Turnbull, contrasted his British upbringing with African Mbuti children, a non-industrialized foraging society whom he studied. Upon reaching adolescence. Mbuti children brimmed with skills and confidence whereas in contrast, he had felt empty and uncertain, ripe for bullying by teachers and peers.

Baby Crying? Don't Shame the Parents!

A medical doctor, also a parent, wrote to me recently to complain about my blog post, "'Dangers of Crying it Out.'" Here is (most of) my response.

Love for a Killer: "A Very Evil Kid”

When Adam Lanza massacred school children, people asked about his genes. But that was the wrong question. Genes are inert without experience. Families of victims of Dylann Roof’s gun rampage forgave him. It’s a show of love that he probably needed much earlier in his life.

Practical Tips for Men Distressed by Their Circumcision

“I am deeply troubled by having been circumcised as an infant. It causes me distress on a daily basis and interferes with my ability to enjoy life. Can you suggest a professional who can help me?”

Conversation with a Mother about Sleep Training her Baby

Dear Dr., I need help! I have a lovely 11 month old baby girl and my husband and I both work full-time… I resorted to sleep coaching recently… I am afraid that we have already done irreparable damage to our sweet baby.

Mad Men vs. Hill Street Blues

Which world do you choose?

Solving Humanity’s Emotional Disorders

In the last 1% of human genus existence, mental illness has become rampant. What are we doing wrong?

Biased? Yes, against the tide and FOR baby’s needs

Someone recently remarked that I was biased... Yes, I am biased FOR babies. I am out of sync with biases that lead people to think letting babies scream is a good thing. Not!

“Having Guts” to Harden Parents’ Hearts

“Do you have the guts? You’re chicken if you don’t!” Remember such taunts to do stupid things in childhood? Apparently they are common in adulthood too—most recently with a doctor advising new parents. Destructive and unethical, let’s take a look.

Anxious Parents Helped by “World’s Worst Mom”

Lenore Skenazy was called a bad mother when she let her 9-year old son ride the NY subway alone. Now she hosts a TV show to help parents become more like her.

Circumcision’s Psychological Damage

The CDC’s new recommendations for genital cutting of boys of all ages ignored the research on psychological harm. We review the evidence.

Protect (All) Your Boys from Early Trauma

It sounds like a conspiracy. The government is about to officially sanction intentional harming of infants. They want medical personnel to pressure parents to accept infant, child, even teen circumcision. Not only is the move based on faulty data and reasoning, it is unethical.

Why Carefully Invest Daily in a Child

Sometimes parents think they’ve done their work after the child is born. But that is just the beginning of the daily attention needed for good outcomes.

Domination or Partnership? How Does Your Family Stack Up?

Does your family have an environment that encourages positive development of all family members?

Conflict in the Family: Why Mom and Dad Should Say “Sorry”

Though marital conflict is inevitable, how much does it affect the development of children?

Why Dad’s “Talk” is Important

Does it matter if Dad doesn’t discuss emotions? Yes, yes, yes!

“Mr. Mom” The New (or Old?) Normal

Biology and evolution show us that dads are essential for child wellbeing.

Why Kids Should Be Protected from Toxic Stress

Have you noticed children who suddenly shift into heightened emotion? Their self-regulation systems have not been developed properly.

“I Want It—Now!” How Children Learn Self-Control

A child acts up, making a fuss in public. Bystanders are embarrassed by the situation and assume either the parent is irresponsible or the child is a nightmare. Where does child self-control come from?

Why Synchronize and Bond With Your Children

The development of healthy synchronic bonds is the cornerstone of adaptive social life, and it starts in infancy.

Kindness in Kids and The Nature-Nurture Debate

Lucy wants Charlie's toy. He gives it to her, happily. Is his kindness nature or nurture?

Industrial vs Primal Intelligence: What We Are Missing

It’s been a big puzzle as to why hunter-gatherers seem much more intelligently connected to the earth and live in sustainable ways, unlike European and Euro-descendent societies in recent centuries. Childhood intelligence development may play a large role...

Explaining the Ferguson Killing: Five Factors

Michael Brown did not follow police officer Darren Wilson's order to walk on the sidewalk and the officer escalated the situation. Why does killing a disrespectful teenager seem “right”? Here are five overlapping explanations.

American Indians: The Misunderstood Heritage

It’s Native American Heritage month and but most people are ignorant of or mistaken about the heritage. If you use the terms “savage” or “bloodthirsty” to describe the natives at the time of European settlement, as a 2014 book does, you might have an anti-Indian view.

The Morality of Olive Kitteridge

The morality of the self can vary, from the self-protectiveness of Olive Kitteridge to the openhearted and open-mindedness of her husband, Henry.

Love & Life: Who Decides What Lives?

In a recent post, I discussed 10 signs of love for people or place. I felt those signs recently towards a neighbor in the natural world as described in the free verse below. But did I love my neighbor?

Ten Signs of Love

I recently read a list of 10 characteristics of love that grabbed my attention. In asking what it means to deeply love a person and what it means to love a place, Kathleen Dean Moore found that the answers converge.

Bullying Starts With Babies

Adults seem to have an easier time pointing fingers at child bullies than at adult bullies. There’s a notion that children are bullies by nature. Wrong. Adults often don’t realize that child bullying is learned from adults. Bullying attitudes are built into mainstream ideas about parenting. Don’t fall for them.

Moral Absence in Everyday Life

From child and partner abuse to buying products that pollute and destroy biodiversity, immorality is rooted in a lack of moral presence with those whom your actions affect. Whether from a sense of superiority, disgust, fear, duty or anger, it boils down to moral absence, a lack of relational presence-in-the-moment. It can happen to all of us.

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