“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

Why do hunter-gatherers live more intelligently connected to the earth, unlike Euro-descendent societies? 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.

Chimp Violence: Does It Matter For Human Self-Understanding?

A recent paper argues that Chimpanzee violence is genetic (though the study only shows that human interference is not the cause). Even if violence were genetic in chimps, would it matter for humanity’s self-understanding?

Can Isolated Babies Become “Real” Human Beings?

The Velveteen Rabbit, a popular children’s book, depicts how a stuffed rabbit becomes “real” from the love of a boy (and some magic). I’m afraid that what we are routinely doing to babies today is taking them in the opposite direction. They are becoming less “real,” that is, less human.

What is Child Flourishing?

Scholars explore the contexts for child flourishing and how to nurture families for child wellbeing.

Breastfeeding: What Is It Good For?

In honor of Breastfeeding Month, here are key things you should know and a new resource to get the inside scoop.

6 Hidden Myths Behind Baby Sleep Training Advocacy

In societies that are peaceful, babies are held nearly all the time and never sleep alone. They grow up to be more independent and self-reliant than any of us. Yet in the English-speaking West, we have a virulent subculture of baby independence, including forcing them to sleep alone. What gives? Here are the myths I think are driving the subculture.

Rebuking Bad Parenting Advice: Did We Go Too Far?

Cry-it-out sleep training has NOT been proven safe, contrary to what many parenting media report. When we outlined the logical and factual failures typical of such reporting we got an immediate rebuttal. Here’s why we stand by our original assertions and then some...

Child Sleep Training’s “Best Review of Research”

A proliferation of “Sleep Clinics” are charging large fees to teach parents how to train infants and young children to sleep. Is this good for children? What do the data say? Not much.

Parents Misled by Cry-It-Out Sleep Training Reports

Mainstream media mistakenly asserts once again crying-it-out sleep training as harmless to babies. It is far from the truth. Fortunately, most parents follow their natural response to soothe a baby. But media misinformation about research studies, normal baby sleep, and proper parenting undermines not only children’s wellbeing but a good society.

Elephant Weeps at Rescue After 50 Years of Enslavement

As a child I was divorced from nature, thinking animals dangerous, irritating or boring, a symptom of disconnection from nature. Learning about the rescue and weeping of elephant, Raju, shows how much I've changed.