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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
The modern world has been making itself into a pathological place by establishing as ‘normal’ various practices that violate basic human needs. This leads to the development of suboptimal creatures who willy-nilly destroy their habitat (yes, us!). I present a short list of violations.
When I had a puppy, he hated to be ignored or left alone. At those times he would chew up the furniture. Babies hate these things too, but they can’t damage the furniture to let us know. Instead, their development gets undermined and we and society have to live with the anxious and depressed results.
Do you ever get to the end of the day and you feel exhausted, like you just can't do anything more and just want to relax? And then as you take off your jacket and your shoes, you hear: "Mommy! Daddy! Come play with me!" Although playing with your child may seem like a hassle, you will probably think twice about saying “no” after reading this.
In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that children have no more than two hours of non-school-related screen time per weekday but children have much more than that. Does it matter?
Mother-infant positive physical contact has been documented to organize the infant’s systems and their development. In a new study with premature babies, brief positive physical contact influenced sleep patterns, brain development, self-control and stress reactivity.
Have you noticed all the stressed babies? Maybe one in 30 I see has glowing eyes, which I take as a sign of thriving. What's up? Perhaps ignorance about babies and their needs. Here are 10 things to know.
Ross Douthat’s column on Breaking Bad credits the star, Walt, a drug kingpin, for showing morality of a primitive sort. Douthat cites James Bowman for the idea that Walt returns to a type of honor culture, family-oriented tribalism that preceded the Enlightenment’s orientation to universal values. Not. He gets this wrong but other things right.
I write typically about research findings related to moral functioning and living a good life. Sometimes I muse on things that I puzzle about (politics). I am very concerned about how much our society doesn't seem to know about how to raise good, healthy and happy children, so I spend a great deal of time on parenting. I also write about things that I am working on myself--the endless quest for virtue! This is an opinion blog, not a set of research articles, intended for the public not scientists. For more nuanced and highly referenced work, look at my academic work.