When Do Religious Values Harm Children? When Do They Help?

When children's mental health is put in danger because of religious intolerance, there are good reasons for mental health professionals to argue for what's right. Gay-straight alliances save children's lives. And religious tolerance for practices like the wearing of a niqab improves social cohesion.

Parents Who Ignore Science Make Their Children Sick

When parents ignore the advice of scientists, children are needlessly exposed to mental, physical and spiritual dangers. Anxiety disorders are rising dramatically, measles have infected hundreds of children, and a lack of critical thinking among children are all problems caused by the same thing: misguided parenting practices.

Simple Solutions Won't Solve Children's Complex Problems

When children have complex needs that require help from both parents and many different service providers (e.g., special education, mental health, child welfare or corrections), no simple solution like a short course on mindfulness or a parenting course is going to be enough to make the child more resilient.

“I Still Love You” and Other Messages Troubled Kids Need

We all love parenting books that offer simple solutions to the big problems that troubled kids experience. Sadly, most of the advice will never work with kids whose problems are complex. Complex problems need complex solutions.

When Fighting Cancer, Resilience Isn't About Inner Strengths

The death of Aaron Purmort, whose struggles with a cancerous brain tumor were described online by his wife, Nora McInerny, might make us think resilience is about inner strength. But that’s not what makes us resilient. Resilience depends more on who loves us and the quality of our health care.

Some of Us Wear Our Disabilities on the Outside

We all have some personal challenge, even if it’s invisible to others. The people who inspire me are those willing to talk about the challenges they’ve faced, and what makes them resilient.

Lego Shortage Means Kids are Doing Better than We Thought

Parents and mental health professionals the world over can take heart. There is a shortage of Lego! Which means that our kids are still craving opportunities to develop age appropriate skills that come with simple, hands-on toys.

Why Parents Shouldn't Force Their Kids to Take Their Calls

A new app that forces kids to answer phone calls from their parents may increase their risk for distracted driving and threaten healthy parent-child relationships. Here’s some low-tech solutions to this problem that work far better for children and their parents.

When Dads Do Housework, Girls Have Higher Career Aspirations

Dads are in the news these days, for all the good things they can do as parents. Here are two of my favorite recent stories.

Does Religion Make Children Resilient?

A child’s participation in religious activity can make a child more resilient, but only if that experience helps the child access seven resources he or she needs to succeed.

The best playground is a mud hole

Cities are creating less structured wilderness play areas that look like what we adults enjoyed as children. While they may look unsafe, a lot of thought goes into making sure children experience manageable risks so parents can stop pestering their children with advice on how to play.

Barbers Teach Men to Parent, and Imams Prevent Paedophilia

The supports we offer children to grow up safe and healthy can often look rather unusual. While we tend to think of social capital as informal supports, many community programs offer creative ways of engaging community members who can help children thrive.

8th Graders Who Kill

If we want to prevent 14-year-olds from killing innocent bystanders, we will need to think about what we can do as families, schools, and communities to help children find other ways to express their need for power, stimulation, and the drama through which powerful identities are formed.

Resilient Male Students Get Lower Grades

Male university students who self-report higher resilience do not, as a group, do as well academically as their resilient female counterparts. A deeper understanding of resilience can help us understand why more male children are orchids and female children dandelions. Only the dandelions have proven themselves capable of dealing with stress.

The "Hidden" Epidemic of Attempted Suicide Among Adolescents

A 17-country study shows that one in 10 teenagers report attempting suicide. The solutions to this huge problem may not, however, be in providing more individual treatment. Research suggests that we need, instead, to help adolescents develop a sense of belonging in their schools, communities, and when they're with their families.

Hey, Justin Bieber, Call Me. I Can Help.

I wish I could help Justin see that the best way to feel happy is to make a genuine contribution to someone else’s happiness. I wonder what he'd say if he got my offer?

Will a Higher Minimum Wage Make People Happier?

“Does a higher minimum wage make people happier?” The obvious answer to this question is “Yes.” But the reasons why are far more complicated. More money does not equal happiness unless it brings with it social justice.

A Christmas Day Story for Parents

A single mom turns Christmas with her daughters into an opportunity to change their selfish behavior and make them more aware of their responsibilities for others.

Why I'm Optimistic about Young People Today

While travelling around the world over the past few weeks, in countries like Japan, China, Australia, Canada, and India, I've come across stories of children that inspire hope. This next generation is likely to fix many of the mistakes we adults have made. Will we provide our children with all that they need to get on with the job?

Halloween Treats Teach Children to Overeat

Halloween is just one of many times in children’s lives when they’re encouraged by parents to overeat. Why do parents turn food into a competition? Or congratulate children for eating everything on their plate? Here are some ways we can help children trust their bodies and eat only when they’re hungry.

Justin Bieber, Little Emperors, and Narcissistic Children

I’ve been following Justin Bieber around the world (unintentionally) and learning that no matter what culture, or how wealthy a family is, constantly over-indulging a child carries with it the risk of turning that child into a self-centered brat. Reasonable amounts of responsibility for ones’ self and others, however, can help even the most idolized child develop well.

Homeland: How Resilient Are Military Families in Real Life?

Homeland’s writers have done a good job of reflecting what research tells us about how families cope when a parent is deployed overseas and goes missing. It’s an interesting story about ambiguous loss. Military families more often than not learn to cope and show remarkable resilience.

Children Should Play in the Street

Children who are provided reasonable and manageable amounts of risk have a “risk-taker’s advantage”. Our children need to ride scooters on the road and be given opportunities to think through situations that could put them in danger. A good caregiver is one that provides his or her children with an environment that let’s children experience risk and responsibility.

Detroit’s Bankruptcy and the Future of American Education

As Detroit files for bankruptcy, many of us are wondering if the American dream (and ones like it in other countries) will ever be realized again. We need a new educational system for the post-Detroit, post-industrial world.

Olympic Gold Medalists and Raising Resilient Kids

Research with Olympic gold medalists teaches us what it takes for elite athletes to reach the highest levels of success. Their stories of endurance can also inspire us as parents and give us a great many good ideas for raising a resilient child who is better able to deal with setbacks, troubling thoughts, and low self-esteem.

Prom Night: 5 Things to Tell Your Children

Though both my own children are now in university, I remember the anxiety I felt as they each prepared for their high school proms. Here's five things I told my my children before they left for the evening. None are very easy to say, but all need to be said.

Is there effective treatment for traumatized kids?

A recent article in the journal Pediatrics found remarkably few effective mental health treatments for children who had been exposed to school shootings, looting, war, gang violence, and the like. Those results, though, may say more about how we measure effectiveness than about what actually helps children heal.

Parenting Fads, Publishers, and Bad Advice

Parenting advice can be as faddish as diets. Publishers love the next big idea, but parents beware: trying to fix our children’s complex problems with simple solutions avoids what the research tells us about children, parents, and their very odd interactions.

Prevent Child Obesity: Simple, Surprising Research

Preventing disordered eating among our children can’t be done just at school. The best strategies are the simplest, but need schools and parents to both do their part.

Overprotective Mom wants oak trees chopped down

Oak trees at a child's school may be cut down because of the child's allergy to nuts. The real question isn't whether acorns pose a risk to the child; it's how can parents make their children resilient if they don't provide them with manageable amounts of exposure to risk and opportunities to keep themselves safe? Here's four questions to help overprotective parents.