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.

Let’s Stop Talking About Bullied Teens and Suicide

Bringing lots of media attention to teenagers who suicide because of bullying may be contributing to the very deaths we’re trying to stop. There are better ways to prevent these suicides.

Honey Boo Boo: A Great American Family

Reality TV's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" shows us why lower class families are sometimes happier than upper class families.

How to Prevent Your Daughter Getting Pregnant

Research shows that what we say to our daughters (and sons) to prevent teenage pregnancy must reflect our culture and the values of the community where we live. Giving our children meaningless advice is only going to make a risky situation worse.

Let Kids be Bored (Occasionally)

With summer here, many parents may overlook the benefits to children when they experience periods of boredom. Here’s some strategies for ensuring children experience the right amount of boredom to grow up healthy.

Using Illegal Drugs to Cope with Trauma

A growing body of evidence suggest that addictions are very often a response to early trauma and abuse. That makes addictions a health issue, not an issue for the criminal justice system.

Empathy for Terrorists, Bullies and Delinquents?

It’s too easy to make terrorists, bullies and delinquents into monsters. The more “thickly” we describe their lives, the more empathy we’ll have for those who want to harm us, and the more likely we are to know how to intervene to prevent their violence.

Is Homegrown Terrorism a Path to Resilience?

The homegrown terrorist is using violence as a maladaptive coping strategy to achieve psychological well-being and a powerful social identity. Offering a terrorist an alternative form of self-expression seldom succeeds, leaving us with few solutions other than police monitoring and incarceration.

Are Children Harmed Viewing Sexually Explicit Websites?

It isn’t altogether clear which comes first, our children’s promiscuity, sexual activity following drug use, and other high risk sexual activity, or whether kids who are already interested in these behaviors are looking to the internet for information.

Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient

Speaking with 300 Camp Directors, I discovered that camps offer children 7 important things that make them more resilient.

Are Men’s Contributions to Childcare Equal to Women’s?

Men are four times more likely than women to say they provide equal amounts of care for their children. They may not be entirely wrong if we redefine what caregiving means and acknowledge what men provide. But is it enough?

Something for Everyone, but More for the Most Needy

Study after study shows that we can stop children with the most problems, from the most challenging families and communities, from growing up and becoming the next generation of problem kids. But it means giving more of our scarce government resources to the most vulnerable and much less to those who can look after themselves.

Why a Parent Duct Tapes a Child to a Wall

Parents abuse their children for many reasons. Here are a few explanations for the horrific behaviors we’ve seen in the news.

Teen Suicide Isn’t Just an Individual Problem

With the stress of the new school year, teen suicide is a real threat. But preventing teen suicide has more to do with social factors and the attitudes held by others than individual problems alone.

How True Is Planet of the Apes? Human Resilience and Primate Studies

Planet of the Apes may look like simple entertainment, but Caesar’s behavior is a good example of what we are learning from primate studies about the consequences of early abuse or having a parent die. We can protect children from the consequences.

Somali Pirates and Youth Gangs: Not all that Different

When young people have hope for the future, they are far less likely to become gang members or pirates. There are things we can do as individuals and communities to help.

Are Men’s Contributions to Childcare Equal to Women’s?

Men are four times more likely than women to say they provide equal amounts of care for their children. They may not be entirely wrong if we redefine what caregiving means and acknowledge what men provide. But is it enough?

Does Excessive Government Spending Make Kids Resilient?

How governments spend money on children makes a difference. Universal programs have little impact on the most disadvantaged children when they are watered down versions of what those kids really need, and provide few, if any, benefits to children from financially secure homes. To build resilience, we need to target our government spending.

Can positive thinking make us feel better when problems are beyond our control?

Positive thinking can help us feel better, but only if we first feel safe, are treated fairly by our families and communities, and are given opportunities to succeed.

Children Playing on the Street Makes a Community Resilient

During a recent visit to Spain, I saw plenty of children playing in the public squares and alleyways of beautiful Bilbao and wondered how a community like that manages to make everyone feel so safe and connected.

Why Apologies Are Overrated: “I am so sorry for the harm I have caused”

The more I'm being asked by movie stars and politicians to forgive, the less sure I am forgiveness is the appropriate response. I prefer people show me they've changed, rather than tell me they're sorry.

Why Young People Shouldn’t Go to College (At Least Right Away)

There are many disadvantages to going to college too quickly after high school when young people have little life experience or aren't sure of their career paths. A recent study shows why taking a gap year can have long-term benefits for young adults.

Why Arts Education for Children Can Change the World

Teaching children art is not a frivolous use of resources when with that art comes resilience, pride in one's culture, and a chance to heal the trauma caused by war.