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.

The Five things Most likely to Ruin Your Child’s Life

Research on what are called "adverse childhood experiences" (ACEs) is showing that there is a shortlist of five things that happen to children that are most likely to cause them long-term harm. There's also three things parents can do to avoid these problems.

Why 14-year-olds become drug dealers

The 14-year-old crack dealer arrested a mile from my home will go to jail, but long-term he'll need more than incarceration. Research shows that shorter jail sentences and more child welfare, education, and mental health services are what will guarantee my community's safety.

Better Sex between Parents can mean more Resilient Kids

When parents keep their sex lives hot they not only prevent divorce, but also provide their children with two parents who are better able to cope with their children's problems and increase their resilience.

Child Custody Battles, the Merry Holidays, and Family Violence

The holiday season can put extra strain on divorcing families when negotiating visitation schedules. Here's three things divorced parents should keep in mind when planning holiday time with their children. How we behave in front of our children is more important than what we give them.

Your Child does NOT have these disorders

Labeling a child's problem behaviour (like picky eating, anger, or selfishness) a disorder makes excuses for normal behaviour that good parenting can correct. Here's a few disorders we should be rethinking, if only because the label does nothing to solve the problem.

Kim Clijsters and Building Strong Families

As an ambassador for SOS Children's Villages international, Kim Clijsters reminds us that strong families are the best protection against child abuse. There's lots to be said for government policy that puts family welfare ahead of building more prisons.

Finding a Great Therapist for Your Child

There are many types of effective therapy for children and adolescents. Success, however, depends largely on who the therapist is. When looking for a great therapist for your child, be sure he or she has these five important qualities. 

Why Linday Lohan needs me as her therapist

To be truthful, Lohan doesn't need me specifically as her therapist, but I think she could use some time away from the glitter of stardom and a conversation with someone who she can't manipulate, or is seeking fame by association. In fact, there is something about Lohan's problems that can teach us much about the kind of professional help a young adult needs when her life spirals out of control. Here's some questions I'd ask her (just as I ask all young people). 

GPS Tracking Kids is not the Same as Monitoring Them

GPS tracking our kids can harm them. But monitoring our children closely can help them. The two are not the same thing. Children who are well monitored are likely to engage better at school, which means they'll get into far less trouble and stay in school longer. It doesn't mean, though, that they'll get higher grades.

Photos of Naked Children: Works of art or exploitation?

At the Photographers' Gallery in London, an exhibition of Sally Mann's photographs of her children, naked, or in suggestive poses, is stirring controversy. We seem to have lost our innocence and now run the risk of viewing all photographs of children as tainted with sex. 

Spanking Makes Kids More Aggressive: The Research is Clear

Though most Americans believe spanking is good for children, evidence from a recent study suggests that when young children are subjected to corporal punishment they are much more likely to become aggressive. That's bad news if we want our kids to succeed when they reach elementary school.

Bare-knuckle cage wrestling for 6-year-olds?

Research on children's aggression tells us that encouraging bare-knuckle beatings of other children may not meet children's long-term developmental needs. Maybe parents looking for activities for aggressive children should avoid mixed martial arts. 

Why Disruptive Children Misbehave at School

Where parents and teachers see 'attention seeking', 'disruptive' and 'distracted' behavior, research shows that the kids themselves label their behavior in more positive, or neutral ways. All that misbehaving can actually be a coping strategy. 

Teens, Sex, Levi Johnston, and Bristol Palin

The best thing that parents of Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin could have done is hand each teen a box of condoms. At a time when rates of sexual activity among teens is equal to what it was four decades ago, or going down, and teen pregnancy rates are in dramatic freefall, it makes no sense to preach abstinence.