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. 

Parenting Gay and Lesbian Teens

Research shows that adolescents are "coming out" younger and younger. That means they'll need their parents to help them adjust. Here's some suggestions for what parents can do to help their teenagers feel good about their sexual orientation. 

Deployed Military Fathers Can Still be Great Parents

Just because a father is deployed, it doesn't mean that he can't still stay connected to his children. Here's some strategies for how to succeed as a parent based on research with fathers deployed overseas in all branches of the American military. 

There's at Least One Way to Combat Cyberbullying

When the parents of a 15-year-old girl asked the courts to help get them the computer address and name of those responsible for bullying their daughter, they challenged the cyberbully's anonymity and went from bystanders to allies for their child.

What Malcolm Gladwell and Sir Michael Rutter can Teach us about Resilience

Both Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker, and renowned Child Psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter, remind us that children and adults are more likely to be resilient when their families and communities give them opportunities to flourish and the space to practice their talents. Here's some examples.

The Naughty Bits: What Children Should Read and When

When should our children read books that contain sexual content? Discuss topics like incest, rape, or gangs? The answer is simple: when they've decided they're ready. Here's some suggestions for gauging what children are ready to read and when, and some great young adult fiction that you might want to put on your child's bookshelf.

Politicians who lie, and why their behavior hurts our kids

Whether politicians and other public officials lie or tell the truth, they are all role models for our children. Children learn ethical conduct from the adults they encounter. Whether it's a British Prime Minister who doesn't have the stomach to say what he thinks, or an emergency room doctor who tells it like it is, our children are learning what integrity means from those who make the news. 

Banning Street Hockey Endangers our Children's Healthy Development

A few weeks ago, a group of children were playing hockey on a suburban street in my community when a neighbor complained. The police came and the game ended. I can only imagine where the children went afterwards. Likely home to their computers and gaming stations. They had little choice but to became sedentary, adding further to problems like obesity and social isolation.

How to have a good divorce and keep your kids resilient

How parents handle a divorce makes all the difference to whether children will show the resilience needed to cope. Here's 8 tips on how to ensure children survive a divorce without emotional scars.

Why Kids Like to Go To School, and Why They Don't

Believe it or not, our children want to go to school. They don't want to be truant, or delinquent, and they aren't reluctant to learn. Making them feel engaged and welcome in their classrooms depends on educators and parents providing children with ways to feel like they belong and that their studies matter.

Children can look after their parents: It might actually be good for them!

Children who help look after their parents' emotional and physical needs aren't necessarily disadvantaged. When they know they're needed, and recognized for the contribution they make, being "parentified" can actually help children grow into successful adults. 

Insensitive children survive stressful homes and schools better

While most parents want their children to be sensitive, kind, caring individuals, there's some troubling research on primary school children that shows that in higher stress environments (like during a divorce, when being bullied at school, or threatened with violence) it's the insensitive child who does better than his or her more sensitive peers. 

Why I took my children to Colombia for the holidays: Part II

I took my children to Colombia to understand how other people live. We came back understanding the power of national identity. 

Why I took my children to Colombia for the Holidays: Part 1

If I took my children far beyond the tourist resort, it was because I wanted them to challenge their assumptions about what they need to be happy. Judging by the looks on their faces, it seems to have worked. 

Five great presents parents will appreciate from their kids

Holiday gift-giving can be a wonderful way to help our children feel connected to their families and show their creativity. Here's five gift ideas that parents can suggest to their children to encourage them to put a bit more of themselves into the act of giving.

The risk-taker's advantage

We pose a real danger to our children when we fail to provide them enough risk and responsibility to develop into competent, caring, contributing adults. Over-protective parenting denies children "the risk-taker's advantage."

Boot Camps Don't Prevent Young Offenders from Reoffending

Though I know parents would prefer to believe that boot camps help prevent troubled young people from continuing their delinquent behavior, in fact the evidence shows that quasi-military-like treatment programs for troubled youth don't prevent them committing more crime. What does work, however, may surprise you!

Debunking the myth of the rugged, and resilient, individual

We love to believe that it is the rugged individual who overcomes adversity, but the truth is that resilience is much more dependent on the quality of our families, neighbourhoods, and political systems than any individual character traits.

Ten Tips for Raising Resilient Children

Two months ago I was in Northern Canada, then Colombia and now Australia. All over the globe, I get to meet the most fascinating children and their parents. Here's ten parenting tips I've heard recently from families all around the world. 

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