Essential Reads

Is Autism a Mental Illness?

The strange battle over what's psychiatric versus neurological.

"Is Adolescence Really Necessary?"

Surprised by early adolescence, parents wonder if their child's changes need be.

Here is a Powerful Acronym to Help Your Child Manage Stress!

Giving your child essential skills to succeed in life.

The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear*

An imaginary principal delivers an exercise in wish fulfillment

Recent Posts on Child Development

Is Autism a Mental Illness?

The recent tragedy in Oregon has renewed controversy about what autism really is or isn’t. While often well intentioned, this debate is based on shaky scientific ground and may actually be making stigma worse.

Why “Bribing” Your Child With Treats Doesn’t Work

By Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., J.D. on October 08, 2015 All Grown Up
Do you offer your child a “reward” to get him or her to comply with a rule? “If you tidy you room, I’ll take you to the movies.” But this is not a reward — this is a bribe. And “bribery” is not an effective parenting technique. Learn why bribing does not work when it comes to gaining your child's cooperation and what does.

Sailing or Struggling? Tips for Facilitating School Success

"Hi. School was fine." Some tips for identifying if your child is having a hard time at school that they might not be telling you about.

Why Are So Many Parents Limited in Loving Their Children?

In my observation of families, I have noted countless examples of well-meaning parents engaging in behavior that is insensitive, mis-attuned, or harmful to their children, while earnestly believing that they love them and have their best interests at heart. There are several reasons why it’s often difficult for parents to love their children.

Let's Cut New Moms Some Slack

Modern mothering is the best and the worst, light and darkness, hope and despair, all rolled into one. And too few people are talking about it.

Feeding the Adolescent Brain

As a parent myself, I know first-hand the challenges that can arise as a child faces adolescence. Paying attention in school, staying alert and focused throughout the day, and retaining the information taught is increasingly important for teens as they prepare for tests, college prep and a professional career.

Can Dogs Learn Word Meanings by Just Watching and Listening?

Both dogs and human children learn language through simple observation — without the need for rewards for each word they learn.

How Do Children Learn to Recognize Print?

By Jamie Zibulsky Ph.D. on October 06, 2015 Book Smart
My fourteen-month-old son, Henry, has just started to recognize his name in print, which feels like an amazing milestone to me. Here’s how it happened.

Does Your Child Have an Inner Compass?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 Singletons
The Compass Advantage gives parents, educators, and all those who work with children and teens a framework to lay the foundation for children’s developing sense of self and future functioning in the world.

The Marketing of an Antipsychotic

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 Side Effects
Ghostwriters, massaged data, tiny print, and children’s toys—all part of Big Pharma's arsenal of "defeat devices," outlined in Steven Brill's book, America's Most Admired Lawbreaker.

"Is Adolescence Really Necessary?"

In their disenchantment with some early adolescent changes in their child, parents wonder if this transformation really need be? The answer is: Yes, so the process of redefinition for growing up can get underway.

Here is a Powerful Acronym to Help Your Child Manage Stress!

Kids do better in life when they learn how to calm down and solve problems! Borrowing from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) the word "ACCEPTS" provides prompts for valuable coping skills for children, teens, and adults to handle stress. To help your child or teen better deal with stress, take a look at the power of the 7 skills embodied in "ACCEPTS"

Work, Love, Play: Do You Have a Healthy Inner Balance?

Do you have a healthy inner balance between work, love, and play? If not, this blog post offers some clues on how to create more inner balance inspired by theories of Erik Erikson and the insights of Doris Kearns Goodwin based on her extensive knowledge of former American presidents.

The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear*

By Alfie Kohn on October 03, 2015 The Homework Myth
Sit in a school auditorium listening to a list of rules and procedures, on the one hand, and numbing banalities about how "all children can learn," on the other hand -- and dream of a presentation that gets to the heart of what schooling could be like if kids (and learning) really mattered most...

Fear of Damage to Children in Polyamorous Families

Because polyamory is stigmatized in conventional society, many poly parents or other adults who love children being raised in poly families are concerned about how growing up in a polyamorous family might affect children. In this blog I include a question from a concerned mother and my response to her concerns about how her relationships might impact her kids.

The Power of Talk

By Lydia Denworth on October 01, 2015 Brain Waves
What is the best way to nurture a child's brain? The answer is simpler than you think.

Malnutrition in Children: What Parents Need to Know

Identifying malnutrition in children can be difficult for both parents and providers. Even if food is plentiful, your child may be unable to absorb the necessary nutritionists to stay strong and combat illness. Knowing what to look for can help identify malnutrition earlier and get your child on the right path to optimal health.

How does childhood trauma affect the adult brain?

What is the affect of negative childhood experiences on the adult brain?

Why Does Misinformation Continue to Affect Thinking?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 01, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Vaccination for childhood diseases like Measles and Whooping Cough was one of the most significant public health victories of the second half of the 20th century. When I was in elementary school in the 1970s, these diseases had been relegated to the past.

The Hidden Agenda Behind 21st Century Learning

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on September 30, 2015 Mental Wealth
High-stakes testing, obsessive data collection, and lofty promises of technology’s potential to “revolutionize” education are contributing to alarming amounts of school-based screen-time—without regard for screens’ numerous impacts on learning and mental health. Teacher and public education advocate Tara Ehrcke describes the deceptive web behind 21st Century Learning.

How To Make Teen Volunteer Work More Than A Resume Builder

New research explains how to inspire teens to "service beyond self."

You, Me, and the Narcissist Next Door

By Peg Streep on September 29, 2015 Tech Support
The term "narcissist" gets tossed around with a fair amount of abandon. Who's a narcissist and who isn't? Well, the answer offered up by a new book might surprise you. Welcome to healthy and unhealthy narcissism....You're all included.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

By Susan Scheftel Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Evolving Minds
Dollhouses seem to provide a perfect venue for little children to work out big ideas. They are a must-have for all those working with children of both genders.

Let's Not Take It Out on the Children

When the modern women’s movement began to turn its attention to girls – as in books like Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls (published in 1994) – they were already doing better than boys on many measures of educational achievement, including college enrollment. Feminism should now, among its other campaigns, fight to make classrooms more boy-friendly.

One Easy Question Can Help Break the Anxiety Cycle

By Christopher Bergland on September 29, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Researchers have identified that asking yourself one easy question can help break the anxiety cycle.

Dangerous Daydreams

What do future serial killers think about before they kill someone? In the beginning, not much more than many traumatized children.

Please Stop Whitewashing Autism

By Amy S.F. Lutz on September 28, 2015 Inspectrum
Steve Silberman's new book NeuroTribes is just the latest media account to recast autism as a "gift." These Facebook posts reveal, however, that the disorder can also be profoundly disabling. As we set research and policy agendas regarding treatment, education, housing and employment for autistic children and adults, we cannot forget about the most severely impaired.

Kids, Screens and Play: Solutions to a Common Problem

By Kenneth Barish Ph.D. on September 28, 2015 Pride and Joy
Recent research on kids and screens is alarming. Almost everyone now agrees that parents should establish rules and limits with regard to the amount of time kids spend in front of screens. It matters, however, how we do this.

Bad Teachers Can Damage You-- or Make You Stronger

From one very bad teacher, I learned that intelligence without emotional generosity means nothing, that narcissism unchecked is poisonous and that sometimes it is far more honorable to be refused membership to a group than to be part of it. That lesson left welts.

What Does the Family Foster: A Lovable or Unlovable Self?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on September 27, 2015 Moral Landscapes
Pope Francis said that “family life as the place where we come to learn the meaning and value of human relationships.” The sense of self is built there and carried forward into the rest of life. Will the child build a sense of being lovable? Or will the individual forever feel inadequate, self-loathing or unlovable?