Essential Reads

Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives

Teachers, professors, employers, parents, & students explain students’ problems.

Looking to Our Past: Escapism or Exploration?

Nostalgia can promote healthy coping during difficult times.

Why Are Kids Sexting?

The leading pundits tell us not to worry, just chill. The pundits are wrong.

Our Families: What's Missing?

Brave new families are not all treated equally.

Recent Posts on Child Development

Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Freedom to Learn
The high and apparently increasing rates of emotional disorders and problems of everyday living among college students have generated great concern on campuses throughout the nation. Here I present a sample of views expressed by K–12 teachers, professors, employers, parents, and students about the sources of students’ emotional and coping difficulties.

When Ideological Differences Are Developmental Differences

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 Ambigamy
It's not about ideology or political theory. Through the lens of developmental psychology, today's Republican majority simply manifests immaturity. Sure, they'll cry, "hey, no fair!" but so do all children who try to stir theoretical debate when they don't get what they want.

Child Rearing: Boundaries and Love

At a certain point during breastfeeding, it is natural for the baby to bite the breast. This is one of many important avenues for mother and baby to negotiate their boundaries—between self and other. All of child rearing revolves around boundaries and love.

Birth Order Determines...Almost Nothing

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 The Last Taboos
Everybody tends to think children have particular personality characteristics determined by their position in the family: firstborns are achievers, middle children are peacemakers, and the babies in the family are individualists. A new study shows how it isn't so.

Will Your Child Be Part of the Collateral Damage of Divorce?

Rather than looking at the negative consequences of divorce as fixed, we need to examine the origins of the problem – the so-called pathogenesis – to recognize that these consequences are the results of symptoms acquired over the course of a child’s lifetime.

Looking to Our Past: Escapism or Exploration?

The past is gone, cannot be changed, and cannot return. Is revisiting it in memory a reluctance to live in the present?

Don't Say Suffering Happens For a Reason

To me, saying that illness and pain happens 'for a reason' or 'for the best' or that 'there's a plan' steals efficacy. It tells me that there's a divine plan for my son to suffer. And I cannot accept that.

What to Do if Your Kid Is a Sociopath?

Recent neuroscience suggests there might be hope.

The Unparented Child

Wrong child/wrong parent: how to heal a mismatch and champion your neglected inner child

Teaching Tolerance in a Time of Terror

It may seem easy to counteract chaos and unrest resulting from terrorist attacks by pointing fingers at entire groups. We need to be clear about what such stances communicate especially to our children.

Rethinking John B. Watson's Legacy

Should Watson be taught to students as a cautionary tale? In tracing his research, it becomes clear that in addition to ethically questionable studies, Watson was promoting problematic and dangerous assertions regarding child rearing without legitimate support for any of his claims.

The Social Side of Touch

By Lydia Denworth on November 19, 2015 Brain Waves
What's in a mother's caress? A set of specialized nerve fibers may help to explain why holding babies builds attachment.

Changing School Start Times

Should schools start later for high school students? What about for elementary school students?

Uncovering a Hidden Factor in School Reform

By Mack R. Hicks Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Digital Pandemic
Do kids from the lower social class deserve a chance? Of course they do, but how do we provide it?

Why Must Childbirth Be So Challenging?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 How We Do It
Childbirth is excruciatingly painful because a baby’s relatively large head passes through a woman's narrow pelvis. A tight limit on head size explains why more brain growth occurs after birth and why babies are relative helpless for the first year. But a new view is that birth timing is constrained not by the pelvis but by an upper limit on the mother’s energy turnover.

Parental Pressure Takes a Toll on Young Athletes

Emphasizing whether a child wins or loses in a sport harms self-esteem.

Explanations and Our Place in Society

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Ulterior Motives
There is a funny paradox in politics. Many people who are successful or wealthy recognize the combination of talent and circumstances and plain luck that landed them where they are. Those who are unsuccessful or poor can recognize how things might have gone differently if their circumstances had been different.

Do Bilingual Infants Have Better Memory?

As researchers continue to debate cognitive advantages of bilingualism, they develop increasingly more sophisticated methods to examine our earliest experiences. A recent study of infant memory suggests that bilingual babies display better memory and ability to generalize across different contexts than monolingual ones. But what about trilingual babies?

Why Are Kids Sexting?

By Leonard Sax M.D., Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Sax on Sex
Why do girls and boys send sexy photos? The answers for girls are different from the answers for boys.

A Man's World but Not a Boy's

What do I tell my sons? That they should encourage their sons to support the aspirations of girls, girls who are already surpassing them in school at all levels, and going on to graduate schools in larger numbers?

Does Your Birth Order Actually Matter?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Singletons
Personal experience often trumps scientific facts: We expect the oldest to be responsible, the middle child to rebel. New proof shows that birth order isn’t as influential as we think in determining adult personality or intelligence. Are you confusing birth order expectations with age difference?

Should We Let Kids Study What Interests Them?

By Garth Sundem on November 17, 2015 Brain Trust
Does a child's intrinsic motivation increase math scores? Of course it does! That is, unless you look at the science.

Kids in Pain, Part 1: Chronic vs. Acute Pain

A surprising number of children spend significant amounts of their lives in pain. What is chronic pain?

Is Sensory Processing Disorder Real?

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 16, 2015 Open Gently
Maybe 2–3 percent of children may have a brain abnormality integrating sensory data.

Terror on the Tube: Background Television & Little Ones

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 Screen Time
Recently, Paris came under attack to a horrific set of events. While most young children are not sitting down to watch the evening news, a fair set of households do keep television news on in the background. Encourage children to talk about what they have viewed either in the foreground or the background can help.

Some Parenting Practices With Your Adolescent to Consider

The approaches parents use to stay meaningfully and influentially connected to their adolescent are numerous, and necessarily so in a relationship that never stops growing in complexity.

Our Families: What's Missing?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Living Single
In this guest post, sociologist Joshua Gamson takes a look at the beautifully produced Tylenol ads celebrating family diversity, and explores what's missing or hidden.

Your Child's Brain on Books

By Elaine Reese Ph.D. on November 14, 2015 Tell Me a Story
Reading books to young children is an everyday activity in many households. New research offers clues on how picturebook reading is important for your child's brain development.

Fathers and Daughters

By Nick Luxmoore on November 14, 2015 Young People Up Close
Growing older, daughters need their fathers differently.

When 12 Feels Like 20

Kids today are growing up faster than ever before. Perhaps the greatest irony is that while our kids seem more mature, earlier, many of us strive to remain young. 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40. At the rate our tweens are growing up and we're trying to stay young, you have to figure that we'll seem the same age as our kids in no time.