Parenting Essential Reads

A Quick, Easy Technique to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

If your kids have you climbing the walls, don't despair--just head for the ceiling to stop the yelling, power struggles, and drama. Here is how to do it!

Yet Another Reason Why It’s Good to Be a First-Born Child

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research finds that eldest siblings are better at picking up second languages.

Liar, Liar, Working Memory on Fire

Working Memory can make you a better liar, research shows

Stars, Bars, and Embryos

By Elliot Hosman J.D. on July 28, 2015 in Genetic Crossroads
The ideas of "choice" and "intent" have arisen in debates about both the confederate flag and prenatal genetic testing. But are these concepts insufficiently nuanced for these tough topics?

What Narcissists REALLY Want, and Can Never Get

Among other things, narcissists typically come across as arrogant, manipulative, entitled, and woefully lacking in empathy. But if these defining features are understood at a deeper level—as powerful psychological defenses to protect them from experiencing a truly frightening vulnerability—a quite different picture of them emerges. . . .

We Succeed by Our Failures

When we reflect on our childhood we tend to recall the tough times -- times when we as kids screwed up, or when our parents failed. It turns out that the dance between love and hate, doing right and doing wrong, and above all making amends is critical for secure attachments. We learn to trust other, indeed, we learn to be moral as part of a normal developmental process.

What Helicopter Parents Need to Know

How can concerned parents help today's college students become healthier, more successful young adults?

Adolescence and the Allure of the Internet

Today's parents must raise children in two worlds, offline and online, and for adolescents freedom on the Internet has a powerful allure.

Baby Crying? Don't Shame the Parents!

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
A medical doctor, also a parent, wrote to me recently to complain about my blog post, "'Dangers of Crying it Out.'" Here is (most of) my response.

The Archeology of Misbehavior

Archeology is the study of human activity in the past. The archeology of misbehavior is studying current behavior to uncover hidden sources. The “ruins” of misdeeds are built upon personality architecture and cultural landscapes.

I May Be a Jackass, But I Can Be Taught to Care

A jackass is an ornery animal. You can lead it to water, but you can't make it drink. Are kids the same way?

The Power of Evolutionary Psychology

A good scientific discipline should provide tangible new findings about some phenomena. Evolutionary psychology consistently provides new insights into what it means to be human. Here are three of the biggies – things we simply would now know without evolutionary psychology.

5 Reasons We Don't Let Ourselves Be Happy

We are all, to varying degrees, intolerant of happiness. By understanding why we take actions that defeat our own well-being, we can gain a stronger foothold in overcoming obstacles and allowing ourselves to be happy. Here are the five most common reasons we won’t let ourselves have what we most want in life.

Toward a More Civil Divorce

By Liza Long on July 16, 2015 in The Accidental Advocate
In a high-conflict divorce, both adults share the blame. But the adversarial family court system doesn't do much to help parents or their children. My thoughts as a mother on the three Michigan children sent to juvenile detention for refusing lunch with their father: it's just lunch.

What Artistic Pigeons Tell Us About Superstitious Parents

Like most first-time parents, we had a set of baby-care rules that was more complicated than the federal tax code and more sacred than the Bible. We wanted everyone to follow it to a T.

Screening Out Screen Time

We've become addicted to our screens, obsessively checking email, chomping at the Twitter feed, and buried in Facebook. The disquiet many of us feel turns to downright worry when we see our children growing up screen-saturated. Research suggests this may have serious consequences for development.

Seven Challenges of Being a Single Mom

Other moms grapple with exactly the same issues – from self-doubt and anxiety over money to the stress of making decisions alone – and they've come up with some creative solutions that may work for you too.

Resilience: The Capacity to Rebuild and Grow from Adversity

Resilience is not a genetic trait. It is derived from the ways children learn to think and act when they are faced with obstacles, large and small. How do teachers cultivate resilience in the classroom?

Keeping Adolescents Mindful of Parental Needs

For parents who want their teenager to act mindful of their needs, training in this relatedness needs to start in childhood (when it is mostly welcome) and not put off to adolescence (when it is mostly not.)

Is it OK Not to Come Out?

“Is it ok NOT to come out?” In short, depending on the circumstances, the answer is sometimes yes.

Brace Yourself

By Joann P. Galst Ph.D. on July 12, 2015 in Fertility Factor
While egg freezing can offer a woman the possibility of extending her fertile years, it is a procedure that is far from benign in its psychological ramifications.

The Tendency to Smugness in the Culture of Psychology

I hope your first thought about overt anger is that something unjust has happened and not that someone is too emotional or being mean.

Russia’s ‘Safe-Selfie’ Campaign: Will It Work?

The Russian authorities have launched a “safe selfie” campaign in response to a series of deaths and serious injuries among extreme selfie-takers. Since most selfie-takers are under 25, showing them what NOT to do will make extreme selfies more, not less, attractive. The initiative ignores the motivational factors driving the need to show off doing dangerous things.

Facebook-Self vs. True-Self: Presenting Contrived Happiness

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on July 10, 2015 in Screen Time
The need to have the false-self visible on a digital platform in an unusual trend in parents that has taken shape over the last several years.

Using Psychology to Help At-Risk Students

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 09, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
There are many rewards for doing research in psychology. For one, it is just plain fun. There is something powerful about making progress on one of the world’s great scientific mysteries. For another, the things we learn about psychology have the potential to make people’s lives better.

K & Preschool Teachers: Last Stand in War on Childhood?

By Peter Gray on July 08, 2015 in Freedom to Learn
The war against childhood continues. Children are no longer generally free to roam, play, and explore on their own, as they were in the past and are designed by nature to do. Parents who allow such play are being arrested. Schools throughout the country have eliminated or greatly curtailed recesses. The last bastion in the battle to preserve childhood appears to be be....

Why Working Mothers Shouldn’t Feel Guilty

What do people really think about working mothers?

Relationships Cause Conduct Disorder, Not "Bad Seeds"

To paraphrase a certain politician, it's the relationships, stupid! In order to avoid looking at their own or their family's behavior, both parents and professionals seem to want to think that children can be born as "bad seeds." However, human genes do not work that specifically. It is not toxic people that create most dysfunctional families, but toxic relationships.

Is Coding Camp a Good Thing? Answer: Not to Me

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on July 07, 2015 in The Power of Prime
One of the booming trends in the 'youth-achievement-industrial complex' is computer coding camps (and after-school coding programs). I think this trend is driven by economic uncertainty that has created immense anxiety in parents for their children's futures. Also, a hyper-achievement culture in which parents feel compelled to 'keep up with the Joneses'.

Who Will Clip Your Toenails When You Cannot?

They never tell you when you are little that you will one day clip the toenails of your parents or siblings. Such little things must amount to great differences in the quality of life as we age. If you needed one more reason to build and maintain lifelong, loving relationships. . .