All About Parenting

Parenting is the ultimate long-term investment. Be prepared to put far more into it than you get out of it, at least for some time. Given the structure and stresses of contemporary North American society, the happiness of couples plummets the minute they become parents. And it gets worse before it gets better. In the long run, however, it can be the most rewarding job of your life.

From talking and reading to infants to making values clear (best done in conversations around the dinner table), parents exert enormous influence over their children's development. They are, however, not the only influences, especially after children enter school. It is especially important that parents give children a good start, but it's also important for parents to recognize that kids come into the world with their own temperaments, and it is the parents' job to provide an interface with the world that eventually prepares a child for complete independence. In a rapidly changing world, parenting seems subject to fads and changing styles, and parenting in some ways has become a competitive sport.

But the needs of child development as delineated by science remain relatively stable. There is such a thing as overparenting, and aiming for perfection in parenting might be a fool's mission. Too much parenting cripples children as they move into adulthood, renders them unable to cope with the merest setbacks, and is believed to be a major cause of failure-to-launch syndrome.

There is such a thing as too-little parenting, and research establishes that lack of parental engagement often leads to poor behavioral outcomes in children, in part because it encourages the young to be too reliant on peer culture. Ironically, harsh or authoritarian styles of parenting can have the same effect.

Recent posts on Parenting

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By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in In Practice
Simple, practical tips for developing emotional trust.

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in Media Spotlight
While men may find themselves taking on more responsibilities at work and home, women still find themselves doing a disproportionate amount of the domestic chores.
Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street and Autism: The PG-Rated "Extras"

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"Minimize affect inhibition... Maximize positive affects… Minimize negative affects.” — Silvan Tomkins

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Strategies for bringing mindfulness into everyday life.

Social Norms, Moral Judgments, and Irrational Parenting

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on March 19, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
We are all conformists; it’s part of human nature. But sometimes our conformist nature leads us to do things that are downright silly or, worse, tragic.

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Monitoring, use, and privacy guidelines for parents.

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No other generation has had to cope with this ever-increasing fund of information. Improved technology and more information has led to more memorization & less meaningful learning.
123rf.com/profile_stockbroker

Helping Your Child Deal With College Rejection & Acceptance

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on March 18, 2017 in Off the Couch
College acceptances and rejections are coming in. How parents respond can help or hinder adolescents in the developmental task of transitioning from home to college.

What Is the Future of Genetic Testing?

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In advance of International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, this blog focuses on offering some strategies to parents with trans children.

Parental Alienation and the Power of Metaphors

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Grandparents Affected by Adult Child Divorce

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Teen Pregnancies Fall But School Sex Ed Doesn’t Work. Huh?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on March 15, 2017 in All About Sex
The number of teen pregnancies has plummeted by more than half in a generation. But a new analysis shows that school-based sex education classes don't work. How is this possible?

Do You Need a Digital Detox?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 15, 2017 in Media Spotlight
A new survey conducted by the American Psychological Association suggests that our relationship with technology and social media can have a major impact on stress and health.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding...for Mothers

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in How We Do It
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Starting Places for Learning About Good Divorce

By Wendy Paris on March 14, 2017 in Splitopia
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Hyperactive Kids and Playtime - What's the Connection?

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How to Have Difficult Conversations

By Dan Mager MSW on March 13, 2017 in Some Assembly Required
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Helping Young Children Understand and Build Friendships

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on March 13, 2017 in Once Upon a Child
Play, from early in our lives, creates the vocabulary of friendship.

6 Ways That Tricks for Falling Asleep Can Backfire

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on March 13, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Chronic sleep problems can be demoralizing. What are the potential downsides of tricks for falling asleep? And what's the best way to beat insomnia?