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

Ethical Issues in Treating Childhood Obesity

How do doctors decide when to recommend surgery for a child with obesity?

Sexuality During and After Pregnancy

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Jay Blakesberg/earthdaynetwork

Beyond the March for Science: What Now?

By Rachel Pruchno Ph.D. on April 27, 2017 in All in the Family
Children whose parents voted for Trump are as likely to develop asthma and autism as children whose parents voted for Clinton.

4 Steps to Build Self-Discipline and Willpower in Students

By Tim Elmore on April 27, 2017 in Artificial Maturity
There's nothing more common than finding students who are loaded with potential, yet end up severely under-performing. So how do we cultivate willpower and self-discipline in them?

Do Your Children Yank Your Chain?

Just because you've permitted your child to manipulate you in the past doesn't mean you can't start taking charge now. In the long run, you'll be doing him or her a favor.

Stop Saying "Just Relax" to People With Infertility

For women struggling with infertility, "just relax" is perhaps the worst – and most commonly given – unsolicited advice. Here's a guide to how to respond.
istock

The Divorce Decision

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Boys Under Pressure

By Adam Price Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Unmotivated Teen
Why your son won't do his homework.

How to Decide Whether to Use a Donor During Infertility

If you had planned to create a family with biological children, but are unable to do so, opening up to other approaches can require a lot of mental and emotional work.

It's Not the Glass That's Half Full/Empty; It's the Breast

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on April 25, 2017 in Full Living
We judge others as dispositioned towards negativity or positivity, scarcity or abundance, as a chosen disposition. In truth, that disposition gets set in infancy.

"Get Out": From a White Woman’s Perspective

By Madelon Sprengnether on April 25, 2017 in Minding Memory
“Get Out” not only analyzes our nation’s history of dividing racial reality into either/or categories but also reveals the price we pay socially and culturally for doing so.
Photo by Kristin Meekhof

A Lament That Remains

There are many things you outgrow as a child but you don't outgrow the death of a parent.

Play: A Different Perspective

Much has been studied and written about play, and we would like to consider play from a somewhat different perspective, namely, that of affect theory.

ADHD and Self Compassion

What’s the impact of living life with ADHD, seeing exactly what ‘should’ be done and often not getting there anyway.

Shouldn't Lawyers Understand the Art of Persuasion?

Lawyers could more effectively represent their clients if they understood the art of persuasion.

What Are the Proper Purposes of a System of Schooling?

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on April 23, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
Our compulsory school system was designed, long ago, for very specific purposes. Those purposes may now be outdated. What should be the purposes of a system of schooling today?

Overcoming the Paralysis of Toxic Shame

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Ranking the Last 14 Presidential Marriages

By Stanton Peele on April 22, 2017 in Addiction in Society
The American presidential marriage, from FDR and Eleanor to Barack and Michelle and beyond demonstrate a remarkable range of marital partnerships and intimacy.

Learning How to Tease and Be Teased

By Nick Luxmoore on April 22, 2017 in Young People Up Close
Young people spend hours teasing each other and being teased. Why? Why do they do it? And how do they learn when to stop?

16 Tweets on Relationships

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 22, 2017 in How To Do Life
Short takes on romantic relationships, friends, parenting, and dogs

What Is the Difference Between Conflict and Bullying?

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How to Break the Cycle of Shame With Your Child

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Hardiness and Grit

One might argue that any therapy has as an implicit objective to help the individual acquire the characteristics associated with hardiness.

Beyond Recess: Synchronized Play Improves Kids' Cooperation

We all know the elated feeling of swinging side-by-side with someone in synchrony. Now, researchers have identified unexpected benefits of synchronized movement during childhood.

Are You Confusing Love With Something Else?

As parents we want to hold onto the illusion that we can fix or control our children. We cannot fix or control them; it is an illusion.

Does Prince Harry Reveal How To Cope With Loss?

...the counterintuitive finding is that such a profoundly negative experience as losing a parent during childhood, can lead you to feel more gratitude or appreciation for life...

Divorce and Autism: Familiarity, Stability, Consistency

Children with autism thrive on familiarity, stability, and consistency. In divorce, work to maintain your child's relationships in the neighbourhood, school, and family.