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

Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

Helping Your Adolescent Cope with Significant Loss

Parents can teach their adolescents how to make their way through significant loss when it occurs.

Why Not Circumcise Your Boy? Risk for Autism

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
New research raises new questions.

Should Bedrooms be No-Phone Zones for Teens?

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on February 17, 2017 in Psy-curious
Three ways parents can help their teens log off before turning in for the night - without the power struggle.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Coping with Parental Guilt

By Dena Kouremetis on February 17, 2017 in The Unedited Offspring
What can we do to assuage the guilt we feel over not being the best parents we could have been?

Seeing the Whole Picture

By The Resilience Regiment on February 17, 2017 in Voices in Recovery
The Resilience Regiment speaks to Evolve Treatment Centers

ACEs and Parental Alienation

By Amy J.L. Baker Ph.D. on February 17, 2017 in Caught Between Parents
When is an ACE a bad thing? Parental alienation as an adverse childhood experience.

America's Spelling Is a National Disaster

Spelling errors tweeted within the Trump administration raise the issue of why spelling matters. Spelling needs to be taught!

3 Strategies to Talk With Kids About Suicidal Thoughts

There is no age limit for suicidal thoughts. Parents and healthcare professionals can learn to talk openly and safely with children about suicide.

All Problems Are Betrayals

By Nick Luxmoore on February 17, 2017 in Young People Up Close
For young people, all problems provoke primitive anxieties of betrayal: reminders of an original betrayal they can't consciously remember but can't help feeling strongly about.

Hungry? No You're Not! A Working Example of the I-M Approach

By Joseph A. Shrand M.D. on February 16, 2017 in The I-M Approach
Ever been told you are wrong when you know you are right, or felt like your point of view is not respected? This is happening now in the USA with potentially devastating results.

The Problem With Sensitivity

By Maureen D Healy on February 16, 2017 in Creative Development
Is your highly sensitive child exhausting you?
Erik Hans Krause in employ of WPA/PD-US-not renewed

"Refrigerator Mothering" Is Dead but the Blame Game Lives On

By Barb Cohen on February 16, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
The mother—and now the father too—are still suspect. Suspected of what? Nobody knows for sure, but whatever it is, we are expected to defend ourselves against it.

National Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on February 16, 2017 in Sure Recovery
Why family-based recovery is important.

No Mom, You Can't Read Your Daughter's Diary (or Texts)

By Nancy Darling Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Thinking About Kids
Your gut tells you that it's wrong to snoop in someone's diary or texts. But why? Twenty years of research backs up your gut. But also tells us when it might be okay.

Rethinking Love

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Face It!
Is love an emotion?

Hungry? I'll Feed You! A Working Example of the I-M Approach

By Joseph A. Shrand M.D. on February 15, 2017 in The I-M Approach
Ever feed someone? This simple kindness can have a long-lasting effect. The four domains of the I-M Approach are explored when a little boy asks his mother for a snack.

Why Boys Really Need Boy Dolls

By Karlyn Crowley Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Woman Power
Boys deserve healthy masculinity and doll play will help get them there.

6 Reasons Why You May Not Know What You're Feeling

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Evolution of the Self
It might seem almost unfathomable that someone might not be able to recognize what they’re feeling. But the phenomenon is much more common than most people realize.

Can We Heal Our Country by Listening to Parents and Babies?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on February 15, 2017 in Child in Mind
Our current political climate reflects a profound deficit in our collective capacity for listening. Does contemporary developmental science offer a solution to this problem?

The Missing Piece for Many Parents: Time to Reflect

By Erin Leyba LCSW, Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in Joyful Parenting
Stress, exhaustion, and overwork may be edging out the time parents need to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the parenting lessons that they glean from their experiences.

What To Get Your Ex For Valentine's Day

By Wendy Paris on February 14, 2017 in Splitopia
Valentine's Day is a chance to celebrate all the people in our lives—including our ex. 
CCO Creative Commons

What Young Athletes Really Need

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in The Power of Prime
This article is aimed at early in the sports pipeline where the foundation of young athletes’ attitudes are laid, which often determines how long they stay involved in sports

Mindful Eating for the Mamavore

Do you pay attention to what you are eating? Having kids can make it challenging. Here are a few reminders to keep us on our mindful eating game.

Are You Addicted to Your Kid?

By Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W. on February 13, 2017 in Adoption Stories
It's possible for people to be addicted to other people—including their children.

When Your Teenager's "In Love"

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on February 13, 2017 in Grand Rounds
Why do you think we call first love a crush?

A Conversation About Underage Drinking

It is silly to think that turning 21 makes one a responsible drinker. Knowledge, above all else, is the dividing factor, and education can start at any age.

New Ways to Have Kids Are Multiplying

Is science outrunning Trump's ideas on reproduction?

Five Things You Should Know About Gender Trends on Campus

By Marcia Morris M.D. on February 12, 2017 in College Wellness
College aged adults are redefining what it means to be a man or a woman.

The Working Parent and Too Much Choice

By Yael Schonbrun Ph.D. on February 12, 2017 in Moderating
For working parents blessed to have choices, the pressure to decide whether to prioritize one role over another feels never-ending. Learning to choose skillfully can help.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Giving

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on February 12, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Give time, caring, and attention as well as gifts, experiences, and words.