Following are some popular articles from the past year packed with advice that may help parents in the year ahead.
By Heather Turgeon
Many parents grew up with punishments, and it’s understandable that they rely on them. But punishments tend to escalate conflict and shut down learning. They elicit a fight or flight response, which means that sophisticated thinking in the frontal cortex goes dark and basic defense mechanisms kick in. Punishments make us either rebel, feel shamed or angry, repress our feelings, or figure out how not to get caught.
So rewards are the positive choice then, right? Not so fast. Read more>>>
By Stephen Marche
The use of spanking to discipline children has been in decline for 50 years. But yelling? Almost everybody still yells at their kids sometimes, even the parents who know it doesn’t work. Yelling may be the most widespread parental stupidity around today.
Households with regular shouting incidents tend to have children with lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression. A 2014 study in The Journal of Child Development demonstrated that yelling produces results similar to physical punishment in children: increased levels of anxiety, stress and depression along with an increase in behavioral problems. Read more>>>
By Lisa Damour
Now that the school year is in full swing, many young people are feeling the weight of academic demands. But how much strain students experience may depend less on their workloads and more on how they think about the very nature of stress.
Stress doesn’t deserve its bad rap. Psychologists agree that while chronic or traumatic stress can be toxic, garden-variety stress — such as the kind that comes with taking a big test — is typically a normal and healthy part of life. In a 2013 article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on stress mind-sets, the researchers Alia J. Crum, Peter Salovey and Shawn Achor noted that the human stress response, in and of itself, can put “the brain and body in an optimal position to perform.” Read more>>>
By Emily F. Popek
As parents, we want our children to be emotionally resilient — able to handle life’s ups and downs. But parents’ ability to foster resilience in our children hinges a great deal on our own emotional resilience.
“A parent’s resilience serves as a template for a child to see how to deal with challenges, how to understand their own emotions,” said Dr. Dan Siegel, author of “The Yes Brain,” which focuses on cultivating children’s resilience.
Yet for many parents, taking the temper tantrums and meltdowns in stride presents a challenge — especially if we have unrealistic expectations of what childhood is really all about. Read more>>>
By Claire Shipman, Katty Kay and JillEllyn Riley
The early weeks of a school year can rattle even the most self-assured kid — the swirl of new classes, teachers and tribes, and the pressure to try out new extracurriculars, sports and even personalities.
Tween and teen girls face an added challenge because their confidence is already plummeting during those years. Of course, puberty is a turbulent time for confidence in both genders. But girls experience a much more significant, dramatic drop. Read more>>>
By Mark McConville
As a psychologist, I receive calls each summer from anxious parents, worried that their high-school graduate won’t be ready for college. In some instances, they describe the normal conflict that signals impending separation. But in some cases, they describe a child who isn’t ready for the independence of college. I do an assessment and issue a recommendation — mostly green light (he’s ready for college) or occasionally red light (he’s not).
Either way, I’m left with a question: “Why didn’t they call a year ago?” The ideal moment to think about this isn’t just before college, but instead the summer before senior year or even earlier in high school — which provides ample time to address issues of college readiness. But regardless of your time frame, there are steps you can take. Read more>>>