Topic: Emotions

Why Labeling a Child’s Emotions Can Backfire (and What to do Instead)

Every parent has done it. You see that your child or teen is struggling with a situation, and you try to help them understand their emotions: “You seem angry.” “You’re really feeling frustrated.” “I can see that you’re upset.” But instead of soothing the child, your words serve as a trigger.  “I am not!” the […]

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Why Your Child Can’t Access Coping Skills When They Need Them Most

Many parents try to empower their children by teaching them techniques to calm themselves when they’re upset: breathing slowing, doing calming yoga poses, thinking positive thoughts. Recently, I did an informal survey, asking parents whether their kids ever have trouble using these kinds of coping skills. The overwhelming response: yes! Not only do children fail […]

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Three Keys to Helping Children Build Resilience

I was walking on a paved path beside the Pacific Ocean when a little girl approached on a bike, obviously in her first, tentative days of learning to ride. Spotting me in her way, she wobbled a bit to avoid hitting me. As I prepared to help her, she regained her bearings and quickly swerved […]

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Why We Can’t Let Play Disappear from Children’s Lives

An essential ingredient has been slowly disappearing from children’s lives: free, spontaneous play. Many factors have converged to cause the decline of play. Technology absorbs more and more of children’s attention. Schools pile on academic pressures earlier and earlier. And parents are increasingly opting to place their children in structured extracurricular activities. That makes today’s […]

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The Pacifier Question: Why Not to Make Your Toddler Go Cold Turkey

Robby was two years old when his dentist told his parents that it was time to lose the pacifier. Concerned at the professional’s warning that using it was causing misalignment of the boy’s jaw, they took heed and soon made it disappear. That’s when the trouble began. Before long Robby had difficulty falling asleep. Within […]

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Toddler Tantrums: Help from Neuroscience

Charlie’s parents felt like they were walking on eggshells. A simple family party often set off the three year-old. The unfamiliar setting, the commotion, and relatives trying to hug and kiss the boy could easily send him into a kicking and screaming fit. Usually quiet, Charlie routinely burst into tantrums for reasons neither his parents nor […]

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Self-Reg: Busting the Myth of Self-Control

A new book, Self-Reg, explodes the myth that if only children tried harder or had enough willpower, they could control all of their challenging behaviors. The reality is much more complicated than that.

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Relationships in Special Education: We Must Do Better

Far too often, children with special educational needs experience disruptions in relationships, including frequent changes in aides, teachers and school placements, causing stress.

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Tuning in to the Emotional Lives of Children with Special Needs

One of my trusted guides about the world of autism treatment is Ido Kedar, a talented high school senior who blogs at Ido in Autismland. Here’s what Ido has to say about the professionals who worked with him over many years: “My experts have missed the mark most of my life. Kind of like a […]

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