Topic: Parenting

Finding our Way Back: How Trauma-Responsive Practices Can help us Face this Moment

There were moments during the pandemic when it seemed this time might never arrive. But day by day, week by week, children are returning to classrooms. Even as we face the future, it’s important to reflect on how we have all endured a prolonged period of stress. Over many months, we have experienced cues of life […]

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Raising Resilient Kids and the Role of Distress Tolerance

Sharon and James struggled with infertility for years before they finally adopted a newborn they named Ross. An adorable bundle of energy, he filled their lives with light.  But when the child was four, the couple came to me with a concern: Ross wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer. He always expected things to go […]

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Child Discipline: Time to Shift the Lens

The Monitor on Psychology’s October 2019 article, “Teaming Up to Change Child Discipline” described how parenting advice such as “spare the rod and spoil the child” is now debunked and outdated. This is an important shift, considering that 60% of children aged 3-4 in the US are spanked by their parents. In regards to the […]

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Do Time-Outs Work? It’s Time to Reframe the Question

Are time-outs an effective strategy for parents to cope with children’s challenging behaviors? Before I studied early childhood development, I occasionally used time-outs with my own children because they were touted as an effective and appropriate discipline technique. Decades later, a debate is raging about whether or not this is true. A recent Time article tried […]

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Are Baby-Soothing Gizmos a Good Parenting Choice?

Years ago, as a sleep-deprived mother of a colicky baby, I once felt so desperate after trying every imaginable way to soothe my crying infant that I finally placed her in her car seat atop the washing machine, holding her in place with one hand as the washer rumbled below. After a few minutes of […]

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Top-Down and Bottom-Up Behaviors: Understanding the Critical Difference

Did you know that there are (at least) 2 different kinds of behaviors? Most people don’t. I didn’t, even after years of college, training, and earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Most graduate programs in mental health, education, social work, and medicine don’t yet consider this dichotomy important enough to teach or train about. But […]

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Why Being a Happy Mom (or Dad) is a Gift to Our Children

Mother’s Day always transports me back to my days as a young mom, juggling my psychology practice with the activities of our household: three young children, a wonderful husband, and a rambunctious dog named Lacy. With all three girls active on their soccer teams and their dad serving as coach, we sometimes needed a spreadsheet […]

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Challenging Behaviors: Why We Shouldn’t Expect Kids to Self-Regulate Too Soon

Five-year-old Nathan was excited about a family outing to the zoo, but his mother worried he would not be able to control his behavior. So she explained her carefully devised plan. She had ten gummy bear candies with her. If Nathan behaved well, she would give him all ten at the end of the visit. […]

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He’s Having a Meltdown! Four Possible Triggers—and How to React

In a prior post, I suggested that we should appreciate meltdowns for what they are: a child’s subconscious (unintentional) way of signaling that he needs something from the adults around him—or from his environment.  When a child experiences a meltdown or tantrum or acts aggressively, he is communicating that he has exceeded his ability control his […]

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