Enhancing children's lives through parent and teacher education.

Blogs and Articles

Although many coaches emphasize "good sportsmanship" sometimes the competitive nature of sports overcomes what could be a valuable lesson for children about how to lose as well as how to win. One mother said to me "My son is such a sore loser when his team doesn't win. I understand that it's partially developmental, but I'm tired of it. It takes all the fun out of playing for him, and all the fun out of watching for me." Competitiveness -- the desire to win or be the "best" -- is indeed developmental, and most parents begin to notice it in their children by three...

"I'm at a loss with my son. Now that he's a teenager, I'm really seeing that he's swayed by what his friends think. Some of the things I can manage my way through - like when he wants a new pair of roller blades because all his friends have that kind, or when he wants to wear that new style of pants that slinks down around his hips. But I'm not sure what to do about other things - like when he wants to go away to his friend's parents' house, and this is a friend that I really don't approve of, I think he's a terrible influence."

One of the scariest...

On February 24, 2002, the cover article for the New York Times Magazine "Girls Just Want to be Mean" finally drew attention to the aggressive tendencies of girls, a long neglected subject. While much attention has been paid in recent years (particularly in the wake of school shootings) to the ways in which boys vent frustration, anger, low self-esteem and a sense of isolation, until now many people have not realized that, while the damage may seem subtler, girls can do as much psychological injury to their peers as boys who harm in more physical ways. Now it's...

I'm often asked whether I believe that children today have too much homework. My answer is "yes." Having said that, however, I think that most schools who give too much homework are finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Elementary schools, to prepare children for the homework demands of middle school, must give more and more homework as the children advance through the grades. Likewise, middle schools, to prepare kids for the challenges of high school, must do the same. And high schools, challenged by parents to get their children into good...

In the decade and a half that I’ve been teaching, I’ve had an opportunity to think deeply about the tools and techniques that parents need to raise happy, healthy children. Some of the tools are instinctive, and need no teaching: humor, play, hugs. Others are less intuitive and must be sought out: how to discipline, be a good listener, teach values consistently. Generally speaking, all of the tools are important, and parents must learn to balance instinct with learned skills. But if I were pressed...

From birth, our children must work to accomplish a variety of tasks. From the frustrating first moments when they must root for the breast or bottle, or get their fists into their mouths to relieve teething pain, they struggle to succeed. They progress eventually to more complex abilities, rewarding but no less frustrating. They stand, only to fall again and again. They get on a bicycle, only to tip over and skin a knee. As they mature, the physical struggles are replaced with emotional ones. Do they include Rob in their group, even though Sam doesn...

Labeling our children is something we all do.  We may begin by swearing we won't, we may have read infinite numbers of articles and books on the negative effects of putting labels on children, but long and behold, the moment we hold our child in our arms for the first time, up pops a label: "He's an easy baby." As our children grow, it continues: "Sara's the musician in the family." And the labels we apply aren't necessarily positive, either: "My son is so obsessive," "My daughter is such a slob." Positive and negative labels are so prevalent in parenting that they bear closer examination...

As New York begins to spread its finery like a proud peacock in preparation for the holidays, and people bustle through the streets making private preparations for Hanukkah and Christmas, many parents watch with dismay as their loving, appreciative children are slowly transformed into greedy, insatiable monsters.

Following Hanukkah last year, I spoke with a mother and father who proclaimed vehemently "We're never giving a gift a night during Hanukkah again." It seems that as the days of Hanukkah wore on, their son became more and more demanding,...

Sarah's three year old son, Jason, had suddenly become aggressive. She could understand that sometimes he was frustrated and would strike out in anger, for example when another child took his toy. What she was bewildered and angry about, however, was why, in the middle of a playgroup, he would sometimes dash across the room and violently squeeze or push another child with a look of glee on his face, even though the other child had done nothing to provoke him.

In order to help young children overcome their impulsive and aggressive misbehaviors, it's...

Nine year old Sarah wanted to go to a friend's house to spend the night, but her parents said "no." She pleaded and begged, and finally ended up sulking in her room for most of the weekend. Three year old Jack asked his mother for juice while she was working on the computer. She nodded her head and said "o.k." As she went to save the file she was working on before getting up, Jack flew into a tantrum, screaming "Juice! Juice!" as he flailed around on the floor.

What do these children have in common? Neither one feels understood or listened to by their...

In the months to come parents will be faced with children who have an on-going need to process the tragic events of September 11 as well as the unfolding current events that continue to spiral outward from that date. The biggest challenge facing us will be identifying our children's need to process when that need arises.

Children are particularly good at distracting themselves from traumatic events. In a way, this is healthy as it allows the jarred psyche to heal, much like putting a Band-Aid over a wound protects it and allows the fibers of the skin...

Many parents of young children name sleep deprivation as their number one complaint. Even when children get out of the infancy stage, they often adopt poor sleeping habits that can continue into the early elementary school years. The sleep deprivation that adults experience is even worse for children because lack of sleep can negatively affect learning, concentration, the ability to engage in positive relationships and other vital goals of childhood.

So how much sleep does your child need? According to Richard Ferber, M.D., nationally acclaimed sleep...

In talking with the men who attend my parenting groups the theme of disciplining children arises again and again. Interestingly, many of the men I speak with are reluctant to discipline. I just don't get to see her very much because of my work hours, one dad explained, when I do see her, I want it to be fun. Another dad commented, I don't want to be the bad guy. I had a bad relationship with my dad, and I want my son to like me.

It's true that many fathers see less of their children than mothers do. In fact, Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of...

In Part I we talked about being a good role model for honesty as part of setting yourself up for success. Today we'll talk about the other ways that we can set ourselves up for success in this area, before moving on and talking about specific ways we should respond to dishonesty in order to facilitate more honest behavior in the future.

1) Talk to your child about the value of honesty --

* You feel better about yourself when you tell the truth

* It maintains personal integrity

* People trust you when you're honest...

"You're a poop-head," says Sara her eyes glinting with anger. "Am not, booger-brain," replies her friend furiously. The two stand nose to nose, glaring at each other hatefully. In an hour, though, they'll be playing happily -- "best friends for life". Several kids, aged ten, are playing a card game. "Gotcha! Ha, ha, you're a loser!" gloats one, waving his cards around. Two others have their heads together, whispering conspiratorially, "Let's gang up and get him," they say, speaking about the "loser." Meanwhile the "gloater" is rolling around on the floor gleefully...

Parents who have more than one child swing on a pendulum of feelings. Seeing siblings relate well to one another, spontaneously help each other, or share in a loving fashion brings exceptional joy to any parents' heart. On the other hand, when chaos erupts, and one sibling shouts "Mom, he's breathing my air!" followed by a screaming match, even the most warm hearted parent may pause to wonder why they thought having even one child would be a good idea in the first place.

Yet conflict between siblings can be reduced fairly easily, as long as parents...

From marbles to baseball cards, from Beanie Babies to Pokemon cards, children have historically found collecting and trading objects appealing. If your child's interests lie in collecting leaves in the fall, or rocks in Central Park, you probably haven't given much thought to their collections, other than that they may be dirty and clutter up their rooms. On the other hand, if your child's obsession leans toward the $150 "rare" Beanie Baby or Pokemon card, collecting and trading takes on a whole different meaning, and parents need to be informed about the benefits...

During the summer months it's likely that our children will spend at least slightly more time in front of the television. In recent years, the debate about television has raged - how much television is too much? How does the violence effect our children? Is television educational or the ultimate evil? Parents have responded to the debate about television in a variety of ways, from banning television in their homes completely to only allowing videos, to giving their children complete freedom to watch whenever and whatever they choose. But what way is the right way...

Children of all ages regress -- act like a younger child than they really are -- from time to time. From the toddler who picks up the baby bottle that she gave up a year ago to the sixteen year old who suddenly has to have a hug and kiss from Mom before leaving for school in the morning, regression to an earlier stage of life is a normal part of childhood. Yet parents often panic when their child exhibits behaviors that they thought were extinct. The worry that accompanies even a mildly panicked state may lead parents to demand that the child "grow up" and "act...

Not all children are the same. This should come as no news to anyone, of course, but at the same time most parents hope that their child is exactly that -- the same as other children his or her age. From infancy, when we listen to where our children fall on the "growth chart" at the pediatrician's office, or compare the age at which our child crawls with the normal "developmental milestones", we all hope that our child will be "normal." Likewise, most parents worry if the characteristics they see in their child deviate slightly from what the experts proclaim to be...