Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

By Jen Lumanlan

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It\’s like Janet Lansbury\’s \”Unruffled,\” plus a whole lot of scientific research

Episode Date
093: Parenting children of non-dominant cultures
We've done a LOT of episodes specifically for white parents by now: White privilege in parenting: What it is and what to do about it White privilege in schools Talking with children about race Teaching children about topics like slavery and the Civil Rights Movement Do I have privilege? In this episode we turn the tables: listener Dr. Elisa Celis joins me to interview Dr. Ciara Smalls Glover, whose work focuses on building the cultural strengths of youth of non-dominant cultures and their families.  We discuss the ways that culture is transferred to children through parenting, how parents of non-dominant cultures can teach their children about race and racism, and how to balance this with messages of racial pride.   Other topics mentioned in this episode: Click here to join the Tame Your Triggers workshop (starts July 8, 2019!) Click here to learn more about the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership Click the button on the right with the microphone on it to leave me a voicemail for the 100th episode!>>>
Jun 23, 2019
092: Fathers’ unique role in parenting
This episode began out of a query that I see repeated endlessly in online parenting groups: "My child has a really strong preference for me.  They get on great with the other parent (usually the father, in a heterosexual relationship) when I'm not around, but when I'm there it's all "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!"  This is destroying my partner; how can we get through this stage?" So that's where I began the research on this question, and it led me down quite a rabbit hole - I'd never thought too much about whether mothers and fathers fulfill unique roles in a child's development and while it isn't necessarily as prescriptive as "the mother provides... and the father provides... ," in many families these roles do occur and this helps to explain why children prefer one parent over another. (we also touch on how this plays out in families where both parents are of the same gender). My guest for this episode is Dr. Diana Coyl-Shepheard, Professor at California State University Chico, whose research focuses on children's social and emotional development and  relationships with their fathers. And on the other items that are discussed in this episode: Find more info on the Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group here Sign up for the FREE Tame Your Triggers workshop here (starts July 8th!) Click the "Send Voicemail" button on the right >>> to record your message for the 100th episode: it can be a question, a comment, or anything else you like!
Jun 09, 2019
091: Do I have privilege?
Each time I think I'm done with this series on the intersection of race and parenting, another great topic pops up! Listener Ann reached out to me after she heard the beginning of the series to let me know about her own journey of learning about her white privilege. Ann and her husband were a 'normal' white couple who were vaguely aware of some of the things they could do to help others (Ann works at a nonprofit) and saw politics as an interesting hobby. Then they adopted a Black daughter and had a (surprise!) biological daughter within a few months, and Ann found that she needed to learn about her privilege - and quickly. She's had to learn about things like the features of a 'high quality' daycare for both of her daughters, how to keep them safe, and we get some feedback from Dr. Renee Engeln about how to help Black girls to see and be confident in their beauty. Ann is openly not an expert on this topic, and does not speak for adoptive Black children, or even for all white adopting parents. But she finds herself far further along this journey of discovering her privilege than the vast majority of us - myself included, until I began researching this series of episodes.
May 26, 2019
090: Sensory processing disorder
This episode comes to us courtesy of my friend Jess, whose daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and who is on a mission to make sure that as many parents as possible learn about it.  She says that every time she describes it to a parent they realize that they know someone who exhibits behavior that looks like SPD that warrants following up. I have to say that I was highly ambivalent about doing this episode, because I don't usually deal with topics that result in medical diagnoses as I'm (obviously) not a doctor. But the more I looked into this the more I realized that helping parents to understand the mess of research on this topic is exactly the kind of thing that I usually do on this show, and that an episode on this topic could probably be useful to a number of you.
May 12, 2019
SYPM002: Sugar! with Rose Hoberman
In this second episode of Sharing Your Parenting Mojo we talk with Rose Hoberman, who is American but lives in Germany, about discussing math with girls - as well as with managing her daughter's sugar intake. Here's Rose's blog, where she discusses what she thought of my Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue episode. If you’d like to be interviewed for Sharing Your Parenting Mojo, please complete the form located here and I’ll be in touch if there’s a fit…
May 05, 2019
089: Teaching children about issues related to race
In this episode we continue our series on the intersection of race and parenting, which we started with Dr. Margaret Hagerman on the topic of white privilege in parenting; then we covered white privilege in schools with Dr. Allison Roda and what parents can do to overcome structural racism as well as talk with their children about race with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Today we're continuing the series by learning from Dr. John Bickford about how to actually have a conversation with our child on a topic as complex and difficult as slavery or the Civil Rights Movement, using both primary sources and children's 'trade' books. During the episode you'll hear Dr. Bickford and I hatch an idea to develop a resource guide for parents on exactly what sources and books to use to make sure you're discussing the right issues within these topics: download the guide below!
Apr 29, 2019
SYPM 001: Mindfulness with Jess Barnes
Welcome to the first episode in a new series that I'm calling Sharing Your Parenting Mojo, where I interview listeners about what they've learned from the show as well as the parenting challenges they're facing.  Today we talk with Ontario, Canada-based listener Jess Barnes, a registered social worker and parent of almost-two about a mindfulness tool that can help us to stay calm when our children push our buttons. If you'd like to be interviewed for Sharing Your Parenting Mojo, please complete the form located here and I'll be in touch if there's a fit...
Apr 21, 2019
088: Setting loving – and effective! – limits
The way we set limits has such profound implications for our parenting: it's the difference between parenting in a constant state of anxiety, and being truly calm and confident that you're making the right decisions as you move through your day. If we set ineffective limits, our child never knows where we stand.  They push and push and push because they know we will allow it, then finally we blow up because they pushed us TOO FAR and they end up in tears (or angry) and we end up angry (or in tears, or both). But doesn't setting limits mean being "harsh" or "punitive"?  Not at all!  When we set the right limits (by which I mean the right limits for your family), you can hold those limits effectively and the testing behavior will diminish dramatically. The result?  More harmony at home.  Less uncertainty for you.  More confidence for your child.  Give it a try!   Other episodes mentioned in this episode Why storytelling is so important for our children Should we just Go Ahead and Heap Rewards on our Child?
Apr 14, 2019
087: Talking with children about race, with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
We've laid a lot of groundwork on topics related to race by now: we learned about white privilege in parenting, and white privilege in schools, and even how parents can use sports to give their children advantages in school and in life. Today my listener Dr. Kim Rybacki and I interview a giant in the field: Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of the now-classic book (recently released in a 20th anniversary edition!) Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race. We begin by assessing what is White parents' responsibility to help dismantle structural racism, and then learn how to discuss race and racism with our children.  And in the next episode in this series I'll have some really in-depth resources to support you in having these conversations with your own children.
Mar 31, 2019
086: Playing to Win: How does playing sports impact children?
Individual sports or competitive?  Recreational or organized?  Everyone gets a trophy or just the winners? And why do sports in the first place?  Granted there are some physical benefits, but don't we also hope that our children will learn some kind of lessons about persistence and team work that will stand them in good stead in the future? In this interview with Dr. Hilary Levy Friedman we discuss her book Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, the advantages that sports can confer on children (which might not be the ones you expect!), as well as what children themselves think about these issues.
Mar 17, 2019
085: White privilege in schools
Public schools are open to all children, no matter what their race, so where's the privilege in schools? In this episode we'll learn more about how even (and perhaps especially) well-meaning liberal white parents perpetuate inequalities in schools which disadvantage children from non-dominant cultures. We'll cover the way that purportedly 'scientific' standardized tests perpetuate inequality, 'second generation segregation' (which is still alive and well in schools), how white parents who want the best for their children end up disadvantaging others - and what are some steps we can take to move forward.
Mar 03, 2019
084: The Science of RIE
"Is RIE backed by scientific research?" It's a question that comes up every once in a while among parents who use the Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) approach to raising their children, and then they all (virtually) look at each other kind of uneasily because no study has ever shown that children raised using RIE methods have any better outcomes than children who aren't. Given how much I focus on scientific research, you would think that I would have determined my overall approach to parenting through extensive reading of the literature - but actually I discovered RIE even before I started looking at research and I latched onto it because parenting in a respectful way just felt right.  I knew that love was necessary but not the only tool I would to discipline (used in its original sense, meaning "to teach") my daughter about how to live in our family.  I knew immediately that respect was the tool I sought. But it always niggled at me (and these other parents): Is RIE backed in any way by science?  Naturally, I could find no expert who could speak to this.  So I recruited the assistance of a fellow RIE-practicing parent to help us think through RIE's basic principles, and whether (or not!) the research backs these up. If you're new to RIE, you might want to listen to this introductory episode on What is RIE first, so you'll have the background you need.  I actually recorded this Science of RIE episode first so it does have a very brief introduction to RIE, but then I realized it really wasn't sufficient so I recorded the extra episode. Have questions about RIE?  Want to continue the conversation?  Come on over to the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group and ask away, or join the Toasted RIE group which I help to moderate!
Feb 17, 2019
083: White privilege in parenting: What it is & what to do about it
This episode launches a series of conversations on the intersection of race and parenting.  I spent a month wading around in the psychological literature on this topic and deciding how best to approach it, and eventually decided to split it into four topics. Today we'll dig into white privilege in parenting through a conversation with Dr. Margaret Hagerman on her book White kids: Growing up with privilege in a racially divided America [affiliate link]. For those of us who are white, white privilege can be an incredibly uncomfortable to discuss.  After all, we didn't ask for this privilege - we were just born into a system where we have it.  But the reality is that we do have it, and many of the actions we take on a daily basis mean that we don't just benefit from it but we actively take steps to perpetuate that advantage.  So in this episode we'll learn how we can recognize that privilege in our lives and we'll start to learn about some steps we can take to address it. In upcoming episodes we'll look at white privilege in schools, parents' responsibility to work on dismantling systems of racial privilege, how to talk with children about race, and what children learn about race in school (and what you can do to supplement this). I'm really excited to begin this conversation, but at the same time I want to acknowledge that while these episodes are based on a close reading of the literature, this is a massive subject and I'm not the expert here - I'm learning along with you.  If you think I've missed the mark, do let me know either in the comments or via the Contact page.  And if you'd like to participate in a series of conversations on this topic with other interested parents, do join us in the free Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group - just search for #whiteprivilege to find the thread. You might also be interested to listen back to earlier related episodes: Wait, is my toddler racist? (Recorded back when I was still learning to distinguish between prejudice and racism!) How children form social groups, which is critical to understanding how they develop prejudices in the first place.   Looking for references?  They're now at the bottom of the transcript, in an attempt to keep the episode pages a bit cleaner...
Feb 03, 2019
082: Regulating emotions: What, When, & How
We've already covered emotion regulation a few times on the show: there were these older short episodes on Three Reasons Not to Say "You're OK!" and Modeling Emotion Regulation, as well as the more recent one on Dr. Stuart Shanker's book Self-Reg. But I realized I'd never done the episode that should underlie all of these, which discusses what actually is emotion regulation and when (for crying out loud!) our children will be able to do it.  So we cover that in this episode, as well as some resources to help you support your child in developing this capability, the most important of which is Dr. John Gottman's book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child [affiliate link].   Download your free workbook! If you're in the thick of struggles with emotion regulation right now and you find yourself punishing or thinking about punishing your child for behavior that's driving you crazy, you should definitely download the How to Stop Punishing Your Child (And What to Do Instead) workbook that gives you strategies to help both of you cope better with stressful situations.  Just enter your name and email address below!
Jan 21, 2019
081: How can I decide which daycare/preschool is right for my child?
I regularly receive questions from listeners asking me whether they should put their child in daycare or preschool and my response has typically been that there isn’t a lot of research on the benefits and drawbacks for middle class children on whether or not the child goes to daycare/preschool, and that is still true.  I've done research on my listeners and while parents of all types listen to the show, the majority of you are fortunate enough to not be highly economically challenged. So in this episode we'll talk about why preschool is considered to be such a good thing for children of lower-income families, and also what research is available on the effects - both positive and negative - of daycare and preschool on children of middle- and upper-income families. You'll also hear me mention in the show that it's really, really difficult even for researchers to accurately measure the quality of a daycare/preschool setting because you can't just get data on child:teacher ratios and teacher qualifications to do this.  You have to actually visit the setting and understand the experience of the children to do this - but what do you look for?  And what questions do you ask?  In the show I mention a list of questions you can ask the staff and things you can look out for that Evelyn Nichols, M.Ed of Mighty Bambinis and I put together - you can download this by entering your name and email address below. Let me know (in the comments below) if you have follow-up questions as you think through this decision for your family!
Jan 07, 2019
080: Self-Reg: Can it help our children?
Emotion regulation: It's one of the biggest challenges of childhood (and parenthood!).  We all want our children to be able to do it, but they struggle with it so much, and this is the root of many of our own struggles in parenting. But instead of trying to get them to reduce the intensity of their emotions, should we instead be trying to reduce the stress they experience from things like a too-hard seat at school, itchy labels, and the scratch of cutlery on plates?  Is there any peer-reviewed research supporting this idea? We'll find out in this, the most frustrating episode I've ever researched, on Dr. Stuart Shanker's book Self-Reg! References Baumeister, R.F., Twenge, J.M., & Nuss, C.K. (2002). Effects of social exclusion on cognitive processes: Anticipated aloneness reduces intelligent thought. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(4), 817-827. Crnic, K.A., & Greenberg, M.T. (1990). Minor parenting stresses with young children. Child Development 61(5), 1628-1637. Davies, P.T., Woitach, M.J., Winter, M.A., & Cummings, E.M. (2008). Children’s insecure representations of interparental relationship and their school adjustment: The mediating role of attention difficulties. Child Development 79(5), 1570-1582. Gershoff, E.T., & Font, S.A. (2016). Corporal punishment in U.S. public schools: Prevalence, disparities in use, and status in state and federal policy. Social Policy Report 30(1). Retrieved from Grant, B. (2009, May 7). Elsevier published 6 fake journals. The Scientist. Retrieved from Gross, J.J. (2015). Emotion regulation: Current status and future prospects. Psychological Inquiry 26(1), 1-26. Full article available at Hamoudi, Amar, Murray, Desiree W., Sorensen, L., & Fontaine, A. (2015). Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress: A Review of Ecological, Biological, and Developmental Studies of Self-Regulation and Stress. OPRE Report # 2015-30, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Heaviside S, Farris E. Fast Response Survey System. Washington, DC: US GPO; 1993. Public School Kindergarten Teachers’ Views on Children’s Readiness for School. Contractor Rep. Statistical Analysis Report. Lyons, D.M., Parker, K.J., & Schatzberg, A.F. (2010). Animal models of early life stress: Implications for understanding resilience. Developmental Psychobiology 52(7), 616-624. Lyons, D.M., & Parker, K.J. (2007). Stress inoculation-induced indications of resilience in monkeys. Journal of Traumatic Stress 20(4), 423-433. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic. Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227–238. Muraven, M., Tice, D.M., & Baumeister, R.F. (1998). Self-control as limited resource: Regulatory depletion patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74(3), 774-789. Murray, D.W., Rosanbalm, K., & Christopoulos, C. (2016). Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress Report 3: A Comprehensive Review of Self-Regulation Interventions from Birth through Young Adulthood. OPRE Report # 2016-34, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Newman, K. (2014, September 3). Book publishing, not fact checking. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Raio, C. Orederu T.A., Palazzolo, L., Shurick, A.A., & Phelps, E.A. (2013). Cognitive emotion regulation fails the stress test. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(37), 15139-15144. Schuessler, J. (2018, October 4).
Dec 23, 2018
079: What is RIE?
What is - WHAT? Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE (pronounced like Rye bread) is the parenting approach that we use with our daughter Carys which is grounded in respect for the child.  I've wanted to do an episode on this topic ever since I started the show but at first I didn't want you thinking I was all California-granola-hippie-crazy and stop listening.  Now I figure there are enough of you that have been listening for quite a while that you're willing to at least listen to this 'respect for children' idea. Because it's no exaggeration to say that it has literally transformed my parenting, and underpins every interaction I have with my daughter.  I'm so proud of the relationship we have that's based in our respect for each other. In this episode we'll cover a brief history of how RIE came into existence, Magda Gerber's eight qualities of a good parent, and how to encourage your child to play independently... And I'll be honest and say that this is probably the first episode in the entire show which is not grounded in scientific research because I wanted to give you an overview of RIE first - and also discuss the parts of it we didn't/don't practice, before we devote an entire upcoming episode to what aspects of RIE are supported by scientific research - so stay tuned for that! References Gerber, M., & Johnson, A. (2002). Your self-confident baby: How to encourage your child’s natural abilities – from the very start. Nashville, TN: Turner. Gerber, M. (2003). Dear Parent: Caring for infants with respect. Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers. Karp, H. (2004). The ‘fourth trimester’: A framework and strategy for understanding and resolving colic. Retrieved from
Dec 09, 2018
078: You have parenting goals; do you know what they are?
We all have goals for our children, even if these are things that we've never formally articulated and are ideas we've inherited from half-remembered bits of parenting books and blogs (and the occasional podcast) and the way we were parented ourselves. But do you ever find that the way you're parenting in the moment doesn't necessarily support your overarching goals?  So, if you have a goal to raise an independent child but every time the child struggles with something you step in and "help," then your daily interactions with your child may not help your child to achieve that independence. In this episode Dr. Joan Grusec of the University of Toronto helps us to think through some of the ways we can shift our daily interactions with our children to ones that bring our relationship with them (rather than our need for compliance) to the fore in a way that supports our longer-term parenting goals.   References Coplan, R.J., Hastings, P.D., Lagace,-Seguin, D.G., & Moulton, C.E. (2002). Authoritative and authoritarian mothers’ parenting goals, attributions, and emotions across different childrearing contexts. Parenting: Science and Practice 2(1), 1-26. Dix, T., Ruble, D.N., & Zambarano, R. (1989). Mothers’ implicit theories of discipline: Child effects, parent effects, and the attribution process. Child Development 60, 1373-1391. Grusec, J.E. (2002). Parental socialization and children’s acquisition of values. In M.H. Bornstein (Ed.). Handbook of Parenting (2nd Ed)., Volume 5: Practical issues in parenting (p.143-168). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Hastings, P.D., & Grusec, J.E. (1998). Parenting goals as organizers of responses to parent-child disagreement. Developmental Psychology 34(3), 465-479. Kelly, G. A. (1995). The psychology of personal constructs (2vols.). New York: Norton. Kuczynski, L. (1984). Socialization goals and mother-child interaction: Strategies for long-term and short-term compliance. Developmental Psychology 20(6), 1061-1073. Lin, H. (2001). Exploring the associations of momentary parenting goals with micro and macro levels of parenting: Emotions, attributions, actions, and styles. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma State University. Meng, C. (2012). Parenting goals and parenting styles among Taiwanese parents: The moderating role of child temperament. The New School Psychology Bulletin 9(2), 52-67. Miller, P. J., Wang, S. H., & Cho, G. E. (2002). Self-esteem as folk theory: a comparison of EA and Taiwanese mothers’ beliefs. Parenting: Science and Practice, 2, 209-239.
Nov 26, 2018
077: Are forest schools any better for children than regular schools?
If you've been following the show for a while now, you'll know that my daughter and I LOVE to spend time outside.  I looked at the research on the benefits of outdoor play for young children, and in my interview with Dr. Scott Sampson on his book How to Raise a Wild Child, so I am already convinced of its benefits for young children. So doesn't it go without saying that these benefits will continue for older children, and that if we allowed school-aged children to spend more time outside then all kinds of improved learning outcomes would follow? When I started digging into the research I was shocked by what I found.  Studies employing poor-quality methodology abound.  I'm not sure a control group exists in the whole lot of them.  And "results" are measured in terms of how much students like the program, or how much their self-esteem has improved (as subjectively measured by a teacher's evaluation). One of the best papers I found on the topic was written by Dr. Mark Leather - it acknowledges the potential benefits of forest schools while removing the rose-tinted glasses to clearly see the limitations of the research base on this topic as well.  So invited Dr. Leather onto the show to explore what are forest schools, what may be their benefits, and whether he would send his child to one... References Aasen, W., Torunn, L., & Waters, J. (2009). The outdoor environment as a site for children’s participation, meaning-making and democratic learning: Examples from Norwegian kindergartens. Education 71(1), 5-13. Cumming, F., & Nash, M. (2015). An Australian perspective of forest school: Shaping a sense of place to support learning. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning 15J(4), 296-309. MacEachren, Z. (2018). First Nation pedagogical emphasis on imitation and making the stuff of life: Canadian lessons for indigenizing Forest Schools. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 21, 89-102. Maciver, T. (2011) Developing practice and delivering a Forest School programme for children identified as gifted and talented. In S. Knight (Ed.)., Forest School for all (pp.41-53). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Morgan, A. (2018). Culturing the fruits of the forest: Realizing the multifunctional potential of space and place in the context of woodland and/or Forest Schools. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 21, 117-130. Murray, R., & O’Brien, L. (2005, October). ‘Such enthusiasm – A joy to see’: An evaluation of Forest School in England. Forest Research & NEF. Retrieved from: Murray, R. (2003, November). A Forest School evaluation project: A study in Wales. NEF. Retrieved from: O’Brien, L., & Murray, R. (2006). “A marvelous opportunity for children to learn": A participatory evaluation of Forest School in England and Wales. Forestry Commission England & Forest Research. Retrieved from: Sharmaa-Brymer, V., Brymer, E., Gray, T., & Davids, K. (2018). Affordances guiding Forest School practice: The application of the ecological dynamics approach. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 21, 103-115. Suggate, S.P. (2012). Watering the garden before a rainstorm: The case of early reading instruction.  In S. Suggate and E. Reese (Eds.), Contemporary debates in childhood education and development (pp.181-190). Abingdon, England: Routeledge. Wicks, R. (2011). Forest School and looked after children. In S. Knight (Ed.)., Forest School for all (pp.153-161). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Williams-Siegfredsen, J. (2012). Understanding the Danish Forest School approach: Ea...
Nov 11, 2018
076: How to rock your parent-teacher conference
Parent-Teacher conferences are about to be underway in many places, so I thought it might be helpful to give you some resources to make these as productive for you and your child as possible. In this episode we talk with Dr. Margaret Caspe and Dr. Elena Lopez of the Global Family Research Project, which develops authentic partnerships to support children’s learning in the home, school, and community.  I actually used Dr. Lopez' textbook for my Master's in Education, so I've been familiar with her work for a while and knew she and her colleagues at GFRP were just the right people to help us learn more about Parent-Teacher conferences (for example, did you know that teachers find them just as scary as parents?!) and understand how to advocate for our child - and for all of the children in our community. The resource guide on Parent-Teacher Conferences that we reference throughout this episode can be found here.   References Civil, M., & Quintos, B. (2009). Latina mothers' perceptions about the teaching and learning of mathematics. In B. Greer, S. Mukhopadhyay, A. B. Powell, & S. Nelson-Barber (Eds.), Culturally responsive mathematics education (pp. 321-343). New York: Routledge. Charney, R. (2002). Teaching children to care. Greenfield, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children. [note: Dr. Caspe misremembered the title as "The Responsive Classroom."] Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine. [Note: check out my episode on this topic before buying this book...] George Lucas Educational Foundation (2015, August 24). Having students lead parent conferences. Author. Retrieved from Loewus, L. (2017, August 15). The nation’s teaching force is still mostly white and female. Edweek. Retrieved from McWayne, C. M., Melzi, G., Limlingan, M. C., & Schick, A. (2016). Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children. Developmental psychology 52(7), 1088. Small, M.L. (2009). Unanticipated gains: Origins of network inequality in everyday life. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press Strauss, V. (2014, August 21). For first time, minority students expected to be majority in U.S. public schools this fall. Retrieved from TeacherVision (n.d.). Parent-teacher conferences: Before, during, and after. Author. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education (July 2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. Author. Retrived from
Oct 28, 2018
075: Should we Go Ahead and Heap Rewards On Our Kid?
A couple of months ago, an article by journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer - whose work I normally greatly respect - started making the rounds on Facebook.  Then (knowing my approach to parenting) a couple of readers emailed it to me and asked me what I thought of it. The article was called Go Ahead: Heap Rewards On Your Kid, with the subtitle: Parents are told stickers and trinkets for good behavior will ruin their children—but the research is wildly misunderstood. Moyer's main point is that while a large number of sources state that rewards are detrimental to children's development (largely to their intrinsic motivation), "the literature on the potential dangers of rewards has been misinterpreted while the findings on its benefits have been largely overlooked." I had already done an episode on the negative impact of rewards on children's development.  I was prepared to wholeheartedly disagree with Moyer's article.  But I came out of it sort of half-convinced that she might be right. So I came up with a two-pronged approach to the research for this episode.  Firstly, I would dig into all the research that she read (and some more besides) to fully understand the evidence she consults, with one guiding premise: Is it possible that Moyer is right?  Is it possible that rewards have some benefit for children and for families? And secondly, I wanted to ask Alfie Kohn - the author of Punished by Rewards - to address these issues in-person. Spoiler alert: heaping rewards on your kid is great for gaining compliance.  If compliance is what you want in your child.   Get a free guide called How to Stop Using Rewards To Gain Your Child's Compliance (And what to do instead) I also want to let you know about the new Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group.  Each month the group will tackle one topic related to parenting and child development, and we'll help you to learn about and implement new strategies and tools to support your child's development and make parenting easier for you. It'll be like having a personal guide to help you implement the ideas you hear about on the show. To tie in to this week's episode, I have a FREE guide called How to Stop Using Rewards To Gain Your Child's Compliance (And what to do instead) available as a preview of the membership group content.  Each month you'll get a guide just like this, walking you through a different aspect of parenting and helping you to make the changes needed to make sure your day-to-day-parenting is in line with your goals for the kind of child you want to raise. Because it turns out that the desire to raise an independent, thoughtful adult with strong critical reasoning skills isn't so well aligned with rewarding a child for complying with your wishes.
Oct 14, 2018
074: Attachment: What it is, what it’s not, how to do it, and how to stop stressing about it
Is attachment the same as bonding?  Can I have a healthy attachment with my baby if I don't breastfeed? Do I have to babywear to develop an attachment to my baby? Will being apart from my baby disrupt our attachment relationship? Is co-sleeping critical to attachment?   These are just a few of the questions that listeners wrote to me after I sent out a call for questions on Attachment.  This was such an enormous topic to cover that Dr. Arietta Slade and I did the best we could in the time we had, and we did indeed cover a lot of ground. If you've ever been curious about the scientific evidence on how attachment forms, what are its benefits, and what it has NOT been shown to do, this is the episode for you.  We also cover reflective functioning, one of the central ways that the attachment relationship develops, and discuss how to improve our skills in this arena. References Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Benoit, D. (2004). Infant-parent attachment: Definition, types, antecedents, measurement and outcome. Pediatric Child Health 9(8), 541-545. Bowlby, J. (1973/1991). Attachment and Loss: Volume 2. Separation: Anxiety and anger. London, U.K.: Penguin. Bowlby, J. (1971/1991). Attachment and Loss: Volume 1. Attachment. London, U.K.: Penguin. Cassidy, J. (2008). The nature of the child’s ties. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (Eds.) Handbook of Attachment (pp.3-22). New York, NY: Guilford. Greenspan, S.H. & Salmon, J. (2002). The four-thirds solution: Solving the childcare crisis in America today. Boston, MA: Da Capo [Note that Dr. Slade mis-remembered the title of this book as "The Three Fourths Solution"] Hudson, N.W., & Fraley, R.C. (2018). Moving toward greater security: The effects of repeatedly priming attachment security and anxiety. Journal of Research in Personality 74, 147-157. Jones, J.D., Brett, B.E., Ehrlich, K.B., Lejuez, C.W., & Cassidy, J. (2014). Maternal attachment style and responses to adolescents’ negative emotions: The mediating role of maternal emotion regulation. Parenting: Science and Practice 14, 235-257. Julian, T.W., McKenry, P.C., & McKelvey, M.W. (1994). Cultural variations in parenting: Perceptions of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American parents. Family Relations 43(1), 30-37. LeVine, R.A., & Levine, S. (2016). Do parents matter? Why Japanese babies sleep soundly, Mexican siblings don’t fight, and American families should just relax. New York, NY: PublicAffairs. Marvin, R.S., & Britner, P.A. (2008). Normative Development: The ontogeny of attachment. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (Eds.) Handbook of Attachment (pp.269-294). New York, NY: Guilford. Nicholson, B., & Parker, L. (2013). How did attachment parenting originate? Attached at the heart. Retrieved from: Raby, K.L., Roisman, G.I., Labella, M.H., Martin, J., Fraley, R.C., & Simpson, J.A. (2018). The legacy of early abuse and neglect for social and academic competence from childhood to adulthood. Online first. Retrieved from Sadler, L.S., Slade, A., & Mayes, L.C. (2006). Minding the Baby: A mentalization-based parenting Program. In J.G. Allen & P. Fonagy (Eds.), The handbook of mentalization-based treatment (pp.271-288). Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons. Slade, A. (2014). Imagining fear: Attachment, threat, and psychic experience. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 24(3), 253-266. Slade, A. (2005). Parental reflective functioning: An introduction. Attachment & Human Development 7(3), 269-281. Slade, A., Sadler, L., Dios-Kenn, C.D., Webb, D., Currier-Ezepchick, J., & Mayes, L. (2005). Minding the Baby: A reflective parenting program. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 60,
Sep 30, 2018
073: What to do when your child refuses to go to school
We're a couple of weeks into the new school year by now and I hope that for most of you the morning drop-offs have gotten a bit easier than they were in the beginning. But some of you may still be struggling with a child who doesn't want to go to school, who resists you leaving at drop-0ff time, and who might be suddenly suffering from stomachaches and headaches (particularly on Sunday nights or weekday mornings) that had not previously been a problem. Today's interview with Dr. Jonathan Dalton, director of the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Rockville, MD is going to help us understand whether our child is having a 'normal' amount of difficulty transitioning to school or if they are struggling enough that they might need extra help - and if so, what to do about it.   References Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review 21, 141-170. Dalton, J., & Beacon, V. (2018). School refusal. In D. Driver & S.S. Thomas (Eds.), Complex disorders in pediatric psychiatry: A clinician’s guide (pp 11-22). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. Egger, H.L., Costello, J., & Angold, A. (2003). School refusal and psychiatric disorders: A community study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 42(7), 797-807. Hallinan, M.T. (2008). Teacher influences on students’ attachment to school. Sociology of Education 81, 271-283. Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development 72(2), 625-638. Houts, R.M., Caspi, A., Pianta, R.C., Arseneault, L., & Moffitt, T.E. (2010) The challenging pupil in the classroom: The effect of the child on the teacher. Psychological Science 21(12), 1802-1810. Jerome, E.M., Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2009). Teacher-child relationships from kindergarten to sixth grade: Early childhood predictors of teacher-perceived conflict and closeness. Social Development 18(4), 915-945. Kearney, C.A. (2016). Managing school-based absenteeism at multiple tiers: An evidence-based and practical guide for professionals. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. Kearney, C.A., & Albano, A.M. (2007). When children refuse school: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach, Therapist guide (2nd Ed.). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. Kearney, C.A. (2006). Dealing with school refusal behavior: A primer for family physicians. Family Practice 55(8), 685-692. Kearney, C.A. (2002). Identifying the function of school refusal behavior: A revision of the school refusal assessment scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 24(4), 235-245. King, N., Tonge, B.J., Heyne, D., & Ollendick, T.H. (2000). Research on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of school refusal: A review and recommendations. Clinical Psychology Review 20(4), 495-507. Ladd, G.W., & Dinella, L.M. (2009). Continuity and change in early school engagement: Predictive of children’s achievement trajectories from first to eighth grade? Journal of Educational Psychology 101(1), 190-206. Ladd, G.W., & Buhs, E.S., & Seid, M. (2000). Children’s initial sentiments about kindergarten: Is school liking an antecedent of early classroom participation and achievement? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 46(2), 255-279. Last, C. G., Hansen, C., & Franco, N. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of school phobia.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 37, 404–411. Pianta, R. C., Belsky, J., Vandergrift, N., Houts, R. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Classroom effects on children’s achievement trajectories in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal 45 (2), 365–397
Sep 16, 2018
072: Is the 30 Million Word Gap Real: Part II
This episode revisits the concept of the 30 Million Word Gap concept, which we first covered in an interview with Dr. Doug Sperry a few weeks back. After she heard that I was going to talk with Dr. Sperry, Dr. Roberta Golinkoff - with whom we discussed her book Becoming Brilliant almost two years ago now - asked to come back on to present a rebuttal.  We're going to learn a lot more about the importance of child-directed speech! This episode serves two purposes: it helps us to understand another aspect of the 30 Million Word Gap, and it also demonstrates pretty clearly that scientists - both of whom have the best interests of children at heart - see very different ways of achieving that end. References Adair, J.K., Colegrave, K.S-S, & McManus. M.E. (2017). How the word gap argument negatively impacts young children of Latinx immigrants’ conceptualizations of learning. Harvard Educational Review 87(3), 309-334. Avineri, N., Johnson, E., Brice‐Heath, S., McCarty, T., Ochs, E., Kremer‐Sadlik, T., Blum, S., Zentella, A.C., Rosa, J., Flores, N., Alim, H.S., & Paris, D. (2015). Invited forum: Bridging the “language gap”. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 25(1), 66-86. Bassok, D., Latham, S., & Rorem, A. (2016). Is Kindergarten the new first grade? AERA Open 1(4), 1-31. Baugh, J. (2017). Meaning-less difference: Exposing fallacies and flaws in “The Word Gap” hypothesis that conceal a dangerous “language trap” for low-income American families and their children. International Multilingual Research Journal 11(1), 39-51. Brennan, W. (2018, April). Julie Washington’s quest to get schools to respect African American English. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Correa-Chavez, M., & Rogoff, B. (2009). Children’s attention to interactions directed to others: Guatemalan and European American Patterns. Developmental Psychology 45(3), 630-641. Craig, H.K., & Washington, J.A. (2004). Grade-related changes in the production of African American English. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 47(2), 450-463. Gee, J.P. (1985). The narrativization of experience in the oral style. Journal of Education 167(1), 9-57 Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. (2009). Children, language, and literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times. New York: Teachers College Press. Golinkoff, R.M., Hoff, E., Rowe, M.L., Tamis-LeMonda, C., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (in press). Language matters: Denying the existence of the 30 Million Word Gap has serious consequences. Child Development. Lee-James, R., & Washington, J.A. (2018). Language skills of bidialectal and bilingual children: Considering a strengths-based perspective. Topics in Language Disorders 38(1), 5-26. Long, H. (2017, September 15). African Americans are the only U.S. racial group earning less than in 2000. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from NAEP (2017). National student group scores and score gaps (Reading). NAEP. Retrieved from: Rogoff, B., Mistry, J., Goncu, A., ,& Mosier, C. (1993). Guided participation in cultural activity by toddlers and caregivers. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development Series No. 236, 58(8), v-173. Ward, M.C. (1971). Them children: A study in language learning. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Washington, J.A., Branum-Martin, L., Sun, C., & Lee-James, R. (2018). The impact of dialect density on the growth of language and reading in African American children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 49, 232-247.
Sep 03, 2018
071: How your child can benefit from intergenerational relationships
We recently did an episode on the impact of intergenerational trauma, which was about how the ways we were parented, and even the ways our parents were parented, ends up influencing the relationship we have with our children - and often not in a positive way. But there's another side to this story: relationships between the generations can actually have enormously beneficial effects on children's lives, even when these are affected by issues like radically different parenting styles, and mental illness. Today we explore the more positive side of intergenerational relationship with Dr. Peter Whitehouse, who (along with his wife, Cathy) co-founded The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, which is now part of a small network of three schools that use this model. Have you ever thought about how you talk about ageing effects what your children think about older people?  (I hadn't, but I have now!)  Do you struggle to navigate the difference between the things your parents want to say to and buy for your child, and your own values?  Do you worry about what your child might think of their grandparent's absent-mindedness or volatility?  Join us as Dr. Whitehouse and I navigate a path through these and other issues. References Babcock, R., MaloneBeach, E.E., & Woodworth-Hou, B. (2016). Intergenerational intervention to mitigate children’s bias against the elderly. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 14(4), 274-287. Bessell, S. (2017). The role of intergenerational relationships in children’s experiences of community. Children & Society 31, 263-275. Bostrom, A-K., & Schmidt-Hertha, B. (2017). Intergenerational relationships and lifelong learning. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 15(1), 1-3. Even-Zohar, A., & Garby, A. (2016). Great-grandparents’ role perception and its contribution to their quality of life. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 14(3), 197-219. Flash, C. (2015). The Intergenerational Learning Center, Providence Mount St. Vincent, Seattle. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 13(4), 338-341. George, D.R., & Whitehouse, P.J. (2010). Intergenerational volunteering and quality of life for persons with mild-to-moderate dementia: Results from a 5-month intervention study in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatric Society 58(4), 796-797. Geraghty, R., Gray, J., & Ralph, D. (2015). ‘One of the best members of the family’: Continuity and change in young children’s relationships with their grandparents. In L. Connolly (Ed.), The ‘Irish’ Family (pp.124-139). New York, NY: Routledge. Hake, B.J. (2017). Gardens as learning spaces: Intergenerational learning in urban food gardens. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 15(1), 26-38. Hawkes, K., O’Connell, J.F., Jones, B.G.B., Alvarez, H., & Charnov, E.L. (2000). The grandmother hypothesis and human evolution. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective, edited by L. Cronk, N. Chagnon & W. Irons, pp. 231-252. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Kirkwood, T., Bond, J., May, C., McKeith, I., & Teh, M. (2010). Mental capital and wellbeing through life: Future challenges. In C. Cooper, J. Field, U. Goswami, R. Jenkins, & B. Sahakian (Eds.), Mental capital and wellbeing (pp. 3–53). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Low, L-F., Russell, F., McDonald, T., & Kauffman, A. (2015). Grandfriends, an intergenerational program for nursing-home residents and preschoolers: A randomized trial. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 13(3), 227-240. Murayama, Y., Obha, H., Yasunanaga, M., Nonaka, K., Takeuchi, R., Nishi, M., Sakuma, N., Uchida, H., Shinkai, S., & Fujiwara, Y. (2015). The effect of intergenerational programs on the mental health of elderly adults. Aging and Mental Health 19(4), 306-316. Schwartz, L.K., & Simmons, J.P. (2001). Contact quality and attitudes toward the elderly. Educational Gerontology 27(2), 127-137. Senior, E., & Green J. (2017).
Aug 19, 2018
070: Why isn’t my child grateful?
"I spent the whole morning painting and doing origami and felting projects with my daughter - and not only did she not say "thank you," but she refused to help clean up!" (I actually said this myself this morning:-)) "We took our son to Disneyland and went on every ride he wanted to go on except one, which was closed, and he spent the rest of the trip whining about how the whole trip was ruined because he didn't get to go on that one ride." (I hope I never have to say this one...I'm not sure I could make it through Disneyland in one piece.) You might recall that we did an episode a while back on manners, and what the research says about teaching manners, and how what the research says about teaching manners comes from the assumption that manners MUST be explicitly taught – that your child will NOT learn to say “thank you” unless you tell your child “say thank you” every time someone gives them a gift. We also talked about how parent educator Robin Einzig uses the concept of “modeling graciousness” and that if you treat other people graciously, when your child is ready, she will be gracious as well.  The problem here, of course, is that most people expect your child to display some kind of manners before they are developmentally ready to really understand the concept behind it. But what really underlies manners?  Well, ideas like gratitude.  Because when we train children to say "thank you" before they are ready to do it themselves they might learn to recite the words at the appropriate time, but they aren't really experiencing gratitude. Dr. Jonathan Tudge of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tells us much more about this, and how we can scaffold our child's ability to experience gratitude, if we decide we might want to do that. Dr. Tudge's book, Developing Gratitude in Children and Adolescents (co-edited with Dr. Lia B. L. Freitas) contains lots more academic research on this topic if you're interested.   References Halberstadt, A.G., Langley, H.A., Hussong, A.M., Rothenberg, W.A., Coffman, J.L., Mokrova, I., & Costanzo, P.R. (2016). Parents’ understanding of gratitude in children: A thematic analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 36, 439-451. Kiang, l. Mendonca S., Liang, Y., Payir, A., O’Brien, L.T., Tudge, J.R.H., & Freitas, L.B.L. (2016). If children won lotteries: Materialism, gratitude, and imaginary windfall spending. Young Consumers 17(4), 408-418. Mendonca, S.E., Mercon-Vargas, E.A., Payir, A., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). The development of gratitude in seven societies: Cross-cultural highlights. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 135-150. Mercon-Vargas, E.A., Poelker, A.E., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). The development of the virtue of gratitude: Theoretical foundations and cross-cultural issues. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 3-18. Mokrova, I.L., Mercon-Vargas, E.A., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2018). Wishes, gratitude, and spending preferences in Russian Children. Cross-Cultural Research 52(1), 102-116. Nelson, J.A., Freitas, L.B.L., O’Brien, M., Calkins, S.D., Leerkes, E.M., & Marcovich, S. (2013). Preschool-aged children’s understanding of gratitude: Relations with emotion and mental state knowledge. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 31, 42056. Tudge, J.R.H., & Freitas, L.B.L. (Eds.) (2018). Developing gratitude in children and adolescents. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press. Wang, D., Wang, Y.C., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2015). Expressions of gratitude in children and adolescents: Insights from China and the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46(8), 1039-1058.
Aug 06, 2018
069: Reducing the impact of intergenerational trauma
Ever get red-hot angry at your child for no reason, or out of proportion to the incident that provoked it?  Have you wondered why this happens? The way we were parented has a profound impact on us - it's pretty easy to 'fall into' parenting the way you were parented yourself unless you specifically examine your relationship with your parent(s) and how it impacts the way you parent your own child.  This can be great if you have a positive relationship with your parents, but for those of us with less-than-amazing relationships with our parents, trauma can impact more of our parenting that we might like. Join me for a conversation with Dr. Rebecca Babcock-Fenerci from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, who researches the cognitive and interpersonal consequences of child maltreatment, with the goal of understanding factors that can increase risk for or protect against the transmission of abuse and neglect from parents to their children. Even if you were not abused or neglected as a child, you may find that aspects of the way you were parented have left you with unresolved trauma that you could pass on to your child if it remains unaddressed.  Dr. Fenerci helps us to examine some of the ways we can recognize the impact of this trauma on ourselves, and reduce the possibility that we will transmit it to our child. References Auerhahn, N.C., & Laub, D. (1998). Intergenerational memory of the Holocaust. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.21-41). New York, NY: Plenum. Babcock, R.L., & DePrince, A.P. (2013). Factors contributing to ongoing intimate partner abuse: Childhood betrayal trauma and dependence on one’s perpetrator. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28(7), 1385-1402. Berthelot, N., Ensink, K., Bernazzani, O., Normandin, L., Fonagy, P., & Luyten, P. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of attachment in abused and neglected mothers: The role of trauma-specific reflective functioning. Infant Mental Health Journal 36(2), 200-212. Cross, D., Vance, L.A., Kim, Y.J., Ruchard, A.L., Fox, N., Jovanovic, T., & Bradley, B. (2017). Trauma exposure, PTSD, and parenting in a community sample of low-income, predominantly African American mothers and children. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Psychological Trauma 10(3), 327-335. Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience 17, 89-96. Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of trauma: Maternal trauma-related cognitions and toddler symptoms. Child Maltreatment 23(2), 126-136. Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2017). Shame and alienation related to child maltreatment: Links to symptoms across generations. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1037/tra0000332 Fenerci, R.L.B. & DePrince, A.P. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of trauma-related distress: Maternal betrayal trauma, parenting attitudes, and behaviors. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 25(4), 382-399. Kellerman, N.P.F. (2013). Epigentic transmission of Holocaust trauma: Can nightmares be inherited? Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 50(1), 33-39. Nagata, D.K. (1998). Intergenerational effects of the Japanese American internment. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.125-139). New York, NY: Plenum. Oliver, J.E. (1993). Intergenerational transmission of child abuse: Rates, research, and clinical implications. American Journal of Psychiatry 150, 1315-1324. Riva, M.A. (2017). Epigenetic signatures of early life adversities in animal models: A role for psychopathology vulnerability. European Psychiatry 415, S29. Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N.P., Bierer, L.M., Bader, H.N., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E.B. (2016).
Jul 22, 2018
068: Do I HAVE to pretend play with my child?
Pretty regularly I see posts in online parenting groups saying "My child loves to pretend, and they always want me to participate.  I dare not tell anyone else, but I CAN'T STAND PRETEND PLAY.  What should I do?" In this final (unless something else catches my interest!) episode in our extended series on play, Dr. Ansley Gilpin of the University of Alabama helps us to do a deep dive into what children learn from pretend play, and specifically what they learn from fantasy play, which is pretend play regarding things that could not happen in real life (like making popcorn on Mars). We'll discuss the connection between fantasy play and children's executive function, the problems with studying fantasy play, and the thing you've been waiting for: do you HAVE to do fantasy play with your child if you just can't stand it (and what to do instead!) If you missed other episodes in this series, you might want to check them out: we started out asking “what is the value of play?”, then we looked at the benefits of outdoor play and talked with Dr. Scott Sampson about his book How to Raise a Wild Child.  We wrapped up with outdoor play by trying to understand whether we should allow our children to take more risks.   References Bergen, D. (2013). Does pretend play matter? Searching for Evidence: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013). Psychological Bulletin 139(1), 45-48. Buchsbaum, D., Bridgers, S., Weisberg, D.S., & Gopnik, A. (2012). The power of possibility: Causal learning, counterfactual reasoning, and pretend play. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 367. 2202-2212. Carlson, S.M., White, R.E., & Davis-Unger, A.C. (2014). Evidence for a relation between executive function and pretense representation in preschool children. Cognitive Development 29, 1-16. Gilpin, A.T., Brown, MM., & Pierucci, J.M. (2015). Relations between fantasy orientation and emotion regulation in preschool. Early Education and Development 26(7), 920-932. Hirsh-Pasek, K., Weisberg, D.S., & Golinkoff, R.M. (2013). Embracing complexity: Rethinking the relation between play and learning: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013). Psychological Bulletin 139(1), 35-39. Hoffman, J.D., & Russ, S.W. (2016). Fostering pretend play skills and creativity in elementary school school girls: A group play intervention. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 10(1), 114-125. Krasnor, L. R., & Pepler, D. J. (1980). The study of children’s play: Some suggested future directions. In K. H. Rubin (Ed.), Children’s play: New directions for child development (pp. 85–95). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Lancy, D. F. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, chattel, changelings. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. Li, J., Hestenes, L.L., & Wang, Y.C. (2016). Links between preschool children’s social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments. Early Childhood Education Journal 44, 61-68. Lillard, A. (2011). Mother-child fantasy play. In A. D. Pelligrini (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the development of play (pp. 284–295). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Lillard, A.S., Lerner, M.D., Hopkins, E.J., Dore, R.A., Smith, E.D., & Palmquist, C.M. (2013). The impact of pretend play on children’s development: A review of the evidence. Psychological Bulletin 139(1), 1-34. Lillard, A.S., Hopkins, E.J., Dore, R.A., Palmquist, C.M., Lerner, M.D., & Smith, E.D. (2013). Concepts, theories, methods and reasons: Why do the children (pretend) play? Reply to Weisberg, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff (2013); Bergen (2013); and Walker and Gopnik (2013). Psychological Bulletin 139(1), 49-52. Ma, L., & Lillard, A. (2017). The evolutionary significance of pretend play: Two-year-olds’ interpretation of behavioral cues. Learning & Behavior 45, 441-448. Paley, V. (2009). The importance of fantasy, fairness, and friends in children’s play: An interview with Vivian Gussin Paley. American Journal of Play 2(2),
Jul 08, 2018
067: Does the Marshmallow Test tell us anything useful?
The Marshmallow Test is one of the most famous experiments in Psychology: Dr. Walter Mischel and his colleagues presented a preschooler with a marshmallow.  The child was told that the researcher had to leave the room for a period of time and the child could either wait until the researcher returned and have two marshmallows, or if the child couldn’t wait, they could call the researcher back by ringing a bell and just have one marshmallow.  The idea was to figure how delayed gratification develops, and, in later studies, understand its importance in our children’s lives and academic success. Dr. Mischel and his colleagues have followed some of the children he originally studied and have made all kinds of observations about their academic, social, and coping competence, and even their health later in life. But a new study by Dr. Tyler Watts casts some doubt on the original results.  In this episode we talk with Dr. Watts about the original work and some of its flaws (for example, did you know that the original sample consisted entirely of White children of professors and grad students, but the results were extrapolated as if they apply to all children?).  We then discuss the impact of his new work, and what parents should take away from all of this. As a side note that you might enjoy, my almost 4YO saw me open my computer to publish this episode and asked me what I was doing.  I said I needed to publish a podcast episode and she asked me what it was about.  I told her it's about the Marshmallow Test and asked her if she wanted to try it. She is, as I type, sitting at our dining room table with three marshmallows on a plate in front of her, trying to hold out for 15 minutes.  We're not doing it in strictly; we are both still in the room with her, although we're both typing and ignoring her and asking her to turn back toward the table when she asks us a question. She keeps asking how many minutes have passed, which I imagine (as I tell her) is quite helpful to her in terms of measuring the remaining effort needed.  She seems most torn between wanting to continue building her Lego airport and the need for the three marshmallows.  She has sung a bit, and smelled the marshmallows a bit, and stacked them into a tower, but she is mostly trying to ignore them and is counting as high as she can. 14 minute update [quiet, despairing voice]: "I've been waiting for so long..." She did make it to 15 minutes (that's her devouring the third marshmallow in the picture for this episode), although I wonder if she might not have without the time updates.  We'll have to try that another day:-)   References Bembenutty, H., & Karabenick, S.A. (2004). Inherent association between academic delay of gratification, future time perspective, and self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review 16(1), 35-57. Bennett, J. (2018, May 25). NYU Steinhardt Professor replicates famous Marshmallow Test, makes new observations. New York University. Retrieved from Berman M.G., Yourganov, G., Askren, M.K., Ayduk, O., Casey, B.J., Gotlib, I.H., Kross, E., McIntosh, A.R., Strogher, S., Wilson, N.L., Zayas, V., Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Jonides, J. (2013). Dimensionality of brain networks linked to life-long individual differences in self-control. Nature Communications 4(1373), 1-7. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Calarco, J.M. (2018, June 1). Why rich kids are so good at the Marshmallow Test. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Carlson, S.M., Shoda, Y., Ayduk, O., Aber, L., Schaefer, C.,
Jun 25, 2018
066: Is the 30 Million Word Gap real?
You all know that on the show we pretty much steer clear of the clickbait articles that try to convince you that something is wrong with your child, in favor of getting a balanced view of the overall body of literature on a topic. But every once in a while a study comes along and I think "we really MUST learn more about that, even though it muddies the water a bit and leads us more toward confusion than a clear picture." This is one of those studies.  We'll learn about the original Hart & Risley study that identified the "30 Million Word Gap" that so much policy has been based on since then, and what are the holes in that research (e.g. did you know that SIX African American families on welfare in that study are used as proxies for all poor families in the U.S., only 25% of whom are African American?). Then, Dr. Doug Sperry will tell us about his research, which leads him to believe that overheard language can also make a meaningful contribution to children's vocabulary development. I do want to be 100% clear on one point: Dr. Sperry says very clearly that he believes parents speaking with children is important for their development; just that overheard language can contribute as well. And this is not Dr. Sperry out on his own criticizing research that everyone else agrees with: if you're interested, there are a host of other issues listed here. The overarching problem, of course, is that our school system is so inflexible that linguistic skills - even really incredible ones of the type we discussed in our recent episode on storytelling - have no place in the classroom if they don't mesh with the way that White, middle-class families (and, by extension, teachers and students) communicate. But that will have to be an episode for another day. References Adair, J. K., Colegrove, K. S-S., & McManus, M. E. (2017).  How the word gap argument negatively impacts young children of Latinx Immigrants' conceptualizations of learning. Harvard Educational Review, 87(3), 309-334. Akhtar, N., & Gernsbacher, M.A. (2007). Joint attention and vocabulary development: A critical look. Language and Linguistic Compass 1(3), 195-207. Callanan, M., & Waxman, S. (2013). Commentary on special section: Deficit or difference? Interpreting diverse developmental paths. Developmental Psychology 49(1), 80-83. Dennett, D. (1995). Darwin’s dangerous idea: Evolution and the meaning of life. New York, NY: Touchstone. Dudley-Marling, C., & Lucas, K. (2009). Pathologizing the language and culture of poor children. Language Arts 86(5), 362-370. Gee, J.P. (1985). The narrativization of experience in the oral style. Journal of Education 167(1), 9-57. Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. H. (2009).  Children, language, and literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times.  New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Hoff, E. (2013). Interpreting the early language trajectories of children from low-SES and language minority homes: Implications for closing achievement gaps. Developmental Psychology 49(1), 4-14. Johnson, E.J. (2015). Debunking the “language gap.” Journal for Multicultural Education 9(1), 42-50. Miller, P.J., & Sperry, D.E. (2012). Déjà vu: The continuing misrecognition of low-income children’s verbal abilities. In S.T. Fiske & H.R. Markus (Eds.), Facing social class: How societal rank influences interaction (pp.109-130). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation. Sperry, D.E., Sperry, L.L., & Miller, P.J. (2018). Reexamining the verbal environments of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Child Development (Early online publication).  Full article available at: Walker, D., Greenwood, C., Hart, B., & Carta, J. (1994).
Jun 10, 2018
065: Why storytelling is so important for our children
"Storytelling? I'm already reading books to my child - isn't that enough?" Your child DOES get a lot out of reading books (which is why we've done a several episodes on that already, including What children learn from reading books, How to read with your child, and Did you already miss the boat on teaching your toddler how to read?. But it turns out that storytelling benefits our relationship with our child in ways that reading books really can't, because you're looking at the book rather than at your child. If you ask your child what kind of story they'd like you to tell, you also get incredible insight into both their interests and concerns - I can attest to this, as I've been singing story-songs about poop and various kinds of baby animals who can't find their mamas on and off for several weeks now (we had an incident a few months back where she couldn't find me in a store). In this episode we also discuss the ways that people from different cultures tell stories, and what implications this has for them as they interact with our education system. Other episodes mentioned in this show: 035: Is your parenting All Joy and No Fun? References Bengtsson, N. (2009). Sex and violence in fairy tales for children. Bookbird: A journal of international children’s literature 47(3), 15-21. Byers,L.A.(1997).Telling the stories of our lives: Relational maintenance as illustrated through family communication. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ohio University. Bylund, C.L. (2003). Ethnic diversity and family stories. Journal of Family Communication 3(4), 215-236. Clark, A.N. (1969). Journey to the People. New York, NY: Viking. Dyson, A.H., & Genishi, C. (Eds) (1994). The need for story: Cultural diversity in classroom and community. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Egan, K. (1987). Literacy and the oral foundations of education. Harvard Educational review 57, 445-472. Egan, K. (1997). The educated mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Fiese, B.H., Hooker, K.A., Kotary, L., Schwagler, J., & Rimmer, M. (1995). Family stories in the early stages of parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family 57(3), 763-770. Gee, J.P. (1985). The narrativization of experience in the oral style. Journal of Education 167(1), 9-35. Retrieved from Gordon, T.-J. (1991). Teachers telling stories: Seven-, eight-, and nine-year-old children’s written responses to oral narratives. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Greene, E., & Del Negro, J.M. (2010). Storytelling: Art and technique (4th Ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: the science behind the startling power of story. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Isaacs, D. (2013). Sex and violence in fairy tales. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 49(12), 987-988. Jasper, M. (2017, February 19). Only 22% of children’s book characters were people of color in 2016. The Mary Sue. Retrieved from Killick, S., & Frude, N. (2009). The teller, the tale, and the told. Psychologist 22(1), 850-853. Koenig, J. (2002). Family ties: Identity, process, and relational qualities in joint family storytelling. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle. Larsen, N.E., Lee, K., & Ganea, P.A. (2017). Do storybooks with anthropomorphized characters promote prosocial behaviors in young children? Developmental Science (Online article). Full article available at: McManus, S. (1994). Hibernian Nights. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble. Noddings, N. (2002).
Jun 03, 2018
064: Compassion (and how to help your child develop it)
"Social and Emotional Learning" is all the rage in school these days, along with claims that it can help children to manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, as well as improve academic outcomes. But what if those programs don't go nearly far enough? What if we could support our child in developing a sense of compassion that acts as a moral compass to not only display compassion toward others, but also to pursue those things in life that have been demonstrated - through research - to make us happy?  And what if we could do that by supporting them in reading cues they already feel in their own bodies, and that we ordinarily train out of them at a young age? Dr. Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Director for the Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, tells us about his work to bring secular ethics, which he calls the cultivation of basic human values, into education and society Learn more about Breandan's work here:   We also mentioned the Yale University course The Psychology of Wellbeing, which is available on Coursera here.     References Desbordes, G., Negi, L.T., Pace, T.W.W., Wallace, B.A., Raison, C.L., & Schwartz, E.L. (2012). Effects of mindful-attention and compassion medication training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6(1), 1-15. Frey, K.S., Nolen, S.B., Edstrom, L.V., & Hirschstein, M.K. (2005). Effects of a school-based social-emotional competence program: Linking children’s goals, attributions, and behavior. Applied Developmental Psychology 26, 171-200. Lantieri, L., & Nambiar, M. (2012). Cultivating the social, emotional, and inner lives of children and teachers. Reclaiming Children and Youth 21(2), 27-33. Maloney, J.E., Lawlor, M.S., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., & Whitehead, J. (2016). A mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculum for school-aged children: The MindUP program. In K.A. Schoenert-Reichl & R.W. Roeser (Eds.), Handbook of mindfulness in education (pp.313-334). New York, NY: Springer. Ozawa-de Silva, B., & Dodson-Lavelle, B. (2011). An education of heart and mind: Practical and theoretical issues in teaching cognitive-based compassion training to children. Practical Matters 4, 1-28. Pace, T.W.W., Negi, L.T., Adame, D.D., Cole, S.P., Sivilli, T.I., Brown, T.D., Issa, M.J., & Raison, C.L. (2009). Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34, 87-98. Rovelli, C. (2017). Reality is not what it seems: The journey to quantum gravity. New York, NY: Riverhead.
May 20, 2018
063: How family storytelling can help you to develop closer relationships and overcome struggles
"How much can there really be to learn about storytelling?" I thought when I started on this mini-series. It turns out that there's actually quite a lot to learn, and that family storytelling can be a particularly useful tool for parents.  We're all trying to figure out how to transmit our values to our children, and storytelling can be quite an effective way of doing this.  Further, storytelling can be a really valuable way to support children in overcoming traumatic experiences.  In this episode we dig into the research on the benefits of family storytelling and look at how to do it. References Bylund, C.L. (2003). Ethnic diversity and family stories. Journal of Family Communication 3(4), 215-236. DeFrain, J., & Stinnett, N. (2003). Family strengths. In J.J. Ponzetti (Ed.), International encyclopedia of marriage and family (2nd Ed., pp.637-642). New York, NY: Macmillan Reference Group. Fiese, B.H., Hooker, K.A., Kotary, L., Schwagler, J., & Rimmer, M. (1995). Family stories in the early stages of parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family 57(3), 763-770. Heath, S.B. (1990). The children of Trackton’s children: Spoken and written language in social change. In J.W. Stigler, R.A. Shweder, & G. Herdt (Eds.), Cultural psychology: Essays on comparative human development (pp.496-519). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.  Full chapter available at: Kellas, J.K., & Horstman, H.K. (2015). Communicated narrative sense-making: Understanding family narratives, storytelling, and the construction of meaning through a communicative lens. In L.H. Turner & R. West, The SAGE handbook of family communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Kellas, J.K., & Trees, A.R. (2006). Finding meaning in difficult family experiences: Sense-making and interaction processes during joint family storytelling. Journal of Family Communication 6(1), 49-76. Schrodt, P. (2009). Family strength and satisfaction as functions of family communication environments. Communication Quarterly 57(2), 171-186. Thompson, B., Kellas, J.K., Soliz, J., Thompson, J., & Epp, A. (2009). Family legacies: Constructing individual and family identity through intergenerational storytelling. Papers in Communication Studies (122), University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved from p:// Thompson, P.A., & Schrodt, P. (2015). Perceptions of joint family storytelling as mediators of family communication patterns and family strengths. Communication Quarterly 63(4), 405-426.   Other episodes mentioned in this show Is a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool right for my child? Siblings: Why do they fight and what can we do about it? Why we shouldn't ban war play
May 07, 2018
062: Why we need to let our kids need to take more risks
We should protect our children from risks, right?  Isn't that our job as parents? This episode comes mid-way in an extended series on the importance of play for children.  The first episode in the series was an interview with Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute for Play on the value of play, both for children and for adults.  Then we followed with a look at the research on the benefits of outdoor play, followed by an interview with Dr. Scott Sampson who wrote the book How to Raise a Wild Child, which had tons of practical advice for getting kids outside more, as well as getting outside more with your kids. Today we move on to the topic of risky play.  We’ll define it, and discuss its benefits and drawbacks, as well as things we as parents can do to encourage more risky play if we decide we want to do that. Because it turns out that insulating our children from risk may not be such a good thing after all.   Other episodes referenced in this show What is the value of play? The benefits of outdoor play How to Raise a Wild Child Free to Learn Grit   References Brackett-Milburn, K., & Harden, J. (2004). How children and their families construct and negotiate risk, safety, and danger. Childhood 11(4), 429-447. Brussoni, M., Brunelle, S., Pike, I., Sandseter, E.B.H., Herrington, S., Turner, H., Belair, S., Logan, L., Fuselli, P., & Ball, D.J. (2015). Can child injury prevention include healthy risk promotion? Injury Prevention 21, 344-347. Brussoni, M., Ishikawa, T., Brunelle, S., & Herrington, S. (2017). Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres. Journal of Environmental Psychology 54, 139-150. Christensen, P., & Mikkelsen, M.R. (2008). Jumping off and being careful: Children’s strategies of risk management in everyday life. Sociology of Health & Illness 30(1), 112-130. Hill, A., & Bundy, A.C. (2012). Reliability and validity of a new instrument to measure tolerance of everyday risk for children. Child: Care, Health, and Development 40(1), 68-76. Leviton, M. (2016, February). The kids are all right: David Lancy questions our assumptions about parenting. The Sun. Retrieved from Little, H., Wyver, S., & Gibson, F. (2011). The influence of play context and adult attitudes on young children’s physical risk-taking during outdoor play. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 19(1), 113-131. Niehues, A.N., Bundy, A., Broom, A., Tranter, P., Ragen, J., & Engelen, L. (2013). Everyday uncertainties: Reframing perceptions of risk in outdoor free play. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning 13(3), 223-237. Norton, C., Nixon, J., & Sibert, J.R. (2004). Playground injuries to children. Archives of Disease in Childhood 89(2), 103-108. Plumert, J.M., & Schwebel, D.C. (1997). Social and temperamental influences on children’s overestimation of their physical abilities: Links to accidental injuries. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 67, 317-337. Poultona, R., Menziesb, R.G., Craskec, M.G., Langleyd, J.D., & Silvaa, P.Aa. (1999). Water trauma and swimming experiences up to age 9 and fear of water at age 18: A longitudinal study. Behavior Research and Therapy 37(1), 39-48. Sandseter, E.B.H. (2007). Categorizing risky play – how can we identify risk-taking in children’s play? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 15(2), 237-252. Sandseter, E.B.H. (2009). Characteristics of risky play. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning 9(1), 3-21. Sandseter, E.B.H. (2009). Children’s expressions of exhilaration and fear in risky play. Contemporary issues in early childhood 10(2), 92-106. Sandseter, E.B.H. (2010). “It tickles my tummy!”: Understanding children’s risk-taking in play through reversal theory. Journal of Early Childhood Research 8(1), 67-88. Sandseter, E.B.H. (2011).
Apr 22, 2018
061: Can Growth Mindset live up to the hype?
Growth mindset is everywhere these days.  Dr. Carol Dweck's research showing that a growth mindset can help children to overcome academic struggles is being incorporated to curriculum planning across the U.S. and in many other countries, and school districts in California are even using it to evaluate schools' performance.  I get ads popping up in my Facebook feed every day for a journal that helps children to develop a growth mindset, and judging from the comments those folks selling the journal are doing very nicely for themselves. Which means that the science underlying the idea of growth mindset must be rock solid, right? Well, perhaps you might be surprised (or not, if you're a regular listener) to know that this actually isn't the case.  The main study on which the entire growth mindset theory is based has never been replicated, which is the gold standard for considering whether an effect that was found in a study is really real.  And a variety of subsequent studies supporting the findings of the original one were either so tiny as to be not useful or failed to find any relevant effect (although in some cases they went on to report their findings as if they did...). We'll tease all this out in the episode, and will discuss whether growth mindset is something worth fostering in your child.   Other shows mentioned in this episode Don't bother trying to increase your child's self-esteem Do you punish your child with rewards?   References Adams, J.M. (2014, May 5). Measuring a ‘growth mindset in a new school accountability system. Edsource. Retrieved from Bandura, A. (1981). Self-referent thought: A developmental analysis of self-efficacy. In J.H. Flavell & L. Ross (Eds.), Social cognitive development: Frontiers and possible futures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Baumeister, R.F., Campbell, J.D., Krueger, J.I., & Vohs, K.D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(1), 1-44. Boykin, A.W., Albury, A., Tyler, K.M., Hurley, E.A., Bailey, C.T., & Miller, O.A. (2005). Culture-based perceptions of academic achievement among low-income elementary students. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 11, 339-50. Briggs, D.C. (1970). Your child’s self-esteem. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Brown, N. (2017, January 14). In which science actually self-corrects, for once. Retrieved from Burnette, J.L., VanEpps, E.M., O’Boyle, E.H., Pollack, J.M., & Finkel, E.J. (2013). Mind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychological Bulletin 139(3), 655-701. Chivers, T. (2017, January 14). A mindset “revolution” sweeping Britain’s classes may be based on shaky science. BuzzFeed. Retrieved from Cimpian, A., Mu, Y., & Erickson, L.C. (2012). Who is good at this game? Linking an activity to a social category undermines children’s achievement. Psychological Science 23(5), 533-541. Claro, S., Paunesku, D., & Dweck, C.S. (2016). Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic mindset. PNAS 113(31), 8664-8668. Diener, C.I., & Dweck, C.S. (1978). An analysis of learned helplessness: Continuous changes in performance, strategy, and achievement cognitions following failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36(5), 451-462. Full article available at Duckworth, A.L., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological Science 16, 939-944. Dweck, C.S., Walton, G.M., & Cohen, G.L. (2014).
Apr 09, 2018
060: What do children learn from reading books?
We’ve done a couple of episodes on reading by now; episode 3 (which seems so long ago!) asked whether you might have missed the boat on teaching your toddler to read.  Of course, we know that you’ve only missed the boat on that if you think that sitting your child in front of a video so they can recite the words they see without really understanding them counts as "reading." Much more recently in episode 48 we talked with Dr. Laura Froyen about the benefits of shared reading with your child and how to do that according to best practices from the research literature. Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter will recall that I've been working on an episode on storytelling for months now.  Part of the reason it's taking so long is that books on storytelling technique say to use original stories wherever possible because the language in them is so much richer, but if you've ever read something like an original fairytale you know they can be pretty gory, and even the most harmless ones actually contain some pretty adult themes if you read between the lines. So I wanted to know: what do children really learn from stories?  How do they figure out that we want them to learn morals from stories but not that animal characters walk on two legs and wear clothes?  How do they generalize that knowledge to the real world?  And are there specific types of books that promote learning? Join me in a conversation with Dr. Deena Weisberg of The University of Pennsylvania as she helps us to help our children learn through reading! Other shows mentioned in this episode 003: Did you miss the boat on teaching your child how to read? 010: Becoming Brilliant 048: The benefits of shared reading   References Cheung, C.S., Monroy, J.A., & Delany, D.E. (2017). Learning-related values in young children’s storybooks: An investigation in the United States, China, and Mexico. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 48(4), 532-541. Ganea, P.A., Ma, L., & DeLoache, J.S. (2011). Young children’s learning and transfer of biological information from picture books to real animals. Child Development 82(5), 1421-1433. Heath, S.B. (1982). What no bedtime story means: Narrative skills at home and school. Language in Society 11(1), 49-76. Hopkins, E.J., & Weisberg, D.S. (2017). The youngest readers’ dilemma: A review of children’s learning from fictional sources. Developmental Review 43, 48-70. Ostrov, J.M., Gentile, D.A., & Mullins, A.D. (2013). Evaluating the effect of educational media exposure on aggression in early childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 34, 38-44. Read, K., Macauley, M., & Furay, E. (2014). The Seuss boost: Rhyme helps children retain words from shared storybook reading. First Language 34(4), 354-371.
Mar 25, 2018
059: How to Raise a Wild Child
So you listened to episode 58 and you're convinced of the benefits of outdoor play. But you're a grown-up. You don't play outdoors. And you don't know anything about nature.  How can you possibly get started in helping your child to play outdoors more? There are a number of books out there on getting outside with children - some arguably more well-known than this one, but I have to say that Dr. Scott Sampson's book How to Raise a Wild Child is the BEST book I've seen on this topic because it balances just the right amount of information on why it's important to get outside, with just enough pointers on how to do it, without overwhelming you with hundreds of options to choose between.  And it turns out that you don't need to know a thing at all about The Environment to have a successful outing with children! If you've been wishing you could get outdoors more but just don't know where to start, then this episode - and book! - are for you. Other shows referenced in this episode 058: What are the benefits of outdoor play?   References Gopnik, A. (2009). The philosophical baby: What children’s minds tell us about truth, love, and the meaning of life. New York, NY: Picador. Sampson, S.D. (2015). How to raise a wild child: The art and science of falling in love with nature. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Affiliate link) Young, J., Haas, E., & McGown, E. (2010). Coyote’s guide to connecting with nature. OWLink Media.
Mar 11, 2018
058: What are the benefits of outdoor play?
This is the second in our extended series of episodes on children's play.  We kicked off last week with a look at the benefits of play in general for children, and now we're going to take a more specific look at the benefits of outdoor play.  Really, if someone could bottle up and sell outdoor play they'd make a killing, because it's hard to imagine something children can do that benefits them more than this. This episode also tees up our conversation, which will be an interview with Dr. Scott Sampson on his book How To Raise A Wild Child, which gives TONS of practical suggestions for getting outdoors with children.   Other episodes referenced in this show How to scaffold children's learning to help them succeed Is a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool right for my child? Understanding the AAP's new screen time guidelines Raising your child in a digital world References Anderson, L. W. and Krathwohl, D. R., et al (Eds..) (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Allyn & Bacon. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Group Berman, M.G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science 19(12), 1207-1212. Brussoni, M., Rebecca, G., Gray, C., Ishikawa, T., & Sandseter, E.B.H. (2015). What is the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children? A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12(6), 6243-6454. Centers for Disease Control and Prvention (2016). Playground safety. Author. Retrieved from Capaldi, C.A., Dopko, R.L., & Zelenski, J.M. (2014). The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology 5, 1-15. Gregory, A. (2017, May 18). Running free in Germany’s outdoor preschools. The New York Times. Retrieved from Hung, W. (2013). Problem-based learning: A learning environment for enhancing learning transfer. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 137(31), 27-38. doi 10.1002/ace.20042 Lund, H.H., Klitbo, T., & Jessen, C. (2005). Playware technology for physically activating play. Artificial Life and Robotics 9(4), 165-174. Mawson, W.B. (2014). Experiencing the ‘wild woods’: The impact of pedagogy on children’s experience of a natural environment. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 22(4), 513-524. Moss, S. (2012). Natural Childhood. London: The National Trust. Nash, R. (1982). Wilderness and the American Mind (3rd Ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Natural Playgrounds Company (2017). Website. Retrieved from Outdoor Foundation (2017). Outdoor Participation Report. Author. Retrieved from Otto, S., & Pensini, P. (2017). Nature-based environmental education of children: Environmental knowledge and connectness to nature, together, are related to ecological behavior. Global Environmental Change 47, 88-94. Potvin, P., & Hasni, A. (2014). Interest, motivation, and attitude towards science and technology at K-12 levels: A systematic review of 12 years of educational research. Studies in Science Education 50(1), 85-129. Richardson, M., Cormack, A., McRobert, L., & Underhill, R. (2016). 30 days wild: Development and evaluation of a large-scale nature engagement campaign to improve well-being. PLOS ONE 11(2), 1-13. Roisin, H. (2014, April). The overprotected kid. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Scott, J. (2000, July 15). When child’s play is too simple; Experts criticize safety-conscious recreation as boring....
Feb 25, 2018
057: What is the value of play?
Does play really matter? Do children get anything out of it? Or is it just messing around; time that could be better spent preparing our children for success in life? Today we talk with Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, about the benefits of play for both children and - I was surprised to find - adults. This is the first in a series of episodes on play - lots more to come on outdoor play (and how to raise kids who love being outdoors), risky play, and imaginative play. References Bjorklund, D.F., & Brown, R.D. (1998). Physical play and cognitive development: Integrating activity, cognition, and education. Child Development, 69, 604-606. Brown, S. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. New York, NY: Penguin. Christakis, D. A., F. J. Zimmerman, and M. Garrison. (2007). Effect of block play on language acquisition and attention in toddlers a pilot randomized controlled trial. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine,161 (10), 967-971. Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Row. Duckworth, A.L. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner. Elkind, D. (2003). Thanks for the memory: The lasting value of true play. Young Children 58(3), 46-51. Lancy, D.F. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, chattel, changelings (2nd Ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Feb 11, 2018
056: Beyond "You’re OK!": Modeling Emotion Regulation
I hear a huge crash. It’s my favorite glass vase.  I hear “I didn’t mean to hurt it, Mommy!  It just fell!” as I run full-pelt from the other end of the house. It was a family heirloom passed down by my grandmother.  I’ve asked her not to touch it a hundred times.  I am beyond furious.  “Please don’t be mad, Mommy.  It was an accident.” I clench my teeth.  “I’m not mad.” _______________________________________________________   What does my daughter learn from this exchange?  How does my own emotional regulation affect what she learns about how to regulate her own emotions?  We'll learn about this in today's episode. Note that this episode is the second in the ill-fated experimental short episodes - we'll be back to the regular length hereafter!  In case you missed it, the first episode in this series was Three Reasons Not To Say You're OK.   Other episodes mentioned in this show How parenting affects child development The impact of divorce on a child's development How to scaffold children's learning to help them succeed References Bariola, E., Hughes, E.K., & Gullone, E. (2012). Relationships between parent and child emotion regulation strategy use: A brief report. Journal of Child and Family Studies 21(3), 443-448. Butler, E.A., Egloff, B., ,Wilhelm, F.H., Smith, N.C., Erickson, E.A., & Gross, J.J. (2003). The social consequences of expressive suppression. Emotion 3(1), 48-67. Christenfeld, B., Gerin, W., Linden, W., Sanders, M., Mathur, J., Deich, J.D., & Pickering, T.G. (1997). Social support effects on cardiovascular reactivity: Is a stranger as effective as a friend? Psychosomatic Medicine 59, 388-398. Cohen, S., & Wills, T.A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin 98(2), 310-357. Gershoff, E.T., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: Old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of Family Psychology 30(4), 453-469. Gottman, J.M., & Levenson, R.W. (1992). Marital processes predictive of later dissolation: Behavior, physiology, and health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 63(2), 221-233. Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85(2), 348-362. Gunzenhauser, C., Faasche, A., Friedlmeier, W.& von Suchodoletz, A. (2014). Face it or hide it: Parental socialization of reappraisal and response suppression. Frontiers in Psychology 4, 992. Kiel, E.J. & Kalomiris, A.E. (2015). Current themes in understanding children's emotion regulation as developing from within the parent-child relationship. Current Opinions in Psychology 1(3), 11-16. Kopystynska, O, Paschall, K.W., Barnett, M.A., & Curran, M.A. (2017). Patterns of interparental conflict, parenting, and children's emotional insecurity: A person-centered approach. Journal of Family Psychology 31(7), 922-932. Krantz, D.S., & Manuck, S.B. (1984). Acute psychophysiologic reactivity and risk of cardiovascular disease: A review and methdologic critique. Psychological Bulletin 93(3), 435-464. Lansbury, J. Unruffled Parenting. Author. Retrieved from Laurenceau, J.P., Barrett, L.F., & Pietromonaco, P.R. (1998). Intimacy as an interpersonal process: The importance of self-disclosure, partner disclosure, and perceived partner responsiveness in interpersonal exchanges. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75(5), 1238-1251. Meeren H.K.M., van Heijnsbergen, C.C.R.J., & de Gelder, B. (2005). Rapid perceptual integration of facial expression and emotional body language. PNAS 102(45), 16518-16523. Pennebaker, J.W. (1989). Confession, inhibition, and disease. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 22, 211-244. Rutherford, H.J.V., Wallace, N.S., Laurent, H.K., & Mayes, L.C.
Jan 28, 2018
055: Raising Your Spirited Child
Is your child 'spirited'?  Even if they aren't spirited all the time, do they have spirited moments?  You know exactly what to do in those moments, right? No? Well then we have a treat for you today.  Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child, walks us through the ins and outs of her book on the same topic.  Best yet, we do the interview as a consult with a parent, Kathryn, who has read and loved the book, but struggled with implementing the ideas. Warning: we spend quite a bit of time brainstorming very specific problems that Kathryn is having with her daughter.  You may not be having exactly the same problem with your child, but the brainstorming method we use is one you can do with a friend - take the approach with you to address your own problems, rather than the specific ideas. Read more about Dr. Mary's books and other work on her website. Reference Kurcinka, M.S. (2015). Raising your spirited child (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: William Morrow. (Affiliate link)
Jan 12, 2018
054: Three reasons not to say "You’re OK!"
“I hear parents on the playground all the time saying “You’re OK!” after their child falls over. Often it does make the child stop crying…but doesn’t it invalidate the child’s feelings?” It turns out that this question is related to a skill that psychologists call emotional regulation, and learning how to regulate emotions is one of the most important tasks of childhood. This to-the-point episode is a trial of a shorter form of episode after listeners told me this show is "very dense."  It's hard to back off the density, but I can back off the length.  Let me know (via email or the Contact Me, page - not the comments on this episode because I get inundated with spam) what you think... Other episodes referenced in this show How parenting affects children's development How divorce impacts children's development How to scaffold children's learning   References Brookshire, B. (2013, May 8). Psychology is WEIRD: Western college students are not the best representatives of human emotion, behavior, and sexuality. Slate. Retrieved from Duncan, L.G., Coatsworth, J.D., & Greenberg, M.T. (2009). A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent-child relationships and prevention research. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review 12, 255-270. Keane, S.P., & Calkins, S.D. (2004). Predicting kindergarten peer social status from toddler and preschool problem behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 32(4), 409-423. Kopystynska, O., Paschall, K.W., Barnett, M.A., & Curran, M.A. (2017). Patterns of interparental conflict, parenting, and children’s emotional insecurity: A person-centered approach. Journal of Family Psychology 31(7), 922-932. Roemer, L., Williston, S.K., & Rollins, L.G. (2015). Mindfulness and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology 3, 52-57. Rotenberg, K.J., & Eisenberg, N. (1997). Developmental differences in the understanding of and reaction to others’ inhibition of emotional expression. Developmental Psychology 33(3), 526-537. Sasser, T.R., Bierman, K.L., & Heinrichs, B. (2015). Executive functioning and school adjustment: The mediational role of pre-kindergarten learning-related behaviors. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 30(A), 70-79. Swain, J.E., Kim, P., & Ho, S.S. (2011). Neuroendocrinology of parental response to baby-cry. Journal of Neuroendochrinology 23(11), 1036-1041. Trommsdorff, G. (2010). Preschool girls’ distress and mothers’ sensitivity in Japan and Germany. European Journal of Developmental Psychology 7(3), 350-370.
Dec 31, 2017
053: Sleep! (And how to get more of it)
"HOW DO I GET MY CHILD TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?!" is the thinly-veiled message under the surface of many of the emails that I get about sleep.  And I don't blame you.  I don't claim to be a magician in this regard, although I did get incredibly, amazingly lucky - my daughter put in her first eight-hour night at six weeks old, and has regularly slept through the night for longer than I can remember.  I'm really genuinely not sure I could parent if things weren't like this. But today's episode is about the data, not about anecdata. Zoe in Sydney wrote to me: A hotly debated topic with my friends has been "sleeping through the night." My daughter never was great at napping and still wakes up once a night, coming into our bed. We have never been able to do controlled crying etc - I would love to know what science says about sleeping through the night! And what is best for your child (vs the parent). My close friend is a breastfeeding counselor and said they are taught that lots of children don't sleep through until 4 years old! Other mothers I knew were horrified if their child wasn't sleeping through by 6 months - and the French talk about their children 'having their nights' much earlier... As I started researching this topic it became clear that sleep is driven to an incredible extent by cultural preferences.  Some (Western) psychologists advocate for letting children Cry It Out, while people in many cultures around the world see putting a child to sleep in their own room (never mind allowing them to cry) as tantamount to child abuse. So: can we get our children to sleep more?  Is bed-sharing inherently bad?  Does Cry It Out harm the child in some way?  Let's find out! References Amoabeng, A.O. (2010). The changes and effect of stress hormone cortisol during extreme diet and exercise. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Boston, MA: Boston University. American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Updated 2016 recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Author. Retrieved from Bernier, A., Carlson, S. M., Bordeleau, S., & Carrier, J. (2010). Relations between physiological and cognitive regulatory systems: Infant sleep regulation and subsequent executive functioning. Child Development, 81, 1739–1752. Blampied, N.M. (2013). Functional behavioral analysis of sleep in infants and children. In A. Wolfson & H. Montgomery-Downs (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of infant, child, and adolescent sleep and behavior. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. Burnham, M.M. (2013). Co-sleeping and self-soothing during infancy. In A. Wolfson & H. Montgomery-Downs (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of infant, child, and adolescent sleep and behavior. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. Chess, S., & Thomas, A. (1984). Origins and evolution of behavior disorders. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel. Crncec, R., Matthey, S., & Nemeth, D. (2010). Infant sleep problems and emotional health: A review of two behavioral approaches. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 28(1), 44-54. Ferber, R. (1985). Solve your child’s sleep problems. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. France, K.G. (1991). Behavior characteristics and security in sleep-disturbed infants treated with extinction. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 17(4), 467-475. Gaddini, R. (1970. Transitional objects and the process of individuation: A study in three different social groups. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 9(2), 347-365. Germo, G.G., Goldberg, W.A., & Keller, M.A. (2009). Learning to sleep through the night: Solution or strain for mothers and young children? Infant Mental Health Journal 30(3), 223-244. Giannotti, F., & Cortesi, F. (2009). Family and cultural influences on sleep development. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 18(4), 849-861. Hale, L., Parente, V., & Phillips,
Dec 17, 2017
052: Grit: The unique factor in your child’s success?
In Professor Angela Duckworth's TED talk, she says of her research: “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success.  And it wasn’t social intelligence.  It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ.  It was grit.” The effusive blurbs on the book cover go even beyond Professor Duckworth’s own dramatic pronouncements: Daniel Gilbert, the author of Stumbling on Happiness, says:  “Psychologists have spent decades searching for the secret of success, but Duckworth is the one who has found it…She not only tells us what it is, but how to get it.”  Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking (which we’ve looked at previously in an episode on supporting your introverted child) says: “Impressively fresh and original…Grit scrubs away preconceptions about how far our potential can take us…Buy this, send copies to your friends, and tell the world that there is, in fact, hope.  We can all dazzle.”  Don’t we all want to dazzle?  Don't we all want our children to dazzle?  Is grit the thing that will help them do it? It turns out that Professor Duckworth's own research says: perhaps not.  Listen in to learn how much grit is a good thing, how to help your child be grittier, and why it might not be the factor that assures their success.   Other episodes mentioned in this show How to support your introverted child Why you shouldn't bother trying to increase your child's self-esteem References Crede, M., Tynan, M.C., & Harms, P.D. (2017). Much ado about grit: A meta-analytic synthesis of the grit literature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113(3), 492-511. Del Giudice, M. (2014, October 14). Grit trumps talent and IQ: A story every parent (and educator) should read. National Geographic. Retrieved from Denby, D. (2016, June 21). The limits of “grit.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92(6), 1087-1101. Full article available at Duckworth, A.L., & Yeager, D.S. (2015). Measurement matters: Assessing personal qualities other than cognitive abilities for educational purposes. Educational Researcher 44(4), 237-251. Duckworth, A.L. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner. (Affiliate link) Eskreis-Winkler, L., Shulman, E.P., Young, V., Tsukayama, E., Brunwasaser, S.M., & Duckworth, A.L. (2016). Using wise interventions to motivate deliberate practice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 111(5), 728-744. Farrington, C.A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagoka, J., Keyes, T.S., Johnson, D.W., & Beechum, N.O. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review. The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Retrieved from Forsyth, D.R., & Kerr, N.A. (1999, August). Are adaptive illusions adaptive? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA. Hannon, B. (2014). Predicting college success: The relative contributions of five social/personality factors, five cognitive/earning factors, and SAT scores.  Journal of Educational and Training Studies 2(4), 46-58. Heckman, J.J. (2013). Giving kids a fair chance (A strategy that works). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Kamenetz, A. (2016, May 25). MacArthur ‘genius’ Angela Duckworth responds to a new critique of grit. NPR.
Dec 03, 2017
051: How to handle social exclusion
"I don't want to play with you." "You're not my friend." "We're playing families.  If you want to play, you have to be the dog." Seems like everyone can remember a time when something like this happened to them as a child, and how much it hurt.  Children still say these things to each other - and we see how much it hurts them, too.  When researchers ask them, every child can remember a time when they were excluded - yet no child ever reports being the excluder! One of my listeners recommended that I read the book You Can't Say You Can't Play, in which the author (who is a teacher) proposes and then introduces a rule that you can't say "you can't play."  A few researchers (including Professor Jamie Ostrov, with whom we'll talk today) have since tested the approach: does it work?  If not, what should we do instead? Since most of these situations occur in preschool and school, teacher Caren co-interviews Professor Ostrov with me: we have some great insights for teachers as well as lots of information for parents on how to support both children and teachers in navigating these difficult situations.   References Allen, S.S. (2014). Narratives of women who suffered social exclusion in elementary school. Unpublished Ph.D dissertation. Antioch University, Culver City, CA DeVooght, K., Daily, S., Darling-Churchill, K., Temkin, D., Novak, B.A., & VanderVen, K. (2015, August). Bullies in the block area: The early childhood origins of “mean” behavior. Child Trends. Retrieved from Haney, M., & Bissonnette, V. (2011). Teachers’ perceptions about the use of play to facilitate development and teach prosocial skills. Creative Education 2(1), 41-46. Helgeland, A., & Lund, I. (2016). Children’s voices on bullying in kindergarten. Early Childhood Education Journal 45(1), 133-141. Ostrov, J.M., Gentile, D.A., & Crick, N.R. (2006). Media exposure, aggression and prosocial behavior during early childhood: A longitudinal study. Social Development 15(4), 612-627. Ostrov, J.M, Godleski, S.A., Kamper-DeMarco, K.E., Blakely-McClure, S.J., & Celenza, L. (2015). Replication and extension of the early childhood friendship project: Effects on physical and relational bullying. School Psychology Review 44(4), 445-463. Ostrov, J.M., Murray-Close, D., Godleski, S.A., & Hart, E.J. (2013). Prospective associations between forms and functions of aggression and social and affective processes during early childhood. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 116(1), 19-36. Perry, K.J., & Ostrov, J.M. (2017). Testing a bifactor model of relational and physical aggression in early childhood. Journal of Psychopathology & Behavioral Assessment. Online first. doi 10.1007/s10862-017-9623-9 Swit, C. S., McMaugh, A. L., & Warburton, W. A. (2017). Teacher and parent perceptions of relational and physical aggression during early childhood. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-13. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-017-0861-y Werner, N. E., Eaton, A. D., Lyle, K., Tseng, H., & Holst, B. (2014). Maternal social coaching quality interrupts the development of relational aggression during early childhood.  Social Development 23, 470-486.  doi: 10.1111/sode.12048 Weyns, T., Verschueren, K., Leflot, G., Onghena, P., Wouters, S., & Colpin, H. (2017).  The role of teacher behavior in children’s relational aggression development: A five-wave longitudinal study.  Journal of School Psychology 64, 17-27.  doi: 10.1007/s10826-017-0861-y
Nov 19, 2017
050: How to raise emotionally healthy boys
"Be a man."  "Boys don't cry."  "Don't be a sissy." Boys hear these things all the time - from parents, from teachers, from friends and peers.  What does it do to their emotional lives when they crave close relationships but society tells them to keep emotional distance from others? Join my guest Alan Turkus and me as we quiz Dr. Judy Chu, who lectures on this topic at Stanford and was featured in the (awesome!) documentary The Mask You Live In. This episode is a must-listen if you're the parent of a boy, and may even help those of you with girls to understand more about why boys and men treat girls and women the way they do. Don't have a boy?  Check out How To Raise A Girl With A Healthy Body Image. References Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Chu, J. When boys become boys: Development, relationships, and masculinity.  New York, NY: NYU Press. (Affiliate link) Maccoby, E.E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist 45(4), 513-520. Miedzian, M. (1991). Boys will be boys: Breaking the link between masculinity and violence. New York, NY: Doubleday. Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood. New York, NY: Random House.
Nov 05, 2017
049: How to raise a girl with a healthy body image
Folks, this one is personal for me.  As someone with an ~ahem~ family history of disordered thinking about body image, it is very, very high on my priority list to get this right with my daughter.  Dr. Renee Engeln, author of the book Beauty Sick, helps us sort through issues like: Should I tell my daughter she's pretty? What should I say when she asks me if she's pretty? Is teaching our daughters about media literacy - the ability to critique images they see in the media - enough to protect them, or not? ...and so much more! I know there's a lot more to raising a girl than just this issue, and in time I hope to find another expert to discuss how we can raise daughters who aren't limited by broader societal expectations, but there's enough on this topic to make it an episode by itself. In the show, we discuss a prompt you can use to write a self-compassionate letter to yourself as a way of recognizing all the amazing things your body can do. Professor Engeln actually sent me two of them; you can find these below. You'll have to listen to the episode to find out why this picture is here:   Body-Compassion letter (based on Kristin Neff’s exercises available at For the next 10 minutes, you will be writing a letter to yourself. The letter should be all about your body, but it should be from the perspective of an unconditionally loving imaginary friend. Think about your body from the perspective of a friend who cares about you. What would your friend want to tell you about your body? If you run out of things to write, re-write what you already have, perhaps with different wording. Think about this imaginary friend who is unconditionally loving, accepting, kind and compassionate. Imagine that this friend can see all the strengths and all the weaknesses of your body, including any aspects of your body that you may view as flawed or imperfect. Reflect upon what this friend would say about your body, knowing that you are loved and accepted with your body exactly as it is, with all your body’s very human imperfections. This friend recognizes the limits of human nature and is kind and forgiving toward you. In his/her great wisdom, this friend understands your life history and the millions of things that have happened in your life to give you the body you have in this moment. Write a letter to yourself, about your body, from the perspective of this imaginary friend. What would this friend say about your body from the perspective of unlimited compassion? How would this friend convey the deep compassion he/she feels for you, especially for the pain you feel if you tend to judge the flaws and imperfections of your body harshly? What would this friend write in order to remind you that you are only human, that all bodies have both strengths and weaknesses? As you write to yourself from the perspective of this imaginary friend, try to infuse your letter with a strong sense of his/her acceptance of your body, caring, and desire for your health and happiness. Above all else, be kind, understanding, and compassionate toward your body.   2. Body Functionality letter: For the next 10 minutes, you will be writing a letter to yourself. The letter should be all about what your body does. Think about all your body does and how it helps you do the things you want to do each day. Focus on everything your body can do for you and write a letter to yourself about that topic. If you run out of things to write, re-write what you already have, perhaps with different wording. Think about all the strengths of your body in terms of everything it can do. What has your body allowed you to do throughout your life? Think about the different parts of your body and how they each play a role in helping you do what you need to do each day.   References Engeln, R. (2017). Beauty Sick: How the cultural obsession with appearance hurts girls and women. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Oct 22, 2017
048: How to read with your child
Waaaay back in Episode 3, we wondered whether we had missed the boat on teaching our babies to read (didn't you teach your baby how to read?).  We eventually decided that we hadn't, but given that many parents have a goal of instilling a love of reading into their children, what's the best way to go about doing that?  And what if your child is the kind who wriggles out of your lap at the mere sight of a book? Our second-ever repeat guest, Dr. Laura Froyen, helps us to delve into the research on this topic.  We conclude by talking through some of the things parents can do to promote a love of reading, because it turns out it's not as intuitive as one might think!   Dr. Laura has consolidated the most important of these suggestions into a FREE infographic that you can put up on the fridge.  Get your copy - free! - by clicking here.   References Bus, A.G. (2001). Joint caregiver-child storybook reading: A route to literacy development. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson Handbook of Early Literacy Research. New York: Guilford. Bus, A.G., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Pellegrini, A.D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research 65(1), 1-21.  Full article available at: Burchinal, M., & Forestieri, N. (2011). Development of early literacy: Evidence from major U.S. longitudinal studies. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Vol. 3).  (85-96). New York: Guilford. Bus, A.G. (2003). Social-emotional requisites for learning to read. In A. van Kleeck, S.A. Stahl, & E.B. Bauer (Eds.), On reading books to children: Parents and teachers (3-15). New York: Guilford. Butterworth, G. (2001). Joint visual attention in infancy. In G. Bremner & A. Fogel (Eds.). Blackwell handbook of infant development. (213-240). Malden, MA: Blackwell. Carlsson-Paige, N., G. Bywater McLaughlin, and J. Wolfsheimer Almon (2015). Reading instruction in kindergarten: Little to gain and much to lose. Available online at: Evans, M.A., & Saint-Aubin, J. (2011). Studying and modifying young children’s visual attention during book reading. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Vol. 3).  (242-255). New York: Guilford. Fletcher, K.L., & Reese, E. (2005). Picture book reading with young children: A conceptual framework. Developmental Review 25, 64-103.  Full article available at: Landry, S.H., Smith, K.E., Swank, P.R., Zucker, T., Crawford, A.D., & Solari, E.F. (2011). The effects of a responsive parenting intervention on parent-child interactions during shared book reading. Developmental Psychology 48(4), 969-986. Full article available at: McBride-Chang, C. (2012). Shared-book reading: There is no downside for parents. In S. Suggate & E. Reese (Eds.), Contemporary debates in childhood education and development (pp.51-58). Abingdon, U.K.: Routeledge. Morow, L.M. (1993). Literacy development in the early years: Helping children read and write (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Notari-Syverson, A., (2006). Everyday tools of Literacy. In Learning to Read the World: Language and literacy in the first three years (61-78). Washington, D.C.
Oct 09, 2017
047: How to raise a bilingual child
Do you have to start teaching a second language from birth?  Does it help to get a nanny who speaks a second language?  Is there any way your child will retain the language you speak even though you're currently in a country where another language is dominant?  Does learning a second language lead to any developmental advantages beyond just the benefits of learning the language? Several listeners have actually written to me requesting an episode on this topic, and one has been particularly insistent (you know who you are!), so I was very glad to finally find an expert! Dr. Erica Hoff leads the Language Development Lab at Florida Atlantic University and studies language development and bilingualism in children.  She gives us the lowdown on the best ways to raise a bilingual child (and doesn't mince words on how difficult it is) - and also answers my burning question: I'm not planning to teach my daughter a second language at the moment, so am I a terrible parent?   References Bridges, K., & Hoff, E. (2014). Older sibling influences on the language environment and language development of toddlers in bilingual homes. Applied Psycholinguistics 35, 225-241. Core, C., Hoff, E., Rumiche, R., & Señor, M. (2013) Total and conceptual vocabulary in Spanish-English bilinguals from 22 to 30 months: Implications for assessment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 1637-1649. Hammer, C.S., Hoff, E., Uchikoshi, Y., Gillanders, C., Castro, D.C., & Sandilos, L.E. (2014). The language and literacy development of young dual language learners: A critical review. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 29, 715-733. Hoff, E., Rumiche, R., Burridge, A., Ribot, K.M., & Welsh, S.N. (2014). Expressive vocabulary development in children from bilingual and monolingual homes: A longitudinal study from two to four years. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 29, 433-444. Hoff, E. & Core, C. (2013) Input and language development in bilingually developing children. Seminars in Speech and Language, 34, 215-226. McCabe, A., Tamis-LeMonda, C., Bornstein, M. H., Cates, C. B., Golinkoff, R., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Hoff, E., Kuchirko, Y., Melzi, G., Mendelsohn, A., Paez, M., Song, L. Wishard Guerra, A. (2013) Multilingual children: Beyond myths and towards best practices. SRCD Social Policy Report. vol 27, No. 4. Retrieved from: Menjivar, J., & Akhtar, N. (2017). Language experience and preschoolers’ foreign word learning. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 20(3), 642-648. Ramirez, N.F., & Kuhl, P. (2017). Bilingual baby: Foreign language intervention in Madrid’s infant education centers. Mind, Brain, and Education (online first). DOI: 10.1111/mbe.12144 Ribot, K.M., & Hoff, E. (2014). “Como estas?” “I’m good.” Conversational code-switching is related to profiles of expressive and receptive proficiency in Spanish-English bilingual toddlers. International Journal of Behavioral Development 38(4), 333-341.
Sep 10, 2017
046: How to potty train a child
When should I start potty training?  What books should I read?  Can I do it in a day (or a week)?  Do I need stickers (for rewards)?  Does it have to be stressful? I get these kinds of questions pretty often, and I'd resisted doing an episode on potty training because there are so many books on it already, and everyone has their opinion, and I really didn't want to wade into it.  But ya'll kept asking and my resolve has finally crumbled, so today we're going to talk all about what the research says, what the books say, and how there's essentially no correlation between the books and the research.  We'll review the "do it in a day!" methods and what makes them successful, and we'll also look at child-led methods.  You'll leave this episode with a clear picture of which is probably going to work best for you, and some concrete tools you can put to work (today, if you need to!) to start what I prefer to call the "toilet learning" process.   Other episodes references in this show 021: Talk Sex Today 009: Do you punish your child with rewards? 020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do? (Unconditional parenting) 042: Manners   References Au, S. &; Stavinoha, P.L. (2008). Stress-free potty training: A commonsense guide to finding the right approach for your child. New York, NY: AMACOM. Barone, J.G., Jasutkar, N., & Schneider, D. (2009). Later toilet training is associated with urge incontinence in children. Journal of Pediatric Urology 5, 458-461. Benjusuwantep, B., & Ruangdaraganon, N. (2011). Infant toilet training in Thailand: Starting and completion age and factors determining them. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 94(12), 1441-1446. Blum, N.J., Taubman, B., & Nemeth, N. (2003). Relationship between age at initiation of toilet training and duration of training: A prospective study. Pediatrics 111(4), 810-814. Butler, J.F. (The toilet training success of parents after reading Toilet Training In Less Than A Day. Behavior Therapy 7, 185-191. Duong, T.H., Jansson, U-B., & Hellstrom, A-L. (2013). Vietnamese mothers’ experiences with potty training procedure for children from birth to 2 years of age. Journal of Pediatric Urology 9, 808-814. Fertleman, C., & Cave, S. (2011). Potty training girls the easy way: A stress-free guide to helping your daughter learn quickly. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo. Fertleman, C. & Cave, S. (2009). Potty training boys the easy way: Helping your son learn quickly – even if he’s a late starter. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo. Gerber, M. (2002). Dear parent: Caring for infants with respect (2 nd Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers. Glowacki, J. (2015). Oh, crap! Potty training: Everything modern parents need to know to do it once and do it right. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Goode, E. (1999, January 12). Two experts do battle over potty training. The New York Times. Retrieved from: do-battle- over-potty- training.html Gross-Loh, C. (2007). The diaper-free baby: The natural toilet training alternative. New York, NY: William Morrow. Horn, I.B., Brenner, R., Rao, M., & Cheng, T.L. (2006). Beliefs about the appropriate age for initiating toilet training: Are there racial and socioeconomic differences? Journal of Pediatrics 149, 165-168. Kaerts, N., Van Hal, G., Vermandel, A., & Wyndaele, J-J. (2012). Readiness signs used to define the proper moment to start toilet training: A review of the literature. Neurology and Urodynamics 31, 437-440. Kimball, V. (2016). The perils and pitfalls of potty training. Pediatric Annals 45(6), 199-201. Koc, I., Camurdan, A.D., Beyazova, U., Ilhan, M.N., & Sahin, F. (2008). Toilet training in Turkey: The factors that affect timing and duration in different sociocultural groups. Child: Care, Health and Development 34(4), 475-481. Martin, J.A., King, D.R., Maccoby, E.E., & Jacklin, C.N. (1984). Secular trends and individual differences in toilet-trai...
Aug 27, 2017
045: How parenting affects child development
Isn't it kind of a "well, duh?" that parenting affects child development?  But do we know how?  We know it's not good to have really big fights in front of the kids, but do spousal quarrels screw them up too?  Are there really links between a family's emotional expressiveness and the child's later academic performance?  How does the marital relationship affect parenting, and how does parenting affect the marital relationship? Today we talk with Dr. Laura Froyen, who has a Ph.D in Human Development and Family Studies and seems almost as obsessed with research on child development issues as I am.  You can find much more about her work at References Bascoe, S.M., Davies, P.T., Sturge-Apple, M.L., & Cummings, E.M. (2009). Children’s representations of family relationships, peer information processing, and school adjustment. Developmental Psychology 45(6), 1740-1751. Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development 55(1), 83-96. Bretherton, I., & Munholland, K. A. (1999). Internal working models in attachment relationships: A construct revisited. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 89-111). New York: Guilford Press. Buehler, C., & Gerard, J.M. (2002). Marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children’s and adolescents’ maladjustment. Journal of Marriage and Family 64(1), 78-92. Davies, P.T., & Cummings, E.M. (1994). Marital conflict and child adjustment: An emotional security hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin 116(3), 387-411. Full article available at Davies, P.T., Winter, M.A., & Cicchetti, D. (2006). The implications of emotional security theory for understanding and treating childhood psychopathology. Developmental Psychopathology 18(3), 707-735. Erel, O., & Burman, B. (1995). Interrelatedness of marital relations and parent-child relations: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin: 118(1), 108-132. Froyen, L.C., Skibbe, L.E., Bowles, R.P., Blow, A.J., & Gerde, H.K. (2013). Marital satisfaction, family emotional expressiveness, home learning environments, and children’s emergent literacy. Journal of Marriage and Family 75, 42-55. Gottman, J., & Gottman, J.S. (2008). And baby makes three: The six-step plan for preserving marital intimacy and rekindling romance after baby arrives. New York, NY: Harmony. Grych, J.H., & Fincham, F.D. (1993). Children’s appraisals of marital conflict: Initial investigations of the cognitive-contextual framework. Child Development 64(1), 215-230. Hindman, A.H., Miller, A.L., Froyen, L.C., & Skibbe, L.E. (2012). A portrait of family involvement during Head Start: Nature, extent, and predictors. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 27, 654-667. Lapierre, S. (2008). Mothering in the context of domestic violence: The pervasiveness of a deficit model of mothering. Child & Family Social Work 13, 454-463. Sturge-Apple, M.L., , Davies, P.T., & Cummings, E.M. (2006). Hostility and withdrawal in marital conflict: Effects on parental emotional unavailability and inconsistent discipline. Journal of Family Psychology 20(2), 227-238. Tronick, E. (2009). Still face experiment. UMass Boston. Video available at: Vallotton, C. D., Harewood, T., Froyen, L., Brophy-Herb, H., & Ayoub, C. (2016). Child Behavior Problems: Mothers’ and Fathers’ Mental Health Matters Today and Tomorrow. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 37, 81-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2016.02.006   Transcript Jen:                                      00:38                   Hello and welcome to the your Parenting Mojo podcast. Our guest today is Laura Froyen, who received her Ph.D In Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Couple and Fam...
Aug 13, 2017
044: How to introduce your child to music (even if you can’t play or sing)
I can't play any instruments (unless the recorder counts?).  I certainly can't sing.  But my daughter really enjoys music, and there are a whole host of studies showing how playing music benefits children's brain development.  So what's a non-music playing, non-singing parent to do? Dr. Wendell Hanna's new book, the Children's Music Studio: A Reggio-Inspired Approach (Affiliate link), give us SO MANY ways to interact with music with our children.  I tried one of her 'provocations' with my daughter's daycare class and I was blown away.  Give this episode a listen, and be inspired.   Other episodes referenced in this episode 027: Is a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool right for my child? To hear my interview with math tutor Wes Carroll, go to, click any of the “sign up” buttons on that page, scroll down to see the curriculum of the course, and look for the interview with Wes which is available as a free preview.   References Allsup, R.E., & Benedict, C. (2008). The problems of band: An inquiry into the future of instrumental music education. Philosophy of Music Education Review 16(2), 156-173. Anvari, S.H., Trainor, L.J., Woodside, J., & Levy, B.A. (2002). Relations among musical skills, phonological processing, and early reading ability in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 83, 111-130. Bilhartz, T.D., Bruhn, R.A., & Olson, J.E. (2000). The effect of early music training on child cognitive development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 20(4), 616-636. Catterall, J.S., & Rauscher, F.H. (2008). Unpacking the impact of music on intelligence. In W. Gruhn & F. Rauscher, Neurosciences in Music Pedagogy (pp.171-201). Happague, NY: Nova Science Publishers. Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education 28(3), 269-289. Hanna, W. (2016). The children’s music studio: A Reggio-inspired approach. New York, NY: Oxford. (Affiliate link) Heuser, F. (2011). Ensemble-based instrumental music instruction: Dead-end tradition or opportunity for socially enlightened teaching. Music Education Research 12(3), 293-305. Kirschner, S., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children. Evolution and Human Behavior 31, 354-364. Morehouse, P.G. (2013). Toddlers through grade 2: The importance of music making in child development. YC Young Children 68(4), 82-89. Rauscher, F.H. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature 365(6447), 611. Rauscher, F.H., Shaw, G.L., & Ky, K.N. (1995). Listening to Mozart enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: towards a neuropsychological basis. Neuroscience Letters 185, 44-47. Rauscher, F.H., & Zupan, M.A. (2000). Classroom keyboard instruction improves kindergarten childrne’s spatial-temporal performance: A field experiement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 15(2), 215-228. Rauscher, F.H. (2003). Can music instruction affect children’s cognitive development? ERIC Digest EDO-PS-03-12. Rauscher, F.H., & Hinton, S.C. (2006). The Mozart effect: Music listening is not music instruction. Educational Psychologist 41(4) 233-238. Schlaug, G., Norton, A., Overy, K., & Winner, E. (2005). Effects of music training on the child’s brain and cognitive development. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1060, 219-230. Scott, S. (2011). Contemplating a constructivist stance for active learning within music education. Arts Education Policy Review 112(4), 191-198. SEGMeasurement (n.d.). Effectiveness of ABC Music & Me on the development of language and literacy skills. Retrieved from: Smithrim, K., & Upitis, R. (2005). Learning through the arts: Lessons of Engagement. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne de l’education 28(1/...
Jul 30, 2017
043: How to talk with children about death
The topic of today’s episode comes courtesy of my good friend Sarah, who fortunately hasn’t yet had any reason to use this knowledge, but asked me to do an episode on how to help children cope with illness, death, and grief, so she can be ready in case she ever needs it. Dr. Atle Dyregrov joins us from Bergen, Norway. He graduated as a psychologist in 1980 and worked for five years in the Pediatrics department at Haukeland University Hostpital, helping families whose children had died. He also co-founded the Center for Crisis Psychology and served as its general manager for 25 years; he is now its academic director. He has worked particularly extensively with children who have experienced loss and trauma, as well as at the sites of major accidents and disasters both in Norway and abroad, and has written numerous books, book chapters, and research articles on children’s response to death and crises. It turns out that this ended up being a very timely episode for me indeed: you'll hear in the show that my mum died when I was young.  Not even a week after I did this interview, my newly three-year-old daughter was playing with Legos in our living room when she asked - completely out of the blue - "Do you have a mama?"  Having done this interview I was well-prepared for a short but straightforward conversation, and was able to shift what would likely have been a very uncomfortable situation for me into something where I felt much more confident in explaining how people's bodies stop working when they die. Subscribers to my newsletter will recall that we spent last week in Missouri visiting the very same Sarah who requested the episode, and I had given her a summary of the content and told her about my daughter's question.  A couple of days later Sarah and my daughter found a dead bug on a playground and Sarah said "I think it's dead," and my daughter responded "Did it's body stop working?".  Sarah was taken aback...and amused...and was able to answer the question without losing her cool. Listen to this episode - we're all gonna need it at some point!   References Abdelnoor, A., & Hollins, S. (2004). The effect of childhood bereavement on secondary school performance. Educational Psychology in Practice 20(1), 43-54. Adams-Greenly, M., & & Moynihan, R.T. (1983). Helping the children of fatally ill parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 53(2), 219-229. Ayers, T.S., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Twohey, J.L., Weyer, J.L, Padgett-Jones, D., Weiss, L., Cole, E., & Kriege, G. (2013-2014). The family bereavement program: Description of a theory-based prevention program for parentally-bereaved children and adolescents. Omega 68(4), 293-314. Baker, J.E., Sedney, M.A., & Gross, E. (1992). Psychological tasks for bereaved children.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 62(1), 105-116. Berg. L., Rostila, M., & Hjern, A. (2016). Parental death during childhood and depression in young adults – a national cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 57(9), 1092-1098. Berg, L., Rostila, M., Saarela, J., & Hjern, A. (2014). Parental death during childhood and subsequent school performance. Pediatrics 133, 682-689. Bugge, K.E., Darbyshire, P., Rokholt, E.G., Haugstvedt, K.T.S., & Helseth, S. (2014). Young children’s grief: Parents’ understanding and coping. Death Studies 38, 36-43. Corr, C.A., & Balk, D.E. (2010). Children’s encounters with death, bereavement, and coping. New York, NY: Springer. Dyregrov, A. (2008). Grief in children: A handbook for adults (2nd Ed.). London, U.K.: Jessica Kingsley. Engarhos, P. (2012). The young child’s understanding of death: Early conversations and experiences with parents and caregivers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. McGill University. Montreal, Canada. Kristensen, P., Dyregrov, A., Dyregrov, K., & Heir, T. (2016). Media exposure and prolonged grief: A study of bereaved parents and siblings after the 2011 Utoya Island terror attack.
Jul 16, 2017
042: How to teach a child to use manners
I actually hadn’t realized what a can of worms I was opening when I started the research for today’s episode, which is on the topic of manners and politeness. It began innocently enough – as an English person, for whom manners are pretty important, I started to wonder why my almost three-year-old doesn’t have better manners yet. It turns out that it was a much more difficult subject to research than I’d anticipated, in part because it draws on a variety of disciplines, from child development to linguistics. And at the heart of it, I found myself torn between two different perspectives. The parenting philosophy that underlies the respectful relationship I have with my daughter, which is called Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE, advocates for the use of modeling to transmit cultural information like manners – if you, the parent, are a polite person, then your child will learn about manners. On the flip side of that is the practice of saying “what do you say?” or something similar when you want your child to say “please” or “thank you,” something that I know a lot of parents do. My general approach has been to model good manners consistently but I do find it drives me bananas when my daughter says “I want a [whatever it is]” without saying “please,” and RIE also says parents should set a limit on behavior when they find it annoying. So I have been trying to walk a fine line between always modeling good manners and requiring a “please” before I acquiesce to a demand, and I wondered whether research could help me to come down on one side or the other of this line and just be sure about what I’m doing. So this episode is going to be about my explorations through the literature on this topic, which are winding and convoluted – actually both the literature and my explorations are winding and convoluted, and by the time we get to the end I hope to sort out how I’m going to instill a sense of politeness in my daughter, and how you might be able to do it for your child as well.   Other episodes referenced in this show 004: How to encourage creativity and artistic ability in children (and symbolic representation) 026: Is my child lying to me? (Hint: yes!) 005: How to "scaffold" children's learning to help them succeed 034: How do I get my child to do chores? 007: Help!  My toddler won't eat vegetables 031: Parenting beyond pink and blue 006: Wait, is my toddler racist? References   Becker, J.A. (1988). The success of parents’ indirect techniques for teaching their preschoolers pragmatic skills. First Language 8, 173-182. Brown, P., & Levinson, S.C. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. De Lucca Freitas, L.B., Pieta, M.A.M., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2011). Beyond Politeness: The expression of gratitude in children and adolescents. Psicologia: Reflexao e Critica 24(4), 757-764. Durlack, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K.B. (2011). The impact of enhancing student’s social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development 82(1), 405-432. Einzig, R. (2015). Model graciousness. Retrieved from: (Also see Robin’s Facebook page at Ervin-Tripp, S., Guo, J., & Lampert, M. (1990). Politeness and persuasion in children’s control acts. Journal of Pragmatics 14, 307-331. Grief, E.B., & Gleason, J.B. (1980). Hi, thanks, and goodbye: More routine information. Language in Society 9(2), 159-166. Ely, R., & Gleason, J.B. (2006). I’m sorry I said that: Apologies in young children’s discourse. Journal of Child Language 33 (599-620). Gleason, J.B., Perlmann, R.Y., Grief, E.B. (1984). What’s the magic word: Learning language through politeness routines. Discourse Processes 7(4), 493-502. Kuykendall, J. (1993). “Please,” “Thank you,
Jul 02, 2017
041: Siblings: Why do they fight, and what can we do about it?
Hot on the heels of our last episode on whether only children really are as bad as their reputation, this week's episode is for the 80% of families (in the U.S., at least) who have more than one child. How do siblings impact each other's development?  What should we make of the research on how birth order impacts each child?  Why the heck do siblings fight so much, and what can we do about it?  (Turns out that siblings in non-Western countries actually don't fight anywhere near as much...) We cover all this and more with my guest, Professor Susan McHale of Penn State University. Note: Professor McHale mentions a helpful book written by Judy Dunn at the end of the episode but doesn't specifically name the title; Dunn has actually written a number of books on siblings which can be found here.   References Bjerkedal, T., Kristensen, P., Skjeret, G.A., & Brevik, J.I. (2007). Intelligence test scores and birth order among young Norwegian men (conscripts) analyzed within and between families. Intelligence 35, 503-514. Branje, S.J.T., van Lieshout, C.F.M., van Aken, M.A.G., & Haselager, G.J.T. (2004). Perceived support in sibling relationships and adolescent development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45(8), 1385-1396. Dixon, M., Reyes, C.J., Leppert, M.F., & Pappas, L.M. (2008). Personality and birth order in large families. Personality and Individual Differences 44, 119-128. Dunn, J., & Kendrick, C. (1980). The arrival of a sibling: Changes in patterns of interaction between mother and first-born child. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 21, 119-132. Dunn, J. (1995). From one child to two: What to expect, how to cope, and how to enjoy your growing family. New York, NY: Ballantine. Feinberg, M.E., Solmeyer, A.R., Hostetler, M.L., Sakuma K-L, Jones, D., & McHale, S.M. (2012). Siblings are special: Initial test of a new approach for preventing youth behavior problems. Journal of Adolescent Health 53, 166-173. Healey, M.D., & Ellis B.J. (2007). Birth order, conscientiousness, and openness to experience: Tests of the family-niche model of personality using a within-family methodology. Evolution and Human Behavior 28, 55-59. Jensen, A.C., & McHale, S.M. (2015). What makes siblings different? The development of sibling differences in academic achievement and interests. Journal of Family Psychology 29(3), 469-478. Kristensen, P. & Bjerkedal, T. (2007). Explaining the relation between birth order and intelligence. Science (New Series), 316(5832), 1717. Lawson, D.W., & Mace, R. (2008). Sibling configuration and childhood growth in contemporary British Families. International Journal of Epidemiology 37, 1408-1421. McHale, S.M., Bissell, J., & Kim, J-Y. (2009). Sibling relationship, family, and genetic factors in sibling similarity in sexual risk. Journal of Family Psychiatry 23(4), 562-572. McHale, S.M., Updegraff, K.A., Helms-Erikson, H., & Crouter, A.C. (2001). Sibling influences on gender development in middle childhood and early adolescence: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 37(1), 115-125. McHale, S.M., Updegraff, K.A., & Whiteman, S.D. (2012). Sibling relationships and influences in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Marriage and Family 75(5), 913-930. Palhaus, D.L., Wehr, P., & Trapnell, P.D. (2000). Resolving controversy over birth order and personality: By debate or by design? Politics and the Life Sciences 19(2), 177-179. Rohrer, J.M., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S.C. (2015). Examining the effects of birth order on personality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(46), 14224-14229. Solmeyer, A.R., McHale, S.M., & Crouter, A.C. (2014). Longitudinal associations between sibling relationship qualities and risky behavior across adolescence. Developmental Psychology 50(2), 600-610. Updegraff, K.A., McHale, S.M., Killoren, S.E., & Rodriguez, S.A. (2011). Cultural variations in sibling relationships. In J. Caspi (Ed.),
Jun 18, 2017
040: Only children: Are they as bad as advertised?
Today's episode comes to us as a result of a listener named Sylvia who wrote to me saying she and her partner don't want another child but are worried about the potential impact on their daughter of growing up without siblings.  But why would there be a potential impact? Turns out there's a slew of information in the popular press about how only children grow up with no way to learn social skills, which makes them simply awful to be around.  And everybody agrees - from parents of multiples and children who grew up with siblings, to parents of only children and even only children themselves - that only children are more selfish and not as nice to spend time with as children who grew up with siblings. No wonder Sylvia is worried! Personally I don't have this problem; my own selfishness about not wanting a second child has overridden the issue of growing up without siblings to the extent that I had actually never considered it a potential problem until I received the question.  But having pondered it and found that there is some research on it, I decided the time was ripe to find out whether only children really are as awful as popular wisdom says they are and, if so, what I could do about it before it's too late! Listen up, my friends.  Will I be vindicated, or will I throw away that pack of birth control pills before the end of the episode? References Bohannon, E.W. (1896). A study of peculiar and exceptional children. Pedagogical Seminary 4(1), 3-60. Falbo, T. (2012). Only children: An updated review. The Journal of Individual Psychology 68(1), 38-49. Fenton, N. (1928). The only child. Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology 35, 546-556. Mancillas, A. (2006). Challenging the stereotypes about only children: A review of the literature and implications for practice. Journal of Counseling and Development 84(3), 268-275. McKibben, B. (1998). Maybe one. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Nachman, P., & Thompson, A. (1997). You and your only child: The joys, myths, and challenges of raising an only child. New York, NY: Skylight. Newman, S. (2001). Parenting an only child: The joys and challenges of raising your one and only. New York, NY: Broadway. Polit, D.F., Nuttall, R.L., & Nuttall, E.V. (1980). The only child grows up: A look at some characteristics of adult only children. Family Relations 29(1), 99-106. Roberts, L., & Blanton, P. (2001). “I always knew mom and dad loved me best”: Experiences of only children. Journal of Individual Psychology 21, 155-160. Sandler, L. (2013). One and only: The freedom of having an only child, and the joy of being one. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Simon, R.W. (2008). The joys of parenthood, reconsidered. Contexts 7(2), 40-45.
Jun 04, 2017
039: What to do when your toddler says "No, I don’t wanna…!"
It’s no secret that I do some episodes of the podcast altruistically for you, dear listeners, because I’m not facing the situation that I’m studying – or at least not yet. (Eyebrows were raised in our house when I started researching the impact of divorce on children but luckily for me I don’t need that episode…yet…) But today’s episode is for me, and you guys are just along for the ride. Because, friends, we are in the thick of what I now know to be called “oppositional defiance,” otherwise known as “Noooo! I don’t wanna [insert activity here]”. We'll discuss why toddlers are defiant, and lots of strategies we can use to deal with that defiance and even head it off at the pass. If your child has ever said "No!" to something you want them to do, this episode is for you! Other episodes mentioned in this show 020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do? 022: How to talk so little kids will listen (Author interview)   References Dix, T., Stewart, A.D., Gershoff, E.T., & Day, W.T. (2007). Autonomy and children’s reactions to being controlled: Evidence that both compliance and defiance may be positive markers in early development. Child Development 78(4), 1204-1221. Dunn, J., & Munn, P. (1986). Sibling quarrels and maternal intervention: Individual differences in understanding aggression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 27, 583-595. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1986.tb00184.x Eyberg, S. M., Nelson, M. M., & Boggs, S. R. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 215-237. doi: 10.1080/15374410701820117 Grolnick, W.S. (2012). The relations among parental power assertion, control, and structure. Human Development 55, 57-64. DOI: 10.1159/000338533 Grusec, J. E. (2012). Socialization and the role of power assertion. Human Development, 55, 52-56. doi: 10.1159/000337963 Kaler, S. R., & Kopp, C. B. (1990). Compliance and comprehension in very young toddlers. Child Development, 61, 1997-2003. doi: 10.2307/1130853 Knowles, S.J. (2014). The effectiveness of mother’s disciplinary reasoning in response to toddler noncompliance (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Oklahoma State University. Full copy available at: Kuczynski, L. (1984). Socialization goals and mother-child interaction: Strategies for long-term and short-term compliance. Developmental Psychology 20(6), 1061-1073. Langer, E., Blank, A., & Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindlessness of Ostensibly Thoughtful Action: The Role of “Placebic” Information in Interpersonal Interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(6), 635-642.
May 21, 2017
038: The Opposite of Spoiled
We’re concluding our mini-mini series today on chores – and on paying children to do chores, which leads us to larger conversations about money. If you missed the first part of this then then you might want to go and listen to last week’s interview with Dr. Andrew Coppens, who explores the ways that families in different cultures approach chores and what lessons that can hold for those of us who want to encourage our children to do their chores. Today we’re going to take that conversation to its logical conclusion by talking about money, and what better guest to do that with us than Ron Lieber,who wrote the book The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money (affiliate link). It’s a really practical guide to talking with your children about money – from what information they should have at what age, to what to do with a child who always wants you to buy them something at the store, to what to say when a child wonders why homeless people don’t have enough money. Other episodes mentioned in this show 021: Talk Sex Today 034: How do I get my child to do chores?   References Carl Richards' cartoons for the New York Times   Lahey, J. (2016). The gift of failure. New York: Harper. Lieber, R. (2016). The opposite of spoiled. New York: Harper. (Affiliate link) Lythcott-Haimes, J. (2016). How to raise an adult.: Break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.
May 15, 2017
037: Generation Me
This episode is on a topic that I find fascinating – the cultural issues that underlie our parenting. I actually think this issue is so important that I covered it in episode 1 of the podcast, which was really the first episode after the introductory one where I gave some information on what the show was going to be about. But recently I read a book called Generation Me (Affiliate link) by Jean Twenge, a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, which discusses some of the cultural contexts that have led to the generation of people born since 1970 to develop a certain set of characteristics that sometimes seem very strange to those who were born before us, and may be leading us to raise children who are just a bit too individualistic. In this episode I discuss some of those characteristics and what implications they have for the way we parent our own children, and offer some thoughts on how we can shift that our approach if we decide we want to. Other episodes referenced in this show: 001: The influence of culture on parenting 020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do?   References Abeles, V., & Rubenstein, G. (2015). Beyond measure: Rescuing an overscheduled, overtested, underestimated generation. New York: Simon & Schuster. Associated Press (2005, July 22nd). White House footwear fans flip-flop kerfuffle. US News on Retrieved from: Gardner, H. (1991). The unschooled mind: How children think and how schools should teach. New York: Basic Books. Lansbury, J. (2012, May 3). Setting limits with toddlers: The choices they can’t make. Retrieved from: McCabe, D.L., Trevino, L.K., & Butterfield, K.D. (2012). Cheating in college: Why students do it and what educators can do about it. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Remley, A. (1998, October). From obedience to independence. Psychology Today, 56-59. Thomas, E. (1997). Social Insecurity. Newsweek. Retrieved from: Trinkaus, J. (1988). Compliance with a school zone speed limit: Another look. Perceptual and motor skills 87, 673-674. Trinkaus, J. (1997). Stop sign compliance: A final look. Perceptual and Motor Skills 85, 217-218. Trinkaus, J. (2006). Honesty when lighting votive candles in church: Another look. Psychological Reports 99, 494-495. Twenge, J. (2014). Generation Me: While today's young Americans are more confident, assertive, and entitled - and more miserable than ever before. New York, NY: Atria. (Affiliate link)
May 07, 2017
036: The impact of divorce on a child’s development (Part 1)
This is the second of a short series of episodes on issues related to divorce.  The first was our "All Joy and No Fun" episode, where we talked about how parenting today can be the most joyful thing in our lives - even if it isn't always a whole lot of fun from moment to moment. The series was inspired by a listener who sent me an email saying: “I was divorced when my husband was 2 ½ years old.  He is now 5 years old and has a very hard time expressing his feelings.  I have an intuitive “gut” feeling that it has to do with the fact that he went from being with me every day (I was a stay at home mom) to suddenly spending 7-10 days away from me and with his father, and also away from me as I set up a career.  Do you know of any research on this?”   Well, I didn’t, but when I started looking around I realized there’s actually so much of it that it makes sense to break it down into two episodes which is what we’re going to do.  So today’s episode focuses very much on the factors leading to divorce and the impact of divorce itself on children, and the final episode in the series will look at how what happens after divorce – things like single parenting, ongoing contact with both parents, ongoing arguments between parents, and remarriages and stepparents impact children.   Other podcast episodes mentioned in this show: 020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do.   References Amato, P.R. (1999). Children of divorced parents as young adults. In E.M. Hetherington (Ed.)., Coping with divorce, single parenting, and remarriage: A risk and resiliency perspective (p.147-163). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Brody, G.H., & Forehand, R. (1988). Multiple determinants of parenting: Research findings and implications for the divorce process.  In E.M. Hetherington & J.D. Arasteh (Eds.). Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Deater-Deckard, K., & Dunn, J. (1999). Multiple risks and adjustment in young children growing up in different family settings: A British community study of stepparent, single mother, and nondivorced families. In E.M. Hetherington (Ed.)., Coping with divorce, single parenting, and remarriage: A risk and resiliency perspective (p.47-64). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Emery, R.E. (1988). Mediation and the settlement of divorce disputes. In E.M. Hetherington & J.D. Arasteh (Eds.). Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Forehand, R., Long, N., & Brody, G. (1988). Divorce and marital conflict: Relationship to adolescent competence and adjustment in early adolescence. In E.M. Hetherington & J.D. Arasteh (Eds.). Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Hetherington, E.M. (1989). Coping with family transitions: Winners, losers, and survivors. Child Development 60(1), 1-14. Hetherington, E.M. (1999). Should we stay together for the sake of the children? In E.M. Hetherington (Ed.)., Coping with divorce, single parenting, and remarriage: A risk and resiliency perspective (p.93-116). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Grall, T.S. (2009). Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2007. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from: Miller, C.C. (2014, December 2). The divorce surge is over, but the myth lives on. The New York Times. Retrieved from: Twaite, J.A., Silitsky, D., & Luchow, A.K. (1988). Children of divorce: Adjustment, parental conflict, custody, remarriage, and recommendations for clinicians. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. Wolfinger, N.H. (2005). Understanding the divorce cycle: The children of divorce in their own marriages. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Apr 30, 2017
035: Parenting: All joy and no fun?
Today's episode is about a book I read way before I started the podcast, called All Joy and No Fun (Affiliate link) by Jennifer Senior. I actually got a question from a listener recently asking me whether there’s any research on whether and how her divorce might have impacted her son’s development. It turns out that there is, and quite a lot – so I decided to make a series out of it. We'll have one episode on how divorce impacts children, and a second on single parenting and step families, and we’ll open the whole lot up with this one on All Joy and No Fun, which is basically about the idea that if you ask a parent what is their greatest joy they will invariably say “my kids,” but if you ask them moment-by-moment if they’re having fun with their children then unfortunately the answer is pretty often “no.” I know that a lot of factors can lead to divorce but surely “all joy and no fun” is among them, so it sort of seemed like it fit with the other two topics. Since I first read the book several months ago I’ve had a chance to think about it a bit, so I’ll start as usual with the research and will end with some ideas on how we can change our approach so we can have “some joy and some fun too.” References Campos B., Graesch, A.P., Repetti, R., Bradbury, T., & Ochs, E. (2009). Opportunity for interaction? A naturalistic observation study of dual-earner families after work and school. Journal of Family Psychology 23(6), 798-807. DOI: 10.1037/a0015824 Cherry, K. (2016). What is flow? Retrieved from: Cowan, C.P. & Cowan, P.A. (1995). Interventions to ease the transition to parenthood: Why they are needed and what they can do. Family Relations: Journal of Applied Family & Child Studies 44, 412-423. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Abuhamdeh, S., & Nakamura, J. (2005). Flow. In A. Elliot (Ed.), A Handbook of Competence and Motivation. (pp. 598-698). New York: The Guilford Press. Doss, B.D., Rhoades, G.K., Stanley, S.M., & Markman, H.J. (2009). The effect of the transition to parenthood on relationship quality: An 8-year prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychiatry 96(3), 601-619. DOI: 10.1037/a0013969 LeMasters, E.E. (1957). Parenthood as crisis. Marriage and Family Living 19(4), 352-355. Mitchell, T.R., Thompson, L. .Peterson, E., & Cronk, R. (1997). Temporal adjustments in the evaluation of events: The “Rosy View.”  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 33(4), 421-428. Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2001). Dlow theory and research. In C.R. Snyder, E. Wright, & S.J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology. (pp. 195-206). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rossi, A.S. (1968). Transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family 30(1), 26-39. Senior, J. (2014). All joy and no fun: The paradox of modern parenthood. New York: HarperCollins. (Affiliate link)
Apr 23, 2017
034: How do I get my child to do chores?
We have a pretty cool mini-mini-series launching today. I’ve been seeing a lot of those “chores your child could be doing” articles showing up in my social media feeds lately, and I was thinking about those as well about how children in other cultures seem to be MUCH more willing to help out with work around the house.  I’m not saying we want to train our children to be slave laborers, but why is it that children in Western cultures really don’t seem to do chores unless they’re paid to do them? We’re going to hold off on the “getting paid” part for now, and we’ll talk about that very soon with my guest Ron Lieber, the Money columnist of the New York Times who wrote a book called The Opposite of Spoiled. But today we’re going to discuss the chores part with Andrew Coppens, who is an Assistant Professor of Education in Learning Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. If you’ve ever asked your child to do a task in the home only to have them say “No,” then get comfy and listen up, because I have a feeling that our conversation is going to surprise you and give you some new tools for your toolbox. References: Coppens, A.D., & Acala, L. (2015). Supporting children’s initiative: Appreciating family contributions or paying children for chores. Advances in Child Development and Behavior 49, 91-112. DOI: Coppens, A.D., Acala, L., Rogoff, B., & Mejia-Arauz, R. (2016). Children’s contributions in family work: Two cultural paradigms. In S. Punch, R.M. Vanderbeck, & T. Skelton (Eds.), Families, intergenerationality, and per group relations: Geographies of children and young people (Vol 5). New York, NY: Springer. LIFE Center (2005). "The LIFE Center's Lifelong and Lifewide Diagram."  Retrieved from:
Apr 16, 2017
033: Does your child ever throw tantrums? (Part 2)
Well this took a bit longer than I'd planned...  WAY BACK in episode 11 I did Part 1 of a two-part series on tantrums, and was expecting to release the second episode in short order.  Then I got inundated with interviews from awesome guests, which I always wanted to release as soon as I could after I spoke with them, and months have gone by without releasing that second episode. Episode 11 provided a lot of background information on tantrums: a seminal study in 1931 really forms the basis for all the research on tantrums that has been done since then, so we went through it in some depth to understand what those researchers found - I was surprised that so much of the information was still relevant to parents today. This episode considers the more recent literature - of which there actually isn't a huge amount - to help us understand what's going on during a tantrum, how to deal with them once they start, and how to potentially head them off before they even fully develop (don't we all want that?!). References Denham, S.A., & Burton, R. (2003). Social and emotional prevention and intervention programming for preschoolers. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum. Green, J.A., Whitney, P.G., & Potegal, M. (2011). Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children’s tantrums. Emotion 11(5), 1124-1133. DOI: 10.1037/a0024173 Levine, L.J. (1995). Young children’s understanding of the causes of anger and sadness. Child Development 66(2), 697-709. LeVine, R., & LeVine, S. (2016). Do parents matter? Why Japanese babies sleep soundly, Mexican siblings don’t fight, and American families should just relax. New York: Public Affairs. Lieberman, M.D., Eisenberger, N.E., Crockett, M.J., Tom, S.M., Pfeifer, J.H., & Way, B.M. (2007). Putting feelings into words: Affect labeling disrupts amygdala activity in response to affective stimuli. Psychological Science 18(5), 421-428. Parens, H. (1987). Aggression in our children: Coping with it constructively. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. Potegal, M., & Davidson, R.J. (1997). Young children’s post tantrum affiliation with their parents. Aggressive Behavior 23, 329-341. Potegal, M., & Davidson, R.J. (2003). Temper tantrums in young children: 1. Behavioral composition. Development and Behavioral Pediatrics 24(3), 140-147. Potegal, M., Kosorok, M.R., & Davidson, R.J. (2003). Temper tantrums in young children: 1. Tantrum duration and temporal organization. Development and Behavioral Pediatrics 24(3), 148-154.
Apr 08, 2017
032: Free to learn
Professor Peter Gray was primarily interested in the motivations and emotions of animals before his son Scott started struggling in school, at which point Professor Gray’s interests shifted to developing our understanding of self-directed learning and how play helps us to learn.  He has extensively studied the learning that occurs at the Sudbury Valley School in Sudbury Valley, MA - where children are free to associate with whomever they like, don't have to take any classes at all, and yet go on college and to satisfying lives as adults.  How can this possibly be?  We'll find out. Reference Gray, P (2013). Free to learn: Why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life. New York, NY: Basic Books. (Affiliate link) Also see Professor Gray's extensive posts on learning and education on the Psychology Today blog.
Apr 01, 2017
031: Parenting beyond pink and blue
Today I join forces with Malaika Dower of the How to Get Away with Parenting podcast to interview Dr. Christia Brown, who is a Professor of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Kentucky, where she studies the development of gender identity and children’s experience of gender discrimination. Dr. Brown's book, Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue (Affiliate link), helps parents to really understand the scientific research around gender differences in children, which is a harder task than with some other topics because there's just a lot of bad research out there on this one.  I ask about theories of gender development while Malaika keeps us grounded with questions about how this stuff works in the real world, and we both resolve to shift our behavior toward our daughters just a little bit. Related Episodes Interview with Yarrow Dunham on how social groups form Interview with Kang Lee on children's lying (yep - your kid does it too!)   References Brown, C.S. (2014). Parenting beyond pink and blue. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. (Affiliate link) Taylor, M.G., Rhodes, M., & Gelman, S.A. (2009). Boys will be boys and cows will be cows: Children's essentialist reasoning about gender categories and animal species. Child Development 80(2), 461-481. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01272.x
Mar 26, 2017
030: On Education (And on Betsy DeVos)
I've thought about doing this episode for a while but I sat on it for a few weeks because it's still in motion.  But now Betsy DeVos is confirmed as Secretary of Education I wanted to offer some thoughts on her work on educational issues, charter schools, as well as on the topic of schools more broadly. Spoiler alert: I graduated from my Master's program!  And I wrote my thesis on what motivates children to learn in the absence of a formal curriculum, so we also talk a bit about whether schools as we know them, and specifically curriculum-based learning, is the best way to serve our children's learning. References Achieve (2015, May 14). New report highlights large gaps between state test results and 2013 NAEP results. Retrieved from: Angrist, J.D., Cohides, S.R., Dynarski, S.M., Pathak, P.A., & Walters, C.D. (2013). Charter schools and the road to college readiness: The effects on college preparation, attendance, and choice. Full report available at: Bitfulco, R., & Ladd, H.F. (2006). The impacts of charter schools on student achievement: Evidence from North Carolina. Education Finance and Policy 1(1), 50-90. Full article available at: Bruni, F. (2015, May 30). The education assassins. The New York Times. Retrieved from: Camera, L. (2016, May 17). More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, discrimination still exists. Retrieved from: Camera, L. (2017, February 17). DeVos: I’d be fine ditching the education department. Retrieved from: Center for Research on Education Outcomes (2015). Urban charter school study report on 41 regions. Full report available at: Doyle, W. (2016, February 18). How Finland broke every rule – and created a top school system. Heching Report. Retrieved from: Gill, B.P. (2016). The effect of charter schools on students in traditional public schools: A review of the evidence. Education Next. Retrieved from: Gleason, P., Clark, M., Tuttle, C.C., Dwoyer, E., & Silverberg, M. (2010). The evaluation of charter school impacts. Full report available at: Goldman, J.A. (1981). Social participation of preschool children in same- versus mixed-age groups. Child Development 32, 644-650. Gray, P. (2013). Free to learn: Why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life. New York: Basic. Greenberg, D. (1995). Free at last: The Sudbury Valley school. Sudbury, MA: Sudbury Valley School Press. The passage I cited in the episode is freely available here: Mack, J. (2012). Weighing the pros and cons of charter schools (Julie Mack blog). Mlive. Retrieved from: National Association of Colleges and Employers (2015). Job outlook 2016: Attributes employers want to see on new college graduates’ resumes. Retrieved from: Preble, L. (n.d.).
Mar 19, 2017
029: Why we shouldn’t ban war play
This episode comes to us by way of a suggestion from my friend Jess, who told me she had joined an outing with some children in her three-year-old son’s preschool class. She said some of the slightly older children were running around playing that their hands were guns and shooting at each other, and the teachers were pretty much just ignoring it, which really shocked her. So I thought to myself “I bet some smart person has done some research on this” and so I went out and found us just such a smart person to talk with. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. is Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts where she has been training early childhood professionals for over twenty-five years. She teaches courses on play, violence prevention, action research. Her book, The War Play Dilemma, provides a theoretical view of why children engage in war play and how parents and teachers can support the development that occurs when children engage in this kind of play – and do it in a way that doesn’t make us feel queasy. References Dunn, J. & Hughes, C. (2001). “I got some swords and you’re dead!”: Violent fantasy, antisocial behavior, friendship, and moral sensibility in young children. Child Development 72(2), 491-505. Fehr, K.K. & Russ, S.W. (2013). Aggression in pretend play and aggressive behavior in the classroom. Early Education and Development 24, 332-345. DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2012.675549 Ferguson, C.J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression & Violent Behavior 57, 348-364. Hart, J.L., & Tannock, M.T. (2013). Young children’s play fighting and use of war toys. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Retrieved from: Holland, P. (203). We don’t play with guns here: War, weapon and superhero play in the early years. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press Levin, D.E. & Carlsson-Paige, N. (2006). The war play dilemma: What every parent and teacher needs to know (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Lober R., Lacourse, E., & Homimsh, D.L. (2005). Homicide, violence, and developmental trajectories. In R.E. Tremblay, W.W. Hartup, & J. Archer (Eds.), Developmental origins of aggression. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (n.d.). Website.
Mar 12, 2017
028: How do children form social groups?
How social groups are formed has profound implications for what we teach our children about our culture. Professor Yarrow Dunham of Yale University tells us how we all group people in our heads according to criteria that we think are important - in many cases it's a valuable tool that allows us to focus our mental energy.  But when we look at ideas like race and gender, we see that we tend to classify people into these groups based on criteria that may not actually be useful at all. This episode will shed further light on Episode 6, "Wait, is my toddler racist?" and will lay the groundwork for us to study groupings based on gender in an upcoming episode. References Baron, A.S. & Dunham, Y. (2015). Representing “Us” and “Them”: Building blocks of intergroup cognition. Journal of Cognition and Development 16(5), 780-801. DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2014.1000459 Baron, A.S., Dunham, Y., Banaji, M., & Carey, S. (2014). Constraints on the acquisition of social category concepts. Journal of Cognition and Development 15(2), 238-268. DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2012.742902 Dunham, Y., Baron, A.S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of “minimal” group affiliations in children. Child Development 82(3), 793-811. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01577.x Dunham, Y., Chen, E.E., & Banaji, M.R. (2013). Two signatures of implicit intergroup attitudes: Developmental invariance and early enculturation. Psychological Science Online First. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612463081 Dunham, Y., Stepanova, E.V., Dotsch, R., & Todorov, A. (2015). The development of race-based perceptual categorization: Skin color dominates early category judgments. Developmental Science 18(3), 469-483. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12228 Rhodes, M., Leslie, S-J, Saunders, K., Dunham, Y., & Cimpian, A. (In Press). How does social essentialism affect the development of inter-group relations? Developmental Science. Retrieved from: Richter, N., Over, H., & Dunham, Y. (2016). The effects of minimal group membership on young preschoolers’ social preferences, estimates of similarity, and behavioral attribution. Collabra 2(1), p.1-8. DOI: : 10.1525/collabra.44
Mar 06, 2017
027: Is a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool right for my child?
This episode is the final in our mini-series that I hope will help you to think through the options you might have for your child's preschool. In previous episodes we looked at Waldorf and Montessori approaches to early childhood education; today we examine the Reggio Emilia-based approach with Suzanne Axelsson, who studied it for her Master's degree in early childhood education and is well-respected in the Reggio field.  She helps us to understand how the "concept of the child" impacts how we see the child and support their learning, and what are the "hundred languages of children"... References Bodrova, E., & Leong, D.J. (2006). Tools of the mind: The Vygotskian approach to early childhood education (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Pearson. Edwards, C., Gandini, L., & Forman, G. (Eds.). (2012). The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia experience in transformation.
Feb 27, 2017
026: Is my child lying to me? (Hint: Yes!)
Your kids don't lie, right?  And if they did, you'd be able to tell, right? News flash: they do.  And you probably can't. Dr. Kang Lee - who is one of the world's experts in lying - tells us why children lie, how we can (try to) reduce the incidence of lying, and how we should handle it when we catch our children in a lie. And here's the one story that Dr. Lee says can help to prevent your child from lying... Reference Dr. Lee's TED talk:
Feb 20, 2017
025: Is a Waldorf preschool right for my child?
This episode is the second in our mini-series on making decisions about preschools, which I know is on the minds of a lot of parents of young children at this time of year.  Today we speak with Beverly Amico, the Director of Advancement at the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. Beverly helps us to understand the philosophy behind a Waldorf approach to early childhood education as well as answer those all-important questions like "Can I send my child to a Waldorf preschool even if s/he has plastic toys and watches TV?". Here's the link to the Essentials in Education blog that Beverly mentions in the episode, and here is the official website for her organization, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. References Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (2015). Waldorf Education. Retrieved from: Edmunds, F. (2004). An introduction to Steiner education. Forest Row, UK: Sophia Books Howard, S. (n.d.). Essentials of Waldorf early childhood education. Retrieved from: Petrash, J. (2002). Understanding Waldorf education: Teaching from the inside out. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House Steiner, R. (1995). The spirit of the Waldorf school. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press Steiner, R. (2001). The renewal of education. Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press Steiner, R. (2003). What is Waldorf education? Great Barrington, MA: SteinerBooks Waldorf Early Childhood Association of America (2017). WECAN. Retrieved from:
Feb 13, 2017
024: How (and when) does my child understand fairness?
We talked a while ago about sharing, and how you can understand the developmental processes that your child needs to go through before s/he truly understands what it means to share. One of the inputs to sharing behavior is an understanding of what is fair, and Drs. Peter Blake and Katie McAuliffe talk us through what we know about what children understand about fairness.  This episode will help you to understand how much of the idea of fairness is naturally culturally transmitted to children and what you can do to encourage a sense of fairness in your child, which is important for their own social well-being and for the benefit of our society - this has implications for ideas like the development of perceptions about race and gender that we'll be talking more about in upcoming episodes. References Blake, P.R., Corbit, J., Callaghan, T.C., & Warneken, F. (2016). Give as I give: Adult influence on children’s giving in two cultures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 152, 149-160. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.07.010 Blake, P.R., McAuliffe, K., Corbit, J., Callaghan, T.C., Barry, O, Bowie, A., Kleutsch, L., Kramer, K.L., Ross, E., Vongsachang, H., Wrangham, R., & Warneken, F. (2015). The ontogeny of fairness in seven societies. Nature 528, 258-261. DOI:10.1038/nature15703 Blake, P.R., Rand, D.G., Tingley, D., & Warneken, F. (2015). The shadow of the future promotes cooperation in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma for children. Scientific Reports 5, Article number 14559. DOI: 10.1038/srep14559 Blake, P.R., & McAuliffe, K. (2011). “I had so much it didn’t seem fair”: Eight-year-olds reject two forms of inequity. Cognition 120, 215-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2011.04.006 Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Chernyak, N., & Kushnir, T. (2013). Giving preschoolers choice increases sharing behavior. Psychological Science 24, 1971-1979. Jordan, J.J., McAuliffe, K., & Warneken, F. (2014). Development of in-group favoritism in children’s third-party punishment of selfishness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(35), 12710-12715. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402280111 McAuliffe, K., Blake, P.R., Steinbeis, N., & Warneken, F. (2017). The developmental foundations of human fairness.  Nature (Human Behavior) 1 (Article 00042), 1-9. McAuliffe, K., Jordan, J.J., & Warneken, F. (2015). Costly third-party punishment in young children. Cognition 134, 1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.08.013 Schmuckler, M.A. (2001). What is ecological validity? A dimensional analysis. Infancy 2(4), 419-436. Full article available at:
Feb 05, 2017
023: Is a Montessori preschool right for my child?
It's that time of year: daycare and preschool tours start ramping up and parents have to try to figure out which is the right option for their child.  And many parents are overwhelmed by the options.  Montessori?  Waldorf?  Reggio Emilia?  How are they different?  Will my child be messed up if I pick the wrong one? This episode is the first in a mini-series to help us think through the questions you might have as you explore the options that are available in your community. Today we’re going to learn about Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach to early childhood education and what it’s like to have a child in a Montessori preschool with Mary Ellen Kordas, the President of the Board of Directors at the American Montessori Society. References Gray, P. (2011). The special value of children’s age-mixed play. American Journal of Play 3(4), 500-522. Full article available at: Isaacs, B. (2012). Understanding the Montessori approach: Early years education in practice. New York, NY: Routledge. Lillard, A.S. (2005). Montessori: The science behind the genius. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Lillard, P.P. (1996). Montessori today: A comprehensive approach to education from birth to adulthood. New York, NY: Schocken. Louv, V. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York, NY: Algonquin. Montessori, M. (1971). The Montessori Elementary Material (Trans. A. Livingston). Cambridge, MA: Robert Bentley, Inc. Wentworth, R.A.L. (1999). Montessori for the new millennium. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Jan 29, 2017
022: How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: Author Interview!
Have you read the now-classic book How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk?  Ever wished there was a version that would help you with younger children who perhaps aren't quite ready for a detailed problem-solving session? Well now there is!  Adele Faber is a co-author of the original book; Adele's daughter Joanna and Joanna's childhood friend Julie King have teamed up to write the new version of How to Talk so LITTLE Kids Will Listen, packed with examples of how real parents have used the information they've now been teaching for over 30 years. Join me for a chat with Julie King as we work to understand the power of acknowledging children's feelings and some practical tools to help engage your younger children to cooperate with you. Update 5/10/17: An eagle-eyed listener noticed that Julie mentioned her 10-year-old son wanting to sit on the front seat of her car, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children 12 and under should sit in the back seat.  Julie was recounting an episode that happened long before there were CDC recommendations on where children should sit in the car, so please don't take this as an 'OK' to put your 12-and-under child in the front seat.  Thanks! Reference Faber, J. & King, J. (2017). How to talk so little kids will listen. New York: Scribner.  (Affiliate link)
Jan 19, 2017
021: Talk Sex Today!
I was scrolling down my Facebook feed recently when I saw a post in a parenting group saying “My two year-old daughter seems to have a “special relationship” with her rocking horse.  Is she masturbating?”  And I thought to myself “Whoa, two year-olds masturbate?  I gotta do an episode on this!”  So I looked around to see who is writing about this and I found Saleema Noon, who has a Master degree in sexual health education, and who co-wrote the recent book Talk Sex Today (Affiliate link), which is chock-full of information on how to talk with children of all ages about sex. There are lots of resources available on Saleema's website to help with these kinds of conversations, including a 'what kids need to know and when' list, a selection of books (for you and for your child), and other helpful tips and links. References Note: Books that Saleema recommends during the podcast are linked directly to Amazon via affiliate links. Albert, B (2004). With one voice 2004: America’s adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved from: Brown, L.K., & Brown, M. (2000). What's the big secret? Talking about sex with girls and boys. New York: Little, Brown. CBS Miami (2014, May 6). Broward school board approves sex ed overhaul. Retrieved from: Chicago Department of Public Health (2013, June). Sexual education policy in Illinois and Chicago. Retrieved from: Guttmacher Institute (2016, November 1). Sex and HIV Education: State laws and policies. Retrieved from: Mayle, P. & Robins, A. (2000). Where did I come from? New York, NY: Lyle Stuart. Noon, S. & Hickling, M. (2016). Talk Sex Today: What kids need to know and how adults can teach them. Kelowna, BC: Wood Lake Publishing Scarry, R. (2008). This is me. New York, NY: Sterling. Schalet, A.T. (2011). Beyond abstinence and risk: A new paradigm for adolescent sexual health. Women’s Health Issues 21(3), S5-S7. Full article available at: Silverberg, C, & Smyth, F. (2013). What makes a baby. New York, NY: Triangle Square. UNESCO 2009: International technical guidance on sexuality Education: An evidence-informed approach for schools, teachers, and health educators. Retrieved from: Utah Administrative Code (2016, November 1). Rule R277-474. School instruction and human sexuality. Retrieved from:
Jan 15, 2017
020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do?
Parenting is tough, huh?  Sometimes it feels like we spend a lot of our time asking our daughter to do things...and asking again...and finding a more creative way to ask.  We're going to get some great advice on this next week from Julie King, co-author of the new book How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen - but for this week I want to set the stage and think about why we should bother with all of this.  Why not just force our kids to do what we want them to do?  And, is it possible to raise obedient kids who can also think for themselves? Reference Baldwin, A.L. (1948). Socialization and the parent-child relationship. Child Development 19, 127-136. Retrieved from: Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth Society 9(3), 239-267. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X7800900302 Collins, W.A. (Ed.) (1984). Development during middle childhood: The years from six to twelve. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Full book available as a pdf at: Crockenberg, S.C., & Litman, C. (1990). Autonomy as competence in 2-year-olds: Maternal correlates of child defiance, compliance, and self-assertion. Developmental Psychology 26(6), 961-971. DOI: 0.1037/0012-1649.26.6.961 Hare, A.L., Szwedo, D.E., Schad, M.M., & Allen, J.P. (2014). Undermining adolescent autonomy with parents and peers: The enduring implications of psychologically controlling parenting. Journal of Research on Adolesence 24(4), 739-752. DOI: 10.1111/jora.12167 Lamborn, S.D., Mounts, N.S., Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S.M. (1991). Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful families. Child Development 62, 1049-1065. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1991.tb01588.x Lansbury, J. (2014). Setting limits with respect: What it sounds like. Retrieved from: Kochanska, G. (1997). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: Implications for early socialization. Child Development 68(1), 94-112. 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1997.tb01928.x Kochanska, G. (2013). Promoting toddlers’ positive social-emotional outcomes in low-income families: A play-based experimental study. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 42(5), 700-712. DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2013.782815 Kochanska, G., Kim, S., & Boldt, L.J. (2015). (Positive) power to the child: The role of children’s willing stance toward parents in developmental cascades from toddler age to early preadolescence. Developmental Psychopathology 27(4pt.1), 987-1005. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579415000644 Kohn, A. (2005). Unconditional parenting: Moving from rewards and punishments to love and reason. New York: Atria. Parpal, M., & Maccoby, E.E. (1985). Maternal responsiveness and subsequent child compliance. Child Development 56, 1326-1334.  DOI: 10.2307/1130247 Spera, C. (2005). A review of the relationship among parenting practices, parenting styles, and adolescent school achievement. Educational Psychology 17(2), 125-146. DOI: 10.1007/s10648-005-3950-1
Jan 08, 2017
019: Raising your Child in a Digital World: Interview with Dr. Kristy Goodwin
Did your child receive a digital device as a gift over the holidays?  Have you been able to prise it out of his/her hands yet? Regular listeners might recall that we did an episode recently called “Really, how bad is screen time for my child?” where we went into the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines on screen time for very young children, so if you haven’t listened to that one yet you might want to go and do it before you listen to this episode, because this one really builds on that one. Yes, we know we’re not supposed to give our babies under 18 months old access to screens.  But at some point our children are going to start using screens – and we as parents need tools to manage that process, whether we’ve limited screens until now or whether we’ve been using them as a bit of a crutch.  (If you’re in a third category of parents who is totally happy with the amount and type of screen time your children are getting and feel confident about managing this in the future then click along to the next episode, because there’s nothing for you here!)  So all of this is what today’s guest is going to help us to figure out. Dr Kristy Goodwin is one of Australia’s leading digital parenting experts (and mum who also has to deal with her kids’ techno-tantrums!). She’s the author of the brand new book Raising Your Child in a Digital World (Affiliate link).   Dr Kristy arms parents, educators and health professionals with research-based information about what today’s young, digital kids really need to thrive online and offline. Kristy takes the guesswork and guilt out of raising kids in the digital age by arming parents and educators with facts, not fears about how screens are impacting on children’s health, wellbeing and development. References Brewer, J. (2016). Digital Nutrition (website/blog). Retrieved from: Christakis, D., Zimmerman, F.J., DiGuiseppe, D.L., & McCarty, C.A. (2004). Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics 113(4), 708-713. Common Sense Media website: (Also check your app store for their app) Goodwin, K. (2016). Raising your child in a digital world: What you need to know!. Warriewood, NSW: Finch. (Affiliate link) Kindertown website: (Also check your app store for their app)
Jan 01, 2017
018: The Spiritual Child: Possibly exaggerated, conclusions uncertain
Someone in a parenting group on Facebook suggested I do an episode on The Spiritual Child, by Dr. Lisa Miller.  My first thought was that it didn't really sound like my cup of tea but I was willing to read it and at least see what it had to say. I was surprised by the book's thesis that spirituality can play a critical role in a child's and adolescent's development.  But I was astounded that her thesis was actually backed up by scientific research. I invited Dr. Miller to be on the show and she initially agreed - but during my preparation I found that the science supporting spirituality doesn't seem to be quite as clear-cut as the book says it is.  I invited Dr. Miller again for a respectful discussion of the issues but I didn't hear back from her. In this episode I describe the book's major claims, and assess where the science seems to support these and where it doesn't.  I conclude with some practices you can use to deepen your child's spiritual connection, if you decide that this is the right approach for your family. Note: I mainly focused on the research related to child development in this article, but as I was about to publish this episode I found an article claiming that the science behind some of Dr. Miller's other assertions might not be so solid either.   I didn't read all of those studies (because they're not directly related to child development, and it took me a lot of hours to find and read just the ones that were), but the author's conclusions very much mirror my own. References Benson, P.L., Roehlkepartain, E.C., & Scales, P.C. (2012). Spiritual development during childhood and adolescence. In L. Miller (Ed.). The Oxford handbook of psychology and spirituality. New York: Oxford. Berry, D. (2005). Methodological pitfalls in the study of religiosity and spirituality. Western Journal of Nursing Research 27(5), 628-647. DOI: 10.1177/0193945905275519 Boytas, C.J. (2012). Spiritual development during childhood and adolescence. In L. Miller (Ed.). The Oxford handbook of psychology and spirituality. New York: Oxford. Button, T.M.M., Stallings, M.C., Rhee, S.H., Corley, R.P., & Hewitt, J.K. (2011). The etiology of stability and change in religious values and religious attendance. Behavioral Genetics 41(2), 201-210. DOI: 10.1007/s10519-010-9388-3 Cloninger, C.R., Svrakic, D.M., & Przybeck, T.R. (1993). A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Archives of General Psychiatry 50(12), 975-990. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820240059008 Gallup. (2016). Religion. Survey retrieved from (and updated annually at): Kendler, K.S., Gardner, C.O., & Prescott, C.A. (1997). Religion, psychopathology, and substance use and abuse: a multimeasure, genetic-epidemiologic study. American Journal of Psychiatry 154, 322-329. Full article available at:,%20Psychopathology,%20and%20Substance%20Use%20and%20Abuse.pdf Kendler, K.S., Gardner, C.O., & Prescott, C.A. (1999). Clarifying the relationship between religiosity and psychiatric illness: The impact of covariates and the specificity of buffering effects. Twin Research 2, 137-144. DOI: 10.1375/twin.2.2.137 Kidwell, J.S., Dunham, R.M., Bacho, R.A., Pastorino, E., & Portes, P.R. (1995). Adolescent identity exploration: A test of Erikson’s theory of transitional crisis. Adolescence 30(120), 785-793. Koenig, L.B., McGue, M., & Iacono, W.G. (2008). Stability and change in religiousness during emerging adulthood. Developmental Psychology 44(2), 532-543. DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.44.2.532 Mahoney, A. & Tarakeshwar, N. (2005). Religion’s role in marriage and parenting in daily life and during family crises. In R.F. Paloutzain & C.L. Park (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (p.177-198). New York: The Guilford Press. Chapter available online at: http://psychologyofreligion99.blogspot.
Dec 26, 2016
017: Don’t bother trying to increase your child’s self-esteem
Self-Esteem When I first started researching this episode I thought it would be a bit of a slam-dunk.  Self-esteem is a good thing, right? I was really surprised to find that there’s little evidence that self-esteem helps children to do better in school, or even be happier, so there's a good deal of disagreement among psychologists about whether encouraging self-esteem is necessarily a good thing. This episode digs into these issues to understand (as much as scientists currently can) the benefits of self-esteem - and what qualities parents might want to encourage in their children in place of self-esteem to enable better outcomes.  It also touches on our self-esteem as parents - because don't we all want to think that our child is just a little bit special, so we know we're good parents? References Bachman, J.G. & O’Malley, P.M. (1986). Self-concepts, self-esteem, and educational experiences: The frog pond revisited (again). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50, 35-46. Baumeister, R.F., Campbell, J.D., Krueger, J.I., & Vohs, K.D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(1), 1-44. DOI: 10.1111/1529-1006.01431 Beggan, J.K. (1992). On the social nature of nonsocial perception: The mere ownership effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 62(2), 229-237. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.62.2.229 Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology 28(5), 759-775. Retrieved from: Brummelman, E., Thomaes, S., Orobio de Castro, B., Overbeek, G., & Bushman, B.J. (2014). “That’s not just beautiful – that’s incredibly beautiful!”: The adverse impact of inflated praise on children with low self-esteem. Psychological Science Online, 1-8. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613514251 California State Department of Education (1990). Toward a state of esteem: The final report of the California task force to promote self-esteem and personal and social responsibility. Full report available at: Coleman, P.K. & Karraker, K.H. (1997). Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review 18, 47-85. DOI: 10.1006/drev.1997.0448 Cvencek, D., Greenwald, A.G., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2016). Implicit measures for preschool children confirm self-esteem’s role in maintaining a balanced identity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 62, 50-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.09.015 Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine. Forsyth, D.R., & Kerr, N.A. (1999, August). Are adaptive illusions adaptive? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA. Guindon, M.H. (2010). Self-esteem across the lifespan. New York: Routledge. Harter, S. (1993). Causes and consequences of low self-esteem in children and adolescents. In R.F. Baumeister (Ed.), Self-esteem: The puzzle of low self-regard. New York: Plenum. James, W. (1983). The principles of psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1890) Joslin, K.R. (1994). Positive parenting from A to Z. New York: Ballantine. Kutob, R.M., Senf, J.H., Crago, M., & Shisslak, C.M. (2010). Concurrent and longitudinal predictors of self-esteem in elementary and middle school girls. Journal of School Health 80(5), 240-248. DOI: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00496.x Mruk, C.J. (2006). Self-esteem, research, theory, and practice (3rd Ed.). New York: Springer. Neff, K.D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 5(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x Neff, K.D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Self-compassion and psychological resilience amon...
Dec 19, 2016
016: Listening, Growth, and Lifelong Resilience
Have you ever wondered why your child acts up?  Is it because they really want to annoy you or because they're trying to tell you something? In this conversation Dr. Claudia Gold helps us to understand that what we call ADHD - an extreme example of a child's "acting up" - is not a known biological process but rather a collection of behaviors that often go together.  We might call them "symptoms," but they aren't symptoms in the way that a cough is a symptom of pneumonia. Instead, Dr. Gold argues that by medicating the symptoms (i.e. the "difficult behavior") we ignore the underlying problems that are causing them which ultimately doesn't help the child - or the family. Whether your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, whether you suspect it, or whether you're struggling with run-of-the-mill behavior problems, Dr. Gold has practical advice to help you. Reference Gold, C.M. (2016). The silenced child: From labels, medications, and quick-fix solutions to listening, growth, and lifelong resilience. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press.
Dec 11, 2016
015: How to support your introverted child
Do you think your child may be introverted?  Or are you not sure how to tell?  Around one in three people are introverted so if you have two or three children, chances are one of them is introverted.  While Western - and particularly American - society tends to favor extroverts, being an introvert isn't something we can - or should - cure.  It's a personality trait, not a flaw. Join me as we walk through a topic near and dear to my heart, and learn the difference between introversion and shyness, and how to support your introverted child - no matter whether you yourself are introverted or extroverted. References Aron, E.N. (1996). Are you highly sensitive? Retrieved from: Belsky, J., Jonassaint, C., Pluess, M., Stanton, M., Brummett, B., & Williams, R. (2009). Vulnerability genes or plasticity genes? Molecular Psychiatry 14, 746-754. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.44 Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York: Broadway. Dobbs, D. (2009). The science of success. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: Kagan, J., & Snidman, N. (2004). The long shadow of temperament. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press Keogh, B.K. (1986). Temperament and schooling: Meaning of “Goodness of Fit”? In J.V. Lerner and R.M. Lerner (Eds). Temperament and social interaction in infancy and children. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. Laney, M.O. (2002).  The introvert advantage: How to thrive in an extrovert world. New York: Workman. Markway, B.G., & Markway, G.P. (2005). Nurturing the shy child: Practical help for raising confident ans socially skilled kids and teens. New York: St. Martin’s. McCrae, R.R., & Terracciano, A. (2006). National character and personality. Current Directions in Psychological Science 15(4), 156-161. Pluess, M., & Belsky, J. (2009). Differential susceptibility to rearing experience: The case of childcare. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 50(4), 396-404. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01992.x Pluess, M., & Belsky, J. (2010). Differential susceptibility to parenting and quality child care. Developmental Psychology 46(2), 379-390. DOI: 10.1037/a0015203 (a version of Eysenck’s Personality Inventory). Retrieved from: Swallow, W.K. (2000). The shy child: Helping children triumph over shyness. New York: Warner. Swann, W.B. & Rentfrow, P.J. (2001). Blirtatiousness: Cognitive, behavioral, and physiological consequences of rapid responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81(6), 1160-1175. DOI: 10.1037//0022-35I4.81.6.1160 Thomas, A., & Chess, S. (1977). Temperament and development. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Dec 04, 2016
014: Understanding the AAP’s new screen time guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics just updated its screen time recommendations - and, for the first time, we can actually see and understand the research on which the recommendations are based.  They're a bit more nuanced than the previous versions, so join me as we walk through what the recommendations mean for parents of babies and toddlers - whether or not your children have been using screens until now.  We'll look at the impact particularly of TV on cognitive development, obesity, and prosocial vs. antisocial behavior. News flash: if you're not watching and discussing shows WITH your child, he may be learning antisocial behavior from even the most innocuous of PBS programming. This is the first in a two-part series on screen time.  Here we focus on what science says about the impacts on development.  In the second part we'll examine what we can do about mitigating these impacts and on harnessing some of the good that digital media can do for our kids, since they are growing up in a world where the use of digital media is a fact of life. References Alade, F., Rasmussen, E., & Christy, K. (2014). The relation between television exposure and executive function among preschoolers. Developmental Psychology 50(5), 1497-1506. Full article available at: American Academy of Pediatrics (n.d.) Media and Children. Retrieved from: Barr, R. (2013). Memory constraints on infant learning from picture books, television, and touchscreens. Child Development Perspectives 7(4), 205-210. Full article available at: Beales III, J.H., & Kulick, R. (2013). Does advertising on television cause childhood obesity? Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 32(2), 185-194. Blankson, A.N., O’Brien, M., Leerkes, E.M., Calkins, S.D., & Marcovitch, S. (2015). Do hours spent viewing television at ages 3 and 4 predict vocabulary and executive functioning at age 5? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 61(2), 264-289. Bronson, P. & Merryman, A. (2009). Nurtureshock. New York: Twelve. Christakis, D.A., Gilkerson, J., Richards, J.A., Zimmerman, F.J., Garrison, M.M., Xu, D., Gray, S., & Yapanel, U. (2009). Audible television and decreased adult words, infant vocalizations, and conversational turns. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Journal 163(6), 554-559. Full article available at: Gentile, D.A., Coyne, S., & Walsh, D.A. (2010). Media violence, physical aggression, and relational aggression in school age children: A short-term longitudinal study. Aggressive Behavior 37, 193-206. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20380 Halford, J.C.G., Gillespie, J., Brown, V., Pontin, E.E., & Dovey, T.M. (2003). Effect of television advertisements for foods on food consumption in children. Appetite 42, 221-225. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2003.11.006 Halford, J.C.G., Boyland, E.J., Hughes, G., Oliveira, L.P., & Dovey, T.M. (2007). Beyond-brand effect of television (TV) food advertisements/commercials on caloric intake and food choice of 5-7-year-old children. Appetite 49, 263-267. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.12.003 (n.d.). Family media plan. Retrieved from: Janz, K.F., Levy, S.M., Burns, T.L., Torner, J.C., Willing, M.C., & Warren, J.J. (2002). Fatness, physical activity, and television viewing in children during the adiposity rebound period: The Iowa bone development study....
Nov 28, 2016
013: Vanessa Merten of the Pregnancy Podcast
Are you pregnant?  Thinking about getting pregnant?  Do you love Your Parenting Mojo and wish there was a show that could help you to understand how scientific research can help you make decisions about your pregnancy?  Well, there is! In this episode we chat with Vanessa Merten, who hosts The Pregnancy Podcast.  She uses scientific research to examine - sometimes controversial - issues from all sides to help you decide what's best for you. And best of all, she goes beyond looking at individual issues to really synthesizing the outcomes of the research in a way that will make your decision-making much more powerful.  Do you know how receiving IV fluids during your delivery could lead to a pediatrician making the judgment that breastfeeding is not going well and you should supplement with formula? If you want to understand this as well as the links between all kinds of other issues related to your pregnancy, listen in to this interview with Vanessa and then head on over to The Pregnancy Podcast at Reference Dominguez-Bello, M.G., De Jesus-Laboy, K.M., Shen, N., Cox, L.M., Amir, A., Gonzalez, A., Bokulich, N.A., Song, S.J., Hoashi, M., Rivera-Vina, J.I., Mendez, K., Knight, R., & Clemente, J.C. (2016). Partial restoration of the microbiota of cesarean-born infants via vaginal microbial transfer. Nature Medicine 22(3), 250-253. Full study available at:
Nov 20, 2016
012: It’s not about the broccoli: Dr. Dina Rose
Does your child eat any food under the long as it's cheese?  Do you find yourself worrying that you'll never get all the nutrients into her that she needs?  Dr. Dina Rose approaches eating from a sociologist's perspective, which is to say that It's Not About The Broccoli (which also happens to be the name of her book - so that's an affiliate link), it's about habits and relationships.  Join Dr. Rose as she counsels the parent who struggles with her almost four-year-old "highly spirited" son's eating habits.  There is hope for getting this child to eat something other than cheese, and Dr. Rose walks us through the steps to make it happen. Not to be missed even if your child isn't (currently) a picky eater: every worm will turn, as they say, and you may find these strategies helpful to head off any pickiness that starts to emerge in the future.  And listen up for Dr. Rose's offer of a free 30 minute coaching session for parents! And I will personally send a free copy of Dr. Rose's book to the first person who can identify the Monty Python reference in this episode... Rose, D. (2014). It's not about the broccoli. New York: Perigee. (Affiliate link) Rose, D. (2016). It's not about nutrition.  Retrieved from:
Nov 14, 2016
011: Does your child ever throw tantrums? (Part 1)
So, does your child ever throw tantrums?  Yes?  Well, the good news is that you're not alone.  And this isn't something us Western parents have brought upon ourselves with our strange parenting ways; they're actually fairly common (although not universal) in other cultures as well. What causes a tantrum?  And what can parents do to both prevent tantrums from occurring and cope with them more effectively once they start?  Join us today to learn more. References Denham, S.A., & Burton, R. (2003). Social and emotional prevention and intervention programming for preschoolers. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers Green, J.A., Whitney, P.G., & Potegal, M. (2011). Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children’s tantrums. Emotion 11(5), 1124-1133. DOI: 10.1037/a0024173 Goodenough, F. (1931). Anger in young children. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lancy, D.F. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, chattel, changelings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Levine, L.J. (1995). Young children’s understanding of the causes of anger and sadness. Child Development 66(2), 697-709. LeVine, R., & LeVine, S. (2016). Do parents matter? Why Japanese babies sleep soundly, Mexican siblings don’t fight, and American families should just relax. New York: Public Affairs. Lieberman, M.D., Eisenberger, N.E., Crockett, M.J., Tom, S.M., Pfeifer, J.H., & Way, B.M. (2007). Putting feelings into words: Affect labeling disrupts amygdala activity in response to affective stimuli. Psychological Science 18(5), 421-428.
Nov 06, 2016
010: Becoming Brilliant – Interview with Prof. Roberta Golinkoff
In just a few years, today’s children and teens will forge careers that look nothing like those that were available to their parents or grandparents. While the U.S. economy becomes ever more information-driven, our system of education seems stuck on the idea that “content is king,” neglecting other skills that 21st century citizens sorely need. Backed by the latest scientific evidence and illustrated with examples of what’s being done right in schools today, Becoming Brilliant (Affiliate link) introduces the “6Cs” collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence along with ways parents can nurture their children's development in each area. Join me for an engaging chat with award-winning Professor Roberta Golinkoff about the key takeaways from the new book.
Oct 31, 2016
009: Do you punish your child with rewards?
I’ve never said the words “good job” to my toddler. I was lucky – I stumbled on Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards early enough that I was able to break the habit before my daughter had really done anything much that might be construed as requiring a “good job.” I’m going to be absolutely transparent here and say that this episode draws very heavily on Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards, which – along with one of his other books, Unconditional Parenting, are a cornerstone of my approach to parenting. If you have time, you should absolutely buy the book and read it yourself. But assuming you don’t have the time for 300 pages of (really, very good) writing plus a hundred more of notes and references to explain why both physical and verbal rewards are just as harmful to your children as punishing them, this episode will help you to get to the crux of the issue much faster. I’ll also get into the research that Kohn draws on, as well as relevant research that’s been published since the book came out in 1993. Kohn's thesis is that saying "good job" is really no different than punishing your child, since rewards are essentially the same thing - stimuli designed to elicit a response.  He argues that while this approach is actually quite effective in the short term, not only is it not effective in the long term but it doesn’t mesh well with the kinds of relationships that many of us think or say we want to have with our children. References Birch, LL., Marlin, D.W., & Rotter, J. (1984). Eating as the ‘means’ activity in a contingency: Effects on young children’s food preferences. Child Development 55, 432-439. Retrieved from: Brummelman, E., Tomaes, S., Overbeek, G., Orobio de Castro, B., van den Hout, M.A., & Bushman, B.J. (2014). On feeding those hungry for praise: Person praise backfires in children with low self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Psychology 143(1), 9-14. Condry, J. (1977). Enemies of exploration: Self-initiated versus other-initiated learning. Personality and Social Psychology 35(7), 459-477. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine. Eisenberger, R. & Rhoades, L. (2001). Incremental effects of reward on creativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81(4), 728-741. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.81.4.728 Gottfried, A.E., Fleming, J.S., & Gottfried, A.W. (1994). Role of parental motivational practices in children’s academic intrinsic motivation and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology 86(1), 104-113. Gray, P. (2016). Children’s natural ways of educating themselves still work: Even for the three Rs. In D.C. Geary & D.B. Berch (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on child development and education (67-93). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. Jeffery, R.W., Drewnowski, A., Epstein, L.H., Stunkard, A.J., Wilson, G.T., Wing, R.R., & Hill, D.R. (2000). Long-term maintenance of weight loss: Current status. Health Psychology 19(1 Suppl.), 5-16. DOI: 10.1037//0278-6133.19.1(Suppl.).5 Kazdin, A.E. (1982). The token economy: A decade later. Applied Behavior Analysis 15, 431-445. Full article available at: Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by Rewards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Affiliate link) Kohn, A. (2001). Five reasons to stop saying “Good Job!”. Retrieved from: Pomerantz, E.M., & Kempner, S.G. (2013). Mother’s daily person and process praise: Implications for children’s theory of intelligence and motivation. Developmental Psychology 49(1), 2040-2046. Rietzschel, E.F., Zacher, H., & Stroebe, W. (2016). A lifespan perspective on creativity and innovation at work. Work, Aging and Retirement 2(2), 105-129. Schwartz, B. (1982). Reinforcement-induced behavioral stereotypy: How not to teach people to discover rules.
Oct 24, 2016
008: The impact of stress and violence on children
I’m afraid this is an episode I wish I didn’t have to record. When I launched the podcast I asked anyone who has a question about parenting or child development that I might be able to answer by reviewing the scientific literature to reach out and let me know, and someone got in touch to ask about the impact of domestic violence on children. I was a little hesitant to do an episode on it at first because I was hoping that this would be something that wouldn’t really affect the majority of my audience. But as I did a search of the literature I found that domestic violence is depressingly common and more children are exposed to it than we would like. And if you’re getting ready to hit that ‘pause’ button and move on to a different episode, don’t do it yet – there’s also research linking exposure to domestic violence dragging down the test scores of everyone else in that child’s class. So even if you’re not hitting anyone or being hit yourself, this issue probably impacts someone in your child’s class, and thus it impacts your child, and thus it impacts you. Listen on to learn more about the effects of stress in general on children, and the effects of domestic violence in particular. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.799.7233. References Anda, R.F., Felitti, V.J., Bremner, J.D., Walker, J.D., Whitfield, C., Perry, B.D., Dube, S.R., & Giles, W.H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 256(3), 174-186. DOI: 10.1007/s00406-005-0624-4 Carrell, S.E., & Hoekstra, M.L. (2009). Externalities in the classroom: How children exposed to domestic violence affect everyone’s kids. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Discussion Paper Series, DP2009004. Retrieved from: Edleson, J.L, Ellerton, A.L., Seagren, E.A., Kirchberg, S.L., Schmidt, S.O., & Ambrose, A.T. (2007). Assessing child exposure to adult domestic violence. Children and Youth Services Review 29, 961,971. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2006.12.009 Essex, M.J., & Klein, M.H. (2002). Maternal stress beginning in infancy may sensitize children to later stress exposure: Effects on cortisol and behavior. Biological Psychiatry 52, 776-784. Full article available at: Evans, S.E., Davies, C., & DiLillo, D. (2008). Exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent outcomes. Aggression and Violent Behavior 13, 131-130. DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2008.02.005 Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S., (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse and Neglect 32, 797-810. Lupien, S.J., McEwen, B.S., Gunnar, M.R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behavior and cognition. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience 10, 434-445. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2639 Martinez-Torteya, C., Bogat, G.A., von Eye, A., & Levendosky, A.A. (2009). Resilience among children exposed to domestic violence: The role of risk and protective factors. Child Development 80(2), 562-577. Obradovic, J., Bush, N.R., Stamperdahl, J., Adler, N.E., & Boyce, W.T. (2010). Biological sensitivity to context: The interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socio-emotional behavior and school readiness. Child Development 81(1), 270-289. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01394.x. Rossman, B.B.R, & Rosenberg, M.S. () Family stress and functioning in children: The moderating effects of children’s beliefs about their control over parental confli...
Oct 17, 2016
007: Help! My toddler won’t eat vegetables
(Believe it or not, this is Carys' "I freaking love homemade spinach ravioli with broccoli" face!)   I was sitting in a restaurant recently with half an eye on a toddler and his parents at the next table. The parents were trying to get the toddler to eat some of his broccoli before he ate the second helping of chicken that he was asking for. All of a sudden a line from Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall” popped into my head: If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat? This is the way I was raised; you finish everything on your plate and you certainly don’t get dessert if you don’t finish your meal. But as is the custom with the Your Parenting Mojo podcast, I want to use this episode to question why we do this and find out what scientific research has to say about it all. We want our toddlers to eat a balanced diet, and we assume we have to teach them what a balanced diet means. But do we really? Or can we trust that our children will eat the foods that they need to be healthy? These are some of the questions we’ll set out to answer in this episode. References Benton, D. (2004). Role of parents in the determination of the food preferences of children and the development of obesity. International Journal of Obesity 28, 858-869. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802532 Birch LL. (1980). Effects of peer models’ food choices and eating behaviors on preschoolers’ food preferences. Child Development 51, 489–496. Birch, LL., Marlin, D.W., & Rotter, J. (1984). Eating as the ‘means’ activity in a contingency: Effects on young children’s food preferences. Child Development 55, 432-439. Retrieved from: Birch, L.L., & Fisher, J.O. (1998). Development of eating behaviors among children and adolescents. Pediatrics 101 Issue supplement 2. Retrieved from: Birch, L.L., Fisher, J.O., Grimm-Thomas, K., Markey, C.N., Sawyer, R., & Johnson, S.L. (2001). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Child Feeding Questionnaire: A measure of parental attitudes, beliefs and practices about child feeding and obesity proneness. Appetite 36, 201-210. DOI: 10.1006/appe.2001.0398 Davis, C.M. (1939). Results of the self-selection of diets by young children. Canadian Medical Association Journal 41, 257-61. Full article available at: Fisher, J.O., & Birch, L.L. (1999). Restricting access to foods and children’s eating. Appetite 32(3), 405-419. DOI: 10.1006/appe.1999.0231 Hughes, S.O., Power, T.G., Orlet Fisher, J., Mueller, S., & Nicklas, T.A. (2005). Revisiting a neglected construct: Parenting styles in a child feeding context. Appetite 44(1), 83-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2004.08.007 Jansen, E., Mulkens, S., & Jansen, A. (2007). Do not eat the red food!: Prohibition of snacks leads to their relatively higher consumption in children. Appetite 49(3), 572-577. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2007.03.229 Jansen, E., Mulkens, S., Emond, Y., & Jansen, A. (2008). From the Garden of Eden to the land of plenty: Restriction of fruit and sweets intake leads to increased fruit and sweets consumption in children. Appetite 51(3), 570-575. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.04.012 Newman, J., & Taylor, A. (1992). Effect of a means-end contingency on young children’s food preferences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 64, 200-216. DOI: 10.1016/0022-0965(92)90049-C Pink Floyd (1979). Another brick in the wall – Part 2. London, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Lyrics retrieved from: Savage, J.S., Fisher, J.O., & Birch, L.L. (2007). Parental influence on eating behavior. Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics 35(1), 22-34. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2007.00111.x U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S.
Oct 10, 2016
006: Wait, is my toddler racist?
I'd always assumed that if I didn't mention race to my daughter, if it was just a non-issue, that she wouldn't grow up to be racist.  Boy, was I wrong about that.  It turns out that our brains are wired to make generalizations about people, and race is a pretty obviously noticeable way of categorizing people.  If your child is older than three, try tearing a few pictures of white people and a few more of black people out of a magazine and ask him to group them any way he likes.  Based on the research, I'd put money on him sorting the pictures by race. So what have we learned about reversing racism once it has already developed?  How can we prevent our children from becoming racist in the first place?  And where do they learn these things anyway? (Surprise: "We have met the enemy, and he is us.") References Aboud, F.E. (2003). The formation of in-group favoritism and out-group prejudice in children: Are they distinct attitudes? Developmental Psychology 39(1), 48-60. Bigler, R. (1999). The user of multicultural curricula and materials to counter racism in children. Journal of Social Issues 55(4), 687-705. Castelli, L., Zogmaister, C., & Tomelleri, S. (2009). The transmission of racial attitudes within the family. Developmental Psychology 45(2), 586-591. Faber, J. (2006). “Kramer” apologizes, says he’s not racist. CBS News. Retrieved from: Frontline (1985). A class divided. Available at: Hebl, M.R., Foster, J.B., Mannix, L.M., & Fovidio, J.F. (2002). Formal and interpersonal discrimination: A field study of bias toward homosexual applicants. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(6), 815-825. Full article available at: Hebl, M.R., & Mannix, L.M. (2003). The weight of obesity in evaluating others: A mere proximity effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29(1), 28-38. Full article available at: Hebl, M.R., & Xu, J. (2001). Weighing the care: Physicians’ reactions to the size of a patient. International Journal of Obesity 25, 1246-1252. Pahlke, E., Bigler, R.S., & Suizzo, M.A. (2012). Relations between colorblind socialization and children’s racial bias: Evidence from European American mothers and their preschool children. Child Development 83(4), 1164-1179. Full article available at: Piaget, J. (1950). The child’s conception of the world. New York: Humanities Press. Piaget, J. (1970). Piaget’s theory. In P.H. Mussen (ed.), Carmichael’s manual of child psychology (p.703-732). New York: Wiley. Priest, N., Walton, J., White, F., Kowal, E., Baker, A., & Parides, Y. (2014). Understanding the complexities of ethnic-racial socialization processes for both minority and majority groups: A 30-year systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 43, 139-155. TMZ (2012). Michael Richards spews racist hate. Retrieved from: Vedantam, S. (2010). The hidden brain. New York: Spiegel and Grau. von Hippel, W., Silver, L.A., & Lynch, M.E. (2000). Stereotyping against your will: The role of inhibitory ability in stereotyping and prejudice among the elderly. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 26(5), 523-532. Full article available at:
Oct 03, 2016
005: How to "scaffold" children’s learning to help them succeed
When I started talking with people about the idea for this podcast, one theme that came up consistently was the idea of supporting our children’s growth and development. A friend of mine summed it up most concisely and articulately by asking “how do I know when to lead and when I should step back and let my daughter lead?” This episode covers the concept of "scaffolding," which is a method parents can use to observe and support their children's development by providing just enough assistance to keep the child in their "Zone of Proximal Development." This tool can help you to know you're providing enough support...but not so much that your child will never learn to be self-sufficient. References Berk, L.E., & Winsler, A. (1995). Scaffolding children’s learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Brown, J.S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher 18(4), 32-42. Courtin (2000). The impact of sign language on the cognitive development of deaf children: The case of theories of mind. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 5,3 266-276. Retrieved from: Greenough, W.T., Black, J.E., & Wallace, C.S. (1987). Experience and Brain Development. Child Development 58, 539-559. Full article available at: Hirsh-Pasek, K. & Golinkoff, R.M. (2003). Einstein never used flash cards. Emmaus, PA: Rodale. Johnson, J.S. & Newport, E.L. (1989). Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational stage on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology 21, 60-99. Full article available at: Lancy, D.F. (2015). The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press McCarthy, E.M. (1992). Anatomy of a teaching interaction: The components of teaching in the ZPD. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April, San Francisco, CA. Pratt, M.W., Green, D., MacVicar, J., & Bountrogianni, M. (1992). The mathematical parent: Parental scaffolding, parent style, and learning outcomes in long-division mathematics homework. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 13, 17-34. Retrieved from: Roberts, R.N. & Barnes, M.L. (1992). “Let momma show you how”: Maternal-child interactions and their effects on children’s cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 13, 363-376. Retrieved from: Thompson, R.A., & Nelson, C. (2001). Developmental science and the media: Early brain development. American Psychologist 55(1) 5-15. Full article available at:
Sep 26, 2016
004: How to encourage creativity and artistic ability in young children – Interview with Dr. Tara Callaghan
I'm so excited to welcome my first guest on the Your Parenting Mojo podcast: Professor Tara Callaghan of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.   Professor Callaghan has spent a great number of years studying the emergence of artistic ability in young children and she shares some of her insights with us.  This is a rather longer episode than usual so here are some places you might want to skip ahead to if you have specific interest: 3:55: The connection between individuality and creativity, especially in Western cultures 9:00: What is "symbolic representation" and why is the development of symbolic representation an important milestone for young children? 12:10: Is it helpful for parents to ask a child "What are you drawing?" 15:25: When do children understand symbols? 31:15: What can parents do to support children's development of symbolic representation in particular and artistic ability in general? References Brownlee, P. (2016). Magic Places. Good Egg Books: Thames, NZ (must be ordered directly from the publisher in New Zealand; see: Callaghan, T.C., Rackozy, H., Behne, T., Moll, H, Lizkowski, U., Warneken, F., & Tomasello, (2011). Early social cognition in three cultural contexts. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 76(2), Serial Number 299. Callaghan, T. & Corbit, J. (2015). The development of symbolic representation. In Vol. 2 (L. Liben & U. Muller, Vol. Eds.) of the 7th Edition (R. Lerner, Series Ed) of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (pp. 250-294). New York: Wiley. Callaghan, T., & M. Rankin (2002). Emergence of graphic symbol functioning and the question of domain specificity: A longitudinal training study. Child Development, March/April 2002, 73:2, 359-376. Callaghan, T., P. Rochat & J. Corbit (2012). Young children’s knowledge of the representational function of pictoral symbols: Development across the preschool years in three cultures.  Journal of Cognition and Development, 13:3, 320-353. Available at:,%20ROCHAT,%20&%20CORBIT,%202012.pdf DeLoache, J. S., (2004).  Becoming symbol-minded. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 66-70. Retrieved from: Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2005). Theory of mind. Current Biology 15(17), R644.R645. Full article available at: Ganea, P.A., M.A. Preissler, L. Butler, S. Carey, and J.S. DeLoache (2009). Toddlers’ referential understanding of pictures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 104(3):283-295. Full article available at: Golomb, C. (2003). The child’s creation of a pictoral world. London: Psychology Press. Jolley, R.P. (2010). Children and pictures: Drawing and understanding. Wiley-Blackwell, Cichester, England. Jolley, R. P. & S. Rose (2008). The relationship between production and comprehension of representational drawing. In Children’s understanding and production of pictures, drawings, and art (C. Milbrath & H.M. Trautner (Eds)). Boston, MA, Hogrefe Publishing.  Chapter available at: Kellogg, R. (1970). Analyzing Children’s Art. Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, CA. Preissler, M.A., and P. Bloom. Two-year-olds use artist intention to understand drawings. Cognition 106:512-518. Full article available at: Rochat, P. & T. Callaghan (2005). What drives symbolic development? The case of pictoral comprehension and production. In L. Namy (Ed.) Symbol use and symbolic representation. Mahwah, NJ,
Sep 18, 2016
003: Did you miss the boat on teaching your toddler how to read? (Me too!)
So did you teach your toddler to read yet? And if not, why not? I’m just kidding, of course. I wanted to write this episode on encouraging literacy in middle to older toddlers, but the more I researched the more I found the issues go much further back than what you do in toddlerhood. Then I found - and read! - a 45,000 word essay by Larry Sanger, who taught his baby son to read.  I'm not kidding.  Check out the link to the video on YouTube in the references. My two-year-old can't read yet.  Did I miss the boat?  Would her learning outcomes have been better if I had taught her as a baby? Is TV a good medium to teach reading and vocabulary? What are some of the things parents of young toddlers can do to encourage reading readiness when the child is ready? We talk about all this and more in episode 3, and there's more to come for older toddlers in a few episodes time. References American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). Media and Children. Accessed August 19th, 2016. Retrieved from: Carlsson-Paige, N., G. Bywater McLaughlin, and J. Wolfsheimer Almon (2015). Reading instruction in kindergarten: Little to gain and much to lose. Available online at: Christakis, D.A. (2008). The effects of infant media usage: What do we know and what should we learn? Acta Paediatrica 98, 8-16. Full article available at: Federal Trade Commission (2014). Defendants settle FTC charges related to “Your Baby Can Read” program. Available online at: Gray, P. (2010). Children teach themselves to read. Blog post on Psychology Today available at: Gray, P. (2015). Early academic training produces long-term harm. Blog post on Psychology Today available at: Harris, J., Golinkoff, R.M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2011). Lessons from the crib for the classroom: How children really learn vocabulary. In S.B. Neuman & D.K. Dickinson (Eds.) Handbook of early literacy research Vol. 3. (49-65). New York: Guilford. Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Eyer, D. (2003). Einstein never used flash cards. Emmaus, PA: Rodale. National Center for Education Statistics (2016). Status dropout rates. Available at: Neuman, S., Kaefer, T., Pinkham, A., & Strouse, G.A. (2014). Can babies learn to read? A randomized trial of baby media. Journal of Educational Psychology 106(3), 815-830. Full article available at: Sanger, L (2010). How and why I taught my toddler to read. Available online at: Sanger, L. (2010). 3-year-old reading the Constitution – reading progress from age 2 to age 4. Available at: WatchKnowLearn (2016). Reading Bear. Website available at: Zimmerman, F.J., Christakis, D.A., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2007). Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. Journal of Pediatrics 151, 364-368.
Sep 12, 2016
002: Why doesn’t my toddler share?
Imagine this: you’re with your toddler son or daughter at a playground on a Saturday afternoon so there are a lot of people around.  You’re sitting on a bench while your child plays in the sandpit where several others are playing as well.  You’re half paying attention while you catch up with some texts on your phone.  You hear a scream and when you look up you see a child you don’t know clutching tightly onto the spade your child had been playing with, and your child is about to burst into tears. Or this: You’re at the playground on a Saturday afternoon and your child is in the sand pit, but when you hear the scream you look up to see your child holding the spade, and a child you don’t know has clearly just had it removed from his possession. What do you do? Assuming you want your children to learn how to share things, what's the best way to encourage that behavior?  What signs can you look for to understand whether they're developmentally ready?  Does praising a child who proactively shares something encourage her to do it again - or make her less likely to share in the future?  We'll answer all these questions and more. References for this episode Brownell, C., S. Iesue, S. Nichols, and M. Svetlova (2012). Mine or Yours? Development of Sharing in Toddlers in Relation to Ownership Understanding. Child Development 84:3 906-920.  Full article available at: Crary, E. (2013). The secret of toddler sharing: Why sharing is hard and how to make it easier. Parenting Press, Seattle, WA. Davis, L., and J. Keyser (1997).  Becoming the parent you want to be. Broadway Books, New York, NY. Klein, T (2014). How toddlers thrive. Touchstone, New  York, NY. Kohn (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, As, praise, and other bribes. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. Lancy, D. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. Warenken, F., K. Lohse, A. Melis, and M. Tomasello (2011). Young Children Share the Spoils After Collaboration. Psychological Science 22:2 267-273.  Abstract available at:
Aug 18, 2016
001: The influence of culture on parenting
Have you ever thought about how common the murder of children has been in societies we now call “Western” in the past, as well as societies all over the world today? In my naivete as a parent I figured there would be some differences in how people parent their children around the world, but I never imagined that people in my own back yards would parent completely differently from me.  And I sort of figured that the 'around the world' differences were mostly a function of the availability of products and services - wouldn't everyone encourage artistic ability if they had access to paper and crayons?  Turns out it's not the case. Elders and even ancestors occupied the top of the family heap in most societies for most of our history.  In Western (also called "WEIRD") societies, we've reversed this paradigm and children find themselves ruling the roost.  Yet we're also starting to "borrow" elements of other cultures - like baby-wearing and elimination communication.  I'll also examine how several other cultures approach topics like transmitting knowledge and shaping behavior. You might ask yourself "but why do I care whether a three year-old Warao child in Venezuela can paddle a canoe?"  It was learning about these kinds of cultural differences that allowed me to take a step back and see the information I'm transmitting to my own daughter that's based on my culture, and think through whether these are the kinds of messages I want to send to her.  How did your culture and experience shape you, and have you made a conscious decision to include these elements of your culture in your parenting style or are you just running on autopilot? References for this episode Bryant, A (no date). 7 reasons not to compare your child with others… Available at: Heath, Shirley B (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. Lancy, D. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. McNaughton, S (1996). Ways of parenting and cultural identity. Culture Psychology 2:2 173-201.  Available at: Zero to Three (2016). How our history influences how we raise our children. Available at:
Aug 18, 2016
000: Philosophy (aka "What’s this Podcast All About?")
I always thought the infant phase would be the hardest part of parenting, when all the baby does is eat and sleep and cry.  Now I have a toddler I'm finding it's harder than having a baby, some of the support systems that I had when she was a baby aren't there any more, and the parenting skills I need are totally different.  How do I even know what I need to learn to not mess up this parenting thing?  Should I go back to school to try to figure it all out? In this episode I'll tell you the history and principles behind the podcast and what we'll learn together. Note: When I revamped the website I decided that after two years of shows, some of the information in this episode was out of date.  I recently re-recorded it to highlight the resources I've created for you. Please do subscribe to the show by entering your name and email address in the box below to receive updates when new podcast episodes and blog posts are published, as well as calls for questions and occasional requests for co-interviewers.  And if you'd like to continue the conversation, come join us in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook Group!
Aug 15, 2016