“I know the day will come when he won’t talk to me anymore.” Parents say this to me in my pediatric office all the time. There is an idea that one day teenagers, particularly boys, won’t want to talk with their parents anymore. But that is simply not true.
Parents can create a family culture of communication so that kids will keep wanting to talk with them as they get older. And that’s not only great news, it’s essential. Because when things get tough for our kids, it’s important that they know they can come to us.
When our children are afraid, parents will do whatever they can to help them feel better. If children struggle with fear in an ongoing way, it can create a problem for the whole family. Parents want to both comfort their child and make sure that they gain the skills to manage in the world. But how?
The popular movie Dune holds a surprising answer: the content of the famous Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. The litany may be fiction, but it’s packed with solid psychological advice. If parents use Dune, they can engage their child’s imagination and teach them how to overcome fear.
Most parents believe that setting their kids up for a successful life means sending them to a good school. If their student attains academic achievement then they are on their way to a happy life, or so we believe. Then in 2019 the National Academy of Sciences designated kids at high-achieving U.S. high schools as an ‘ at-risk ‘ group for mental health problems.
Now, new research suggests the problem with high-achievement cultures is an international one and is particularly intense around math. The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, identifies “a complex process in which national culture promoting high math achievement drives down interest in math schoolwork.” And the problem is worse for girls than for boys.
More than anything, parents want to do their best for their kids. But every parent I know lives in the pressures of the ShouldStorm, which bombards them with shoulds. Always telling them what they should and should not be doing to maximize their child’s development.
Now, new research from the University of Chicago has shed light on a sinister way the ShouldStorm actually drives parents to undermine their child’s development, all while thinking they are helping. It all comes down to what parents are told is good for kids.
Simon’s mom stepped into the hallway so he could talk with me alone. I asked him the usual pediatrician checkup questions. But when we got to the questions about alcohol or smoking, Simon shared that he had been vaping for more than a year.
Simon told me he was scared. At 13 years old he had developed chest pain and a cough he and his friends called vape cough. That was because they vaped too, and they also had the painful cough.
Unfortunately, research shows that it’s tough to get kids to quit vaping, due to how addictive it is. So the key for parents is to try to keep their kids off vape and juul in the first place. New research, which I recently covered for Forbes, has found that what parents and pediatricians have been doing isn’t working.
But the good news is that the research also shows what DOES work. When parents make their kids feel supported and help them set positive goals for their futures, kids are much less likely to vape. In this post, we’ll look at how to actually do that.
It’s a familiar visit in my pediatric office. The frustrated parent brings their child to see me because they won’t go to school. The young person, usually a pre-teen or adolescent, has been increasingly anxious about school. And now, the child can’t even get up in the morning, so the missed days of school are piling up.
What parent doesn’t want a foolproof way to tell when their child is lying? Now researchers have identified distinct sound signatures we use when we are lying or telling the truth.
The folded socks were lined up in an evenly spaced row running down the hallway. Again. It had been happening for days. I’d gather the socks up and before I knew it they were laid out on the floor again. Clearly someone was playing a trick on me, but which of my kids was it? When I asked my son about it he hesitated and looked to the side, and there was something about his voice when he said it wasn’t him that made me feel sure he was lying.
Being able to tell when kids are lying is a skill every parent wants. It’s true that some lies are easy to pick up on: a child whose room has just been designated a disaster area by FEMA is lying when they say they have cleaned it. But other lies are much harder to detect.
One of the most common questions I get as a pediatrician is how to get a child to poop on the potty. It’s so common that kids will pee on the potty with glee, but absolutely refused to put their poop anywhere near it.
For generations, we have seen depression as an illness, an unnecessary deviation from normal functioning. It’s an idea that makes sense because depression causes suffering and even death. But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if depression is not an aberration at all, but an important part of our biological defense system?