At what age do children begin to tell lies?

Closeup of child looking sideways by Big D2112

Most kids begin telling lies between the ages of 2 and 4, as they develop better “mind-reading” skills and self-control. But understanding the morality of lying? That comes later.

Machiavellian kids? Understanding the moral reasoning of bullies

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Far from being social oafs, many bullies are confident, popular, and socially-savvy. So what’s missing? Empathy, moral engagement, and a sense of  responsibility towards others. According to an old stereotype, people bully others because they have poor self-esteem and lack basic social skills. They don’t know how Read More »

Why kids rebel (and what we can to encourage cooperation)

© 2018 – 2021 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Is childhood rebellion inevitable? Not really. Most kids are ready to be cooperative. But they recognize limits to our power: They resist when they perceive us as trying to control their personal lives. So what’s the solution? Be fair-minded. Listen to their requests. Give kids Read More »

Bad role models: What happens when adults lie to children?

kids listening and looking skeptical, by Elaine Sanchez, DOD

© 2018 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What happens when adults lie to children? The evidence suggests that kids become more dishonest with us, and not only that: When we make a practice of telling children lies, kids may be at a higher risk of developing aggressive and antisocial behavior problems. How Read More »

How to help kids make friends: 12 evidence-based tips

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved How can we help kids make friends? It might seem we can do very little. Making friends is a very personal business, after all. But building a friendship depends on a child’s emotional skills, self-regulation skills, and social competence. And parents can play an important role in Read More »

Not actually angry: Black children and boys more frequently misjudged

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Race and gender biases can make us perceive anger where none exists. They also lead many adults to perceive Black children as less “childlike” — less innocent and vulnerable.  How many “behavior problems” are caused by adults getting it wrong? Picture this. You are sitting in a Read More »

Disruptive behavior problems: 12 evidence-based tips for handling aggression, defiance, and acting out

silhouette of two young boys -- one child approaching the other with an aggressive posture - image by JohnD / flickr

© 2016 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Psychologists call them “externalizing” behaviors — acts of disruption, aggression, defiance, or anti-social intent. Just about every parent has to cope with them at some point, particularly during the toddler years. Young children are still developing the ability to regulate their emotions and impulses; they Read More »

Permissive parenting: An evidence-based guide

© 2010 -19 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Permissive parenting seems to be the “no discipline” approach to discipline. Does it damage kids? Threaten to destroy civilization? The research suggests that permissiveness isn’t the best approach to parenting–at least not in places like the United States. But much as we might get annoyed by Read More »

Violent video games : What are the effects?

© 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Do violent video games have negative effects on kids? The question has been debated for decades, and it’s still controversial. One of the central problems is establishing causation in the absence of randomized, controlled experiments that track long-term outcomes. We simply don’t have that kind of information. Read More »