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 »

The permissive parenting style: Does it ever benefit kids?

daughter imagining something happy while loving mother watchers over her - by KJ Roelke creative commons no derivatives

© 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some studies have linked the permissive parenting style with optimal child outcomes. But the results depend on how researchers define “permissive.” Kids don’t benefit when parents ignore anti-social behavior. But being supportive of autonomy? That’s different. Studies suggest that kids thrive when parents are less bossy and punitive, and more Read More »

Secure attachment relationships protect kids from toxic stress

Secure attachment relationship - mother kissing infant by DieselDemon

© 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Parents can help children recover from stress by offering physical affection and words of support. But is there more? Maybe secure attachment relationships also help kids develop the ability to self-soothe. What happens when you soothe your baby’s tears? When you make eye contact, engage your baby Read More »

Correcting behavior: The magic words that help kids cope with mistakes

sad, thoughtful toddler, head down, looking into the middle distance

© 2011 – 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Sometimes children disappoint us. They make mistakes, misbehave, or simply fail to meet our standards. How to handle these disappointments? You might be candid and tell kids how you feel. “I’m disappointed in you.” But experiments suggest this is not the best approach. The trouble Read More »

Spanking children: Why does it happen, and what are the effects?

sad toddler among flowers by Guian Bolisay

© 2010 – 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Spanking children doesn’t help them learn self-control or social skills, and studies consistently show that spanking increases a child’s risk of developing behavior problems. But how can we be sure that spanking is harmful, and what can parents do instead when their children misbehave? “Spanking” Read More »

Traditional Chinese parenting: What research says about children and why they succeed

© 2011 – 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Why people are interested in traditional Chinese parenting “Chinese Americans are overrepresented in many of the nation’s elite universities” note Yong Zhao and Wei Qiu. The kids get higher SAT math scores, and are disproportionately represented among U.S. National Merit Scholars (Zhao and Qiu 2009).  Read More »

Postpartum depression symptoms: When is it more than the “baby blues?”

black and white mother lying in bed with newborn

© 2018 – 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Postpartum depression symptoms overlap with symptoms of the “baby blues,” the mood swings that mothers experience in the first few days after childbirth.  But when symptoms persist beyond two weeks — or take a more severe turn — it’s time to get screened for depression. Read More »

Punitive environments encourage children to tell lies

boy behind wooden bars

© 2018 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED It’s natural for young children to experiment with telling lies. But their readiness to lie depends a lot on the social environment. When adults attempt to control children through threats and punishments, kids are more likely to cover-up their transgressions. By contrast, children are less likely to Read More »

The authoritarian parenting style: What does it look like?

authoritarian parenting style in action - silhouette of father scolding son

© 2010-2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The authoritarian parenting style: Little nurturing, lots of psychological control You might have a good handle on what it means to favor authoritarian government:  The blind submission to authority. The stifling of autonomous, critical thinking. The attempt control people through threats and fear. But how does this compare with Read More »

Growth mindset: Can a theory of intelligence boost your ability to learn?

young girl investigating pond life with a net

© 2008-2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What you believe about cognitive performance – the theory of intelligence that you adopt – can have brain-altering effects, and enhance your ability to learn. Yet programs designed to promote the right, “growth mindset” in students haven’t always worked.  Why not? I think the answer has to Read More »

Positive parenting tips: Getting better results with humor, empathy, and diplomacy

Example of positive parenting - mother and child discovering something together during lunch (the sounds of chewing)

© 2018 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Who needs positive parenting tips? What’s the fuss about, anyway? Positive parenting means slightly different things to different people. But the core idea might be summed up this way: Positive parenting emphasizes warm, positive family interactions, and guides children by rewarding and reinforcing their better impulses.  The Read More »