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

downcast boy sitting in chair with back to viewer

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?

The authoritarian parenting style: What does it look like?

© 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 … Continue reading

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

little girl with father, looking intently through a magnifying glass at the leaves on a bush

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 instill the right, “growth mindset” in students haven’t always worked. Why not?

The science of attachment parenting

mother kissing happy toddler

“Attachment parenting,” or AP, is an approach to child-rearing intended to forge strong, secure attachments between parents and children. For many parents, this approach feels intuitive. And anthropological research suggests that “attachment” practices — such as baby-wearing and co-sleeping — have deep roots in our evolutionary past (Konner 2005). But does AP contribute to better … Continue reading

Taming aggression in children: 5 strategies for effective parenting

exhausted, stressed mother holds hands over her eyes while young child screams in the background

© 2016 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Aggression in children can take many forms: Angry tantrums; hitting, kicking, or biting; hot-headed outbursts that destroy property; cool-headed bullying; verbal attacks; attempts to control others through threats or violence. What sets children off? In some cases, kids lash out because they’re frustrated by a … Continue reading