Family stress: An evidence based guide to stress in parents and children

© 2008-14 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Family stress in evolutionary perspective The baby won’t stop crying. Your family needs you, but you’ll endanger your job (and paycheck) if you don’t go to work. You make a mad rush to get your child’s toothache treated, but you arrive too late and the office is closed. Read More »

Nighttime fears in children: A practical guide for the science-minded

© 2008 – 2014 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Nighttime fears are very common, and may include fears of intruders, monsters, unexplained sounds, and darkness. In this article, I review The evolutionary basis for children’s fears Why kids may be biologically unprepared to cope by themselves, and How you can help your child overcome Read More »

Praise and intelligence: Why telling kids they are smart make them act dumb

© 2008 – 2013 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Years ago, Americans were reluctant to praise their kids’ intelligence. Like many people around the world, Americans believed that fawning over children would make them arrogant or narcissistic. But then something happened. American educators were seduced by the Self Esteem movement. They started promoting the Read More »

The case for teaching empathy: Why empathy doesn’t just “happen”

© 2009 -2013 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Teaching empathy? A skeptic might wonder if it makes any difference. Can’t we assume that empathy will emerge automatically, as part of the developmental process? After all, even babies show signs of empathy. For instance, experiments confirm that newborn babies are more likely to cry if Read More »

Should parents be friends with their kids?

Some thoughts on the right and wrong ways to befriend children © 2009 – 2013 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Should parents be friends–or buddies–with their kids? In their book, The Narcissism Epidemic, authors Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell note that parents contribute to the problem when they try to befriend their kids. Read More »

Is the Easter Bunny a fraud? Does Santa make kids gullible?


© 2010 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Do you remember when you stopped believing in the Easter Bunny? Santa Claus? If you grew up speaking English (or any of the Germanic languages), these fantasy characters probably played a role in your early childhood. A positive role? I’ll bet most of us would say yes. Read More »

Excessive infant crying & irritability: Which comes first — the unhappy baby or the stressed-out parent?

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some people believe that excessive infant crying and irritability are caused by anxious or moody parents. According to this idea, young babies cry because their parents are anxious or depressed and transmit their negative emotions to their infants. Plausible? Sure. It’s clear that distress is contagious. But Read More »

Attachment parenting resources


© 2008 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved In my article, “The science of attachment parenting,” I discuss the scientific research in favor of sensitive, responsive parenting. Here I offer a list of attachment parenting resources to interested parents. General information William and Martha Sears (M.D. and R.N.) Attachment parenting is perhaps most popularly associated Read More »