Permissive parenting: An evidence-based guide

parents posing for photo in foreground, unaware that children are burning up the BBQ in the background

Permissive parenting might seem like the “no discipline” approach. A threat to civilization? Probably not, but outcomes depends on we you define this parenting style.

Evidence that spanking alters the brain

toddler in profile, eyes closed, with a view of his brain superimposed over his head

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved As disciplinary tactics go, spanking is ineffective, and it may be harmful, too. A new study suggests that spanking alters the brain, making kids more reactive to potential threats, and more at risk for developing behavior problems. Over the years, I’ve followed the research on spanking, and … Continue reading

ADHD in children: What parents need to know about attention and hyperactivity problems

friends talking - two boys in conversation

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The difficulty of identifying ADHD in children Diagnosing ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is intrinsically problematic.    The symptoms—distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity—are consistent with the normal behavior of young children. So when young children are diagnosed, the implication is that they are more distractible, impulsive, or hyperactive than … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

When does peer pressure start? Early. Very early in life.

long line of identical yellow rubber ducks

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Peer pressure and social conformity starts long before adolescence. When faced with a choice between telling the truth and backing a popular falsehood, even 4-year-old children will buckle. You and three other people are sitting in adjacent booths, and you’ve each got a copy of the same book. … Continue reading

Working memory tips: How to help kids focus and stick to a plan

toddler in profile, eyes closed, with a view of his brain superimposed over his head

© 2017 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Working memory (or “WM”) is the system we use to keep information immediately available in our thoughts. We use working memory when we perform calculations in our heads, track the meaning of a conversation, and remember what we’re supposed to do next. As you can … Continue reading

Raising helpful kids: Tips for teaching generosity and kindness

young boy helping his friend on roller skates stand up - by Pahis / istock

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved How do you teach kids to be helpful?  To be generous and kind? Studies suggest we should avoid heavy-handed tactics and bribes. Instead, we need to respect — and nurture — our children’s natural inclinations to do good. Helpful? Generous? Caring? Psychologists call these behaviors “prosocial,” and … Continue reading