Afraid of the dark: A troubleshooting guide

child, afraid of the dark, under covers in bed using flashlight to peer out at imagined ghosts

Is your child afraid of the dark? Is your child’s fear severe enough to be considered a phobia? Here’s what research tells us about the signs and causes…and how to help kids to overcome their fears.

Calming with electronic media: Does screen time cause tantrums?

father holds distressed infant while both look at a TV screen

When we rely on electronic media to calm kids down, our children may fail to learn crucial lessons about self-regulation. They may also develop symptoms of dependency…throwing severe tantrums when we take their media away.

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