The Parenting Science News Feed

The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to updates on the Parenting Science website and to new blog posts or articles written by Gwen Dewar about parenting and child development topics.

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Preschool science experiment: Using ice to teach kids about scientific concepts (with crucial safety tips)

© 2008 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A preschool science experiment is an opportunity to introduce children to the concepts of observation, prediction, and testing (Gelman and Brenneman 2004). Exciting? Yes. But it’s also tricky. On the one hand, research suggests that young children don’t think as creatively or as critically when Read More »

Stopping gun violence: What can we do to protect our children?

© 2018 – 2021 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Kids get killed or injured by firearms all over the world, but the United States has a special problem with gun violence. And the problem hasn’t improved during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, in a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers report that firearm Read More »

Machiavellian kids? Understanding the moral reasoning of bullies

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Far from being social oafs, many bullies are confident, popular, and socially-savvy. So what’s missing? Empathy, moral engagement, and a sense of  responsibility towards others. According to an old stereotype, people bully others because they have poor self-esteem and lack basic social skills. They don’t know how Read More »

Health benefits of religion: Are religious kids better off?


© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Studies link religion with health benefits, but that doesn’t mean that being religious makes us healthy. What’s more likely is that religion is one of many ways that people can find social and emotional support, and discover a sense of meaning and purpose.  For decades, we’ve heard about studies Read More »

What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excessive infant crying

closeup of colicky infant - intense crying

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is colic? The quick facts are these: “Infantile colic” is the term that doctors use for excessive crying and fussing that has no obvious cause. To make a diagnosis, many use the “rule of three,” which identifies a baby as colicky if he or she is “otherwise healthy and well-fed,” but Read More »

The effects of television on learning to speak: Is it helpful or harmful?

toddler watching television

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What are the effects of television on language learning? Studies report a link between TV and language development in young children. The more time kids spend watching television, the more slowly they learn to talk. What’s going on? Some people conclude that the effects of Read More »

The best infant feeding schedule: Why babies benefit from feeding on cue

© 2017 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The infant feeding schedule reconsidered In the past, Western “baby experts” often instructed parents to feed their babies at regularly-spaced intervals of 3- or 4-hours. Today, official medical recommendations have shifted in favor of letting babies decide. Why the change? There are a number of reasons, Read More »

Bedwetting in scientific perspective: Debunking destructive myths

child sleeping bed at night

© 2010 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Myths about bedwetting? There are several, and they aren’t helpful. Ever heard the claim that kids wet the bed out of laziness? Or that kids require counseling — talking therapy — in order to break the “habit?” Or how about the idea that wetting the Read More »

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 Read More »

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 Read More »