Bad role models: What happens when adults lie to children?

kids listening and looking skeptical, by Elaine Sanchez, DOD

© 2018 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What happens when adults lie to children? The evidence suggests that kids become more dishonest with us, and not only that: When we make a practice of telling children lies, kids may be at a higher risk of developing aggressive and antisocial behavior problems. How Read More »

The effects of praise: 7 evidence-based tips for using praise wisely

smiling mother and young son riding piggy back by William Prost flickr

© 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What are the effects of praise? It depends. Praise can boost good feelings and increase motivation. It can inspire children to be more cooperative, persistent, and hard-working. But some kids bristle in response to praise, and even those who like praise can experience negative effects. Here’s how Read More »

Permissive parenting: An evidence-based guide

© 2010 -19 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Permissive parenting seems to be the “no discipline” approach to discipline. Does it damage kids? Threaten to destroy civilization? The research suggests that permissiveness isn’t the best approach to parenting–at least not in places like the United States. But much as we might get annoyed by Read More »

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

sad toddler among flowers by Guian Bolisay

© 2010 – 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved 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? “Spanking” Read More »

Spanking babies: Is it okay to spank an infant?

Parent's hand stretched out, as if to say

© 2019 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No, spanking babies is a bad idea. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors rejected it, and so should we. Spanking is an ineffective discipline strategy, and harmful to an infant’s development. Here’s what’s at risk — and what parents can do to set their babies on the right track. You Read More »

The authoritarian parenting style: What does it look like?

authoritarian parenting style in action - silhouette of father scolding son

© 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 Read More »

Positive parenting tips: Getting better results with humor, empathy, and diplomacy

Example of positive parenting - mother and child discovering something together during lunch (the sounds of chewing)

© 2018 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Who needs positive parenting tips? What’s the fuss about, anyway? Positive parenting means slightly different things to different people. But the core idea might be summed up this way: Positive parenting emphasizes warm, positive family interactions, and guides children by rewarding and reinforcing their better impulses.  The Read More »

Taming aggression in children: 5 strategies for effective parenting

Angry toddler girl in black and white by Luis Marina Flickr

© 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 Read More »

The authoritative parenting style: An evidence-based guide

Authoritative parenting style in action: Mother talking sensitively to young child

© 2010 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is authoritative parenting? The authoritative parenting style is an approach to child-rearing that combines warmth, sensitivity, and the setting of limits. Parents use positive reinforcement and reasoning to guide children. They avoid resorting to threats or punishments. This approach is common in educated, middle Read More »

Authoritarian parenting: What happens to the kids?

Boy in a bad mood, sitting alone, his back to the viewer, looking into the distance

© 2010 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The authoritarian parenting style is about being strict and stern. It insists on unquestioning obedience, and enforces good behavior through psychological control — threats, shaming, and other punishments. As defined by psychologists, it’s also a style associated with less parental warmth and responsiveness (Baumrind 1991). Read More »