Toward a less hovering approach to parenting: How to Land Your Kid in Therapy (The Atlantic).
[A]ll of this worry about creating low self-esteem might actually perpetuate it. No wonder my patient Lizzie told me she felt “less amazing” than her parents had always said she was. Given how “amazing” her parents made her out to be, how could she possibly live up to that? Instead of acknowledging their daughter’s flaws, her parents, hoping to make her feel secure, denied them. “I’m bad at math,” Lizzie said she once told them, when she noticed that the math homework was consistently more challenging for her than for many of her classmates. “You’re not bad at math,” her parents responded. “You just have a different learning style. We’ll get you a tutor to help translate the information into a format you naturally understand.”
A New Gauge to See What’s Beyond Happiness (NYT):
In his 2008 book, “Gross National Happiness,” Dr. Brooks argues that what’s crucial to well-being is not how cheerful you feel, not how much money you make, but rather the meaning you find in life and your sense of “earned success” — the belief that you have created value in your life or others’ lives.
“People find meaning in providing unconditional love for children,” writes Dr. Brooks…“Paradoxically, your happiness is raised by the very fact that you are willing to have your happiness lowered through years of dirty diapers, tantrums and backtalk. Willingness to accept unhappiness from children is a source of happiness.”
From Slate: Girls don’t start out more anxious than boys, but they usually end up that way.
When it comes to our preconceived notions about women and anxiety, women are unfairly being dragged through the mud. While women are indeed more fretful than men on average right now, this difference is mostly the result of a cultural setup—one in which major social and parenting biases lead to girls becoming needlessly nervous adults. In reality, the idea that women are “naturally” twice as anxious as men is nothing more than a pernicious illusion.
Bryan Caplan looks at twin studies and concludes: Have More Kids. Pay Less Attention to Them (WSJ):
The obvious lesson to draw is that parents should lighten up. I call it “Serenity Parenting”: Parents need the serenity to accept the things they cannot change, the courage to change the things they can, and (thank you twin research) the wisdom to know the difference. Focus on enjoying your journey with your child, instead of trying to control his destination. Accept that your child’s future depends mostly on him, not your sacrifices. Realize that the point of discipline is to make your kid treat the people around him decently—not to mold him into a better adult.
A Q&A about the sleeplessness that comes with parenting.
Chronic insomnia has been linked to a range of medical problems, from loss of concentration to high blood pressure…But can getting up throughout the night to tend to new baby cause long-term health problems as well?
Jonah Lehrer asks What’s it Like to Be a Baby?
[B]abies don’t have a spotlight of attention: They have a lantern. If attention is like a focused beam in adults, then it’s more like a glowing bulb in babies, casting a diffuse radiance across the world. This crucial difference in attention has been demonstrated indirectly in a variety of experiments. For instance, when preschoolers are shown a photograph of someone – let’s call her Jane— looking at a picture, and asked questions about what Jane is paying attention to, the weirdness of their attention becomes clear. Not surprisingly, the kids agree that Jane is thinking about the picture she’s staring at. But they also insist that she’s thinking about the picture frame, and the wall behind the picture, and the chair lurking in her peripheral vision. In other words, they believe that Jane is attending to whatever she can see
Another vote for getting up and moving around: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? (NYT)
M.R.I.’s provided a clearer picture of how it might work. They showed that fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control,” or the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts crisply…
Kids who really don’t want to go to school addressed in When a Doctor’s Note for a Student Doesn’t Help (NYT):
The first time I realized I was complicit in school refusal, I didn’t even know the term. It was about a decade ago, and my patient was a boy who seemed to be spending his whole first-grade year sick with one thing or another…
Study: Fathers As Well As Mothers Have Higher Depression Risk During First Year Of Child Being Born
Approximately one-fifth of all fathers and over one third of all mothers experience an episode of depression within the first 12 years of their child being born, with the first year having the highest risk, says a British study