I have long maintained that the significant per-capita increase in child and adolescent mental health problems since the 1960s is due to the collective embrace of a parenting paradigm that has proven itself to be not only dysfunctional but also dangerous – ironically, to child and teen mental health. This new paradigm, which I term "Postmodern...Read more
Q: Our son, age 8, has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. His IQ is well above average but his actual performance in the classroom is problematic. He has difficulty paying attention and finishing his work. We got him a tutor – an older retired teacher – this year. He worked well with her, but that really didn't solve the ...Read more
Q: My wife has a habit of giving our very stubborn and dramatic (lots of whining, moping, and tantrums) 6-year-old daughter "prizes" for doing what she is told. Last Sunday, for example, Carrie didn't dress appropriately for church. We told her she had to change. She had a meltdown. She collapsed on the floor, weeping. Without consulting with me...Read more
In 1972, a Stanford University psychologist conducted a study in which young children, individually, were offered either a small but immediate reward (a marshmallow or a pretzel) or a doubled reward if they were able to wait for 15 minutes. In follow-up studies, researchers found that children who were able to postpone gratification experienced ...Read more
I have come up with a new psychological diagnosis, one that I won't, however, be submitting for approval to the powers that be: simply, odd. My "odd" is to be distinguished from ODD, the acronym for oppositional defiant disorder, an invention that enables mental health professionals to obtain payment from insurance providers ... but that's ...Read more
Psychologist B.F. Skinner, the formulator of behavior modification theory, was attempting to prove that the same principles that govern the behavior of amoeba, planaria, rats, dogs, and monkeys also govern the behavior of human beings. A very Darwinian proposition, indeed.
What my graduate school professors conveniently "forgot" to tell me: ...Read more
The biggest problem in the life of today's all-too typical mother is herself. She is her own worst enemy. Them's fightin' words, I know, but please, hold the tomatoes and other vegetables and bear with me.
One of the doctrines of the Good Mommy Club, the evil sisterhood to which many if not most of today's mommies belong, albeit unwittingly, ...Read more
"No rational person would argue that the smaller the class size, the better, right?" asked the radio talk show host.
"I think I'm a rational person," I said, "and I can offer proof that smaller class size propaganda is nothing but, well, propaganda. Small classes are overrated. Individual attention is overrated. It quickly reaches the point of ...Read more
In his November 1863 address at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the men who lost their lives on that battlefield had done so in order that "government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth." Lincoln was restating a principle first set forth in the Declaration of Independence, a principle ...Read more
Q: My 3-year-old son tends to react physically when he's mad at a preschool classmate instead of talking it out and letting the teachers intervene. We have encouraged him to use words when he's angry, but he doesn't seem to get it. Today he bit a classmate (the second time in a year this has happened), and got sent home. I fed him lunch and then...Read more
One website is titled "How to Cope with Kids During Coronavirus." Another, featuring a staged photo of an obviously frazzled mom with a toddler on her lap, tells the reader that "Parents are losing their minds having kids at home during coronavirus!" There's yet another, advising on "How to Keep Kids Entertained During the Crisis." On and on it ...Read more
Per the old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” it may be that the most interesting of times are those when people do not want to hear the truth – as in the present, or so it would seem.
I did not intend to write a follow-up to my recent column on Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), but the feedback has ...Read more
Vital to a child’s sense of well-being are parents who act competent to provide adequate provision and protection under any and all circumstances.
I often refer to that obligation as “acting like a superior being.” It requires, under the most trying circumstances, keeping one’s cool, projecting a sense of having it all together, not ...Read more
Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662) said there is no idea so bizarre that a philosopher has not advanced it. These days, the philosophers in question are psychologists and the bizarre ideas are their explanations of human behavior. Said explanations are bizarre because (trust me on this, I am one) psychologists wear, as a rule, ideological blinders ...Read more
I’ve learned a new word! My daughter informs me that according to some mothers I am guilty of “mom-shaming” and should be ashamed of myself. I am a unashamed mom-shamer because I happen to believe that just as there is one proper way to go about training a dog (of any species), there is one proper way to go about raising a human being to ...Read more