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                Parenting Basics 101

                                    Learn how to be a better parent using tried and true methods

Parenting Blog

I post here from time to time as issues come up, or in response to parent feedback and questions

Parenting Blog

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Parent as a Team

Posted by Dave on August 22, 2022 at 12:40 AM

Although I touch on this idea several times in the Parenting Basics Outline, comments and questions make it clear I've understated the importance of team parenting. Being a parenting team doesn't mean doing absolutely everything together, but it does require you both to be in substantial agreement about how to raise your kids.

For instance, you never want a child to feel they can play one parent against the other as a strategy for getting what they want. It's so damaging to family dyna...

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Destroying Childhood

Posted by Dave on November 2, 2016 at 7:00 PM

At the risk of understating the problem, childhood as it was experienced for millenia has all but vanished in the last twenty years. It's probably worse than that. We're seeing incredibly fragile young adults, unable to handle the normal pressures of everyday adult experience.The way many of us are raising our kids is leaving them vulnerable and weak.

A very close friend of mine is an army officer, currently in charge of a department that prepares enlisted soldiers of a...

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Chores - the Magic Ingredient

Posted by Dave on September 22, 2016 at 8:20 PM

Some of us have known this intuitively for a long time, but multiple longitudinal studies now prove that having done regular chores as a kid (the earlier, the better) is the single most common attribute shared by the world's most successful people. And, it's not just success.

Harvard learned that doing chores and part time work as a child was the single strongest predictor of positive mental health as an adult - more than neighborhood, social class, family, etc.

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Teaching Tools: Building a Work Ethic

Posted by Dave on November 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Part of your job as a parent is to help your children build, feel, and understand the internal payoffs that will help them be successful throughout life. One of the most important is a strong work ethic.


Families can teach the social value of hard work by giving their kids household chores from an early age. Even a four year old can help set the table for dinner. Regular unpaid family chores should be part of every child’s schedule, increasing in complexity and length...

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The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting

Posted by Dave on November 26, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Don’t want your kids to sink? Teach them to swim!


“Helicopter parents” are those who swoop in to “rescue” their children from every little difficulty in life, sometimes preemptively. It likely seems a good idea at the time, but it’s one of the most destructive things you can do to your children’s ability to become self-reliant.


By “rescuing," you’re really robbing your child of essential learning expe...

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French Parenting: From baby to bebe

Posted by Dave on March 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM

To get right to the point, Pamela Druckerman wrote a book. Buy it.


Okay, you probably want to know a bit more before you plunk down hard-earned cash, but a great deal of what Mrs. Druckerman learned whilst living in France mirrors much of what I say on this site. But, it goes further, much further. And it’s good stuff.


Druckerman is an American parent of a toddler living in France, and her startled observations of the traditional style of French par...

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Teaching Tools: The Allowance

Posted by Dave on December 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Kids will begin to need spending money at some point in their lives, and this too is an important teaching tool. If you’ve read my parenting outline, you’ll recall I believe all kids should be able to run a household by the time they leave high school. Among the necessary skills are managing and handling money.


An allowance is not a reward, nor should it be pay for family chores. (Doing family chores is a personal contribution to the family’s well-being.)...

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Teaching Tools: Dealing with Life's Rough Spots

Posted by Dave on December 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I talk a great deal about parents’ roles as a child’s most important teachers. Not all subjects parents must deal with are easy ones. You might immediately think of the “birds and bees” talk, but there are other difficult subjects as well. Relationship issues, death, major illness, and disability are also tricky.


Kids need to learn to deal appropriately with life’s most stressful events while they’re still kids. Kids are pretty resilient,...

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All Fun and No Work Makes Jack???

Posted by Dave on November 18, 2011 at 7:20 AM

Two years into his presidency, President Obama made a big deal out of the need to graduate 10,000 new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors every year, and 100,000 new teachers in these areas. To help get the message out, he held a science fair for middle and high school kids in the State Dining Room at the White House, with all sorts of fun and interesting science and engineering projects on display.


The Obama administration and its predecessors ha...

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Why Too Much Praise Kills Self-Motivation

Posted by Dave on April 2, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Over the past 20 or so years, many adults have gotten into the habit of effusively praising children for any effort or achievement – no matter how insignificant – and NEVER criticizing. Over time, kids come to expect that everything they do will result in a flood of positive feel-good messages from the adults around them. It’s a strong, if artificial, motivator for some kids to keep going, even on tasks they don’t really like.


Of course, this all end...

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How Well Does Your Child Handle Stress?

Posted by Dave on February 24, 2011 at 12:55 AM

“What some kids can shrug off (could) be harmful to others” according to a 2007 study conducted by Daniel Hart, a psychologist at the Center for Children and Childhood Studies at Rutgers University (Camden, NJ) that found ties between certain nervous system responses and behavior problems in children.


Everyone’s bodies react differently to stress. Part of this reaction is inherited, and part is learned. Some kids’ autonomic reactions to stress are e...

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Book recommendation: The Transgender Child - S. Brill, R. Pepper

Posted by Dave on September 26, 2010 at 1:30 PM

The Transgender Child is the first of its kind - a thoughtful manual for parents of transgender children and their caregivers, co-written by one of our country's most respected gender therapists and an experienced researcher and author of books related to gender variance. Detailed, up-to-date, and easy to read, this book should be a key resource for professionals, parents of transgender children and teens, and anyone who works with them.


The Transgende...

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It's Time to End the "Self-Esteem" Mistake

Posted by Dave on July 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM

The well intentioned but misguided "Self-Esteem" movement has held sway in public schools since the early 1980s. Here's why I agree with a growing number of psychologists, educators and parents who think it's time to put an end to it.


1   Self-esteem was never the point - it's really just a side-effect - the result of success from hard work. Psychologists and educators agree that self-control is a far more valuable attribute and a better predictor of future succes...

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The Importance of Early Infant Attachment

Posted by Dave on June 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Nature provides for the care of newborns by creating strong attachments between parent and child. For most (but not all) moms and many dads, the attachment drive comes naturally. This helps ensure the infant’s safety and survival. In addition, this attachment is essential for the development of personality, language, and emotional health.


Broken down into its essentials:

1) A steady, responsive caregiver

2) Social interaction

3) Affection

4) M...

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Why is Marriage in Trouble?

Posted by Dave on June 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM

This may be my one of my shortest blog entries, although I might add to it later. Some ideas are best conveyed with fewer words. The analysis is simple and broad-brush, but still valid.



Why are marriage failures at an all-time high?


1. Parents are too focused on their kids, and aren't putting enough energy into growing their own relationship.


2. The Self-Esteem movement has bred runaway narcissism. Folks are...

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