Clear evidence: Spanking harms kids

CC0 public domain-no-attribution-hand-1006422_1920As a first-time parent, I was completely surprised one day when I was nearly overcome by the urge to spank my two-year-old. After a challenging hour or two at a crowded shopping mall, he purposely pulled a pile of t-shirts off a shelf at a clothing store in a tantrum.  Really, I should have known better than to take a tired toddler shopping for clothes. But that was cold comfort as I stood in the middle of a crowded store watching my son throw merchandise on the floor. [Read more…]

How to improve sex education

no-attribution-CC0 public domain -classroom-1346491_1920 (1)On the whole, public schools in the U.S. are doing a poor job of teaching sex education to American youth.

A report released last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 topics the CDC lists as essential components of sex education. Those topics include how to obtain and use condoms, the benefits of condom use, and the kinds of preventative care necessary to maintain sexual health. [Read more…]

Does social media harm kids?

Kids these days.attribution-PictureYouth-CC by 2.0-25621863596_50c9c5f108_h

It’s a phrase that has been uttered for decades by older generations as youth forge their way through the modern world. Today, the phrase often refers to youth’s use of social networking sites. There’s plenty of times I’ve heard older adults argue that relationships forged through platforms like Instagram and Google chat don’t qualify as “real” social connections. [Read more…]

What we know about kids and screen time

kids and screen timeNew findings about screen-time for babies and kids are something I keep a close eye on.  As parent of three young children, I want to do what’s best for them. And yet I’m often tempted to use the television – “just one show” – when I need to get something done. [Read more…]

Kids these days…: The evidence on teen behaviors

teenagersAt one time or another, we have all heard someone say, “Kids these days…” in the lofty tone that suggests children from generations past were better behaved, more responsible and less troubled than today’s youth.  Maybe you’ve even said something similar yourself; I know that I have. [Read more…]

Transition to kindergarten

school busMy middle child is four years old, and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  While that may seem like a long time away, I know from experiencing this transition once before that it helps to start thinking about it early. [Read more…]

The birds and bees: Talking to your kids about safe sex

teenagers2There are conversations that many parents approach with apprehension. Ranking high on that list are talks about sex. But given our modern culture, conversations between parents and children about sex are increasingly important.

[Read more…]

Can we help children to avoid sexual abuse?

child-abuseI received a shocking e-mail from my public school superintendent a few weeks ago. A substitute teacher who has worked at my son’s elementary school was arrested for possessing child pornography.

After my initial surprise at the e-mail, I gave some serious thought to how I should broach the issue with my son, or whether to mention anything at all.  At seven years old, I’ve never talked to him about the possibility of sexual abuse. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know what it is.  I wasn’t sure if a conversation would be helpful, or would make him feel anxious or uncomfortable. [Read more…]

Parents can eliminate summer learning loss

kids_runningKids across the country are off school and enjoying summer vacation.  This typically means more time spent at the park, swimming pool or beach, as it should!  It often means more time in front of the TV too.  And that almost always results in less time engaged in educational pursuits like reading, math and problem solving. [Read more…]

Poor health among kids harms education

Nela & Boris at Lighthouse Point complex - Collingwood, Ontario (August 2nd, 2008)Social scientists have clearly documented the link between education and poor health: Essentially, people with lower levels of education are more likely to suffer from illness and injury, and ultimately an earlier death. (More on that next week.) [Read more…]

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