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Archive for May 2013

How to Avoid the Most Common Parenting Mistake

Last week, I discussed the problem of frequent criticism in families. In my experience, this is the most common cause of unhappiness in parent-child relationships – and of unhealthy outcomes for children. When parents are often critical of their children, children, in turn, become angry and argumentative, stubborn and defiant. When we argue frequently with…

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The Most Common Parenting Mistake

I am often asked, “What is the most common problem you encounter in your work with children and families?” For many years, my answer has been simple and unequivocal: “As parents, we are, unwittingly, too critical of our children.” This statement has surprised some of my colleagues and is at odds with much of the…

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How Can We Help Children Bounce Back?

All children, even the most fortunate, suffer emotional injuries. At home, in school and on the playground, all children experience disappointment, frustration and failure; criticism and disapproval; and exclusion by peers. All children experience moments when they feel discouraged and alone, even unloved. Many of these experiences (especially when kids are bullied or have difficulty…

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How to Get Your Child to Talk to You

“How was school today?” “Good.” “What did you do?” “Stuff.” Why don’t children want to talk with us about their bad feelings? Why are they so often defensive and uncommunicative, unwilling to even report mundane events of the day? Why do they so often tell us, when we clearly know otherwise, that “everything is fine”? Why…

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How Can We Help Children Become “Upstanders” to Bullying and Cruelty

Emily Bazelon’s Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy is a remarkably thoughtful and balanced study of the problem of bullying. Bazelon presents sensitive, insightful portraits of both bullies and victims, and the complex circumstances of their lives. In the course of telling the stories of…

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