What if the secret to success is failure?

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012

“It is a central paradox of contemporary parenting, in fact: we have an acute, almost biological impulse to provide for our children, to give them everything they want and need, to protect them from dangers and discomforts both large and small. And yet we all know — on some level, at least — that what kids need more than anything is a little hardship: some challenge, some deprivation that they can overcome, even if just to prove to themselves that they can. As a parent, you struggle with these thorny questions every day, and if you make the right call even half the time, you’re lucky. But it’s one thing to acknowledge this dilemma in the privacy of your own home; it’s quite another to have it addressed in public, at a school where you send your kids at great expense.”

What if the Secret to Success is Failure? (NY Times)

Parenting & Children, Values and what is important

Why more choice makes us unhappy

Posted by on Jun 23, 2012

The explosion of choice in affluent countries, argues psychologist Barry Schwartz, not only leads to paralysis, but dissatisfaction with our choices and ourselves, as there are always other choices which might have been better than the one we selected. He starts by detailing the explosion of choice, from salad dressings to mutual funds, and then at 7:50 begins explaining why more choice leads to more unhappiness. This is a good listen for all, including parents who might get more clarity on why limiting our children’s choices and freedoms, and keeping their expectations within reasonable limits, may actually help them feel better about themselves.

Cognition, Mood & Emotion, Parenting & Children

Unconditional love

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012

What does unconditional love look like — really. Two of the features in this broadcast paint a powerful picture that makes many of us parents look like we have it easy. The other story highlights the work of psychologist Harry Harlow in the 50s. He pioneered — with the help of rhesus monkeys — the then-outlandish idea that children need love. While his own children say his parenting came up short in the affection department, our children (and our generation as well) owe him a debt of gratitude for opening up their parents’ arms.

Listen to Episode 317 of This American Life by clicking below:

317: Unconditional Love
Sep 15, 2006
Stories of unconditional love between parents and children, and how hard love can be sometimes in daily practice.

Parenting & Children, Psychology 101

Eat broccoli, walk and… be alone

Posted by on Jun 16, 2012

Psychology and Western culture have had an unfortunate emphasis on the negative side of being alone. It’s as if alone=lonely. However, there is a growing body of research — nicely described in this article — that points to the values of alone-time: creative thinking, increased empathy, better memorization, deeper spirituality and (paradoxically) an increased ability to connect with others. Like exercise and good sleep, it turns out that solitude is an important part of healthy living.

The Power of Lonely (Boston Globe, 3/6/11)

Anxiety & stress, Cognition, Mood & Emotion, Parenting & Children, Relationships and relating