Put Aside the To-do List: How to Bring Mindfulness to Parenting

In brief, mindfulness is the bringing of one’s attention to what is right here, right now.  It is inviting oneself to let the ruminating about the past go and the obsessing about the future go as well.  And just as important, it is treating yourself with compassion while suspending judgment.  Studies have given much support for the usefulness of mindfulness in treating a variety of mental health and medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain and stress (Baer, 2006).  By simply being where you are and gently and compassionately bringing yourself back to the moment when you find yourself wandering elsewhere, you can calm your nervous system and allow a peace that we could all use.

Liar, liar, pants on fire: How punishment can affect children’s honesty

Many, if not most, parents out there wish for their children to be honest.  We know that honesty lies at the heart of healthy relationships, for it helps people to build and maintain trust in one another. Are there discipline styles, things that we are doing as parents, that hinder or promote honesty?  Talwar and Lee (2011) lend evidence to the affirmative. 

Spare the rod, save the child.

This week Ive been reading Steve Pinkers wonderful new book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which provides some compelling evidence about the drastic decline in violence throughout history. According to Pinker, we live in an extremely peaceful world and that this is likely the most peaceful time in human history. The evidence that Pinker provides is vast and compelling, and he also provides some colorful graphic examples to make his point. One example stuck with me: just a few hundred years ago parents would take their kids to the towns plaza to watch people be tortured to death. That is right! Just a few hundred years ago, in many European countries,watching an execution or a torture session was not just entertainment, it was a family affair! Pinker argues that we have also become significantly less violent in much more subtle ways, from the abandonment of settling personal honor conflicts through deadly duels, to the reduction of executions in all industrialized nations (except the USA), to the drastic reduction in marital violence as well as parental violence against their children (aka spanking) in the western world.

Special Editorial: Should I vaccinate my child against HPV?

Although research suggests that parental acceptance of HPV is actually much higher than anticipated (around 50% in most studies), a substantial number of parents (as high as 25%) are opposed to vaccinating their kids. In addition, despite relatively high parental acceptance of HPV vaccination, only about 1/3 of teen girls have been properly vaccinated. That is, most teens have not been vaccinated and are therefore unnecessarily at high risk of getting HPV.