Why Do We Feel So Shocked By Our Kids’ Struggles?

Earlier this week, someone complimented the manners of my daughter while we were out in public. Without even thinking, I immediately responded, "Thank you so much!"

It wasn't difficult for me to acknowledge the positive behavior in my kid or to accept responsibility for it as the person who was raising her. Yet, for some reason, when someone comments on a negative habit my child has, I'm not nearly as quick to nod my head, agree...


The Role of the Amygdala in Kids Who Have No Fear

Last week, I watched a National Geographic documentary about an American rock climber named Alex Honnold. Not only does Alex climb up massive rock structures without a harness, but he also does it with no equipment, no team to monitor him, and no ledges to stick his feet on.

This dude climbs STRAIGHT UP a flat wall.

I'm not even kidding.

There were moments during the documentary when I thought, "What is his foot even resting on?...


Kids Who Fixate – Is It Autism?

Fixating (also known as "perseverating") is a common behavior exhibited by children who have Autism. Autistic children aren't the only kids who fixate on certain toys/sounds/activities, but they definitely engage in it more often than their peers and for longer periods of time. Often, when people hear about fixation being a part of Autism, they immediately wonder if their child is Autistic because there's something they love intensely. It's important to understand that this is super...


Is It Possible to Teach Kids Empathy?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the world of behavior is this: Is it possible to teach kids empathy?

Is empathy a learned skill or a biological inheritance? Can the feeling of empathy be taught or is the behavior only imitated? Is it developed in the brain during formative years? Is there a point in development when it becomes impossible to grasp? Which area of the brain allows children to empathize? How can we...


Why Our Public Response to Kids Who Self Harm is So Wrong

Up to one half of adults have engaged in self-harming behaviors at some point in their life.


This result was found during an extensive study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) about ten years ago. Their study was headed by a medical doctor, two psychiatric professionals with doctorates, and a licensed clinical social worker. Their final numbers estimated that somewhere between one-third and one-half of all adults in the ...


Teaching Kids Healthy Ways to Engage in Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is HARD for me. In early adulthood, I tackled conflict with enough gusto to knock down an entire friend group. As I grew and matured, however, I somehow swung toward the opposite end of the pendulum. I suddenly started to struggle with confronting people at all, even when it was really important, because I was afraid of being a bulldozer. Instead, I built a habit of shoving my frustrations and hurt feelings down into...


Emotional Dysregulation in Children and Teens

What is emotional dysregulation? Is it a disorder? Is it common? What are the signs of it?

Emotional dysregulation isn't so much a disorder as it is a symptom. Being emotionally dysregulated means a person feels emotions more intensely than they should, feels them for longer than they should, feels them at inappropriate times, or responds to them in extreme ways. People who exhibit signs of emotional dysregulation often have severe mood swings or extreme emotional instability....


Children With “Gifted” IQs Are More Likely to Have Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mood Disorders

When I was ten years old, I was placed into a program at school called "LEAP." I had no idea what it meant at the time, but I later found out it was designed for children who had IQs of at least 130.

If you feel impressed by that number, don't be. Having a high IQ doesn't guarantee success, happiness, or work ethic. In fact, I've struggled with all three of those things more than most...


Are We Teaching Our Kids That Saying “Sorry” Erases The Pain They’ve Caused?

CRASH. That's the first sound I heard.

The next thing I heard was my oldest daughter screaming like she'd just been stabbed in the leg. Or maybe even the heart. It was blood-curdling.

I knew without running into the other room that her younger sister had destroyed one of her newly built Lego sets. And by the volume of the crash, my guess was was a big Lego set. I took a deep breath and laid my head...


Are You Psychologically Abusive to Your Children Without Realizing It?

When most of us think about abuse to children, we tend to think about the extreme ends of it. We think about physical abuse that leaves bruises. We think about neglect so severe that children are covered in bugs and starving from malnourishment. We think about the way Cinderella's stepmother treated her. We think about sexual abuse.

Rarely do we associate our own parenting with the idea of abuse.

The truth is that abuse isn't just...