Psychology Today Articles: 10 Essential Reads for Parents, by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD

Some of the best psychologists and educators in the world author Psychology Today articles in a variety of fields, including child development, parenting, autism, happiness, intelligence, and resilience.

In the same spirit that I publish and update my list of the Best Back-to-School Articles for Parents in late summer, this is my first annual Spring 2014 Review of Psychology Today articles. I believe they are essential reads for parents and all adults who guide and mentor children and teens. Not only do they help us understand developing young people, they provide insights into ourselves as parents.

Unlike my back-to-school articles, these top-ranked Psychology Today articles are purposely not categorized by topic. Why? Because so many of the people who write here have such a vast understanding of human development that their articles overlap many different categories. I hope you’ll browse the titles and short descriptions and see which ones draw you into their topics.

While you might be under the impression that Psychology Today articles are too academic for the general public, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In fact, the many Ph.D.’s, university professors, and researchers who write here are doing so to reach popular audiences, which has always been the intent of Psychology Today.

To be totally transparent, I have come to know many of these authors because I’ve been a Psychology Today contributor in the field of child development since 2011. My column, The Moment of Youth, focuses on positive youth development in the teen years. I don’t make a habit of ranking my own articles, so if you are interested in adolescence, stop by my column sometime!

Psychology Today Articles: 10 Essential Reads for Parents

These posts represent a collection of great topics from the past year. Spring is a perfect time to be inspired by some of the best minds in psychology! Most of these authors have written numerous Psychology Today articles. If you follow the link to one, you’ll likely find a slew of other fascinating reads!  If the authors are on Twitter, I’ve included a link to their profiles at the end of each summary.

Psychology’s Greatest Advice

While she admits, “It’s perhaps an overly ambitious goal to sum up the greatest psychology advice in one short article,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, shares seven insightful pieces of advice that have stood the test of academic scrutiny for many years. Parents will find many nuggets of wisdom here. @swhitbo

What Happy People Do Differently

The everyday habits and choices we make as parents affect our own and our family’s well-being. Happiness researcher Robert Biswas-Diener, Ph.D., and Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at George Mason University helps us understand one of life’s paradoxes, that the “key to satisfaction is doing things that feel risky, uncomfortable, and occasionally bad.” @BiswasDiener @ToddKashdan

Five Myths about Young People and Social Media

Are you worried about what social media is doing to your children? Peter Gray, PhD, research professor at Boston College, debunks five myths about social media from Danah Boyd’s new book, It’s Complicated: The Social Life of Networked Teens.

The Danger of “Boys Will Be Boys”

If you want your child to “grow up in a world that allows him to explore his strengths and express his personality in ways that are true to him, not in ways that society believes boys are supposed to behave,” then you’ll find this article by Elizabeth Meyer, Ph.D, enlightening. @LizJMeyer

How Much Do Parents Determine Their Children’s Success?

Jonathan Wai, Ph.D., psychologist and research scientist at Duke University says that “parents overestimate the required sacrifice of having kids, and focus too much on short-run pain rather than the entirety of their lives.” Dr. Wai interviews economist Bryan Caplan about his book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Parent Is Less Work and More Fun than You Think. @JonathanLWai 

What is Neurodiversity?

If you are a parent of a child with autism or ADHD, you’ll want to read John Elder Robison’s article that helps us understand the concept of neurodiversity. Robison is a scholar in residence at the College of William and Mary and also an adult on the autism spectrum. He says that people who embrace the ideas of neurodiversity “believe that people with differences do not need to be cured; they need help and accommodation instead.” @JohnRobison

When Adolescents Renounce the Family Faith

When teenagers declare that religion and church is no longer for them, it can wreak havoc in families that have raised children to be believers. Psychologist, Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., explains what occurs during the teen years that can challenge families of faith and how parents can respond in ways that support their child’s development.

10 Sources of Low Self-Esteem

Not only will parents learn about how their own self-esteem may have been affected by others, but they will also glean information that helps them recognize patterns of how their children are affected by human variables beyond their control. Clinical psychologist, Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D., shares ten sources of low self-esteem that every parent should understand. @DrSuzanneL

Elation: The Amazing Effect of Witnessing Acts of Kindness

Steve Taylor, Ph.D., professor at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, explains how witnessing acts of kindness provides peak experiences for human beings. While the article is written about adult reactions to acts of kindness, neuroscience shows that children are capable of these feelings too.  Next time your child observes an act of kindness, ask them to tell you how it felt in their body! @SMTaylorauthor

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

“Human babies are born ‘half-baked’ and require an external womb,” says Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. With no holds barred, Dr. Narvaez dispels our ignorance about babies and their needs, and sheds light on what every new parent or grandparent should know. @MoralLandscapes

Image Credit: rasstock

Published: April 11, 2014

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