Screentime Is NOT Making Kids Moody, Crazy & Lazy

I'm sure Dr. Victoria Dunckley means well with her recent screed entitled "Screentime is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy." She cites research studies to back up her points, and buried in the middle of the article is the common-sense disclaimer that "restricting electronics may not solve everything."

But what Dr. Dunckley misses is how electronics today are to teens what the telephone and TV was to a prior generation (and the radio was to a generation before). The studies she references don't purport to show a casual effect, simply a correlation between two things. Generalizing from such correlations is a mistake too many well-meaning physicians (and even researchers) make.

Screentime is not "making" kids moody, crazy and lazy. Here's why.

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Children and Teens

How to Send Kids off to College without Getting Upset

Many parents are surprised how heartbreaking it is sending their child off to college for the first time. It's natural that parents feel a sense of loss. It usually takes some time to accept that their child is no longer a permanent member of their household. Many of them don't expect the challenges of the empty nest syndrome. Realizing that letting go is the next stage of parenthood can make it easier.

Here is some advice to help parents deal with the emotions evoked by sending their child off to college.

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Fears of Starting a Family When You Suffer from Depression

How do you manage depression when SSRIs and other medications are not an option?

I try to divorce Michael at least once a month. I blame this on my PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or what I like to call "PMS on crack"), though I've also been diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety and, once, a psychopharmacologist told me I had obvious bipolar tendencies. Either way, I'm not the easiest person to live with (as if you didn't already feel bad enough for my husband, due to my sexual
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Children and Teens

How Does Parents’ Technology Use Affect Children?

“When my mom and dad are on their phones they act like I don’t exist. It makes me sad. I call and call their names and sometimes they don’t even look up or act like they hear me.”

A child client of mine, 6 years old, told me this during our last session together. This child is sensitive, intuitive, and brilliant. I wondered if a child who was less vulnerable to feeling abandoned would react the same way if his or her parents were on their phones.

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Children and Teens

Respect Your Child’s Boundaries During Divorce

In a healthy parent-child relationship, a child’s emotional boundaries get stronger as she ages. A baby has very few thoughts or feelings that aren’t shared with a parent, via crying, smiling, pointing, or fussing. A preschooler keeps a lot more of his thoughts and feelings private, and a teenager is exponentially more private than that.

In contrast, parents’ boundaries generally get more permeable as children age. With older children, parents share more of their thoughts and feelings. It would be ridiculous for a parent to tell a baby about household finances, and this would be confusing and possibly burdensome to an elementary-school-age child. But, a parent can and should be able to discuss finances with a teenager to a greater extent, particularly as this may be relevant to plans for a job or college tuition.

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How to Talk to Your Child about Having ADHD

It’s very common for parents to be reluctant to tell their kids they have ADHD. It might be because they want to protect their kids from the “stigma” of ADHD, said Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC, a certified coach, educator and parenting coach. It might be “because they don’t want to ‘label them,’ or they don’t want them to use it as an excuse.”

It might be because they’re concerned their kids will worry they’re different, said Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC, an ADHD parent coach, mental health counselor and teacher trainer.
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Anxiety and Panic

Biting the Hand that Controls: Authoritarian Parenting and ‘The Wolfpack’

A new documentary called "The Wolfpack" explores the life of a reclusive Manhattan family of nine and just what happens when a patriarch exercises an almost criminal amount of control over his family. Despite living in a city of 8.1 million people, the Angulo children were taught not to speak or even look at strangers and were not allowed to leave their apartment for 14 years. It sounds unimaginable because it's so unreasonable.

I watched "The Wolfpack" and found myself nodding at the screen again and again. I know this life. I grew up in a very similar way in what I refer to as a "clan."

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The Line between Parenting and Political Correctness

Parenting is the most difficult, challenging, and stressful job anyone will ever do in their life. With a job that requires no qualifications and offers no training, how do parents know what is right and what is wrong when shaping their children for the future?

As parents we are supposed to protect our children. We are supposed to make choices for them when they are too young to make them for themselves. We are supposed to teach them to be compassionate, understanding, and kind. We are supposed to raise them to be independent and motivated to make decisions on their own.

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Anxiety and Panic

Shrugging off the Legacy of the Overbearing Parent

I listened to a podcast yesterday where a man described his overbearing, authoritarian mother. Some of the ways she controlled him were strange, inexplicable, and sounded remarkably like my father. His mother had called the police and gone through all his things because he drove his car on the highway. He was 17 years old.

I went to bed last night and I dreamt I was back in my father's home. I dreamt about the terror of waiting for the other shoe to drop, of getting in trouble for nothing -- simply for growing up -- and my friends and their parents would see what a crazy house I came from. Then that craziness would force me back into it, encapsulate me, and keep me.

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Are You a Bullied Parent?

Have you ever seen a child bully or boss around his parents? A child who talks down to them, disrespects or even mocks them? Embarrassing, isn't it?

A generation or two ago, it would have been unthinkable for children to bully their parents. Today, nearly everyone knows a parent who is bullied by his or her child. Pay a visit to your local playground or stroll through a shopping mall. You're bound to see the bullied parent dynamic in action.
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