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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Fanciful Explanations of Autism and Parental Guilt

While parents rarely feel guilty when their child becomes physically ill, this is not true when they develop emotional problems.
Autism is perhaps the most affected disturbance by this attitude for, in its severest form, it devastates family life. Recent infant research has confirmed what clinicians have long known: that the parent-child interaction plays  Read More 
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Why Some Children Lack Psychological “Sturdiness”

Parents know that infants vary greatly in their “sturdiness,” their ability to tolerate separation from them. Children with extreme responses to separation are buffeted by panic after instances of parental “abandonment” that is manageable for less vulnerable youngsters.
Parental unavailability is devastating for them, promoting clinginess and a desperate need to ensure parental proximity.  Read More 
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The Similarity Between Dying Schools and Dying Businesses

As a psychologist, I've long found that parents complain most about schools. They are, as institutions, hermetically sealed, uninterested in any opinion that doesn't agree with their own and, when their efforts with troubled children fail (as almost always happens), the parents become termed expert and the school demands that they resolve their child's  Read More 
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President Obama's Proposal of Free E-books Reflects Naive Psychology

President Obama's proposal to provide free E-books reflects naive psychology since there are already free books available through school and local libraries. What is needed is for parents to read to toddlers and to speak with rather than to their children (i.e., explain why something shouldn't be done rather than saying, "Do  Read More 
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Confused Child/Disabled Adult

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) have been widely used terms to diagnose children's problematic behavior for the past fifty years though the particular symptoms that they comprise have been noted for two hundred years ("mental restlessness").

Fifty years ago the symptoms were believed to reflect MBD (Minimal Brain Dysfunction). Yet rather  Read More 
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Why A Financial Journalist Should Resist Giving Parenting Advice

Several years ago The Wall Street Journal published an article by a financial columnist on how to discipline children, using his experience with his teenage son as an example.

Basically, his advice was to take away something which the child likes but not something which would impact their future ( Read More 
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The Illogic of Diagnosing Youth with Bipolar Disorder

It is both clinically and logically incorrect to diagnose a child or teenager as suffering from Bipolar Disorder since this diagnosis is classified as a personality disorder and requires an adult mental structure which youth, by definition, do not possess.
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Teachers' Responsibility For Students' Academic Success

The problem with holding ‪teachers‬ largely responsible for their ‪student‬s' learning is that many learning difficulties derive from emotional and family issues that are uncontrolled by the teacher. Teachers teach--with greater or lesser knowledge and creativity--and can be a catalyst for a child's learning but they do not control most elements of a  Read More 
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The Cheapest, Most Effective Pre-School Education

While no one can dispute the value of most education, the cheapest and most effective early intervention “program” would be for parents to read to their children from 2 years of age onward, and to speak with rather than to them (as by explaining why something should be done rather than merely saying, “do it  Read More 
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