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Pro-Social Children

It ought to be easier to raise pro-social children — kids who are helpful and kind and empathic — since the impulse toward pro-social behavior is something we’re born with. Yet so many youngsters seem to miss the mark. Two aspects of how we raise our children may be getting in the way.

Learn Ways to Help Your Children Transition to Adulthood

In this issue of Clinical Science Insights, Jacob Goldsmith, Ph.D., explores Jeffrey Arnett’s theory of emerging adulthood, highlights potential problems that emerging adults and their families may encounter, and suggests some general guidelines for what parents can do to help and lay the foundation for a healthy parent-adult-child relationship.

For students, the transition back to school can be both exciting and stressful. Here are a few tips to help your kids and teens feel prepared for that transition, as well as some thoughts about what is “typical” back to school stress and what might be a sign to seek support from others:

The transition to college is a balancing act for students and their families. Too little engagement can leave a student feeling lost or disconnected, and can leave parents feeling like they’re in the dark. Too much engagement (e.g., so called helicopter parenting) can actually interfere with students’ growth and development.

As we help our sons and daughters get ready to return to school, let’s reflect on our own readiness to promote our kids’ best emotional development during the school year. Consider these dimensions:

Boomerang Effect

Whether parents are living together or not, in a two-parent family it’s likely that one (or both) has spoken critically of the other — in the presence of the children. You can be so stubborn! a frustrated mother says to father as the children sit nearby. You don’t listen when I talk to you, father blurts into the cellphone while the kids

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2009), an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Important But Not Urgent

For a great many couples with children, it isn’t the spouse who’s most valued — it’s the kids. At least within the middle and upper-middle-class, today’s couples tend to place kids at the top of the priority ladder, with the partner relationship landing in second or even third place (behind career).

Opportunities and Challenges

About half of all American children will experiencetheir parents’ divorce, and 25% will also face divorce in a parent’s second marriage (Copen, Daniels, Vespa,& Mosher, 2012). While divorce is often stressful for families, a great deal of variability exists in children’s adjustment to divorce.

The Long Car Ride

If you're willing to insist that your youngsters sometimes unplug themselves for at least 20 minutes while you're in the car together, it's amazing what you can learn about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences — in other words, about their lives.