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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.

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:

Don't React — Respond

"Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?"
Lao Tzu
How many times a day do your children say or do something that bothers you — words or actions you know are wrong or simply irritating? And how often do you quickly correct or scold?

Hijacking Their Minds

There is increasing evidence that using smartphones, even just having them nearby, makes it harder to concentrate.

Spanking Revisited

Researchers at the University of Texas and the University of Michigan reviewed fifty years of studies representing the findings across more than 160,000 children. What they found was that the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to show aggressive and anti-social behavior and to manifest mental health and cognitive difficulties.

Your daughter comes home in tears. She can barely choke out words to describe the mean things some girls said to her on the school bus. You listen to her story and try to comfort her. If you’re really skilled, you’ll offer her attunement (Are You Okay?

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

Questioner-in-Chief

”How was school today?”
“Fine.” 
“Did you do anything interesting?” 
“No.” 
“How did that test go that you were studying for last night?” 
“Okay.”

It’s an undeniable fact of family life: siblings bicker. Some studies suggest that young sibling conflict occurs an average of eight times per hour1. It can drive a parent crazy!