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In this engaging explanation of The New Self-Esteem, Aaron Cooper discusses the issues associated with today's abundance of parenting styles, and a potential solution for the anxieties of concerned parents and their affected children, alike.

Let's Talk Facebook

For most of our sons and daughters, especially the tweens and teens, Facebook has become almost as essential as food, air and water. With adolescent identity development oriented so much around the peer group, Facebook and other social media are powerful vehicles mediating how our kids experience themselves within their social universe. Is the impact largely positive, negative, or neutral?

Thanksgiving – whatever its historic origin, the fourth Thursday in November has evolved to be a time of year where people pause and ask themselves what they are grateful for. It is a time where gratitude is felt and expressed.


In moments of frustration, many of us use self-demeaning expressions. Or we sigh and our face transmits the deep disappointment we’re feeling toward ourselves. In those moments, we’re failing to offer ourselves compassion — the kindness, caring and understanding we might offer a friend or even a stranger. We’re forgetting when we put ourselves down that imperfection is part of being human, that mistakes don’t define us or make us less worthy than others.

A Good Sport

Do you let your four-year-old always win at CandyLand, or your eight-year-old at Monopoly? Do you fake fatigue at tennis so your twelve-year-old comes out ahead? Many well-intentioned parents purposely dumb down their game in the belief that it will be more fun for the youngsters if they come out the winner — and maybe, through all those victories, enjoy a boost to their self-esteem. It’s a short-sighted strategy.

Feeling Worthy

Our children are bombarded by toxic messages — from media and television, from peers and perhaps from us — about what’s required in order to be acceptable, in order to be fully loved: be smarter, be thinner, be stronger, be more popular, do more, do better, do your best … It’s an endless stream of prerequisites to feeling worthy. The underbelly of those messages is the unspoken take-away: I’m not enough just as I am. I’m not smart enough, thin enough, strong enough, popular enough, busy enough, successful enough … I’m simply not enough. And as a result, I’m not worthy of love and acceptance.

Taking Steps in Meaningful Life Directions

Mental illness has a significant impact on the welfare of our population. It is associated with decreased work productivity (e.g., Kessler, et al., 2008), increased health care cost and utilization (e.g., Ormel, et al., 2008), and decreased quality of life and life satisfaction (e.g., Rapaport, Clary, Fayyad, & Endicott, 2005). In the psychological literature, quality of life has been defined as the extent to which an individual is satisfied with different aspects of daily living. Research consistently demonstrates a strong association between quality of life impairment and mental illness.

The Rewards of Extracurricular Activity Participation for Children

Researchers have begun to closely consider the developmental consequences of extracurricular activity participation. Converging evidence suggests that adolescents’ participation in extracurricular activities is linked with higher academic achievement as well as other aspects of positive development (Eccles, Barber, Stone, & Hunt, 2003).