Is there an anxiety epidemic? |


Hey parents,

Hope you're getting back into the swing of the nursery/school/college routine again without too many bumps. It's always a bit messy at the beginning, so give yourselves permission to wobble. There have been many many days when my husband and I have looked at each other after a not very smooth morning and said "Well, at least they ate some breakfast." Take your parenting triumphs where you can. One year it took two whole weeks for us to get one child on the bus in time for school. (Some of it was the bus's fault.) Chronic lateness will be a problem, but most schools will be a little forgiving the first few weeks, so don't get too anxious. Also, never underestimate the value of an earlier bedtime!

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Infants can tell the difference between leaders and bullies. At least that's the conclusion of a study published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which analyzed the reactions of very young children to cartoon dots who behave in different ways around other dots. To my unlearned eyes, it all seemed a bit speculative. How can you know really what infants are thinking? But it's a fascinating read nevertheless and a tiny look into the debate over whether humans are born within an innate moral compass or develop one as they go along. The Big Think

The start of the school year is always full of new experiences. This makes it a great time, say some parenting experts, to get kids to try other new things: vegetables, hobbies, friends, lace up shoes. This is a story we ran a few years back, but the advice in it is perennial. TIME

ADHD rates are up significantly. There's open debate as to whether all the children currently receiving medication for ADHD do in fact suffer from ADHD, but it seems pretty indisputable that the diagnosis rate has increased sharply in recent decades. TIME

Is there really an epidemic of teenage anxiety? A lot of parents believe so. But this psychiatrist says it's a myth and the studies that suggest it is brought on by smartphones are inconclusive. "Why do so many parents still insist that their teenager has a problem with anxiety?" he asks. "I fear that it reflects a cultural shift toward pathologizing everyday levels of distress." Yes, there is plenty teenage anxiety. Most of it is normal. New York Times.

Talking with white kids about racism is not enough, says sociologist Margaret Hagerman. After studying 30 affluent families for two years, her observations were that parents' choice of schools, neighborhoods, and behavior around minorities all have a bigger impact on kids' attitudes to race than people realize. "This is true whether parents are consciously aware that these choices matter or not, and regardless of what parents explicitly say about race," she writes. TIME

If you're a reader of this newsletter whose children are a little older but they're still living with you, take heart. You're not alone. The "emergent adult" is a real phenomenon. And it's confusing parents everywhere. So here's a handy guide. The Family Institute

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

katherine Heigl, actor and parent of three

"Before I had children I would have sworn I would never bribe them to behave, to pitch in or to be respectful. Almost ten years into momming that inexperienced opinion has gone up in flames. To all the mothers and fathers out there I was secretly judging when witnessing the “I’ll buy you a lollipop if you get off the ground and stop screaming” technique…I deeply apologize."


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