Meri Wallace's Blog on
Psychology Today

Psychology Today

Teaching Kids Gratitude

Children are not born understanding appreciation. KEY POINTS “I want that fire truck,” screams 3-year-old William, and he proceeds to throw himself prostrate on the floor in the store. Mom is beside

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Why Kids Whine
Psychology Today

Why Kids Whine

Tips for how to resolve a child’s whining KEY POINTS “Stop whining!” Parents will plead with their kids. It’s hard to hear your child drone on and on, “I want some ice

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Preparing Your Children for School
Psychology Today

Preparing Your Children for School

Parents and children are naturally feeling anxious KEY POINTS This has certainly been a year of constant adjustments for children in their home life and education. Some have learned remotely throughout the pandemic,

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Should Parents Apologize
Psychology Today

Should Parents Apologize?

KEY POINTS Many parents tell me that they feel overwhelming guilt after yelling at their children. They remember how badly they felt as children when their parents screamed at them and had even sworn

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Age gap When to Have a Second Child
Psychology Today

Age Gap: When to Have a Second Child

Large or small, age gaps affect sibling relationships Parents often wonder about whether it’s better to have their children close in age or spaced far apart. Some will say: “Oh let’s just

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Overcoming Parental Guilt
Psychology Today

Overcoming Parental Guilt

Parenting is the hardest job in the world Many parents tell me that they feel overwhelming guilt after yelling at their child. They remember how badly they felt as children when their parents yelled

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How Parental Birth Order Affects Parenting
Psychology Today

How Parental Birth Order Affects Parenting

Identifying with your child A parent’s birth order powerfully impacts his relationship with his children. If a parent was the firstborn child, he may identify completely with his oldest. He understands this child best

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Raising Twins
Psychology Today

Raising Twins

Encourage their unique identities There are many benefits for children growing up as twins. The children always have a playmate whether they’re playing dress-up together, or just lying on their beds reading. They’re never alone.

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The Only Child
Psychology Today

The Only Child

Are you demanding too much of your only child? Four-year-old Julie is walking down the street hand-in-hand with her mom and dad. “One, two, three everyone counts,” when they arrive at a

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Middle Child Syndrome
Psychology Today

Middle Child Syndrome

Overcoming the challenge of being both an older and younger sibling all at once The family is sitting around the dinner table. Daddy is having a discussion with his 12-year-old son about

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Sibling Battles During Quarantine
Psychology Today

Sibling Battles During Quarantine

Mom and her two sons, 9-year-old Alex and 12-year-old William, are going out for a bike ride. This is their “outside time” during the stay-at-home quarantine. Mom is happy to be leaving

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Talking to Kids About Coronavirus
Psychology Today

Talking to Kids About Coronavirus

A mom and her 3-and-a-half-year-old little girl stop at the library to drop off some books. The little girl sees a candy on the floor and starts to reach for it. The

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The Second Child
Psychology Today

The Second Child

Being the secondborn has its challenges Four-year-old Michael sits wide-eyed on his father’s shoulders, watching his 7-year-old sister Rebecca take part in a swimming competition. The whistle blows, she jumps into the water,

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What to Do When Cliques Form
Psychology Today

What to Do When Cliques Form

Helping children who are excluded Around the age of 4, groups of friends bonded by the same interests are often formed. Several children may enjoy playing monsters at the park together or

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When Your Child Says, Nobody Likes Me
Psychology Today

When Your Child Says, “Nobody Likes Me”

Stay objective and avoid overreacting Four-year-old Sam arrived home from preschool one day complaining, “ No one likes me!” Needless to say, his mom and dad were horrified. Memories of their own childhood wounds

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Encouraging Independence
Psychology Today

Encouraging Independence

An independent child will feel more secure in himself and take more risks A child feels exhilarated when he experiences his own power and capabilities. If you encourage his independence, he will

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The Opppositional Child
Psychology Today

The Opppositional Child

Some children give their parents a harder time than others It’s normal for small children to run the other way when you call, constantly test you, and refuse to listen, at times.

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How Parental Birth Order Affects Parenting
Psychology Today

How Parental Birth Order Affects Parenting

Parental birth order may powerfully impact the parent/child relationship “Stop that!” 7-year-old Allie screeches. Standing within earshot of this latest sibling squabble, Mom instantaneously hollers at her 9-year-old son, “Brian, You’re punished.”

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Handling Your Child’s Jealousy
Psychology Today

Handling Your Child’s Jealousy

It is hard for a child when another sibling is the center of attention Eight-year-old Grace is at her older sister’s sweet 16 party. She is feeling down because her sister is

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The Challenges Facing a Firstborn Child
Psychology Today

The Challenges Facing a Firstborn Child

The ups and downs of being a firstborn Parents are very excited when they are about to have their first baby. They make sure they have researched and purchased the most high-tech

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I Want More Presents!
Psychology Today

I Want More Presents!

It’s New Year’s Day and four-year-old Jennifer whines to her mom, “Mommy, buy me that new doll on TV for Christmas.” Mommy hits the roof. “Jennifer, you just got tons of gifts.

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You Love My Brother More than Me
Psychology Today

You Love My Brother More than Me

Sharing parents’ love often creates sibling rivalry It is 6 o’clock in the evening. Mrs. Allen walks into her house exhausted from a long day, places her packages on the kitchen table,

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Ending Homework Battles
Psychology Today

Ending Homework Battles

Children naturally resist homework to one degree or another Dad walks by his 14-year-old daughter Sophie’s room and sees that she is talking on the phone. He is enraged. It is 8:30

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All Children Are Created Equal
Psychology Today

All Children Are Created Equal

Would they ever see their parents again? They sat huddled in a cave waiting, they were panicked, frightened, cold, hungry, and badly wanted their parents who symbolized safety and protection. Would they

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Psychology Today

Birth Order and the Third Child

Each child may have unique emotional experiences The news has been ablaze with stories about the birth of Prince Louis, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s third child. And there has been much

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Teaching Young Children Morals
Psychology Today

Teaching Young Children Morals

Every child wants to be good and to be loved Four-year-old Maddie is lying in her bed talking to her mom. Feeling ashamed, she keeps her face covered with her blanket. Maddie: Mom. I

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Coping with an Angry Teenager
Psychology Today

Coping with an Angry Teenager

Whatever I do or say sets him off Recently at a parenting workshop, a mom described an interaction with her teenage son: “Every day, I drive my 15 y-o son to school. The whole

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Teaching Children Self-Control
Psychology Today

Teaching Children Self-Control

Impulse control is a developmental issue dating back to infancy A toddler will bite a friend who takes his shovel. A ten year old will slam the door in your face when

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What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied
Psychology Today

What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

The victim of bullying feels anxious and trapped A bully is someone who verbally or physically persists in hurting others. The bully may tease, taunt, or exclude a child or start rumors

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Understanding Children's Emotional Needs
Psychology Today

Understanding Children’s Emotional Needs

Your loving care helps her to feel safe and trust others Children come into the world with certain basic emotional needs: the need to feel loved and the need for a positive self-esteem.

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The Value of Pre-school
Psychology Today

The Value of Pre-school

The teacher helps the children to build their social and emotional skills At this time of year, I always like to reassure parents of young children who are starting preschool, that they

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Managing Parental Anger
Psychology Today

Managing Parental Anger

Stay calm and protect your child’s self-esteem It is normal for parents to feel angry at their kids. Children’s behavior is very difficult to manage and can easily drive you crazy. But,

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Helping Kids Who Bite
Psychology Today

Helping Kids Who Bite

Young children are in the oral stage of development Eighteen-month-old Sophie is digging happily in the sandbox next to her friend Kate. Kate suddenly takes Sophie’s shovel. Sophie bites her arm. Biting

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Acknowledging Children's Emotions
Psychology Today

Acknowledging Children’s Emotions

Verbalizing acceptance of your child’s emotions helps her feel understood Mommy is pushing 11-month-old Lily on a swing. Mommy announces that it’s time to go home for dinner. As she tries to

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The Shy Child
Psychology Today

The Shy Child

Be careful not to refer to your child as shy in front of her Some children jump in and make friends wherever they go, whereas others take a while to “warm up”

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Managing Playdates
Psychology Today

Managing Playdates

A play date is more complicated than meets the eye A play date is more complicated than meets the eye. As soon as your child knows a friend is coming to her

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Psychology Today

Responding with Enthusiasm

Admiration and approval give your child the message that he is good When your child calls out to you, “Mommy look. I made a snake with my clay,” it is very important

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Strangers and Danger
Psychology Today

Strangers and Danger

Ways to protect and empower your child Young children are often outgoing and like to tell people stories about themselves. Even if your child does not reach out to a stranger, someone might approach

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When Your Child Plays Doctor
Psychology Today

When Your Child Plays Doctor

Young children are naturally curious about anatomical differences Four year old Julie is having a play date with her best friend, Justin. After awhile, it seems a little too quiet in her

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Starting School Jitters
Psychology Today

Starting School Jitters

Children tend to face the new year with many worries Uh oh! The school year is starting up again. With camp and family vacations becoming fond memories, the more easy going routine

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Where Do I Come From
Psychology Today

Where Do I Come From?

Young children are fascinated about how they were made “Where did I come from?” four year old Molly asked her parents one morning at breakfast. Her parents glanced nervously at each other:

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Helping Your Child Cope With a Death
Psychology Today

Helping Your Child Cope With a Death

When someone dies, he realizes that his parents and even he himself can die Your young child may first come across death when Sweetpea her hamster dies, when she sees the movie

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How to Help Your Child Sleep Alone
Psychology Today

How to Help Your Child Sleep Alone

It is important for children to learn how to fall asleep on their own Do you find yourself all twisted up from sleeping on the floor of your child’s room every night, or from

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Teaching Children Tolerance
Psychology Today

Teaching Children Tolerance

Teach your young child positve values about accepting differences You’re standing in the supermarket check-out line with your 3-year old when he suddenly points to another little boy sitting in a shopping

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Mommy, I Want to Marry You
Psychology Today

Mommy, I Want to Marry You

Your child’s love is like a teenager’s first crush At around the age of 4, it is common for a child to fall in love with the parent of the opposite sex. This

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Why Hitting is Harmful to Children
Psychology Today

Why Hitting is Harmful to Children

Hitting hurts children both physically and emotionally As a parent you love your child more than anything in the world. And most of all, you want your child to grow up feeling

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I Don't Want to Go to School
Psychology Today

I Don’t Want to Go to School

There are many explanations for why a child would refuse to go to school Parents are often shocked when, a month into the school year, their child suddenly says, “I don’t want

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