The Benefits of Optimism

Just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. –Elie Wiesel ...more

Raising Optimistic Kids

The last post was about why we parents should foster optimism in our kids. In a nutshell: there is a close link between how optimistically kids think and how healthy and happy they are—and how they perform academically and athletically, for that matter. This post explains a little more about what it means to be optimistic or pessimistic and so that we parents can better foster optimism in our kids. ...more

How to be a Happy Mom

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically…on children than the unlived life of the parent. — Carl Jung The full truth of this quotation (provided in a comment on my last posting, Confessions of a Selfish Mother) is up for debate, but it certainly captures the central point I was trying to make: parents need to take care of themselves—finding their own inner peace and joy—in order to best take care of others. ...more

Forgive and…Feel Happier

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. ” -Buddha Few people fully realize the huge impact the ability to forgive can have on their happiness, nor do most people think of this as a skill that they need to teach and practice with their children. But important it is: forgiving people tend to be happier, healthier, and more empathetic (and like the Buddha, more serene, agreeable, and spiritual). ...more

I've forgiven a lot.  I think sometimes that forgetting is helpful, too.  The most difficult ...more

How Do We Get Dads to be More Involved?

I’m surrounded by super-involved dads. Dacher Keltner, founder and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center, is one of the most admirably hands-on dads I know. My dad was considered involved back in the day because he coached softball once and took me to Indian Princesses. Dads today do more than just the fun stuff. My own dad has done more work—changing diapers, picking up prescriptions, cleaning up dog barf—in my household with his ...more

Are Dads as Essential as Moms?

My kids’ dad—conveniently also my husband, Mike—travels a lot for work. For seven years I heartily resisted his heavy travel schedule. Even though I knew that he didn’t want to be away from us, I still longed for him to be more involved with the kids and household. But then I noticed the only return I was getting for all my complaining and negotiating was resentment. In January I stopped resisting; by February he’d signed up to attend an executive program at Harvard that is three weeks a year. He was gone for most of May. ...more

I generally believe that nature guides us the way we should exist in the world - and nature ...more

Dad Power

Do I Have to Live with my Kids for Them to Reap the Benefits? ...more

The Kids are Alright

Much of the media’s reporting about our kids centers on the bad things that are happening to them. “Epidemics” of bullying, school shootings, and youth depression have received significant attention in the past year, not to mention the regular reports of sensational teenage deviance in the nightly news. My impression is that most people think of teenagers as sad, distant, and often disturbed. ...more

Well, Most Kids Are Alright

Last week our graduate fellow, Sarah Garrett, took a look at whether teens today are less happy than their counterparts were in the past. The results are provocative and hopeful. But readers raised some important questions. Can we contrast Garrett’s results—the clear majority of teens are “pretty happy” or better—with trends in teen depression? Kids might think of themselves as happy, but aren’t they ...more