Skip Navigation

Social and Emotional Development

How children feel and connect: research articles

Can Preschoolers be Depressed?

3 year old Asira readingPsychologists and other early childhood experts over the past several years have begun to look closely at depression in young children, including characteristics, signs and symptoms, and long-term impact on healthy development.  The impact of parental, particularly maternal, depression and other influences are also discussed.

The Moral Life of Babies

The New York Times Magazine

Makalya clappingFor years, psychologists have argued that humans enter the world devoid of morality.  However, a growing body of evidence suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life, and babies can demonstrate a basic understanding of right and wrong.

Read more »

Decisions About Discipline

Brielle and Dad 2 years DisciplineAccording to childcare experts, the most important thing parents can give their children is love. The second most important thing is discipline (Brazelton & Sparrow, 2003). What is discipline, and how can parents make the best decisions for their children?  Read more »

Maternal depression can undermine the development of young children

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

Gabrielle and mom maternal depression articleSerious depression in parents and caregivers affects not only the adults who are ill but also influences the the well-being of the children in their care.  The first joint Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Program Evaluation summarizes recent evidence on the negative effects of severe depression on children and families.  The report also highlights the need for early intervention to ensure mothers’ well-being and children’s healthy development.  

Read more »

Is there a “Right” way to praise a child?

The Talaris Institute

Trystan and Mom - PraiseIn the Sept. 14 edition of the New York Times, author Alfie Kohn wrote about the potentially detrimental effects of praise on young children. In the article, both positive reinforcement (praise) and punishment through withdrawal of attention (including time out) were described as manipulations intended to shape children’s behavior to please the adults in their life, regardless of the feelings, goals, and needs of the child. Kohn calls for parents to love their children unconditionally, instead of sending them repeated messages that they are lovable only when they behave in certain ways.

Read more »

Making Friends: Assisting Children’s Early Relationships

UNC FPG Child Development Institute Authors Barbara Goldman and Virginia Buysse

FriendsBarbara Goldman and Virginia Buysse support the authenticity of friendships among the very young and among children with and without disabilities as they explore the characteristics and benefits of friendship.  The authors also suggest ways parents and teachers can identify and foster friendships in young children with and without disabilities.

Read more »

Children and Disasters: What You Need to Know

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Cason and grandmaHurricanes, earthquakes, war, terrorism, school shootings. We know how scary these events feel as adults, but how do they affect our youngest citizens, our children? Disasters, whether human-made or natural, have a significant effect on the health and emotional well-being of children (Madrid, Grant, Reilly, & Redlener, 2006). It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of so many and five years since September 11 forever left its imprint on all of our lives. As I reflect on the anniversary of these disasters I am reminded that post-disaster effects may not surface until long after the occurrence of the event and can last for years (Madrid et al., 2006). Although these events seem long ago, children continue to need support.

Read more »

A Parenting Myth: Can I Spoil My Baby?

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Missael cryingOne question we hear frequently from parents is, “If I pick my baby up every time he cries, won’t I spoil him?” After reviewing a number of parenting books and research articles, I found that everywhere I turned the answer was the same. No, you cannot spoil your baby! According to child development expert Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, it’s impossible to spoil a child in the first year of life.

Read more »