Gun Violence in Schools

Dr. Corinne Masur

This week Philadelphia got the double whammy.  On Sunday, an e-mail alert went around to staff of local colleges and universities. A message had been posted on social media threatening an act of violence on an undisclosed college campus in the Philadelphia area on Monday morning.  Tuesday, a gunman was reported to be on the campus of Philadelphia Community College and the campus was put into lockdown. Masterman, a public magnet school for junior high and high school students across the street and Friends Select School, a Quaker k-12 school in the neighborhood also went into lockdown.

My son attends Friends Select.  As I was leaving for work that morning, I received a recorded message on my cell phone saying that due to the presence of a gunman at the Community College, Friends Select faculty, staff, and students were locked in the school until further notice.

I was shocked.  I was frightened.  But more than anything, I was angry. Continue reading

Is Video Killing the Family Vacation?

Dr. Corinne Masur

sea-sky-beach-holiday

Yes it is, says Nick Confalone, the man who became famous for making funny Vine videos of his infant son.  In a New York Times article on the topic, Mr. Confalone said of his constant videotaping: “I’m pulling (my family) out of the moment to try to create a version of that moment.”  Rather than enjoying the time with his son, Mr. Confalone realized that he had been taken over by the desire to create something for others to watch and enjoy. And rather than actually being with his son, he was trying to create a visual document about his son for his family to watch later. “Video,” he said, “is such an exact record of a moment that it threatens to replace the memories you have of that moment.”

And then there are the risks involved. Continue reading

A Team Effort: Thoughts on Children and Sports

Dr. Corinne Masur

I’ve just listened to an interview with Mike Matheny, former professional baseball player and manager of The St. Louis Cardinals. He recently wrote The Matheny Manifesto, a book on sports and life in which he makes some very, very good points.

Does your child play t-ball or little league? Are you considering when to start your child on a soccer or tennis team? If so, Mike has some great ideas. He examines how to talk about your child and sports – and if you don’t have time to read the book or listen to the podcast (Fresh Air, 5/4/15) look at these brief points (some his, some mine): Continue reading

Building Your Child’s Focus: ADHD Revisited

Dr. Corinne Masur

Attentional Disorders are diagnosed all too frequently in young children and, even more concerning, 2- and 3-year-olds are medicated for what’s being called hyperactivity.

As mentioned in a previous post, deciding what makes a toddler “hyperactive” is a matter of definition. ALL toddlers are active and ALL toddlers have trouble focusing. Why? Because it’s their job is to explore the world! Not only that, they’re not yet developmentally ready to concentrate on one thing for a long time.

But can you help your toddler learn to control him or herself and to focus for longer and longer periods of time?

Yes, you can. And here are some tips: Continue reading

Free Parenting Resources!

We are excited to announce that Parenting for Emotional Growth, a series of five books written by Dr. Henri Parens, is now available for free! In order to download the materials, go to http://jdc.jefferson.edu and search for “parenting for emotional growth.”

From the website’s description: “This textbook, on which the Parenting for Emotional Growth Curriculum, Workshops, and Lines of Development are based, is highly detailed and is based in psychodynamic theories that address parenting issues pertinent to optimizing the child’s psychological development, mental well-being, and abilities to adapt constructively. The presentation of materials is organized by the rationale that when parents know, understand, and can positively handle the child’s evolving emotional and experiential needs and psychological developments, the parents’ rearing strategies tend to better optimize their children’s developmental potential than when such knowledge, understanding, and handling are lacking. It is exactly because this educational approach has been shown to bring about growth-promoting parenting that our aim is the institution of parenting education alongside “reading, writing, and arithmetic” in the primary and secondary education of every child. In addition, through the Workshops, we want to reach those who have already become parents as well as those who work with children in order to heighten their growth-promoting efforts toward optimizing their children’s development.”

Henri Parens, M.D., is a local Philadelphia treasure and an internationally known child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who has devoted his life to helping children and parents. His contributions to psychoanalytic theory include a large body of work on parenting and an expansion of the definition of aggression. He has written numerous books including an autobiography describing his own experience as a child escaping the Holocaust.

Smith Playground: One of Philly’s Greatest Treasures

A parenting blog wouldn’t be complete without featuring Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, a Philadelphia treasure. Located in Fairmount Park, Smith has acres of outdoor space and a 16,000 square foot playhouse designed to promote creative, unstructured play. There’s a wooden train, kid-size kitchen toys, musical instruments, a giant slide, rocks for climbing, a sunny room filled with books– plus so much more. Best of all, it’s free (although donations are welcomed) and open year-round. We’ll see you there!

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Competent Children: Part 3

Dr. Corinne Masur

Recently, Judith Shulevitz wrote in the New York Times that college campuses are now barring speakers who might “invalidate people’s experiences” or who might speak about the use of sexist or racist language. She described how “safe spaces” are being created at schools during such lectures where students can come to play with play doh or bubbles or listen to soothing music. She says, “safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being bombarded by discomfiting…viewpoints.” Continue reading

Aggression and Young Children: A Father’s Struggle

by Dr. Corinne Masur

Recently I read on a parenting blog that if children show aggression it’s because they are in discomfort.

Is this really so?

And while we’re at it, what do we mean when we speak of aggression in the toddler or the young child? Are we talking about anger? Tantrums? Hitting and biting? All of these? Or more?

Defining our terms could be helpful before starting this discussion. Continue reading