The Importance of Failure

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Dr. Corinne Masur

Last week in The Sunday New York Times there was an article describing how college students need to to be TAUGHT that it’s okay to fail occasionally. Smith, a prestigious women’s college, offers a presentation called “Failing Well” during student orientation, which gives out a certificate saying, “You are hereby authorized to screw up, bomb or fail at one or more relationships, hookups, friendships, texts, exams or extracurriculars or any other choice associated with college…and still be a totally worthy, utterly excellent human.”

Evidently many 18 year olds are getting to college having suffered very few disappointments or failures of any kind. Or they get to college rarely having had to handle disappointment on their own. They are simply unprepared for this experience. Residence life offices are inundated with students who come in sobbing that they did not get their first choice of roommate, that they got less than an A- on an exam, or that they got rejected from a club.

How did we, as a society, or we as parents and educators and mental health professionals allow this to happen? We simply have to ask ourselves this question. Continue reading

How Was Your Day? Talking to Children After School

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Dr. Corinne Masur

It’s a time honored tradition for parents, grandparents, and other adults to ask children “how was you day at school?”

And, as any parent or any observant adult knows, these questions usually elicit very little in the way of information. In fact, all you are likely to get is a shrug of the shoulders!

What’s going on here?

Why do adults always ask these questions and why don’t children ever answer? Continue reading

Back to School!

 

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Dr. Corinne Masur

No matter how well you plan, when it’s finally time to actually send your children to school in the fall (for the 1st time or the 10th time) it always comes as a shock! Vacation is over; the hubbub and the rushing around of the school year are upon you! And WHO is ready to start THAT all over again?

This week in our parent group, we heard a repeated refrain: the fall rush takes a toll on both parents and children. Continue reading

What Is Violence in the News Doing to Us As Parents?

social_media_strategy111Dr. Corinne Masur

In a recent New York Times article, a question was asked: What is this recent violent news cycle doing to us?  I will take the question one step further and ask, what is the violent news cycle doing to us as parents?

That article suggests that we’re all affected by exposure to violence in news that we receive from constant social media blasts, and the author cites a study that found that extroverts, “those described with outgoing personalities,” were found to be more vulnerable to the violent imagery than others. Moreover, the article states that the greater the exposure, the greater the effect.

So what can we parents do to protect ourselves, to protect our parenting abilities, and to protect our children from the powerful effects of overexposure to violence in the news? Continue reading

How To Talk About Tragedy With Children

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Dr. Corinne Masur

Following the terrible events in Orlando, parents all over the country are thinking about whether to talk with their children about what happened and, if so, what to say.

Moreover, families must think about whether to allow their kids to listen to radio news or watch TV coverage, and whether to talk about what happened in front of children. This event is particularly difficult as it involves not only horrible tragedy but so many other issues: terrorism, hate, homophobia, mental health, gun control– all issues which are difficult to know how to explain to children.

The following are ideas and suggestions. Your family may choose to follow some, to modify others, and to ignore the rest. Each family is different and each child is different, so do what feels right in your particular situation. Continue reading

Yelling at our Kids

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Dr. Corinne Masur

Do you feel guilty when you yell at your children?

The other day, a dad in our parenting group spoke about feeling guilty for having yelled at his 6-year-old son.  His 3-year-old needed him, and while he was dealing with his younger child, his 6-year-old asked him to do something for him.  The dad said he was busy, and then the older child asked again.  The dad yelled at him to go to his room and then immediately felt that he had done the wrong thing.  He remembered his own father yelling all the time, and worried that he was becoming like his father.

So – did this dad do something wrong?  Is it wrong to yell at your child? Continue reading