Take-Home Messages From Science

As a researcher who studies child development, I pore over articles in scientific journals to stay informed. As a dad, I read these papers from a totally different viewpoint — I look for information that I can use as a parent. This new blog will let me share that perspective with you on a regular basis.

There are three things I’d like you to know about my approach.

First, I will flag the papers that you should know about. These days the results of scientific studies are released to the public on a daily basis, primarily through the internet but also via other forms of media. That said, just because a given study is intriguing, and just because you may read about it online or hear about it on the TV news, that doesn’t mean that it has practical implications for you. Furthermore, you may not be hearing about important research that does have a take-home message, simply because it did not get a press release. So this site will be devoted to the “red-hot” findings that I come across in the scientific journals that have implications for your parenting right now, along with suggestions about how to use the science to make your life as a parent happier, easier, and more effective.

Second, we parents often find ourselves dealing with topical issues that require us to make decisions about our parenting. You may be confused by conflicting information about the “right” age to start toilet training. You may be trying to decide if you should let your child read e-books. Or you may be wondering how to talk to your child about events that happen in the world. A recent example occurred on the evening of May 1, when President Obama delivered the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. Like all parents, my wife and I discussed what kind of conversation we should have with our daughter. I had an opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you via an invited blog I posted at Parents.com on May 2. So I will also devote space to “hot-button” issues that are in the air and prominent in the minds of parents, and bring a research perspective to them.

Third, it’s important to know that I embrace the idea that YOU are the expert on your child. As a parent, you know your child like no one else does, you know your life better than anyone, and you have the responsibility of translating knowledge into action. So I see my role as distilling information from the latest research that you can factor into your parenting.

I hope that you won’t be shy about sharing your thoughts and reactions to my posts. After all, we won’t know which scientific information is really useful until we parents actually try it out at home!

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  1. by Harriet

    On May 29, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Love to help your readers learn and understand more about climate change, why we as parents should be concerned, how to talk to our kids about it, what we can to to feel empowered and make a difference on this challenge issue that we are living with..be in touch!