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Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians, which we call Scribit Veritas.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.


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10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting – Part 2

good parentingPart 2 of the post “10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting” based on Laurence Steinberg’s book with the same title. Here are principles three and four with their major concepts.

3.  Be involved in your child’s life. “Being an involved parent takes time and is hard work and it often means rethinking and rearranging your priorities. It frequently means sacrificing what you want to do for what your child needs you to do. Be there mentally as well as physically.”

  • Quality time isn’t about what you are doing with your child but occurs when you (the parent) are fully there with your child. Quality time occurs when you are really engaged with them.
  • Strive to develop an interest in what your child likes to do. As a result, you will spend more time with your child and increase bonding with him.
  • Be involved in your child’s schooling over the course of their education. Connecting to them in this way shows that education is important to you and will be to the child as well.

4.  Adapt your parenting to fit your child. “Make sure your parenting keeps pace with your child’s development. You may wish you could slow down or freeze-frame your child’s life, but this is the last thing he wants. You may be fighting getting older, but all he wants is to grow up. The same drive for independence that is making your three-year-old say ‘no’ all the time is what’s motivating him to be toilet trained. The same intellectual growth spurt that is making your 13-year-old curious and inquisitive in the classroom also is making her argumentative at the dinner table.”

  • Children are born with different temperaments or unique personalities. Since temperament influences the way a child will respond to anything and everything, you need to modify your parenting to fit your child’s individual temperament.
  • Every child is unique. Siblings have different talents, interests, and goals. You should alter your parenting practices to fit the specific needs of the child no matter how successful your former practices were with your other children.
  • Remember to be patient when your children are going through developmental transitions and times of rapid growth (physical and psychological).
  • Learn to accept that your role as a parent will change as your child gets older. Framing these changes in a positive light will make these transitions easier for you and help you see their importance for your child.

For more information see:

Steinberg, L. D. (2005). The ten basic principles of good parenting New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2005, c2004; 1st Simon & Schuster Paperbacks ed.

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10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting – Part 1

Laurence Steinberg is a university professor of psychology who specializes in child and adolescent psychological development. He wrote a book entitled “The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting.” Here are the first two principles with the major concepts of those with daughter on shoulders

1. What you do matters. “Tell yourself that every day. How you treat and respond to your child should come from a knowledgeable, deliberate sense of what you want to accomplish. Always ask yourself: What effect will my decision have on my child?”

  • Children are influenced by their genes. Parenting affects the way the genes are expressed.
  • Children learn by watching their parents and they are watching more closely than we realize. Be aware of what we are teaching them through our actions.
  • There are many other influences that have a role in your children’s lives. As a parent, we can manage the amount of time and impact that these other influences have on your children.
  • We are all going to make mistakes as a parent. Learn to say “I’m sorry” to your children when you were in the wrong, and learn from those mistakes.

2.  You cannot be too loving. “When it comes to genuine expressions of warmth and affection, you cannot love your child too much. It is simply not possible to spoil a child with love. What we often think of as the product of spoiling a child is never the result of showing a child too much love. It is usually the consequence of giving a child things in place of love—things like leniency, lowered expectations or material possessions.”

  • Children need physical affection throughout their lifetime. As children get older, parents should adjust the ways they express their affection to them in ways that are sensitive to the child’s desires.
  • Praise your children’s accomplishments.
    • Praise their specific accomplishment.
    • Link the praise to their effort, not some innate characteristic.
    • Tie the praise to the quality of the accomplishment not the grade or rating.
    • Don’t compare your child’s accomplishments to someone else’s.
  • Respond to your children’s emotional needs by striving to understand what exactly it is they need.
  • Make your home a safe haven from the world.

For more information see:

Steinberg, L. D. (2005). The ten basic principles of good parenting New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2005, c2004; 1st Simon & Schuster Paperbacks ed.

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Talking to Children about Sex

mom having talk with teen daughterParents can and should have the most significant effect on their children’s sexuality. In today’s world, there are many sources for children to gain information about sexuality and much of that information is not correct. Parents have the opportunity to protect their children from the potentially harmful consequences of sex, counteract misinformation from other sources, and  communicate their own values regarding sex when they talk to their children about sex and sexuality.1 Sadly, there are many parents who do not talk to their children.1

One study found that parents often perceive certain barriers which discourage them from talking to their children about this topic. These barriers include, but are not limited to, thinking that children are not ready to hear about sex, not knowing how to talk about sex, the parents’ lack of time or energy, the child’s lack of receptivity, parents’ embarrassment or discomfort, not having thought about the need to talk about sex, dysfunction in some families, and language and cultural barriers between parents and children.1 Research has found that when parents overcome these barriers and do talk to their children about sexuality their children have sex at a later age and have better communication with their future romantic partners.2

So what should parents do?

  • Talk to your children when they are young.1, 3
    • “Before children’s bodies start to change, you need to prepare them for peer pressure. You need to educate them about risks and prepare them for challenges.”1
  • Make it an ongoing conversation.1, 2, 3, 4
    • “The most important thing for a parent and child in sexual health is open communication.”1, 2
  • Develop a good relationship with your children.2
  • Model an appropriate romantic relationship and sexuality with your spouse.3
  • Recognize and take advantage of the teachable moments that arise.1, 3
    • “When something comes on the radio or television about sex, do you turn it off so your children can’t hear? Or do you talk about it?”1
    • Talk about what is happening in children’s sex education classes.2
  • Create opportunities to talk about sex.2
  • Use religious teachings and the church community as supports.2, 3
  • Some specific things to let your children know…1
    • The facts so they can understand themselves better.
    • That nobody should pressure them to have sex.
    • That you love them.

This website has some great videos that explain the importance of talking to children about sexuality and how we should talk to our children.

» Click to show references


1 Wilson, E. K., Dalberth, B. T., Koo, H. P., & Gard, J. C. (2010). Parents’ perspectives on talking to preteenage children about sex. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 42(1), 56-63. doi:10.1363/4205610

2 Knopf, A. (2015). Talking to your child about sex, sexuality, and health: Facts + love = success. Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter, 31, 1-2.


4 Berk, Laura (2010). Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 7th ed. Boston, MA.

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Parental Controls

today's wireless family

More children at younger ages are being exposed to technology and more are being given these devices to have as their own. More children and teens have multiple social media accounts. Cyberbullying is on the rise. Teens are concerned about their personal information not being private on the internet. Parents don’t seem to be aware of the responsibility they are placing on their children to have access to so much damaging exposure that they carry in their pockets. Here are some statistics on how many parents are actually actively monitoring their children’s activity online.

  • While 90 percent of teens say their parents trust them to be responsible online, 45 percent said they would change something about their online behavior if their parents were watching.
  • Among parents with children less than 8 years old, they use the following methods to help control their child’s media content access 57 percent of parents watch or play the content first.
  • Almost 70 percent of pre-teens admit to hiding online activities.
  • 91 percent of parents say they are well informed about what their teens do online or on their cellphones. Three in five teens say their parents know what they do online.
  • 93 percent of parents say they talk to their teens about online safety, while only 61 percent of teens report having this conversation.
  • 38 percent of parents with younger teens, aged 13-15, said they monitor or follow their children’s cell phone use very closely.
  • 53 percent of parents use some sort of parental control feature to manage/monitor their child’s Internet use.
  • 86 percent of parents feel their children are safe online.
  • 89 percent of parents find online safety education for their kids to be critical.
  • 84 percent of parents who use social media follow or are connected with their children, hoping to gain access to their interactions with followers and the information they post.
  • 32 percent of parents set rules for how their kids use their smartphone.

Not all parents are doing as well at monitoring and teaching their children about technology as they think they have been. Click on this link to the be aware section of a website called Growing Wireless. This site has helpful information for parents who are seeking to become better protectors of their children’s online and technology usage.

For more information:

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Raising Resilient Children

3 superhero kids

Resilience: the ability to adapt effectively in spite of serious threats to development. This is something that we all want our children to develop. We want to help them succeed even when the odds are against them. Research has found some consistent themes of what factors promote resiliency in children. These protective factors fall under 4 broad categories.

First is the child’s characteristics. Children who have some of the following characteristics are more likely to be resilient: higher intelligence, socially valued talents, an easy temperament, a favorable self-esteem, good emotional self-regulation, flexible coping skills, good conflict-resolution skills, confidence in their ability to reach their goals, a sense of personal responsibility for outcomes, persistence, strong moral character, a sense of meaning and purpose in their life, a desire to contribute to community, take pleasure in mastery, and use their time wisely.

The second category is the child’s family life. Children benefit from a warm parental relationship. A parent who provides warmth, has appropriate, high expectations, monitors the child’s activities, maintains an organized home environment, and uses authoritative parenting (positive discipline and no coercive tactics) are more likely to raise resilient children. Warm supportive sibling relationships also are a protective factor adding to resiliency.

Third is social support outside of the immediate family. Some children lack the support of a parent and can benefit from having a special relationship with another caring adult who models effective coping and functioning. Peer relationships can also be a protective factor if they are with rule-abiding peers who value school achievement.

The fourth and last category is community resources and opportunities. Youth groups promote positive peer relationships and pro-social behavior. Stable neighborhood residents and services relieve parental distress and encourage families and neighbors to share leisure time together. Schools that have caring teachers, extracurricular activities, and high-quality afterschool programs also add to a child’s resiliency.

For more information see:

Hoffman, D. M. (2010). Risky investments: Parenting and the production of the ‘resilient child’. Health, Risk & Society, 12(4), 385-394. doi:10.1080/13698571003789716

Berk, Laura (2010). Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 7th ed. Boston, MA.


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It’s Never Too Early or Too Late

family silouhetteBradley D. Foster tells a story about an interview he had with a young man. This young man’s father talked with his son each year and warned him of the dangers he would be facing.

This father taught his son to come to him with questions and concerns about what is right and what is wrong. The world our children are growing up in will offer them guidance on what they should do. If we are not making an active effort to teach and guide our children, the world will pull them in directions that we don’t want them to go.

Bradley D. Foster also said, “It’s never too early and it’s never too late to lead, guide, and walk beside our children.” So no matter where we are with our children now ­ if they are infants, teenagers, or have families of their own ­ we can help guide them. We can teach them correct principles and warn them of the dangers of the world. We can love them and help them to grow and develop into amazing people.

Click here for more information.

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family playing games

I have fond memories of playing games with my family, my siblings, my cousins, and even my friends. Research reveals that board, card, and cooperative games all have many benefits for individuals and families.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine2 found that senior citizens who engaged in mental activities such as board games and crossword puzzles had reduced dementia and those without dementia were less likely to develop dementia. Participating in one mental activity a week reduced the risk of dementia by 7 percent and participating more frequently reduced the risk up to 63 percent.

The benefits of games include but aren’t limited to…

  • Increasing intelligence, because they make you think
  • Teaching children how to deal with losing
  • Learning to think logistically and cognitively to strategize to win
  • Cooperative games teach relationship skills1, which include…
    • Negotiation skills
    • Decision-making skills
    • Sharing resources
    • The ability to listen
  • Teaches about the connectivity of life (how one choice affects other things)
  • Educational games can be used to teach different subjects; math, science, or a new language
  • Games allow families to spend quality time together
    • Allow families to focus on each other while playing a game, rather than focusing on a screen to play a video game or watch a movie
    • Communication is used to play the game
    • More interaction than a movie or video game
      • Allows family members to get to know one another better
      • Builds family relationships
    • Different games can teach specific skills

So instead of having family movie night this Friday, dust off one of the old board games, pop some popcorn, and enjoy spending some quality time with the whole family.

For more information see:

1 Loyons, S. (2015). Benefits of cooperative games. Retrieved from

2 Lewis, K. (2013). Board games can offer many benefits for families. Retrieved from

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Newlyweds and Money

newleyweds and moneyAs two individuals come together to start their lives together in marriage, it is important that they get on the same page. This “creates a strong foundation for a healthy, lifetime marriage.”1 Many marriages fall apart because of money related problems. Starting a marriage with the same goals and ideas about money is important for the future success and happiness in that union. Dave Ramsey, a national best-selling author and radio host on finances, gives some advice for transitioning from singles to a married couple in terms of money.

  1. Put It All on the Table: “Transparency is the key!”1 Explain exactly what your current financial situations are, including any and all debt you owe. Be open and honest. You should share your views on money, how you were raised and taught in terms of finances. Make sure you are kind when discussing differing views and work toward creating a shared view and goal for your financial future together.
  2. “Marry” Your Accounts: Once you get married; combine your money into joint accounts. “Working together from a shared account brings honesty, unity and a sense that ‘we’re in this together!’”1
  3. Start Budgeting Together: Meet monthly to plan your income and expenses on paper. Once you have a typical month outlined, you can make adjustments as things change.
  4. Make A Plan: After you have everything in the open you can work on developing your plan together. What order will you pay off your debts? What will you invest your money in? How much will you save?
  5. Put Your Relationship First: Always remember that “it’s just money. Your relationship is so much more important. Getting on the same page with money is extremely helpful, but it’s not the ultimate end all, be all. Just keep that in perspective when you come to the table together.”1

It’s important to keep in mind that men and women see money differently. “Men tend to take more risks and don’t save for emergencies. Men use money as a scorecard and can struggle with self-esteem when there are financial problems. Women tend to see money more as a security issue, so they will gravitate toward the rainy-day fund.”2 Now that a couple is married they both need to be involved in managing their finances.

Marvin J Ashton clearly states this point, “Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust.”3 Dave Ramsey promises, “As you work on your money together, you will begin to change your family tree. One of your main goals in your marriage should be to pass a legacy down to your children and grandchildren.”2


For more information see:




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Wow these are all three good and need no revisions to publish

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Music and Intelligence

kids playing instrumentsResearch has questioned if music can increase the intelligence of individuals. There was a study1 done on college students that found those students who listened to Mozart music before taking an exam, did better on their test than those that sat in silence or were read relaxation instructions. This “Mozart effect” was found to only last 15 minutes.

This study has been popularized by the idea that you can become smarter just by listening to Mozart. There are CDs for infants that claim they will make your infant smarter by letting them listen to it, though there has been no scientific evidence to prove this. There is evidence, however, that participation in music lessons does increase children’s intelligence.

A study1 placed six year olds into four groups. Each group was given either piano lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons. Children in the music groups scored higher on the intelligence test by a few points at the end of 36 weeks. The drama group had the highest gains in social maturity. Another study2 found 9 year-olds who had been given the opportunity to play music with their classmates had higher scores in imagination and had closer relationships with their peers. Though these studies didn’t uncover some magic way to increase your child’s intelligence, they do highlight the extra benefits music experience can give your child, other than helping them develop a valuable talent.


For more information see:

1 Berk, Laura (2010). Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 7th ed. Boston, MA.

2 Passanisi, A., Di Nuovo, S., Urgese, L., & Pirrone, C. (2015). The influence of musical expression on creativity and interpersonal relationships in children. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191, 2476-2480. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.308


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Should You Pay for an “A”?

There is a lot of controversy about whether children should be paid for good grades.  Many parents argue that it motivates their children, teaches the importance of an education, and helps their kids learn that effort brings rewards.  After all, one would expect to get paid more for excellent work when one is employed.  However, most experts would argue against paying for good grades.  According to Psychology Today, when children are paid cash for grades, this is what can be expected, based on current research:

pay for an A

  • First, if there is a very low level of interest in school, motivation for study should improve.
  • Second, for subjects that students love to hate, such as math, scores should improve.
  • Third, for more popular subjects there will be little effect.
  • Fourth, once the incentive program ends, grades will fall in all subjects.
  • Finally, students who participate in a reward program will experience an enduring loss of interest in learning for its own sake.

Better than paying for grades, learning and homework should be programmed into the daily routine.  As suggested by “The key is to structure the after-school routine in a ‘When-Then’ format so that homework comes before seeing friends, computer time, soccer practice and other activities your child enjoys. That way, you can tell him, ‘When your homework is finished, then you can use your phone’ or ‘When your homework is finished, then we’ll leave for soccer practice.’ Let your child have some input, and then stick to the same routine every day so it becomes the law in your house.”

            Be sure to encourage your children with praise for their efforts.  Expect the best from them, let them know that you have confidence in their abilities, and then put away your wallet!

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