Drug prevention advice for parents

How to talk to kids responsibly about drugs.

  • The majority of kids are going to experiment with drugs at some point in their lives, mostly in their teens and early 20s.
  • While many parents might balk at allowing their children to experiment, it's important to remember that not all drugs are the same.
  • There are some warning signs, however. Neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz walks us through some of the signs to look out for.

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Forcing your kids to apologize can make them less 'likable'

Maybe you both need a time-out.

(VGstockstudio/Shutterstock)
  • A new study finds that making children apologize can make things worse.
  • When kids say fake "sorry" their victims dislike them even more.
  • Children respond most positively when regret is sincere.
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How hands-on learning fires up your brain

To strengthen your mind, work with your hands, says former astronaut Leland Melvin.

  • Learning is a mental and physical pursuit, says retired astronaut Leland Melvin.
  • Recalling his childhood, Melvin explains how working with his dad to turn a $500 bread truck into a family RV camper ultimately made him a better astronaut, able to maneuver the $2-billion dollar Columbus Laboratory out of the payload bay of a shuttle and attach it to the International Space Station.
  • Experiential learning — like hands-on DIY, engineering kits, and Duplo games — wires your brain for problem solving from a young age. It's a leg-up we can all give to the children in our lives.
  • "[W]hen we let [kids] build and create and it's meaningful and it helps them solve a problem, that gets them thinking about how they can be change makers themselves and how they can be scientists and engineers," says Melvin.

Why are girls hitting puberty earlier? The answer could lie in the medicine cabinet.

Mothers who tested positive for chemicals found in common cosmetic products were more likely to have girls who hit puberty early.

  • American girls have been hitting puberty at earlier ages compared to past decades.
  • Chemicals found in common cosmetic products could be responsible for the changes, according to the results of a nearly 20-year study, which found that boys didn't seem to be affected by the same chemicals.
  • It's still unclear whether these chemicals cause early puberty, but it might be worth avoiding products containing them until the research is conclusive.
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How overparenting backfired on Americans

Being raised indoors might the reason young Americans struggle in the adult world.

  • American childhood is going, going… gone, says Professor Jonathan Haidt.
  • In the mid-'90s there was a sharp shift to overprotective parenting. In previous generations, kids were allowed to out of the house unsupervised from age 5-8, which has now become age 12-16. As a result, their independence, resilience, and problem-solving skills suffer.
  • "Give childhood back to kids so that they do what they most need to do, which is develop the skills of being an independent adult. Remember that the job of a parent is to work him or herself out of a job."
  • As a resource for parents, Jonathan Haidt recommends letgrow.org.
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