My first appearance on WMNH Radio

kids in sports

It’s been a couple of months since I began writing on this site about effective parenting. Just last week, I had my first appearance on WMNH Radio. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be interviewed on the Matt Connarton radio show. This opportunity came to me as a result of my connections to Carol Robidoux, who recently gave me my own column at Manchester Ink Link.

effective parenting
Here’s a gif of a puppy licking a baby – just cuz!

The show begins with Matt Connarton’s outrage at the government’s use of “asset forfeiture” with suspected drug criminals. My interview can be accessed here. After a few mishaps with the phone lines, my part begins at about 33:30 and ends at 1:08:40. In the interview, I discuss effective parenting, children’s use of technology, the importance of nonviolent discipline, the overarching need for warmth and empathy in the home, and the balance a parent needs to have between rules and freedom.

I was energized by this interview to continue encouraging parents to reflect on the parenting they received when they were children. If you think back on your own childhood, you can surely identify practices that your own parents used that you feel were effective, as well as habits they used that were not. It is up to us to use our critical thinking skills to choose parenting that gives our children the best chances for success. At some point, we must all have the courage to think about our past, and model a better way for the little ones in our care.

As a result of my stellar performance (jk), I will be appearing on this show every other Wednesday at 4:30pm to discuss other aspects of effective parenting. My next appearance is on Wednesday, August 2. I look forward to your comments and questions. Thank you for your support.

The imago: How our past can influence our choices

art of parenting

A large body of research shows that the home environment, particularly the quality of the relationship between the primary caregivers in the home, has a powerful influence on how we grow up. As children, we watch our parents closely, looking for clues about how adults are supposed to act. We pick up on signals about what a man is supposed to look like, what a woman is supposed to look like, and how a man and a woman are supposed to interact with one another. According to some psychoanalysts, those screenshots we take about how romantic relationships are supposed to play out create an unconscious image in our minds, called the imago.

Unless you’re a hermit, you are going to enter into relationships with others. Some of those relationships will be romantic. Romantic relationships, because they entail so much vulnerability, carry with them the potential for self-growth, but also the potential for great emotional harm. Whenever we open ourselves up to someone, we take a risk that that opening will be abused. On the other side, if we open up to someone, and they return the favor, what joy there is in being truly open and available to someone else!

What is the imago?

Our ability to open up like that, and the people we tend to attract, are heavily influenced by this imago. Essentially, the imago is a representation of our parents that forms the basis for how we have learned a relationship is supposed to look. If our parents spoke kindly and respectfully to one another, at an unconscious level, we find ourselves attracted to people whom our “antennae” pick up as being the kind of people who are kind and respectful.

[for an excellent guide to the imago and how to use it to improve your existing relationship, I highly recommend this book]

Continue reading “The imago: How our past can influence our choices”

3 Principles for Teaching Kids Financial Intelligence

Teaching kids financial intelligence

[Editor’s note: The article below is from my dear friend, Eric Ludwig, who is one of the best, most thoughtful parents I know. I invited him to write about his parenting, and to focus his article on any topic he was inspired to address. Please enjoy his article about teaching kids financial intelligence.]


“I hate that list!” Calvin again blurted out as we reminded him about it at the Mall.  The Pokemon game would have to wait.  Our son has always had the tendencies of an impulse shopper, so from an early age we kept a list on the fridge.  If he wanted something that cost more than $5 it had to be written on the list for at least a week before he could go back and purchase it.  Inevitably, nine times out of ten it would be written, but never purchased.  This system protected not only his wallet but helped him to more fully appreciate the things he wanted. This is one of three ways that my wife and I tried to teach our kids financial intelligence. Continue reading “3 Principles for Teaching Kids Financial Intelligence”

A case study on punishment: How it encourages “cheating”

case study on punishment
I don’t envy the job of lunchroom aide, that’s for sure!

This morning, I was talking with my son about the school year he just completed. We started talking about his teachers, and he mentioned a man who worked as a lunchroom aide. I think that what he told me about this man’s way of handling discipline in the lunchroom is a good case study on punishment, and how it encourages “cheating.”

I want to begin by reiterating the caption under the picture above. I imagine that keeping a large group of children quiet is quite difficult. I also know from research that the typical school day is one that places demands on children that are unrealistic even for adults. Imagine yourself having to sit in various hard-chaired desks for up to 90 minutes at a time, listening attentively to a teacher the entire time, across 7 hour span. (I know you can do it, because you did when you were younger.)

No talking when others are talking. No joking around. Pay attention – don’t look out the window. Teacher may call on you at any moment, and test you on some fact that s/he just introduced, to see if you are engaged. Even for adults, the average attention span is about 10 minutes. After that, our brains just automatically go elsewhere. It’s happened to you, I know it. Think about the last meeting you were in, and how many times your eyes were on the speaker, but your mind was on the cheesecake you had at home, or your shopping list, or the fight you had with your friend last night. Continue reading “A case study on punishment: How it encourages “cheating””

Welcome to my site about effective parenting

Welcome to my new website about effective parenting! I am so excited to be living in a time when the technology available can allow anyone to share ideas with the world. Recently, I was given the opportunity to syndicate this site, and write a regular column for a prestigious New Hampshire news site. In addition to following me here, you can also read and comment on my posts at

Applying research to the practice of teaching and parenting

When I was 4, 5 and 6 years old, my father’s mother came to live with us. I don’t remember much of anything about her, except for what she did when my parents went out, and I was left alone in her care. She would be perfectly pleasant while I was awake, but then, after I had fallen asleep, she would come quickly into the room and start hitting me with a belt. Sometimes, I would wake up from a sound sleep to the stinging feeling of that belt. Other times, some part of my subconscious would hear the turn of the bedroom doorknob, and wake me up to prepare me for what I knew was coming. Most of the time, I would go into my room to sleep, but I just lay there awake, terrified. Continue reading “Welcome to my site about effective parenting”