Dr. Paul Schwartz's Child Behavior columns:



Paul Schwartz, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. He has been writing columns about child behavior for Hudson Valley Parent for more than a decade. You can find them all right here:

"The talk: How and when to have it"
Questions from children about sex and intimacy arrive earlier and earlier-often as an attempt to understand the conflicting and confusing messages they see and hear daily. Every parent knows that sooner or later they have to have “the talk.” But given what children see and appear to know these days, for many parents this “talk” looms like a daunting task.
Dr. Paul Schwartz on the importance of peers and what parents can do if they fear their child is being rejected.

Adolescents: Legends in their own minds
How often do we say, “I don’t know how a smart kid like you can do something like that”? Dr. Schwartz examines why adolescents act the way they do.

A brief evolution of parenting
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz provides a historic backdrop as to how parenting advice has not only changed over the years.

Are we overscheduling our children?
Dr. Paul Schwartz examines whether today's parents are structuring a barrage of activities for their children with independent play being sacrificed, or doing things for their children that their children should be doing for themselves.

The importance of friendship
Dr. Paul D. Schwartz examines the benefits of friendships at every age.

Emotions and intelligence
Dr. Paul Schwartz examines the limitations of the traditional IQ test and the subsequent rise in popularity of tests for emotional intelligence to predict a child's competence and potential for success.

Kids and cutting
Self-harming behavior by one’s child is usually a frightening and confusing area of concern for parents. Dr. Paul Schwartz examines the increasing problem in adolescence: “cutting.”

Understanding Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome has recently been the source of much controversy and confusion among both parents and professionals. Dr. Paul D. Schwartz examines the most commonly seen characteristics exhibited by school-aged children.

Praising Children
Dr. Paul Schwarz, PhD., says children should be praised for their effort rather than the product of their accomplishments.

Teens & the Internet
“It’s 10 o’clock, do you know what your kids are looking at?” Dr. Paul Schwartz discusses how parents can stay on top of all the latest tech talk.

Turn off the Wifi
Every generation experiences technological advances that change the way the world is brought to it and new vistas are opened. Dr. Paul Schwartz discusses how parents can stay on top of all the latest tech talk.

Making the shift from pool to school
With summer coming to an end, a new school year is soon to begin. Some children may be excited about going back to school. For those who are reluctant to head back, here is some advice on making the transition from summer to school a little easier.

It's not my fault I'm bossy!
Dr. Paul Schwartz on how birth order affects personality

When did my children become busier than I am?
Today, parents are structuring a multitude of activities for their children, and because of this, independent playtime is sacrificed. Rather than tearing off their school clothes and running out to play, today’s kids need to check the family planner to answer the simple question, “Can I go play?”

Ways to treat adolescent depression
In truth, more than ever, today’s adolescents may need adult guidance to help them understand the personal and interpersonal changes and pressures they’re experiencing.

Signs of depression

When a child appears excessively sad, it may be a sign of depression. Childhood depressive disorders are conditions in which children display persistent negative moods and a lack of pleasure in life.

Parental guilt and the spoiled child
Most overindulgent parents who give in to temper tantrums or crying or whining are well-meaning, but they’re none-theless teaching their children that this is how to get their way.


Foster your child's self-esteem

Children need unconditional love and acceptance. This doesn’t mean that anything goes. Limit-setting, based upon clear, reasonable and attainable rules for a child to follow, is a necessary and important part of any child’s environment.

What if your child refuses to go to school?
The first question you should ask is “What’s happening that has created this level of stress for the child”? Some type of early response to the problem is critical.

Is your child being bullied?
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz provides some some clues that may indicate your child is being bullied at school or on the playground.

Help your child develop social skills.
The following is one of 14 variables that child development experts and happiness researchers believe attribute to raising not only a happy child but also continued happiness through adulthood.

Are imaginary friends healthy behavior?
Sometimes imaginary friends are fabricated because your child needs help dealing with a particular stressful issue. An imaginary friend can also give parents considerable insight into their child’s psychological wellness and possibly what they are struggling with or confused about.

Child psychologist, Dr. Paul Schwartz, Discusses School Anxiety.
The new school year is almost upon us, and for some children the change from the unstructured and fun activities of a summer day to a structured school day is an easy one, but for others the change can be quite difficult.

Should Parents Punish Children When They Lie?
Punishing lying is tricky business.  Think of the child who broke his mother's China vase when she wasn’t home and denied it.  When his conscience won out a few days later he admitted it. To teach him a lesson his mother promptly restricted him to the house for his misdeed.

Why Preschoolers Lie.
Many parents often question if it's normal for their preschooler to lie. Many parents let the occasional “fib” go without questioning their preschooler, but when it comes to outlandish and full-blown lies parents often start questioning their parenting skills.

Dr. Schwartz tells us about his own parenting-style dilemma.
He's going to share with us is insight on different parenting styles he learned with his first born son, Jesse.

Childhood friendship, is it quality or quantity?
Newburgh child psychologist, Dr. Schwartz explains the importance of friendship in childhood.

Hudson Valley psychologist Dr. Paul Schwartz offers 8 tips on easing homesickness.
Our child behavioral expert Dr. Paul Schwartz explains how parents can ease a case of being away from home whether they are at Hudson Valley camps or a friend's house.

My phone is smarter than your honor roll kid!
Is 'computer time' overloading your child with too much information while they stare vapidly at their monitors? Dr Paul Schwartz discusses computer time.

Hudson Valley Parent Wonders If Our Kids Are Overscheduled.
Parents are structuring a barrage of activities for their children and independent playtime is being sacrificed. Issues that Dr. David Elkind brought up 30 years ago in his landmark work, The Hurried Child, which has today developed into the “Hurried Child Syndrome”.

Say hello to the new baby!
What is the best way to prepare a child for the birth of a new family member so that the transition can be a positive one — what are the guidelines?

Defusing childhood aggression.
This month I would like to offer parents some ideas regarding ways to help manage or control aggression in children. The emphasis will be on young children, as their issues and difficulties are vastly different from those of adolescents.

Origins of shyness not clear.
The causes of shyness are numerous and are often difficult to determine. Research has offered possible origins of shyness as: biological predisposition either genetic or neurochemical inadequate social skills harshly criticized.

How to make talking about death easier.
Kids are constantly asking questions as a means of understanding this complex world of ours, and all parents experience the joy of being able to provide the answers for them.  Sometimes the questions asked however, can be challenging to answer.

Are turbulent trends in adolescence creating unprepared adults?
Adolescence was a nonexistent stage of development 100 years ago. Compulsory education laws and working restrictions for juveniles put adolescence on the map. Until recently, adolescence was a brief developmental period of life, and was seen as a transitional moratorium that separated childhood from the demands and responsibilities of adulthood.

Same-sex education: Pass or fail?
In our increasingly competitive society, professionals as well as parents are always looking for the educational environment that best allows children to perform to their maximum potential. A controversial issue in this quest for the optimal environment is finding the ideal setting for every child.

Same sex education- is it a con?
Opponents of same sex schooling maintain that same sex education will have the reverse of the intended effect and actually increase gender stereotypes.

Defining the Modern Dad.
The old joke goes, What’s the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? On Father’s Day you buy a cheaper present. Is more soap on a rope or another tie all we can still expect?

The Nurturing Father.
In 1988, Kyle Pruett wrote an influential book called The Nurturing Father. He believes that there is a stronger sense today among social scientists and the public that fathers are valuable – that men parent differently than women and that fatherhood is rising steadily in our culture’s esteem.

Teaching kids money doesn't buy happiness.
If you ask parents what they want for their children, they most often say, “I just want my child to be happy.” However, so many parents attempt to achieve that goal via the distorted popular culture messages that communicate that happiness is produced by the attainment of wealth, and that is not healthy.

Attention Deficit and its controversies.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic neurobehavioral disorder of childhood characterized by inattention, possibly combined with over activity (hyperactivity) and/or impulsivity. Though diagnosis and treatment for ADHD has increased in recent years, it has been identified and written about for centuries

How do you treat ADHD?
The use of stimulant medication has always been controversial, with critics among both parents and professionals

The internet and adolescent behavior.
The internet has become the adolescent’s medium of choice. Teens and preteens report that they spend more time on the internet and prefer the internet to any other media source, including television, radio and the telephone

"Healthy" stimulation programs might be placebo.
Technology is everywhere, and every parent wants their child to benefit from every computer program available. Trying to give a child an intellectual edge seems to begin earlier and earlier.

Simple tricks to boost your baby's brainpower!
You don’t need laptop programs nor do you need classical music playing at nap time to keep that little brain growing. What does increase your baby’s brain power?  The following are tried and true exercises that will stimulate your child's brain and promote healthy parenting behavior.

Do video games lead to violence?
It seems that every week a news headline relates a story about another adolescent or even preadolescent disclosing a plot to bring guns to school or highlights another plan where a child or group engages in violent acts.

Do video games create a violent culture?
There are some researchers who don’t believe exposure to violent video games produce benign results. Some researchers believe these excessively violent games may be more harmful than either violence on television or in the movies because of the interactive nature of the games.

Teaching your children altruism.
Although the economy has improved and we seem to be feeling better about spending our money on gifts, it’s a time to reconsider alternatives to having more and more stuff.

Altruism and happiness.
The holidays are a perfect time for parents to introduce altruism to their children. Sometimes with gift giving, we can forget that true happiness doesn’t come wrapped up in a bow. Happiness is something that must come from within.

Community service during the holidays.
As the holiday season comes around, it’s easy to teach your children the value of giving back to their community. It will be a lesson that will stay with them their entire lives.

And the best parenting style is...?
This month, I will not give you all the answers to the questions you may have about discipline, but I will try to explain the styles of discipline that you might use and the accompanying effects each style often brings.

Reasoning to a perfect solution.
With this discipline style, you use explanation, reasoning and verbal communication in order to develop appropriate behavior in your children. You explain to your child that rules aren’t established or imposed arbitrarily or to punish you.

"I'm not going to school!" Now what?
It’s not uncommon for children to experience apprehension and jitters when starting school, but the anxiety should have dissipated by now. However, some children still experience fear, or panic, at the thought of going to school.

Kids nervous about school? You can help!
It’s September and a new school year begins. For some children, the change from unstructured, fun activities to a structured day is an easy one. For other children, the change can be quite difficult.

Helping kids understand the economy.
Just because our children don’t watch the news or read the business section in the newspaper doesn’t mean they are unaware of what’s happening to our economy.

Preventing the summer brain drain.
Does the axiom, “use it or lose it” apply to the skills, abilities and knowledge children have obtained during their course of study throughout the school year? There is overwhelming research that would answer this question with a resounding “YES!”

Discussing sexuality with your adolescent.
Every parent knows that sooner or later they have to have “the talk,” but given what children see and appear to know these days, for many parents this “talk” looms like a daunting task.

Communicating with your adolescent, Part II
Previously, I assured you that their behavior is normal, and that you as a parent have done nothing wrong.  I also talked about keeping open lines of communication. There are three more areas I’d like to touch on.

A little stress isn't all bad for kids.
It’s no exaggeration to say these are stressful times. On top of our already hectic schedules, we face a constant media barrage regarding the crisis in our local and global economy. How do we know when our children are experiencing too much stress?

Learn the warning signs of bullying.
In most adolescent movies bullying is often portrayed as somewhat benign or even comical for both the bully and the victim.

Do huge quantities of gifts physically harm children?
How many of us watch with dismay as our children tear open their gifts and toss them aside to get to the next one? Is this behavior healthy? Is it reasonable to tell them to slow down and appreciate what they were given?

You're getting a divorce- how to tell the kids.
Divorce is a dramatic and difficult event, and for some children significantly traumatic. How you tell your children that mom and dad are divorcing can play a big role in how they adjust to the news.

"How fast do you get to heaven?"

Learn to foster healthy self-esteem in your child.
Self-esteem is considered to be among the most important aspects of self-development. A child’s evaluation of his own competencies and value affects his current emotional experiences as well as his future behavior.

How you can enhance a child's self-esteem.
Children need unconditional love and acceptance. There is often a misconception among parents regarding this variable. Parents often think that providing unconditional love and acceptance means “anything goes” without criticism.

Make sure your child knows he is valuable.
Mindful parenting is a way of listening to our children in a manner that makes them feel valued. It also helps parents learn to prioritize the time we spend with our children.

Ease the transition from pool to school.
The transition from the fun-filled, unstructured summer days to the often rigorously structured schedule of the school year is potentially challenging for a child, even if the change is a highly anticipated one.

Your child's security blanket: keep it or toss it?
Charles Schulz is gone, but the Peanuts characters remain an enduring part of the American culture. We are all familiar with Charlie Brown’s anxieties and insecurities and Lucy’s rigid, impatient, overbearing manner. Of all the Peanuts characters, Linus is the most comfortable with himself. Could there be something to the blanket he carries with him at all times?

What makes a "great kid" part 1
In Paul Schwartz’s column in Hudson Valley Parent magazine, he discussed the 10 qualities of “great kids.” Here’s one quality that kids need to develop in order to lead a happy, healthy life while being able to face the challenges of the 21st century.

What makes a "great kid" part 2
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 3
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 5
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 6
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 7
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 8
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 9
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

What makes a "great kid" part 10
Child behavior expert Paul Schwartz explains!

Sometimes, knowing how to discipline takes discipline
As a parent you have many options to choose from when your child misbehaves or is in need of some correction. These options lie along a continuum that we could call the “Parent Discipline Choice Continuum.” The options on this continuum go from ignoring the misbehavior to physically restraining your child, with numerous options in between.

Teens Becoming Self-Centered
Why does your adolescent, who just a few years ago never cared what he looked like when he left the house, never pass up a mirror without making a major style adjustment? What happened to the little girl who talked to you about everything, but who now feels nobody, especially you, could possibly understand what she is going through?

An Expert's View on Cosleeping
When we asked Dr. Paul Schwartz, professor at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, what he thought about cosleeping - when parents allow their children to sleep in their bed - he had some interesting comments.

What kind of mom are you?
Bring stability to your family by finding your parenting style and sticking to it!

My child is a dirty, rotten thief!
The reasons a child steals are as varied as children themselves, so sometimes the root cause is difficult to determine. Dr. Paul Schwartz discusses the general sources from which stealing usually originates.

Is your child an underachiever?
Dr. Paul Schwartz examines the different types of child underachievers, what factors contribute to them, and how parents can help.

What's your parenting style?
As parents, we agonize over how we parent, and wonder “Is there a ‘best way’ to do it?

Will my child succeed?
Will my child succeed?” That’s a question on most parents’ minds these days since school is well underway. And “Will he be motivated to do his best?” comes right after.





Other articles by Paul Schwartz