Parenting for the science-minded
Founded by a biological anthropologist (me), Parenting Science is dedicated to families who want information based on the scientific evidence.
It’s also dedicated to people who are interested in the big picture: Parenting and child development from the perspectives of anthropology, evolution, psychology, and neuroscience.
No folk theories. No preachy advice. No authoritarian pronouncements or pseudoscientific political dogma.
Instead, you’ll find something pretty rare among popular resources for parents:
In-depth analysis with fully referenced citations from the scientific and medical literature.
I’ve got opinions. But who cares? What’s really important is critical thinking. Parents deserve to be treated like intelligent, rational beings.
You may be a scientist, physician, or teacher. Maybe you’re an educated, skeptical layperson who loves science.
Whatever the case, you don’t need dogma. You need evidence. You can draw your own conclusions.
So welcome to the site, and please visit again. I will continue to add new articles over time. Know anyone who might find these pages useful? Help me spread the word.
Thank you for your support!
Gwen Dewar, Ph.D.
- Search Parenting Science
- Can't find it? Use the search engine on ParentingScience.com.
- The Parenting Science Book Shop
- Recommended readings, hand-picked by Gwen Dewar and sold by Amazon.com. Your purchases will help support the Parenting Science website.
- Odds and ends: Parenting articles you might have missed
- Miscellaneous evidence-based parenting articles by Gwen Dewar
- The Parenting Science News Feed
- The Parenting Science news feed keeps you up-to-date on the latest articles added to ParentingScience.com. Subscribe here.
- Baby development and parenting for the science-minded
- What does anthropology, psychology, evolution and neuroscience tell us about baby development? Check out the latest scientific discoveries about baby cognition, sleep, language, feeding, and more.
- Breastfeeding tips and topics for the science-minded
- Breastfeeding tips and articles based on the anthropological, evolutionary, and clinical evidence. Information on newborns, older babies, and the composition of your breast milk.
- Infant crying in anthropological perspective: How parents matter
- Can you prevent infant crying by changing your approach to baby care? Maybe...and maybe not. Read about baby soothing techniques, smoke and alcohol, hunter-gatherers, and more.
- Baby sleep tips: A guide for the science-minded parent
- Baby sleep tips and articles about newborn sleep, baby sleep patterns, and baby sleep problems. Reviews baby sleep aids and sleep training programs. Anthropological and evolutionary perspectives.
- Baby food secrets: How to get babies to eat new foods
- Does a funny face mean that baby hates her food? Will fruit ruin her appetite for vegetables? Read the latest research about baby food.
- Bullying in school, at home, and on the savanna
- The Parenting Science guide to bullies: What they do, why they do it, and how we can stop bullying in school and elsewhere..
- Friendship in children: Why parenting matters
- Why are some kids good at making friends? Check out the evolution and development of friendship in children.
- Teaching self-control: Evidence-based tips
- Self-control is the key to success. Can we help kids regulate themselves? Develop better self-discipline? Check out these evidence-based tips.
- Social cognition and people skills: A guide for the science-minded parent
- What's normal social behavior? And how can parents help their kids develop strong social skills? Check out the Parenting Science guide to social cognition.
- Neuroimaging and your child's brain: A guide for the science-minded
- Neuroimaging promises to teach us a lot about the brain. But it's not the last word--or the most scientific approach--to learning about your child's mind.
- Teaching critical thinking: A Parenting Science guide
- Can you make kids smarter by teaching them principles of logic, reasoning, and hypothesis testing? Yes! Learn how teaching critical thinking to kids can boost IQ and enhance problem-solving skills.
- Intelligence in children: Can we make our kids smarter?
- Can you boost your child's intelligence? A guide for the science-minded parent.
- Music and intelligence
- What's the link between music and intelligence? Cutting-edge science reveals how music shapes the brain.
- Evidence-based education: School topics for the science-minded
- When should kids begin formal schooling? What works? The Parenting Science guide to evidence-based education.
- Science for kids: How to raise a science-minded child
- The Parenting Science guide to science for kids: Activities, resources, and teaching methods that promote scientific achievement and a love for the natural world.
- Empathy in children and teens: A guide for the science-minded
- What do studies tells us about empathy in children and teens? Check out this guide to brains, babies, teens, media influences, parenting tactics, and more.
- Food and nutrition for kids: An evidence-based guide
- What does evolution have to do with nutrition for kids? The parenting science guide to picky eaters, carbohydrates, nutrients, probiotics, and more.
- Your picky eater: Tips for the science-minded parent
- Got a picky eater? Here’s some evidence-based information about hard-to-please kids: How to expand your child’s list of acceptable foods without playing Food Cop.
- The science of attachment parenting
- What scientific studies reveal about attachment parenting.
- Mind-minded parenting: How mental state talk helps kids learn about other minds
- Mind-minded parenting assumes that kids have thoughts and feelings of their own. Does this approach promote secure attachments and theory of mind skills?
- Parenting styles: A guide for the science-minded
- What does research tell us about the four basic parenting styles? Identify your style, review the evidence, and consider the role of culture, peers, and child temperament.
- The effects of praise: What scientific studies reveal
- What are the effects of praise? Praise can motivate...but it can be harmful, too....just as your grandmother suspected!
- Spanking children: A guide for the science-minded
- Spanking children is rare among hunter-gatherers. It's frowned upon in the United States, and illegal in Sweden. Should people spank their kids?
- Cognitive development before kindergarten: Are kids smarter than they seem?
- Sure, little kids seem irrational. But is this because they lack the ability to grasp key concepts? Because we ask them stupid questions? Or ...? Check out these studies of cognitive development.
- Preschool math lessons
- A developmental guide to preschool math lessons for the science-minded parent.
- Preschool science activities
- Preschool science activities and scienced-based tips on how to teach science to young children.
- Preschool Social Skills
- How to nurture and improve preschool social skills. Why parents are more important than peers. Science-based tips on teaching social competence.
- Sleep tips and topics for the science-minded parent
- Sleep tips and articles for the thinking parent. Based on the latest research in sleep science, pediatrics, and anthropology.
- Sleep requirements: A guide for the science-minded parent
- The Parenting Science guide to the science of sleep requirements. Covers cultural and individual differences. How to determine your family's individualized needs.
- Night wakings: A guide for the science-minded parent
- What scientific research tells us about night wakings in babies and kids. How to improve your child's sleep.
- The Ferber method: A guide for the science-minded parent
- The scientific evidence for and against the Ferber method. How "cry it out" sleep trying compares with alternative, no-cry methods.
- Stress: A guide for the science-minded parent
- Articles and tips regarding the science of stress. Covers hormones, pregnancy, postpartum distress, babies and kids, stress management tips.
- Bed wetting in children: A guide for the science-minded parent
- Bed wetting is a surprisingly common problem. Are there effective therapies?
- Potty training tips: A guide for the science-minded
- Potty training tips based on the latest scientific evidence.
- Educational games for kids
- The Parenting Science guide to developmental toys and educational games for kids.
- The effects of video games: A guide for the science-minded
- What are the effects of video games on children? A collection of articles and resources about the research on video games.
- Research you can participate in: A listing of online surveys and studies
- Want to participate in scientific research? Check out these online surveys and studies about parenting, children, and developmental psychology.
- About me
- About the founder and author of Parenting Science.
- Contact information
- Contact info for ParentingScience.com
- Sexy dads: The allure of men who like babies
- Some men have an affinity for children, and this makes them more attractive to women. Moreover, women can identify these sexy dads from mere photographs.
- The entity theory of intelligence
- Your theory of intelligence has mind-altering---and brain-altering effects.
- Preschool board game syndrome
- Preschool board game syndrome: Why Candy Land fries my brain.
- Submit a study to ParentingScience.com
- Are you a researcher with an online experiment or survey of interest to our readers? Fill out this form to submit a study.
- Evidence based parenting: Links for the science-minded
- It's not easy to find parenting information that meets minimum standards of scientific rigor. Here are some sites that, like Parenting Science, provide analysis of the published data.
- Animal tracking: What kids can learn from an ancient art
- Here's a summer science activity: Animal tracking gets kids outdoors and interested in wildlife. It may also provide kids with opportunities to practice scientific reasoning and spatial skills.
- Digital cameras for kids: Cool tools and windows into your child's mind
- Digital cameras for kids are cool tools for learning about science and language. They also offer us a window into the minds of our children. Check out these research-based tips and activities.
- Mercury in fish: The trouble with tuna and other seafood
- Don't panic and don't throw out the fish. Fish makes kids smarter. But mercury in fish--even canned tuna--may pose a risk to fetuses and young children. Check out the latest research.
- The evolution of fatherhood
- Male bats that lactate? Monkey dads that carry infants all day long? Read about the evolution of fatherhood and the factors that predict paternal care in humans.
- ADHD in children: Are millions of kids being unnecessarily medicated?
- ADHD in children is on the rise, and millions of kids are being medicated. Do all these kids need drugs? Or is their behavior normal for their age?
- The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus: Some thoughts for the science-minded
- Many kids believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Or do they? What research suggests about these irrational (but charming) beliefs.
- The sexualization of girls: Is the popular culture harming kids?
- What happens when little kids are portrayed as sophisticated seductresses? What studies suggest about the disturbing sexualization of girls.
- Fear of snakes: An evolutionary perspective on the way kids learn
- Does your child have a disgust or fear of snakes? If so, she probably owes it to several factors: Social cues, personal experience, and an evolved bias for detecting--and learning about--snakes.
- Television violence: Do kids really want violent entertainment?
- Hollywood producers serve up lots of television violence to children. Do kids really want it? Recent research suggests otherwise.
Praise for Parenting Science
"[A] welcome antidote to the opinion dressed up as science that parents are constantly fed. Tear up your parenting books and get yourselves over there..."
- Charles Fernyhough, Ph.D., developmental psychologist and author of A Thousand Days of Wonder: A Scientist’s Chronicle of his Daughter’s Developing Mind
"...[O]ne of the most awesome websites I’ve seen in a long time…In addition to being helpful to academic parents, I see this site being useful in anthropology courses on human sexuality, life history, parenting, evolutionary medicine, evolutionary psychology, etc. Please check it out!"
- Julienne Rutherford, Ph.D., University of Illinois biological anthropologist and founder of the Biological Anthropology Developing Investigators Troop (BANDIT)
"I came across a great website run by Gwen Dewar, one I wish it had been available to me when my children were young. I hope everyone interested in math and kids will look at In search of the smart preschool board game and other pages on this site."
- Bill Marsh, Ph.D., in mathematics and author of MathInking, a blog about teaching math
"Gwen Dewar, a Ph.D. in biological anthropology, analyzes the latest research about parenting and kids. Check it out. You might even learn something about evolutionary psychology, or brain chemistry, or stereotyping."
- Polly Palumbo, Ph.D., psychologist and author of the blog, Momma Data: Children’s Healthy in the Media