Tuttle Trust

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Facebook, Teenage Sexuality and the Wisdom of Old People

One of the articles for this issue was inspired by a provocative blog entry written by Ferret Steinmetz (www.theferret.com) called “Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex”.   This blog entry has been making the rounds on Facebook.  As I say in Teaching Teens about Awesome Sex (this issue), there is much about Steinmetz’ post that I like.  But we disagree on one basic point, and that is, what it means to have “good” sex.  For Steinmetz, good sex is about fun.  For me, good sex is about … [Read more...]

Teaching Your Teen about “Awesome Sex”

By Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. In a post on his blog, Ferrett Steinmetz wants his daughter to have awesome sex.  Is that a good or a bad thing?  In my view, it depends entirely on what one means by the phrase “awesome sex”. There is a lot that I like about Steinmetz blog post.  First, Steinmetz is no hypocrite.  He enjoys sex; he wants his daughter to experience the same joy that he experiences from sex.  Why would wish to deny something to our sons and daughters that we hold to be dear?   … [Read more...]

Ultimately, There’s Only One Thing that Really Motivates Children (And Adults)

What will motivate Molly to do her homework?  Her inherent love of mathematics?   Probably not.  In general, we don’t first love mathematics and therefore do mathematics.  It’s just the opposite:  We come to love mathematics when we get good at it. What will motivate Molly to do her homework?  The promise of prizes from her mother?  Perhaps.  But only as long as the prizes keep coming.   And only as long as Sally is interested in the prizes.  And then, she’ll be motivated to get the prize, … [Read more...]

How to Get Kids to Pitch In

Mom: “Paul, please bring those dishes into the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher.” Paul:    “They’re not mine.” Mom: “You live in this house, right?   So you have to pitch in.” Paul:    “But it’s not my responsibility.” Mom: “Just do it, Paul.” Paul:    “Okay, but I don’t see why I have to…” Sound familiar?   You are not alone.  It’s often very difficult to motivate children to “pitch in” and help with everyday family chores.   One way that children try to get out of … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Shameless! Why Good People Feel Shame

by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. We tend to have ambivalent feelings about shame.  On the one hand, no one likes shame.  Shame among the most painful emotions we can experience.   We tend to think that shame is a harmful emotion.  As a result, many parents try to protect their children from feelings of shame.  Shame is painful that we even shy away from talking about it.   On the other hand, shame is a moral emotion.   Feelings of shame help shape the moral behavior of children and adults.   Our … [Read more...]

How to Challenge a Child

We all know what Goldilocks was looking for as she sampled the three bowls of porridge made by Mother Bear: Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.    Like anything, when helping our children adjust to emotional situations, getting it “just right” is easier said than done.  Happily, however, we don’t have to get it “just right” all the time.  Instead, we simply need to get it “just right” most of the time.  Happier still, giving “just the right” emotional guidance is more a matter getting to … [Read more...]

Vulnerability is a Necessary Part of Development

Three-year-old Betsy is playing with her toys in the middle of the living room.  The doorbell rings.   Bob from next door has come by to show off his new Chihuahua.   Betsy’s mom lets Bob in, and the little dog begins to run toward Betsy.  Betsy shrieks in fear.  Betsy’s mom immediately picks her up to protect her from the harmless but boisterous puppy. Children are vulnerable beings.  When infants come into the world, they are entirely dependent upon their caregivers.   Their emotions are … [Read more...]

Is Vulnerability a Form of Weakness?

by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. What is your Achilles heel?   According to the ancient Greek myth, the warrior Achilles was destined to die in battle.  His mother, the Goddess Thetis, dipped him in the River Styx, which produced powers of invincibility.   However, in order to dip Achilles into the river, she had to hold him by his heel.   As a result, the heel was unprotected, and Achilles later died in battle from an arrow to his heel. When we are vulnerable, we are open to being wounded.   … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to Teens (and Parents) About Sex

By Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. The following is a letter to teenage children about sexuality.  This letter is for all teens, regardless of their age, sexual orientation or political persuasion.  It was written in a spirit that I hope will be seen as free from any particular political agenda, liberal, conservative or otherwise.   My hope is that the values expressed in this letter will be something that many of us can agree upon.  However, if we differ, my hope is that it will at least lead to … [Read more...]