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Christine Carter, PhD
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Entries by Christine Carter, PhD

A New Theory of Elite Performance

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:37 PM

As the kids head back to school, I'm thinking about what really leads to success -- as well as happiness. Part one in a three-part series.

When we look at people who are at the top of their field, what do we know about how they got there?

We used...

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Failure Makes You a Winner

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 4:59 PM

The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles. -- Garth Stein

What quality does Buddha share with Luke Skywalker and Joan of Arc? What links Harriet Tubman with Harry Potter?

It has nothing to do with enlightenment or magic. It...

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My Love-Hate Relationship With Mother's Day

(2) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 4:27 PM

How we're turning it into a kindness scavenger hunt.

I hate to admit this, but I've come to feel entitled to breakfast in bed on Mother's Day (complete with gifts and a clean kitchen afterwards), a family hike (no whining, everyone...

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Three Quick Tips for Saving the Earth

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 3:43 PM

Outsmart the brain boobie-traps that make you wasteful

Last Saturday night at a birthday soiree, I got to sit across from one of UC Berkeley's cutting-edge ocean researchers. I asked him to explain to me how climate change is affecting fish populations, and he responded by saying that "climate...

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Influencing Teens and Tweeners, Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 12:13 PM

In my last post, I introduced the idea of "motivational interviewing," a way to engage with adolescents to make them feel heard, understood and, ultimately, receptive to your parental wisdom.

This technique, which has been proven effective in clinical psychology, is particularly useful when we want to influence our...

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I Don't Care How Big the Market Is, Those Are My Daughters

(16) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 8:36 PM

Our 12-year-olds think thong underwear makes them cool.

Two 6th grade girls in my daughter's class recently got in a snit in the locker room after PE. Apparently, one girl (let's call her Janet) was wearing boy shorts with "love" emblazoned across the bottom. She claimed these ultra-cool undies came...

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How to Influence Your Teen, Part 1

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 3:25 PM

I frequently hear complaints from parents that their teenagers -- or, more accurately, their adolescents -- are irrational.

Kids say they want to get into a good college, for example, but then they miss school because they've stayed up half the night watching movies. Or they say they'd...

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Three Surprising Truths about Teens

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 12:16 PM

If you could ask any question of a wise and experienced neuroscientist and pediatrician, one who specializes in the secret emotional life and bizarre brain activity of your adolescent child, what would you ask?

I recently had the great opportunity to ask some of my burning questions...

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Are We Wired to Want Stuff?

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 3:48 PM

I'll never forget a holiday moment a few years ago when I found myself in a negotiation with my younger daughter over her gift list. (Which, by the way, I don't believe in. In theory, I've never wanted my kids to make lists of things they want for Christmas and...

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The Kids Are Not Alright

(2) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 1:06 PM

Generally, I believe worry is a waste of time and energy. For nearly 20 years I battled what was probably an anxiety disorder disguised as perfectionism, so I know what a happiness-killer anxiety is, so I rarely write posts that will make parents more anxious about their children or parenting....

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How to Get Your Household to Run Itself

(1) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 4:42 PM

Having started my career in business, I now avoid formal business meetings like the plague.

But I love family meetings. In fact, I think they're one of the most useful tools we have as parents. They've become a safe haven for me and my kids to voice our concerns...

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Back to School Advice: Turning the Morning Blitz into School Day Bliss

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 1:28 PM

Moment of truth: My kids and I spent the first part of the last school year without any sort of predictable morning routine, or at least one that worked. If my kids seemed tired, I'd let them sleep in -- and feed them breakfast in the car. If I was...

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3 Essential School Supplies That Aren't on Your List

(6) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 3:53 PM

Art supplies, a cool thumb-drive and a new backpack are nothing short of thrilling in my household. We love preparing for school. And like a lot of parents, I assumed for years that success in school would be a safe route to happiness in life.

But a new study...

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Fathers Have More Fun

(20) Comments | Posted June 12, 2012 | 1:15 PM

Are parents happier than their childless peers?

For the last five years or so, I've answered that question with a resounding "no." Statistics (not to mention anecdotal evidence) led me to believe that parents tend to be more stressed and less happy.

In some ways, this seems understandable, even obvious....

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8 Steps to Change Your Life

(1) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 8:50 AM

Here's a typical Monday morning summer conversation at my house:

Me: Uh, let's see. This week is Girl Scout Camp. So you need to pack a lunch. And a swimsuit. And a towel. Oh wait, you have a BBQ today, so no lunch but you do need to bring --...

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Three Ways Kids Can Find Happiness on Facebook

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 1:36 PM

Can Facebook make your child happy -- or will it just lead to loneliness, as this Atlantic article-gone-viral suggests?

According to some interesting research, social media arguably can make us feel more connected and less lonely. Alternately, it can make us feel more...

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How to Keep Your Child Safe (and Happy) Online, Part 1

(2) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 3:15 PM

Like a lot of parents, I've been struck by how active -- though not savvy -- my kids and their friends are with social media.

It's a little like we've given our kids keys to a new car and said, "Have fun! Be safe!" without actually teaching them to drive....

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Who's the Best Mom of Them All?

(9) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 2:40 PM

Last year, Tiger Mothers were superior. This year, French mommyhood has been deemed a cut above. Are other mothers generally better than us at producing high-functioning and high-achieving kids? And do they enjoy parenting more than we do?

Maybe. Tiger mothers, soccer mothers, French mamas, working mothers, stay-at-home-mothers: We...

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5 Tips For Boosting Your Willpower

(7) Comments | Posted April 28, 2012 | 10:50 PM

Who among us has not made a plan to get up in the morning and exercise, but then hit snooze one time too many, sleeping through our morning jog?

We may have been super-inspired by the incredible brain-boosting properties of exercise. We may have had every intention to start an...

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Habits Are Everything

(4) Comments | Posted April 20, 2012 | 9:09 AM

Watch a video of any elite athlete or performer before a big game or show, and you will likely see one thing: their pre-performance habits, the things that they do every single time in exactly the same way.

This is because habits are everything. Not just for game day, and...

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