Claire McCarthy, M.D.
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Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children’s Hospital. An Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard Health Publications, she has been writing about health and parenting for magazines, newspapers, and the internet for more than 20 years. She and her husband are raising five children ranging in age from 21 to 7. She blogs for Thriving, the health and parenting blog of Children's Hospital Boston, and for as MD Mama; you can follow her on Twitter at @drClaire.

Entries by Claire McCarthy, M.D.

Mi casa es un desastre... y no me importa

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 12:09 AM

Mi casa es un desastre... y no me importa

Al final, el otro día, decidí robar algo de mi tiempo y le estuve pasando la aspiradora a mi furgoneta. La verdad es que tenía miedo de que alguien me pidiese que le llevase a algún sitio.

No solo había...

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My House Is Messy -- and I Don't Care

(204) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 11:31 AM

The other day, I finally stole some time and vacuumed out my minivan. I was starting to live in fear of someone asking me for a ride.

Not only was there garbage, random hats, a broken umbrella and tracked-in leaves on the floor, there were bits of pretzels and popcorn...

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Should We Have Name Police?

(5) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 5:59 PM

There have been times in my career as a doctor when I wished we had Name Police.

There have been countless children I've met who had, well, unfortunate names. Often it was inadvertent -- parents honestly didn't realize that there might be a problem. Sometimes non-English speakers made up names...

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Six Tips for 'The Talk'

(10) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

When it comes to the parts of parenthood that people dread, well, there's so much to choose from. There are poopy diapers. Vomit. Tantrums. Nasty teenagers. But all of that pales in comparison with...The Talk.


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I Was Completely Unsupervised As a Child - And I'm Grateful

(41) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

For many of my out-of-school hours as a child, no adult had any idea what I was doing.

This has everything to do with who I am today, in some remarkably good ways.

As a...

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A Year After the Sandy Hook Shootings, Our Children Aren't Any Safer From Guns

(20) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 3:55 PM

I still can't think about the Sandy Hook shooting without starting to cry.

It hit me really hard -- because when it happened, I had a first-grader whose classroom was right off the main lobby of his public elementary school. If a shooter like Adam Lanza ever stormed into his...

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Tech and Baby Monitoring: Not the Best Mix

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 4:39 PM

It's scary being a parent, especially a first-time parent. I mean, talk about the responsibility: An actual human being is relying on you for survival. And basically, you have no idea what you are doing. Sometimes, it seems amazing that our species has made it this far.

So... why not...

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The Real Reason Showing Up Matters

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 3:40 PM

I spent my 50th birthday being the starter at a swim meet.

It was a really great way to celebrate.

Standing for hours and saying, "Take your mark" and hitting the buzzer wasn't exactly what I had planned for my Big Day, especially since I'd broken my toe the...

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The Internet Never Forgets: Parenting the Facebook Generation

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 12:10 PM

Everybody can think of something really stupid they did as a teenager, like taking your parent's car for a joy ride (without their permission, of course), getting drunk with friends, accepting a dangerous dare, or saying mean (or just dumb) things about somebody. Looking back on these moments, many of...

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Personal Space Invasion: Thoughts on Belly-Touching During Pregnancy

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 9:59 AM

In Pennsylvania, if you touch a pregnant woman's belly without asking, you can be charged with harassment.

If there had been a law like that in Massachusetts during my pregnancies, I could have charged a whole lot of people.

It caught me off-guard when I was pregnant with...

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Why I'm Rethinking Multitasking

(2) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 11:14 AM

We got a puppy a couple of weeks ago, and since then, I've been getting less done.

This might not be such a bad thing.

I read a post written by a Connecticut blogger about how she left her 4-year-old daughter unattended in the bathtub when she...

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Allowance and Kids: What Parents Should Think About

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 3:41 PM

The other day, my 8-year-old son asked if he could have an allowance. I told him no.

I don't think Liam needs one, and I don't really want him to have one yet. But there are plenty of parents who do give their 8-year-olds an allowance. When I Googled...

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Parenting From the Stands: What It Feels Like to Have Adult Children

(2) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 11:13 AM

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Parents' Weekend at my son's college in Virginia to spend time with him and celebrate the beginning of his senior year.

We had a great time wandering the campus and going out for delicious meals, but mostly, it was fun to...

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Want Your Preschooler to Succeed? Make Sure He Gets... a Nap

(4) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 10:42 AM

If you want your preschooler to get a leg up on school, the best thing you can do may be to make sure he gets a nap after lunch.

That's the finding of a study just released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers...

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Should We Have Learner's Permits For Alcohol, Too?

(7) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 12:54 PM

When it comes to underage drinking, there's a lot of good news. According to the CDC, fewer kids are drinking. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of high school students who have had a drink in the past month has gone from 50.8 percent to 38.7 percent...

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Helping Families Dealing With Cancer: Do's and Don'ts

(8) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 8:34 PM

It's Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and it got me thinking about how when we hear that someone we know has cancer, along with feeling scared and worried, what we usually feel is a desire to help.

But turning that desire into actual helping isn't always as easy as we would...

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Parents and Medications: Are You Sending a Bad Message?

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 2:03 PM

When you reach for ibuprofen for your sore back or a pill to help you sleep, are you sending a bad message to your kid?

Yes, says Bryant Gumbel in his video commentary about the drug charges against ball player Alex Rodriguez. While he thinks that Rodriguez should...

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Online Dating for Teens? Why Parents Need to Talk About Online Relationships

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2013 | 2:15 PM

Online dating is a bad idea for teens -- especially young teens.

That's why it wasn't particularly responsible of Seventeen magazine to publish a blog in which "dating blogger" Isabelle Furth floated the idea of using sites like to find dates. To be fair, she had concerns...

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Why -- and How -- Parents Need To Talk To Their Kids About Same-Sex Relationships

(16) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 1:11 PM

As a parent, how comfortable are you talking about same-sex marriage? Or about sexual orientation?

In March, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement supporting same-sex marriage, because it's good for children to have two married parents. Just last month, the Supreme Court struck down...

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Can We Please Stop Talking About Stay-at-home vs. Working Mothers?

(35) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 4:19 PM

We have got to stop talking about stay-at-home vs. working mothers as if it were some sort of debate, as if it were the central issue of parenting and families. It's not.

In the latest installment in The Debate, Lisa Heffernan writes in a blog...

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