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Claire McCarthy, M.D.
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Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital. An Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics 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 24 to 9. 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.

Do Parents Squash the Kindness in Their Kids?

(4) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 12:57 PM

The other day, I read about some really cool research that suggests that little kids are naturally altruistic.

It got me thinking: What is it we do that stops them from being that way? Because, let's face it, not all big kids -- and definitely not all grownups...

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6 Ways to Stop Yelling At Your Kids (Or At Least Do It Less)

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 1:11 PM

Everyone yells at their kids. Oh, I'm sure there are some truly perfect parents out there who don't (and some who don't because they are physically unable to yell), but the rest of us do. Parents are human; we all get frustrated, angry, exhausted and scared and, well, yell.


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Does How You Dress Your Kids for Cold Weather Say Something About You As a Parent?

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 2:08 PM

For years, my husband and I have argued about how to dress the kids for cold weather (given that we have five kids ranging in age from 23 to 9, this argument truly has been going on for a while). He says I don't dress them warmly enough. I say...

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The 4 Resolutions I Hope Will Make Me a Better Parent (and Wife)

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 4:51 PM

It's New Year's resolution time -- the time when we all say we'll do all that stuff that we do for about a month and then quit (it always cracks me up how the gym and pool at the YMCA fill up briefly in January). I'm as guilty of it...

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Hillary Clinton and 'Too Small to Fail': Are We Too Big to Care?

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 2:01 PM

At the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) this past weekend, I got to hear Hillary Clinton talk about the AAP's partnership with her "Too Small to Fail" campaign. It made me happy -- and sad.

The partnership is a great idea. It's all about...

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Don't Panic About Enterovirus D68

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 2:46 PM

With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it's easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood -- or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.

But please, don't panic.

This virus has certainly caused trouble and...

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6 Reasons Why Making Friends With Kids Is a Real Accomplishment

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 7:29 PM

The other day at a family party, a 6-year-old jumped out of her chair when she saw me and came over to give me a big hug.

I couldn't have been more honored. It made my day.

I firmly believe that the poem "Success" has it right by...

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You Can Say No

(6) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 11:51 AM

I see it again and again in my practice: parents who seem to have forgotten that they are in charge.

"You can say no," I find myself saying to family after family. Which is kind of an amazing thing to have to say, if you think about it. You'd...

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The Children at the Border Are... Children

(14) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 6:54 PM

As I listen to the news coverage about all the unaccompanied minors coming from Central America, what I mostly hear is worry about how to house them, how to handle the legal ramifications, how to pay for them and how to stop them from coming across the border.


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The Actual Risks of Vaccines (It Turns Out There Aren't Many)

(45) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 3:02 PM

These days, we hear a lot about the risks of vaccines. As a pediatrician, I talk to many parents who are very frightened about those risks -- and some choose not to vaccinate because of their fear.

Some of the risks we hear about are real, but some of...

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Why Sick Kids Should Be Allowed at Daycare

(30) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 12:35 PM

I see it all the time at our practice. Parents come with kids who really don't need to go to the doctor; they are only mildly ill, or already getting better. When I ask them why they came, the answer is simple: daycare.

They need a note saying the...

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I Have No Plans for My Kids This Summer

(18) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 3:09 PM

I flunk as a parent. I have no plans for my youngest kids this summer.

The older ones are working. But the 13-year-old and 8-year-old, the ones at the formative stages of their academic and skill development (if you believe what everyone says), are doing squat. No camp. No enriching...

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How My Father Taught Me to Make Stuff Up (And How That Has Made All the Difference)

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 4:03 PM

When my sister and I were little, we had an almost daily ritual with my father: drawing stories.

He would sit us on his lap and get out his clipboard, a piece of paper and his black click pen. He'd divide the paper into four parts, and draw as he...

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The Top 7 Reasons Parents Tell Me They Don't Want to Vaccinate

(42) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 5:32 PM

Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between January 1 and May 23 of this year, there were 288 cases of measles reported in the US. That's more than the total number of cases in any year since 2000, when measles was...

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The Ties That Bind My Kids

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 3:40 PM

On Mother's Day weekend, our whole family drove to Virginia for my older son's college graduation. We got stuck in horrific traffic south of DC, there was a reasonable amount of fighting over who got to use the iPad in the car and who was taking too long in the...

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

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 1:09 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 | 12:31 PM

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 | 6:59 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 | 9:00 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 | 9:00 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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