As parents and caregivers, we want our children to do many things. We want them to succeed, we want them to achieve, we want them to make good decisions, we want them to be kind and productive members of society.

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Starting at birth, babies begin the life-long process of learning about themselves and the world around them. From the very start, they are acquiring skills that are necessary for navigating the social world successfully. These skills are commonly grouped under the term self-control or self-regulation.

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I have spent almost 40 years in courtrooms hearing the life stories of men and women convicted of crimes. I also listen to expert psychological testimony about the developmental causes of their behavior.

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Is it possible for your baby to become too attached to you? That’s the question many parents may find themselves pondering at some point during their child’s first years. Mothers and fathers can often confuse being attentive to a newborn or toddler’s needs with smothering or spoiling the child.

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For almost a decade, my work at The Urban Child Institute has involved extensive research on early childhood development, from the importance of prenatal care to the benefits of shared book reading for kindergarten readiness, and just about everything in between.

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Even for the most prepared parents, raising a healthy and happy child is one of life’s major challenges. Having the ability to check off commonly accepted parenting prerequisites — a quality education, a good job, mental and emotional stability, a safe home — can make the challenge easier to tackle and overcome.

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