What’s this newsletter about?
There’s a lot of bad parenting advice out there. Like really bad. If you spend just half a minute on parenting Instagram, you are bound to start feeling like a failure because all the so-called parenting experts are telling you that there’s only one way to do X, Y or Z and that if you don’t do it their way, you’re going to screw up your child.
There are many reasons parents today are exhausted and burned out, but I think the explosion of unrealistic, fear-mongering parenting advice is a key driver. It’s wrong, and it’s dangerous.
Is My Kid the Asshole? is my counter-narrative. My goal is to empower parents, rather than scare them. As an investigative science journalist and former Slate parenting columnist, I dig into the science behind popular parenting advice and customs. I rebut ridiculous claims and dig into the science behind trendy parenting approaches. I answer specific parenting questions with rigorous reporting, and I share deeply reported essays on big parenting topics. I also host weekly discussion threads where we discuss various parenting issues together. I’m thrilled that in the nearly three years since I launched this newsletter, we’ve built a warm and supportive parent community.
My newsletter has been featured in The Week magazine’s Best Parenting Advice round-up many times, and has been recommended in Slate, Fatherly, CNBC, Yahoo, Maisonette, and other publications.
Who are you?
I’ve been an award-winning science journalist for 15 years, covering new trends and controversies in parenting, science and medicine. I am a regular contributor to The New York Times, a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine and a faculty member in the Science, Health & Reporting Program at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. My work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology and I’ve won a number of awards, including the 2022 Excellence in Science Journalism award from The Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the 2019 Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine.
Since having my first child more than 12 years ago, I’ve been answering parenting questions with science. I was Slate’s first parenting advice columnist, and I regularly write about parenting (and science) for The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post. My first book, How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes: Science-based Strategies for Better Parenting—From Tots to Teens, was published in July 2021. The book has been featured in Parents magazine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The New York Post, Boing Boing, The Toronto Star, The Guardian and the Financial Times, and it won a gold medal in the 2022 Living Now Book Awards.
To read more about me and my work, check out my website.
Science isn’t perfect, by any means. I’ve written a lot of stories about its limitations. But it is the best tool we have for whittling away at the truth. Science can help us understand the kinds of strategies that are the most useful for parents and kids. Of course, there are exceptions. Parents should always trust their gut if they think a particular strategy won’t be a good fit for their family. But I still think it is helpful to share what the evidence says about the kinds of approaches have been shown to work (and not work) for the majority of families. There is a vast scientific literature in child development and parenting, and it can help us weed out the good advice from the bad.
Why should I subscribe?
In my newsletters, I dig deep into the science behind popular parenting claims, address questions and concerns about challenging kid behavior, run Q&As with experts on topics relevant to parenting, and address other gnarly parenting questions with science. I also host weekly discussion threads on parenting topics, run giveaways and host live ask-me-anything discussion threads. My goal is to make your life as a parent easier and less fraught and to provide simple strategies that will keep you, and your kids, happy and healthy.
Can I submit a parenting question?
Absolutely! Please submit a question here.