Holiday Message 2015 (Pedcast)


Dr. Paul Smolen here, you know…Doc Smo, your pedcast host.  I can’t believe it but this is my fifth year blogging and now my fifth holiday message. I’ve got to tell you, who would have figured I would have this much to say and having so much fun saying it. I now have a newly published parenting book and one of the most successful pediatric blogs in the country with an average of 40,000 visits each month. Thank you for your support, your comments, and your enthusiasm. It is my privilege to be able to contribute to your parenting knowledge and hopefully improve your children’s well being.  Today, we are not going to talk medicine, pediatrics, or expert recommendations but rather, we are going to talk about some of what makes your family unique and special and I am going to try and convince you that your family’s absolute one of a kind nature is worth passing onto your children. The holidays are the perfect time to do that passing on. Children benefit from having a place in  their family, their community, and a place in the world. To a large part, they get these things from you, their parents and grandparents.  So today, let’s explore that theme a little today, especially in light of the upcoming holidays, shall we?

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Wonder ( Archived Book Review Pedcast)

 Help support by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.



By RJ Palacio

Publisher- Alfred Knopf, NY


I was biking with friends recently, one of who is an excellent forth grade teacher named Mindy Passe.  We were talking blog as we whizzed through the streets of Charlotte, and Mindy mentioned a book that readers of my blog may find interesting.  The book is called Wonder, written by R. J. Palacio.  Mindy’s class read the book and discussed its themes, which both the children and the teachers found instructive.  I gave the book a read and in today’s pedcast, I am going to give you my opinion and insights about the book called Wonder, by RJ Palacio. Continue reading

Can’t We All Just Get Along? (Pedcast)


Today, I’m going to wander away from pediatric medicine for one pedcast and wander into an important subject– how we teach our kids to be tolerant and accepting of others. In my mind, nothing could need more urgent attention than improvement in human relations.  The world is in a mess. There seems to be so much hate. Many Arabs hate Israelis and vice versa,; many Christians hate Muslims and vice versa; many Cubans hate the Americans and vice versa, many Saudi’s hate Iranians and vice versa; many Indians hate Pakistani’s and vice versa, and on and on it goes. But Why. Where does all this hatred come from. We are born without preconceptions about others, without hate for one another, so the hatred has to be learned, either from direct experience with the group that is hated or vicariously from our parents and elders. Since many, or I dare say, most of the people consumed with hate have never met or had any direct life experiences as a young child with the people they hate,  I contend that most of the hatred is passed down from our parents, teachers, and adults in our lives and it is exactly that “passing down” that is the subject of today’s pedcast. Continue reading

Manners, Southern Style (Pedcast)


One of the nice things about having your own blog is that you get to talk about whatever interests you at the moment and this week I started thinking about the differences between children raised in the South.

I grew up partly in the South, partly in the North, and have lived my entire adult life in the South.  I have seen Southerners  and I have learned a few things from these observations.  Southerners tend to be polite and respectful but are reluctant to reveal their feelings, sometimes to a fault. That’s probably why Ret Butler’s line to Scarlet O’Hara was so shocking to southerners, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. This was not a Southern way of communicating. Continue reading

“Accidental” Psychotherapy (Pedcast)

Today, I am going to tell you about an amazing experience I had last week. A longtime patient of mine, a 12 year old boy who I have known for a decade, came in for his checkup. I had reviewed his chart before walking in the room, an noticed that the last time I had seen him, he came in with classic anxiety symptoms of difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling anxious, and having headaches, and stomachaches. When I asked him why he felt so anxious, he said that the social aspects of middle school were overwhelming for him. The academics were easy but the fitting in with his peers…that was a whole nother matter as they say down in the South. After we talked all this over,  it was so clear to me and his Mom that he was exhibiting the somatic symptoms of anxiety. I suggested that they go and try a therapy called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” or CBT as it is known in the business. Yes there are medicines for this but CBT is at least as effective. Continue reading

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, By Farber/Mazlish (Book Review Pedcast)

Help support by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


Doc Smo here, your pedcast host. Thanks for joining me today. I have another book review for you today that I think you will find interesting. In fact, I know you will find it interesting.  It is actually an older book titled, “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen”, by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish. I have seen it on lists of “must read” parenting books and frankly, after my read, I agree with that assessment. Let’s go under the hood and break down some of this book’s main points, shall we?

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Nurture Shock, by Bronson & Merryman (Book Review Pedcast)

Help support by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

Here we go. I’m once again firing up Studio 1E to bring my listeners another book review that will hopefully help you decide which books should be on your list to read. I’m your host and the creator of, Dr. Paul Smolen, a real Board Certified pediatrician with 32 years of experience. I’ve got to tell you, I love doing these book reviews, and based the audience response, you seem to enjoy listening. Today, with the help of my brilliant intern, Angela Solis, we are going to review an interesting book called NurtureShock. So sit back, crank up the volume, and see what our thoughts are about this interesting book addressing today’s children.

While not exactly a traditional parenting book, NurtureShock is full of interesting and useful information that parents can use. It may even change some of your basic assumptions about children! Unlike previous books reviewed on my blog that featured discussions of subjects like discipline, sleep schedules, or nutrition for babies and toddlers, NurtureShock is an intellectual, research-based book about what makes children tick. This book is not for the parent looking for a solution to address a specific parenting issue, but rather for those readers wishing to gain insight into how children learn, develop, and function. Written by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, both journalists and writers by trade, this book is an overview of the latest developments in child psychology and development.

NurtureShock is actually a compilation of essays written on various topics from sleep, racial attitudes, lying in childhood, and sibling relationships. The book is well written and accessible to most readers although at times may seem dense with examples and citations from many pieces of literature and research. Fortunately for the reader, there is minimal scientific jargon to decipher. The book is well written and we are impressed with the extensive list of sources and references used to write this book. The introduction and conclusion give an overall look at the layout of the book, and the reader may choose to jump around from chapter to chapter without interrupting the narrative flow.

The “Shock” in the title comes from the many counterintuitive conclusions about children that recent research offers. For example, in a chapter entitled “The Inverse Power of Praise,” the authors conclude that praising children excessively may actually hinder their progress and development of key virtues like grit and determination. Research reveals that children who are told repeatedly, “You are so smart!” often shy away from more challenging problems in order to maintain their appearance of “smartness” and continue to please adults. So much for the boosting-self-esteem-at-any-cost theory.  The authors also conclude that even mild sleep deprivation in children can cause major cognitive impairment, that children lie much more often than their parents ever imagine, that free, unstructured play is vital to a child’s healthy emotional development, and that an accurate prediction of intelligence in young children is impossible, even if you have a PhD after your name.

Although not a parenting guide, this is an entertaining and insightful read about some of the newer research on child development and psychology. We do not recommend this for a busy parent looking for solutions to address a particular issue but would recommend this to someone interested in what recent science says on these topics. As the book title says, many of the findings are shocking and contrary to what adults would find intuitive. If you have a little extra time, be sure to pick up a copy of NurtureShock. We think you will enjoy it. We give it four out of five Doc Smo stars.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the many other book reviews posted in the book review tab at my website,  Until next time.