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Nursing professor dedicated to helping families

Parenting philosophies come and go, but old-fashioned values are still the best, according to Mary Muscari, associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing and the author of several books on raising adolescents.


Muscari, who joined the Binghamton faculty in 2007, counts child health, mental healthy, delinquency, youth violence, forensics and child abuse among her research interests.

“Kids are not just small adults,” she said. “That’s my mantra. Even teenagers don’t think like adults. They don’t have that ability, those experiences.”

Muscari, who has more than 30 years of experience working with children and teens, has written or co-authored more than 100 publications.

In two of her recent books, Everything Parents Guide to Raising Adolescent Girls (with lead author Moira McCarthy), and Everything Parents Guide to Raising Adolescent Boys (with lead author Robin Elise Weiss), Muscari notes that although the general issues of parenting don’t change so much, new trends in society can create added challenges.

For instance, more families today have two working parents, which can make it difficult to spend time together. Muscari said it’s critical to find time — and quantity counts along with quality.

“All the toys in the world will never make up for parental time,” she said. “When the job takes priority, kids see that. And that’s a really bad place to be as a kid.”

Still, Muscari acknowledges that some ideas must be modernized a bit.

“The good, old-fashioned family meal that we’ve long forgotten about is so critical,” she said. “If you can’t do it at night because the kids are overscheduled, do it at breakfast. Have some time when people can sit down and share and connect.”

Learn more about Muscari and her work with adolescents as well as her book Not My Kid: 21 Steps for Raising a Nonviolent Child, which offers advice on school violence issues.

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Last Updated: 5/7/09