There are lines to be drawn, of course, between behaviors that parents can endure and write off as "just a phase" versus behavior that is directly harmful (either to the child or others) and should be intervened upon. But those kinds of problems occur far less often than many parents think. Slate urges readers to tread lightly, and to anticipate some of the stages in a problem disappearing, including what mental health professionals call an "extinction burst."
Problematic behavior can be grown out of by adults, too, of course. Some mental illnesses, left untreated, have a surprisingly high rate of what researchers call "spontaneous remission" -- a fancy way of saying the problem goes away on its own. I'll return to that topic in some detain in an upcoming post.
There isn't much in the way of new research in the Slate article, but as an introduction of simple behavioral lessons for parents who feel at their wits' end, it's a nice piece.