Recent research showed that 16% of high school students were “electronically bullied” during past 12 months. Girls were twice as likely as boys to be bullied.
Another study showed that children who had been bullied were at higher risk for psychological disorders as adults.
Most people think that divorce will have a negative impact on children. Many children do experience short-term negative effects such as anger, anxiety, shock and disbelief. However, recent research suggests that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems, either as children or adults.
The best predictor of children’s post-divorce adjustment is the amount of ongoing conflict between parents. Parents who have contentious relationships are more likely to cause adjustment problems in their children. The take home message for divorcing parents is to pay attention to how you talk about and to your ex-spouse.
We’ve all seen and heard about parents who are too involved in their kids’ sports’ teams. It’s pretty clear how parents should not behave. But how should parents talk to their kids about their performance?
A couple of local experts have teamed up to answer these questions in a recently published book. Ethan Skolnick is a Palm Beach Post sportswriter currently covering the Miami Heat. Andrea Corn, Psy.D. is a psychologist. They’ve published a book, Raising Your Game, where they’ve interviewed over 100 college and professional athletes to determine what type of parenting style maximizes or hinders youngsters’ athletic success and self-esteem. The book provides a fascinating glimpse of some professional athletes’ childhoods. In addition to the athletes’ opinions of what was helpful or hurtful, the authors add their own experience and expertise to help parents relate effectively to their athletic children
Anger is a normal emotion but when it is expressed inappropriately, loudly, aggressively, etc. it can cause problems. A recent study is the first to discover a technique for calming angry feelings in the heat of the moment.
The technique is called “self-distancing”. It requires that we pretend we’re viewing a situation from a distance as an observer rather than as a participant. Our tendency is to focus on our hurt feelings and react. If we “step outside of ourself” and view the situation like a fly on the wall, our reactions will be less intense.
Many studies have previously associated the importance of the family meal with the positive mental health and academic achievement of children.
Now comes a study that disputes these findings and says there’s really no extra beneficial effects.
A study of over 21,000 children between ages 5-15 found no relationship between the frequency of joint breakfasts and dinners and academic or behavioral performance.
Good news for parents whose jobs and kids’ after school activities prevent family dinners.
We’ve known for a long time that ADHD symptoms continue into adulthood for a majority of children diagnosed with the disorder
We’ve known that these adults have more traffic violations and car accidents, substance abuse and incarcerations.
A new study has found that medication in adulthood significantly decreased the likelihood of criminal behavior.
The study of over 25,000 Swedish adults found that when ADHD adults were taking medication, only 9% committed a crime. When men were not taking their medication, the crime rate soared to 37%.
In my last blog, I reviewed studies from the late 60s showing how 4 year olds who resisted eating one marshmallow if they waited 15 minutes were more successful as adults in many areas compared to children who ate one marshmallow within a few minutes.
A recent study asked the question: is this type of willpower inborn (nature) or learned (nurture)? Researchers gave 3-5 year olds (Group 1) some crayons and paper and told them if they waited, the researcher would return with better crayons. After 2 1/2 minutes, the researcher returned with an apology saying he couldn’t find better crayons. The children were asked to draw with the original crayons.
Next, these same kids were given a sticker and told if they waited before putting it on their clothes or hand, a larger selection of better stickers would be brought. Again, the researcher came back with an apology.
Another group (Group 2) of children experienced researchers who kept their promises in both situations.
Both groups then completed the marshmallow task. A marshmallow was put in front of each child and he/she was told if he waited to eat it until the researcher came back, he/she would get two marshmallows to eat. After 15 minutes, the researcher returned with the extra marshmallows.
Children in Group 1 waited only 3 minutes before eating their marshmallow. Children in Group 2 waited 12 minutes – 4 times as long. The study’s conclusion was that children made rational decisions about the probability of a reward based on their experiences with the other two “promises”. The researchers believe this shows young children can learn the benefits of self-control and willpower which supports a nurture theory.
Did you know that Americans rate lack of willpower as one of their biggest problems?
It’s not hard to understand because lack of willpower prevents us from accomplishing many of our goals.
But low willpower has even more consequences in our lives. And believe it or not, our amount of willpower can be determined when we’re four years old.
In 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted a famous experiment, now referred to as the “marshallow experiment”. He put a marshmallow in front of 600 four to six year olds. The kids were told if they could wait 15 minutes to eat it, they would get 2 marshmallows.
A minority of kids were able to wait. But those kids who waited had impressive qualities later in life. Compared to the kids who gave in and ate the one marshmallow, the kids who delayed gratification had SAT scores 200 points higher, were rated as more popular, conscientious, had better self-esteem and generally were more successful in life.
Our brains have an aversion to loss. The psychological “price” of losing is twice as powerful as the price of winning. So losing a certain amount when you gamble is twice as painful as the power of happiness of winning the same amount.
We also experience regret, another negative emotion when we lose. We second-guess and “what-if” ourselves.
Salesmen are trained in techniques to persuade you to buy if they mention factors that get you to feel these emotions. For example, “Insurance on this DVD player only costs $XX and you surely wouldn’t want to lose the money this machine costs if something goes wrong.”
Sales’ personnel make some of their highest profits on sales of extended warranties. This is despite the fact that the statistical probability of an electronic device or appliance breaking down during its warranty period is very slim. This is an example of how our emotions sometimes overpower actual facts. You could save some money if you realize your chances of loss of very slim – certainly less than when you gamble or buy lottery tickets.
If I had a nickel for every parent who’s said something like the following over the years, I’d be rich: “My child has an IEP or a 504 Plan in school, but I don’t really understand what his problem is.” This is especially frustrating for parents whose children have been receiving services for years and don’t seem to be improving.
No one tells parents that school districts aren’t qualified to diagnose disorders or disabilities. so parents think the school evaluation is the “last word”. The reality is that school districts are responsible for identifying problems of various sorts and responding to students with accommodations or special instruction and services. They do not diagnose disabilities. Have you ever heard of a child diagnosed with dyslexia in a school evaluation? Yet, reading disabilities (many of which would be called dyslexia) comprise 80% of all learning disabilities.
As a parent, you might ask, “Well, isn’t this all I care about – that my child gets what he/she needs in school?” The answer should be “No, this isn’t enough.” Schools only provide limited services. There are many interventions, resources, and services available outside school if a child has a diagnosed disability. Unlike the situation 30 years ago when a diagnosis or label was a disadvantage, a diagnosis today in the era of the Americans with Disabilities Act opens doors and opportunities.
How do you get your child a diagnosis and understand what the child’s real problems are? You have to pay for a private evaluation by a child/developmental clinical psychologist. There are a few school psychologists in private practice who will provide this type of evaluation, but many of these individuals have been trained in school systems and don’t have experience diagnosing disabilities. You have to consider this type of evaluation as an investment in your child’s future. If you don’t accurately understand a child’s problem and can’t respond with as many interventions as possible, you may be jeopardizing that child’s future educational career and life.