Another day, another study saying that healthy attachments are good for you (especially if you’re a preschooler).
Research has shown that our children’s chances of future success are driven by a variety of factors, including those that are somewhat beyond our immediate control, such as genes and financial status. The new study, however, found that a caring and emotionally attentive parent is likely to be a solid, long-term game-changer.
Toward a less hovering approach to parenting: How to Land Your Kid in Therapy (The Atlantic).
[A]ll of this worry about creating low self-esteem might actually perpetuate it. No wonder my patient Lizzie told me she felt “less amazing” than her parents had always said she was. Given how “amazing” her parents made her out to be, how could she possibly live up to that? Instead of acknowledging their daughter’s flaws, her parents, hoping to make her feel secure, denied them. “I’m bad at math,” Lizzie said she once told them, when she noticed that the math homework was consistently more challenging for her than for many of her classmates. “You’re not bad at math,” her parents responded. “You just have a different learning style. We’ll get you a tutor to help translate the information into a format you naturally understand.”
From Slate: Girls don’t start out more anxious than boys, but they usually end up that way.
When it comes to our preconceived notions about women and anxiety, women are unfairly being dragged through the mud. While women are indeed more fretful than men on average right now, this difference is mostly the result of a cultural setup—one in which major social and parenting biases lead to girls becoming needlessly nervous adults. In reality, the idea that women are “naturally” twice as anxious as men is nothing more than a pernicious illusion.
Bryan Caplan looks at twin studies and concludes: Have More Kids. Pay Less Attention to Them (WSJ):
The obvious lesson to draw is that parents should lighten up. I call it “Serenity Parenting”: Parents need the serenity to accept the things they cannot change, the courage to change the things they can, and (thank you twin research) the wisdom to know the difference. Focus on enjoying your journey with your child, instead of trying to control his destination. Accept that your child’s future depends mostly on him, not your sacrifices. Realize that the point of discipline is to make your kid treat the people around him decently—not to mold him into a better adult.
Jonah Lehrer asks What’s it Like to Be a Baby?
[B]abies don’t have a spotlight of attention: They have a lantern. If attention is like a focused beam in adults, then it’s more like a glowing bulb in babies, casting a diffuse radiance across the world. This crucial difference in attention has been demonstrated indirectly in a variety of experiments. For instance, when preschoolers are shown a photograph of someone – let’s call her Jane— looking at a picture, and asked questions about what Jane is paying attention to, the weirdness of their attention becomes clear. Not surprisingly, the kids agree that Jane is thinking about the picture she’s staring at. But they also insist that she’s thinking about the picture frame, and the wall behind the picture, and the chair lurking in her peripheral vision. In other words, they believe that Jane is attending to whatever she can see
Another vote for getting up and moving around: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? (NYT)
M.R.I.’s provided a clearer picture of how it might work. They showed that fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control,” or the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts crisply…
Children and Adults See the World Differently, Research Finds
Unlike adults, children are able to keep information from their senses separate and may therefore perceive the visual world differently, according to new research…
Kids who really don’t want to go to school addressed in When a Doctor’s Note for a Student Doesn’t Help (NYT):
The first time I realized I was complicit in school refusal, I didn’t even know the term. It was about a decade ago, and my patient was a boy who seemed to be spending his whole first-grade year sick with one thing or another…
NYT Magazine: Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?
One established [treatment] method is called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, or P.C.I.T. Originally developed in the 1970s to treat disruptive disorders — which typically include violent or aggressive behavior in preschoolers — P.C.I.T. is generally a short-term program, usually 10 to 16 weeks under the supervision of a trained therapist, with ongoing follow-up in the home. Luby adapted the program for depression and began using it in 2007 in an ongoing study on a potential treatment. During each weekly hourlong session, parents are taught to encourage their children to acquire emotion regulation, stress management, guilt reparation and other coping skills. The hope is that children will learn to handle depressive symptoms and parents will reinforce those lessons.
What to expect when you were expecting a dozen-plus years ago: Adolescence and Anger.
Parents can get angry in their frustrating fight for influence, adolescents can get angry in their frustrating fight for freedom. However,the battle is finally lost and won as the new generation defeats the old.