Tag Archives: Parenting Styles

Indiana University study: Caregivers whose eyes wander during playtime may raise children with shorter attention spans

29 Apr

Katherine Doyle of Reuters reported in the article, Parenting style linked to kids’ Internet addiction:

Recollections of strict, unaffectionate parents were more common among young adults with an unhealthy attachment to Internet use, compared to their peers, in a new Greek study.
Young adults who recall their parents being tough or demanding without showing affection tend to be sad or to have trouble making friends, and those personality traits raise their risk of Internet addiction, the researchers say.
“In short, good parenting, including parental warmth and affection, that is caring and protective parents, has been associated with lower risk for Internet addiction,” said lead author Argyroula E. Kalaitzaki of the Technological Education Institute (TEI) of Crete in Heraklion, “whereas bad parenting, including parental control and intrusion, that is authoritarian and neglectful parents, has been associated with higher risk for addiction.”
Research on Internet addiction is still relatively new, and there are no actual criteria for diagnosing the disorder, though there are many inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities in the U.S., Australia and Asia….
Kalaitzaki’s team predicted that the way kids bonded with their parents would predict aspects of their personality as young adults, which in turn would predict their likelihood of Internet addiction….
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/parenting-style-linked-kids-39-internet-addiction-222041126.html

Citation:

Argyroula Kalaitzaki
Technological Educational Institute of Crete
Article
The impact of early parenting bonding on young adults’ Internet addiction, through the mediation effects of negative relating to others and sadness.
Argyroula Kalaitzaki
Addictive Behaviors 01/2014; 39(3):733–736.

ABSTRACT The aim of the present study is the investigation of the potential role of negative relating to others, perceived loneliness, sadness, and anxiety, as mediators of the association between early parental bonding and adult Internet Addiction (IA). The factorial structure of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the prevalence rates of it in a Greek samplewill also be investigated. A total of 774 participants were recruited froma Technological Education Institute (mean age = 20.2, SD = 2.8) and from high school technical schools (mean age = 19.9, SD = 7.4). The IATwas used tomeasure the degree of problematic Internet use behaviors; the Parental Bonding Instrument was used to assess one’s recalled parenting experiences during the first 16 years of life; the shortened Person’s Relating to Others Questionnaire was used to assess one’s negative (i.e. maladaptive) relating to others (NRO). Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the three-factor structure of the IAT. Only 1.0% of the sample was severely addicted to the Internet. The mediated effects of only the NRO and sadness were confirmed.
Negative relating to others was found to fully mediate the effect of both the father’s optimal parenting
and affectionless control on IA, whereas sadness was found to fully mediate the effect of the mother’s optimal parenting on IA. Overall, the results suggest that parenting style has an indirect impact on IA, through the mediating role of negative relating to others or sadness in later life. Both family-based and individual-based prevention and intervention efforts may reduce the incidence of IA.
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/259586504_The_impact_of_early_parenting_bonding_on_young

An Indiana University study expands on the importance of parental attention.

Science Daily reported in Infant attention span suffers when parents’ eyes wander during playtime:

Caregivers whose eyes wander during playtime — due to distractions such as smartphones or other technology, for example — may raise children with shorter attention spans, according to a new study by psychologists at Indiana University.

The work, which appears online today in the journal Current Biology, is the first to show a direct connection between how long a caregiver looks at an object and how long an infant’s attention remains focused on that same object.

“The ability of children to sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition, problem-solving and other key cognitive development milestones,” said Chen Yu, who led the study. “Caregivers who appear distracted or whose eyes wander a lot while their children play appear to negatively impact infants’ burgeoning attention spans during a key stage of development….”                                                                                         https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160428131954.htm

See, Parent’s Eye Contact During Playtime Can Extend Baby’s Attention Span: Simple Way To Improve Cognitive Development In Infancy        http://www.medicaldaily.com/eye-contact-attention-span-cognitive-development-383980

Citation:

Infant attention span suffers when parents’ eyes wander during playtime

Eye-tracking study first to suggest connection between caregiver focus and key cognitive development indicator in infants

Date:             April 28, 2016

Source:         Indiana University

Summary:

Caregivers whose eyes wander during playtime — due to distractions such as smartphones or other technology, for example — may raise children with shorter attention spans, according to a new study.

Journal Reference:

  1. Chen Yu, Linda B. Smith. The Social Origins of Sustained Attention in One-Year-Old Human Infants. Current Biology, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.026

Here is the press release from Indiana University:

IU study finds infant attention span suffers when parents’ eyes wander during playtime

Eye-tracking study first to suggest connection between caregiver focus and key cognitive development indicator in infants

  • April 28, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Caregivers whose eyes wander during playtime — due to distractions such as smartphones or other technology, for example — may raise children with shorter attention spans, according to a new study by psychologists at Indiana University.

The work, which appears online today in the journal Current Biology, is the first to show a direct connection between how long a caregiver looks at an object and how long an infant’s attention remains focused on that same object.

“The ability of children to sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition, problem-solving and other key cognitive development milestones,” said Chen Yu, who led the study. “Caregivers who seem distracted or whose eyes wander a lot while their children play appear to negatively impact infants’ burgeoning attention spans during a key stage of development.”

Yu is a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Linda Smith, IU Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, is co-author on the paper.

“Historically, psychologists regarded attention as an property of individual development,” Smith said. “Our study is one of the first to consider attention as impacted by social interaction. It really appears to be an activity performed by two social partners since our study shows one individual’s attention significantly influence another’s.”

Thanks to head-mounted cameras worn by both caregivers and infants in the study, IU scientists got a first-person point of view on parents and children playing together in an environment that closely resembled a typical play session at home or day care. The technology also allowed the parents and children to play with physical toys. A typical eye-tracking study of children would involve manipulating objects on a screen.

Caregivers were given no instructions before engaging with children to ensure the psychologists got an unfiltered view of their interactions.

Generally, Yu said, caregivers fell into two major groups: those who let the infants direct the course of their play and those who attempted to forcefully guide the infants’ interest toward specific toys.

“A lot of the parents were really trying too hard,” he said. “They were trying to show off their parenting skills, holding out toys for their kids and naming the objects. But when you watch the camera footage, you can actually see the children’s eyes wandering to the ceilings or over their parents’ shoulders — they’re not paying attention at all.”

The caregivers who were most successful at sustaining the children’s attention were those who “let the child lead.” These caregivers waited until they saw the children express interest in a toy and then jumped in to expand that interest by naming the object and encouraging play.

“The responsive parents were sensitive to their children’s interests and then supported their attention,” Yu said. “We found they didn’t even really need to try to redirect where the children were looking.”

The gains in attention for children in this group were significant. In cases where infants and caregivers paid attention to the same object for over 3.6 seconds, the infant’s attention lingered 2.3 seconds longer on average on the same object even after the caregiver’s gaze turned away. This extra time works out to nearly four times longer compared to infants whose caregivers’ attention strayed relatively quickly.

The impact of a few seconds here and there may seem small. But when they are magnified over a play session — and those play sessions occur over months of daily interaction during a critical stage in mental development — the outcomes grow significantly, Yu said. A number of other studies tracking the influence of sustained attention in children from ages 1 through grade school show consistently that longer attention spans at an early age are a strong predictor of later achievement.

“Showing that what a parent pays attention to minute by minute and second by second actually influences what a child is paying attention to may seem intuitive, but social influences on attention are potentially very important and ignored by most scientists,” said Sam Wass, a research scientist at the University of Cambridge whose commentary on the study appears in the same journal. “Chen Yu and Linda Smith’s work in this area in recent years has been hugely influential.”

The shortest attention spans in the study were observed in a third group, in which caregivers displayed extremely low engagement with children while playing. These distracted caregivers tended to sit back and not play along, or simply look elsewhere during the exercise.

“When you’ve got a someone who isn’t responsive to a child’s behavior,” Yu said, “it could be a real red flag for future problems.”

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Technology of all types and the effect technology has on personal relationships in increasingly the subject of research. Moi has written about the effect of television on the brains of young children. In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare and parental interaction. Your toddler not only needs food for their body and appropriate physical activity, but you need to nourish their mind and spirit as well. There are several good articles which explain why you do not want your toddler parked in front of a television several hours each day. Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE has a very good explanation of how television can be used as a resource by distinguishing between television watching and targeting viewing of specific programs designed to enhance learning. In Should Babies and Toddlers Watch Television? http://pregnancy.about.com/od/yourbaby/a/babiesandtv.htm Elizabeth Pantley commented about the effects of young children and television. MSNBC was reporting about toddlers and television in 2004. In the MSNBC report, Watching TV May Hurt Toddlers’ Attention Spans the harmful effects of television viewing on children were discussed. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4664749#.UtNlDbB3tdg Robin Yapp of the Daily Mail reported in the article, Children who watch too much TV may have ‘damaged brain structures. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2537240/Children-watch-TV-damaged-brain-structures.html#ixzz2qFKiwot6

Jon Hamilton of NPR reported in the story, Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain:

Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.

Brain scans of teenagers revealed weaker connections between the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus in both boys and girls who had been maltreated as children, a team from the University of Wisconsin reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Girls who had been maltreated also had relatively weak connections between the prefrontal cortex the amygdala.

Those weaker connections “actually mediated or led to the development of anxiety and depressive symptoms by late adolescence,” says Ryan Herringa, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin and one of the study’s authors….
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/04/242945454/childhood-maltreatment-can-leave-scars-in-the-brain?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Helping parents and caretakers to respond appropriately to children is crucial to stopping the cycle of abuse.

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Yale, New York University and University of Wisconsin Madison study: More ADHD medication given during school term to lower status children

16 Oct

Carolyne Gregoire reported in the Huffington Post article, American Teens Are Even More Stressed Than Adults:

Last year, the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey found that Millennials, aged 18-33, were the country’s most-stressed generation. Now, the title belongs to an even younger demographic: American teenagers.
Even before the pressures of work and adulthood set in, for most young Americans, stress has already become a fact of daily life. And this sets the stage early for unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices that may increase the risk of developing stress-related health problems down the road.
American teenagers are now the most stressed-out age group in the U.S., according to APA’s 2013 Stress In America survey. While adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8…… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/american-teens-are-even-m_n_4768204.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Quite often stress and depression in children is treated with medication.

Science Tech Daily reported in the article, Study Finds Stimulant Use Increases by 30% During the School Year:

New research from Yale, NYU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that students are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer.
The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children use stimulants only during the school year and take a “drug holiday” in the summer, the authors conclude that these children are using stimulants to manage their schools’ academic demands.
Stimulant medications, which improve concentration and help manage other symptoms associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are the most widely used class of medications among adolescents. Childrens’ use of these medications in the United States has increased dramatically in the last two decades, from approximately 2.4% of children in 1996 to 6% of children at present…. http://scitechdaily.com/study-finds-stimulant-use-increases-30-school-year/

Citation:

Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure
Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status
1. Marissa D. Kinga
2. Jennifer Jenningsb
3. Jason M. Fletcherc
1. aYale School of Management
2. bNew York University
3. cUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
1. Marissa King, Yale School of Management, 165 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 E-mail: marissa.king@yale.edu
Abstract
Despite the rise of medical interventions to address behavioral issues in childhood, the social determinants of their use remain poorly understood. By analyzing a dataset that includes the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States, we find a substantial effect of schooling on stimulant use. In middle and high school, adolescents are roughly 30 percent more likely to have a stimulant prescription filled during the school year than during the summer. Socioeconomically advantaged children are more likely than their less advantaged peers to selectively use stimulants only during the academic year. These differences persist when we compare higher and lower socioeconomic status children seeing the same doctors. We link these responses to academic pressure by exploiting variation between states in educational accountability system stringency. We find the largest differences in school year versus summer stimulant use in states with more accountability pressure. School-based selective stimulant use is most common among economically advantaged children living in states with strict accountability policies. Our study uncovers a new pathway through which medical interventions may act as a resource for higher socioeconomic status families to transmit educational advantages to their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.

Here is the synopsis from Yale Insights:

Medicate to Educate: Study Finds Stimulant Use Increases by 30% During the School Year
Marissa D. King — October 2014
Children are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer, according to a new study published in the American Sociological Review. The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children use stimulants only during the school year and take a “drug holiday” in the summer, the authors conclude that these children are using stimulants to manage their schools’ academic demands.
Stimulant medications, which improve concentration and help manage other symptoms associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are the most widely used class of medications among adolescents. Childrens’ use of these medications in the United States has increased dramatically in the last two decades, from approximately 2.4% of children in 1996 to 6% of children at present.
Larger school-year increases in stimulant use were found in states with higher levels of accountability pressure, suggesting that education policies impact stimulant use. Children from families who are not poor and live in states with more strict standardized-testing and school-accountability environments are much more likely to use stimulants only during the school year compared to their less economically advantaged peers in states with less stringent accountability environments.
“Many parents are faced with a tough decision: Do they medicate their kids to help them manage in an increasingly demanding school environment?” said Marissa King, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management and lead author of the study. “Rather than trying to make kids conform to the school system by taking stimulants, we need to take a closer look at what is happening in schools.”
To examine the effect of schooling on stimulant use, King and her colleagues analyzed a data set including the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States during the 2007-2008 academic year. They linked the patterns of stimulant use during the school year to academic pressure by analyzing state rankings of school-accountability policies published by Education Week. Differences in school year and summer use could not be explained by avoidance of medication side effects, medication cost, or type of ADHD.
The researchers also examined the influence of doctors on school-based stimulant use to determine whether the socioeconomic differences they observe occur because more- and less-advantaged children see different doctors. Even when children from more- and less-advantaged backgrounds were treated by the same doctor, children from more-advantaged backgrounds were more likely to use stimulants only during the school year. This suggests that socioeconomic differences in school-based stimulant use are driven by parents, not doctors. “Socioeconomically advantaged families are more likely to trust their own judgment about medication decisions rather than defer to their doctors,” said King.
The researchers say that the study suggests that medical interventions like stimulant use may be a new pathway through which more advantaged parents translate their economic advantages into educational advantages for their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.
“Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure: Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status,” by Marissa King (Yale School of Management), Jennifer Jennings (New York University), and Jason Fletcher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), is published in the American Sociological Review.
http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/medicate-educate-study-finds-stimulant-use-increases-30-during-school-year

Paul Tough wrote a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.
In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:
Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.
Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.
For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Because of high stakes testing, it appears that poorer children are being given medication because of educational policy issues like having a school or district appear to succeed in a testing environment, rather than the particular need of the child.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/20/depression-in-young-children/13970.html

WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed? http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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University of Virginia study: Tell kids that middle school is not the end of life, cool kids in middle school often have problems later

4 Aug

Javier Panzar reported in the Los Angeles Times article, ‘Cool’ kids in middle school struggle in their 20s, study finds:

In the study, published Thursday in the journal Child Development, scientists tracked nearly 200 13-years-olds in the Southeastern United States for 10 years, gauging how much they valued their popularity, how important appearance was in seeking out friends and if they used drugs or had romantic relationships.
The study found that young teens who acted old for their age by sneaking into movies, forming early romantic relationships, shoplifting and basing friendships on appearance were seen by peers as popular. But as these “pseudomature” teens and their less adventurous counterparts matured, their behavior was no longer linked with popularity.
Instead, they were thought to be less socially competent by their peers and had more problems with substance abuse, said Joseph Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and lead author on the study.
Allen said the average “cool” teen, by age 22, had a 45% greater rate of problems due to substance use and a 22% greater rate of criminal behavior compared with the average teen in the study.
“Teens are intimidated by these kids, and parents are intimidated because they think that these pseudomature kids are on the fast track,” Allen said in an interview Thursday with the Los Angeles Times. “These kids are on the fast track, but it’s really to a dead end.
“They are gaining the appearance of maturity, but they are not gaining actual maturity.”
Researchers suggest that these kids spend so much time trying to gain status, they don’t develop the positive social skills needed for meaningful friendships.
The study followed 86 male and 98 female middle school students for a 10-year period beginning in 1998, and it yielded some surprises, Allen said. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cool-kids-study-20140612-story.html

Here is the University of Virginia news release:

News Updates
For Middle Schoolers, Research Shows It’s Cool Not to Be Cool
06/16/2014
New research by Youth-Nex faculty affiliate Joseph Allen shows that trying to being cool in early teens predicts more problems in early adulthood.
“According to the study, which surveyed 184 seventh- and eighth-graders and then followed up with them 10 years later, the kids who were involved in minor delinquent behaviors or precocious romance and obsessed with physical appearance and social status were much worse off in adulthood than their less “cool” friends.
Allen found that at 22 or 23 years old, these kids had 45 percent higher rates of alcohol and drug problems and 22 percent higher rates of criminal behavior; their ratings of social competency — their ability to have normal and positive relationships with others — were 24 percent lower than their peers.”
Read Study. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12250/pdf
Wall Street Journal Video: “How Long Does the ‘Cool Kid’ Effect Last?” http://live.wsj.com/video/how-long-does-the-cool-kid-effect-last/5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78.html#!5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78

New York Times, “Thirteen in Years, but 10 or 15 in Thoughts and Action” http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/thirteen-in-years-but-10-or-15-in-thoughts-and-action/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1&
Other Media:

CNN Video – Cool kids study offers ‘revenge’ for nerds http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/living/cool-kids-study-parents-duplicate-2/

The Boston Globe, “Being a ‘cool’ kid has downside later on, study shows” http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/06/26/being-cool-kid-has-downside-later-study-shows/93xNSnbVBSxdCh5YTQgGmK/story.html

The Washington Post – The middle school ‘cool kids’ are not alright http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/06/12/the-middle-school-cool-kids-are-not-alright/

Business Insider – Researchers Figured Out What Really Happens To Cool Kids When They Grow Up http://www.businessinsider.com/being-popular-in-high-school-leads-to-problems-in-adulthood-2014-6#ixzz34o7Ix28L

Here is the news release from the Society for Research in Child Development:

12-Jun-2014
[ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ]

Contact: Hannah Klein
hklein@srcd.org
202-289-0320
Society for Research in Child Development

New study sheds light on what happens to ‘cool’ kids
Teens who tried to act cool in early adolescence were more likely than their peers who didn’t act cool to experience a range of problems in early adulthood, according to a new decade-long study. The study, by researchers at the University of Virginia, appears in the journal Child Development.
While cool teens are often idolized in popular media—in depictions ranging from James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause to Tina Fey’s Mean Girls—seeking popularity and attention by trying to act older than one’s age may not yield the expected benefits, according to the study.
Researchers followed 184 teens from age 13, when they were in seventh and eighth grades, to age 23, collecting information from the teens themselves as well as from their peers and parents. The teens attended public school in suburban and urban areas in the southeastern United States and were from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Teens who were romantically involved at an early age, engaged in delinquent activity, and placed a premium on hanging out with physically attractive peers were thought to be popular by their peers at age 13. But over time, this sentiment faded: By 22, those once-cool teens were rated by their peers as being less competent in managing social relationships. They were also more likely to have had significant problems with alcohol and drugs, and to have engaged in criminal activities, according to the study.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens,” says Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study. “So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent—socially and otherwise—than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.”
###
The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Summarized from Child Development, What Ever Happened To The ‘Cool’ Kids? Long-Term Sequelae Of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior by Allen, JP, Schad, MM, Oudekerk, B, and Chango, J (University of Virginia). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.
Middle school aged students are particularly vulnerable because they are in the midst of emotional and physical transitions.

Goodlettsville Middle School posted a good list of characteristics of the average middle school student:

Developmental Characteristics of Middle School Students
Intellectual Development:
Are egocentric; argue to convince, and exhibit independent, critical thought
• Face decisions that may affect long term academic values
• Are intensely curious
• Personal-social concerns dominate, academics are secondary
• Move to abstract ways of thinking which allow for:
o projection of thoughts to the future
o establishing of goals
o consideration of ideas contrary to fact
o questioning of attitudes, behaviors, and values
o ability to think about thinking and how they learn
• Prefer active over passive learning experiences and cooperative learning activities
• Enjoy learning skills to apply to real life problems and situations
Physical Development:
Concerned about their physical appearance
• Experience accelerated physical development marked by increases in weight and height
• Experience fluctuations in metabolism causing extreme restlessness and listlessness
• Mature at varying rates; girls develop physically earlier than boys
• Lack physical health and have poor level of endurance, strength, and flexibility
• Have appetites for peculiar tastes; you adolescents may overtax their digestive systems with large amounts of improper foods
Psychological Development:
Easily offended and sensitive to criticism
• Exhibit erratic emotions and behavior
• Are moody and restless; often feel self-conscious and alienated, lack self-esteem, and are introspective
• Are optimistic and hopeful
• Search for adult identity and acceptance
• Strive for a sense of individual uniqueness
• Are vulnerable to one-sided arguments
• Exaggerate simple occurrences and believe that person issues are unique to themselves
• Have an emerging sense of humor
• Have emotions that are frightening and poorly understood, often triggered by hormonal imbalances. These may cause regression to more childish behavior patterns
Social Development:
Act out unusual or drastic behavior. At times, they may be aggressive, daring, boisterous, and argumentative.
• Confused and frightened by new school settings that are large and impersonal
• Are fiercely loyal to peer group values and sometimes cruel and insensitive to those outside of the peer group
• Are rebellious toward parents, but still strongly dependent on parental values
• Negative interactions with peers, parents, and teachers may compromise ideals and commitments
• Challenge authority figures and test limits of accepted behavior
• Distrust relationships with adults who show lack of sensitivity to adolescent needs
• Use peers and media role models as sources for standards of behavior
• Sense the negative impact of adolescent behavior on parents and teachers
• Desire love and acceptance from significant adults
Moral and Ethical Development:
Ask broad unanswerable questions about the meaning of life
• Depend on influence of home and church for moral and ethical choices and behaviors
• Explore the moral and ethical issues that confront them in the curriculum, the media, and daily interactions with their families and peer groups
• Are idealistic and have a strong sense of fairness in human relationships
• Are reflective, introspective, and analytical about their thoughts and feelings
• Experience thoughts and feeling of awe and wonder related to their expanding intellectual and emotional awareness
• Face hard moral and ethical questions for which they are unprepared to cope http://www.mnps.org/Page49120.aspx

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/self-esteem/

Resources:

Characteristics of Middle Grade Students http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/documentlibrary/characteristicsmg.aspx

Middle School Education – Developmental Characteristics http://www.davidson.k12.nc.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=16059

The Young Adolescent Learner http://www.learner.org/workshops/middlewriting/images/pdf/W1ReadAdLearn.pdf

Traits & Characteristics of Middle School Learners http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/traits-characteristics-middle-school-learners-17814.html

Association for Middle Level Education: AMLE http://www.amle.org/

Know your students: Nature of the middle school student http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/68_nature.php

NEA – Brain Development in Young Adolescents http://www.nea.org/tools/16653.htm

Emotional Development in Middle School | Education.com http://www.education.com/reference/article/emotional-development-middle-school/

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Princeton University study: Four in ten infants lack strong parental attachments

31 Mar

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.

1) Spoiling kids
2) Inadequate discipline
3) Failing to get involved at school
4) Praising mediocrity
5) Not giving kids enough responsibility
6) Not being a good spouse
7) Setting unreal expectations
8) Not teaching kids to fend for themselves
9) Pushing trends on kids
10) Not following through http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/10-big-mistakes-parents-make

Playstead also has some comments about stage parents. Adult behavior begins in childhood.

HelpGuide.org has some excellent resources about Attachment & Reactive Attachment Disorders:

Understanding attachment problems and disorders
VIDEO Creating Secure Infant Attachment http://www.helpguide.org/video/attachment_sd.htm
Children with attachment disorders or other attachment problems have difficulty connecting to others and managing their own emotions. This results in a lack of trust and self-worth, a fear of getting close to anyone, anger, and a need to be in control. A child with an attachment disorder feels unsafe and alone…
What causes reactive attachment disorder and other attachment problems?
Reactive attachment disorder and other attachment problems occur when children have been unable to consistently connect with a parent or primary caregiver. This can happen for many reasons:
• A baby cries and no one responds or offers comfort.
• A baby is hungry or wet, and they aren’t attended to for hours.
• No one looks at, talks to, or smiles at the baby, so the baby feels alone.
• A young child gets attention only by acting out or displaying other extreme behaviors.
• A young child or baby is mistreated or abused.
• Sometimes the child’s needs are met and sometimes they aren’t. The child never knows what to expect.
• The infant or young child is hospitalized or separated from his or her parents.
• A baby or young child is moved from one caregiver to another (can be the result of adoption, foster care, or the loss of a parent).
• The parent is emotionally unavailable because of depression, an illness, or a substance abuse problem.
As the examples show, sometimes the circumstances that cause the attachment problems are unavoidable, but the child is too young to understand what has happened and why. To a young child, it just feels like no one cares and they lose trust in others and the world becomes an unsafe place…
Signs and symptoms of insecure attachment in infants:
• Avoids eye contact
• Doesn’t smile
• Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
• Rejects your efforts to calm, soothe, and connect
• Doesn’t seem to notice or care when you leave them alone
• Cries inconsolably
• Doesn’t coo or make sounds
• Doesn’t follow you with his or her eyes
• Isn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toys
• Spend a lot of time rocking or comforting themselves
• Avoids eye contact
• Doesn’t smile
• Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
• Rejects your efforts to calm, soothe, and connect
• Doesn’t seem to notice or care when you leave them alone
• Cries inconsolably
• Doesn’t coo or make sounds
• Doesn’t follow you with his or her eyes
• Isn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toys
• Spend a lot of time rocking or comforting themselves
It’s important to note that the early symptoms of insecure attachment are similar to the early symptoms of other issues such as ADHD and autism. If you spot any of these warning signs, make an appointment with your pediatrician for a professional diagnosis of the problem….
Common signs and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder
• An aversion to touch and physical affection. Children with reactive attachment disorder often flinch, laugh, or even say “Ouch” when touched. Rather than producing positive feelings, touch and affection are perceived as a threat.
• Control issues. Most children with reactive attachment disorder go to great lengths to remain in control and avoid feeling helpless. They are often disobedient, defiant, and argumentative.
• Anger problems. Anger may be expressed directly, in tantrums or acting out, or through manipulative, passive-aggressive behavior. Children with reactive attachment disorder may hide their anger in socially acceptable actions, like giving a high five that hurts or hugging someone too hard.
• Difficulty showing genuine care and affection. For example, children with reactive attachment disorder may act inappropriately affectionate with strangers while displaying little or no affection towards their parents.
• An underdeveloped conscience. Children with reactive attachment disorder may act like they don’t have a conscience and fail to show guilt, regret, or remorse after behaving badly…. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/parenting_bonding_reactive_attachment_disorder.htm

See, Reactive attachment disorder http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/reactive-attachment-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20032126 and Reactive Attachment Disorder http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-reactive-attachment-disorder

Science Daily reported in the article, Four in 10 infants lack strong parental attachments:

In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds — what psychologists call “secure attachment” — with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report. The researchers found that these children are more likely to face educational and behavioral problems. In a report published by Sutton Trust, a London-based institute that has published more than 140 research papers on education and social mobility, researchers from Princeton University, Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Bristol found that infants under the age of three who do not form strong bonds with their mothers or fathers are more likely to be aggressive, defiant and hyperactive as adults. These bonds, or secure attachments, are formed through early parental care, such as picking up a child when he or she cries or holding and reassuring a child.
“When parents tune in to and respond to their children’s needs and are a dependable source of comfort, those children learn how to manage their own feeling and behaviors,” said Sophie Moullin, a joint doctoral candidate studying at Princeton’s Department of Sociology and the Office of Population Research, which is based at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “These secure attachments to their mothers and fathers provide these children with a base from which they can thrive.”
Written by Moullin, Jane Waldfogel from Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science and Elizabeth Washbrook from the University of Bristol, the report uses data collected by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative U.S. study of 14,000 children born in 2001. The researchers also reviewed more than 100 academic studies.
Their analysis shows that about 60 percent of children develop strong attachments to their parents, which are formed through simple actions, such as holding a baby lovingly and responding to the baby’s needs. Such actions support children’s social and emotional development, which, in turn, strengthens their cognitive development, the researchers write. These children are more likely to be resilient to poverty, family instability, parental stress and depression. Additionally, if boys growing up in poverty have strong parental attachments, they are two and a half times less likely to display behavior problems at school.
The approximately 40 percent who lack secure attachments, on the other hand, are more likely to have poorer language and behavior before entering school. This effect continues throughout the children’s lives, and such children are more likely to leave school without further education, employment or training, the researchers write. Among children growing up in poverty, poor parental care and insecure attachment before age four strongly predicted a failure to complete school. Of the 40 percent who lack secure attachments, 25 percent avoid their parents when they are upset (because their parents are ignoring their needs), and 15 percent resist their parents because their parents cause them distress.
“This report clearly identifies the fundamental role secure attachment could have in narrowing that school readiness gap and improving children’s life chances. More support from health visitors, children’s centers and local authorities in helping parents improve how they bond with young children could play a role in narrowing the education gap,” said Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust.
Susan Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh who studies social and emotional development in young children and infants, said insecure attachments emerge when primary caregivers are not “tuned in” to their infant’s social signals, especially their cries of distress during infancy.
“When helpless infants learn early that their cries will be responded to, they also learn that their needs will be met, and they are likely to form a secure attachment to their parents,” Campbell said. “However, when caregivers are overwhelmed because of their own difficulties, infants are more likely to learn that the world is not a safe place — leading them to become needy, frustrated, withdrawn or disorganized.”
The researchers argue that many parents — including middle-class parents — need more support to provide proper parenting, including family leave, home visits and income supports….
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327123540.htm

Citation:

Four in 10 infants lack strong parent attachment
Date: March 27, 2014
Source: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Summary:
In a study of 14,000 US children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds — what psychologists call ‘secure attachment’ — with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report. The researchers found that these children are more likely to face educational and behavioral problems.

Here is the press release from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs:

Four in 10 Infants Lack Strong Parental Attachments
Mar 27, 2014
By: B. Rose Huber
Source: Woodrow Wilson School
Tags:
• Children, Demography, Education, Family, Gender, Psychology
PRINCETON, N.J.—In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds — what psychologists call “secure attachment” — with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report. The researchers found that these children are more likely to face educational and behavioral problems.
In a report published by Sutton Trust, a London-based institute that has published more than 140 research papers on education and social mobility, researchers from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Bristol found that infants under the age of three who do not form strong bonds with their mothers or fathers are more likely to be aggressive, defiant and hyperactive as adults. These bonds, or secure attachments, are formed through early parental care, such as picking up a child when he or she cries or holding and reassuring a child.

In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds — what psychologists call “secure attachment” — with their parents that are crucial to success later in life.
“When parents tune in to and respond to their children’s needs and are a dependable source of comfort, those children learn how to manage their own feeling and behaviors,” said Sophie Moullin, a joint doctoral candidate studying at Princeton’s Department of Sociology and the Office of Population Research, which is based at the Woodrow Wilson School. “These secure attachments to their mothers and fathers provide these children with a base from which they can thrive.”
Written by Moullin, Jane Waldfogel from Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science and Elizabeth Washbrook from the University of Bristol, the report uses data collected by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative U.S. study of 14,000 children born in 2001. The researchers also reviewed more than 100 academic studies.
Their analysis shows that about 60 percent of children develop strong attachments to their parents, which are formed through simple actions, such as holding a baby lovingly and responding to the baby’s needs. Such actions support children’s social and emotional development, which, in turn, strengthens their cognitive development, the researchers write. These children are more likely to be resilient to poverty, family instability, parental stress and depression. Additionally, if boys growing up in poverty have strong parental attachments, they are two and a half times less likely to display behavior problems at school.
The approximately 40 percent who lack secure attachments, on the other hand, are more likely to have poorer language and behavior before entering school. This effect continues throughout the children’s lives, and such children are more likely to leave school without further education, employment or training, the researchers write. Among children growing up in poverty, poor parental care and insecure attachment before age four strongly predicted a failure to complete school. Of the 40 percent who lack secure attachments, 25 percent avoid their parents when they are upset (because their parents are ignoring their needs), and 15 percent resist their parents because their parents cause them distress.
“This report clearly identifies the fundamental role secure attachment could have in narrowing that school readiness gap and improving children’s life chances. More support from health visitors, children’s centers and local authorities in helping parents improve how they bond with young children could play a role in narrowing the education gap,” said Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust.
Susan Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh who studies social and emotional development in young children and infants, said insecure attachments emerge when primary caregivers are not “tuned in” to their infant’s social signals, especially their cries of distress during infancy.
“When helpless infants learn early that their cries will be responded to, they also learn that their needs will be met, and they are likely to form a secure attachment to their parents,” Campbell said. “However, when caregivers are overwhelmed because of their own difficulties, infants are more likely to learn that the world is not a safe place — leading them to become needy, frustrated, withdrawn or disorganized.”
The researchers argue that many parents — including middle-class parents — need more support to provide proper parenting, including family leave, home visits and income supports.
“Targeted interventions can also be highly effective in helping parents develop the behaviors that foster secure attachment. Supporting families who are at risk for poor parenting ideally starts early — at birth or even before,” said Waldfogel, a co-author of the report and a professor of social work and public affairs at Columbia.
The report, “Baby Bonds: Parenting, attachment and a secure base for children,” was published March 21 by the Sutton Trust.

Roy H Lubit, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD write in the Medscape article, Attachment Disorders Treatment & Management about treatment options.

According to Lubit and Pataki, the treat approach is:

An appropriate treatment program for a child with multiple challenges requires the participation of several specialists.
Most of the treatment for reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED) is provided by primary caregivers (eg, parents or substitute parents) in their everyday interactions with the child. Ideally, these caregivers can rely on the expertise and advice of a mental health professional who is aware of the emotional needs of children, the phenomenology of attachment disruptions, and the need to repair and recreate the sense of security in the child. Referral to a mental health professional may be critical.
Pharmacologic treatment may be helpful for ancillary problems but not for the attachment disorders themselves. No specific diet is indicated; however, many children who have experienced disruptions and early neglect also have feeding disorders and may require treatment. Also, some children may have excessive appetite and thirst…. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/915447-treatment

Those with attachment disorders must be treated by competent professionals.

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Two studies: The value of honest praise

5 Jan

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.
1) Spoiling kids
2) Inadequate discipline
3) Failing to get involved at school
4) Praising mediocrity
5) Not giving kids enough responsibility
6) Not being a good spouse
7) Setting unreal expectations
8) Not teaching kids to fend for themselves
9) Pushing trends on kids
10) Not following through http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/10-big-mistakes-parents-make
Playstead also has some comments about stage parents.
Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are. And yes, this goes for you pathetic stage parents as well. It’s hard enough for kids to figure out who they are in the world without you trying to turn them into what you couldn’t be.
Chris Weller examined two studies dealing the “participation trophy” culture.
Weller opined in the Newsweek article, Two Words That Could Hurt Your Kids: Nice Job:
The most controversial topics in professional sports may be doping and concussions, but in youth sports, no two words are more inflammatory than “participation trophy,” those “awards” given to kids just for showing up, regardless of how well they played…
But a new trio of studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Ohio State University suggest that this strategy can backfire. They also suggest that parents often dole out inflated praise to the children most likely to be hurt by it. “If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well,” Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the studies and a doctoral candidate at Utrecht University’s department of psychology, said in a statement. “They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.”
Brummelman and his fellow researchers devised three experiments. The first found that children with low self-esteem typically receive twice as much inflated praise as children with high self-esteem. Inflated praise is the difference between “Job well done!” and “You did an incredibly good job!” That adverb, that small boost, can turn a minor success into an expectation that ends up crushing a kid who doesn’t believe in himself.
The second study enlisted the help of parents. The children completed 12 timed math exercises, which their parents then scored. Brummelman and his colleagues watched for any instance in which the parents administered inflated praise – a “You’re so incredible!” or a “Fantastic!” – or opted for a simple, “Good job” or “Nice work.” Correlating the kids’ scores with earlier assessments of self-esteem, the team found that children with lower self-esteem received more inflated praise.
Don’t start slagging supportive parents, though. Co-researcher Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State, says their logic is impeccable: Kids who feel bad about their abilities tend to have very negative responses to poor performance, so the observant parent intervenes with a few supportive words. Problem solved, right?
The team’s third study took the praise administered in the second study and extended it to future performance. Children were asked to recreate van Gogh’s Wild Roses (to the best of their ability) and were told the final drawing would be critiqued by a professional painter. The critic either gave the children inflated praise, noninflated praise, or no praise at all. Then they did a second drawing. This time they had a choice: Would they rather copy an easy drawing or take on a more difficult piece?
To the chagrin of participation-trophy-pushing parents in the group, the children with lower self-esteems chose the undemanding piece. They took the safe route. The high self-esteem kids were actually more likely to seek out the challenge after receiving inflated praise….
“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said. “But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.”
http://www.newsweek.com/two-words-could-hurt-your-kids-nice-job-225389#.UshBxlkCHTc.twitter
Paul Tough has written a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.
In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:
Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.
Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.
For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Whatever the dream you feel you didn’t realize, remember that was your dream, it may not be your child’s dream.
Helping Your Child Develop Self-Esteem
The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/?s=healthy+self+esteem A discussion of values is often difficult, but the question the stage parent, over the top little league father, or out of control soccer mom should ask of themselves is what do you really and truly value? What is more important, your child’s happiness and self-esteem or your fulfilling an unfinished part of your life through your child? Joe Jackson, the winner of the most heinous stage parent award saw his dreams fulfilled with the price of the destruction of his children’s lives. Most people with a healthy dose of self-esteem and sanity would say this is too high a price.
Letting Go
Sarah Mahoney wrote a good article about four ways to let go of your kids http://www.familycircle.com/teen/parenting/communicating/letting-go-of-your-kids/?page=2 and she describes her four steps, which she calls Independence Day. Newsweek also has an article on the fine art of letting go http://www.newsweek.com/parenting-how-let-your-kids-go-110095 Remember it is your child’s life and they should be allowed to realize their dreams, not yours.
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No one is perfect: People sometimes fail

6 Dec

A New York Daily News blog discussed the top ten most heinous stage parents and here is the list:

1. Joseph Jackson

2. Joe Simpson

3. Gertrude Temple

4. Kit Culkin

5. Dina Lohan

6. Rose Hovick

7. Jaid Barrymore

8. Wanda Holloway

9. Patsy Ramsey

10. Jeff Archuleta

Were you on the list? If not, don’t breathe a sigh of relief because some of your personal characteristics and over the top intensity may define you as a stage parent even if your interests are in sports, the arts or another activity where successful competition can have big rewards. The Urban Dictionary has 52 definitions which capture the essence of what a stage parent is. Time has a good discussion of stage parenting by using the example of Richard Williams the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena.

Types of Parenting Styles and Families

Lynette C. Magaña, Judith A. Myers-Walls and Dee Love discuss the different styles of parent and child relationships and the type of parent behavior associated with each relationship type.Their comments about parents are very important. Richard Niolan reviews an article by Bamrind, which was published in the Journal of Early Adolescence. He describes Bamrind’s Model. Each of the parent types are described by Nioland. Whether they are called stage parents, out of control little league dads or over achieving soccer moms, the parents share certain traits and characteristics of an authoritarian parenting style. Nioland describes the authoritarian parenting style:

These parents are highly directive, value obedience and are more controlling, show less warmth and nurturance and more distance and aloofness, and discourage discussion and debate. They are high on demandingness but low on responsiveness, maintaining order, communicating expectations, and monitoring the children carefully. Their children have a multitude of problems, and are less individuated and show lower internalization of pro-social values, ego development, and perform more poorly on cognitive tests and see their parents as more restrictive. They were also more likely to come from divorced families. Boys from single authoritarian homes had more problems than boys from two parent homes.

Does this parenting style describe anyone you know?

Ten Top Mistakes Parents Make

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.

1)            Spoiling kids 

2)            Inadequate discipline

3)            Failing to get involved at school

4)            Praising mediocrity

5)            Not giving kids enough responsibility

6)            Not being a good spouse

7)            Setting unreal expectations

8)            Not teaching kids to fend for themselves

9)            Pushing trends on kids

10)           Not following through

Playstead also has some comments about stage parents.

Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are. And yes, this goes for you pathetic stage parents as well. It’s hard enough for kids to figure out who they are in the world without you trying to turn them into what you couldn’t be.

Paul Tough has written a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.

In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:

Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.

Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.

For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….”

Whatever the dream you feel you didn’t realize, remember that was your dream, it may not be your child’s dream.

Helping Your Child Develop Self-Esteem

The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. A discussion of values is often difficult, but the question the stage parent, over the top little league father, or out of control soccer mom should ask of themselves is what do you really and truly value? What is more important, your child’s happiness and self esteem or your fulfilling an unfinished part of your life through your child? Joe Jackson, the winner of the most heinous stage parent award saw his dreams fulfilled with the price of the destruction of his children’s lives. Most people with a healthy dose of self esteem and sanity would say this is too high a price. 

Letting Go

Sarah Mahoney wrote a good article at Parents.Com about four ways to let go of your kids and she describes her four steps, which she calls Independence Day. Newsweek also has an article on the fine art of letting go  Remember it is your child’s life and they should be allowed to realize their dreams, not yours.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©