- 2020Feb 27
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Parents always want their kids to have it better than they did growing up. Anyone with a family can relate; we all work hard so that our families and children enjoy a good life. Apparently, for many modern moms & dads, that sentiment also includes avoiding the mistakes that their own parents made while raising them. A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. parents of school-aged children noted that 76% believe themselves to be much better parents than their own moms and dads.
Of course, the world is a much different place than it was just a few decades ago, and the majority of respondents believe it has become that much harder to raise children in 2020. A full 75% said that it is harder to be a parent today than it was when they were growing up.
The research, commissioned by Osmo, identified a common theme among respondents. The vast majority (78%) are determined not to recreate the negative aspects of their childhood for their own kids.
Here are a few additional, interesting statistics regarding modern parenting: 41% don’t believe in strict bedtimes, and 39% don’t make their kids stay at the dinner table until their plate is clean. Also, more than a third claim to never tell their children to “go to your room!”
Regardless of how one may feel about these parenting shifts over the years, there is certainly no denying that modern parents have some new problems to contend with, and the most obvious is the internet. A full 25% said that making sure their children use technology safely is among their top concerns.
- 2020Feb 26
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
Adolescents who are bullied about their weight or body shape may be more likely to use alcohol or marijuana than those who are not bullied, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
The link between appearance-related teasing and substance use was strongest among overweight girls, raising special concerns about this group.
"This type of bullying is incredibly common and has many negative effects for adolescents," said lead study author Melanie Klinck, BA, a clinical research assistant at the University of Connecticut. "The combination of appearance-related teasing and the increased sensitivity to body image during adolescence may create a heightened risk for substance use."
The study, which was conducted at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, involved a survey of 1,344 students ages 11 to 14 from five public middle schools near Hartford, Connecticut. The students were asked if siblings, parents or peers had teased them about their weight, body shape or eating during the prior six months. More than half (55%) of the overall participants reported weight-based teasing, including three out of four overweight girls (76%), 71% of overweight boys, 52% of girls who weren't overweight, and 43% of boys who weren't overweight.
The participants also were asked about their alcohol and marijuana use. The results showed that frequent weight-based teasing was associated with higher levels of total alcohol use, binge drinking, and marijuana use. In a follow-up survey six months later, weight-based teasing was still linked to total alcohol use and binge drinking. The research was published online in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
- 2020Feb 25
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
Have you ever received an unexpected kindness? A stranger in the car ahead of you paid your highway toll. Or a kind consumer picked up your tab at Starbucks. These actions can set off a chain reaction of kindness, as you pay that kindness forward to the next unsuspecting person in line.
But when does this pay-it-forward mentality first emerge in humans? New research at the University of Virginia found that the phenomenon is first seen in four-year-olds.
In a pair of studies, experimenters worked with two groups. In the first study, three- and four-year-olds were called into a room individually and shown a transparent, locked box containing five enticing, colorful animal stickers. The experimenter then told each child a previous toddler—let's call her Sally—left a note sharing the location of the key to the box, which was hidden in the room. After finding the key, opening the box and collecting their treasures, the toddlers were asked by the experimenter if they would like to share some of their stickers with a new child.
The results were clear. Most of the three-year-olds (80%) did not want to share, while most of the four-year-olds—about 60% of them—did. The study's lead author, Stefen Beeler-Duden, a graduate psychology student, calls this generosity "upstream reciprocity."
In the second study, Beeler-Duden set out to learn what was driving the upstream reciprocity in the four-year-olds. Beeler-Duden broke down gratitude into two key parts: the gift itself and the actions of the person who provided the gift. So Beeler-Duden replicated the sticker experiment with a new group of four-year-olds and then asked them to evaluate Sally, the mysterious helper. Was she good, bad or just OK? He found that the children who positively evaluated Sally shared more stickers. It was, he said, "something like the emotional experience of gratitude."
"Moreover, children's positive evaluations of Sally were correlated with children's upstream reciprocity, that is, how many stickers they shared with the new child," reads part of the new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
So why are four-year-olds more likely than three-year-olds to share their animal stickers?
"It seems that four-year-olds are really paying attention to these different components that are associated with gratitude, noticing not only that they received something nice, but also that this person wanted to help them," Beeler-Duden said, "whereas it seems that three-year-olds are not necessarily tuned fully into these different components just yet."
"It also may be that our sticker game was a little bit too difficult for three-year-olds because there's a lot to keep track of."