Posts Tagged ‘ child behavior ’

Omega-3 May Lead to Improved Behavior in Children: Study

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Omega3 FoodsYou probably already know that omega-3 fatty acid is one type of fat you don’t want to cut back on, thanks to its multiple health benefits. And now there’s another reason to add them to your family’s diet: New research, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, has found that consuming an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acid may also lead to fewer behavioral problems in children.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania followed 200 children (aged 8-16) to determine the effects of omega-3 supplements. The children were divided into two groups: one group received regular supplements of omega-3 via a juice drink for six months, while the other group received the same drink with no added supplement. After six months, a blood test was administered to see how the two groups’ omega-3 levels compared—and six months following that the study was repeated for another six months.

The parents and children were asked to complete a series of personality questionnaires and assessments. Researchers found that parents of children consuming the supplemented drink reported a decrease in their child’s antisocial and aggressive behavior after the one year mark.

“The control group returned to the baseline while the omega-3 group continued to go down. In the end, we saw a 42 percent reduction in scores on externalizing behavior and 62 percent reduction in internalizing behavior,” explained the study’s author Adrian Raine.

Further research is needed to determine whether the positive changes shown in the study will last over time.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Best Super Foods for Your  Baby
Best Super Foods for Your  Baby
Best Super Foods for Your Baby

Image: Foods high in omega-3 via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Girls Can Overcome Bullying More Than Boys With Mom’s Help

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Bullied boyBullied children can often display — and become tolerant of — negative behavior, but a new study determined that a mother’s warmth can prevent aggression and antisocial behavior in some kids, especially girls.

The study analyzed data collected from more than 1,000 children, over the age of 8, on whether they had been bullied; about 68 percent reported having been bullied within the last month. Researchers also visited the families at home to evaluate family conflicts and how a mother acted toward her children — if she was warm and showed pride/pleasure, or if she was cold and harsh. (For this particular study, fathers were not included.)

Girls who received affection and who communicated well with their moms were less likely to internalize the bullying and feel like a victim. But even if boys received maternal warmth, they still absorbed the negative effects of bullying, and antisocial behavior actually increased over five years.

However, mothers also reported less communication with their sons, making the case that increased conversations may lessen the negative impact of bullying on boys.

“Children who develop hostile and distrustful relationships with their parents due to low parental warmth and responsiveness may adopt similar patterns of negative expectations when engaging with peers, as a result of their greater fear and anxiety,” said Grace Yang, lead author of the study.

Researchers even speculated that boys’ behavior might improve with a stronger and supportive network of friends, versus girls who “depended on the parent and family dynamics.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Identify Bullying
How to Identify Bullying
How to Identify Bullying

Image: Bullied boy via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

How Depressed Dads Can Lead to Troubled Toddlers

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Sad boyIt has been proven that a mother’s depression has negative impacts on her children, but research was never done to provide information on whether or not a father’s depression has any effect—until now.

A recent study published online in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, has linked both mothers’ and fathers’ depression with troubling behaviors in children, in particular toddlers.

Researchers at Northwestern University gathered information from approximately 200 couples with 3-year-olds; the parents had all participated in a depression study at the time of their child’s birth. Each individual filled out a questionnaire that asked about “parental depression, their relationship with their partner, and their child’s internalizing behaviors (sadness, anxiety, jitteriness) and externalizing behaviors (acting out, hitting, lying),” reports Science Daily.

The study concluded that each parent’s level of depression impacted their child’s behaviors both internally and externally, and that paternal postnatal depression had a significant impact on toddler behavior. Depression affected children much more negatively than parental fighting because depressed parents were less likely to make eye contact, smile, bond, or engage with kids.

With this information, doctors may now begin to monitor both parents’ levels of depression—rather than only focusing on a mother’s potential for postpartum depression.

“Father’s emotions affect their children,” said Sheehan Fisher, the study’s lead author. “New fathers should be screened and treated for postpartum depression, just as we do for mothers.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?

Image: Sad boy via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Sodas Linked to Aggressive Behavior in Kids

Monday, August 19th, 2013

A new study suggests that the more soda kids drink, the more likely they are to experience behavior problems.

Researchers analyzed data on nearly 3,000 5-year-olds from 20 large U.S. cities. Their mothers completed checklists about the children’s behaviors over the previous two months, and also told scientists about the children’s habits, such as their diets and how much TV they watched, explains the study’s lead author, Shakira Suglia, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Here’s more from

Aggressive behavior was measured on a scale between 0 and 100—with higher scores indicating more aggression. Suglia said the average score is 50, and 65 is usually used as a clinical marker of when children should be evaluated for a problem.

Kids who reportedly drank no soda scored 56 on the aggression scale, on average. That compared to 57 among kids who drank one serving per day, 58 among those who drank two servings, 59 among those who drank three servings and 62 for four soda servings or more per day.

After taking into account habits that may have influenced the results—such as how much TV the kids watched, how much candy they ate and their mother’s race and education—the researchers still found that drinking two or four or more servings of soda per day was tied to higher aggression scores.

Overall, kids who drank four or more servings of soda per day were twice as likely to destroy other people’s belongings, get into fights and physically attack people, compared to children who didn’t drink soda.

Soda drinkers also scored higher on scales measuring signs of withdrawal and attention problems, write the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.

 Little boy drinking soda, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Better-Quality Television Watching Can Lead to Better Behavior

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that children who watch quality, educational programs on television are better-behaved than those kids who watch television of varying moral and educational value.  The new research will be welcome news to parents who struggle to minimize their kids’ screen time despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups.  More from

“There is no question kids watch too much television at all ages,” says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, lead author and director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development
at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “Part of the message is not just about turning off the television but about changing the channel.”

Kids are sponges who absorb their surroundings; it’s how they learn to develop the proper behaviors and responses to social situations. And they are not only parroting their parents and other family members, but mimicking behaviors they see on television or in movies as well. So Christakis, who has conducted extensive research on the effects of screen time on child development, explored ways to influence what shows children watch so that they’re more apt to imitate quality conduct. “We’ve known for decades that kids imitate what they see on TV,” he says. “They imitate good behaviors and they imitate bad behaviors.”

In the study, he and his colleagues tracked 617 families with kids between the ages of 3 and 5. Half of the families agreed to go on a media “diet” and swap programming with more aggressive and violent content for educational, prosocial shows that encourage sharing, kindness and respect, like Dora the Explorer, which teaches how to resolve conflicts, and Sesame Street, which models tolerance for diversity. The other families did not change their children’s viewing choices.

To help parents in the first group to choose appropriate shows, they received a program guide that highlighted prosocial content and learned how to block out violent programming. (The parents were so delighted with the guidance that many asked to continue receiving program guides even after the study ended.) They were also urged to watch alongside their kids. The researchers tracked what the children watched and also measured their behavior with standard tests of aggressiveness and sharing responses six months and a year into the study.

At both testing periods, the children in the first group watched less aggressive programming than they did at the beginning of the study compared with children in the control group. Both groups of kids upped their screen time a bit, but the first group saw more quality programs while the control group spent even more time watching violent shows.

Six months after the study began, the children who increased their prosocial viewing acted less aggressively and showed more sharing and respectful behaviors compared with the control group. They were more apt to compromise and cooperate than children who didn’t change their viewing content, and the effects persisted for the entire year that the study lasted. “There is a connection between what children watch, not just in terms of violence but in terms of improved behavior,” says Christakis, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Who got the biggest boost in behavior? Low-income boys. “They derived the greatest benefit, which is interesting because they are most at risk of being victims and perpetrators of aggression,” he says.

Image: Child watching TV, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment