Friday, April 17th, 2015
Recently, a study found that nearly 40 percent of parents in Britain would prefer their child be popular than be clever. And a new study may have pinpointed the be exact characteristic that help children quickly gain popularity.
That characteristic? The ability to anticipate and predict how others will act or react. The study found that “preschoolers and school-age children who are good at identifying what others want, think, and feel are more popular in school than their peers who aren’t as socially adept.”
Related: Would Your Rather Have Your Kid Be Popular or Smart?
The research, which appears in the journal Child Development, examined 20 previous studies that analyzed popularity and complex social situations (or theory of mind). The data included information from 2,096 children, between the ages of 2- and 10-years-old, across multiple continents.
Across the board, a connection was found that tied a child’s popularity with their ability to determine someone else’s mental perspective, which is an important trait for making, maintaining, and keeping friends later in life.
What’s also interesting is that the link was found to be a stronger train in girls than in boys. A reason might be that girls’ interactions often contain higher levels of intimacy, which may help them be more aware of (and understand) others’ thoughts and feelings.
But being popular is certainly not everything, and whether or not you’re worried about your child’s popularity, this study reinforces the importance of teaching your child to be sensitive to others.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com 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
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Thursday, September 29th, 2011
A new study has found that teenagers are pressured to drink by a wide social circle–the friends of their boyfriends or girlfriends, rather than the romantic partners themselves. The research, which was published in the journal American Sociological Review, found that “second-degree friends,” or friends of boyfriends or girlfriends, had the strongest influence over teen drinking of any group of peers.
Why? Dating introduces adolescents to new and different social networks and also creates a kind of indirect peer pressure, says lead researcher Derek Kreager, Ph.D., an associate professor of crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park.
A teen’s longtime friends tend to be like-minded when it comes to values and lifestyle, but romantic partners are more likely to come from a different circle.
“Think of your son or daughter’s new significant other as a bridge to a whole other group that he or she is now going to be exposed to,” Kreager says.
When teenagers begin dating, they tend to meet in the middle when it comes to habits like drinking. If a teen girl who has yet to experiment with alcohol starts dating a boy who drinks often, for instance, the boy is likely to cut back while the girl is likely to give drinking a try.
“He has an incentive to change, to be more like her,” Kreager explains. “On the other hand, his friends don’t really have any reason to change, so they continue drinking. Meanwhile, she has incentive to be like those friends, because that’s what appeals to her partner.”
Experts urge parents to talk to their teens about drinking and peer pressure before they start dating. Also, parents are encouraged to get to know their teens’ friends, boy or girlfriends, and wider social circle.
(image via: http://www.drugfreehomes.org/)
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