Posts Tagged ‘ parenting ’

Your Home Environment CAN Increase a Child’s Intelligence

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Girl studentDoes nature or nurture influence how smart a child will be? Although genetics does influence intelligence, new research also suggests that children who are nurtured  in the most ideal environments tend to have greater intelligence.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared the cognitive ability of 436 male sibling pairs in Sweden, one of which was brought up by biological parents and the other by adoptive parents. The IQ of each sibling was measured between the ages of 18 and 20, and each parent’s education level was also rated on a five-point scale (though the study did not distinguish intelligence between the parents).

Researchers found that the IQ of siblings raised by their biological, and typically less-educated, parents were 4.4 points lower than siblings who had been adopted into higher-educated and more financially-secure families.

“The adoptive parents tended to be more educated and in better socioeconomic circumstances than the biological parents,” reports PsychCentral. But when biological parents were more educated, the raised sibling actually had a higher IQ.

Biological and adoptive parents aside though, the home environment was actually the most important reason for smarter kids. Some likely reasons: educated parents are more inclined to have interactive discussions during meals, to take their children to museums, and to read aloud to their children.

However, there is evidence from past studies that may dispute these recent findings. In particular, a 2014 study analyzed parental behaviors and verbal intelligence found that IQ may not actually be the result of parental socialization. Despite this, Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., one of the study’s joint first authors said, “We’re not denying that cognitive ability has important genetic components, but it is a naïve idea to say that it is only genes.”

Determined to boost your child’s intelligence as much as possible? There is recent evidence that breastfeeding your child for at least 12 months could increase their IQ by as much as four points. And another new study affirms that making sure your child has enough schooling — and academic challenges — can also help develop smart kids.

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

Income's Impact on Education
Income's Impact on Education
Income's Impact on Education

Image: Girl student via Shutterstock

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Is Your Parenting Style Creating Couch Potatoes?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Active ChildrenEvery mother or father has their own parenting style—each with its own pros and cons. But some parents who choose hyper-parenting (defined as “a child-rearing style in which parents are intensely involved in managing, scheduling, and enriching all aspects of their children’s lives”) may be raising kids who sit around too much.

A new study from Queen’s University in Ontario, has found a link between hyper-parents and their children being less physically active.

Children whose parents displayed extreme, attached parenting techniques (quite the opposite of free-range parenting!) ”spent less time outdoors, played fewer after-school sports, and were less likely to bike or walk to school, friends’ homes, parks and playgrounds than children with less-involved parents,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Researchers collected information from 724 parents with children between the ages of 7 and 12. Parents were given questionnaires to determine if their parenting style ranked within four categories of hyper-parenting: overprotective parents (aka. helicopter parents), overindulgent parents, overscheduled parents, and overly achievement-driven parents (aka. tiger moms). Approximately 40 percent of parents received high hyper-parenting scores, while only 6 percent had low scores.

Parents who received low to below-average hyper-parenting scores in all four categories had the most active kids. Although helicopter parenting was the most common style, it was not directly associated with physically active kids, but the other three styles were associated with fewer active kids. According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers concluded that “the difference between children in the low and high hyper-parenting groups was equivalent to about 20 physical-activity sessions a week.”

Less active children only fuels the ongoing issue of childhood obesity, so the more that is known about a child’s physical activity—or lack thereof—the better.

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

The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

Image: Active children via Shutterstock

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Good Parenting Means Fewer Cavities for Your Kids!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

girl at dentistAs many of you already know, a child’s first trip to the dentist is not always the easiest. But what if you have the ability to control the outcome of your child’s teeth more than you thought?

A new study suggests just that—children will have less cavities if their parents display a more authoritative parenting style, and they also behave better than children whose parents are more permissive.

Authoritative parenting style is defined by the study as parents who displine kids while also giving them guidance. Permissive parents, on the other hand, are more likely to ignore bad behavior and let children make their own decisions.

The study followed 132 groups of parents and children who visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The children were all between the ages of 3 and 6. Researchers gathered information about parenting styles and the child’s behavior in order to reach their conclusions.

Ninety-three percent of children with authoritative parents showed positive behavior at the dentist’s office and, versus only 42 percent of the children with permissive parents. In addition, “80 percent of children with authoritative parents had cavities, compared to 97 percent of children of permissive parents,” reports Fox News.

It’s safe to say that the correlation between parenting style and a child’s behavior does not only apply to dentist appointments—other public scenarios would most likely yield the same results.

“A good parent who hopefully does the right things at home and is developing a child who’s respectful and careful and curious, but within limits, is the kind of parent who’s going to provide a child who’s relaxed and knows how to behave,” said Dr. Paul Casamassimo, chief of dentistry at Nationwide Children’s and author of the study.

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

Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1

Image: Girl at the dentist via Shutterstock

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The Reason You May Lie More in Front of Boys

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

lying with fingers behind backWhen it comes to lying in front of boys and girls, it turns out parents are not equal opportunists.

A new study on dishonesty, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, offered a surprising revelation: that parents are more apt to lie in front of their sons than their daughters.

The reason for the gender difference is uncertain, but it’s possible that “dishonest behavior is considered more socially acceptable for boys,” says Anya Savikhin Samek, a co-author of the study. Samek also speculates that cultural expectations (like ones to raise good little girls who are pure in heart) may feed into a parent’s decision to be more careful, or that parents may believe that girls suffer more consequences for lying when they’re adults.

Researchers conducted a simple experiment with 152 parents and their kids (ages 3 to 6). Each parent was asked to flip two coins, both with a blue side and a green side. A $10 reward would be given every time two coins landed green-side up. Each parent was then left alone or with their child in a room, to flip the coins a few times and record the results.

The researchers then compared the number of recorded wins (60 percent) to the probability of winning (25 percent), which determined that a majority of parents definitely lied about winning.

Of course, parents were more likely to lie when they were alone, but researchers discovered that when a son was present, a 40 percent win was recorded (versus a 25 percent win in front of a daughter).

This latest research adds to a wider conversation about perceived gender differences between boys and girls, gender stereotypes, and how boys may be raised differently. But it also shows that to prevent kids from lying, parents need to curb their own tendency to lie first.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Mom Confessions: Lies I've Told My Kids
Mom Confessions: Lies I've Told My Kids
Mom Confessions: Lies I've Told My Kids

Photo: Lying with fingers behind back via Shutterstock

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Should Schools Have Your Kid’s Facebook Password?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

SocialMediaIn an attempt to put an end to cyberbullying both during and after school hours, Illinois legislators recently passed a law that many parents believe is a breach of privacy.

Under the new law, school districts and universities are able to demand the password of a student’s social media account — especially “if school authorities have a reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account contains evidence that a student has violated a school’s disciplinary rule of policy, even if posted after school hours,” reports FOX News.

While this law’s intent is to send a strong, no-tolerance message about cyberbullying, some parents and students believe there are other, less intrusive solutions. For example, school authorities could obtain access to a social media account by having the student or parent sign into it for them.

According to BullyingStatistics.org, more than half of the nation’s teens have been a victim of cyberbullying, and about the same number have bullied someone else online. Because technology usage among children and teens is not slowing down, neither is cyberbullying. There are tips to stop cyberbullying, but the ongoing solution should involve a more collective effort between children, parents, and schools.

We want to know what you think! Do you think this law is an invasion of privacy? Do you think more states will follow Illinois’ lead? Let us know in the comments below.

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

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

Image: Social Media Apps via Shutterstock

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