Posts Tagged ‘ parenting ’

Is This Ability the Secret to Childhood Popularity?

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Sensitive KidsRecently, 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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Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends

Image: Girl and boy via Shutterstock

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Family Stress Might Be Making Girls More Obese Than Boys

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Couple arguing in front of kids, boy and girlIn hopes of preventing childhood obesity, researchers are collecting data to pinpoint every potential reason why children are becoming overweight.

The latest study from the University of Houston focuses on family stressors and if they’re linked with children become obese by the time they’re 18 years old.

The study, published in this month’s issue of Preventive Medicine, concentrated on three main family stress points: family disruption, financial stress, and poor maternal health. The data of nearly 5,000 adolescents born between 1975 and 1990 was collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth.

Based on the data, there was a noticeable gender difference when it came to how kids responded to stress. For girls, they were most likely to become overweight or obese by 18 if they experienced family disruption and financial stress throughout childhood, reports Daphne Hernandez, lead author and assistant professor at the University of Houston. For boys, the only family stressor that related to their weight problems was poor maternal health.

Related: Could Your Preschooler Be at Risk for Obesity?

Focusing on more than calorie intake and physical activity may be the key to combatting the impact of family stress. Dr. Hernandez believes that many school programs that fight obesity, like the federally-funded Head Start program, are only producing short-term results. “Developing strategies to help with family stressors during childhood may help children maintain healthy weight into adulthood,” she said.

And, even worse, calling girls “fat” might make them more obese. Other research has also shown that a shocking number of parents don’t even realize their child is overweight. So as a parent, the first and possibly most important step is to be conscious and proactive about your child’s weight–and avoid using the word “fat.”

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

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: Couple arguing in front of kids via Shutterstock

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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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