A Healthy Mind Comes from Autonomy and a Sense of Control

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A new book authors William Stixrud and Ned Johnson describe a healthy way to raise children is to let me e themselves. In the book, The Self-Driven Child, they argue that children – and adults – benefit from a sense of control over their lives. Indeed, stress and anxiety increase when one feels that they cannot alter their surroundings or course of action. For a healthy child and a healthy adult life give yourself some slack to have control over things.

From a neurological perspective, when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious. So, the fact that kids are feeling more anxiety, by definition, suggests that their amygdalas are more active, which indicates that they are more likely to feel overwhelmed, stuck, or helpless.

Research on motivation has suggested that a strong sense of autonomy is the key to developing the healthy self-motivation that allows children and teens to pursue their goals with passion and to enjoy their achievements.

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Let’s get Boys to Feel More Things

In adults we know that having the ability to feel a range of emotions to be a good thing, it allows us to better appreciate the world around us. Yes, even feeling bad can actually be good for you in the long term. We tend to want feelings and experiences that make us feel better (like relaxing instead of working) and we send those feelings to our offspring. We want our kids to also have a pleasurable life instead of a hard one, but should we? New research is showing that we really need boys to feel a ride range of emotions.

If having lots of different emotions is good for our health as adults, then shouldn’t we be fostering the experience of a diverse range of emotions in young children as well? And yet the research suggests we are not fostering emotional diversity from a young age, especially when it comes to raising young boys. As early as infancy, boys’ and girls’ emotional landscape differs. One study reported that when watching an infant being startled by a jack-in-the-box toy, adults who were told the infant was a boy versus a girl were more likely to perceive the infant as experiencing anger, regardless of whether the infant was actually a boy. Gender differences in the diversity of emotion words parents use in conversations with young boys and girls also emerge. Another studyexamining conversations between mothers and young children, mothers interacting with daughters employ emotion vocabulary of greater density and depth, whereas conversations with sons tended to focus primarily on a single emotion—you guessed it, anger. Regardless of whether gender differences in adult behavior arise from conscious or unconscious psychological processes, one thing is clear: boys grow up in a world inhabited by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are noticed, inferred, and potentially even cultivated. This leaves other emotions—particularly the more vulnerable emotions—sorely ignored or missing in their growing minds.

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Thanks Delaney!

Children Should be Taught Philosophy

Studying philosophy has greatly influenced my life and I encourage everybody to also study the field and practice. Engaging in philosophy can improve one’s sense of self while improving their ability to discern which arguments have value.

Teaching critical inquiry through philosophy to children can have a very positive impact on them as human beings. We should have every kid engage in philosophy in their schools because kids are want to know about all aspects of what’s around them. That is what philosophy is about at its core.

Since then, training in various jobs has made me into various kinds of professional, but no training has shaped my humanity as deeply as philosophy has. No other discipline has inspired such wonder about the world, or furnished me with thinking tools so universally applicable to the puzzles that confront us as human beings.

By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements.

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We’re Helping the NotFound Project

Sadly, even in these modern times, children go missing and finding them can be difficult. The NotFound Project hopes to help find missing children by making use of 404 pages online. 404 pages refer to pages on a website that cannot be found, so it makes thematic sense to use that classification of page to find people.

You can see an example of this by clicking here.

If you have a website then you can help the project too!

The NotFound Project.

Hollywood is Playing it Safe

It appears that filmmakers in Hollywood have been listening to concerned doctors and parents as Hollywood is showing safer behaviour, well, at least when it comes to movies aimed at children.

The entertainment industry has improved its portrayals of walking, cycling and boating in movies aimed at children, but half of scenes still show risky behaviour, U.S. researchers found.

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children in Canada and the U.S. Previous studies have found movies marketed to children rarely portrayed safety measures such as wearing seatbelts, so the researchers set out to test if depictions have improved.

Jon Eric Tongren of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his colleagues reviewed the top-grossing movies rated for general audiences or parental guidance per year from 2003 to 2007.

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