Raising kids is hard, raising them to be above-average productive members of society is even harder. Indeed, one of those hard things about raising kids is hearing endless advice on how to raise kids “right”; so don’t listen to everyone and their ideas. Instead, listen to the science and collective wisdom of really smart people. It turns out that making kids do chores is a good way to help kids be better adults as it engrains in them a mentality of helping and “pitching-in” when needed.
In the Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history, (spanning 75 years and counting–from 1938 to the present), researchers identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful:
The first? Love.
The second? Work ethic.
And what’s the best way to develop work ethic in young people? Based on the experiences of the 724 high-achievers who were part of the study (including people like future-President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of The Washington Post) there’s a consensus.
Despite the fact that we are more connected than ever loneliness is still a problem in our society. Indeed, it’s such a problem that people are self-reporting that they are lonelier today than decades ago. What can we do about it? We can teach people how to better deal with feelings of loneliness in schools so when they become adults they will know how to grabble with it.
But Holt-Lunstad believes that loneliness-prevention education should not be limited to teaching students how to support others. She also believes that kids should learn early in life how to reframe their own negative responses to social situations. “We’ve all had a situation where you text someone and they don’t respond right away,” she says. “Instead of assuming they’re snubbing you, they’re blowing you off, all of these kinds of negative things that could in turn lead you to respond with nasty comments or become irritated, which is not going to elicit the sort of friendly response you want,” she says, “reframe it as, ‘Perhaps they’re driving.’ ‘Perhaps they’re in a meeting.’ If you’re interpreting others’ social signals as negative, how you behave towards them is more likely to mirror that.” The existing strategies for helping people repackage their thoughts in a more positive way could be easily adapted for a classroom setting.
Teaching children how their bodies function is a controversial idea to some people who think children should remain ignorant until their late teens. Waiting until their bodies are fully developed is too late to teach people about issues like puberty and pregnancy according to experts. Those experts are backed by tons of research and statistics about health around the world. So why don’t we teach children about bodily functions? Because some parents think health education is only about teaching children about sexual activity. It’s time to change that.
While parents, not schools, should be in charge of teaching values, said Schroeder, kids should be learning the facts from content experts, just like they do in other subjects. “It’s gotta be a partnership. I don’t think it’s appropriate for teachers to be inculcating values, that’s the parents’ job. It’s like ‘Dragnet’: Just the facts, ma’am,” she said.
That has led Deardorff to argue that it might be better to find a new name for these early stages of sex ed, the parts that aren’t directly about sex. “The number one thing that I would suggest is that we start pubertal education earlier. And that we don’t call it sex ed, because that raises all kinds of red flags,” said Deardorff.
Being a parent must be hard since websites are constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong. If you’re letting your kid explore the world on their own terms than you’re doing things right! Take a breather parents, it turns out that relaxing and stepping back is best for your kid. Parents who try to control their kids too much end up not letting the kids learn how the world works which means that later on in life those kids can’t cope. So, maybe just take it easy and watch your kids instead of directing them.
At the age of five the team looked at the children’s response to an unfair share of sweets, and their ability to think carefully about a puzzle under time pressure.
When the children were aged five and 10, the researchers asked teachers to rate problems such as depression, anxiety or loneliness in the children, the children’s academic performance, and their views of the children’s social skills. At 10 years the children were quizzed on their attitudes to school and teachers as well as emotional issues.
The team found that once factors including the child’s age, behaviour as a toddler and socioeconomic status were taken into account, more controlling behaviour by mothers was linked both to their children having less control over their own emotions and less control over their impulses by the age of five.
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.