How emotions affect your child’s education

How emotions affect your child’s education

Science is revealing how children's feelings help and harm learning. Here's how adults can support kids so they feel, and learn, better. “Honk,” says my 9th grade French teacher on the first day of school. “En français, your name is ‘Honk’.” “Excuse me,” I bleat in front of 35 classmates. “My name is Hank.” “Non, incorrect,” she replied. “En français, and in this class, your name se prononce ‘Honk’.” For two wretched years, I was called Honk by this cruel teacher and snickering students. Five times weekly, I entered the classroom twitching with fear, rage, and shame. The ordeal crippled my self-esteem and GPA. My grade lurked between C- and D because I refused to study for my persecutor. I hated the teacher (mutilating her face in my yearbook), and I subsequently hated the language. My negative emotions destroyed my learning ability. Research indicates my pitiful French performance was a... Read more

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

The benefits of teaching kids to be considerate early on go well beyond good manners, with research suggesting that raising young children to be kind is crucial for their development. Having a child that knows when to say please and thank you is just one aspect of why parents should be raising kids to be considerate toward others from an early age. A study by academics in the psychology department at the Canadian University of British Columbia, published in 2012, examined the effect on toddlers when they demonstrated “prosocial” behavior, which refers to showing kindness and generosity toward others. It found that before the age of two, “toddlers exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves.” The study also showed that children were happier after engaging in “costly giving – forfeiting their own resources – than when giving the same treat at no cost.” Lara Aknin,... Read more

Managing High Sensitivity, Then and Now

There was no end to “cures” for hysteria in the nineteenth century. From leeches to rosewater to vaginal suppositories, the number and type of cures rival the myriad purported causes. But despite the doctor’s different recommendations in their treatments, one thing remains consistent: all emphasized curing hysteria, rather than just managing it. When it comes to treating today’s HSP, there are methods for coping with emotional regulation; however, the literature for the most part emphasizes the positives as well, suggesting that one would not want to eradicate but rather support one’s sensitivity for individual and social betterment. Seventy-one percent of the population claims to be either highly sensitive or moderately sensitive. [1] The shift away from cure for those on the high and medium scales of the HSP continuum signals a different regard for people’s everyday sensorial-emotional experiences. Treating Hysteria in Victorian Times Whereas some Victorian physicians sought to treat... Read more

Health and Wellness: How stress leads to pain

People are dealing with more stress than ever right now and it’s impacting people in different ways. Many folks I speak with have been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions — and their bodies are reflecting that. Stress impacts everything from your gut, to your immune system, to your mental health, to your musculoskeletal system. When it comes to musculoskeletal pain - common areas in your body that easily get impacted include your shoulders, jaw, head, and lower back. Stress is your human response to physical, emotional, or mental changes in your body or living environment. According to internal medicine physician Richard Lang, MD, PhD from the Cleveland Clinic: “Stress doesn’t necessarily cause certain conditions, but it can make the symptoms of those conditions worse.” And it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle - whereas your physical symptoms worsen - your stress increases - and so on and so on.... Read more

8 Mistakes Made By Couples With Childhood Emotional Neglect

When you grow up emotionally neglected, you miss the "emotion training course" that other kids naturally get from their families. Families that ignore or discourage the children's feelings may teach their children how to ignore their own feelings as adults. Spouses who lack the necessary emotional skills to argue effectively can tend to shut down, avoid, and misrepresent their own feelings. The biggest test of any relationship is not how compatible you are or how much you love each other. The true test is how you work out problems together. If you or your partner were raised with childhood emotional neglect, your ability to communicate as a couple about emotional things will be greatly undermined, especially in situations where there are negative emotions involved. Childhood Emotional Neglect Growing up in a family that under-discussed meaningful or emotional issues can have two effects that are bound to affect your marriage decades... Read more

COVID-19 Impact: Spotlight on Older Children, Adolescents

As a society, we can certainly acknowledge the serious impacts that COVID-19, quarantine and social distancing has had on all of us. However, in my psychology practice, I have been particularly concerned with the rise of mental health issues in older children and adolescents. This age range thrives from being with peers, connecting through social outlets and feeling validated by their social interactions. With the long period of school closures and changes in schedules and social opportunities, adolescents in particular have faced significant challenges, including virtual learning, a significant duration of more limited face-to-face peer interactions, a significant rise in depression, suicidality, drug use and uncertainty about their future. In terms of development, adolescence is a pivotal period when relationships begin to reorganize. Older children and teenagers desire to have more independence and emotional distance from their parents. They shift their focus to peer interactions, and broadening and deepening their... Read more

Heartbroken? There’s a scientific reason why breaking up feels so rotten

When her husband left her after more than 25 years together, science writer Florence Williams says her body felt like it had been plugged into a faulty electrical socket. "I can almost describe it like a brain injury," she says. "I wasn't sleeping at all. I felt really agitated." Williams wanted to understand her physical reaction to the breakup, and so she began speaking to scientists in the U.S. and England about the connection between emotional and physical pain. Her new book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, investigates the ways in which extreme emotional pain can impact the heart, the digestive and immune systems and more. Williams notes that falling in love actually stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for producing stress hormones — perhaps as a way to prepare for heartbreak. The brain creates these stress hormones, she says, "so that when our partner leaves or sort... Read more

Kids’ Ability To Manage Emotion Is Linked to Their Parents

It is estimated that 7% of the child population suffers from developmental language disorder Promoting spaces to work on emotional development can facilitate children's expressiveness and empathyProblems when talking, communicating and expressing feelings are common among children and adolescents, in particular at an early age. These difficulties increase in the case of those diagnosed with developmental language disorder, which affects approximately 7% of the child population. A recent study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, by researchers from the Cognition and Language Research Group (GRECIL), included in the eHealth Center at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the University of Barcelona (UB), has analysed the existence of differences in emotional regulation in children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with specific language impairment / developmental language disorder (SLI/DLD). "There are still few studies that assess the emotional and social dimension of the child and adolescent population with... Read more

All About Trauma: What It Is, Short- and Long-Term Effects, How to Cope With It, and When to Get Help

Although she didn’t witness the event herself, Heidi Horsley, PsyD, found herself replaying the last moments of her brother’s life again and again in her mind. He died in a car accident after hydroplaning during a rainstorm. “That narrative kept going over and over, and I couldn’t get the loop out of my head,” she says. With each replay, she recalls, she ruminated on whether her brother suffered before his death — and she became increasingly worried someone else was going to die. “The safe predictable world you once knew is gone. When my brother died, I didn’t feel like my parents could protect us. I felt my brother died, so I could die.” Dr. Horsley’s younger brother died when she was 20 years old. Her experience as a young adult eventually prompted Horsley to become a therapist who specializes in grief and trauma. Now an adjunct professor at Columbia... Read more

What Is Developmental Psychology?

Developmental psychology is the study of how humans grow, change, and adapt across the course of their lives. Developmental psychologists research the stages of physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development from the prenatal stage to infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Learn more about developmental psychology, including the definition, types, life stages, and how to seek treatment when necessary. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), developmental psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on how human beings grow, change, adapt, and mature across various life stages.1 In each of the life stages of developmental psychology, people generally meet certain physical, emotional, and social milestones.2 These are the major life stages, according to developmental psychologists: Prenatal development: Developmental psychologists are interested in diagnoses, such as Down syndrome, that might be noticed during the prenatal (before birth) stage. They also investigate how maternal behaviors (behaviors of the pregnant parent), such as... Read more

The parental shame that haunts working parents

Juggling work and family pressures is hard – and when parents are ashamed of how they’re managing the “impossible balancing act”, research shows their careers suffer. Shame is a familiar feeling for Gill, a careers expert from the UK, who works long hours. She often finds herself battling guilt when she’s rushing the bedtime routine to get back to her computer, or when a work commitment means she’s late picking her children up from school. “I can’t bear the look on my children’s face when they are one of the last to be collected,” she says, adding that she has to actively suppress the negative feelings so they don’t impact her work. Working parents often feel inadequate. Working mothers in particular often lament the struggles of balancing career demands with their desire to be a present parent. Yet, new research suggests these negative feelings can directly impact careers; parents who... Read more

Child Sleep Problems Affect Mothers and Fathers Differently

After the birth of children, fragmentation of parental night sleep and fatigue due to the nightly demands of the infant are common.1 Indeed, there is evidence that mothers’ and fathers’ fatigue increase immediately following the birth of their child.1,2 Resulting in insufficient, non-restful sleep, this poses a stress factor for parental health, daily well-being, and functioning.3 In contrast, good children’s sleep quality predicted good maternal sleep.4 Most often, this is a temporary problem and infants develop the competence to fall asleep independently in the evening and go back to sleep after night waking during the first year of life.5,6 However, about 20–30% of the infants and young children are affected by sleep problems during the entire first 3 years of childhood and need support by a caregiver to fall asleep.7–10 Consequently, many parents are concerned with difficulties pertaining to their own sleep as well as handling their children’s sleep problems.... Read more

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