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Scientists Explain: Parents Who Raise ‘Successful’ Kids Do These 8 Things Differently…successful

“To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, who you are will speak more loudly to your kids than anything you say.” ~ Eric Grietens, former Navy SEAL and Governor of Missouri

Parenting is hard work.

Children, by their very nature, lack the emotional and cognitive resources to navigate life without help. They’ll whine, cry, shout, beg, and complain for no reason. We may feel anger, annoyance, frustration and even guilt for how our child behaves.

But kids will be kids, as they say.

Despite the inevitable challenges of parenting, it is our responsibility to teach and set the example. Not all parents embrace this responsibility – and the effects can be devastating.

Parenting is an obligation that we must take on with the utmost sincerity. Indeed, how we decide to raise our children will profoundly influence the type of person he or she becomes.

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they question their parenting abilities. This is natural, and it is nothing for which to be ashamed.

Perhaps the most humble and righteous thing that a good parent can do is admit they don’t know everything. Being a parent is not something that happens – it is a process. Birth ‘happens’; parenting evolves.

This article focuses on eight science-backed methods of raising happy and prosperous children. As you read through, you’ll notice a diverse set of opinions and topics.

The common thread behind all of this advice is a scientific consensus, from psychologists, professors, social workers, and, most importantly, parents. The science of child development, while not perfect, provides a useful framework from which to operate.

HERE ARE 8 THINGS PARENTS TEACH KIDS FOR SUCCESS:

1. DEVELOP EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Decades of research show that emotional intelligence is as critical to success– if not more so – than cognitive intelligence. Per a study conducted by TalentSmart, emotional intelligence (‘E.I.’) is the most reliable predictor of performance, blowing past I.Q. and personality.

E.I is the foundation of the following skills:

– assertiveness
– accountability
– anger management
– change tolerance
– customer service
– communication
– decision-making
– empathy
– flexibility
– trust
– teamwork
– social skills
– stress tolerance

The most important thing a parent can do to cultivate a child’s emotional intelligence is to model good behavior and E.I.-related traits.

2. FORGET ‘HELICOPTER PARENTING.’
Helicopter parenting, or overparenting, is one of the most significant problems parents have according to Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshman at Stanford University.

Parents who hover around their kids (hence the word ‘helicopter’) aren’t doing them any favors. The same can be said of overprotection.

Giving your child more freedom can be difficult for parents. We love our kids and don’t want to see them get hurt. But, we must be willing to let our kids try new things, fail, and experience consequences; it is essential to the maturity process.

3. LEARN HOW TO GIVE PRAISE EFFECTIVELY
Continually praising a child for their innate gifts, like intelligence, makes it less likely that they will apply said gifts to bettering themselves. (They know they’re smart!)

Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, examined the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. She discovered that praising children for developing novel approaches to solving problems, even when unsuccessful, teaches them the importance of seeing things through, giving effort, and realizing their intentions.

4. GIVE THEM OUTSIDE PLAY TIME
The booming tech age is both exciting and novel. But the increasing reliance (addiction?) resulting from overuse of technology is troubling. There is perhaps nothing more disturbing than the child who comes home from school and spends the rest of their evening on an iPad, cell phone, or computer.

Research shows that overusing technology hampers a child’s social skill development, encourages a sedentary lifestyle, and inhibits a child’s academic growth.

When they want to go to a friend’s house, let them. If there’s space in front of your home, your kid should be spending at least an hour or two outside per day.

5. GIVE THEM CHORES
Lythcott-Haims found that one common trait among successful adults is that they reported having additional responsibilities (chores) as kids.

She says “By making them do chores – taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry – they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment.”

6. BE A BIT PUSHY ABOUT SCHOOL
According to researchers in from the University of Essex in the U.K., parents who have high expectations for their children – and consistently remind them of these expectations – are more likely to raise academically-successful kids.

Researchers note in the study “The measure of expectations in this study reflects a combination of aspirations and beliefs about the likelihood of attending higher education reported by the main parent, who, in the majority of cases, is the mother.”

(Thanks, Mom!) raising kids

7. TEACH THEM RESILIENCE
Resilience, or the ability to rebound from setbacks, is a common trait shared among successful people. A high level of resilience enables one person to survive and thrive in circumstances that may defeat someone else.

How do you teach resilience to kids? Set a good example, demonstrate commitment and follow through, practice gratitude, and act as a mentor.

8. TEACH THEM ABOUT SERVING OTHERS
We live in a highly individualistic and cynical world. In fact, studies show that most people, given a choice, will commit an act out of selfishness rather than the common good.

We need more people who serve others and who act as servant-leaders.

Emma Seppala, Ph.D., science director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, says “The best-kept secret to happiness is to be of service to others,” and that “Multiple studies have shown that happiness makes people 12 percent more productive.”

SOURCES:
HTTP://INC-ASEAN.COM/GROW/WANT-RAISE-SUCCESSFUL-KIDS-SCIENCE-SAYS-9-THINGS/?UTM_SOURCE=INC&UTM_MEDIUM=REDIR&UTM_CAMPAIGN=INCREDIR
HTTP://WWW.DAILYMAIL.CO.UK/NEWS/ARTICLE-3020114/TEENAGE-GIRLS-LIKELY-SUCCEED-PUSHY-MOTHERS-NAGGING-BETTER-SAYS-STUDY.HTML
HTTP://WWW.TALENTSMART.COM/ARTICLES/WHY-YOU-NEED-EMOTIONAL-INTELLIGENCE-TO-SUCCEED-389993854-P-1.HTML
HTTPS://WWW.THEEPOCHTIMES.COM/STANFORD-SCIENTIST-PROVES-COMPASSION-LEADS-TO-SUCCESS_1997797.HTML

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Why Adults Should Play, Too

(CNN)When’s the last time you did something that was so engaging, so much fun, you lost track of time?

For some, it’s belting out a karaoke tune. For others, it’s exploring a new city or playing kickball.
That’s what mortgage banker Sue Hamilton does for fun.

“It brings you back to a little bit of your childhood,” the 41-year-old said.

Hamilton plays every week with a team at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.

“We all remember playing kickball from PE when we were in grade school. You can get hit by the ball without getting hurt, which I think is probably a good thing for most of us,” said Hamilton, whose husband is also on a kickball team.

“I think most people go to work, and maybe there’s not as much silliness or playfulness in their day … and you do that with others, which is a plus for me – that social component,” she said.

‘Play is essential to our health’

So, what exactly is play?

In addition to being the “action of a game,” play is defined as “recreational activity; especially: the spontaneous activity of children,” as well as “the absence of serious or harmful intent” and “a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings.”

“It’s such a big thing that people want to hold it down to make it something small. It’s not small. It’s so important,” said Dr. Bowen White, physician and founding member of the National Institute for Play, a nonprofit that supports research into the power of play.

“Play is so deeply ingrained in terms of our own evolutionary drive to survive, he said. “Play helps us connect with other people because we are open in a way that allows them to feel, maybe, this is a safe person to be with and maybe even fun to be around.”

It’s much more than a game, White said. And for adults, it’s not necessarily just intimate-partner time.

It’s a way of life, he said, that allows you to let your guard down, not be so serious and, as a result, connect better with others.

“We all come into the world knowing how to play,” White said, adding that as adults, we shouldn’t feel like we have to grow out of it.

“Play is essential to our health,” he said. “If you want to have a fun life, you can’t have a fun life without play.”

Play should feel good, he said, adding that it has the opposite effect on the body as stress. Play often leads to laughter, which has been linked to decreased stress and inflammation and may improve vascular health.

“Your blood pressure goes down,” he said. “You release dopamine.”

People who play at work solve problems creatively

Play also makes you more productive, White said.

“What you get from the culture is ‘work’s important,’ ‘more is better,’ ” said White, who consults with companies on creating healthy work environments.

Adults, instead, should “figure out how to have more fun doing your work,” he said.

People tend to perform better professionally when they’re in a state of play, White said, noting that “playing” with problems at work sparks creativity.

Many companies are well aware of the power of fun to foster innovation. Google helped blaze the trail years ago when it set up play stations with ping pong, billiards and foosball tables all over its main campus. The company offered free snacks and exercise classes, and it let hundreds of software engineers design their own desks or work stations.

Google encouraged employees to play and collaborate, which it said helped with team-building and cooperation.

Working with professional sports teams, White has taught athletes to “play easy,” rather than “playing hard,” by easing up on a grip or holding their bodies more loosely.

“The best performances occur when they’re playing easy,” White said.

It’s a metaphor, he said, for anyone trying to accomplish a goal: Loosen up a little, have fun, and you’ll see progress.

“If you can figure out how to do that, you’re going to be a lot happier and be more fun to work with,” White said. “You’ll be happier parents, a better spouse, a better partner.”

 

The science behind play

The evolutionary importance of play can be demonstrated in the brains and behaviors of rats and primates, said Dr. Sergio Pellis, neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
In his experiments, he denied rats the opportunity to engage in play by fighting and wrestling.
Those rats developed deficiencies in their brains’ pre-frontal cortex. This is the area responsible for executive functions, such as making judgment calls and emotional regulation.

“If you’re an adult male rat put in another cage of a rat you don’t know, the resident rat will see you as an intruder and beat you up,” Pellis said.

If you’re a normal rat, you’ll find any place to hide – a platform, perhaps – and stay there, he said.

“If you’re a play-deficient rat, you’ll get beaten up and shortly thereafter move again and attract even more attention,” he said. “You’re not figuring out the appropriate thing to do in this situation.”

Similar research with monkeys led to the same results, said Pellis, co-author of “The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience.”

While this type of experiment cannot be replicated in juvenile humans for ethical reasons, social science studies have shown kids who engage in more play end up with higher social skills a few years down the line, Pellis said, predicting more research in the next decade on adult human brains at play.

Kickball players make friends on the field

For 30-year-old kickball player Wesley Brown, an urban planner in Atlanta, the opportunity to take the field is truly a “social lubricant,” a phrase White uses to describe play.

“I’ve made friends through kickball,” Brown said. “There’s no way that I would’ve ever met any of these folks before: very, very different backgrounds, very different professions.

“Through playing and having fun together, we organize different activities during the week,” he said. “We have a baby shower that we planned. We have a wedding shower. We’re a very close-knit team.”

“It’s an easier way to create conversation because there is a definitive topic, whereas, maybe, meeting somebody somewhere else at a bar or something, it’s not always easy to have a shared conversation,” she said.

And then there’s the fun of just letting go.

“I feel like I’m a kid most days, so, for me, this is just another aspect of that,” Hamilton said. “I like to laugh a lot. I like to run around and be silly.”

Hamilton loves “being able to have that recess time that we did when we were younger and you can run around the field and be free of your daily responsibilities for at least an hour,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about work. You’re not thinking about whatever personal things might be going on in your life.”

For White, play is a way of being in the world – being more “playful.”

“The person at the grocery store that’s in line, can you goof with them? Or are you just in a hurry: ‘Oh, they’ve got 14 items’; you counted them, and it’s 12 or less. ‘I can’t believe that!!’ How does that feel being in that psychological space?”

Life, he said, is much easier with a playful approach.

By Amy Chillag, CNN Special Projects     Thu November 2, 2017
 
source: www.cnn.com


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Focus on play in kindergarten may improve grades

By Kathryn Doyle       Thu Nov 20, 2014 

(This version of the Nov.14th story changes ‘Tools for the Mind’ to ‘Tools of the Mind’ in paras 2, 5, 7, and 14.)

(Reuters Health) – Training teachers to promote structured play among kindergarteners yields improved reading, vocabulary and math scores that persist into first grade, according to a new study.

The technique, called ‘Tools of the Mind,’ seemed to be particularly effective in high-poverty schools, the authors write.

“The active ingredient is children are taking responsibility for their own learning,” said Clancy Blair of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, who led the study.

“The key aspect is children planning what they’re going to do and making a plan for it and executing that plan,” Blair said. “They’re practicing all the cognitive skills that are important for learning.”

For the two-year study, researchers divided 79 kindergarten classrooms with a total of 759 children into two groups. Forty-two classrooms were directed to incorporate the Tools of the Mind program, and 37 continued with their standard teaching practices.

Researchers assessed students’ attention, speed of processing and other measures of academic ability twice a year, as well as testing their saliva samples for levels of stress hormones.

In the Tools of the Mind program, teachers attended several professional development workshops each year and had a Tools coach who periodically visited classrooms with the Tools trainer.

The program is meant to improve kids’ control over their ability to avoid distractions, focus their attention, remember important details and regulate impulsive behavior.

Teachers organize “shared cooperative activities” designed to promote social-emotional development and improve thinking skills. They combine reading, mathematics and science activities with child-directed activities and structured sociodramatic play.

kindergarten play

Kids in the Tools group showed improvements in reading, vocabulary and mathematics at the end of kindergarten that actually increased into the first grade, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The thing that is most important for our results is we found the biggest effects in the highest poverty schools,” Blair said. Kids from poorer families often enter kindergarten less prepared because they have been exposed to less language and fewer learning activities, he said.

Tools kids also had slightly higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva samples when researchers tested them at 10:30 AM during a school day. Although too much cortisol at all times is a bad thing, a slight increase during the day indicates that kids are more stimulated, the authors write.

“You want it when you need it and you want it to go away when you don’t,” Blair said.

Previous studies evaluating the effect of a prekindergarten version of the Tools of the Mind Program have been inconclusive, the authors write, and this is the first study of the technique in kindergarten.

The Tools program wouldn’t be difficult to implement in kindergarten classrooms in the U.S., although it’s not currently happening because of a “misguided emphasis” on academics and the belief that children need to sit at a desk and learn to read, Blair said.

“There’s a lot of debate about moving away from play,” said Allyson P. Mackey, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not part of the new study.

“We know that this is a good way for kids to learn, but there’s a lot of pressure to teach kids pre-reading and pre-math skills,” Mackey told Reuters Health.

Free play for children might have very important academic implications, she said.

Parents could try to implement some of these play techniques at home, too, but peer interaction is an important aspect so it makes sense to focus on the classroom, Blair said.

“It’s well within the budgets and the capabilities of every kindergarten classroom in the U.S.,” he said. “Closing the achievement gap is right there, we know how to do it, and there’s no excuse not to do it.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1v8ol8A PLOS ONE, online November 12, 2014       .   Reauters


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Send the kids outside to play: study

BY RONNIE COHEN     NEW YORK      Thu Jul 17, 2014

(Reuters Health) – Children who spend time outdoors after school are more likely to be physically fit, a new study shows.

Researchers found that Canadian kids who spent most of their after-school time outside were three times more likely to meet guidelines for daily physical activity and were in better shape than those who spent all of their after-school time indoors.

“This is just evidence reifying how powerful the outdoors is,” lead author Lee Schaefer told Reuters Health. “If we can get students outside more often, they are going to be more active, which is going to benefit them in the long term.”

Schaefer, from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, and his colleagues studied 306 urban youths between 9 and 17 years old.

Participants wore devices that measured their steps for a week and reported the amount of time they spent outdoors after school, in both organized activities and free play.

Kids who reported being outside during most or all of their after-school hours got almost 20 more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day compared with those who spent most or all of their time indoors, the researchers found. That was after taking into account children’s age, sex and weight and the time of year.

“It’s important for students to be outside because when they’re in outdoor spaces, they’re more active,” Schaefer said. “What’s really important about the study is not just that kids are moving more, but they’re moving more in a moderate-to-vigorous way.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day. But few kids living in developed countries meet those guidelines, the authors write in The Journal of Pediatrics.

kids_playing_outside

Prior studies attribute children’s generally low levels of exercise to a variety of factors, the researchers say, including the pervasiveness of videogames and computers as well as changes in the built environment, which includes parks and other green spaces.

Earlier studies found that youths get most of their moderate and vigorous exercise during school and average only 10 minutes a day after school, they add.

But increasingly stringent academic demands have led to less outdoor play time at school, leaving children even more deficient in that area, Schaefer said.

Given how much time children spend in school, school wellness policies should include increasing outdoor activity, the authors write.

Several groups have called for more outdoor time as a strategy to boost kids’ physical activity levels, but evidence to support those calls had been lacking, they note.

The new study stops short of recommending ways to get children who tend to stay inside out the door. The researchers also don’t know what the children who went outside were doing during that time.

“That’s definitely what we’ll be looking at in the future,” Schaefer said.

There were no weight differences between children who spent their time indoors and outdoors, the study found.

Schaefer said he was a bit surprised by that finding. But, he said, “Weight is not always the best way to measure whether somebody’s healthy or not. When we weigh somebody, we don’t really know how much of that weight is fat or muscle.”

“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” Schaefer said. “I would love to see students outside more.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1oA8U0b The Journal of Pediatrics, online July 10, 2014           reuters.com