July 14, 2014

Parenting roundup: Teaching kids to tell the truth, cool kids and the view of a British nanny

Clues to Teaching Young Children to Tell the Truth  A Study of Lying Involving George Washington, 'Pinocchio' and 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf'

Parents who want their children to be more honest might be better off trying to make them feel more like George Washington than Pinocchio.
The story of the first U.S. president coming clean to his father about chopping down a cherry tree significantly reduced children's likelihood of lying in a recent study. The tykes who heard "Pinocchio," the puppet-boy whose nose grows when he lies, or "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" didn't change their behavior.

Instilling moral values like honesty in children is rarely easy. Just talking about morality doesn't have much of an impact, experts have found.  In their latest study, which took about a decade to complete and was published in June in the journal Psychological Science, the team studied whether children could learn about honesty from common childhood stories with morals at the end…..

Surprisingly, however, those who heard the George Washington tale only lied about half the time, a significant improvement over the other groups. Those who heard "Pinocchio" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" were just as likely to lie as those in the control group.  The researchers speculate that the children were responding to the positive benefits of telling the truth rather than the negative consequences of getting caught lying.  "The only time it works is when you only talk about the positive things," Dr. Lee says. "The kids seem to be very sensitive to negative information."

Cool kids less likely to succeed as adults, Less popular children usually outstrip their cooler counterparts by the time they reach adulthood, a study has found

Cool kids at school are less likely to succeed as adults, with less popular children usually outstripping their cooler counterparts by the time they reach adulthood, a study has suggested.    The study also found popular children are more likely to end up jobless or addicted to drugs in their twenties.

Researchers tracked the lives of 184 teenagers from the age of 13 for a decade and found those considered less cool at school were outperforming their more popular peers within a decade.  The study, published in the journal Child Development, found those considered popular in their early and mid-teens were more likely to suffer drug abuse problems and social isolation as they reached adulthood.
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Prof Allen said he hoped the findings would be a comfort to parents who worried about their geeky children.
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Dr Faeza Khan, lead clinician at the Priory Hospital Cheadle Royal in Cheshire, said she had helped young British teenagers whose pseudo-mature behavior had led to problems later in life.  She said, "They are trying to impress people about how they are socially, rather than being emotionally mature.  Their interpersonal skills don't develop over time. They continue to use the same skills which can lead to involvement with the criminal justice system, or antisocial peer groups, because they're so keen to be accepted."

5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis, According to a British Nanny

1. A fear of our children.  I have what I think of as "the sippy cup test," wherein I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. ...

2. A lowered bar. …  Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it's in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control. You don't think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant? Rubbish. You don't think a child can clear the table without being asked? Rubbish again! The only reason they don't behave is because you haven't shown them how and you haven't expected it! It's that simple. Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion.

3. We've lost the village. It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad's eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child's parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset. They want their child to appear perfect, and so they often don't accept teachers' and others' reports that he is not….

4. A reliance on shortcuts. ….. Children must still learn patience. They must still learn to entertain themselves. They must still learn that not all food comes out steaming hot and ready in three minutes or less, and ideally they will also learn to help prepare it. Babies must learn to self-soothe instead of sitting in a vibrating chair each time they're fussy. Toddlers need to pick themselves up when they fall down instead of just raising their arms to mum and dad. Show children that shortcuts can be helpful, but that there is great satisfaction in doing things the slow way too.

5. Parents put their children's needs ahead of their own. ... There is nothing wrong with using the word "No" on occasion, nothing wrong with asking your child to entertain herself for a few minutes because mummy would like to use the toilet in private or flick through a magazine for that matter.

I fear that if we don't start to correct these five grave parenting mistakes, and soon, the children we are raising will grow up to be entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults. It won't be their fault -- it will be ours. We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort, and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles, and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let's straighten these children out, together, and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we've made for them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 14, 2014 1:46 PM | Permalink