DADS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Fathers play a surprisingly large role in their children’s development, from language and cognitive growth in toddlerhood to social skills in fifth grade, according to new findings from Michigan State University scholars.

asian father and son having a conversation

The research provides some of the most conclusive evidence to date of fathers’ importance to children’s outcomes and reinforces the idea that early childhood programs such as Head Start should focus on the whole family, including mother and father alike. The findings are published online in two academic journals, Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Infant and Child Development.

“There’s this whole idea that grew out of past research that dads really don’t have direct effects on their kids, that they just kind of create the tone for the household and that moms are the ones who affect their children’s development,” said Claire Vallotton, associate professor and primary investigator on the research project. “But here we show that fathers really do have a direct effect on kids, both in the short term and long term.”

Using data from about 730 families that participated in a survey of Early Head Start programs at 17 sites across the nation, the researchers investigated the effects of parents’ stress and mental health problems such as depression on their children. Parental stress and mental health issues affect how parents interact with their children and, subsequently, childhood development.

The study found that fathers’ parenting-related stress had a harmful effect on their childrens’ cognitive and language development when the children were 2 to 3 years old, even when the mothers’ influences were taken into account. This impact varied by gender; fathers’ influence, for example, had a larger effect on boys’ language than girls’ language.

Another key finding: Fathers’ and mothers’ mental health had a similarly significant effect on behavior problems among toddlers. Further, fathers’ mental health had a long-term impact, leading to differences in children’s social skills (such as self-control and cooperation) when the children reached fifth grade. In fact, fathers’ depression symptoms when children were toddlers were more influential on children’s later social skills than were mothers’ symptoms.

The findings contribute to the small but growing collection of research affirming the effects of fathers’ characteristics and father-child relationship qualities on children’s social development, rather than just the fathers’ residence in the home or presence in the child’s life, according to the paper published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Tamesha Harewood, lead author on the paper in Infant and Child Development, said fathers, in addition to mothers, should be included in parenting research and family-intervention programs and policies.

“A lot of family-risk agencies are trying get the dad more involved, but these are some of the things they could be missing,”said Harewood, a researcher in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “When the agency is talking with the dad, it’s not just about providing for your child economically, but also to be there for your child, to think about how stress or depression might be influencing your child. In order to understand and help children in their development, there needs to be a comprehensive view of the whole family, including both mom and dad.”

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Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?

When I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

ACEs Too High

ADonnaDadWhen I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

At fourteen, I started fainting. The doctors implied I was trying to garner attention. In college I began having full seizures. I kept them to myself, fearful of seeming a modern Camille. I’d awaken on the floor drenched…

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Good Parenting at Every Stage

In their book, “No Drama Discipline,” mental health experts, Drs. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, describe how the brain works, especially when kids feel intense emotions. They emphasize three things to keep in mind when your child is having a difficult time.

Source: Thoughtful Parenting: Remembering brain development during meltdowns

Did you know the human brain grows through childhood and into a person’s 20s? When your child is having a hard time, remember that his brain is still growing and he’s not able to think as logically or behave as kindly as we would hope he would. With your help, he’ll learn how to manage his emotions and make logical decisions, but it will take some time.

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It is NOT Okay

“Lest we fool ourselves into thinking our kids are oblivious, we need to know that our kids
have seen the videos. They’ve seen the ugliness that is being carried out in our country today. They hear the insults and the veiled threats and the disparaging way our soon-to-be leaders are speaking about each other and about other people.

Let’s make sure we tell them, “This is not okay. This is not who we are called to be. This is not normal. This is wrong.”

r e F o c u s

I’m sure by this point you’ve seen the video. The one of the young African-American woman being removed from a presidential campaign rally in Louisville, being pushed and prodded by numerous campaign supporters while others pummel her with insults or capture the whole incident on their phone. Not one person, not one, steps in and says, “Hey now, this is a human being. Show a little respect for the human race.”  Not one defends. Not one speaks out. Not one.

And I’ve refrained from posting anything about this here because I didn’t want this blog to be political. I’ve kept this place free from politics and campaigns and opinion on government and court decisions and I was determined to do so, until today.

Because today, I realized, THIS IS NOT POLITICAL. 

It’s not about politics. It’s about humanity.

As I watched that girl get pushed and shoved all I could think was…

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Are You A Jackhammer or a Hummingbird?

Natural learning takes place across a spectrum. History, math, music, science, art, literature, business, philosophy, and athletics don’t neatly divide into “subjects.” They’re interrelated. A child notices one bare sliver of a topic, and intrigued, follows it. That pursuit lights up a totally new subject until a dazzling array of possibilities opens, each refracting new angles. The thrill of exploring is inseparable from a love of learning.

Laura Grace Weldon

Hummingbird or Jackhammer: styles of full spectrum learning What lures you to full spectrum learning?

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ~John Muir

Ten-year-old Matias is enthusiastic about all things automotive. He calls out model and year of cars passing the street in front of his apartment in an impressive display of mental acuity. He learned every detail of how engines work by quizzing everyone he could who knew anything about cars, then turned to YouTube for more in-depth information. That led to inquiries about types of fuels and manufacturing processes, which led to questions about the history of the assembly line and the formation of unions. Books and documentaries have made him familiar with figures such as Nikolaus Otto and Karl Benz as well as Elon Musk. Matias loves going to auto museums, car shows, and races. Although he says a visit to a…

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Source: Spanking children slows cognitive development and increases risk of criminal behavior, expert says

“Research shows that spanking corrects misbehavior. But it also shows that spanking does not work better than other modes of correction, such as time out, explaining, and depriving a child of privileges. Moreover, the research clearly shows that the gains from spanking come at a big cost. These include weakening the tie between children and parents and increasing the probability that the child will hit other children and their parents, and as adults, hit a dating or marital partner. Spanking also slows down mental development and lowers the probability of a child doing well in school,” Straus says.

34 Ways to Raise Nature-Loving Kids

Great post! Although time spent in unspoiled areas is vitally important, children can experience nature in their own way and on their own terms every day, even in the smallest city apartment, as they pay attention to the weather, observe insects, grow plants from seed, and watch birds. Children can notice seasonal changes around them in the constellations, nearby trees, and the changing patterns of light falling on surrounding buildings.

Laura Grace Weldon

family outdoor activities

“Man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”–– Luther Standing Bear

Kids can’t help but explore when they’re in natural areas. They climb on fallen logs, leap over tiny streams, and wander through tall grasses. Their imaginations are as activated as their senses. These kinds of experiences open new worlds to them.

In Sharing Nature with ChildrenJoseph Cornell writes,

It is very helpful—almost essential—for people at first to have startling, captivating experiences in nature. This kind of first contact extinguishes for a moment the self-enclosing preoccupations and worries that keep us from feeling our identity with other expressions of life. From that release into expanded awareness and concern, love naturally follows. And memories of moments of love and expansion act as reminders of, and incentives to, a more sensitive way of living.

Cornell suggests expanding on outdoor experiences. For example, he describes a unique game of hide and seek…

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More Parenting Mistakes To Avoid

Great article! All the love and care parents have for their kids may not stop them from making parenting mistakes that could potentially cause issues down the road. Here are some general parenting mistakes you should try to avoid.

Successful Parenting Today

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All the love and care parents have for their kids may not stop them from making parenting mistakes that could potentially cause issues down the road. Here are some general parenting mistakes you should try to avoid.

Protecting Our Children From Experiencing Risks

The world is a dangerous place and parents will naturally try to protect their children. However, we sometimes go overboard and actually prevent their kids from experiencing healthy risks that help them grow strong, wise, and confident. Study shows that if a child is not allowed to play outside and get an injury, they are likely to grow up with phobias that prevent them from becoming the great persons they are meant to be. Your child might benefit from a skinned knee in order to understand that it is normal to get hurt at some point in life. If you are raising a teenager, it is important…

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(via Cry It Out – 6 Educated Professionals Who Advise Against It | BellyBelly) Well meaning family or
friends may suggest letting your baby cry himself to sleep, so he can
“learn to be independent”. Or perhaps they may suggest cry it out
because they say, “it works”.

However, parenting techniques like cry it out, which originated in 1913
(and potentially earlier), aren’t always best. And when we know better,
we do better. – See more at:
http://www.bellybelly.com.au/baby-sleep/cry-it-out/