Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Helicopter parenting isn’t helpful for child’s development but nurseries are!

A recent study of more than 400 children, starting at the age of two, suggests that helicopter parenting harms a child’s emotional well-being. 

This is a term used to describe parents who become over-involved in their children’s activities.

Toddlers whose mothers intervened more frequently in their play grew up to be less able to control their emotions and behaviour.

At age two the children were filmed playing and tidying up with their mothers. The activity was scored on how controlling the mother was – was she helping or intervening when the child became frustrated?

Over the next eight year the researchers returned to see how the children were developing. They interviewed them and teachers and parents and measured behaviour such as emotional control.

“When mothers are too controlling at age two and don’t allow their children to experience a range of emotions and practise managing tim, the child loses out on an important learning opportunity” said Nicole Perry from the University of Minnesota who carried out the study published in the journal Development Psychology..

The ability to regulate emotions ( a key component of emotional intelligence) was linked to a host of adaptive outcomes, including mental and physical health, greater peer likability, healthier social relationships, positive teacher-student relationships, and greater academic adjustment.

If parents want better outcomes they should send their children to a nursery. A recent French study has found that children sent to nurseries have better social skills and behaviour than those kept at home by parents.

Opportunities for socialisation and stimulation offered by quality centre-based childcare might prevent children from developing emotional difficulties, according to an observational study of 1,400 children who were tracked from birth to the age of eight.

Parents were asked to complete questionnaires at three, five-and-a- half, and eight years of age. They were asked how easily their children made friends, their behaviour and social skills. At four, eight, and twelve months of age parent were asked what childcare support they used.

The researchers found that for psychological development a nursery or crêche staffed by professionals was better than being cared for informally by family, friends, or a childminder.

Children who had been to a nursery, daycare centre or crêche – formal childcare (26%)- had lower odds of poor social skills, difficult relationships with peers, and behavioural problems, compared to those who received informal childcare (30%) or went to a childminder (45%).

If they had been in formal childcare for a year the odds were even lower. In contrast those who had been cared for by a childminder appeared more likely to have behavioural problems.

It seems girls do better than boys which they say is because formal childcare is about internalising behaviour, more common in girls than boys.

The study doesn’t prove cause and effect and the families were better educated and more affluent than average and the researchers couldn’t assess the quality of the childcare.

However the researchers concluded that “Access to high quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties, and promote pro-social behaviours”.

In France 97% of children start school at three (in contrast to Scandinavian countries where they start later than in the UK) and formal childcare provision is open to everyone.

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Women don’t like macho men after all – but kind ones

Good news for all us wimps out there then?

A big salary, DIY skills, along with a strong sex appeal doesn’t do it for women who want a good relationship.

No, what they want is someone who is a good companion and has empathy.

Never mind sharing the household chores, just be a good listener and a friend.

This is according to recent research by the Marriage Foundation.

 

 

Low scoring characteristics

  • fixing things around the home (least desirable)
  • a sense of adventure
  • being strong
  • being sexy
  • being romantic

Higher scoring characteristics (in descending order)

  • being a friend
  • having an interest in children
  • having an interest in their partner
  • being kind
  • showing forgiveness
  • being a good lover
  • being protective
  • being funny
  • earning a decent salary

The survey found that 80% women still do most of the household chores but don’t mind as long as their partners spend time at home (so no nipping to the pub when she’s cleaning).

Three-quarters also did most of the childcare but half of them thought that was fair and said they were happy with their relationship.

The research director for the foundations said “almost any relationship thrives where there is kindness. Kindness is everything. It shows thought, consideration, care. It shows you notice and value. being kind is inactive decision that requires some kind of action. When somebody is kind it hugely attractive”.


Husbands’ behaviour improving?

I wonder if the trend has continued?

ulearn2bu

couple_in_love_1600_wht_10952or are women becoming more tolerant as fewer women sought a divorce in 2013.

Only 4% of wives wanted a divorce in the first 5 years of marriage, the lowest level since 1973 and only half the 1986 rate – the worst year for marriages that led to divorces.

Most divorces are initiated by women and although there were over 100,000 in 2013 that was 50,000 down from a peak of 165,000 in 1993. The Marriage Foundation commissioned the research from the ONS which showed the data for divorces initiated by men and women

The founder of the Marriage Foundation thinks that the decrease must be down to men living up to women’s expectations better. The danger period in marriages is between three and six years which tends to coincide with starting a family.

It seems men who get married now are more committed.

In the past men may have succumbed to…

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Most Mums don’t feel guilty about going to work

woman_scientist_solve_custom_text_puzzle_12407Really? Well thats what a survey by Mumsnet found – only 13% felt guilty about spending their time away from their children and almost half said it made them happier to be at work.

Mumsnet’s Chief Executive said “We often think of working Mums as harassed and time poor, rushing from school to the office with not a second to spare. But the reality is often more complicated. Most want to work or work more hours”.

A third of stay at home mums admitted they would prefer to work and 52% said staying at home was harder than going to work. So it sounds like they want to go to work to get away from their children.

The survey polled 900 mothers. I’m not sure it’s a big enough sample to be representative of the 1.5 million Mumsnet members – which looks like a middle-class pressure group from what I’ve read – and in any case may not represent all mothers. So I’m guessing not many of the mothers polled will be in minimum wage jobs and they probably have good childcare arrangements.

It’s a catchy headline but I’m not sure it reflects reality for a lot of working mums or mums who would rather not have to work but stay at home to look after their kids.

Interestingly in this survey almost half of the mothers said having children didn’t make them feel “mumsy“. Not much maternal spirit there then.