This Thursday on ABC Sunshine Coast mornings the topic will be narcissism or extreme self absorption. When is self absorption “normal” and when is it an issue that needs intervention or treatment? Do “kids these days” still care? How do you promote caring in kids?
Please tune in at around 9:40 EST or call in for a chat on 1300 903 222.
We all know the scenario, you have finally wrangled the children through their early morning routines (perhaps with the help of my previous blog). They are out the door and headed for the car. You are about to step out of the door on the way to work and school when you hear the shrill, high-pitched whines that indicate that one child has missed out on getting the front seat of the car, again. It’s exhausting…and the day has hardly begun. So, do you leave it, and them, and take yourself off to work by bus – allowing the battle over perceived crime and unfairness to prevail? Or, do you step in with an over-riding command that instils terror and has all of the kids trembling quietly while they buckle themselves silently into the back seat?
Sadly, like all conflict, there is a continuum of extremity when it comes to sibling rivalry and aggression. Sibling conflict can be very violent and, concerningly, research now tells us that it is much less likely to be reported to authorities than other forms of violence or bullying amongst children.
This Thursday, around 9.40am EST, on ABC Sunshine Coast Mornings I will be chatting about child discipline.
How do you respond when your child does something they are not supposed to do?
Is it ever appropriate to smack? What do you remember about they way you were disciplined as a child?
How stressed do you get when your child misbehaves?
Psychologists and researchers refer to troubles with a person’s “get up and go” as issues with “motivation” or a lack of “behavioural activation”. Behavioural activation is important and it is wise to keep an eye out for the child who is straggling in the morning.
Not getting up and getting a move on at the start of each day means that there is less of a chance that we will do, meet, taste, touch, hear, see and feel things that feel good or are rewarding.
It is wise to prepare yourself for threats to your chosen profession. Last year, I was asked to address my colleagues at the Annual General Meeting of our regional Australian Psychological Society (APS) group about my experiences as a psychologist in regional practice. I’ve had some requests from those who could not attend to share some aspects of the presentation. So, below, I’ve posted the bits I mentioned in relation to the things that I believe threaten psychology as a profession. Let me know what you think!
Emotional regulation is the ability to be able to monitor and change aspects of our emotions. You hear a lot about it these days and many people do have times when they find it difficult to regulate their emotions.
When it comes to children, it seems that everyone wants to offer something that will get a child to regulate their feelings. All of a sudden everyone is doing it, offering it, tutoring it, providing vitamins that assist it, offering bodily manipulations that enhance it, selling special aids and machines to assist and all sorts of experts (dodgy and non-dodgy) begin to jump on the band wagon. So much so that, like other concepts that get bandied around too often, I do get a little concerned that the well-researched ideas behind emotional regulation may start to lose “street cred” and people will begin to tune out to all of the emotion regulation information and consider it to be waffle.
Talking about tricky stuff with kids
In the 1960-70s, researchers at Stanford University embarked upon the, now famous, Marshmallow Study. They went to the university child care centre to study children’s’ ability to hold back. They devised a task where a child was left in a room with a marshmallow (or biscuit or pretzel if they preferred). The child was told if they wait and don’t eat the marshmallow, the adult would give them two marshmallows when the adult returned. The adult then left the room. There are lots of very funny YouTube clips about the sorts of things that might have ensued whilst the adult researcher was out of the room. Years later, the researchers returned to the study and found out that those who waited for the return of the researcher/adult and received the extra marshmallow, had better life outcomes, fewer issues with being overweight and scored better in high school exams. The researchers are still following this group of, now adult, children and are doing further research mapping their brain activity.
Of course, the Marshmallow study does not mean that your child’s future will be determined by a marshmallow. There are a multitude of other confounding variables that were not accounted for over all of those years form kinder to adulthood. However, people seem to like the idea that those who are patient and hold back will be rewarded on their life journey.