The Childhood Sign That Your Adult Relationships Will Last (M)

The one thing that predicts satisfying romantic relationships.

The one thing that predicts satisfying romantic relationships.


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Human Consciousness May Emerge At Birth — Or Perhaps Before (M)

Until the 1980s, doctors regularly performed operations on newborns without anaesthetics, because they were assumed to lack awareness.

Until the 1980s, doctors regularly performed operations on newborns without anaesthetics, because they were assumed to lack awareness.


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How Parents Raise Selfish, Uncaring, Unhelpful Children (M)

To what extent are prosociality and mental health fixed traits, or do they change with circumstances?

To what extent are prosociality and mental health fixed traits, or do they change with circumstances?


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Happier People Are Raised By Parents Who Do These 3 Things

The largest household panel survey reveals how parents raise happy children.

The largest household panel survey reveals how parents raise happy children.

Children grow up happier when their mother is happy in her relationship.

Fully 73 percent of people whose mothers were ‘perfectly happy’ in their relationship say they are ‘completely happy’ with their family situation.

This is just one of the factors in a family that predicts which children grow up to be happier.

The others are: avoiding regular arguments and eating at least three evening meals together a week.

Arguing more than once a week with parents was linked to much lower levels of happiness among children.

The researchers also found that having no younger siblings was also beneficial for later happiness.

Older siblings, though, had no effect on happiness.

Dr Maria Iacovou, a study author, said:

“At a time when there is widespread political concern about ‘Broken Britain’, these findings show that family relationships and the happiness of parents are key to the happiness of young people.

Contrary to the popular belief that children only want to spend time playing videogames or watching TV we found that they were most happy when interacting with their parents or siblings.”

The conclusions come from a long-running UK study called ‘Understanding Society’.

It is the largest household panel survey in the world, which will follow over 40,000 households over a number of years.

These findings are based on a sample of over 10,000 men, women and children.

Dr Iacovou said:

“Together these findings reveal the complex influences of different family relationships on a child’s happiness.

Over the years, as Understanding Society follows the lives of families in the UK, we’ll build up an even better picture of how children’s lives are affected by all kinds of factors.

Understanding Society is really set to become a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the well-being of children.”

The study was published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) (Ermisch et al., 2011).

9 Essential Child Psychology Studies

Why are children so depressed? Are modern parenting practices to blame? How has children’s play been ruined?

Why are children so depressed? Are modern parenting practices to blame? How has children’s play been ruined?

Children may be more depressed now than ever before.

For example, children were 5 times more likely to meet the criteria for a depressive or anxiety disorder in the year 2007 than they were in 1938.

Is the cause to be found in abuse, whether emotional or physical, or are parents damaging their children through what they believe are the ‘right’ practices?

Perhaps it is changes in technology, such as screen time, or in how children play that has affected them negatively?

Maybe the world is just a grimmer place than it was in 1938.

These and more subjects are touched on in these 9 essential child psychology studies from the members-only section of PsyBlog.

(If you are not already, find out how to become a PsyBlog member here.)

  1. Why Children Are More Depressed Than Ever Before
  2. The Worst Thing About Childhood Abuse Is The Memories
  3. Why Parents Should Show Children Their True Feelings
  4. What Happens When Parents Favour One Child Over The Others
  5. How Reading For Pleasure Affects Your IQ
  6. The Personality Trait Linked To Childhood Maltreatment
  7. This Much Screen Time Linked To Child Development Problems
  8. These Parental Personality Traits Are Linked To Children’s Success
  9. How Modern Parenting Has Ruined Children’s Play

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Why Some Do Not Care About Politics Or Bother Voting (M)

The study may help to explain the weakening interest in politics in democracies around the world.

The study may help to explain the weakening interest in politics in democracies around the world.


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How Modern Parenting Has Ruined Children’s Play (M)

Parents are now expected continuously to watch, notice and respond to their children — which has changed how they play.

Parents are now expected continuously to watch, notice and respond to their children -- which has changed how they play.


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The Shocking Effect Of ‘Hidden’ Sibling Bullying On Adult Depression (M)

Around half of children were bullied by a sibling, sometimes with serious consequences, a study finds.

Around half of children were bullied by a sibling, sometimes with serious consequences, a study finds.


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An Early Sign Of Lower IQ

The brain is very sensitive in early childhood.

The brain is very sensitive in early childhood.

Exposure to maltreatment or trauma early in life is linked to lower IQ, research finds.

Being abused, physically or emotionally, neglected or witnessing domestic violence, was linked to an IQ score 7 points lower, on average.

Abuse that occurs before the age of two-years-old is particularly damaging to intellectual development.

The brain is very sensitive in this early period, neuroscience has revealed.

Trauma and adversity early in life has repeatedly been linked to changes in the structure and circuitry of the brain.

The conclusions come from a study of 206 US children enrolled in the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

The study started in 1975 and tracked the children from birth.

Children and mothers were assessed and interviewed at regular intervals and the children were given IQ tests.

The study revealed that one in three children had been maltreated and/or seen their mothers subject to violence.

This happened in infancy to 5 percent of children, in the pre-school period to 13 percent and in both periods to 19 percent.

Maltreatment — including witnessing violence and being neglected — was linked to lower intelligence scores every time it was measured.

The study’s authors write:

“The results suggest that [maltreatment and witnessing domestic violence] in early childhood, particularly during the first two years, has significant and enduring effects on cognitive development, even after adjusting for [other risk factors].

Because early brain organisation frames later neurological development, changes in early development may have lifelong consequences.”

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Enlow et al., 2012).