Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

The Benefits of Playing Video Games

This is an interesting change of pace. Most articles discussing video games and how they relate to behavior or mental health in teenagers and adolescents often stress the negative aspects, i.e. playing too long, or that violent games cause violent actions.

This article by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels instead examines the benefits of “play”, something that was the focus of the most recent post, and takes a look at the cognitive, motivational, and emotional benefits of gaming. They even go as far as to separate the various video game genres and their effects on the mind.

You can check out the entire article here:
The Benefits of Playing Video Games

Child and Adolescent Emotion Regulation

Here is an article written a few years ago relating to parent and child emotional functioning, specifically their emotion regulatory skills and emotional expression. Included are considerations regarding theoretical, meth- odological, and sampling strengths and weaknesses of existing literature. On the basis of the review, several directions for future research are proposed. First, it is argued that consistency in the measurement of emotion regulation is necessary, including assessment of more refined theoretical conceptualizations of regulatory types, skills, or strategies. Second, it is argued that emotion reg- ulation developmental research examining the post-early childhood period is necessary in order to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of youths’ emotion regulation. Finally, it is argued that greater examination of paternal influences on child emotional functioning, in addition to maternal influences, is required. Consideration of these issues in future emotion regulation research will ideally contribute to a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in child and adolescent development of optimal regulatory capacities.

Child and Adolescent Emotion Regulation (2011)

Can best friends hurt our kids?

The New York Times recently had an interesting article describing a movement in schools to discourage the development of best-friendships while encouraging more group friendship interactions. This seems to be a somewhat widespread response to incidents of school bullying. According to the article, the “logic” behind this thinking is that best-friend pairs often exhibit exclusionary behavior, while groups tend to be more inclusive. To this I have to say: WHAT?!

The child development research on peer interaction does not support this thinking. Research on peer relationships in childhood indicates the importance of childrens’ developing attachment to friends. It’s a natural progression from the attachment to parents. I worry about the potentially harmful effect on kids if they never learn how to develop close relationships with best-friends. The relationship with a best friend is often thought to be a training ground for skills later used in intimate partner relationships. What happens to future romantic relationships if kids are barred from developing best-friendships?

Obviously bullying is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in a thoughtful manner (preadolescent social skills training? early empathy development excercises?). Reactionary behavior on the part of school officials is disapointing and I think, potentially harmful to kids. I think as a society, the new generation of parents needs to really think about whether its beneficial to micromanage every area of our kids development. Sometimes it’s okay to let kids be kids and do what comes naturally to them.