|Role of Youth: Countering Violent Extremism, Promoting Peace
||An anthropologist addresses the UN Security Council.
|Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next
||Anxiety disorders affect approximately one in six adult Americans. The most well-known of these include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. But what of brief bouts of anxiety caused by stressful social situations? New research shows that anxiety experienced in social circumstances elevates the risk of bruxism -- teeth grinding -- causing tooth wear, fractures, and jaw pain.
|Traumatic brain injury linked to increased road rage
||Ontario adult drivers who say they have experienced at least one traumatic brain injury in their lifetime also report significantly higher incidents of serious road-related driving aggression, said a new study. Serious driver aggression includes: making threats to hurt a fellow driver, passenger or vehicle. These individuals also reported significantly higher odds of being involved in a motor vehicle collision that resulted in hurting themselves, their passenger or their vehicle.
|Makings of a Child
||What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?
|What Does it Mean if Your Partner is Possessive?
||An extreme form of jealousy, possessiveness is the desire to put a wall around your partner to ensure you have exclusive access. Take a quiz to find how possessive you are, and what this might say about you and your relationship.
|7 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference in the World
||Today, all of us are busy. To-do lists are overflowing. Email goes unanswered. Voicemail goes unchecked. So many of us are exhausted, sleep-deprived, stressed out and working way too much. This is when kind gestures and deep compassion can get lost. We can get so … ...
|Say what? How the brain separates our ability to talk and write
||Although the human ability to write evolved from our ability to speak, writing and talking are now such independent systems in the brain that someone who can't write a grammatically correct sentence may be able say it aloud flawlessly.
|Strategy found for safely prescribing antidepressants to children and adolescents
||Two new strategies to treat depression in young people have been developed for the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of medications. These strategies incorporate a new understanding of how to mitigate the risk of suicide while on SSRI treatment.
|Avoid Procrastination: Funky Tip Makes You Start 4 Times Sooner
This trick makes you feel closer to your future self so that you start four times sooner.
» Continue reading: Avoid Procrastination: Funky Tip Makes You Start 4 Times Sooner
» Read HealthiestBlog.com, the new site from PsyBlog's author
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||If we constructed a society in which life’s roles were as bifurcated by ear lobes as they are in our culture by genitals, then the first thing parents and grandparents would want to know at birth would be attached or unattached, not boy or girl.
|'Tangles' trigger early-stage Alzheimer's abnormalities in neocortical networks
||A ground-breaking study has now, for the first time, characterized early-stage changes that occur inside individual, Alzheimer's-affected cells in the intact brain. Remarkably, the study indicates that even if only a small number of cells is affected, the result is a reduction of electrical activity throughout the cerebral cortex -- the area of the brain that serves as the center of higher mental function and cognition.
|Accelerated brain aging in type 1 diabetes related to cognitive complications
||The brains of people with type 1 diabetes show signs of accelerated aging that correlate with slower information processing, according to research. The findings indicate that clinicians should consider screening middle-aged patients with type 1 diabetes for cognitive difficulties. If progressive, these changes could influence their ability to manage their diabetes.
|Alcoholics Anonymous And The Laws Of Attraction
||On April 8th 2008 I wrote a blog about my first year of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. I have written several posts about my progress since. As you can see in the comments, the response to the original post was both intensely critical and supportive … ...
|Candice Bergen on Why Beauty is Terrifying
||So the other day my new issue of Time magazine arrived, and I immediately did what I always do – I turned to the back pages to read the arts and culture … ...
|What's the Difference Between Procrastination and Laziness?
||Are you a procrastinator or just a lazybones?
|The APA Relied on the CIA for Ethical Guidance
||Last week’s release of previously undisclosed emails provides further evidence of the American Psychological Association’s extensive and secret involvement with the CIA and White House in crafting ethics policies that permitted psychologists to participate in abusive “war on terror” detention and interrogation operations.
|'Alone time' is really good for you
||Our brains need to rest and recharge in order to function as well as we want them to.
|How Being a Stepmom Makes Me a Better Parent
||This Mother’s Day, I may not get to see my stepchildren, as they will likely be celebrating with their mom. But I will be thinking about them a lot, about how they’ve given me the opportunity to become a much better mother.
(An aside: Originally I wrote that my stepkids would be celebrating Mother’s Day with their “real mom.” As if I’m not real. But “biological mom” was wrong, as it implied adoption. “Other mother” is also wrong, as it implies equality between me and their mother, which I would never claim. The truth is that I am actually not really a “real” mother to my stepchildren, but that is another issue altogether, one that Joy Sawyer-Mulligan sheds light on in this beautiful essay about motherhood.)
Imagine, if you’ll indulge me for a minute, what it must be like to be one of my children. As a professional advice giver, I’m—let’s just be honest—bossy. I have an opinion (albeit science-based) about everything. When people (not my children) seek out my coaching, wanting guidance for improving their happiness, their effectiveness at work, or their parenting, I’m more than happy to tell them not just what I think but what, specifically, to do.
So it hasn’t been easy to be Molly or Fiona, the guinea pigs on which I’ve tested all of my science-based parenting advice since not long after I gave birth to them. I’ve done my best to arm them with instructions for every possible situation. Once, dropping my kids off at sleepaway camp for the first time, I found myself suggesting to a very nervous Fiona a specific way to breathe and specific things she might think about to distract her from her anxiety. I had become so controlling that I was telling her how to breathe and exactly what to think.
The irony, of course, is that trying to control your children is frequently futile and usually counterproductive.
That’s the clear conclusion psychologist Wendy Grolnick has reached over two decades of watching parents talk to their children. Here’s the gist of her research: The children of controlling parents—those who tell their children exactly what to do, and when to do it—don’t do as well as kids whose parents are involved and supportive without being bossy. Children of “directive” parents, like me, tend to be less creative and resourceful, less persistent when faced with a challenge, less successful solving problems. They don’t like school as much, and they don’t achieve as much academically.
Enter my awesome stepchildren. They’ve been in my life for almost six years. I’ve loved and supported them, but from a distance—we didn’t really live together until about nine months ago. It isn’t that I haven’t disciplined them, or asked them to help out around the house, or offered an unpopular opinion. I have. I’ve taken away devices, made and enforced rules, helped them address thank-you notes, just like I do with Molly and Fiona.
But there is a major difference between the way that I parent my stepchildren and the way that I parent Molly and Fiona. Mainly, I’m just not as bossy. I’m more like a very involved aunty with my stepchildren than the helicopter mom I’m prone to being with my biological kids. I don’t criticize them, and I make an effort to hold my tongue when they do something that I find irritating.
I can more easily be supportive of them without being attached to the outcome; I can make a suggestion without caring whether or not it is taken. Instead of bossing my stepchildren around, expecting them to do what I want them to do when I want them to do it, I choose my requests carefully and try to voice them respectfully. All together now: Christine Carter’s two children and two stepchildren. Photo by Blake Farrington
For example, I recently had an opportunity to teach both my stepdaughter, Macie, who is in 9th grade, and my sixth-grader, Molly, some new study skills. Unconsciously, I approached the kids differently. I was very directive with Molly, basically telling her what she had to do and then sitting next to her while she tried out my suggestions, correcting her every move. The following day, she was supposed to study on her own (using the new technique I’d given her). She tried, for a little while. And then, just like the kids in Grolnick’s studies, she got frustrated and gave up.
I didn’t realize my error with Molly until a few days later when Macie needed help studying for a test. I offered to teach her some study skills but was clear that I wouldn’t be offended if she didn’t want my help. I was delighted when she took me up on my offer. But I wasn’t as intent on having her put my tips to use.
My emotional stance in these two situations was completely different. With Molly, I was an anxious mom, worried about her school performance. With Macie, I was just there, loving the opportunity to teach her something that might be useful.
It dawned on me that I have been much more respectful of my stepchildren’s autonomy. I can support them without mistakenly thinking that their competence is my competence. I don’t worry (or even think) about how their successes or failures might reflect on me.
It is totally normal for parents to feel like they have more skin in the game with their biological children than stepchildren; psychologists call this tendency “ego-involvement.” In her wonderful book Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids, Grolnick and her co-author write,
Ego-involvement occurs when our protective and loving hardwiring collides with the competition in our children’s lives, prompting us wrap our own self-esteem around our children’s achievement. That gives us our own stake in how well our child performs.
However normal it may be, my “ego-involvement” wasn’t helping anyone; it may have actually been making Molly and Fiona less successful in their endeavors. Noticing how differently I was behaving with my stepchildren was a giant wake-up call. I needed to be more supportive of Molly and Fiona without being intrusive, to make requests without being so bossy.
After the study skills incident, I resolved to coach my children more like I coach my clients: gently, and without ego-attachment. Instead of dictating what I want when I want it (“Put that freaking device down! You should be helping me with dinner! Start peeling the carrots NOW!”), I’ve returned to the “ERN” approach I devised in my book Raising Happiness:
Empathize. “I know you’d rather be looking at Vine than helping in the kitchen right now. I’m dying to know what is cracking you up.”
Provide rationale. “But I need some help with dinner or we are going to be late for your performance.”
Use non-controlling language. This one is hard for me. Asking questions helps, as in: “Would you rather peel carrots or set the table? Either would be super helpful right now.” I don’t let myself say “should,” “have to,” or “I want you to,” which is what Grolnick sees as the epitome of controlling language.
None of this is about lowering my standards or relaxing rules; my children will still tell you that I’m the strictest parent on the block. But providing kids with high expectations and lots of structure is very different than being bossy and dictatorial.
As I’ve made an effort to be less controlling, my connections with my children have instantly deepened. Why? Jess Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure, recently explained to me that “parental control kills connection.”
So on this Mother’s Day, I’m grateful for my connections to my four children, all of whom I love with all my heart. And right now I’m especially grateful for my beautiful stepchildren. They have given me the opportunity to experience what it is like to love without the sticky attachment of my ego, and that is truly the sweet spot of motherhood.
|Proteomics provides new leads into nerve regeneration
||Using proteomics techniques to study injured optic nerves, researchers have identified previously unrecognized proteins and pathways involved in nerve regeneration. Adding back one of these proteins -- the oncogene c-myc -- they achieved unprecedented optic nerve regeneration in mice when combined with two other known strategies.
|Are You A Status Seeker? The Chances Are Good that You Are
||Are we hardwired to crave status and to respond to people in programmed ways depending on their status? Is status about what money can buy or something else? A close look at what the research shows...