To Raise Confident, Independent Kids, Some Parents Are Trying To ‘Let Grow’

Walking through the woods alone can be a scary prospect for a kid, but not for 7-year-old Matthew of Portland, Oregon. He doesn’t have much of a backyard at his condo, so the woods behind his house essentially serve the same purpose. He spends hours out there: swinging on a tire swing, tromping across the ravine to a friend’s house, and using garden shears to cut a path. He lays down sticks to form a bridge across the small stream that flows in the winter.

And he does all of this without any adult supervision.

Matthew’s mom, Laura Randall, wants her son to gain the sort of skills and confidence that only come with doing things yourself. But she didn’t just toss her 7-year-old out the door with some hiking boots and garden shears one day. They worked up to it gradually with what Randall calls “experiments in independence.”

Full story at npr.org

Child development experts discover potential upside to prenatal stress

Prenatal stress might not be so bad for babies after all, depending on how they are raised.

New research with prairie voles by child development experts at the University of California, Davis, suggests that prenatal stress promotes developmental plasticity in babies, making them especially likely to benefit from good parenting as well as suffer from negligent care.

“It looks like prenatal stress can be good for us if we are lucky enough to have a supportive environment postnatally,” said Sarah Hartman, a recent Ph.D. graduate in human ecology at UC Davis who conducted the research under the supervision of human development professor Jay Belsky and Karen Bales, professor of psychology.

Full story at Science Daily

Online parent training helps young kids with ADHD

Parents of children with ADHD can feel desperate for resources or treatments to help their children who struggle with inattention, distractibility and impulsiveness affecting school and home. Researchers at Lehigh University have discovered that brief online or in-person behavioral therapy for parents is equally effective in improving children’s behavior and parental knowledge — a potential game changer for parents strapped for time and access.

They report these findings in a new paper published inĀ The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Few Use Behavior Therapy, Despite Recommendations

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends behavior therapy support as the first line of treatment for preschool-age children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), limited availability of clinicians, cost and challenges in transportation and child care — as well as reliance on pharmacological drugs — mean few families access such therapy for themselves and their children. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control found that about 75 percent of young children with ADHD received medicine as treatment and only about 50 percent of young children with ADHD with Medicaid and 40 percent with employer-sponsored insurance got psychological services, which may include behavior therapy. ADHD occurs in 2 to 15 percent of young children, with 11 percent of children in the U.S. receiving an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Full story at Science Daily

Parent training on ADHD using volunteers can help meet growing treatment needs

Using volunteers to train parents concerned about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children can improve capacity to meet increasing ADHD treatment needs, finds a new study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, highlights an innovative approach to embracing community resources — tapping volunteers to act as therapists.

“Given the prevalence of ADHD in many countries and the limited access to evidence-based, non-medication treatment, there is a pressing need to expand service delivery systems. Our findings demonstrate that the service model of behavioral parent training we studied can effectively provide training to many families of youth with concerns about ADHD and is likely highly sustainable,” said Anil Chacko, associate professor of counseling psychology at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s author.

Full story of parent training on ADHD treatment at Science Daily

Parents with bipolar benefit from self-help tool

Online self-management support for parents with Bipolar Disorder leads to improvements in parenting and child behaviour.

That is the finding of researchers from the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University, who recruited 97 parents with Bipolar Disorder who have children aged between 3 and ten years old.

They were split into two groups, with one being offered an Integrated Bipolar Parenting Intervention (IBPI) online.

This includes sixteen modules lasting half an hour each looking at different aspects of parenting, supported by video and audio material.

Full story of parents with bipolar disorder and online-self management tools at Science Daily

Parent touch, play and support in childhood vital to well-being as an adult

Did you receive affection, play freely and feel supported in childhood? Childhood experiences like these appear to have a lot to do with well-being and moral capacities in adulthood.

In a forthcoming article in the journalĀ Applied Developmental Science, University of Notre Dame professor of psychology Darcia Narvaez and colleagues Lijuan Wang and Ying Cheng, associate professors of psychology, show that childhood experiences that match with evolved needs lead to better outcomes in adulthood.

According to Narvaez, one of the reasons that the well-being of children in the United States lags behind that of children in other advanced nations is because “we have forgotten that we are social mammals with specific evolved needs from birth.”

Full story of parents support in childhood vital at Science Daily

Parents’ depression can lead to toddlers in trouble

A father’s depression during the first years of parenting — as well as a mother’s — can put their toddler at risk of developing troubling behaviors such as hitting, lying, anxiety and sadness during a critical time of development, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

This is one of the first studies to show that the impact of a father’s depression from postpartum to toddlerhood is the same as a mother’s. Previous studies have focused mostly on mothers with postpartum depression and found that their symptoms may impact their children’s behavior during early, formative years.

“Father’s emotions affect their children,” said Sheehan Fisher, lead author of the study. “New fathers should be screened and treated for postpartum depression, just as we do for mothers.”

Full story of parents depression and toddlers at Science Daily

Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts

Positive relations between youth and their parents can be key to preventing adolescent suicide attempts, according to the University of British Columbia (UBC) research.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of adolescent death worldwide, and is responsible for a quarter of all adolescent deaths in Canada. The research examines the link between parental bonding — a term describing the quality of a parent-child relationship — and a history of suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Numerous studies suggest that positive parental relationships reduce adolescents’ risk of experiencing depression, loneliness and suicide. “However, it has been unclear whether positive adolescent-parent relations protect against suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or both,” says Boaz Saffer, the study’s lead author and a graduate student in clinical psychology at UBC. “This is a crucial distinction, given that most people who think about suicide do not act on their thoughts.”

Full story of parent relations and child suicide at Science Daily