Japan Times – Noah Smith
“The question of nature versus nurture is an important one, but also an incredibly delicate one. How much of the disparities we see in society are fueled by a lack of good education, social influences and role models, and how much are due to natural ability? Given that people in advanced countries spend multiple decades of their life in school, this is an important question.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Manipulation is rampant in the digital age. It is easy for young people to be sucked into toxic personal relationships, political and social causes that are fronts for individuals and/or corporations that are attempting to gain power and money, and job situations where bosses or coworkers take advantage of them.
Most parents want to shelter their kids from these situations. Sheltering kids, however, may not be the best strategy. Instead it is better to empower kids, so they are not victims.
First, parents need to make sure their kids are confident, since it is harder for self-confident kids to be manipulated. Self-confidence is earned, not given, so is important to encourage children to explore many things and urge them to continue the activities that they enjoy and do well. In addition, it is essential that they learn the value of hard work. Also, it is imperative that the activities they selected are building self-confidence. Sometimes kids need to change activities as they grow to maintain healthy self-confidence.
The next step is to teach children how to identify a manipulative person, how to keep an emotional distance from such a person, and how to avoid personalization and self-blame. Then children need to learn how to turn the tables by asking probing questions and using time as a delay.
Finally parents need to allow controlled exposure. As counterintuitive as it sounds, kids need exposure to manipulators in safe environments, so they know when someone is trying to control them. In addition, kids need practice disarming a manipulator.
This means parents need to create learning opportunities. For example, a parent could consciously avoid speaking to school officials when a child’s classmate is “mean” on the playground, and instead help their child figure out how to handle situation him/herself. This playground practice should help prepare the child with more insidious manipulation that occurs when he/she is older.
As the child becomes more skilled at detecting and diverting manipulation, parents can gradually provide more exposure. By the time kids reach the teenage years, parents should expect them to discuss absences, homework, performance, and goals with coaches and teachers. In these conversations where will be many opportunities for the child to experience subtle and overt manipulation and to learn ways to remain in control.
Obviously there will be times parents have to step in, especially as when kids beginning interacting with adults, but parents should not be so protective that kids do not have an opportunity to learn.
Medical X-Press – Kate Lynch
“Recent research has suggested that academic performance, reading ability and IQ have a genetic basis. This reinforces the popular notion that intelligence and related cognitive capacities are somehow “in our genes”. This has led some people to reject the importance of educational interventions on the grounds that spending money on nurture isn’t going to significantly affect the abilities nature has given us. However, genes are not destiny. There is good evidence to show how effective environmental interventions can be for educational outcomes.”(more)
The Telegraph – Sarah Knapton
“Motherly love can help children’s brains grow at twice the rate as neglected youngsters, a study has shown. Although it is known that a nurturing, stable home life improves overall childhood development, it is the first research to prove that it has a significant impact on brain size. Children who received the most support from their mother’s before school were found to have more growth in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memories and regulating emotions. Crucially, those youngsters who were more neglected when they were under six did not catch up, even when their mothers became more supportive in later years.”(more)
Getting Smart – Nancy Weinstein
“Did you know that in addition to your responsibilities of Chief Caregiver, Chief Cheerleader and Chief Taxi driver, Chief Advocate is high on the list? If you have a child with special needs, you know exactly where I’m going with this. For those who aren’t familiar, you should know that at some point, your child, every child, will need help in a specific class, with a teacher who is not meeting their needs, with a previously undetected learning problem, with bullying. It’s the problem that doesn’t go away in a week, or even a month. It impacts self-esteem and starts to look like depression or anxiety. And you, my fellow parent, are the only one who will understand the depth of the problem. You will be the one to see the nightly struggle with homework, the tears that wait for the comfort of home, the lack of appetite, the lack of sleep. And then your time as Chief Advocate has arrived. I’ve been there, and here are some strategies I believe can help:”(more)
The Sacramento Bee – Sammy Caiola
“The sun blazed over The Met Sacramento High School’s courtyard Saturday as hundreds of farm-to-fork enthusiasts traversed between classrooms, grabbing a fresh apple or a packet of seeds along the way. The group gathered for the first day of “A Garden in Every School” symposium, the first event of its kind in the Sacramento region. The educators, volunteers and community organizers were in attendance to hammer out a plan to get gardening into every Sacramento school by 2020. It ends Sunday. The push for widespread school gardening – which has been shown to improve children’s eating habits, learning ability and overall health – took root more than 20 years ago, when state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin publicly proclaimed the need for hands-on access to produce across the state. Eastin kicked off the Saturday event along with Mayor Kevin Johnson.”(more)