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Well-adjusted or only peer socialized?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Over the past fifty years what Americans believe makes a child well-adjusted has changed. Today many parents think a youngster is well-balanced if he/she interacts easily with his/her peers. Even though this type of social interaction is important, it is only part of what is necessary for a child to be happy, secure, and successful.

Children need to know they are loved and must have daily attention and socialization. Even though our society prioritizes peer socialization, it is equally important for kids to learn how to interact with people who are older and younger, of different socio-economic backgrounds, and from other cultures. It is also important that our children have open dialog with people who have different political viewpoints, interests, and careers.

Providing broad socialization does not have to be an expensive or time consuming process. Every community has people with diverse talents, passions, and interests and almost all areas have people from different cultures and of different ages. Rather than seeking safety in people who are similar, parents can reach out to those who are distinctive and include them in family events and social gatherings. This step allows their children to experience uncommon worldviews and cultural perspectives and have exposure to new career options, hobbies, and sports.

Sometimes we forget that emotional development is tied to physical well-being. To make matters more challenging, our lives are so busy that we overlook these physical necessities. Well-adjusted children need adequate sleep and exercise and need to eat well-balanced diets that include ample unrefined and minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and grains. There are many websites that include recipes for quick, healthy options and fast food restaurants that provide fresh, wholesome choices.

We have less experience monitoring how our children are progressing beyond peer to peer socialization. As a result, it will likely take a conscious effort to make sure development is on schedule. Observation is often an effective tool. Do our kids actively engage adults in meaningful dialog in a broad range of subjects? How do they respond when someone broaches a topic which is new to them? Are they able to diplomatically disagree? Do they take the opinions of adults at face value or are they able to listen and form their own opinions? Have they developed new sports, art, or community interests?

Once a parent starts monitoring a broader range of emotional and physical components, they will have a good idea if their child is well-adjusted.

5 Tips To Bully Proof Your Kids

Parent Herald – Czarmecin

“One of the challenges that some of us goes through is bullying. Bullying is everywhere, in schools, workplace, or even at home. If you have children protect them from this sort of unwanted behaviors…Bullying is among the primary concern involving children. The subject made headlines in the national news and the good thing about it, schools and communities are taking a strong stand against it. However, you should also take your part. Here are some of the things you can do to keep your children from being bullied…”(more)

Teen Insomnia Linked To Family And Friends: No Prescription Necessary For A Real Cure

Medical Daily – Susan Scutti

“When confronting a yawning teenager complaining of insomnia, doctors often reach for their prescription pads…Yet a new study conducted by a researcher at the University of Cincinnati suggests that social ties, including relationships with parents, siblings, and peers, may contribute more to changing sleep patterns among adolescents than ebbing hormones.”(more)

Teaching kids to share: Giving choices rather than rewards is better, study says

CTV News – Staff Writer

“When it comes to getting preschoolers to share their toys, a new study finds that giving them a choice to share, rather than a reward, helps them share more with others in the future…Previous research…explains why rewarding children for sharing can backfire…Children come to perceive themselves as people who don’t like to share since they had to be rewarded for doing so.” (more)

Using Your Head and Your Heart

Scholastic.com – Staff Writer

“Intellectual ability is not enough to assure success in school or in life…Educators and parents can’t afford to overlook children’s insight and people skills. We should be guiding them (empathetically!) to use their heads and their hearts every day.”(more)