Happy people make different choices than others, and the good news is that their habits can be learned–kindness, seeing problems as opportunities, expressing gratitude , and more. These behaviours are all choices that parents can teach their kids to make. No matter a child’s temperament–and yes! some kids are a lot more difficult than others!–she can learn to choose happiness.
Posted in children, decision making, gratitude, grit, habits of mind, happiness, hard work, imagination, parents' examples, play, problem-solving, resilience, self-regulation, spirit of giving, spontaneity, success, temperament, wisdom in children | 1 Comment »
There’s fascinating new research showing us something about where ‘grit’ comes from. ‘Why do some children who grow up in poverty do well, while others struggle?’ Alix Spiegel asks in this article. She answers the question with some fascinating new research showing how the quality of an infant’s attachment to her mother makes an enormous difference to sensitive kids, and that this difference grows over time.
Some infants are a lot more sensitive to the environment than others. These sensitive babies are the kids at highest risk of behavioural problems as they get older. Sensitive babies in this research who showed an insecure attachment to their mothers in infancy (i.e., not soothed by the mother’s presence, not happy to see mother after a separation) are the ones who grew into troubled children with the most severe behavioural problems.
Fascinatingly, though, the sensitive babies who showed secure attachments to their mothers in infancy were the ones who grew into the best kids, with the lowest number of problem behaviours.
(The children with low set points [an indicator of less sensitivity to the environment] were not as good as the best or as bad as the worst, no matter their parenting.)
And perhaps most interestingly, Spiegel writes that ‘The behavior of the children with high set points and secure attachments to their mothers compared favorably with the behavior of children whose environments were often much easier.’ The kids who were growing up in high-risk poverty who were sensitive to the environment (‘high set points’) and who experienced secure attachment to their mothers, actually did better than kids growing up with a lot more advantages.
Thank you to Ben Peterson at Newsana–http://www.newsana.com/— for bringing this to my attention!
For those interested in following this farther and deeper, you can go to the source:
Poverty, Problem Behavior, and Promise: Differential Susceptibility Among Infants Reared in Poverty, by Elisabeth Conradt, Jeffrey Measelle, and Jennifer C. Ablow http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/29/0956797612457381
You might also be interested in Dan Keating’s work– http://books.google.com/books/about/Nature_and_Nurture_in_Early_Child_Develo.html?id=0hdB63OT_RYC
or Stephen Suomi’s fascinating studies with cross-fostering monkeys, discussed by Dan Keating in The Nature and Nurture of Early Child Development, and elsewhere–
In a study of academic achievement in more than 10,000 students, plus parents, teachers and school admin people, researchers compared what they called ‘family social capital’ and ‘school social capital’. Family social capital included trust, communication, and engagement in academic life. School social capital included learning environment, extracurricular activities, teacher morale, and teachers’ ability to meet the needs of individual children.
They concluded that both home and school matter, but the role of the home is stronger. It’s better to have a good home environment and a poor school than the opposite.
This is very encouraging for parents who worry about sending their children to expensive private schools, or think they have to move into a higher priced neighbourhood for better public schools. School quality matters, but not as much as family support and connection.
thank you for this, Rebecca McMillan and The Brain Cafe!