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The Impact of Father-Child Play

Almost 15 years ago, Kevin O’Shea, a stay-at-home dad with three children, and I wrote the book “The Father-Style Advantage.” A main theme of the book was that dads have a much different parenting style than moms and this difference is very beneficial to children. One of the distinctions between mothers and fathers, we noted, was in the way that dads play with their children. We wrote that the rough and tumble style of play actually helps children, particularly boys, learn emotional control.

It turns out that an article in Developmental Review coming out in September, 2020, confirms what Kevin and I wrote all those years ago. The article, entitled “Father-Child play: A Systematic Review of its Frequency, Characteristics and Potential Impact on Children’s Development," is a meta-analysis of nearly 80 articles that look at what the research says about the frequency and characteristics of father-child play and the influence of play with dads on children’s development.

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Is There an Association between Emotional Abilities and Right-Wing Attitudes?

Okay, maybe you see this as: “Really, you needed a study to prove THIS?”

Alright. I get it. But it is always good to have our beliefs and attitudes backed up by evidence.

That is exactly what some scholars in Belgium set out to do. In a recent study published in the journal Emotion, these researchers took a look at whether there are psychological attributes that go along with political ideology.

That is, these researchers wanted to know if the psychological characteristics are different for those who espouse left-wing versus right-wing political viewpoints.

In two studies, the researchers assessed the emotional abilities and political ideology of 983 Belgian undergraduate students. The second study also examined the participants’ cognitive ability. Emotional ability was measured with three tests: The Situational Test of Emotional Understanding, the Situational Test of Emotion Management, and the Geneva Emotion Recognition Test.

The researchers found that individuals with weaker emotional abilities — particularly emotional understanding and management — tended to score higher on a measure of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation. Right-wing authoritarianism is a personality trait that describes the tendency to submit to political authority and be hostile towards other groups. Social dominance orientation is a measure of a person’s preference for inequality among social groups.







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Black Children Misperceived

We know from previous research that white police officers (and other white adults) tend to view Black adolescents and adults as more dangerous and threatening than white teens and adults. Now, there is new research that suggests that prospective teachers may also misperceive Black children.

The findings of a new study was published online in Emotion, an American Psychological Association journal.

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How to Ease Conflicts with Your Teen

It’s inevitable, isn’t it? You will have conflict with your adolescent at some time or another.

After all, they are becoming autonomous and independent; they won’t always agree with you or want to do things your way.

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How Often does Stalking and Harassment Occur in Teen Relationships?

We’ve been aware for more than 30 years that stalking and harassment takes place frequently in adult romantic relationships. And while we’ve known that the same behaviors can take place teenage relationships, we never really knew how frequent those behaviors were.

Now, we have a better idea.

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Children Being Raised by Grandparents Often at Risk

There are nearly three million children – that’s two percent of all children – in this country being raised by their grandparents.

The number of children being raised by their grandparents has grown considerably in recent years, from 2.5 million in 2005 to 2.9 million in 2015.1  Although grandparents can provide support and stability in families, the increase in custodial grandparenting in the United States has primarily been driven by the inability of some parents to care for their children,2 and up to 72% of children raised by grandparents have been exposed to at least one adverse, traumatic event.3 In light of rising incarceration rates,4,5 the current opioid crisis,6 and the recent economic recession,7 children who enter nonparental kinship care face a unique living environment and complex relationships that can impact their long-term development.

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LGBTQ+ Youth & Mental Health Issues

Researchers from the nonprofit Trevor Project found in their 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, the largest ever conducted on the mental health of LGBTQ, provides some critical insights into the lives of LGBTQ youth and their risk factors for suicide.

For instance, the survey results show that as many as 40% of LGBTQ youth and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth thought about taking their life in the past year.

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Some People don’t Wear Masks. Why Not?

Many people are wearing masks these days. Some refuse to go out without a mask. Some insist that anyone who comes to their house cover the lower part of their face with a cloth mask.

Then there are the others. Those who resist the whole concept of wearing a mask. Some of these people see it as a personal affront of they are required to wear a mask to enter a store or a business. They are not persuaded by laws and mandates compelling the wearing of masks.

This is true in the United States, but it is also observed in other countries.

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What will be the effect of Stress from the Pandemic on Children?

There’s no doubt about it. The pandemic, stretching into five months as I write this, is having an effect on adults. In his novel, “The Plague,” Albert Camus wrote about people in a fictional town shuffling numbly through life as the epidemic reached a year. We haven’t quite reached that point in America, but as the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating, tensions and anxieties for many people are increasing.

That is certainly true of parents – what with moms and dads trying to juggle children and child care, work and schooling. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) survey found that nearly of parents with children under the age of 18 say their stress levels are high. As times moves on, a greater proportion of Americans say that the economy and work is a significant source of stress for them.  

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For Your Long-term Well-being Force Yourself to Think Positive, Right?

We all know about the power of positive thinking. If you think positive thoughts, you will be healthier and happier. We all agree about that, right? Don’t we?

Maybe not.

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Racism and Police Excessive Use of Force: The Facts

As has been said by many people recently, we live in a time of a racial pandemic. Race and policing are a critical aspect of the racial issues that in some respects are both dividing and uniting our society.

More specifically, it is the use of excessive – sometimes – lethal force by the police that has caused weeks of protests and a sudden unifying of diverse groups in our country. Everyone, in one way or another, is dealing with the fallout from years of police use of force and young people (for the most part) who are fed up and crying out for justice for Black people who, it seems based on media reports, to be on the victim side of excessive use of force. Not only is
everyone thinking about these issues, which are by no means new or suddenly recognized, but they are being discussed. If you are going to be thinking and talking about racism and excessive use of force, then you need to have as many facts as possible at your disposable.

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The Pandemic will Make You – and Everyone Else -- More Lonely, Right?

Living through a pandemic, with many people quarantined in their homes, will lead to a new epidemic: Loneliness. That is a fear expressed by some. The reasons for this thinking make sense: Having to keep our distance from others; not being able to see our friends; isolated from family members; and not interacting with other people at our place of work. All of this social distancing will surely lead to severe consequences for most of us.

That might be the conventional thinking. But what is the evidence?

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