Tag: Behaviour

Feisty Young Girls

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

FeistyGirls_Quirky Kid

 

Some girls are feisty from the get go, from fussy babies to tantruming toddlers. The pre teen or “tween” years though, can be the time which parents find most confounding. At this time parents can struggle with everything from girls (and boys) becoming increasingly defiant to the ‘sexualisation’ of young girls and navigating increasingly complicated relationships with peers.

Between the ages of 8 and 13, children are expected to push the boundaries and this is a part of becoming more independent. You can therefore expect girls at this age to disagree with you, show a bit of ‘attitude’, take risks and want to be more like their friends. Remember, “this too shall pass”. In the meantime, you can support your child by guiding her behaviour with clear rules, warm relationships and an understanding of why teenagers behave the way they do.

For example, their brain are still developing: the ability to control our impulses does not fully mature until 25! Pre teens and teens, therefore, are more likely to make decisions based on emotion and have poor foresight. They are also often sensitive, moody and unpredictable. This poor ability to foresee consequences and make informed decisions can be offset by helping to build a pre teen’s confidence so that she can avoid bad situations, bad relationships and be able to say no.

Just because they are getting older doesn’t mean your girls don’t need rules and boundaries. Instead of imposing these on them, set agreed limits that teach independence, responsibility and problem solving. This will lead them to develop their own standards for what is appropriate and how others should be treated. Praise and encouragement, of course, is still important at this age so let her know what she is doing right. Also, although rude and disrespectful behaviour is common at this age that doesn’t mean it should be acceptable. Collaborate with your child on rules about this type of behaviour and then model what you would like to see youself. In the moment, stay calm and wait for the right time to talk about it. When the situation has cooled and can be talked about, let her know how you feel e.g. “I feel hurt when you speak to me like that.” Fighting between siblings is also common at this time and is a normal part of growing up which teaches us life skills like conflict resolution.

The pre teen years are a time when girls are dealing with peer pressure, possibly bullying or cyberbullying and the need to begin taking risks. An increasingly important role for parents and other adults at this time is to help girls to develop a positive self image. It is difficult for them to ignore the messages from TV, music, movies, the web and clothing stores which sometimes encourage girls to be “sexy” and base their self worth on how they look at a time when they are not physically or emotionally ready. The belief held by young girls that they must dress a certain way to fit in is part of growing up. They feel pressure to conform because dress is part of their social code. As parents we can tune in to media that is targeting our girls and then talk to them about it.

  • Talk about the qualities they value in their friends and how important these are versus physical attractiveness.
  • Have conversations about TV shows, dolls and outfits that you don’t like instead of giving a blanket “no” and encourage activities where she excels that take the focus off looks and being cool.
  • Most importantly, don’t lecture! Ask for your girls’ opinion and try to listen more than you speak. At this time it is also important to not avoid sex education but rather find out what the school is teaching so you can follow up at home. This goes beyond “where babies come from” and is about choices, behaviour and relationships. Ask your daughter’s opinion about these things, she is probably just as conservative as you are! Overall, be a healthy role model and avoid talking about feeling “fat”, “ugly” or going on diets around your daughter.

The pre teen years are a time when we expect girls to get a little feistier but some will show this more than others. Disruptive behaviour is known to pass through generations so if you were a feisty young girl there is a good chance your daughter will be too. You can buffer against this by fostering a warm relationship and setting firm but fair boundaries. Remember to talk to your girls so you can support them through what can be a tough time. You may sometimes get a ‘brick wall’ but meet them where they are by setting aside special time and being available when they come to you.

References:

Helping girls develop a positive self image. Australian Psychological Society (website)

Molen et. al., (2011). Maternal Characteristics Predicting Young Girls’ Disruptive Behaviour. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 40 (2), 179 – 190

Pre-teens behaviour: in a nutshell. Raising Children Network (website)

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Children and Gratitude

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

This post was produced by Quirky Kid and first published at the Essential Kids website
Gratitude is a positive way of thinking and viewing the world. Raising a grateful child is a hard thing to accomplish in a culture that wants everything now and is quick to move onto the next best thing but gratitude is an important life skill. By learning gratitude, children learn to become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills such as the ability to view situations positively. Grateful children begin to learn to look outside their one-person world. When a child does not learn gratitude, there is a risk that the child may end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed.

Research suggests that gratitude is something that many adults have not yet developed and find difficult to practice. Children who are encouraged to be grateful throughout childhood, will typically be more appreciative later in life. A 2003 study at the University of California in Davis, showed that grateful people report higher levels of kindness, happiness and optimism. A little sacrifice causes us to miss things that we take for granted …

Strategies to Develop Gratitude

The research tells us that ‘gratitude’ is not an inherent natural behaviour, rather it is a learned behaviour. It is also important to remember that each developmental stage impacts on the capacity the child has to think ‘outside themselves’ and consider others.

We can begin to teach our children gratitude from a young age through modelling. Parents have to model behavior they hope their children adopt as their own. A simple, sincere expression of gratitude when your child does something they were asked to do is always appropriate. On the contrary, demanding ‘thanks’ from your children does not assist nurture the growth and development of gratitude.

We can begin to teach our children, and ourselves, how to think gratefully, by practising the following skills;

  • Teach our children to focus on the positive and find gratitude. This can be done by creating a gratitude journal and can be done as a family. Reflect together on the best parts of the day. This teaches children to pause and think about the good things in their day. Also, redirecting children’s attention to all that they currently have, rather than ‘what they want’.
  • Celebrate the ‘small’ things. Help your child focus on the things they have achieved, whether big or small.  Sharing successes with family members and friends, keep a special folder or box and collate ‘keepsakes’ which help the child remember what they have achieved, the positives in their lives and the happy experiences and memories.
  • Teach through example. If you notice a lack of the gratitude attitude, consider teaching through example.  Responding in a grateful way, and labelling this ‘gratitude’ behaviour will assist your child learn the ‘how to’ of gratitude.
  • Establish family rituals. By having family rituals which centre around gratitude, children learn to express thanks. Examples of family rituals include, each family member listing one thing they were grateful for during their day, or, writing thank you notes to each other once a week.  
  • Try going without. From time to time, consider a family project that involves going without something important. For example, try making bread for a week rather than buying it, or try walking in your local area, rather than using a car. A little sacrifice causes us to miss things that we take for granted and helps us be a more humble and grateful when the thing is restored.

There are also a range of resources exploring feelings, emotions and behaviours that can help navigate the steps towards good values like Taking ResponsibilityI feel Jealous and many more at the Quirky Kid Shoppe.

 

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Birth Order

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

The impact of a person’s birth order is often underestimated as a significant factor in identity formation. The environment at home impacts on child development and birth order can influence how a child is treated by parents and siblings.

Our birth order impacts how we are perceived by our families and can relate to the amount of responsibility, independence and support we are given as children.

Birth order can also change the way parents raise their children. In most cases parents develop skills over time. The first-born child may be raised in an environment of anxiety if parents are unsure of their new role. This can result in more anxious first-born children. As parents become increasingly comfortable with raising children, they will typically given their second or third born child more freedom to explore etc.”

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“Ideally, children should be raised as individuals. Parents should do their best not to discriminate between children. Making comparisons between siblings is dangerous as this can promote competition” says Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist at the Quirky Kid Clinic.

However, the effects of birth order on a child’s personality may diminish over time. “As we mature we are less affected by the behaviour of our parents and our initial family unit” says Kimberley. While parenting effects diminish as children progress into adulthood, maternal bonds may differ according to birth order. One study of 426 mothers relationships’ with their adult children revealed a deeper emotional connection with their youngest child, yet they would be more likely to contact their oldest-born child when facing personal crises. (Suitor & Pillemer, 2007).

In general, first-born children are typically independent, trailblazers, with the propensity to be anxious or dominant. They have also been shown to be higher achievers, more conscientious and more patient. Second-born siblings are more open to new experiences and demonstrate more rebellious tendencies (Healey & Ellis, 2007).

The ‘middle child syndrome’ is popularly characterised by children who might be lacking in identity, trying to please others with no defined goals or vying for attention from their older and younger siblings. However there is little truth to this idiom, in Kimberley’s opinion. “Middle children can be influenced by their elder siblings, and have increased social opportunities with younger and elder peers.” One study of 794 adult middle-borns revealed no reduction in relationship quality with their family members. They did not preference friendships over family relationships any more than other birth orders (Pollet & Nettle, 2009).

Children born last in line typically gain more attention within the family, however they may display more immature and dependent characteristics than their elder siblings. On a positive note, they have been shown to be more agreeable and warm (Saroglou & Flasse, 2003). Interestingly, one study of 700 brothers found the younger brothers were 1.48 times more likely to participate in high-risk activities (Sulloway & Zweigenhaft, 2010). Another study revealed an interesting dissociation: boys with older siblings were more likely to engage in sports like football, whilst girls with older siblings were less likely to participate in extracurricular activities such as community service and school bands (Rees et al., 2008).

Only children can be easily dismissed as spoilt or lacking social skills, however their access to more resources and more parental attention certainly benefit their development.

The literature is divided as to whether birth order significantly impacts a child’s IQ, however one recent study revealed there are approximately 3 IQ points, or, a fifth of a standard deviation between first-borns and second-borns (Black et al., 2011). The discrepancy is not biologically determined, but more a result of birth endowments, allocated resources and the independent personality traits commonly associated with eldest children. These birth order effects are slightly more pronounced for girls (Kristensen & Bjerkedal, 2010). The same effects were found in a study of 2,500 adolescents in a child and adolescent psychiatry clinic (Kirkcaldy, Furnham & Siefen, 2009).

There have been theories that birth order can influence your choice of potential romantic partners. “Couples may be able to more easily relate to each other if they have the same birth order, such as two first borns may be comfortable with independence and increased responsibility. They may also have experience caring for younger siblings,” says Kimberley.

While there are documented effects of birth order on factors such as personality, risk-taking and academic performance, parents would do well to ensure each child is given equal attention, nurture and resources.

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References

Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., Salvanes, K. G. (2011). Older and wiser? Birth order and IQ of young men. CESifo Economic Studies, 57(1), 103-120.

Healey, M. D. & Ellis, B. J. (2007). Birth order, conscientiousness and openness to experience: Tests of the family-niche model of personality using a within-family methodology. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 28(1), 55-59.

Kirkcaldy, B., Furnham, A. & Siefen, G. (2009). Intelligence and birth order among children and adolescents in psychiatric care. School Psychology International, 30(1), 43-55.

Kristensen, P. & Bjerkedal, T. (2010). Educational attainment of 25 year old Norweigans according to birth order and gender. Intelligence, 38(1), 123-136.

Pollet, T. V. & Nettle, D. (2009). Birth order and adult family relationships: Firstborns have better sibling relationships than laterborns. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 26(8). 1029-1046.

Rees, D I., Lopez, E., Averett, S. L., Argys, L. M. (2008). Birth order and participation in school sports and other extracurricular activities. Economics of Education Review, 27(3), 354-362.

Saroglou, V. & Flasse, L. (2003). Birth order, personality and religion: a study among young adults from a three-sibling family. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(1), 19-29.

Sulloway, F. J. & Zweigenhaft, R. L. (2010). Birth order and risk taking in athletics: a meta-analysis and study of major league baseball. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14(4), 402-416.

Suitor, J. J. & Pillemer, K. (2007). Mother’s favouritism in later life: The role of children’s birth order. Research on Aging, 29(1), 32-55.

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Positive Parent-Child Relationships

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

We are proud to announce the publication of Kimberley O’Brien and Jane Mosco’s book chapter on Positive Parent-Child Relationships by Springer press. The book, Positive Relationships, was compiled by Dr. Sue Roffey.

Kimberley is our Principal Child Psychologist.

This highly accessible book takes a positive psychology approach to explore why healthy relationships are important for resilience, mental health and peaceful communities, how people learn relationships and what helps in developing the positive.

The abstract is as follow:

Practitioners working in child and family psychology typically hear about the challenges of problematic parent–child relationships. A positive psychology approach, however, identifies what is effective in fostering family resilience and facilitating optimal parent–child relationships (Suldo SM, Parent-Child Relationships. In Gilman R, Huebner ES, and Furlong MJ (eds) Handbook of positive psychology in schools. Routledge, New York, 2009).
Drawing on this perspective, this chapter summarises the literature, exploring different parenting styles and effective parenting strategies. We also outline changes in the parent–child relationship from birth through infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. We also consider the impact of alternative carers and cultural diversity with reference to mutually rewarding parent–child connections and increased child well-being.
The publication of this title coincides with launch of the Quirky Kid Tickets – a Tool to tame Behaviour – a resource that aims to improve parent-child relationship
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Tickets – a tool to tame behaviour

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

We are proud to introduce our newest innovation – The Quirky Kid Tickets!  Parents have been asking for and we are proud to introduce our effective behaviour management tool as recommended by Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist.

The Quirky Kid Tickets - A Tool to Tame Behaviour

Tickets are a complete reward system encouraging you and your child to work together to manage behaviour.

You start by setting clear, achievable goals together. Follow this up with lots of direct praise when you see your child achieve the goal. Finally, watch the surprise reward appear before your eyes as they scratch their Tickets to reveal fun and creative activities you can all share in.

‘Tickets’ is the latest resource to come from the creatives minds at the Quirky Kid Clinic. An inventive and cooperative tool for managing your child’s behaviour.

It is simple:

– Set a goal
– Give your child a ticket to acknowledge when the goal is achieved
– When your child collects enough tickets, he/she gets to scratch and win!
– Lastly, enjoy the fun and interactive reward activities together!

The Sunday Telegraph completed an article about our resource. You can read about it on The Telegraph online.

Visit the Quirky Kid Shoppe for more information on the Tickets and other unique Therapeutic and developmental resources for children and families.

We love therapeutic resources and go to great lengths to personally develop and produce our hand-packed kits. We are committed to providing parents and professionals around the world with creative and effective therapeutic tools that are tried, tested and loved in classrooms, clinics and lounge rooms around the globe.

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