• Feeling Neglected By Your Husband? Here Is What You Can Do

    Maybe you feel like that intimacy has gone, or that your conversations with your partner have become about the daily routine of your lives, rather than anything more meaningful. Perhaps you have forgotten the last time you had fun or surprised each other.

    Feeling “invisible“, unappreciated or like almost been taken for granted by your partner may be very painful. While every situation is different, feeling like you aren’t important, or are no longer connected with someone, is hard.

    According to a survey by AARP, being married but lonely is far from uncommon. Nearly 33% of married people over the age of 45 reported feeling neglected by their spouses. If you’re experiencing something similar, there are steps you can take to feel more connected.

    Figuring out the possible cause of the problem, talking to your spouse, and spending more quality time together are great places to start. Before becoming resentful or starting looking for attention elsewhere, we’ve looked at some options to help you keep your relationship alive with the help of Dr Adelia Lucattini, Psychiatrist of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) and of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA).

    Dr Lucattini, what is neglect in a relationship?

    When your partner no longer has the usual attention for you, the one you deserve as a woman and a wife. An important sign to consider is when he does not value your time, the time you devote to him and the family you’ve created together. The first bell is when he is totally focused on his work, sports and social relationships without ever asking you if you need or enjoy his presence and does not ask you to participate. Another point to note is when he entrusts his family members to you, taking it for granted that you have pleasure or want to be with them.

    What’s the best way to address this issue and what can we do when our partner takes us for granted?

    First of all, you have to realize this. You have to read the signs, give them the right amount of attention and not think that your partner will retrace his steps if you do not speak clearly to him. You must always bear in mind that you have the full right to be loved and that attention and care are normal needs in a relationship.

    The first step is to talk to him about it, pointing out your needs and what makes you happy, then tactfully but firmly tell him that he takes you for granted by giving him concrete examples that he can understand.

    The second one is knowing how to say no. For example, you can start gracefully evading the things he expects you to do without ever asking you. Then tell him clearly what you cannot do anymore and for what reason. Last but not least, it is to tell him that he has to ask you clearly and with a grateful ‘please’ for what he desires you to do.

    Is there anything we can do to make him regret neglecting us?

    Start with enhancing yourself, make your time special and unique, treat yourself to a massage or improve your look. Take time for yourself to play sports, yoga and pilates. Organise evenings with friends, going out with them or inviting them home. Once you have carved out your own space, he will be forced to take care of the family and things you have always looked after. He will have to reorganise his priorities at work, devote time to his children, and reduce or give up some hobbies. Don’t stop being seductive and attractiveWhen you are confident, clear about your needs and desires, and sure about your own rights, your partner will realise his mistake and will be afraid of losing you. By being seduced by your strength and your new way of being, he will find you interesting and desirable and he will try to make it up to you and win you back.

    The fact that you’ve identified that you’re not feeling great about how things are is an important first step. However, if making an effort to clearly communicate your needs to your partner and improve your self-care won’t sort things out, seek out for getting some additional support or therapy, especially if the situation is negatively impacting your mental health.

    Interview by Marialuisa Roscino

    About The Author

    Adelia Lucattini | Psychoanalyst

    Adelia Lucattini | CrunchyTales

    Adelia Lucattini is an MD, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst Full Member of the International Psychoanalytical Association. Author of books, articles and publications on psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism in Italian and international journals. Science communicator, she is the author of the blog ‘La Pensée. Guarire Giocando”.

  • 5 Effective Ways To Be A Positive Role Model For Your Kids

    As the world continues to navigate through COVID, midlife parents are looking for more productive ways to handle everyday life. There’s no road map or master class that gives us instructions or guides us on this leg of our journey because it’s an unprecedented time that requires us to determine the best path for ourselves and our families.  However, no matter how difficult life may seem, every day we must recognize that each experience is there for us to teach our children and have them learn and be strengthened by our actions and reactions to what is going on around us.

    Every minute, they are learning from us, from the mundane to the more serious, and this stays with them throughout their growing years. As parents, we are ultimately their role models, their teachers -the ones they carefully watch, observe, listen to – in our interactions with them, and others. Our communication is less about what we say and more about our actions, our expression and gesticulation, even our outward energy. In every instance, we must remember the importance of being responsive, not reactive, and to think clearly with a level head and making rational decisions.

    I credit the power of presence that allows me to make this realization on the spot, adjust accordingly, and continue setting an example through my actions from my highest self. However, being in the moment, the here and now takes practice. It requires you to be aware of what you’re thinking, how your body is reacting to what’s going on around you, and the ability to manage your emotions. It’s important to be aware that what you do is sometimes more important than what you say.

    Shaping your kids’ lives in a positive way

    Less than 40% of our communication is verbal, so our actions play a pivotal role in what our children are taking in from us. Modelling in your actions, in addition to your words, boosts credibility and provides a blueprint from which to emulate.  When you consciously lead by example through your behaviour, you choose the right response over what’s easiest or feels good in the moment. That’s not to say that you won’t make mistakes! Modelling requires you to own up and even apologize, if necessary. You’re teaching through your slip-ups as well, and when you take ownership you can learn the lesson alongside your child and ultimately this will strengthen your relationship with your children as you learn and grow together.

    Here are some examples of ways you can model positive behaviour for your children and teens.

    • Thoughtfully Respond

    In any situation, no matter how big or small, be mindful to respond thoughtfully, rather impetuously reacting. Take a moment and stand in a brave pose, maybe with your hands on your hips, and bring your thoughts to the present moment. This enables you to take your personal power back by choosing your response. When we are able to thoughtfully respond to a situation, we are utilizing the logic and reasoning part of our brain and are able to make good decisions.

    • Take a Brave Breath

    Close your eyes and connect with your breath — focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly, in and out of your nose — until you feel your fear or anxiety receding and begin to feel calm, safe, and strong. When you concentrate on your breath you release the distractions trying to pull you away from the here and now where life is happening. You can only focus on one thought at a time, so directing your attention to your breath enables you to become present and increase your focus.

    • Show Connection

    Always make it a point to reach out to others in a mindful way. Let your children see you interact with kindness and appreciation whether it’s emailing or calling a family member or friend, visiting with a neighbour, or volunteering your help somewhere. By showing compassion and cultivating connection with others, your child will foster that in themselves.

    • Be Understanding

    When dealing with others, sit down and actively listen before voicing your own thoughts. This shows your child that you care what others think, are non-judgmental and are open to learning about another’s opinions and perspectives.

    • Practise Self-care

    Show your child that it’s important to take care of their own mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Let them see you step away from daily household chores and take part in something that makes you feel good, whether it’s yoga, gardening, baking, reading a book, or any self-care activity that promotes better health. It’s important to have fun and your child will know it’s okay to do the same.

    We teach our children through what we do and that awareness helps us rise to the occasion and be the very best version of ourselves for them, even in the most difficult situations. Ultimately, this helps all of us, as the choices we make now shape our responses in the future and lead the way for our children to flourish and know the best way to respond in an increasingly challenging world.

  • Adolescence

    Puberty, Teenagers

     Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

    Adolescence is the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood that occurs between ages 13 and 19. The physical and psychological changes that take place in adolescence often start earlier, during the preteen or “tween” years: between ages 9 and 12.


    What Is Adolescence?

    4 PM production/Shutterstock

    Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can raise questions of independence and identity; as adolescents cultivate their sense of self, they may face difficult choices about academics, friendshipsexualitygender identity, drugs, and alcohol.

    Most teens have a relatively egocentric perspective on life; a state of mind that usually abates with age. They often focus on themselves and believe that everyone else—from a best friend to a distant crush—is focused on them too. They may grapple with insecurities and feelings of being judged. Relationships with family members often take a backseat to peer groups, romantic interests, and appearance, which teens perceive as increasingly important during this time.

    The transition can naturally lead to anxiety about physical development, evolving relationships with others, and one’s place in the larger world. Mild anxiety and other challenges are typical, but serious mental health conditions also emerge during adolescence. Addressing a disorder early on can help ensure the best possible outcome.

    What are the stages of adolescence?

    The stages of adolescence include early adolescence from age 10 to 14, mid-adolescence from age 15 to 17, and late adolescence from age 18 to 24. Each stage encompasses different challenges for teens and necessitates different responses from parents.

    What is the purpose of adolescence?

    The purpose of adolescence is for a child to psychologically and socially transform into a young adult. Breaking from their childhood attachment and security allows children to acquire freedom and responsibility to develop independence and to differentiate themselves from their parents and childhood to establish their own unique identity.

    Why is puberty so challenging?

    Why do teens make bad decisions and take risks?

    How does sleep change during adolescence?

    How Do I Talk to My Teen?


    Speaking openly with adolescents about changes that they are experiencing can be a challenge for any parent, especially given the shift in the parent-child relationship during this time.

    One important component of communicating with teens is helping them understand what lies ahead. Explaining how their bodies will change so that they aren’t caught by surprise can alleviate a child’s anxiety. Beyond physical changes, parents can begin a conversation about the social and lifestyle changes that accompany adolescence. Discussing the consequences of important decisions—like having sex or experimenting with drugs—can encourage a teen to reflect on their choices.

    Listening is a powerful yet under-appreciated tool. Parents often orient toward directives and solutions. But setting aside those tendencies and simply listening to the teen can strengthen the relationship. Asking specific or prying questions can make the child feel judged and therefore hesitant to speak openly and honestly. Listening attentively shows interest, validation, and support. It also increases the chances that a teen will confide in a parent as needed. Active listening builds intimacy and trust—while simultaneously allowing the teen to process their experience.

    How can I maintain a close relationship with a teen?

    Developing an independent identity during adolescence requires experimenting with new relationships and activities while gaining space from parents. But you can still maintain a close relationship despite that process. Express interest and ask questions about your teen’s new passions. Welcome their friends and provide family structure. In disciplinary situations, critique choices rather than character.

    How do I talk to a teen about healthy sex?

    Convey that you are open to discuss anything, such as sexual health, porn, pleasure, and love. During these conversations, listen openly and non-judgmentally. Shutting down a vulnerable adolescent with negativity or judgment can lead to shame and fear. Being open encourages them to trust you with future questions and to develop a healthy relationship with sex.

    How do I talk to a teen about drugs and alcohol?

    How can I support a teen when they’re upset?

    How Does Mental Health Change During Adolescence?


    Many of the mental health conditions people confront as adults begin to manifest in adolescence. In fact, one in five young adults has a diagnosable disorder, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

    However, teens can also struggle with anxiety, depression, and other forms of distress that are developmentally appropriate and will not necessarily endure. It’s difficult to know when a problem merits clinical attention, but when in doubt, querying a school counselor or another mental professional is the best course of action.

    Parents can help by learning how to identify early warning signs of the disorder they feel concerned about and by not being afraid to ask about their child’s thoughts and experiences. Confronting mental health conditions and accessing treatment early on can prevent a disorder from increasing in severity or duration. When addressed early, most conditions can be managed or treated effectively.

    Why are teenagers today so stressed and anxious?

    An American Psychological Association report revealed that 91 percent of Generation Z has felt physical or emotional symptoms of stress, such as depression or anxiety. This stress may be due to parental trends like overscheduling, effects of social media like negative social comparisons, and historical events like the great recession and mass shootings.

    How can I help an anxious teenager?

    Parents can care for their teens by offering empathy and nonjudgmental support—focus on understanding them rather than judging them. Teens achieve more when not pressured to be perfect, so parents can avoid expressing the need for perfection. Maintaining a relationship and encouraging their relationships with other caring adults like teachers and mentors is also helpful.

    What’s the relationship between social media use and mental health?

  • Why Being Pro-Life Means Taking Good Care of the Babies

    Public policy that cherishes the little ones and enhances life for everyone.

    Posted August 9, 2022 |  Reviewed by Ekua Hagan


    • Good childcare is relationship-based, so parents are usually ideally suited to provide the best possible care for infants and young children.
    • Mothers often feel a need to return to work very soon after a baby is born without high-quality childcare options available.
    • These moms face a dilemma because children do best with consistent, attentive, curious, and loving caregivers, especially in the early years.
    • Enlightened public policy includes supports for parents and parenting, access to good quality care, and universal basic income.
    Troy T/Unsplash

    Source: Troy T/Unsplash

    Up until two and a half, children do best with loving, reliable, and consistent caregivers. Good care is relationship-based, so in most situations, parents and grandparents are best placed to provide the consistent, interested, and interesting care that babies and young children need, day in and day out. This facilitates secure attachments and gives children the best chance of developing into secure, happily productive, and emotionally resilient adults.

    Problematic Public Policy

    As a developmental psychologist, parent, and grandparent, I despair over what I see in so many situations, where mothers are expected to return to work as soon as possible after giving birth, and little or no thought is given to paternity leave, much less reasonable and flexible maternity leave. Far too many parents feel they have no choice but to return to work almost immediately and put their child in low-quality daycare; they don’t have the financial resources to cover time off and they can’t begin to afford high-quality care.

    Too often, the baby or young child is left in a care setting all day every weekday, often for eight or more hours. Sometimes the care is excellent, but too often, the setting is crowded, noisy, and understaffed—not a good place for cherishing a very young person or nurturing the development of a young child, much less an infant or baby.

    Some Solutions

    I’m an ardent feminist, believing in women’s right to choose how to proceed with their own pregnancies, and in their career development opportunities, including the need to close the gender pay gap. It’s tricky, though, because I am also an advocate for children’s optimal development, and know that children do best with consistent, attentive, curious, and loving caregivers, especially in the early years.

    Some families reconcile this dilemma by creating a hybrid approach to parenting, where fathers take half the responsibility for childcare, parental leave, and household management. Other families include grandparents or others on a close and loving childcare team.

    In some enlightened jurisdictions, fathers are encouraged to take half of a substantial (e.g., two-year) parenting leave, so that the parents can find a way to flexibly share in the career slowdown necessitated by providing a child with the care and attention they need in the early years. Some employers create baby-friendly settings and situations, where mothers can continue with breastfeeding and giving loving attention to their infants and young children while continuing with their careers simultaneously.

    It’s Complicated

    Good child-centered childcare policy is complicated, taking into account the fact that every family, every community, and every situation is different, with its own demands, constraints, and resources. For one example, policy shouldn’t force mothers to get back to work as soon as possible after having a baby, but it shouldn’t discourage that either. Some women are better mothers when they can continue to focus on their careers while participating in raising their children.

    Some Good Resources

    The two most thoughtful and comprehensive sources I’ve found for research on this topic (and lots more related topics) are the recent book by Jay Belsky and colleagues, The Origins of You, and Dan Keating’s Nature and Nurture in Early Child Development. Thomas Boyce’s The Orchid and the Dandelion is another great source for evidence-based insights and recommendations on policies that support best child development practices.

    In the final chapter of Imperfect Parenting, I review my recommendations for childcare policies that simultaneously serve the developmental needs of young children and are pro-life in the fullest sense of that idea—policies that support parents and work toward building a strong, caring society that enhances life for each one of us.

    What Public Policy Should Include

    1. Financial and parental career supports. The research on early child development supports ring-fenced, well-paid parental leave, as well as flexible working conditions and hours. These supports should apply to both parents for the first two and a half years after a child is born.
    2. Community-based parenting supports. Parenting is fraught with challenges in the quickly changing, high-stress world we live in. When parents are supported in learning how children develop, and in making it through the dilemmas successfully, their children are more likely to thrive through childhood and into adulthood, and more likely to succeed at school and beyond. Community-based parenting support can help all parents, across all income brackets, but it’s most urgently needed in high-risk neighborhoods. There are many ways to provide that support, including drop-in centers, social media groups, and easily accessible networks of professionals. School-based or library-based parenting centers can provide welcoming early childhood options and good nutrition, as well as drop-in gathering spots and other parenting support as needed.
    3. High-quality and accessible childcare options. When paid caregivers are attentive, sensitive, responsive, stimulating, and affectionate (hallmarks of quality daycare), children do better on cognitive and linguistic scores than those in lower quality care, where children are more likely to have social problems, including aggressive and delinquent behavior. Quantity matters too: The more hours a child spends in daycare, the worse their subsequent behavior. Children in settings with fewer other children do better than those in busier settings. (All that being said, although quality and quantity of child care matters, a warm, loving, supportive family makes a much bigger difference to a child’s long-term development.)
    4. Universal basic income and universal health care. Communities with a more equitable distribution of wealth do better across all measures, including education, health, wealth, longevity, and happiness. Most people are surprised to learn that even the wealthiest among us benefit when each member of our community has a chance to create a good life and has the necessary supports in place when they need them.

    By ensuring that each child has a good chance at making a happy, productive life, enlightened childcare policies create a safer and more sustainable world, thereby enhancing life for each one of us.

  • Developmental Disorders and Delays

     Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

    Developmental delays can affect a child’s physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, or behavioral skills. Often, delays affect more than one area of development. When a child has delays in many or all of these areas, it is known as global developmental delay.

    Delays in development may be present from birth, but may not be detectable and diagnosable right away. One reason clinicians encourage parents to pay close attention to charts outlining typical development of intellectual, social and cognitive abilities, as well as language and motor skills, is to enable families who see significant developmental delays in their children to get a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.

    On This Page


    About 1 in 54 children will receive a diagnosis of autism. With treatment and support, many grow to lead full, meaningful lives, but early detection and diagnosis is considered essential so that parents can start to provide the attention and services children need. The developmental disorder affects information processing and can significantly affect social and communication skills. But the symptoms and their intensity vary widely from person to person, which is why the condition is generally referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Symptoms are usually detectable by age two, and are found in males four times more often than in females. While the number of children diagnosed with autism has risen sharply in recent years, there is some debate over whether the incidence is increasing, diagnosis is improving, or if the broader definition of the autism spectrum now simply covers a wider range of individuals

    There is no cure for autism, and some in the community of autistic families believe it does not need one, but is instead an example of human neurodiversity. Still, for many on the lower-functioning end of the autism spectrum, therapies can be crucial for alleviating symptoms and stress.

    For more, see Autism.

    What symptoms of autism can a parent detect in a young child?

    The severity of autism symptoms varies widely, but a child with impaired social and communication skills, such as highly delayed speech, restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, avoidance of eye contact, and difficulty forming emotional bonds, should be evaluated by a clinician. Children with autism may also be highly sensitive to certain sounds, textures, tastes, or smells, and may display deficits in motor coordination. Many children with autism also show a strong early preference for unvarying routines of everyday life.

    For more, see Autism Symptoms and Diagnosis.

    What causes autism?

    The specific causes of autism are not fully understood, but researchers now know that the condition is influenced by multiple genetic factors: People with a sibling who has autism are more likely to have it themselves, for example. It has also been found to be more common in children with an older parent, and very low birthweight may be a risk factor as well. There is no connection between vaccines and autism, and no evidence that a mother or father’s parenting style leads to the development of autism.

    For more, see What Causes Autism?

    How can parents help a child with autism?

    How can parents manage a child’s diagnosis of autism?

    Can children with autism thrive at school?


    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (previously known as attention deficit disorder or ADD) is considered to be the most common childhood mental health disorder, affecting between 5 and 11 percent of children. This neurobehavioral disorder affects executive functioning and is typified by inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Some children present either hyperactive or inattentive symptoms, but in some cases, both sets of symptoms manifest, in what is known as combined-type ADHD.

    Children with ADHD may find it difficult to concentrate on tasks at home or at school, may daydream frequently, and may become disruptive or defiant in some situations. Symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsivity may also make it difficult to get along with parents, peers, or teachers. With help, many children with ADHD can learn coping skills, discover their talents, and thrive.

    For more, see ADHD.

    Is ADHD considered to be a learning disability?

    Children with ADHD often face academic challenges, but it is not generally seen as a learning disability as dyslexia or dysgraphia are. But between a third and half of children with ADHD also have a learning disability; parents, teachers, and clinicians should be aware of this risk and evaluate a child’s school performance carefully.

    For more, see ADHD and Related Conditions and ADHD at School.

    How can parents support a child with ADHD?

    Like all children, those with ADHD need a parent’s love and understanding; they may have particular need for structure and consistency at home. The symptoms of ADHD often lead to academic struggles and a lack of self-confidence; a parent’s support can help a child maintain their self-esteem and discover their strengths.

    For more, see Parenting a Child with ADHD.

    Is ADHD an actual condition?

    Intellectual Disability

    Intellectual disability is marked by below average intellectual function and a lack of skills necessary for independent daily living. Symptoms often appear in early childhood and involve struggles with reasoning, problem solving, planning, abstract thinking, judgment, learning from instruction and experience, and practical understanding. Children with intellectual disability may struggle to communicate or engage socially as well. According to the DSM-5, intellectual disability affects about 1 percent of the population, and severe intellectual disability is present in about six per 1,000 people.

    For more, see Intellectual Development Disorder.

    What intellectual development delays might parents be able to detect in a child?

    In the case of intellectual development disorders, delayed development may become apparent at a very early age, although mild intellectual disability may not be recognizable until early school age.

    When these symptoms appear, a parent should seek a professional assessment of a child’s development:

        Failure to meet intellectual developmental markers.

        Difficulties learning academic skills.

        Lack of curiosity.

        Immaturity in social interactions compared with peers.

        Difficulty regulating emotions and behavior.

        Support needed in daily living tasks compared with peers.

        Limited spoken language.

    Other behavioral traits often associated with intellectual disability, although not necessarily part of a diagnosis, include aggression, dependency, impulsivity, gullibility, passivity, self-injury, stubbornness, low self-esteem, and low frustration tolerance.

    What causes intellectual development delays?

    The causes of intellectual disability can range widely; in many specific cases, they are likely to be unknown. Generally, the causes include prenatal and postnatal trauma, including oxygen deprivation before, during or after birth; infection; brain malformations; chromosomal abnormalities; genetic abnormalities; seizure disorders; malnutrition; environmental toxins; and severe, chronic social deprivation.

    How are intellectual development delays treated?

    Developmental Coordination Disorder

    Children who struggle to acquire fine and gross motor skills may be affected by developmental coordination disorder, sometimes referred to as motor clumsiness. For such children, getting dressed, eating meals, and playing games may be difficult, and may become a source of extreme stress hindering their self-esteem and social development. About 5 percent of children will be diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder between the ages of 5 and 11, more of them boys than girls, according to the DSM-5. The root causes are unknown but appear to affect rhythmic coordination and timing, as well as executive functioning, working memory, inhibition, and attention. Some dysfunction in these areas mimics that of ADHD but they are distinct conditions.

    For more, see Developmental Coordination Disorder.

    What symptoms of developmental coordination disorder can parents detect?

    Parents are often able to recognize delays in achieving motor milestones like sitting, crawling, or walking; consistent clumsiness (frequently dropping and bumping into objects); difficulty catching a ball, writing, using scissors, or riding a bike; or an unsteady walk. When these struggles interfere with routine daily living, parents should bring a child to a specialist for an evaluation so that therapies can begin as soon as possible. Children may also be tested to rule out the possibility of another medical condition or learning disorder. Since the normal pace of motor-skill acquisition can vary widely in children, developmental coordination disorder is not typically diagnosed before age five.

    How is developmental coordination disorder usually treated?

    Children can benefit greatly when intervention efforts begin early. Physical therapy often helps, but so do practical strategies such as encouraging children who have trouble writing to use a laptop to take notes in class. Perceptual motor training, which combines physical movement with tasks that require thinking, is a widely-adopted treatment for developmental coordination disorder. While many children see eventual improvement in symptoms, more than half children continue to struggle with coordinated movement through adolescence, with varying levels of severity. The condition does not typically worsen over time, but it can  continue into adulthood.

  • School-Age Children

     Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

    School-age children, roughly between age 6 and 10, are more independent, and independently social, as they take on more responsibility for their social lives, their activities, their schoolwork, and their health, diet, hygiene, and safety. Some will enter puberty at this age, girls more likely than boys.

    The frequent transitions of this period can be daunting for kids and for parents, but children are more likely to thrive when they are confident that their caregivers remain ready to support their emotional needs. Parents can maintain strong relationships with their kids by remaining engaged with their connection even when their children don’t seem to be (or won’t admit to be). Parents may find that even as sons and daughters begin to rebel, they will still listen to their caregivers’ advice, eventually, if it is given calmly and without judgment.

    On This Page

    How can kids learn to become more independent decision makers?

    Metacognition means being aware of one’s own thinking—and experts believe it is crucial for children developing decision making, as it enables planning, monitoring, and evaluation of their responsibilities, school assignments, and schedules. Conscious awareness of one’s challenges in math, for example, can lead to better planning on upcoming assignments, more attention to the results, and greater self-reflection and meaning making.

    Why do children seem to lose motivation as they enter middle school?

    Often a child who worked hard and was eager to achieve in elementary school seems to slack off and lose interest when they enter upper grades. It’s a normal phenomenon at this stage of development, often driven by frustration with new demands on their organizational and time-management skills; distraction, as social life and bodily change become higher-priority concerns; the effects of bullying or social exclusion; and an embrace of rebellion to authority, represented by teachers. Parents who observe these shifts in their children should reach out with calm, empathy, reassurance, and practical advice, as opposed to judgment or punishment.

    How do children develop resilience?

    Life stressors can weigh particularly heavily on children, who may lack the perspective an adult might bring to a temporary setback. Resilience is not an innate trait; it’s something children can develop. Research has shown that children who are better able to regulate or control their emotions are less likely to become anxious or depressed in stressful times. Supportive relationships with parents and other close adults can boost a child’s resilience, as it gives them the confidence to move forward.

    How can a parent tell if a child has enough friends?

    Parents may hope that their children meet whatever definition of “popular” they subscribe to, but like adults, children differ in their social needs: Some are happy to have one or two close friends, while others are anxious may become anxious if they don’t feel like everyone in their class likes them. Like adults, though, few children embrace loneliness, and parents who closely observe their children’s moods and routines, and recognize that they are experiencing loneliness, can support them—not by arranging play dates, but by encouraging participation in group activities and helping them develop social skills.

    How can children manage early puberty?

    The American Academy of Pediatrics considers puberty to be early, or “precocious,” if it occurs before age 8 in girls, or age 9 in boys. The average age of puberty onset is about 12 years, although research suggests that this age is gradually shifting earlier for more children than ever before. For these children, changes to their bodies and moods may be especially tumultuous, leading to feelings of awkwardness around peers, discomfort with their bodies, and an unwelcome sense of being an outlier. Girls who reach puberty earlier may be more likely to experience panic attacks, body dissatisfaction, substance abuse, and even suicidality. Researchers refer to these issues as the result of mismatch between one’s physical and emotional development. Early developing boys experience similar stresses due to mismatch, research finds, but generally to a lesser extent as even early puberty tends to arrive later in boys than in girls.

    Parents, experts advise, should reassure children that they are still “normal”; they are just reaching a universal milestone slightly ahead of schedule. A parent’s openness to listen to a child’s concerns about any topic, and their ability to remain positive and supportive, can help a child get through this period with their confidence and self-esteem intact.

    For more, see Adolescence.

    How does bullying affect children?

    Approximately 20 percent of students report being bullied at school, and boys and girls report being bullied in equal numbers, although with the advent of cyberbullying, those numbers may be rising. As children move past early childhood, they are less likely to tell parents about bullying or ask parents to intervene. Victims can be traumatized by bullying, in ways that may linger into adulthood including shame, lower self-esteem and diminished self-confidence. Children who are bullied may experience it as social rejection, which is why being bullied is a common source of school avoidance.

    For more, see Bullying.

    What do children need most from their parents as they approach adolescence?

    Research has long suggested that the most beneficial parenting style for a child’s development is authoritative—high in both warmth and discipline. More recent research investigated which of those factors was more important for healthy development over the lifespan and found that children benefited more strongly from parental warmth, regardless of whether the parent was also high or low in terms of discipline. Love, then, in the form of warmth, forgiveness, and understanding, may be the most important thing a parent can offer their children.

    How can a parent tell that a child is depressed?

    Research suggests that 1 to 3 percent of children experience depression before puberty. Parents should understand that depression is a treatable condition, and that treatment is crucial because, if ignored, depression can recur throughout their child’s life. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell that a child is depressed, especially as they approach and enter adolescence and become increasingly less likely to share their feelings with parents. The most common symptom of depression in children is irritability, and a depressed child may also display sadness, lethargy, a lack of interest in their activities, and self-destructive behavior. Parents should let a child know that they are aware of his or her pain and that they want to listen, and to help. Along with seeking professional help, taking part in activities together, like biking or walks, may lessen symptoms by boosting a child’s activity and assuring them that they have support.

    For more, see Children and Depression.

    Does too much screen time affect kids’ mental health?

    Recent research suggests that there could be an effect, but a small one, and that it may not work in the way many people imagine. A study based on surveys of thousands of children ages 9 to 11 revealed a link between screen time and depression in young people, and a lesser connection between screen time and anxiety. It appeared, however, that increased screen time, especially passive time watching videos or other content, was a symptom of depression, not a cause. Gaming and online chatting were more closely linked to anxiety in children, though, again, the link was not necessarily causal and in any event, it was statistically small.

  • Early Childhood

     Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

    During this period, roughly covering ages 3 to 5, a child’s personality, interests, and social orientation begin to come into focus, but parents should keep in mind that personality traits, personal preferences, and intellectual and academic ability are not “locked in” for life during this (or any other) stage. At this age, many children will have their first formal learning experiences—including learning to socialize with others without a parent present. In some cases, parents may have to deal with a child’s aggression toward others, or with helping them deal with other children’s aggression toward them. Caregivers can take advantage of children’s openness to learning at this age by continuing to read to them often and conversing with them on a wide range of topics while introducing new words and ideas to them.

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    What are the key milestones of early childhood development?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, by the end of early childhood, at about age 5, children can be expected to display most of the following social and cognitive skills, although each child develops differently and may achieve some milestones earlier or later than others and still be considered to be experiencing healthy development:

    Social Development

    • Prefers playing with others to playing alone.
    • Wants to please friends, and be like their friends.
    • More likely to understand and follow rules.
    • Likes to sing, dance, and act.
    • Is aware of gender.
    • Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe.
    • Displays, and seeks, more independence in and out of the home.
    • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative.

    Cognitive Development and Communication Skills

    • Speaks clearly.
    • Tells a simple story using full sentences.
    • Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”
    • Can say their name and address.
    • Can count 10 or more things.
    • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts.
    • Can print many letters or numbers, and reproduce geometric shapes.
    • Knows about things used every day, like money and food.

    Is personality locked in during early childhood?

    No. Early childhood is a crucial developmental stage, but the idea that personality is set in stone at this age is easily disproved. Children raised in abusive homes, for example, can grow to be emotionally healthy. And adults who have long struggled with anxiety can learn to change through psychotherapy, a field built on the idea that we can change if we really desire to do so. Parents should still do all they can to create a stable emotional environment and foster their children’s intelligence and social skills, which can benefit them throughout their lives. But biological and environmental factors beyond a parent’s control can negatively affect a child, and so parents also should not imagine that every struggle a child ever faces can be tracked to mistakes they made in early childhood.

    How do young children learn to share?

    Preschoolers are often selfish, holding onto coveted resources whenever they have the opportunity and resisting pleas to share, even though they know it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t mean young children are jerks; other research shows that they are highly empathetic, quickly offering comfort to those in distress. Sharing toys, however, or understanding the concept of giving to help others in need may require parental guidance. Fortunately, the evidence is clear that kids can learn to share and that, like adults, helping others makes them feel good, just as it does for adults. Parents who can explain the benefits of sharing, successfully model the behavior, and convey their good feelings at being generous, are most likely to help their children acquire the habit of sharing.

    How much play time do kids need?

    Children need much more than they usually get. Studies have found that children today spend less time engaged in creative or free play, especially outside, than they did in the past, for reasons including increased time spent on digital media, parental or household routines that don’t allow for free play, and heightened concerns over safety and a decreased willingness to let children play outside unsupervised. As a result, some advocates argue, kids may be more sedentary, less creative, and less independent, than they could be.

    Why can young children sometimes be aggressive, or even mean?

    Children act aggressively at an early age: Kids may hit, bite, push, or kick before they turn 18 months old. In early childhood, verbal aggression like teasing and name-calling become more common. Toddlers typically become aggressive because they are angry or afraid but at older ages, when children understand how their actions can affect someone else, aggression becomes more concerning. It’s at this age that bullying behavior begins.

    Many bullies, rather than having emotional problems, have high levels of emotional understanding, but may have learned from other experiences that people are generally hostile, and so that not only should they react aggressively to perceived offenses, but that aggression is a reasonable response. Parents and teachers who can take steps to promote empathy can help young children learn to be more understanding of others and to approach social interactions in a healthier way.

    Why do some tantrums last so long?

    Tantrums can be enormously distressing for parents, especially because of their apparent lack of internal logic: Small issues can spark explosions of anger that often continue long after the initial issue has been resolved. It’s important to understand the difference between a tantrum’s trigger and the factors that keep it going. Environmental issues can play a role: A crowded space, for example, especially one in which a child feels on display, can drive their stress further upward. A parent’s response to a tantrum can also extend it, because stress is contagious. When a child misbehaves, and a parent shouts, the child can become even more stressed, and both can become inflexible, fueling a lengthy tantrum cycle. When parents can recognize this cycle, they can step out of it, helping the child calm down more quickly, and, if necessary, they can further address the behavior later.

    What makes some children shy?

    Signs of an outgoing or reserved personality can be seen, some research suggests, in children as young as four months: Those who showed the most emotional distress tended to be most likely to develop social anxiety later. But normal shyness in a child is not necessarily a sign of a concern. Temperaments often change as kids get older, and, besides, many people take a little time to warm up to new people and situations. In the meantime, parents can help highly sensitive or anxious children thrive by letting them adjust to new things at their own pace and understanding their internal anxiety, which is often closely tied to a tendency for feeling guilty, by only gently reprimanding them when they break a rule.

    What do children learn from picture books?

    More than 60 percent of parents of young children read to them every day, and the benefits are clear, predicting future interest in reading as well as academic achievement. When parents read aloud to their children, they expose them to a range of words and turns of phrase that may not be part of their normal everyday conversations. Kids can learn sophisticated content as well, as a study of their retention of key concepts from books on animal camouflage and evolution showed. Above all, though, children find comfort from hearing their parents’ voices read to them, and thrive on the bonding that reading time enables.

    How does conversation help children’s brains develop?

    A child’s early exposure to language is at the core of their development, predicting language skills, cognitive ability, and academic achievement. Recent research emphasizes the importance of early conversation in the development of language structures in the brain: The more conversation kids experienced, the stronger the connections between regions of the brain responsible for speech production and comprehension. These findings are part of a body of research suggesting that rich and complex conversational turns are at least as important to language development as the raw number of words a child hears.