Is it nature, is it nurture? That is the question. This age-old debate, in the world of psychology, has been a source of controversy for decades. At some point, all parents have toyed with thoughts of which one has most influenced their child concerning personality traits, abilities, etc. And while different psychology fields have distinct beliefs, studies have shown that this debate falls along with more of a continuum, with both views interacting. With this knowledge, we can engage children in programs that will nurture the expression of traits that will lead to success and happiness.
In the nature versus nurture debate, nativists believe that all our physical and personality traits are pre-wired and cannot be influenced. On the flip side, empiricists believe that environmental factors such as childhood experiences, parenting styles, etc., influence how we develop. Today, most psychology and child development areas consider both sides and look at how nature and nurture influence how an individual develops. This approach evolved from a field of study called epigenetics.
Reducing the Effects of Sitting
Posted: April 21, 2023
There’s no denying that advancements in technology have made our lives easier. We can work from home, shop online, and watch newly released movies, among many other things, all without leaving the couch. And while this saves us travel time and hassle, it can lead to unexpected health consequences. The reason is that we are sitting for prolonged periods, which can deteriorate our bodies. Even worse is our children are also sitting a great deal, so they are now faced with the same issues that adults have been. Therefore, children need to keep their bodies moving throughout the day.
The human body is like a machine. If we sit too long or too much, our bodies become rusty and aren’t easy to move. The significant damage that can result, over time, can lead to heart disease, obesity, posture issues, neck and back pain, and poor circulation, to name a few. Children today are not only sitting in school but for much of their evenings and weekends. This is all thanks to technology. But not only are they more prone to developing diseases earlier, but studies have also shown that sitting can negatively affect their mental health as well. In addition, sitting causes fatigue, affecting concentration, which is a necessary element for optimal learning and retention. Prolonged sitting also makes it difficult for the vestibular system to develop correctly, leading to a disorganized brain and lack of spatial awareness.
The Secret to Developing Well-Rounded Athletes
Posted: April 13, 2023
Over the last year, sports programs have had shortened seasons, if any at all. Because of that, training time for athletes of all ages has dropped significantly. Now, with sports returning to a more normal duration, young athletes are working hard to regain lost skills and recondition their bodies. The problem, however, is that lengthy breaks increase the risk of injury upon returning to training. In addition, when athletes specialize in a sport, they generally only train muscles for that sport. To be truly at the top of their game, young athletes should engage in training that develops all muscle groups through a system designed to meet their athletic and developmental needs.
When athletes are on an extended break from their sport, their body deconditions, and they lose cardiovascular power, muscle strength, speed and agility, and other skills. As we generally see, after a “normal” break, athletes go back into training at a high level which usually increases their risk of injury. With COVID, breaks have been longer, and training hasn’t been as extensive as it was in prior seasons. Coupled with the lack of cross-training in sports in general, young athletes are currently at a higher risk for overuse injuries, leading to further setbacks. To truly recondition their bodies, they need to take it slow and build skills back in a steadier approach.
Brain Training for ADHD
Posted: April 06, 2023
Although Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is such a prevalent diagnosis, there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. People often assume that ADHD results from poor parenting, laziness, or some learning disorder. And with these assumptions come a wide range of approaches to “fix” the problem. However, with the lack of proper understanding of this disorder, it’s hard to find an effective method to implement. Becoming knowledgeable about the facts of the disorder can make way for more successful interventions that will build confidence in those children instead of shame.
ADHD stems from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, largely that of dopamine, but new studies also find low levels of serotonin. More recent brain scans have also revealed that the amygdala and hippocampus of individuals with ADHD appear to be smaller and blood flow is slower to those areas. Since those regions are responsible for emotional processing and executive functioning, it’s no wonder why children with ADHD struggle in areas related to attention, organization, and emotions. Because of these things, the nervous system of those with ADHD functions differently. This leads to a need to be challenged and engaged in something interesting most of the time.
Parenting the Shy Child
Posted: March 30, 2023
In a world that highly values the traits of extroverted individuals, shy children are often assumed to have something wrong that needs to be fixed. However, shyness is simply a personality trait that is part of their temperament. Children are born with unique personalities, although the environment can play a significant role in how these traits present as the child develops. What is apparent is that shyness falls on a continuum, where children have varying levels of this trait. The important thing is to remember that different character attributes should be embraced to appreciate the unique way a shy child interacts with the world around them.
Children are wired with a variety of traits, and these things affect all areas of their life. Shyness is a trait that most parents are concerned about because they feel their child doesn’t have a good self-image. However, many shy children have a strong self-concept. They are often deep-thinkers and great listeners but also very protective of their inner peace. Shy children with a healthy confidence are polite, happy, and make eye contact. They are just simply quiet and slow to warm up to novel situations and people. And yes, more extreme shyness traits can cause concern, such as avoiding eye contact, behavior problems, and excessive fear. This is when adults need to step in and help.