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The ‘Fortnite’ battle

Most parents have probably heard about and are seeing the online game Fortnite being played in their homes. I am often questioned about this game and spoken to about how it is being used at home and asked what should I watch out for? Many children have access to a range of gaming consoles at home and it is a little like giving a set of car keys to a restless adolescent, eager to experience the thrill of the open road. Like a driving instructor explaining the road rules before handing over the keys, I am sure parents try their best to put in place rules, guidelines and procedures and support to help their sons in their journey. However, the Click here to continue reading.

Teen viewers need chat about 13 Reasons Why

The portrayal of suicide in the media was taboo for many decades, with the thinking that publicising it was potentially glorifying it – now in 2018, with the recent release of Netflix’s second season of 13 Reason’s Why – mental health organisations, schools and parents are questioning the appropriateness of TV content openly depicting teen suicide. Schools across Australia sent letters to parents ahead of the second season release last week, promoting awareness of the graphic and confronting content of the TV show and the need to have open conversations with their teens about whether they should watch it and about what they were watching. With the reaction to season one’s provocative portrayal of teen suicide, bullying and sexual assault, Click here to continue reading.

Exam tips beyond the textbooks

Exam time, it may spark fear in some and eagerness in others – whether your son is keen to tackle the challenge of trying his best or is struggling to cope with the approaching exam period, you can assist by helping him to manage other factors in his life which may impact his study efforts. As parents know from their own experiences with tests and exams throughout their education, figuring out effective study techniques is an individual process – what works for some may not for others. Below are some simple everyday tips to help your son beyond the textbooks and personal study skills; Factor in regular eating and sleeping patterns: Eating to recharge is key. Eating regular, nutritious foods Click here to continue reading.

Celebrating mums and sons this Mothers’ Day

As mothers across Australia wake up to breakfast in bed, a few special presents and lots of love and attention from their kids this Mothers’ Day we celebrate the unique bond between mums and their sons. Psychologist and research guru Steve Biddulph says there is a lot to growing happy, healthy boys. “Boys don’t just grow up in a smooth and even way. You can’t just shovel in cereal, provide clean t-shirts, and have them one day wake up as a man!” Biddulph writes. “A certain sequence has to be followed. Anyone who spends time around boys will be amazed at how they change and the range of moods and energies which they show at different times,” he writes. “The Click here to continue reading.

Biddulph’s 21st Century tips to raising boys

Steve Biddulph has guided generations of parents through the parenting minefield, from dealing with energy-fuelled boys to anxious teens – his name is synonymous with research into the minds of boys. More than 20 years since his international bestseller Raising Boys hit bookshops, Biddulph has published Raising Boys in the 21st Century this month – adding up-to-date research, insight and tips for parents today. The added content looks at a range of subjects relevant to boys, including; Gender Brain and hormonal development (including latest testosterone research) Boys and crying Reading and communication Countering the effects of porn Speaking to ABC’s Night Life presenter Philip Clark last week, Biddulph said the notion of growing a strong, confident boy was always at Click here to continue reading.

Building healthy eating habits in boys

Most boys love to eat and when growth spurts are about to hit they manage to ingest seemingly endless supplies of food – but are they getting the right foods and key messages and skills to help them develop healthy eating habits? A recent study from the University of Adelaide found Australian children watching free-to-air television are being inundated with junk food advertising on a daily basis. The study, which digitally compiled advertising data from one Adelaide television channel over the course of 2016 (recording 30,000 hours – including 500 hours of advertising), found children were subjected to nearly two and half times more junk food advertising than healthy food at peak child viewing times. University of Adelaide Associate Professor Click here to continue reading.

Making the most of reading with kids

Children typically enjoy being read to, and see educational, social and emotional benefits to the practice. But families are busy, and finding time to read aloud can be eaten up by the demands of everyday life. Reading to your child is one of the most successful ways of instilling a love of reading in them. But in our recent study, more than one-quarter of primary-school-aged respondents claimed they were never read to at home. Not all parents have been read to themselves as children, so may not have experienced a model they can then follow with their own children. And many adult Australians may be struggling readers themselves. With this in mind, here are five suggestions that can help make Click here to continue reading.

Exercise benefits the brain and body

Exercise – it can take effort and planning but its benefits to boosting boys brain power far outweigh the sometimes complicated logistics of making it a commonplace activity in their lives. The benefits of children and adolescents undertaking regular forms of exercise are well established. However, with one in five Australian pre-school age children overweight or obese the reality is that boys are not participating in as much regular physical activity they need on a daily and weekly basis. Canadian research linked short 10-minute bursts of aerobic activity to increased stimulation of parts of the brain which help with problem-solving and focus. Western University researchers found the temporary added stimulation of these areas of the brain was a positive result Click here to continue reading.

Music learning brings boys on song

Learning a musical instrument, the art of DJ’ing or singing in a choir – music learning can have a significant impact on many areas of a boy’s learning. Music training can have benefits to language and maths learning, social capabilities, perseverance and coordination skills, to name a few. There have been numerous studies into the benefits of music training for children, most finding the act of learning music can have obvious impact on a child’s brain function. Music learning engages the left side of the brain, an area also responsible for language learning. Researchers from North Western University in the US also found it was never too late to start reaping the benefit of music learning, in their 2015 study Click here to continue reading.

Why teens can make bad decisions

From getting beyond drunk at a friend’s party, to some seriously questionable outfit choices, teenagers often do things that seem outlandishly stupid. But we now know why: the areas of the brain that control decision-making don’t fully develop until early adulthood. A teen’s developing brain places them at greater risk of being reactive in their decision-making, and less able to consider the consequences of their choices. So how can parents help their teenagers learn and apply good decision-making skills? The difference between what teenagers know and do Most children demonstrate an understanding of “right” and “wrong” behaviour from an early age. As language develops, children are able to give clear reasons as to why certain behaviours are undesirable. But children Click here to continue reading.