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Fathers’ workloads continue to impact kids

A third of Australian children aged 11-13 years say their fathers work too much, a new study led by Australian National University has found. The study, which observed around 3,000 fathers and their children as part of the ‘Growing Up in Australia’ study, also found that one third of children did not always enjoy time with their dads. Lead researcher Professor Lyndall Strazdins said fathers’ long hours on the job, including regular night and weekend work and difficulties getting time off work, contributed to their children’s perceptions. “Australia’s work culture and social norms are making it hard for dads to be the fathers they want to be,” said Professor Strazdins from the ANU Research School of Population Health. “More than half Click here to continue reading.

Being left out is more than just child’s play

Making “life-long” friends in the playground one minute then being left out the next is usually brushed off as part of growing up, but new research has shown being rejected is far more complicated than first thought. New research from Spain has gained insight from the “rejecters” of friends in the schoolyard to get a better understanding of why some children are left out by peers and others ostracized for many years of schooling. Previous research has looked at the behaviour of the child being alienated in the playground, blaming rejection on their behaviour. However, this research avenue has failed to portray why an aggressive child could also be popular among classmates – leading researchers to question whether bad behaviour among those Click here to continue reading.

Boys vulnerable to body image pressures

It’s a well-worn movie storyline – a scrawny, picked-on anti-hero is transformed into a muscle-bound champion, often through some fantastical gift like a secret serum. It is hard to imagine a better advertisement for using dangerous steroids to build up muscles. But how much should we worry about the messages being sent to boys by the skinny-kid-cum-super-heroes of this world? After all, boys don’t care much about how their bodies look. Or do they? A new Australian study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, has for the first time shown that body dissatisfaction isn’t just dangerous for girls. When young and teenage boys start worrying too much about how they look it is just as damaging to their quality Click here to continue reading.

Youth need voice on own mental health: study

Young people’s voices should be heard in the development of mental health initiatives aimed at teens in Australia, say leading experts in the research of teen mental health. The Five Year Youth Mental Health report, a joint initiative by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute, was released recently. One of the recommendations of the report was that young people should be engaged in the development of youth-friendly mental health services and be advocates on mental health issues. The report found the key group teens turned to for help with mental illness first was friends, followed by parents, the internet and other relatives. Hence, equipping family and friends with ways to effectively provide support to teens in need was also Click here to continue reading.

Most teens happy with life: new research says

A snapshot of 15 year olds’ happiness levels across the globe has found Aussie teens are generally pretty satisfied with their lives. The Students’ Wellbeing: PISA 2015 results were released this week and have revealed Australian teenagers are as happy as most teens in the 72 countries which participated in the inaugural survey linked to the OECD’s PISA academic studies. The average life satisfaction score tallied across the countries was 7.3 out of 10. The survey examined students’ wellbeing in four areas of life, including; school performance, relationships with peers and teachers, home life and recreational activities. Key findings of the survey included; Schools are more than places to gain academic skills. Schools which nurtured students holistically, building social and Click here to continue reading.

Boys’ perception: finding a healthy body image

Promoting a positive sense of self and body image to adolescent boys in a world that sends so many messages about the “perfect body” can be a difficult task. The way a boy perceives he looks influences his day-to-day life, from his levels of self-confidence to his self-esteem and self-respect. Many boys do not have any problems facing the mirror and being happy with the image staring back at them, understanding their body is their own and accepting any perceived imperfections – looking to their strengths rather than weaknesses. However, some boys grapple with the image in the mirror, struggling to find positives in the reflection they are faced with. There has been a rise in the levels of reported Click here to continue reading.

Act tough: research reveals pressure on young men

A rigid construct of how “real” men are supposed to behave leaves many feeling trapped, new research carried out suggests. While most support gender equality, the young men in the UK, US and Mexico reported feeling pushed to live in the “man box”. They feel pressure to act tough, hide weakness and “look good”. This can have damaging effects on their health and wellbeing, as well as their relationships with each other, and with women and children. Alongside online surveys conducted for this international study, we convened focus groups with men between the ages of 18 and 30 in London and the north of England, representing diverse backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, religion and class. The men we spoke to Click here to continue reading.

Inactive teens risk lower bone strength

Inactivity is causing a lack of bone strength in vital teen developmental years, according to latest research.  Despite boys having larger and stronger bones when compared to girls, the research found boys who spent more time on the couch than running, jumping or playing sports had lower bone strength to those who were active on a regular basis. Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada studied a group of teens over the key four-year developmental/pubescent period (10-14 for girls and 12-16 for boys), finding a gap between those who participated in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities daily and those who got less than 30 minutes per day. Lead author Leigh Gabel said the study found Click here to continue reading.

New ABC show confronts bullying

Bullying can take boys to the edge, gripped by emotional scars that parents may not be able to see. It can have devastating consequences, when children or teens feel they have limited ability to get passed the continuous, unrelenting pressure and abuse being bullied may entail. There has been a number of positive anti-bullying programs take shape over recent years, paving the way for kids to “look out” for one another and take on the mantra “bullying, no way!” Former Olympian and world champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has taken to Australian television in his own effort to confront bullying among students in Queensland schools. Thorpe says he was bullied by some of his teachers when he returned to his south Click here to continue reading.

Risky teen behaviour is more than brain wiring

Having a brain wired to take risks does not excuse extreme risk-taking behavior in teens, according to latest research. It is well-documented that the area of the brain responsible for thrill seeking in teen brains matures sooner than the area in charge of rational decision making. However, recent research involving 5000 adolescents from across the globe has found a risk-prone brain does not necessarily mean teens are not able to control their behaviour. Context is key. The research, published in the journal Developmental Science, found adolescents from the 11 different countries (including the Americas, Europe and Asia) studied had similar risk-prone brains but there were dramatic variations in actual risk taking behaviour among teens depending on other factors. The lead author Click here to continue reading.