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Science at home boosts learning

Did you know that children spend just 14 per cent of their waking time between Kindergarten and the end of Grade 12 in school? Given this startling statistic, it comes as no surprise that much of children’s learning happens “out there” –  in the playground, during extracurricular activities, at a museum, on a walk, via the media, and, perhaps most importantly, at home. I have worked for decades to engage parents because I believe that families and schools have much to learn from and share with each other. Schools have formal knowledge of teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and evaluation. And parents know their children’s motivations, skills and interests. The research also shows that informal environments including the home – Click here to continue reading.

Breaking stereotypes: boys and emotions

Emotions and boys – pairing these two words conjures up many old-fashioned stereotypes young men today are still grappling with as they try to understand how to deal with and show their emotions effectively. Decades past, boys were told to “man up” and “take it on the chin”, to “stop crying, you wuss” and “take it like a man”. Despite society having advanced into the modern day with vast research into boys and their emotions, these harsh stereotypes still linger – making it difficult for boys to trust they can show their emotions openly without negative consequences. Sitting on the sidelines of an U14s cricket match, a prime example of the different ways boys deal with and communicate their emotions Click here to continue reading.

Boys need strong friendships to connect

Headlocks, play fighting and firing sarcastic comments at one another may not look like friendship but to many boys these traits are key aspects of their strongest bonds with friends. Researcher and award-winning author Rosalind Wiseman says boys thrive having strong friendships, however, sometimes parents do not understand elements of healthy friendships for their sons. “It’s not a conscious decision on our part, but we often assume that girls not only have closer, better friendships with each other but also need them more than boys,” she writes in her book Masterminds and Wingmen. “These assumptions are wrong. Behind boys’ arguments and put downs is a complicated social system in which friendships are deeply valued…if you look and listen beyond the Click here to continue reading.

Taking tech away won’t fix behaviour issues

Do you take away your teenager’s phone to manage their behaviour? Maybe when they arrive home late from a party or receive a bad report card? Confiscating, time-limiting or permitting additional access to technology has become a popular parenting strategy. Surveys show that 65 per cent of American parents with teenagers confiscate phones or remove internet privileges as a form of punishment. It’s no longer simply a tool of distraction – technology access has become a means of behavioural control. But my recent research suggests that this approach might not be the best idea. I’ve spoken with 50 Australian families with 118 children aged 1-18 about this issue. The data will be published in 2018. Among my sample, a family Click here to continue reading.

Testosterone surges – fact or fiction?

The idea that four-year-old boys have a spurt of testosterone is often used to explain challenging behaviour at this age. But how did this idea come about? Is there any truth in it? And if not, what else could explain their behaviour? Psychologist and author Stephen Biddulph is often credited with being the source of the idea that four-year-old boys have a testosterone spurt. Although he mentioned it in his bestselling book Raising Boys, he was writing about someone else’s work: According to Professor Mitchell Harman in the US Department of Aging, boys undergo a testosterone burst at age four… Not all researchers have agreed with this finding though, so it remains controversial. Biddulph said Professor Harman wrote about this Click here to continue reading.

Mental health check ins help ease struggles

Mental illness can be an isolating, very lonely battle for boys who may struggle to voice their feelings to trusted family or friends. The recent R U OK? Day and International Mental Health Day last week are key strategies to get conversations started about the state of mental health. Where are we at? Do we need help? Does someone we know need a helping hand? Is something not quite right? R U OK? says with so many Australians effected by mental health challenges, starting the conversation with boys as soon as possible is key to opening communication channels. “With many of us effected by mental illness, a stressful event, loss, peer pressure, study stresses, bullying, parental separation – we need Click here to continue reading.

One in five teens drinking at riskier levels

One in five teens is drinking alcohol at risky levels higher than ever previously seen and parents are being urged to cut alcohol supplies to teens in an effort to curb binge drinking. Overall, levels of teen alcohol consumption have decreased in recent years. However, those who are drinking are doing so at much higher levels than previous generations. Recent studies from Curtin University and UNSW have found heavy drinking teens are gaining easy access to alcohol supplies from family, friends and bottle shops. Key links between parental supply and later binge drinking and alcohol dependence were results of a six-year study by UNSW’ s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). Curtin University’ s National Drug Research Institute’s Young Click here to continue reading.

Thriving in life takes some simple steps

Every parent wants their son to thrive in life, to excel and achieve to the best of his abilities. One determined scientist believes he has come up with the answer to the age-old question of how to get there – simply feeling good about yourself and the life you are leading. From a baby learning to crawl to a teenager studying for exams, thriving is part of life which can make a person feel proud, fulfilled and give life greater meaning. University of Portsmouth sport and exercise scientist Daniel Brown has collated years of research about thriving across different age groups and cultures to determine key aspects linked to effectively thriving rather than just surviving life in general. “Thriving is Click here to continue reading.

Teens are taking their time to “grow up”

What many teens of the past always saw as rites of passage are passing many by these days as new research shows teens are taking their time to “grow up” in today’s world. The age teens started driving and working for money were two of the criteria which were studied in new research from the US which has revealed teens today are not engaging in “adult” activities as early as generations before them. Researchers from San Diego State University studied more than eight million teens involved in large-scale surveys from 1976 to 2016, looking at how often teens engaged in activities that adults do but children do not – such as dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving Click here to continue reading.

Tips to dealing with exam weeks

It’s officially exam time for Year 12s across WA this week; here are some simple, straight-forward tips to dealing with exam weeks – good luck! Sleep It is the most important study tool a student has. Sleep refreshes the brain and enables it to process all of the information – routine sleep/waking times are optimal. Keep running Exercising boosts the brain’s oxygen levels and hence capabilities to store information. Regular exercise also gives exam students an opportunity to release stress and anxiety, clear their mind and rejuvenate with more energy. Change your ways With the majority of study already done (hopefully!) it is time to review and compile information ahead of the exam. Try different techniques to retain information (group Click here to continue reading.