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Helping boys navigate the world of fake news

In an online world where reputable and not so reputable websites and social media platforms vie for user attention and time, teaching boys how to decipher between real and fake news has never been so important. Boys are brought up to learn through play, using make believe and their amazing imaginations to think up ways to entertain themselves; from taking on pirates on the high seas, to having ninja battles against enemy teddies and cushions. As boys age they start to become more aware of what is real and pretend in their lives – moving away from the world of imaginative play and more into the world around them, including the digital landscape. Without growing understanding of websites and social Click here to continue reading.

Building resilience – it’s ok for boys to fail

In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to protect children from failure in order to safeguard their fragile self-esteem. This seems logical – failure is unpleasant. It tends to make you look bad, you have negative feelings of disappointment and frustration, and you often have to start again. While this is logical, it actually has the opposite effect. Children and adolescents in Australia appear less able to cope than ever before. The problem is, in our efforts to protect children, we take valuable opportunities for learning away from them. Failure provides benefits that cannot be gained any other way. Failure is a gift disguised as a bad experience. Failure is not the absence of success, but the experience Click here to continue reading.

Shared reading – the words are just the beginning

Reading to children is beneficial in many ways. Books offer a unique opportunity for children to become familiar with new vocabularies; the type of words not often used in day-to-day conversation. Books also provide a context for developing knowledge of abstract ideas for children. When an adult reads a book to a child, they often label pictures, talk about activities in the book, solve problems together and teach them new words and concepts. Reading to very young children can have long-lasting benefits for their later school success, not only in literacy but also in mathematics. Adding to this, early shared reading particularly helps children from disadvantaged families defy limitations associated with their socio-economic status. So, if there is only one Click here to continue reading.

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.