The Bobo Doll Experiment was a classic study that examined how children learn aggressive behavior through modeling and imitation through exposure to violent behavior. It remains relevant today as parents grapple with how to limit their child's exposure to violence and aggression in media and gaming.
The study was conducted by psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1960s and involved elementary-aged children who watched videos of an adult model engaging in aggressive behavior towards a Bobo doll, a large inflatable toy. The children then interacted with the Bobo doll themselves, and their behavior was observed. These observations found that the children who had been exposed to the aggressive behavior were more likely to model and imitate it, and show higher levels of aggressiveness towards the doll.
Bandura's study highlights the importance of parents being aware of the media and content that their children are exposed to, as young children are particularly susceptible to modeling and imitating behavior. While it is not always possible to shield children from all violence and aggression in media, parents can take steps to limit exposure and provide context to what their children see.
Parents can adopt different approaches to limit exposure, including blocking violence and explicit content, actively talking to their children about the effects of violent behavior, and encouraging exposure to non-violent and positive media content. Additionally, parents can teach their children the value of empathy, respect for others, and non-violent conflict resolution skills to help prevent aggressive behavior.
Above all, parents should have an open and honest dialogue with their children about the influence of violence in media and real-life scenarios. By doing so, they can help their children develop a sense of personal responsibility and critical thinking, and encourage positive behaviors that promote social harmony and peaceful coexistence.
The Bobo Doll Experiment remains a powerful reminder of the impact of media and modeling on children's behavior. As parents, we have a responsibility to guide our children's exposure to media and provide them with the skills and values that will help them make responsible and respectful choices in the real world.
It’s allergy season in Pennsylvania. We’re stocking up on tissues and allergy meds and eye drops and telling everyone we see that we promise, our kids are not sick, they just have terrible seasonal allergies and oh yeah, we can’t give our one child antihistamines because they make his behavior ABSOLUTELY BONKERS. And of course, he’s my child who most likes to roll around in the grass, which is what he is allergic to.
Certain seasonal allergy medications, specifically those containing antihistamines, can cause side effects that may include hyperactivity and changes in behavior, especially in children. Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the body during an allergic reaction. While effective at reducing allergy symptoms such as sneezing and itching, some antihistamines can also affect the central nervous system, leading to side effects such as hyperactivity, restlessness, and irritability.
These side effects are more commonly associated with first-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). Second-generation antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin), are generally considered to be less likely to cause these types of side effects.
Both of my sons have seasonal allergies. The 5yo takes Zyrtec with no issues whatsoever. The 4yo has tried both Zyrtec and Claritin and when I tell you, we had the most chaotic, erratic week of our lives while he was on them. Hyperactive, could not settle, oscillating between a joyful mania and collapsing in tears. What the heck is going on?! Am I not a child behavioral specialist?! What is happening this week?!
Oh. Holy shit. It’s the meds.
If you are concerned about your child's behavior or hyperactivity while taking a seasonal allergy medication, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend switching to a different medication, adjusting the dosage, or trying behavioral strategies to manage the side effects. In some cases, it may be necessary to discontinue the medication altogether.
It is important to note that while side effects from seasonal allergy medications can be troublesome, the benefits of treating allergy symptoms generally outweigh the risks, especially for people with severe allergies. Your healthcare provider can help you weigh the risks and benefits of various treatment options and help you find a management approach that works best for you.
For us, we could keep our kiddos inside and avoid antihistamines through fall. But it’s pretty obvious that the more sunshine and exercise my kids get, the happier they are, the better they sleep, and the better they eat. So we spend as much time outside as we can, we sneeze into our elbows, and we keep it moving. Right now we’re avoiding the meds when we can. Some days give us no choice so we just take a deep breath and remind our kiddo to do the same. I taught him some breathing strategies that I teach my clients, and he knows that if he’s in school and his body feels too excited, he can ask to go sit quietly and take five slow belly breaths to calm himself down. Honestly — kid’s a deep breathing pro.
How’s your allergy season going? Let us know in the comments what works for you!
take care of yourself ❤️
Love to hate it or hate to love it, one thing’s for sure…TikTok’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Is that a good or a bad thing? In my mind, it’s absolutely both. There are so many good things about the internet, and as a person with a self-diagnosed addiction to the internet, I won’t pretend I want it banished. How would I research my hyperfixations at 3am without it?!
Tiktok is funny, and informative, and fun. Every day I’m reminded of how creative and talented people are. And I’m literally on tiktok myself. Like, I post videos. I went a little bit viral. I was, momentarily, slightly tiktok famous for a few days. It was fun.
I can also see the problems, and the potential problems, especially for the younger people I work with every day. So let’s talk about both.
5 ways TikTok has had a negative impact on mental health:
1. Social validation: The constant need to gain likes and followers on TikTok can lead to obsessive thoughts and behaviors that can impact someone's self-esteem and mental health.
2. FOMO and anxiety: TikTok's algorithmic nature can contribute to fear of missing out (FOMO), which can lead to anxiety and depression.
3. Cyberbullying: Like other social media platforms, TikTok can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying, which can lead to a decline in mental well-being.
4. Comparison: Constant exposure to "perfect" bodies, lifestyles, and trends can make TikTok users feel inadequate and foster feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.
5. Addiction: TikTok's algorithm and endless scroll can contribute to addictive behavior, leading to neglect of other duties and responsibilities, and possible feelings of guilt or shame.
5 ways TikTok has had a positive impact on mental health:
1. Community Building: TikTok has a supportive community where individuals can share their experiences and connect with others. This can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
2. Mindfulness and Self-Care: Many users on TikTok share tips and tricks for mindfulness and self-care. This can help individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms and strategies for managing stress.
3. Creative Outlet: TikTok provides a creative outlet where individuals can express themselves. This can boost self-esteem and reduce feelings of anxiety.
4. Education and Awareness: Many TikTok creators use their platform to educate others on mental health and raise awareness for different mental health conditions. This can help to reduce stigma and increase understanding.
5. Laughter and Humor: TikTok is filled with creative and humorous content. Laughing and having fun can release endorphins, which can boost mood and reduce stress levels.
So what are time thoughts? Do you use TikTok yourself? Do your kids? Are you a poster or a lurker? How do you limit your time, and your kids’ time, on TikTok? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Thank you for reading. Take care of yourself!! ❤️
Roblox is an online multiplayer gaming platform that allows users to create their own games and play games created by other users. It has become one of the most popular games among children, with millions of users worldwide. While many parents are concerned about the impact of the game on their children, others believe it is a harmless way for kids to interact with their peers.
My kids are way too young to be in the world of video games quite yet — by the time they’re old enough they’ll probably have the ability to implant the games into their brains via the App Store, God help me. Professionally, however, I get asked about gaming generally and this game specifically on an almost weekly basis.
So let’s talk about it.
Pros of Kids Playing Roblox
One of the key benefits of Roblox is the platform's emphasis on creativity. Children get to use their imaginations to build their own games or play games created by others. This can help develop their creative skills, problem-solving abilities, and imagination.
2. Social Skills
Roblox is an excellent platform for children to interact with other players and add a new dimension to their friendships. Children can collaborate with others to build new games, work together to complete existing games or simply chat to other players. These interactions can help children develop social skills, such as communication, teamwork, and empathy.
3. Educational Value
Some games on Roblox have educational themes, such as history or science, which can provide a fun and engaging way to learn.
4. Safe Environment
Roblox prides itself on providing a safe online environment for children. The platform offers features such as parental controls, chat filters, and moderators, which help ensure the safety of its users.
Cons of Kids Playing Roblox
While Roblox can be a fun and creative platform for children, it can also be addictive. The platform's addictive nature can lead to children spending excessive amounts of time playing, to the detriment of their school or personal lives outside of the game.
(Timers can help. I recommend a visual timer like this one, which I use in session: a.co/d/beCQnAP)
2. Inappropriate Content
Roblox tries its best to enforce strict content guidelines to prevent inappropriate content from being displayed to minors. However, some players may create games or chat rooms with inappropriate content, which can expose kids to explicit language, violence, or sexual content.
Like any online platform, Roblox has its fair share of cyberbullies. Children may encounter other players who use bullying tactics, such as name-calling or harassment, which can have a negative impact on their self-esteem.
4. In-Person Socialization
Some kids become so invested in the world of Roblox that they prefer it to in-person time with friends. Interactions that take place in the game may cause rifts in friendships outside of the game. For kids with social anxiety or social discomfort, in-person interaction may feel even more difficult as compared to the relatively less awkward world of Roblox.
So what’s a parent to do? Only you can decide what’s right for your family.
Roblox can be an excellent platform for children to develop their creativity, social skills and learn in a fun way. However, parents and guardians should be aware of the potential downsides of the game, and remain vigilant in order to recognize if these risk factors may be impacting their own children. By taking proactive measures to monitor children's usage and setting strict guidelines, they can ensure that their children can use the platform safely and responsibly.
What are your thoughts? What restrictions, if any, do you put on your kids’ video game usage? Have you seen any positive or negative effects of Roblox and similar games? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourself ♥️
You know how they talk about Philly sports fans being super aggressive and yelling criticisms at their own teams and, um, throwing snowballs at Santa Claus that one time? Picture that, but instead of a bunch of grown men who get paid a zillion dollars a game, it’s a bunch of 8 year olds who go to school with your kid and whose parents you have to see in the pickup line on Monday morning. And some well-meaning parent is yelling at them. You know, to motivate them! ?
It’s not a great look. And no matter what you want to believe…kids are learning more from our behaviors than they’re ever going to learn from our parenting monologues. If I tell my kid to be a good sport and then my husband and I spend the ride home calling the ump an idiot, well…you get the picture.
Winning graciously is hard. Losing graciously is harder. As a fellow person who hates to lose, I presume the question you’re right now asking yourself is: how the heck do I teach my kid good sportsmanship?
I’m glad you asked. Here are some tips:
1. Lead by example. One of the best ways to teach kids how to lose at sports is by modeling good sportsmanship yourself. If parents or coaches are seen accepting defeats and managing their emotions positively, it will be easier for children to do the same. Children learn better by observation than by being told what to do. “Do as I say, not as I do” is, in reality, not really a thing.
Another important lesson for kids and parents alike: SPORTS ARE NOT LIFE. If the Eagles losing on Sunday (Monday? idk) ruins dad’s whole day, then we have a problem. We are leading by example, but in the opposite direction.
Sports are important. So are family, music, art, fun, food, relaxation, extracurricular clubs, volunteer work, faith, academics, friendship, health and fitness. Model a life of balance for your kids.
2. Praise effort, not outcome. This goes for more than sports, by the way. In academics as well, hearing “oh my goodness I can tell you worked so hard on this!” ultimately means a lot more than highlighting the letter grade at the top of the page…especially if the letter isn’t an A. A more consistent message would be to say that effort, hard work, perseverance, and commitment are what matters, and then acknowledge those factors in the face of their efforts.
Acknowledging their efforts and progress every time they participate in sports plays a crucial role in developing the child's self-esteem regardless of the outcome of the game. This approach creates a sense of accomplishment, leading to an increased motivation and drive to continue participating in sports. Parents and coaches must provide positive feedback rather than criticizing a child's performance or focusing on winning. Not only that — parents and coaches need to watch how they talk about other parents and even themselves in front of the kids. Saying it’s ok if your child is imperfect means little if you openly berate yourself or criticize others for flaws and failings.
3. Encourage sportsmanship and fair play. When I played softball (very unseriously), at the end of every game both teams would line up, stick out our hands, and then walk past each member of the opposite team high fiving each player while saying “good game” each time. The coaches would shake hands at the end. If a member of the opposite team got injured, both teams would kneel until the person stood up and was clearly ok. 30 years later, these are the things I remember about playing a sport, and they’re the things I want my kids to experience as well.
Parents and coaches must emphasize the importance of treating opponents, referees, and teammates with respect. Children must be taught to play by the rules and not resort to unsportsmanlike conduct, such as using foul language or cheating. We take accountability for our mistakes, we learn from them, and we move on. We are proud of our accomplishments, we internalize the feeling of pride from the hard work that went into the game, and we congratulate the other team on their efforts. We do not scream at the volunteer ref who we will probably see later at the Wawa with their kids. We are adults setting an example.
4. Progress, not perfection. Teach your kiddos to celebrate their improvement, rather than just focusing on winning. In my house, we try to talk about “YOUR best” rather than being “THE best.” Coaches and parents can help children by tracking their progress and milestones, and acknowledging them. This will reinforce the idea that the journey is just as valuable as the destination. If we wait to be the best to be proud, we may never get there. Celebrating all of your little wins is motivational and contributes to self esteem building.
My favorite workbook to teach growth mindset: a.co/d/5O7vNiz
(free kindle download available!)
5. Provide opportunities for growth. Parents and coaches can provide children with opportunities for growth and development, such as attending clinics or playing with more skilled opponents. This will expose children to new challenges and help them improve their skills. It will also teach them that learning and development are ongoing processes, and help them recognize that to be good at something you sometimes have to start at the bottom. Encouraging kids to try new positions on the team, new techniques, or even new sports/activities can help to highlight the benefits of not just doing the one thing that makes them feel confident or accomplished.
BONUS TIP: SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT. Creating a positive and supportive environment is crucial in helping children lose, AND win, gracefully. Coaches and parents must work together to foster a safe and encouraging environment, where children feel valued and supported, regardless of the outcome. This will help children develop a positive self-image and feel motivated to keep working to improve, as well as helping kids to avoid internalizing external achievements as their only measure of self worth.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop them in the comments, and thanks for reading! Take care of yourself ❤️
We’ve all been there. You’re on hour 6 of a 12+ hour day and you’re already feeling out of options. Would it really be so bad to turn the tv on?
NO! Of course it wouldn’t. The tv is not evil. Screens are not evil! Phones, iPads, tv, movies, video games…they all serve a purpose and none are inherently problematic. But studies do show that using screens to soothe a child can cause adverse effects…including but not limited to the fact that the child will, in the future, be prone to want the quick fix of a screen for soothing every time they’re feeling a big feeling that they want to escape.
Also, lots of parents (me included!) are looking for alternatives to screen time for our kids. When I need a break from the stimulation of engaging with my kiddos, and they need a break from each other and — let’s face it — me, I know a screen will work. But I also know that other things work better to soothe them, to engage them, to stimulate their minds, and don’t turn them into tv zombies.
Below you’ll find a list of ideas. It is by no means exhaustive. But it’s a good start ?
1. Independent reading.
Even if your kiddo can’t read yet, there are still plenty of options for independent reading. They can look at picture books, practice sight words, or even listen to an audiobook. If you have an audible account, check out the tons of free kids books available. My kids also love using Libby, an app that allows you to link your library card and borrow digital downloads and audiobooks for free from your local library.
2. Arts & crafts.
I always have a few prepackaged crafts stashed away for easy structured art play. Craft stores like Michael’s and hobby lobby have lots of inexpensive options. But art absolutely isn’t limited to structured crafts! Give your kiddo a canvas and a paintbrush and let them get messy. Google “easy art projects for age 4.“ Check Pinterest or Instagram for ideas (@busytoddler is one of my favorite accounts). Hunt for rocks outside and then paint them. Draw on old boxes and stack them up to make a castle. Trace leaves. Draw pictures for your family and then mail them. Get creative!
3. Achievable chores.
Believe it or not, kids gain confidence from being entrusted with chores. Give them age-appropriate tasks that don’t need to be done perfectly – they just need to be done. Housework is, as KC Davis tells us, morally neutral – you can’t do it “bad.” Instant confidence boost!
4. Sensory play.
I recommend that all families keep a sensory stash accessible to the children somewhere in their home. Fidgets, play doh, clay, big pillows, slime, beanbag chairs, pop its, squishmallows, bubble wrap… The list goes on. Bury little toys in clay and have them excavate them like they’re looking for fossils. Have them make their name out of Play-Doh. Try to make bubbles in the slime and then pop them.
5. Structured journaling.
Journals and workbooks with prompts can reduce the amount of guidance a child might need when they’re trying to think of something to write about. This fosters independence and a sense of accomplishment. I personally love journals with a mental health focus (obviously) but there are tons of options available.
6. Cooking & baking.
OK, yes. You’ll have to supervise this one. But it’s a break from the screens, it’s a life skill that they will benefit from learning anyway, and (hopefully) the end result is delish. I always like an activity that yields a concrete result. There’s something about working hard to learn something new and then having something physical to show for it that really hits the spot, especially for kiddos (and adults) who like instant gratification.
Jigsaws, yes. But also brain puzzles like cross words or words arches, a Rubiks cube, or those old metal links for you have to figure out how to untangle them – all good options. Keep their hands and brains busy at the same time. A sense of accomplishment when it’s done. Chefs kiss ?
8. Imaginative play.
Free play! Yes, it’s still a thing!
You know how the 80s and 90s babies walk around saying that when we were young, we used to make up games and play outside for hours and “find things to do,” etc? Well, that makes us sound old. Also, it’s true. We had no phones and there was no such thing as playing a video game virtually with your friends and there was only one TV in the house and it didn’t even have cable. Maybe that’s just me. We were really into Nick at Night. But I digress.
But! Kids still have the ability to do this! We just have to encourage it and make it a little easier for them to choose free play instead of choosing screen time. All they need is an imagination that can turn any household object into something new. Let them stretch their minds. Playing is learning!
9. Get physical.
Go outside. Ride a bike, go for a walk, shoot hoops. Play on a playground. Go for a hike. Do a nature scavenger hunt. Run around. Knock for a neighbor, if you can. Jump rope. Play hopscotch. Move your body!
I welcome your feedback — and would love to hear what works for your family! We’re compiling a list of summer bucket list ideas, and I want to have a whole section that doesn’t require money, travel, or extensive preparation. Drop your ideas in the comments!
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourself ❤️