EDUReview 3/20/2014


The latest trends in education and parenting  March 20, 2014

Dishonest Parents

Have you ever lied to your kids, perhaps to get them to sit still for a blood test or a vaccination—as in the, “You’ll only feel a pinch,” school of parenting white lies? You may have taught your child an unintended and unfortunate lesson: that lying is okay. That’s according to Professor Leslie Carver and Chelsea Hays of the University of California at San Diego. They’ve just published a paper to that effect.


“As far as we know, this is the first experiment confirming what we might have suspected: Lying by an adult affects a child’s honesty,” says Carver.

Okay, so are you thinking that this is another one of those studies that prove something we kinda sorta already knew—that children emulate their parents? Yeah. We get that. But no one tested it until now.

So here’s how it went: an adult would tell a lie to a child study participant and then confess the lie. Next, the child would be left alone in a room and told not to peek at a toy. Some of the kids peeked and then lied about it when later asked. As you might have guessed, the cameras were rolling the whole time. The child study participants were more likely to cheat and then lie about having done so when they had first been lied to by an adult. Read about the study HERE.

The upshot? If you want your kids to be truthful, set a good example. Of course you knew that already, now didn’t you?

Obesity And Parenting Styles

Moving right along, a study on childhood obesity conducted by Lisa Kakinami from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, found that parenting styles affect child obesity rates. It seems that stricter middle class parents tend to have children that pack on the pounds compared to the children of more affectionate, more flexible parents, who actually have conversations with their children to decide important issues. The cause and effect is greater in younger children, up to the age of 11 years. In such children, a stricter parenting style meant that the risk of obesity rose by one-third.


Kakinami presented her results at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits—these are the kids who are least likely to be obese,” said Kakinami. You can read more about this study on parenting styles and obesity HERE.

Happiness Goes Viral

Lying makes kids lie and strict parenting makes kids fat, but happy kids make for happy people everywhere, if you want to go by the over 25,000 views this video by the students, staff, and teachers of the Amundsen High School of Chicago has received as of this writing.

The school, located on the North Side of the Windy City, posted this YouTube clip just one week ago but the student effort has been met with a huge, even viral response. Set to the contagious feel-good tune Happy, by Pharrell Williams, one just can’t help but smile and get into the groove while watching students and staff bop, move, and yes, swim.  The film, a school fundraising effort, was shot by Amundsen student David Sullivan who serves as the president of the Amundsen High School film club.

Rachel Canning Goes Home

Last but not least, an update on the Rachel Canning story, featured in our first edition of EDUReview, just two weeks ago. If you’ll recall, we were rather sympathetic to Canning’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, mostly because we know it’s not easy raising teens. Rachel became estranged from her parents and sued them for living expenses and tuition.

Rachel Canning

It may not be easy raising teens, but it was easy enough to see how much Rachel’s parents care about her, from watching the coverage of the trial. Apparently, even Rachel was persuaded of this fact, to the extent that she filed papers to dismiss the lawsuit, calling her decision to do so completely voluntary. It seems that after four months of living on her own, Rachel, age 18, has returned to her parents’ home.

We say good for this New Jersey teenager. This was a very mature decision on her part. Rachel Canning is lucky to have such great parents and we feel vindicated on their behalf. We wish them much success at making another go of it! Read all about this happy-ending story, HERE.



EDUReview 3/6/2014

The latest trends in education and parenting  March 6, 2014

Winter break has come and gone but your nightmarish memories of traveling with your little ones are still as fresh and as painful as ever. Can Spring break be far behind? Yikes. The good news is this resource of 50 ways to keep your children occupied during a long stint of traveling by plane or by other means.shutterstock_44043907

The bad news is that most of the ideas here are impractical to say the least. Playing with Play-Doh on a commercial airline? Oh my. Those folding trays are awfully small. Methinks the airline will not appreciate getting bits of modeling clay ground into their carpet.

On the other hand, the very first idea on the list is wonderfully educational. Called Travel Tickets, parents are directed to this website, where “tickets” can be printed out and cut into individual tokens. You give your child a bag of these tickets and have her give you a ticket every half an hour (or whatever predetermined time period you decide on) until all the tickets are gone. This helps orient your child to the true length of the trip. It’s both a kinesthetic and a visual means by which children can gain understanding of the passage of time during travel.

As of this writing, Huffpo blogger Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis has 311k Facebook  likes on her article 10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (Me Included). It’s a darned good list. I totally related to Mistake #10: Worshipping Our Children. My house has always been child-centric. Kubiszyn Kampakis makes the point that we’d do better to take the focus off of children, thus promoting selflessness rather than selfishness. I would have added yet another parenting mistake to the author’s list: Over-Praising Children. When we tell children that everything they do is wonderful, they end up with an unrealistic inflated sense of self. I’ve seen it. It’s not pretty. Especially when said children grow up.Languages

Do you have preschoolers at home? The best way to prepare them for school is to let them hear and experiment with all sorts of sounds. Here’s a woman with a remarkable talent for languages. Well, kinda sorta. She’s not actually speaking any real languages, just has a remarkable facility for mimicking sound impressions based on various languages heard during her travels around the world. I think it would be great to play this for children and then practice fake-talking in various languages. It’s fun. And believe it or not, it’s honing a child’s preliteracy (pre-reading) skills.

Do you worry about your child getting enough sleep? Is your child struggling to keep up in school? It may be she needs to eat more fish. Of course, if your child hates fish and doesn’t mind swallowing capsules, she can just chug down fish oil capsules to improve the quantity and quality of sleep she’s getting. That’s according to a study out of Oxford University in the UK. Children aged 7-9 years judged as both poor sleepers and struggling readers were given Omega-3 supplements or a placebo for 4 months. Getting more omega-3 fats in their diets did the trick—helping them sleep better and improve their reading scores in school.


Have you been following the coverage of the Rachel Canning trial? What’s your take on this 18 year-old who demands emancipation from her parents while at the same time expecting them to give her weekly child support and cover her tuition? Being a parent of many, I couldn’t help but take the parents’ side. Adolescence is rough and even the best parents can have a rocky road. I felt for them. My take is that Rachel is doing something incredibly hurtful to her parents by putting their parenting skills on trial in front of the entire country. Not nice. I hope they manage to work things out and get back on track. I hope that someday Rachel will understand the difficulties of parenting and will apologize to her mom and dad for the way she treated them.

But of course, that’s just me. Watch the clip and leave a comment to tell me what you think. Spoiled brat much? Or righteous abused child doing something canny and clever?