I present to you four more issues to worry about as a parent. I am fully aware that you are probably already on information overload and ready to pull your hair out but nonetheless here goes:
1. A Canadian study conducted at the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University suggests that children who lie are simply in the process of developing their intelligence. If this is the case then should we praise our kids for lying and hope that this will lead to intellectual superiority?
2. Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin tell us in the “Longevity Project” about the results of a study by Terman of Stanford University. Cheerful children turned out to have shorter lives than their less chipper classmates. Are we ill-advised to try to raise happy kids? Or do we have to decide whether a shorter and happier life is better than a longer and more miserable life? Now this may raise some moral dilemmas. Oh, the choices we have!
3. Many studies, including one by Menon and fellow researchers, found that bullies have inflated self-esteem. And, all this time we were led to believe that they had low self-esteem and were themselves victims of harsh parenting styles. What are we to conclude now? Are our kids at risk to become bullies if we work on boosting their self-esteem?
4. Many studies, including that of Wilson and others have found a positive relationship between teenagers’ height and their IQ. The further they stand from the ground the better their mind works. If we are to believe this then should we give up on our shorter teens and tell them to relax and forget about doing their homework?
As a psychologist I am well trained to understand that correlation does NOT imply causation. As a mother, however, I am just as likely to panic as any other mother when I am bombarded daily with the results of more and more studies. I think that I’ll just wait until all of the results come in before making decisions. Raising kids is turning out to be like waiting for the results of an election.
Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer Powell-Lunder are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.