Bullying can have significant and long-lasting consequences for children’s well-being and development. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to help children cope with ongoing teasing or victimization. When a child is bullied at school, it’s not uncommon to hear someone, be it a parent or a peer, suggest that they should “fight back”. But does that really work? What can we do as parents, educators, therapists, and bystanders to help children who are being targeted by their peers? Prevnet is a Canadian resource for youth, teens, parents, and educators who are dealing with bullying in some way. It contains information about the warning signs to look out for (e.g., anxiety, school refusal, physical complaints), tips on building healthy relationships, and advice on what we can do to intervene. The team at Prevnet has done a fantastic job of compiling research and making it accessible and it’s a great resource to have on hand if you or someone you know is being bullied.
In this TED Talk, Kang Lee, a researcher from the University of Toronto demystifies children’s lie-telling behaviour. Dr. Lee argues that lie-telling is not only normal, it is actually something to celebrate (to a point!), given that it signifies the appropriate development of self-control and theory of mind (our ability to perspective-take). Dr. Lee also discusses his research demonstrating that we aren’t nearly as good at detecting lies as we think they are. This talk (and the related research) is near and dear to my heart having studied lie-telling with one of Dr. Lee’s colleagues, Dr. Victoria Talwar (McGill University) during my undergraduate studies.
Lately, I’ve been sharing my appreciation for “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray Love”) with anyone who will listen. This wonderful book touches on how the need for creativity, be it through writing, painting, music, or innovation of any kind, is universal. It is not frivolous or self-indulgent, but rather deeply meaningful and even necessary. Gilbert’s message about how fear and self-criticism can interfere with our creative process and well-being will resonate with anyone who is interested in Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability (Brown, 2010, 2012). Overall, “Big Magic” is a great choice for anyone who struggles with perfectionism or self-critical thoughts and is looking to pursue a passion, be it a creative hobby or career path.
Here at Connecte we often talk about the importance of gratitude. This isn’t surprising since the practice of reflecting on the people, things, and experiences we have to be grateful for can greatly improve our mental and physical well-being (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010; Rash Matsuba, & Prkachin, 2011). However, it can be difficult to find time to practice gratitude on a regular basis. The 5-Minute Journal provides the ideal solution and structure. In the morning, you are encouraged to list three things you are grateful for as well as three things that would make your day great. In the evening, you are prompted to reflect on three positive things that happened that day. It also includes motivational quotes and challenges to help you make the most of each day. Check it out here: The 5-Minute Journal. For more on the importance of gratitude check out Andrea’s recent blog post.
At one point or another, most parents have likely been frustrated with their teen’s frequent social media use. Although a moderate amount of social media use is expected and perfectly normal, recent research suggests that youth who are heavy users of social media (e.g., more than 2 hours a day) have poorer mental health outcomes (Sidani et al., 2016). Heavy usage of social media can also interfere with sleep and physical activity and create unrealistic expectations related to relationships and body image. That being said, it can be difficult as a parent to know how to regulate teen’s use of technology and social media. In the following article, Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, provides 10 helpful tips for setting limits. Read more about teens' mental health and social media use here: Here's Why Social Media Harms Your Teen's Mental Health.