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Dad’s Bad Mood Can Seriously Affect Children’s Development, Study Finds

Dad’s Bad Mood Can Seriously Affect Children’s Development, Study Finds

“Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Hundreds of studies have solidified the fact that a father’s love is just as important to a child’s development as a mother’s, and sometimes more so…

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Research has proven emphatically that, overall, the love — or rejection — of mothers and fathers affects kids’ behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability, and mental health. According to Ronald P. Rohner, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut, in some cases, the withdrawal of a father’s love, acceptance and presence seems to play a bigger role in their children’s’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse. And of course the transverse is also true. The presence of a father’s love boosts children’s sense of well-being and improves their emotional and physical health. …But this is common knowledge. Most people are aware and do recognize the impacts a father has on his children.

Dad’s mental state directly affects his children

Scholars from Michigan State University (MSU) conducted a study and their findings not only underscore the importance of a father’s role in the lives of his children, but it went on to to prove that dad’s overall mental state and moods have short and long term, direct effects on his children.

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In the study, MSU researchers collected data from about 730 families that participated in a survey of Early Head Start programs at sites across the nation. The researchers focused their attention on discovering effects of parents’ stress and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety on their children. They found that parents stress levels and mental health issues affected how they interact with their children and, subsequently, their child’s development.

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Daddy and daughter

    One of the most surprising findings derived from this study is that a father’s mental health has long-lasting implications that directly correlate to differences in children’s social skills (such as self-control and cooperation) by the time children reached fifth grade. In fact, a father’s depression during the toddler years is more influential on the development of a child’s social skills later in life, than are a mother’s depression or anxiety.

    The study also highlighted the fact that a father’s parenting-related stress levels have a particularly harmful effect on his children’s cognitive and language development when the children are 2 to 3 years old—even in the presence of a mother’s’ positive influences.  As might be expected, the father’s’ influence appears to have a stronger effect on boys’ language than girls’ language.

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    These empirical, evidence-based findings are a poignant reminder that every father has a responsibility to take care of his own psychological well-being in order to nurture and foster the well-being of his children.

    One uplifting and positive thing that comes from this study is that we now have solid, scientific proof that dads do play as significant a role in raising children as mothers do, and that their piece of the family puzzle is crucial in helping a child learn and grow properly.

    Changing dad’s mood

    Parenting is a daunting and stressful undertaking–no two ways about it. Especially for new parents. Below are some ways for dad to minimize the negative impacts his foul mood can have on his kids:

    • Accept the fact that you will feel stressed — Understanding and accepting that stress is a part of child rearing is key to helping reduce its impact on your mood. If you expect it and prepare for it–you can proactively minimize it’s effects on your mood and it can reduce the number of outwardly negative reactions you display.
    • Learn your triggers and work to de-stress as quickly as possible — Learning and becoming in tune with yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Find out what situations, thoughts or moments cause you the most stress. Can they be avoided? What can you do to avoid or minimize these moments? Take some “dad time” and engage in activities that lower your stress levels–engage in a sport or hobby, take quiet time away, take a walk on the beach or engage in forest bathing.
    • Get help — If you are feeling overwhelmed or have a history of depression, anxiety or mental illness be sure to seek professional help. It is imperative for you and for your children. Consider the “airplane safety model.’ During the flight attendant’s safety speech, you are instructed to put your own oxygen mask on first and then help those around you don theirs. The message here is that you can’t help others breathe if you are suffocating.

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    Denise Hill

    Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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    Published on August 8, 2018

    How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

    How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

    Do you want the best for your kid? Of course you do!

    Boosting your kid’s learning ability and social skills in less than 20 minutes a day? That’s where guided meditation for kids comes in.

    You have probably heard a lot about meditation the last couple years. As there’s more and more research in the area of meditation, a lot of people finally start to see the benefits.

    A subject that’s not talked about too much is that meditation can also help kids grow incredible learning and social skills.

    Meditation for kids is becoming more popular every day as parents want their kids to see the benefits too.

    What is guided meditation for kids?

    First things first, what exactly is the guided meditation for kids that is talked about in this article?

    We can define meditation with the help of Headspace:[1]

    Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

    And according to GuidedMind, guided meditation is:[2]

    Guided meditation is when you are guided, by a narrator, to elicit a specific change in your life. You are first guided to relax your body and mind, to help you reach a deep meditative state before going on a journey, in your mind, to reach a specific goal.

    If you want to get into guided meditation, read this:

    The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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    As you may know, there are a lot of variations on meditation. This includes:

    • Mindfulness, focusing on the breath while accepting everything that’s happening (thoughts, sounds, etc.).
    • (Guided) Visualization, visualizing a particular event, environment, feeling, etc.
    • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM), focusing on the breath and the heart while feeling at one with everything. A focus on downward energy flow within the body.
    • Transcendental Meditation (TM), this technique is literally about transcending the negative through internal mantras.
    • Qi Gong, this is a form of meditation that is done through specific movement patterns while focusing on the breath.
    • Kundalini focuses on the upward flow of energy within the body. Focusing on that energy with your breath gives you a higher sense of consciousness.
    • Zazen, sitting with a back straight while focusing on deep breaths.

    You can find out more about different forms in this article:

    17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness

    All these forms of meditation can be done individually or guided. Guided meditation for kids is the best choice because it will make it easier for them to follow and understand.

    The benefits of meditation for kids

    There are a lot of benefits meditation has to offer, but the most important benefit is that it relieves stress. In this time and age, this becomes more important than ever.

    (Post-)millennials are dealing with a lot of stress due to the amount of work pressure, opportunities (decision making) and student loan debt (which results in wanting early financial success).[3]

    Making sure children are stress resistant is of high importance for the future of their lives.

    Of course, there are way more benefits to meditation. So, to convince you further; here follow more benefits to meditation.

    There are precisely 76 benefits to meditation which are scientifically proved.[4] But the main benefits of meditation are:

    • Improved concentration[5]
    • Increased happiness[6]
    • Slows down the aging process[7]
    • Increased immunity[8] and cardiovascular health[9]
    • Improved mood and brain power

    Here I’m going to look into some of meditation’s benefits that parents care about most:

    Boost learning ability

    The question is: ‘How does meditation for kids improve learning ability?’

    There are, of course, multiple answers but there’s one simple answer; concentration. As you read earlier on in this article, meditation improves the ability to concentrate.

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    If the ability to concentrate increases, it will lead to an increased attention span which is one of the factors that affect learning.

    By implementing guided meditation into your kids’ life; he/she will become a better learner.

    Another reason to increase the attention span of your child beside learning is that our average attention span per person is decreasing exponentially because of all the distractions that we have around us.

    The more we let distractions in, the less easy it becomes to really focus on something. This is because it takes us 23 minutes to get into something after being distracted.[10]

    Improve social skills

    The way meditation for kids improves the social skills of the meditator is through the sense of presence it creates.[11] Being present in a conversation is more important than you may think.

    Do you know those people who are just way up in their head which makes it hard to have an in-depth conversation with?

    They probably don’t meditate.

    By being present in a conversation, you can better understand the person you’re talking to. Not being carried away by your thoughts makes it easier to process the information the other is providing. Including non-verbal signs, you may never have noticed if you weren’t present.

    Meditation for kids also improves charisma because of the loving nature that grows from meditating. Especially the kindness and gratitude focused forms of meditation for kids. By being more kind and grateful; your kid will increase in charisma and feeling of interconnectedness which will improve social skills.

    Last but not least, implementing guided meditation for kids in the form of guided meditation by you (the parent) will likely improve the relationship between you and your child.

    This creates the opportunity to educate your child on specific social skills you’ve picked up and the other way around. Also, a child is very dependent on its environment.

    By increasing social skills yourself, you will improve the social skills of your child.

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    How to get started with guided meditation for kids

    Below follows a step-by-step process on how to implement guided meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

    Step 1: Do it yourself first

    Have you ever tried learning Spanish from someone who doesn’t speak Spanish? No, because it doesn’t make sense!

    This is the same for meditation for kids. If you want to teach your kid how to meditate, you will first have to do it yourself.

    Pick a form of meditation for kids you think would work best and get the hang of it. Follow guided meditation via YouTube or any platform you like.

    Suggestions: Visualization meditation, body scan meditation or simple mindfulness.

    There’s an easy guide on meditation you can do anywhere at any time:

    The 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

    Step 2: Expose your kid to the practice

    By exposing your kid to the practice without him/her knowing, its intention will raise their curiosity. This makes it easier to convince them afterward.

    Meditate in the presence of them; put your earplugs in and start meditating while they are around. When they talk to you or touch you while you’re meditating, keep meditating until they walk away.

    When you’re done, you can explain what you were doing and why you were doing and ask to do it together. Explain it in a way, so they understand it.

    Here’s an article that will help you explain mindfulness to your kid:

    Mindfulness: What it is and How to Explain it to Kids and Adults

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    Tip: Make it sound like it’s very special (which it is) so that they’ll grow their curiosity and excitement even more.

    Step 3: Do it together

    Now that you have the interest of your child and know the essence of meditation you can finally do it together. Guide them through the meditation or put on the meditation you followed before.

    Make it a fun and enjoyable experience for your child at first while keeping the essence of meditation in mind.

    As you and your child progress you may want to make it more serious.

    Step 4: Let your child express himself/Herself entirely

    You will get a lot of insights about your feelings and thoughts through meditation. Your child will also experience these things and may want to express it.

    Ask your child after the meditation what he/she experienced or felt. Let them get rid of everything that’s bothering them.

    Step 5: Be consistent

    As you do it more frequently; you will build a habit for you and your kid that will benefit you both. Reward them after each meditation.

    Make it a fun experience instead of something they must do. Don’t push it.

    Step 6: Be calm and let it be

    Again, don’t push it and don’t expect anything. You want to get your child into meditation for kids so he/she can benefit from it in the long run. But you can’t decide for your kid if he/she wants it or not.

    You will have to educate yourself first before you can train your child. Read books or articles about meditation for kids and try your best.

    Conclusion

    Here’s a summary of the key points you have learned by reading this article:

    • You now know what (guided) meditation for kids is.
    • You know why it’s so important to include (guided) meditation into your and your kids’ life.
    • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the learning ability of your kid.
    • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the social skills of your kid.
    • You have the steps you can follow to implement meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

    Good luck and start meditating with your kids!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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