Monday, 21 November 2011
You may have heard of the 'white bear phenomenon'. In essence, the white bear phenomenon is related to our mental resources and how we control them. In a series of experiments, a researcher asked two groups of participants to think about things - pretty much anything - for five minutes. One group of participants was specifically instructed to think about whatever they wanted - even white bears, should they come to mind. The other group of participants was told they could think about whatever they wanted to, but they were not to think about white bears. Both groups were then instructed that if they did happen to think about a white bear, they should make a note of it each time it happened.
An interesting thing happened. Participants who were not allowed to think about white bears during that five minute period actually did think about white bears. And they thought about them more than the participants who were allowed to think about them!
Here's the kicker though:
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
How satisfied are you with your life?
For the past thirty years, researchers have been asking that question, or variations of it, to adults around the world.
Life satisfaction is usually pretty high so long as you can afford your shelter, food, clothing, and other essentials. On a scale of 0 (most unsatisfied) to 10 (most satisfied), the average level of life satisfaction across 43 nations was 6.33, and Australians are usually around 7.5. Generally, we're pretty pleased with life. About three in ten people are 'very happy', one in ten is 'not too happy', and the other six in ten are 'pretty happy.
And it's the same with children. Generally, kids are in the 'mostly satisfied' to 'delighted' range, and these findings are reported in various nations, international studies, and even i nspecial groups. It's worth noting, however, that life satisfaction usually drops a bit around adolescence. Being a teenager can be hard.
So what is it that makes a child feel as though life is satisfying?
Here is a review of the research findings - and there's a big surprise at the end.
Friday, 4 November 2011
Sometimes there can be a wide discrepancy between what children value and what their parents’ value.
While parents are concerned with tidiness, children seem oblivious to mess.
While parents pester their children about punctuality, children seem blissfully unaware of time constraints.
While parents want children in bed and sleeping by 8pm (or whatever time works for you) so they can have some quiet time and still get enough sleep, children are obsessed with pushing bedtime boundaries.
While parents often seek peace and quiet, noise and activity are the outcome of most of what our children want to do.
Last week, Miss 7 (child number three in the Happy Families House) went on an excursion. Knowing that Miss 7 gets carried away in the moment, I was very clear with her. I asked, “What do you need to do with your jacket today?” Her reply was perfect: “Put it in my bag dad.” I checked and re-checked that she would remember. Apparently she did remember to put her jacket in her bag. However, she left her bag on the FERRY.