Now I know why I always longed for a sister growing up rather than being stuck in the middle of two brothers. Recent research out of Brigham Young University suggests that having a sister provides a child with a form of psychological immunity. Having a sister tends to protect one from a host of emotional problems. Sibling relationships matter. In fact, they go a long way in forming the kinds of pro social behaviors we want to see develop in our kids such as kindness and generosity. Conflictual sibling relationships can be troubling. While most of us chalk up all sibling conflict as normal or developmental these researchers suggest that siblings who are hostile toward one another tend to portray hostility and aggressiveness in other relationships.
Whether it’s your five year old starting Kindergarten or your 18 year old shipping off to college homesickness is a normal, adaptive process. Being homesick is really just a deep need for love, protection and security. The cure is allowing your child the psychological space to go through these experiences. Rescuing them or hovering is more about alleviating our own parental anxieties. We should love our children enough to let them experience this so they mature and grow up which produces healthy, psychological independence. CNN has a great article about homesickness.
In an August report by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine teenagers run a 2.5 times greater risk of becoming depressed if they engage in addictive Internet use. Uncontrolled and unreasonable Internet use is similar to other problematic and scary addictions like pornography or gambling. Previous research into pathological Internet behavior has discovered a link to relationship and health problems, aggressive behavior and other psychological issues. This is due to the isolating and alienating nature of Internet addiction. It also tends to contract a teen’s circle of friends. The bottom line is that parents must be on their toes monitoring and limiting their child’s online activities. The key as always is ensuring your child is well-rounded, has plenty of social and interpersonal activities, gets adequate physical exercise, maintains their academics and remains plugged into his or her family. When these behaviors deteriorate as a result of Internet usage it’s time to take drastic action.