Is your Middle Schooler cool?

If so, you probably should be worried.   A new study led by psychology professor Joseph Allen at the University of Virginia followed cool kids for a decade.  In short, these “pseudomature” kids didn’t turn out okay according to Dr. Allen.  Not only did their social status take a nose dive but they  started struggling in even more serious ways.  When they reached their early 20s many of them were struggling in romantic relationships and had problems with alcohol, marijuana and even criminal activity.  They had a 40% greater rate of substance abuse and a 22% greater rate of criminal behavior ten years later.  As these kids were caught up in middle school drama and chasing cool  they were missing a critically important development period that comes from simply fostering same-sex friendships by just hanging out together on a friday night having pizza, ice cream and watching moves.  To be a genuinely mature early adolescent means being hard working, responsible and a good, loyal, supportive friend.  As parents we can reinforce these characteristics and qualities and instill confidence in them so our kids can withstand the pressure to be too cool, too fast.

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The ignored pillar of health

The CDC calls it a public health epidemic.  New research suggests that insufficient sleep is more problematic  than most realize.  Lack of sleep can cause irreversible health and brain damages.  We are aware of the importance of sleep for mood and cognitive functioning.   However, serious health problems are being linked to sleep deprivation.  Experts say it’s also not something you can make up once it’s lost and people need to get over the idea that if they are sleeping they are being lazy or wasting time.  Most of us are not getting enough and do not make it a priority.  But sleep should be one of the 3 pillars of health along with nutrition and exercise.

Recommended amounts from the National Sleep Foundation

Newborns (up to 2 months), 12-18 hours

Infants (3-11 months), 14-15 hours

Toddlers (1-3 years), 12-14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5 years), 11-13 hours

School-age children (5-10 years), 10-11 hours

Teens (11-17 years) 8.5-9.5 hours

Adults (18 and older), 7-9 hours

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