Best of the Web: The social superpower of sensitive boys, and more

Why we should encourage sensitivity in boys, how chores might improve kids' brain function, and the new parental controls from Instagram.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

Why sensitivity is a strength in boys

(Elisse Gabriel, Berkeley | Greater Good Magazine)

A mother to two now grown-up sons, the author explores how ‘sensitivity’  is viewed as a feminine trait, equated with weakness. She writes that it should be seen as a social superpower that we support and encourage in our growing boys.

By modelling sensitivity and allowing boys to experience the full range of feelings, we’re creating a new way to regard sensitivity.

The author spoke with Richard Shaw, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University, ‘We pass on templates of relationships to our kids,’ says Shaw. ‘If you provide a model of relationships in which emotions and empathy are valued, that’s going to benefit our children. You’re paying it forward in a powerful and impactful way.’

Noting the famed TEDx talk by Brené Brown on the power of vulnerability, the author writes that ‘…boys who allow themselves to experience vulnerability will live life more fully and openly than if they cloak themselves in protective armour’.

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Children's chores improve brain function

(La Trobe University)

Is it a struggle to get the kids to help out with chores around home? You should persevere – it could help set them them up for better grades and a successful life.

New research from La Trobe University found that children who engaged in self-care chores had improved executive functioning and problem solving skills. Led by PhD candidate Ms Deanna Tepper, the study found that doing chores may lead to children having better academic performance.

‘Children who cook a family meal or weed the garden on a regular basis may be more likely to excel in other aspects of life – like schoolwork or problem solving,’ said Ms Tepper.

This is the first study to examine the association between regular chores and child cognitive development, particularly executive functioning, such as working memory and the ability to switch between tasks and maintain attention.

You can also watch Ms Tepper’s interview with ABC News below.

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Meta rolls out more parental controls for Instagram

(Rachel Treisman, npr)

If you have a tween or teen in the house, you likely already have had many conversations about social media use. This week, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, announced it is rolling out more parental controls on the platform.

The author explains that parents and guardians can now invite their teens to initiate supervision tools and set limits on their teen’s use of Instagram during specific periods. The new ‘nudge’ feature will encourage users to switch to a different topic if they repeatedly look at the same type of content.

‘We designed this new feature because research suggests that nudges can be effective for helping people – especially teens – be more mindful of how they’re using social media in the moment,’ Meta explained.

As part of the rollout, Meta is also working on releasing more information and resources to its Family Centre education hub.

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