Best of the Web: The worrying world of our 10-Ager daughters, and more

A deep look at the complex world of pre-teen girls, villagers help to raise a child, and how casual remarks influence kids.

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

Ten, going on...

(Madonna King, Good Weekend)

This is a powerful article that shines a light on the experiences of Australian tween girls, living a developmental stage unlike any generation before.

Life at 10 involves worrying about body image, obsessing about social media, and friendship break-ups, often related.

For her new book, Ten-Ager: What Your Daughter Needs to Know About the Transition from Child to Teen, the author conducted a year-long study involving 500 10-year-old Australian girls, 100 Year 5 teachers, 1600 mothers and 400 fathers, along with dozens of school principals and psychologists. 

‘The results highlight how anxiety and friendship dramas haunt this generation, how smartphones and social media are moulding their personalities, and how schools are grappling with their lack of resilience and sleeplessness,’ she writes. ‘Unfailingly non-judgmental of others, their assessment of themselves and their bodies is achingly difficult to understand – and cause for alarm.’

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‘Children are not pets, society has to help parents bring them up.’

(Michael Savage, The Guardian/Observer)

The pandemic has caused many societal shifts that we are only now noticing. One such change is the subject of this article from the United Kingdom, and interview with the outgoing children’s commissioner.

When she took the job five years ago, Anne Longfield says the care of children was regarded as ‘a bit like pets – you wanted one, they’re yours’.

During the pandemic, rather than leaving parents to cope by themselves, a renewed sense of community has emerged, society helping parents to raise their children.

‘After the last year, people feel more confident about offering help. Hopefully, they also feel more comfortable asking for help.’


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Kids pick up stereotypes from generic statements

(Carrie Wood, The Academic Times)

New research shows that generalised comments around children such as ‘girls like art’ and ‘boys play sports’ may have the unintended consequence of strengthening stereotypes.

The research finds that from such statements, kids can infer the opposite for the unmentioned group, processing language in a way once thought to be difficult for children.

The researchers, from New York University, studied 552 children aged 4-7, as well as 121 adults. Rather than using the terms boys or girls, the researchers used two fictional groups – ‘zarpies’ and ‘gorps’.

‘Don’t under-estimate what your young child can infer from the things that you say,’ noted one of the researchers.

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