Don’t buy Kinder eggs

Mike the Psych's Blog

p1ceu1nzkbumc2itd4-czh7lrblwouulhndll_qzbmve5cwdwmlxzvickigkhdbqhsn5-sgs129It turns out that the toys inside the Kinder chocolate eggs are made by child labour in Romania according to an investigation by the Sunnewspaper.

Families in this, one of the poorest of the EU countries are being paid as little as 20p an hour for making the toys at home.

Child exploitation is not new in Romania. It is probably as famous for sending gangs of child pickpockets to the UK as it is for being the home of Vlad the Impaler.

Apart from the child exploitation experts say there is also a risk of food poisoning if the toys have been assembled in unsanitary conditions.

A whistleblower said “Customers would expect products which go inside children’s chocolates to be made in controlled conditions but so many of the toys are being made in peoples homes that effective quality control is impossible”.

Ferrero (the Italian chocolatier that makes…

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Don’t leave a phone in your child’s bedroom

Mike the Psych's Blog

talking_with_your_followers_1600_wht_9116Just the presence of a smartphone or device is enough to disturb children’s sleep patterns as they anticipate the possibility of getting a message and can’t relax.

Using devices  at any point in the 90 minutes before bedtime more than doubles the risk of a poor night’s sleep. Even leaving it charging in the corner can have a detrimental effect, possibly because children are subconsciously engaged with them if they know they are within earshot.

Researchers ta Kings College London examined the digital behaviour of 125,000 children across four continents. It’s known from previous studies that around three-quarters of children and adolescents have at least one device in their bedroom at night.

Screen-based media may adversely affect sleep in different ways: psychologically stimulating the brain, delaying or interrupting sleep time, and affecting sleep cycles, physiology and alertness. They effect both the quality and the duration of sleep.

Sleep is undervalued but…

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Middle aged dads are evolution’s heroes

Mike the Psych's Blog

Forget your lean testosterone-driven  alpha male.

It’s the men with love handles, slightly overweight,who live longer, are better at passing on their genes – and are more attractive to the opposite sex! A recent study of women in Latvia confirmed that such men are more sexually attractive than lean men.

It’s a mystery why men remain fertile for so long after they have passed their reproductive and physical peaks.

41a1gp0xwpl-_ac_us160_Richard Bribiescas, anthropology professor at Yale University thinks he knows the answer. In his book “How Men Age” he sets out a theory about pudgy dads which suggests that the slow ebbing of male sex hormones after the late teens is the key to longevity not just for men but also for women.

Most men become slightly fatter after fatherhood and find it increasingly difficult to build muscles as their testosterone declines. this however prolongs their lives and strengthens their immune…

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Day of the Dead

Mike the Psych's Blog

In Mexico and parts of South America they celebrate “Dia de Muertos” on 1 and 2 November which coincides with the christian festivals of All Souls or All Saints days.

Christian missionaries often repurposed pagan festivals for their own purposes but the people in these regions still combine older beliefs, which may go back to the Aztec’s Lady of the Dead,  who looked after the bones of the deceased, with the catholic church events.

They believe that, starting at midnight on 31 October, the spirits of dead children come through the gates of heaven to be reunited wit their families for 24 hours.

Altars are stacked with flowers, food including special bread “pan de puerto“, and drink with toys and candles for the angelitos. Folk-art skeletons and sugar skulls provide the final touches.000013-2

On the 2 November the spirits of adult relatives join them and…

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Does “the terrible twos” actually exist?

s1030647_2I’ve never agreed with the idea of the “terrible twos” and now a former teacher, coach, and therapist has come out and said what many of us have long thought.

Tantrums are caused by lax parental discipline and unrealistic expectation rather than being an inevitable part of child development.

9781785831089newGillian Bridge, in her new book The Significance Delusion says this behaviour is peculiar to the UK and the USA where there is an acceptance that toddlers’  frustrations are worked out in “semi-feral behaviour labelled the terrible twos” which doesn’t exist in many other parts of the world.

She says visitors to the UK are often baffled by misbehaving toddlers and either had higher standards of behaviour for their own children or were more indulgent of childhood without having expectations about a child’s self-control. Some thought Brits expected too much of their youngsters.

In more traditional cultures in Asia and Europe children are expected to learn quickly about hierarchies and the fact that adults had more rights than children because they had more knowledge, wisdom and experience. (Perhaps a lesson to be remembered as children get older and parents want to be their best friends on social media).

In Britain however toddlers are routinely taken to places where they are unlikely to behave well such as a pub or the cinema. “We take our children to an awful lot of places and get them to fit in with adult arenas which we wouldn’t have thought appropriate years ago” Bridge told the Times.

To make maters worse parents often ignore the ensuing meltdown or try to discipline them when their behaviour shouldn’t be unexpected in such environments.

She says this is apparent at the nursery gates where “harassed Mums and Dads … vainly attempt to restrain their struggling, squawking tinies or hopelessly give up on the attempt“. She says people view this almost as a rite of passage.

She added that parents are inconsistent and often didn’t behave to the standard they expected of their children.

Another so-called expert and super-many Jo Frost says these are the 5 areas where parents make mistakes.

Sleep – ensuring both parents and children get enough – and on a regular routine.

Food – establishing good eating habits and appropriate nutrition

Play – teaching children to socialise by playing and sharing

Screen time – no more than 30 minutes a day for toddlers

Manners – set a good example by behaving as you would like your children to behave.

I would include in that not smoking, getting drunk, or swearing in front of them – or is that too blindingly obvious?

Boys behaving disgracefully at school & where are the teachers?

figure_dancing_fad_500_clr_11824I was sickened to read that an MPs report says sexual harassment is rife in schools. Girls as young as 11 are groped, taunted and called “slags” and “sluts” and unwanted touching is accepted as a daily part of life in the classroom.

Well it shouldn’t be!

Apparently many boys think nothing of pulling up skirts, slapping bottoms and feeling girls’ breasts. Nearly 3/4 of girls had been called offensive names, over half had been sexually harassed and a third of girls aged 16-18 had been sexually touched at school. It’s assault people. In the workplace people would be sacked and even charged with a criminal offence.

What are the boys thinking about? On-line pornography will no doubt get some blame but what about the fact that most schools let pupils use their smart phones at school where they can sext away to their hearts content rather than confiscate them on arrival.

What do their mothers think about this? Do they think it OK? And what about those with sisters. Are they happy for this to happen to them? (If so we have bred a sick society).

And what are teachers doing about it? Well overlooking it obviously. It’s not the kids who need compulsory SRE (sex and relationship education) but the teachers who need to be reminded that they have a responsibility for the children’s safety.

Next time it happens line up the offenders and shame them and if it’s serious report it to the police; next time report it to the police anyway. Three strikes and you’re out springs to mind. We are too liberal about these behaviours.When teachers themselves have been found guilty of inappropriate behaviour with children and of posted inappropriate material on social media sites what kind of example are they setting?

No wonder girls are suffering more from depression than boys (but I also blame them for spending too much time on social media)

Top names for children in 2015

Child_YawningIt seems 20% of parents regret the name they have given their child. According to Mumsnet because it’s too common.

Not sure whether as in too many other kids with same name or just not posh enough.

Anyway the Office of National statistics has revealed its latest list of the most popular names. Bear in mind that it treats variations in spelling as a different name otherwise Mohammed and its variations would be the top boys’ name.

So the most popular boys’ name for the third year running is Oliver. Noah has surged into the top 10, presumably because of various actors and fictional characters rather than a biblical influence as its been the most popular name in America for the last 3 years.

Names like Mason and Logan are in the top 50 while Teddy, Jason, and Roman are the highest climbers.

P1000490There is a bit of a comeback trend among boys’ names with 6 names that featured in the top 20 in 1904 making it into the 2015 list.

James has never fallen out of the top 20, Thomas has made a comeback and the other four have royal links – William, George, Henry and Harry.

For girls Amelia is the most popular for the 5th year running but the only name that has made a comeback from 1904 is Lily. Gladys, Doris, Hilda and Ethel have all disappeared from the top 100 although there are several so named last year.

Willow and Ivy are the fastest risers for girls and Harper also appears in the top 100. (Why would you name your child after a ferry or a bridge for that matter?)

Most popular names for boys

  1. Oliver
  2. Jack
  3. Harry
  4. George
  5. Jacob
  6. Charlie
  7. Noah
  8. William
  9. Thomas
  10. Oscar

Most popular names for girls

  1. Amelia
  2. Olivia
  3. Emily
  4. Isla
  5. Ava
  6. Ella
  7. Jessica
  8. Isabella
  9. Mia
  10. Poppy

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