Anything you can do, I can do too

Mike the Psych's Blog

Violent offences and sex attacks, increased alcohol consumption and partner abuse, have all increased dramatically for women.

Gone are the days of ladylike behaviour. Increasingly women are copying the worst behaviours of men. They are just as likely as men to troll partners online; they are swearing more than men (who have cut down); and drinking more than ever before.

Teenage girls in the UK are twice more likely than boys to get drunk than almost anywhere else in Europe where it is the other way round. They are also more likely to be drink-driving than men from the age of 30 with a doubling of the number of women convicted for it since 1998.

figure_behind_bars_anim_500_wht_3524There are currently almost a hundred women in prison for violent behaviour, up a third, and over a hundred serving time for serious sexual offences, three times the number, compared to ten years ago.


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Girls’ desire to be perfect leads to eating disorders

stick_woman_gymnastics_1600_wht_12994So-called “Perfect Girl Syndrome” is leading to high-achieveing girls suffering eating disorders as they strive to be perfectly underweight (whatever that means) according toNHS  psychiatrists.

Over the last decade the number of 14-year olds with eating disorders admitted to hospital has more than quadrupled to 336 with a similar number of 15-year olds in 2014, three times the number in 20014.

The TimesTime to Mind” child mental health campaign is calling for greater investment in services which already have long waiting lists.

According to D Caz Nahman at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, “hard-working and persistent” girls were most at risk. “We believe the characteristics  that create a high-achieving pupil or athlete predispose to an eating disorder, and there is also something about a semi-starved brain that leads to high levels of focusing on details and increased perfectionism“.


Parents are you raising a no-coper?

119460-117532Middle class parents have been accused of raising a generation of youngsters who struggle to cope in the real world.

Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, says highly educated parents and  academic schools are turning out a generation of children with perfect academic records but who later struggle at university and in their careers.

She says “The idea that children have to have a string of A grades is a terrible thing. There is a lot of parental influence on that perfectionism. In the past few generations we have seen the emergence of highly educated mothers… they schedule all these activities and advocate for the child.

In the States parents are even calling up employers asking why their child didn’t get a promotion or a brilliant appraisal.

She says she would have been humiliated if her parents had done that for her but now children see that as their parents being supportive. This is a whole new world. I’m not sure my parents really knew what my jobs were all about and would never have considered ringing my bosses.

These are the children who often end up living with their parents because they never have had the chance to make decisions – or make mistakes! They don’t stick at a job, move back home – because they can’t cope with the real world.

Why are this generation less resilient?

Dweck thinks it’s because parents give their children excessive and unrealistic praise. I would also include schools in that as they put in place misguided policies about how work is marked .

Rather than praise kids for their intelligence and talent they should be praised for perseverance, focus, and effort.

Parents should also allow their children to make their own decisions, even if they make a mistake.

Her research with children aged 1 to 3 into how their mothers praised them found that giving praise for focus and effort e.g. saying “good effort, good try, I like the way you tried something new” was linked to higher scores in maths and language at 9 years of age and to a willingness to try harder at problem solving.

So don’t praise kids for doing easy things or when they don’t really put any effort into a task. And don’t say “try harder” because that’s just nagging!

So if you’re a helicopter parent – back off and re-assess how you praise your chldren.