Youth Services Law

Showing 5 posts in Risk Avoidance.

Resilience Requires Unsupervised Time

Posted In Resilience, Risk Avoidance

Children playing outside

One of the most important, and difficult, ways that we can encourage resilience in children is to allow them unsupervised play time. Allowing children to have unsupervised time is extremely difficult in our hyper-protective society, but it is essential to helping children become resilient.

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Background Checks: Child Abuse Registries

Posted In Resilience, Risk Avoidance

Child Abuse Registry Background Checks

Youth-serving organizations that are conscientious about background checks often overlook another important resource for screening staff, namely state child abuse registries. Most states have some sort of registry that compiles substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect. While the registries often are not open to the public, organizations that serve minors usually have some sort of access to them.

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Anxiety in Kids? Treat the Adults!

Posted In Resilience, Risk Avoidance

Parent comforting anxious child

An interesting study from the Yale Child Study Center that works with parents instead of their children is being hailed as “an innovative way to address an epidemic of anxiety disorders” in children. While the findings certainly challenge conventional wisdom, they are not all that new. My grandmother and her mother before her would have recognized the principles.

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Mental Health Problems in Overly-Protected Kids

Bubble-wrapped childI just ran across an excerpt from a new book, “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” that I hope gets wide circulation. The author, Julie Lythcott-Haims, served as Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford, and believes that helicopter parenting harms children. The part that caught my eye was an outline of recent mental health research suggesting that overly-protective parenting causes significant mental health problems:

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Benefits of Risky Play for Children Outweigh the Harms

Child Standing on a PoleAn important and fascinating analytical review from Canada concludes that risky play for children has significant benefits that outweigh potential harm. The researchers reviewed 21 academic studies of children, and concluded that giving children opportunities for risky play increased physical activity, social health, creativity, and resilience.  

“Risky,” of course, does not mean unlimited. The review limited itself to activities “whereby a child can recognize and evaluate a challenge and decide on a course of action,” specifically excluding “hazards that children cannot assess for themselves and that have no clear benefit.” Thus, the article looked at play that included “play at height, speed, near dangerous elements (e.g., water, fire), with dangerous tools, rough and tumble play (e.g., play fighting), and where there is potential for disappearing or getting lost.” All of those types of play showed clear benefits, with risk of injury much lower than what adults assume.  

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