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Old 13th May 2009, 09:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to stop your children turning into social outcasts

How to stop your children turning into social outcasts

Parents should spend more time talking to their children when they are young to prevent them from turning into socially inept people like David Brent from The Office, psychologists say.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 9:01PM BST 12 May 2009


Researchers found that the way mothers talk to their children when they are young has a lasting effect on their social skills.

Speaking to them about people's feelings, beliefs, wants, and intentions helps them to read situations better in later life – unlike the hapless Ricky Gervais character who always upsets colleagues by getting it wrong.

And this "mental state talk" should start as early as possible – around the age of three – as a mothers' influence dilutes as offspring get older and start picking up new habits from their friends.

The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, followed children from the age of three to the age of 12, measuring their ability to perform tasks designed to measure their social understanding – including using clips from The Office.

Psychologists observed how each of the mothers talked to their child when they were three years old as they looked at a series of pictures together.

They found that children whose mothers had often described the mental state of people in the pictures – their emotions or what they might be thinking or going to do next – did particularly well on the social understanding tasks.

Dr Nicola Yuill, of the University of Sussex, said: "Ricky Gervais' character, David Brent, is a typical example of someone who is very insensitive and reads social situations incorrectly. We cringe to watch it because we are embarrassed by his complete lack of social understanding."

From the age of eight, the children in the study from 57 families were also beginning to cringe, rating scenarios with David Brent's faux pas as more embarrassing than those without and showing a good understanding of what he was doing wrong.

By the end of the study, children did as well as mothers on this and other tasks measuring social understanding showing that by the age of twelve children can be as socially sophisticated as adults.

The link between early mental state talk and the development of social understanding was strongest in early childhood and was independent of the mother's IQ or social understanding.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/53...-outcasts.html

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Old 13th May 2009, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How to stop your children turning into social outcasts

i think the social outcast is increasing rapidly with more kids getting hooked onto the internet.. they probably spent more time typing through a convo box than talk to someone in real life

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Old 15th May 2009, 02:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How to stop your children turning into social outcasts

Goes to show that education starts young! I think that children who goes to pre-school are more socially cos they are used to having classmates and teachers around them so they are able to express themselves better due to the interactions they have.

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Old 4th June 2009, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How to stop your children turning into social outcasts

it is very sad to see an article in TODAY recently, portraying an enjoyable family bonding time by showing the whole family playing computer games.

Need to have bonding time since child to adolescent...FAR FAR away from INTERNET or Computer

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