· More medication for children: drug treatments for hyperactivity have increased 10-fold since 1991 - 99% of child psychiatrists say they would prescribe drugs for it. Half of psychiatrists now use drugs to treat childhood madness (psychosis) and half have used the antidepressant Prozac to treat obsessional compulsive disorder. But we use far fewer pills than the US, where 300,000 children are on anti-depressants. Implication: thank God you're a Brit. - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol 44, no 2, pp159-68 (blackwell-synergy.com)
· Colour is key to emotions in children's drawings: children use black in their drawings to indicate things they dislike or are unhappy about (they save favourite colours for positives). Implication: worry if your child paints you black. - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol 44, no 3, pp445-55 (blackwell-synergy.com)
· Violence on kids' TV really does make violent adults: proof that thuggishness on TV has a lasting effect comes from a study of 329 children whose TV habits and aggression were tested when aged 6-9, and again 15 years later. It reveals that the key predictor of how aggressive they are in their 20s is their history of TV viewing rather than levels of childhood aggression.
In particular, the subjects were more likely to be aggressive adults if, as children, they had identified strongly with same-sex violent TV characters and to the extent that they believed the TV violence was "just like it is". If male, they were heavy childhood viewers, they were three times more likely to have committed a crime and to shove or grab their spouse; if female, four times. Implication: another bothersome reason not to let your child watch any old telly - including cartoons. - Developmental Psychology, vol 39, no 2, pp201-21 (apa.org/journals)
· Anti-social dads make bad role models: a study of 1,100 British children showed they are more likely be badly behaved if they have a seriously anti-social dad who lives with them, rather than if he separates or divorces the mother. Implication: if you are a seriously anti-social dad and you don't want your son to be like you, don't live with him. - Child Development, vol 74, no 1, pp109-26 (blackwell-synergy.com)