Only children, also known as “onlies,” have sometimes been labeled as the spoiled and selfish children of society. In studies from the 1980’s, being an only child was likened to having a disease. Beth Apone Salamon, Director of Communications & Television at Rutgers University, and Lauren Sandler, author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One, approach the concept of only children in different ways. Salamon voices her concern that once her parents are gone, she won’t have anyone to share family memories with. In contrast, Sandler loves being an only child as well as raising an only child: “We’re just selfish people raising selfish children.” Dr. Susan Newman, psychologist and author of Parenting an Only Child, points out that it makes sense that many onlies thrive more than children with siblings do, because the attention and time allotted by parents to their one child is more concentrated than if they were to divide these things among multiple children. Newman also talks about the importance of the “sibling substitute,” a friend, cousin, or family member with whom the only child can relate to and become comfortable with. By building relationships with “sibling substitutes,” onlies are able to connect with people other than their parents, which has proved beneficial in the long run. Additional studies have debunked myths about only children, concluding that the number of siblings a person has has little impact on his or her personality and life.
Only Children and Their Parents: Only children have been villified for more than a century as inevitably selfish, spoiled and lonely. Yet research finds that children without siblings are psychologically quite similar to those with brothers and/or sisters. Today the proportion of only children is increasing. Experts refute the myths about only children and discuss how parents can help children navigate life with no siblings.
The Sense of Touch: The sense of touch is often taken lightly, yet it conveys more emotion than any other sense because it literally has a separate emotional wiring system. A neuroscientist explains the sense of touch, how it works, the power it has over everyday decisions, and what can happen when it’s not working as it should.
We’ve reported on how dogs can sniff out a variety of diseases in people with scientists trying to create a mechanical nose to do the same thing. Now a study presented to the American Chemical Society shows they’re making progress. Researchers have identified a signature odor in 90% of cases of prostate cancer and have developed a chemical test to detect it. Doctors are looking for an alternative to the PSA test to detect prostate cancer because of the high proportion of false positives.
People who are depressed have a surprisingly high risk for heart disease. A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that depression is just as much of a cardiovascular risk as obesity and high cholesterol. The 10-year study finds that depression is to blame for about 15% of all heart disease deaths, a rate exceeded only by smoking and high blood pressure. About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.
It might be easier to get into an argument when you’re tired because you’re misreading the emotions of other people. A study in the journal Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms shows that sleepy people have trouble interpreting some emotions in the faces of others compared to those who are well rested. Tired people can read fear and anger in others’ faces but more subtle emotions are misinterpreted far more often.
And finally, slightly more than half of parents give sports the green light for their kids but about one in every six completely rule them out. The reason? Concussions. The rest of parents, about a third of them, allow participation on a sport by sport basis, according to a Harris survey for the American Osteopathic Association. About two thirds of parents say basketball and baseball are ok for kids. But less than 20% approve of their children playing football.
We reported last week on the opioid epidemic. Now a new study finds yet another symptom of opioid addiction—amnesia. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes a group of 14 patients—almost all opioid addicts–who couldn’t remember things they’d just been told. Along with short-term memory loss, the patients had abnormal MRI scans as well. Doctors are concerned the patients represent a new condition triggered by substance abuse that they were not previously aware of. Researchers say most of the patients recovered their normal memory after several months substance free.
Sitting in traffic is a sure way to increase your stress level and a new study shows it also increases domestic violence. A study at Louisiana State University correlated 25 million traffic observations and two million police reports over four years and found that extreme traffic jams increase the likelihood of domestic violence when people get home by about 6 percent.
People who’ve suffered concussions are held out of sports and school until they’re considered recovered but a new study shows that even then, they may have trouble driving. The study in the Journal of Neurotrauma tested the driving skills of 14 people who’d had a concussion but felt they were now over it. Researchers say that at times they drove as if they were drunk.
And finally…parents who use threats and raised voices to get their kids to behave often end up doing the opposite. A study in the journal Child Development shows that kids parented harshly as ‘tweens are more likely to drop out of school, engage in early sex, and commit theft a few years later. Researchers say those kids reject their domineering parents and seek approval from their peers instead.
Synopsis: Parents who have spent 18 years or more raising children often feel lost when the last child leaves home for college or their own place. A psychotherapist discusses common reactions and strategies for renewing purpose living in the empty nest.
Synopsis: Stuttering has been blamed even fairly recently on parenting, but new research has several new findings: a structural deficiency in the brain’s wiring in stutterers; an inability to perceive rhythms; and a much more successful way to treat stuttering. Experts discuss the new advances.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Roger Ingham, Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara; Dr. Scott Grafton, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara; Dr. Devin McAuley, Professor of Psychology and Newuroscience, Michigan State University
Synopsis: Only children have been villified for more than a century as inevitably selfish, spoiled and lonely. Yet research finds that children without siblings are psychologically quite similar to those with brothers and/or sisters. Today the proportion of only children is increasing. Experts refute the myths about only children and discuss how parents can help children navigate life with no siblings.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Beth Apone Salamon, Director of Communications, School of Social Work, Rutgers University and an only child; Lauren Sandler, only child, mother of an only child and author, One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One; Dr. Susan Newman, psychologist, contributor to Psychology Today magazine and author, Parenting an Only Child