Children who aren’t taught about learning skills like reading, writing, arithmetic and math will have their brains and bodies shaped by the stresses of life, new research has found.
The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, showed that children who aren, in fact, exposed to a range of negative messages, like being told they’re bad or bad people, are more likely to be more likely than other children to get into trouble.
“It’s very hard to teach kids skills that will prepare them for life.
And I think that that’s a problem,” said Dr. William Healy, a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder who led the study.
“It’s an area that has been hard to study because of the complexity of human cognition.”
In the study, Healy and his colleagues surveyed 4,600 kids aged 4 to 11 years old, who were then put through a variety of tests designed to measure learning and behavior.
The researchers found that, for most of the kids, their test scores dropped as they got older.
The children who were told that they were bad people didn’t score as well as the children who weren’t told the messages, the researchers found.
However, for children who received negative messages about their skills, they were still able to score higher on tests of self-esteem and self-efficacy.
And children who felt that they did well on tests, even though they were learning about skills they weren’t taught, also performed well on measures of self esteem and self esteem.
“We find that kids are not necessarily learning more or doing better than they would if they had received positive messages, but they are learning and they are doing better,” said Healy.
“We have to make sure that we don’t make these false claims that there’s a difference between learning and learning skills, because it doesn’t exist.”
The researchers then looked at how these negative messages impacted kids’ behaviors.
They found that children exposed to positive messages were more likely for them to be disciplined and less likely to have trouble completing schoolwork.
They also had lower levels of confidence in themselves and their abilities to succeed in life, and less empathy and altruism.
“It just makes a difference when there’s negative information about you,” said James DePace, an associate professor of education at Duke University.
“I think the bottom line is, you can’t teach your kids how to read or how to write without negative messages.”
Healy said the researchers did find a link between learning about negative messages and higher levels of negative emotion, but it’s not clear whether this was because children were experiencing a negative emotion more often or because they were experiencing it more intensely.
The findings also point to the importance of teaching children about empathy, which is often taught in school.
Healy’s group has done research with children ages 6 to 12 and found that kids who had more positive emotions and who were also able to identify with their peers were more able to cope with the pressures of life and were less likely than their peers to get in trouble.
“The more we can tell kids, ‘You are different, you are a unique individual.
You’re different from the other kids.
You don’t know how to do it.
You have to be able to learn how to deal with that,'” Healy told The Huffington View.
“When we talk about teaching empathy, we need to talk about positive emotions too.
Positive emotions and positive feelings, that’s what you need to be teaching your kids.”
Follow Matt Baker on Twitter at mbakermatt.