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Reading: Amazing for your Mental Health!

Majority of people do not mind reading, but for some people it can be quite a drag. What if I told you “nonreaders” that besides the already known educational positives of readings, that there is another big pro to reading? Reading can be a great accessory in increasing your mental health. That’s right, your mental health! You are probably wondering what exactly is mental health?

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Education and Mental Health

 

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The Importance of Socio-emotional Development

Socio-emotional development during the preschool and kindergarten years is extremely important. It has been linked to healthy intellectual growth and is thought to be a foundation for future school achievement. When not cultivated, poor socio-emotional development can lead to disruptive behavioral problems that studies have found to be extremely stable across childhood and adolescence (Campbell, 1995; Moffitt, Caspi, Dickson, Silva, & Stanton, 1996). However, if properly developed, it can continue to aid small children in traversing life and making positive decisions.

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Math Genie Alumni Gets a Perfect Score on the PSAT & SAT

Math Genie Alumni Gets a Perfect Score on the PSAT & SAT

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A New Outlook on Learning Disabilities

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How to Make Good Decisions

 

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Does Summer mean Time off from Learning? Never!

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How to deal with crying

 

Whether it occurs at random, at bedtime, during dinner, or simply when you say no, crying can be extremely difficult for parents to deal with. For many, the reflex response is to comfort. For others, crying has become a nuisance; something that their children do to get what they want. But for most parents of chronic criers, they are simply in need of a solution; one that will help their children to positively cope and be less stressful for themselves in the long-run. I have the solution, but I also want to challenge your reluctance to see tears. Is your child’s crying unwarranted? Or does the simple act of witnessing the expression of emotion make you uncomfortable?

Why Do We Cry?

Before delving into the solution for crying (because it is simpler than you may think), let’s first try to understand why we cry. Humans are the only creatures currently known to cry due to their feelings, and tears have the role of soliciting attention and care. But why do we as parents, spouses, and generally caring individuals tend to respond so strongly to crying? Research has not provided solid answers.

Most scientists argue that tears have no benefit other than lubricating the eyes. However, current research is beginning to build sound theory surrounding the idea that emotional tears are chemically different than tears that occur due to irritation (e.g. cutting onions). These tears can be seen easier because they are more viscous and the chemical makeup of emotional tears may even reduce aggression in others (Gelstein, Yeshurun, Rozenkrantz, Shushan, Frumin, Roth & Sobel, 2011). So, it seems that we are just biologically composed to respond to tears. Whether this response is with empathy or frustration, is dependent upon the individual. However, our responses influence our children and often shape their behavior.

So, What Should We Do?

Although debated, research has shown that crying is cathartic (Rottenberg, Bylsma & Vingerhoets, 2008). For many, it can act as a release of negative emotion and aid in feeling better. So, one of the simplest solutions for a hypersensitive child or even a child who uses crying as an attention seeking behavior, is to allow them to cry. Even though it probably will make you feel uncomfortable, it is okay for you to let your child express their feelings. Trying to curb the behavior by coddling, debating, or yelling will be highly reinforcing and you may find that your child will cry just to gain your attention, not because they truly feel an emotional need.

Now if a child is in critical need of care, letting them cry is not appropriate. Instead, providing them with the support that they need is critical, whether this be a hug, Band-Aid, or a hospital visit. However, for less serious behaviors that are often associated with tears, such as sulking and tantrums, ignoring the behavior and letting them cry works wonders. This simple solution is called tactical ignoring. With tactical ignoring, you give no outward sign of recognizing a behavior (e.g. no eye contact, no verbal response, no physical response). Only when the crying, sulking, or tantruming has stopped, should your child be reinforced with your attention. Though it may be frustrating in the beginning, it will be helpful in the long-run. Crying isn’t really the problem, it’s how we respond to it that creates chaos!

References:

Gelstein, S., Yeshurun, Y., Rozenkrantz, L., Shushan, S., Frumin, I., Roth, Y., & Sobel, N. (2011). Human tears contain a chemosignal. Science, 331(6014), 226-230.

Rottenberg, J., Bylsma, L. M., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2008). Is crying beneficial?. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(6), 400-404.

 

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Spelling and Grammar in the Age of Social Media

In this technological age of computers and social media, spelling and grammar are going extinct. With autocorrect, twitter, and text lingo, it appears that people are becoming progressively more unconcerned with their ability to spell, or at the very least, write in a grammatically correct manner. Instead, it is now becoming socially acceptable and encouraged to use bad grammar. And I don’t know about you, but this worries me. Are we doomed to a future of non-spelling, grammatically incorrect individuals? A future where spelling bees and writing competitions are no longer in existence because we can no longer compete? I sincerely hope not!

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Read a Book You Normally Wouldn't!

When walking into a bookstore or local library, we are often attracted to authors or genres that strike our interest. We tend to stray to those types of books and scan through which book by that author we have not read yet, or dive into a similar style of writing. We often do this because we are comfortable and satisfied with those types of books we read and don’t want to take a risk on something else. The idea of diving into unfamiliar territory is scary to us readers.

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