Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus at the Institute of Child Development, talked about the 'clingy child' in a January 10 Slate Magazine article: Carry Me!! How to Handle a Clingy Kid by Melinda Wenner Moyer. In explaining some of the clinging behavior of a young child, Sroufe gives the action an evolutionary context. In further discussion, Sroufe mentions the aspects of stress-relief. Overall, however, he says, 'If it's stress making them clingy, "far and away the best thing to do is let them be clingy," Sroufe says. "They will cling as [much as] they need, and then they'll want to get back to exploring and playing and being with other toddlers and all of that." You may read the whole article here.
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The Minnesota Alumni magazine profiles the research of several ICD faculty on resilience science in Bouncing Back, in its Winter 2014 issue.
Much of that research, although coming from different research vantage points such as the study of early brain development of children in Romanian orphanages, executive function skills of homeless or highly mobile children, or the effect of PSTD on military families, intersects in its relationship to the study of resilience. The article also details programs that have been developed for use in the community, such as the Early Childhood Development Program preschool at People Serving People (PSP), a homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis. You may read the article here.
Shirley Grace Moore, aged 91, one of the seminal leaders in the education of young children and long-time professor in the Institute of Child Development (ICD), passed away over the weekend. Her legacy of excellence will be maintained in ICD and has already made its mark in the Shirley G. Moore Lab School, which was named to honor her upon retirement in 1987.
Moore was known for her wit, wisdom, and scholarship, according ICD director Megan Gunnar.
"Harold Stevenson hired Shirley in the early 1960s to revitalize the preschool program," said Gunnar. "He wanted a director of the nursery school who 'knew advanced statistics'... in other words, someone who was not only a gifted educator but an outstanding researcher. That was Shirley, and she made the preschool program a living laboratory showcasing translation of science to practice and the development of new knowledge about children and their development."
Over the years, Moore contributed to many of the most important science-to-practice endeavors at ICD and abroad. She played a role in training teachers for Project Head Start when it first began and, along with Rich Weinberg, formed the Center for Early Education and Development.
Moore began her career in teaching in the children's program of the McDowell Settlement House in Chicago during World War II. She attended the University of Chicago and held several positions in addition to the one at the settlement house. From there she moved to the University of Iowa in the early 1950s to become a lead teacher in its laboratory preschool. At the same time she began her graduate training under the guidance of one of the luminaries in the field of early childhood, Ruth Updegraff.
It wasn't long before Moore moved from a lead teacher to the principal of the Iowa Preschool Laboratories. It was from this position that Harold Stevenson recruited her to the University of Minnesota.
As we mourn her passing, we celebrate all that she contributed to children and families, the Institute of Child Development, the Center for Early Education and Development, the college, and the University.
A memorial service is scheduled for Dec. 19, 2 p.m., at Gearty-Delmore Plymouth Chapel, 15800 37th Avenue North, Minneapolis, with visitation at 1 p.m.
The research of the Institute of Child Development's Professors Emeriti Alan Sroufe and Byron Egeland; and Elizabeth Carlson, research associate and Director of the Harris Training Program; and Distinguished University Teaching Professor Andrew Collins was cited by Nicholas Kristof in his November 27 op-ed column, Where Is the Love? Kristof referred to the findings presented in their 2005 book: The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood. You may read the column here.
Adrienne Banny, doctoral candidate at the Institute of Child Development, sat down with Marti and Erin Erickson to talk about relational aggression on the Mom Enough show on November 25.
In Cut to the Quick: The Consequences of Relational Aggression among Our Sons & Daughters, Banny discussed research findings that now show that relational aggression is used among girls and boys both as a strategy to increase their popularity and social status.
Banny says that the key for parents in dealing with this kind of aggression is to start discussing this kind of behavior early, before the influence of peers become strong. "Opening up a dialogue with your child about relational aggression and about responsible use of social media at an early age kind of sets the stage for an ongoing conversation about it. It's not going to be a one-time talk about it, this is going to need to be an ongoing kind of conversation."
Further, Banny says that parents and adults can combat this behavior in a broader sense by discussing ways to accomplish social goals without using relational aggression, to therefore decrease the acceptability of using relational aggression as a way to gain social rewards.
To find out more, you may listen to the Mom Enough show at: http://www.momenough.com/?p=5261
ICD alumna Rebecca Shlafer (ICD 2010), recently spoke to KARE 11 about her research on the doula program, Isis Rising, in the women's prison at Shakopee, MN. The program pairs a doula (a trained birth coach) with a pregnant inmate, which allows the inmate to receive delivery room support and pre and post natal support that helps to foster not only a better, healthier birth experience and a healthier baby, but potentially a better start to a better relationship between the mother and her baby, which the program hopes will also foster healthy moms who don't return to prison. As one pregnant inmate put it: "I believe this is my chance. I'm going to have another kid. I need to get it together."
A privately-funded program, Isis Rising has reduced the number of caesarian births at Shakopee to around 3%, while the national rate is around 30% and there have been no low-birth weight babies born in the program. Shlafer says that all of this saves the taxpayers money. And, she adds: "Putting aside the fact this mom has committed x, y, or z crime, all of the children in this are completely innocent."
With the release of the Future of Children, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution have published the first comprehensive report since 9/11 that examines the strengths of and the challenges faced by military families and children. Ann Masten, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychology, describes the articles in the report as using contemporary developmental systems theory and a resilience framework to understand these families and what can be learned from their experiences.
In her summary: Afterword: What We Can Learn from Military Children and Families, Masten writes: "Finding what works among military families to promote resilience and protect child development may have profound significance for the future of all American children". You may find the report at several science news outlets, including E!Science News, PhysOrg, and ScienceDaily.
Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus at the Institute of Child Development, discussed parent-child attachment in an interview with Erin and Marti Erickson on their show, Mom Enough on November 11. In The latest on why and how parent-child attachment is so important: A conversation with the University of Minnesota's Dr. Alan Sroufe, Sroufe talks about what his and others' current research shows about how to foster the kinds of relationships between parents and children that allow secure attachment to flourish.
Megan Gunnar, Regents Professor and Director of the Institute of Child Development, blogs about forming stable attachment relationships in the context of international adoption and other results of her research from the International Adoption Project in the November 8 CEHD Vision 2020 blog, National Adoption Month: 5 Tips to Help Families Thrive.
"As Principal Investigator of the International Adoption Project," Gunnar writes, "my colleagues, students and I aim to develop a clearer picture of the challenges as well as the successes of children who join their families through international adoption. Much of my research has involved attachment relationships, or an emotional bond to another person." Based on her research, Gunnar offers some practical tips to parents to help adopted children succeed and thrive.
Herb Pick, professor emeritus at the Institute of Child Development, and his work are remembered by colleagues in newly published journal articles in Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal and the Association for Psychological Science's APS Observer. Jodie Plumert, (ICD, PhD. 1990), Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa, has published In Memoriam: Herbert L. Pick, Jr. (1930-2012) in Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Plumert says of Pick and his work: "He was a seminal figure in the field of spatial cognition, breaking new ground by conducting many of the first studies on important problems in the field."
More colleagues remember and honor Herb Pick in the APS Observer in Remembering Herbert L. Pick, Jr. with personal and professional recollections of Pick's long career and full life of scholarship, friendship and mentorship.
As Rachel Keen, professor emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia writes,
"Herb was a great catalyst, able to inspire others to think about new issues and design clever new experiments to test those ideas. However, for me, who watched this exciting research from afar, so to speak, Herb represented a scientist at his best. I think he was the most selfless scientist I have known, by which I mean he was never interested (even embarrassed) about taking credit for the wonderful science coming out of his lab. His gift was to inspire others to do their very best, to put the science first, to dare to be the most creative possible, and to enjoy the whole process to the hilt."