Here is an idea for a research project (maybe will expand in a blog post some day):
its well established that positive emotions and negative emotions are not just opposites on a continuum but creatures from different planets ( i.e. they are two separate dimensions of measuring affect).
Now, similarly it can be conjectured that just like there are positive establishment procedures (like consistently caring for your child) that can lead to positive outcomes and affects (like secure attachment leading to curious exploration by the child) , and the absence of such procedures (like not caring consistently for the child or not caring at all) can lead to negative outcomes (like insecure or avoidant attachment); so too it can be conjectured that there are also negative establishment procedures in early childhood that work via a different mechanism ( similar to the different mechanisms with which the negative emotions work vis-a-vis the positive emotions.
Another conjecture is that that mechanism may be bullying. It may be one of the negative establishment procedures in early childhood that may lead to feelings of humiliation, smallness, and shame. A typical consistent bullying (by say peers or teacher or for that matter even parents) may lead to such negative feelings and outcomes while it remains to be seen what effect other types of bullying (like gentle goading or pushing or the absence of bullying- which to remind again may not be the as leading to secure attachment) may have.
These ought to be important research areas, that need to be studied, and may or may not result in fruitful results- so invest you time , money and energy with a pinch of salt.
Empathy isn’t just taking another perspective. Con men can do that. In order to be empathetic, children need to know how to value, respect and understand another person’s points of view, even when they don’t agree.
Report cards are coming home, and a good number of parents are worried that their child seems to be showing signs of a learning disability. Their concern is well founded; learning disabilities including A.D.H.D. and dyslexia affect 20% of our students and less than half get the attention they need. That is a large community, in fact, the largest minority in the country. For these kids, often the day is longer, the challenge greater, the work harder. Unless we identify and assist them, the national cost in human potential and hard dollars will be tremendous.
Kids with learning disabilities drop out ten times more frequently than others in high school, and are much more likely to use drugs and get involved in our jail system. The impact when this large a social group fails is felt by all of us.
A learning problem is not an intelligence problem -- these children are smart, creative, and capable. They can and do learn; however, they think differently, access and process information in an atypical way. That is where opportunity lies, and where we are falling far short.
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