You probably feel stressed a lot of the time, I know I certainly do, but share a thought for the children – a lot of them are very stressed too – and this stress is causing their bodies to mature sexually at an earlier age than would be expected.
An Australian research project has found that around 16% of girls and 6% of boys had begun puberty by age eight to nine. The average age of the onset of puberty for girls is ten to eleven, and boys, eleven to twelve.
They found that children who go through puberty early have poorer mental health than their peers.
The study, (Growing up too fast: early puberty and mental illness) published on 3/4/13, was conducted by Fiona Mensah, NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and George Patton from the Population Health Studies of Adolescents at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
In the longitudinal study of 3,491 Australian children and families, parents reported on their child’s behavioural difficulties and emotional, social and school functioning in four surveys between ages four and 11.
Mensah and Patton relate their findings to the generally accepted premise that adversity in life can affect the rate and course of a child’s development. Their results support the hypothesis that early psychological and social stress could well be triggering earlier reproductive development, just as physical and environmental stress can trigger early sexual maturation in children in deprived situations.
Many of the students we work with here at High Performance Learning are in a very stressed state when they first come to see us.
It is no exaggeration to say that a large percentage of them are quite traumatised – not by family problems or other social factors – but by their experience in education.
Children who are struggling with their listening, speech, reading and writing are not able to keep up with their schoolwork, and so suffer a large amount of social stigma and psychological stress. This stress is compounded because they do not have good enough communication skills to be able to take advantage of help when it is offered.
And of course when the sexual changes of puberty arrive, children struggling with their basic skill are at an added disadvantage when trying to come to terms with all the physical, psychological and social changes that follow as a result, changes that even good communicators struggle with.
Once we have helped our students overcome their basic language and learning problems we see a dramatic change for the better in their psychological well-being. Good communication skills enable them to become much more resilient when they encounter the inevitable problems in life.
We then encourage them to become lovers of fiction so they can use the wonderful novels and plays they will read in High School to become more sophisticated intellectually and emotionally. Our clients usually become life-long readers – they become bibliophiles (lovers of books/fiction).
Regularly reading fiction is a great way to keep developing your emotional skills right through your life – after all, the reason most authors write fiction is to share the lessons they have learned from their own life experience!
High Performance Learning
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