Business Standard

Years after good-behavior program in grade school, adults report healthier lives


Researchers have found that by teaching parents and teachers to build stronger bonds with their children and to help children form greater attachments to family in grade school can lead to a healthier and successful life in adulthood.
The people who reported better health and socioeconomic status were consistently those whose parents and teachers had received lessons aimed at building stronger bonds with their children.
The findings are published by The Journal National Institute on Drug Abuse.
"These early elementary-school interventions seek to make kids current lives better both in and out of school. But can we actually get kids on a different life trajectory that lasts beyond elementary school? In fact, we found enduring effects, where they're having an overall better experience in adulthood," said Rick Kosterman, a principal investigator with the Social Development Research Group.
Many of the concepts are teaching tools and parenting tips that are well-known today. Reinforcing positive behaviours, setting expectations for making responsible choices, and promoting positive social interaction at school through group projects and seating arrangements. Table groups in the classroom facilitate cooperation and learning from one another, for example, while at home, parents can catch their child being good and offer praise. With older children, parents can discuss issues such as smoking so that standards for healthy behaviour are established before the teen years.
The prevention curriculum, called Raising Healthy Children, was created by UW social work professors J. David Hawkins and Richard Catalano. The lessons, for use by parents and teachers, focused on enhancing children opportunities for forming healthy bonds in grades 1 to 6 and providing them with social skills and reinforcements.
"We worked to build healthier relationships, we call it social bonding between teachers and students, and parents and children. The larger question was if we do all these things, will it turn into a prosocial, healthy lifestyle? We didn't know we would see these results so much later in life" said Hawkins.
Hawkins added, "The most important thing we've learned is to provide opportunities for kids to have positive social involvement. Make sure your kids have the opportunity to engage with you as a parent. Play with them, hold them, don't just sit on your phone when you're with them.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Jul 28 2019 | 9:44 PM IST

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