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Andreas Scheuer, secretary general of the German party considering proposals for make migrants speak German at home and in public. Sven Hoppe/EPA

Bid to force immigrants to speak German in their homes won’t help integration

A proposal in Germany to make all migrants speak German in public and at home has ignited a heated debate about immigration and language. The proposals come from the German Christlich-Soziale Union (CSU…
Children exhibit signs of psychotic illness in very rare cases. Philippa Willitts/Flickr

Rise in anti-psychotic scripts for kids is a serious worry

News this week that as many as 100,000 prescriptions for anti-psychotics were written for Australian children in 2013 is cause for concern. Though the drugs may be appropriate in a small number of cases…
He’s been reading for months already. Mother and child via Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Stop blaming poor parents for their children’s vocabulary

While the reading wars in education have raged for decades, most people agree that literacy is crucial for children and that the path to strong reading and writing skills begins in the home. But focusing…
People who have been in care are more likely to have children at an early age and are at greater risk of having their own child taken into care. Mika Heittola/Shutterstock

We remove kids from abuse and neglect, but are they better off in the long run?

Most people reasonably assume there is evidence of good long-term outcomes for children who come into contact with child protection systems. Why else would we intervene in the lives of children and their…
Rural or metropolitan? Communities make a big difference when deciding how independent your kids should be. Peter Gordebeke/Flickr

What do parents fear? Unwrapping the bubble-wrap generation

We hear so much these days about fearful parents who “bubble-wrap” their children. So-called “helicopter parents” try to protect their children from life’s dangers and, in the process, prevent them taking…
Talk to me, Dad. Father and son via sashahaltam/Shutterstock

Talking to your babies could help them do better at school

The rate at which children learn language varies substantially from child to child. Some children show rapid vocabulary growth before they go to school, while others learn so slowly that they can end up…
Not more RAM, working memory is what you need. Mother and Daughter, Kyle Lee/Shutterstock

Children’s cognitive abilities linked to parental education

Cognitive difficulties are very common in children from impoverished backgrounds, putting them at risk of educational failure. However, it is not clear what influences the development of cognitive abilities…
Sluggish cognitive tempo is used to describe kids whose attentional deficits are due to low levels of mental energy. Alec Couros/Flickr

Is ‘sluggish cognitive tempo’ a valid new childhood disorder?

Sociology influences medicine more than we like to admit. One only needs to look at the history of psychiatric disorders – a term used broadly here to incorporate developmental disorders – to see how “normal…
Sometimes vegetables end up everywhere except where they’d do most good. Evan Long/Flickr

Health Check: why kids don’t like vegies and how to change it

So little Harry won’t eat his vegetables? Well, he’s not alone. Poor Harry is just protecting himself from the danger of alkaloid toxins – although he doesn’t actually know this. At the tender age of four…
Mothers with genetic mutations not harmful to females may be passing them onto their sons. Vincent van der Pas/Flickr (resized)

Mothers' genes may be why autism is more common in boys

Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, because girls need more extreme genetic…
Too many two-year-olds. Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Very few schools are ready to take two-year-olds into class

Proposals to allow schools to start looking after two-year-olds go to the heart of a long-standing tension in education policy: is early childhood provision about childcare for working parents or is it…
Hands up who wants to breastfeed at work? Christian Lutz/AP

Women at work should be able to breastfeed and succeed

Days after Pope Francis told mothers to “not think twice” about breastfeeding at church and in public, Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer, called for women to be allowed to breastfeed at work…
Orphan bonobos at a Congo sanctuary don’t understand how to comfort others or themselves as well as those reared by their mums. Flickr/Princess Stand in the Rain

For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills

Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos…

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