Discussions Regarding the World of Psychology (www.lapsych.com)

Tag Archives: Behavior Problems


A new study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior supports the notion that certain facial irregularities which are developed during the first and second trimester of pregnancy are positively correlated with future pedophilia. This study also found that left-handedness is also more common in pedophiles. I see positive and negative implications of this study based on the way it can be interpreted by people with various agendas. If used as a potential tool for early intervention, I believe that it can be a great benefit to help kids and adolescents who are at risk for becoming potential future pedophiles learn their triggers and coping mechanisms for such urges. However, if this study is misinterpreted by individuals, it can be used to alienate and red-flag individuals with possible features and can lead to discriminatory actions. It also brings up the argument of nature versus nurture and how much of this behavior is controlled by genetic predisposition or the environment and manner in which one was raised. Very interesting study…

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian


I often see/hear discussions in the community regarding how children/adolescents are posting too much personal information on social media sites such as Facebook and I feel that this is legitimately a source of concern for parents.  Therefore, I found a new study from the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science which addresses the issue to be very relevant.  The study found that the amount of personal information that teens share on FB is actually similar to the amount of personal information that their parents share.  The only difference is that teens spend more time on these kinds of sites.  This, in turn, gives them more time to post content that is personal.  On average, it was determined that teens spend 55 minutes per day on Facebook, whereas adults spend 38 minutes/day.  However, the personal nature of the posts (i.e. pictures, locations, etc) between parents and children is similar in content.

One thing that this study brought to mind for me is that although the personal nature of the posts between the parents and children may be similar, that does not account for the content of the posts.  In other words, although a parent may feel it appropriate to post a picture of him/herself with their spouse, the content of that picture may be more conservative than a picture that their teen may post of him/herself with their boy/girlfriend.  I would appreciate a study that would further look into this issue regarding if the personal posts uploaded by teens place them in a more compromising position than the personal posts uploaded by their parents. 

That said, I believe that social media is a territory that parents need to address and discuss with their teens.  It is not something that is going away anytime soon and generally speaking, can actually be a great way for teens to express themselves.  However, like any other aspect of raising teenagers, limits and boundaries need to be set around its use and occasional monitoring is needed.   Most importantly, it is critical to talk to your teens about the consequences of the information they choose to post on social media sites and the permanent nature of the content they place on the internet.  Open communication and trust are vital aspects in a parent and teen relationship.  This does not mean that you should treat your teenager like they are your friend but that you are there to be a sounding board for them if/when they are having issues.  If your teen then chooses to follow a path that you disapprove of as a parent, that it when it is necessary to give them a consequence.  If you are struggling in communicating effectively with your teen, it is important to address the issue by seeing a psychologist before it gets out of control.  However, just try to keep in mind that they are going through a difficult time in their lives in which they are trying to determine how their personal values/beliefs align with the social environment in which they exist and how to go about being accepted in light of who they are.  For some, this struggle does not end in adolescence, but is a lifelong journey…

-Dr. Sheyda Melkonian

It’s general knowledge that most people like to have the perception that they have choices.  Nobody wants to be told that they have to do something.  A new study recently published in the journal, Psychological Science, confirmed the general notion that either having power or being given choices (or both) helps us feel that we are in control.  And who doesn’t want to feel like they are in control of their life, right?  However, most people do not act upon this knowledge when it comes to their daily life.  It’s likely that we would all have better relationships with one another if we gave each other more choices.  This is true for the workplace, for our romantic relationships, and especially for parenting our children.  

Let’s first use the workplace example.  Would you rather have your boss tell you that you have to work 5,  8 hour days, or would you rather be given the option of working 5, 8 hour days or 4, 10 hour days?  Research has shown that when people are given this option, their performance and productivity increases, regardless of the option they chose.  They work better simply because they feel they were given a choice in regard to their working conditions.   As a result, they tend to attain a greater level of respect toward superiors in the workplace for giving them a choice to begin with.

In terms of romantic or social relationships, the same phenomenon takes place.  Would you rather have your partner or friend constantly delegating their wishes upon you, or would you prefer to be given options?  It’s not about giving up what you want, but it’s about giving the other person options and making them feel like they are a part of the process.  For example, if you want to have Italian food for dinner, you can give your spouse the choice between 2 Italian restaurants.  That way, they feel that they participated in the decision and you were still able to eat Italian food. 

This concept of giving people choices as a means of helping them gain a sense of control works the best when it comes to parenting children.  Giving children choices is a great way of disciplining them, teaching them good behavior, and preventing negative behaviors.  For example, a child is significantly more likely to refuse eating something that you tell them they have to eat.  However, if you give them the choice between 2 healthy options and let them choose, they feel that they played a part in that decision and are more likely to eat the meal that they chose.  In the end though, you had the ultimate control because you were the one who selected which meals would be options.    

In conclusion, giving people choices gives them a sense of control, it makes them feel that you respect and value their opinion, and ultimately, it creates happier relationships between people.

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian

Our kids are our first priority in life… we put their health and their happiness over our own in the hope that they will go further in life than we did and be able to turn their dreams (as well as our dreams for them…) into reality.  Whatever problems they have… we are ready to fix…. If they’re sick, we take them to the pediatrician, if they’re having trouble seeing, we take them to the optometrist, if they have a tooth-ache, we take them to the dentist… so if they are having trouble in school, why is it that we hesitate before going to a professional for help?

 Learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are neurological disorders which have significantly more successful outcomes if identified and addressed early in life.  LD and ADHD commonly occur together in children (30-50% of the time) and are primarily due to differences in the way a person’s brain is ‘wired’.  Children with these disabilities are equally smart or even smarter than their peers but have specific difficulties.  These difficulties may be in academic areas such as reading, writing, & math, or they may be in executive functioning skills (i.e. their ability to follow directions, manage & organize their time, impulsivity, etc), or in both.  In a real life scenario, this might be a child who is good at math and hands-on tasks, but has difficulty paying attention when required to read an assignment and answer questions and has to be reminded several times before getting started on tasks.  In most cases, parents get frustrated with these children because they have the ability and intelligence to succeed across certain domains, but in other areas, it appears as though they are not trying.  The truth, however, is that if a student has a Learning Disability or ADHD, they may be trying harder than all their peers to succeed, but that their biological make-up is preventing them from ever being able to excel in their area of weakness without the use of direct intervention. 

 LD and ADHD have social consequences in addition to the academic ones.  Many students who have difficulty staying focused in class, paying attention to the teacher, or understanding the material being presented turn to dysfunctional means of compensating for the low self-confidence their deficits have created in them.  Research has found that boys tend to divert attention off their disability by drawing attention to something they have control over… their behavior.  They tend to become the class clown and act out in classes as a means of masking the low self-confidence and getting their peers and teachers to think that they are purposely trying not to do well.  In girls, the low self-confidence tends to cause them to isolate and internalize their feelings.  As a result, they become quiet, shy, and unwilling to discuss their feelings which can lead to depression in the long-run.  As they grow up, these negative coping skills can lead both males and females with LD and ADHD into self-destructive patterns of drug use, violence, and oppositional behavior.

 There are many learning strategies and interventions which can be used to help students with LD and ADHD to function better both academically and in society.  However, the first step in getting help for your child is to have them undergo a psycho-educational evaluation to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and to diagnose the disability if necessary.  This can be done by a psychologist who will create a report with recommendations of what steps should be taken to help your child to succeed.  Some of these steps will likely be referrals to educational therapists and community resources to help rehabilitate the student in their area of weakness.  Behavioral tools can also be employed to better control impulsive behavior, etc. 

 In the end, it is important to understand that although it is difficult to accept that our children might have difficulties with learning and functioning in the academic environment, it does not always mean that they are deliberately behaving that way.  Once parents can accept this notion, it takes a load off both their shoulders as well as their child’s and opens the door to a path of various options and interventions to help them succeed.  Once Learning Disabilities and ADHD are identified for children, it not only validates their feelings but it can also give them hope in their ability to achieve in school and break the label of being the ‘bad student’ for the rest of their educational endeavors.  As for parents, it can once again give them hope in the future achievements of their children. 

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian

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