Child’s Play

By Ygal Kaufman

childsplayResearchers from OSU, have recently published a study that finds the decision making problems kids have around age 10-11 can predict risky behavior in their teens.  The research, which comes as no surprise to my mother, may sound like it’s just confirming what everyone already assumed, but one of the researchers behind the study, Professor Josh Weller points out that the study actually makes an important point that should be noted by all parents.

“This research underscores that decision-making is a skill and it can be taught,” said Weller in a press release. “The earlier you teach these skills, the potential for improving outcomes increases.”

It may seem obvious that kids who show poor judgment when they’re 10 will show increasingly destructive decision making when they’re in the years long risk gauntlet of the teen years.

The new research piggybacked off a previous study which asked 100 children (aged 10-11) questions and appraised their ability to make wise decisions. Weller’s study brought back 76 of these kids (now 12-13) for more questions, as well as assessment by both the children and their parents. The study sought to link answers to questions about things like fights, lying and peer interactions, to future risky behavior like unprotected sex and drug abuse.

The discoveries of the study may not sound groundbreaking, but it’s one of the first studies, possibly the first, to deal with future outcomes as opposed to only investigating historical behavior.