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Bibs & bobs — 22 September 2019

By Mums At The Table 1 min read

The secret to happy arguing | The surprisingly simple solution to stop kids from bullying | Worried about your teen's health? Look at when they're sleeping

The secret to happy arguing

Even the happiest couples argue. And research shows they tend to argue about the same topics as unhappy couples: children, money, in-laws, intimacy. However, when arguing, happy couples focus on issues with clearer solutions, such as the distribution of household labour and how to spend leisure time. These couples rarely chose to argue about issues that are more difficult to resolve and, according to lead researcher Amy Rauer, this strategic decision may be one of the keys to their marital success. As to which issues may be more difficult to resolve, couples avoided discussing challenges regarding their spouse's health and physical intimacy. These issues may be more difficult to address without challenging their partner's sense of competence or making the partner feel vulnerable or embarrassed, resulting in more conflict. In other words, couples may want to choose their battles wisely, according to Amy. "Being able to successfully differentiate between issues that need to be resolved versus those that can be laid aside for now may be one of the keys to a long-lasting, happy relationship." —University of Tennessee at Knoxville

The surprisingly simple solution to stop kids from bullying

Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that students who feel a greater sense of belonging with their peers, family and school community are less likely to become bullies. Their findings suggest that parents and teachers should consider ways to create a supportive and accepting environment both at home and at school. One of the ways parents can increase a child's sense of family belonging is to organise activities that cater to every child's interests. Teachers and school leaders also should consider techniques and programs that create a supportive environment for students. Some examples include starting clubs for students with various interests, offering to lend an ear to students who need someone to talk to and considering community-building events. —University of Missouri-Columbia

Worried about your teen's health? Look at when they're sleeping

Research has found that "night owls", teenagers who prefer to go to bed late but have to get up early for school, had higher waist circumferences and greater abdominal fat deposition (adiposity) than the "morning larks": those who prefer to go to bed early and get up early to begin their day. The researchers emphasised the need for consistent sleep-wake patterns throughout the week, including on weekends, to reduce the risk of obesity and promote cardiometabolic health. Scientists examined chronotypes (evening versus morning preferences) and "social jet lag" (differences in sleep timing between school and free days) in children 12 to 17 years of age. Evening chronotypes and greater social jet lag were associated with a higher adiposity. —Massachusetts General Hospital