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Study: The more activities the better

Does my child have too much to do or not enough is the question most parents are asking themselves in today's society.  Challenging the popular notion that children are overscheduled, a new report declares more is better after all.

In a nationwide random survey of 2,125 5- to 18-year-olds, the study found that the more time children spend in organized activities, the better their grades, self-esteem, and relationships with parents, and the lower the incidence of substance abuse.  Researcher, clinical, and developmental  psychologist Suniya S. Luthar of Teachers College, Columbia University disagrees.  She says, ``We are scapegoating overscheduling".  ``Activities themselves are good things," she says. ``When there are problems -- poor psychological profiles, low functioning at school, general unhappiness -- they are caused by the children's perception that adults are critical of them or setting expectations that are unrealistic, or because they are unsupervised after school."


Suniya S. Luthar's study was published in June and reached conclusions similar to Mahoney's even though her population was 300 eighth graders from affluent families only.


This article appeared in the September 18, 2006 edition of the Boston Globe.  previous page