Video games and the paradox of failure

The paradox of failure explains why even a healthy rage-quit won't keep a good gamer down.

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  • When we fail at video games, we discover an inadequacy (however small) in ourselves — yet a growing number of people continue to seek out these digital challenges.
  • Game designer Jesper Juul calls this the paradox of failure and argues it offers a unique space for personal growth.
  • By using the paradox of failure as a tool, video games could teach us to develop open mindsets and evade the pitfalls of learned helplessness.
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Drug prevention advice for parents

How to talk to kids responsibly about drugs.

  • The majority of kids are going to experiment with drugs at some point in their lives, mostly in their teens and early 20s.
  • While many parents might balk at allowing their children to experiment, it's important to remember that not all drugs are the same.
  • There are some warning signs, however. Neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz walks us through some of the signs to look out for.

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Forcing your kids to apologize can make them less 'likable'

Maybe you both need a time-out.

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  • A new study finds that making children apologize can make things worse.
  • When kids say fake "sorry" their victims dislike them even more.
  • Children respond most positively when regret is sincere.
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How hands-on learning fires up your brain

To strengthen your mind, work with your hands, says former astronaut Leland Melvin.

  • Learning is a mental and physical pursuit, says retired astronaut Leland Melvin.
  • Recalling his childhood, Melvin explains how working with his dad to turn a $500 bread truck into a family RV camper ultimately made him a better astronaut, able to maneuver the $2-billion dollar Columbus Laboratory out of the payload bay of a shuttle and attach it to the International Space Station.
  • Experiential learning — like hands-on DIY, engineering kits, and Duplo games — wires your brain for problem solving from a young age. It's a leg-up we can all give to the children in our lives.
  • "[W]hen we let [kids] build and create and it's meaningful and it helps them solve a problem, that gets them thinking about how they can be change makers themselves and how they can be scientists and engineers," says Melvin.

3 great untruths to stop telling kids—and ourselves

These psychological principles can make you more resilient.

  • Popular platitudes can squash your critical thinking, argues moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt.
  • Always trust your feelings? The world is a battle between good and evil? These popular pieces of conventional wisdom are merely myths—ones that can set us up for failure.
  • "When we protect children from unpleasantness, from conflicts, from insults, from teasing, from exclusion, we're preventing their social psychology, we're preventing their social abilities, we're preventing their strength from developing," says Haidt.
  • He highlights three great untruths and explains the psychological principles that debunk them. Unlearning a few token ideas can make us more resilient and help us grow, rather than break, in the face of adversity.