Page 3 | Got a question about helping your child’s emotional and cognitive development? Dr Kilbey answers your questions - £200 voucher to be won

(92 Posts)
LucyBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 25-Oct-21 10:25:30

Created for Barbie

All parents wonder if there’s more they can do to help nurture their children’s emotional and cognitive development. Post your questions below and you could win a £200 voucher:

- Everyone who shares a question on the thread below will be entered into a prize draw
- One lucky Mumsnet user will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice (from a list)
- Dr Elizabeth will be back on 15th November to answer a selection of your questions

About Dr Elizabeth:
Dr Elizabeth is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, specialising in working with children and young people. She works predominantly with children with complex neuro-developmental difficulties including Autism, ADHD and Learning Disabilities. Dr Elizabeth was the resident on-screen expert on Channel 4’s The Secret Life of 4, 5 & 6 Year olds and provided insight into the behaviour and psychological world of the children.

Here’s what Barbie have to say:
“We’ve always known that playing with dolls has a positive impact on children, but up until now, we’ve not had neuroscientific data that demonstrates these benefits. We teamed up with Cardiff University to investigate the benefits of play on children’s development. The findings of this research highlight that playing with dolls, such as Barbie, offers positive benefits in preparing children for the future through nurturing social skills like empathy. As we continue to inspire the limitless potential in every child, we are proud to offer dolls that encourage these skills.”

So whether you have a question about what you can do to help your children develop empathy, or how important is this for their emotional development and overall well being, post your question on this thread for Dr Elizabeth to answer.

Thanks and good luck!

Insight T&Cs apply

OP’s posts: |
DinkyDaffodil Wed 03-Nov-21 15:05:59

I love the fact that we see more people with visible disabilities on our screens, but I find my son who is on the autistic spectrum (no filter) will ask about people with disabilities - I want to answer his questions and head off any embarrassment in the future, is there a book, video or training material aimed at 5-8 year olds ? thanks

ohdannyboy Wed 03-Nov-21 15:20:15

Are there any dollys for boys which come with boys clothes - the only ones I can find are pink girly dollys, I think this will help DS1 so much.

TrollsAreSaddos Wed 03-Nov-21 15:41:24

This is a confusing thread. Is Dr Elizabeth being paid to promote Barbie or is Mumsnet being paid? Did Mattel fund the research? (nothing wrong with that but interesting to know).

None of my kids played with dolls, they played with teddies though and they played with action figures. I’d worry that playing with dolls would encourage girls to fall into the cliche caring ‘mother’ role with them wanting to look after other people to the detriment of themselves. Look at all the threads on Mumsnet where women suffer because they are ‘people pleasers’. ( I’m also not a fan of toys that promote the ideal of skinny white blond pretty girls …)

I tried to promote empathy with my kids when they were little by getting them to think about other people feelings through role play. For example if we saw someone who is homeless I’d ask them why they thought they might be in that situation and what would they think and do if they were homeless. Lots of what would you do and what would you think questions. I wouldn’t tell them what they should think.

I guess you can do the same thing by role playing with dolls.

So my question is how to promote empathy without risking making a child overly worried about other peoples feeling or becoming too much of a people pleaser.

ByGrabtharsHammerWhatASavings Wed 03-Nov-21 17:18:21

At what age would you say it is possible to distinguish ADHD symptoms from "overexcited child" symptoms? My son is 5 and I have my suspicions (I have them about his dad as well) but he may also just be an excitable little boy.

welshmardymum Wed 03-Nov-21 19:38:28

I'd love to know how to help my mildly autistic child to build a strategy for talking to new people when starting a new senior school where she won't know anyone - she is 10 and two years off and we've worked hard and she is great at being realistic and realising not everyone will 'get' her and being polite and having her asking how people are and what they like questions even though she doesn't see the importance of the answers! She can make friends if she can get people to know her - she is already getting anxious about going to this new school and i'd love some pointers.

EvilHerbivore Wed 03-Nov-21 19:44:30

DS2 has autism - can you suggest some ways of practicing managing emotions?
He gets very very upset if he doesn't win or if he thinks things aren't 'fair'


HarryK Wed 03-Nov-21 22:59:47

When I can do to open up 11 year old shy daughter to talk about anything with me?

Beurre Thu 04-Nov-21 09:20:28

Can the symptoms of autism improve with age i.e. a non verbal child start speaking at age 13? I also keep hearing about biomedical treatments for autism such as NAC tablets etc. Does it really work?

LfTmLrnrMum Thu 04-Nov-21 11:05:04


I like helping other mums by sharing my experiences of raising up two well adjusted grown up children.Got a question?Just ask

LfTmLrnrMum Thu 04-Nov-21 11:09:26


I think I need to help and share your experiences because I felt "out of order mum" smile these days

could I get a help even talking someone is best wonderful option
I send this mesg for just practise and be sure to reach you if you agree such as to help I will share my struggle thank you

AuntLucy Thu 04-Nov-21 20:40:24

My 12yr DD old is increasingly sure all things girly are rubbish (she is not trans, nor non-binary not anything else, as far as she or I know yet). I'm loathe to campaign for 'team-girl' in case it being a mum-thing makes it even more uncool. How can I encourage her to - almost literally - bat for her own team!?

NoodleyNoods1234 Fri 05-Nov-21 00:13:43

Re: Depression; is it nature or nurture?
I am concerned about my children’s future. Their loving father sadly committed suicide in Covid lockdown after being made redundant and lifelong depression. He was estranged from his mother as she had suffered mental illness with violent outbursts, hid dad had died when he was only 1 so has no memories of him. He was adopted away from this mother as a young teenager. I on the other hand was handed the gift of a loving caring nurturing childhood but have suffered with depression for 6/7 years and have obviously found the last year intensely difficult. The children and I are all receiving support from many directions (non NHS I might add, as ‘bereavement’ is not covered by CMHT (adult community mental health) or CAMHS (Children Adolescent Mental Health Services). I want to protect my children as much as possible and just wondered how large a part dies genetics play in mental health is genetic or is it purely a nurtured environmental cause?

Andoffwego Fri 05-Nov-21 06:45:02

DS is 12 and in many ways is a lovely boy. But I sometimes get the impression that he is faking empathy because he knows that it’s the right thing to do but isn’t really feeling it. Is this normal at that age or should I be concerned?

Wwjd89 Fri 05-Nov-21 21:18:21

I've been trying to gentle parent and tried to allow safe space for them show their emotions. But I'm currently finding that my two DC are crying a lot recently, which is making me question my parental choice. Is there such a thing as allowing too much space? Have I gone wrong with this method?

Nb81 Sat 06-Nov-21 02:07:46

My nearly 10 year old son still can't tell the time and it worries him, but when i try to teach him the only way I know how, he gets frustrated and says he doesn't get it. Is this normal at his age? And how is best to teach him more easily?

SuzCG Sat 06-Nov-21 15:52:20

I feel we did all the right things with our DS (now 15) to encourage empathy and he used to seem so aware and sensitive to those around him. These last few months with him have been awful, he seems so insular and really uncaring towards those around him, especially DH and I and particularly his sibling (DD, 12). Is he just being a typical teenager where its a phase and will those taught values return? Or have we lost him forever??
(As background, I have always thought he displayed some traits that could be placed 'on a spectrum' but generally he has coped well through life with reassurance & support - these traits & behaviours do seem to be more pronounced now he is getting older. So, I'm thinking that maybe I should have pushed more in the past to get him assessed?). Thank you.

HairyScaryMonster Sun 07-Nov-21 07:57:03

My 7yo daughter struggles to be flexible in play, so if someone doesn't want to play a game exactly how she wants, she'll get explosively upset and hurtful quickly. Any tips to encourage flexibility and compromise?

Toodlydoo Sun 07-Nov-21 08:17:55

How do I teach my DD to be assertive, she’s a very sweet 2yr old who loves other kids but I worry she will want to please too much if you see what I mean. We try to respect her choices and validate her feelings (not always successful at this) I worry that girls are still conditioned to please.

tillytown Sun 07-Nov-21 19:18:06

One of my nephews is 19 months old, he doesn't speak, doesn't make any babbling noises, can't walk, doesn't play, and is biting everyone he meets. We think the biting is due to frustration but he is hurting the other kids in nursery, how do we stop the biting? His elder brother is autistic and was slow to develop (said his first words at 4, walked without someone holding his hands at 5) so his mum is convinced he has autism as well

MumC2141 Mon 08-Nov-21 22:07:30

My autistic daughter (age 9) really struggles with anxiety and low self esteem. I try to help her, talk to her, have tried using workbooks aimed at children of her age with strategies she can use etc. But she just refuses to engage with any attempts to help. What can I do to help when she won’t engage?

MumWillingToHelp Tue 09-Nov-21 07:59:33

Have gone to see the Doctor?
He/she might refer you to a specialist who can help.
In the meantime try to encourage her to eat more fruits and vegetables.These normally help to regulate our moods and make us more willing to engage.

mrshoho Thu 11-Nov-21 09:44:18

My just turned 17 years old daughter was diagnosed at 15 with asd after a really rocky time at high school. She's doing well now at college but lives her life online with her headphones on at home. She stops for meals with us and occasional meals/ family outings. Life is much calmer now thankfully, but I do wonder should I do more to encourage her to be more involved and sociable or just let her be? She is tired after college as it's pretty full on and the travelling to and from by bus can cause anxiety leaving her drained dome days. I try not to think too far ahead into the future but I can't help worrying about how she will cope at university or employment.

LucyBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Nov-21 14:30:24

Thanks to everyone who posted a question on this thread. Dr Elizabeth will be back in the next couple of days to answer a handful of the questions posted!

In the meantime, I can announce that the winner of the prize draw is @Sarah1417 smile

OP’s posts: |
DrElizabeth Thu 18-Nov-21 14:02:46

Hi everyone. Thanks for taking the time to post your questions on this thread. I will answer a selection of these today and a handful later next week. I hope that my responses are helpful to you smile

- Dr Elizabeth

DrElizabeth Thu 18-Nov-21 14:09:24


I would like to know about ways to improve cognitive skills through play.

Hi @languagelover96,

Play is vital in promoting children’s development across all domains – social, emotional, motor and language skills. Through play, children have the opportunity to explore and experiment, to make hypothesis about how things work and to test them out through trial and error. All of these strategies are vital for developing cognitive skills as well. Children are innately built to play and, if provided with a range of resources, will engage in play with limited input needed from adults. Therefore, it is important to give your child the opportunity to engage in a range of different types of play, such as physical games, role play, creative character led play and rule based game play; with a range of different people, including different ages. This will ensure that have the best opportunity to develop their skills and promote their overall development.

- Dr Elizabeth

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