I Wish I May, I Wish I Might...

To gather insight about your child's wishes, play Jeanie

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Many parents will ask their children how their day was or what they had for lunch, in which the will get short word responses, "cool" or " I do not know." So what is your child thinking? There has to be more, they must have opinions on what they did for the day or if they liked their lunch.

A new study suggestions asking children what they wish for can be an eye opening experience.

Senior author, Dr. Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH, FAAP, points out that the knowing children's wishes will  help care givers indenitify what is going on in the home and how the child feels.

Dr. Eliana M. Perrin gives an example of a child wish in which the  child says, "I wish my mama felt better" which informs the caregiver how the child is worried about their mother's health. This example shows the magnitude of understanding and importance of asking a child about their wishes.

"You do not have to be a mind reader to get in your child's head.  Just ask about their hopes and dreams."

For this study, the research was determined by  having children complete a survey when they visited their doctor.  The survey asked the question,  "If you could have any three wishes, what would they be?"  The survey also entailed collecting demographic information. The results provided insight into the mind of a teenager.  

Contrary to popular belief, personal appearance was not a common wish. A majority of the children, did make wishes for themselves. On average, boys wished for personal success and girls asked for happiness. 

These findings help better understand teenagers and in turn may help with issues in the home or with the child.

The Study

  • The survey used is part of the American Medical Association's Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services program. Demographic information asked included medical history, drug and alcohol use and schooling
  • 110 teenagers between the ages eleven and eighteen participated in this study. Researcher's also assessed for sex, age, family income and race
  • 85 percent of the children made for wishes for themselves. 32 percent made wishes for others.  10 percent made wishes for themselves and others. Girls were more likely to make wishes for others, where as boys were more likely to make wishes for themselves
  • Personal wishes were most often based on wealth and material items. 20 percent had wishes to better the world.  Children with private insurance, were more likely to make wishes for the world
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 3, 2011
Wishful thinking
Last Updated:
May 16, 2011