and Family Safety
with the Punches
Count to Three
Child's Social Security Card
Children Who Bully
By Philip W. Cook
Is your child being bullied at school?
It could be happening more often than you think, and who is doing some of the bullying may also surprise you.
The Weekly Reader recently published responses from 50,000 of it's fourth through sixth grade readers. The survey is not scientific, but it does indicate how pervasive bullying is.
Bullying was defined as name-calling, pushing, shoving or hitting, making threats or having things stolen.
Forty-four percent of the fourth graders for example, said they were called names, and 6% said they had things stolen, but what is more worrisome is how many kids were victims of more serious forms of bullying.
Thirty-four percent said they had been pushed, shoved, or hit, and sixteen percent said they were threatened.
Most of the time, the bullying occurred at school (41%) or on the playground (26%).
However, what should concern parents is that only twenty-eight percent of the fourth graders told their parents about the incidents and just sixteen percent told a teacher.
In other words, if parents don't check in with their children on a regular basis about bullying, they might not know about a problem their child is having.
The most surprising finding from the Weekly Reader kids survey however, is who is doing the bullying.
Most of us assume its only boys who engage in this type of behavior, with girls doing it very rarely. While the survey shows that most of the time it is boys or a group of boys bullying, (65%) a significant part of the time (24%) it was only girls or a group of girls involved.
So, before a bullying victims parent automatically assumes a talk is needed with teachers or the other kids parents about little "Sam's" behavior toward their child, it might be wise to check to see if it isn't really "Samantha" that needs a talking to.
Philip W. Cook is the author of Abused Men-The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (Praeger/Greenwood Publishing).
Teens Who Batter
Do Children Outgrow Bullying? Does This Type of Behavior Carry-Over into Dating?
By Philip W. Cook
Many parents assume that bullying violence is something most kids grow out of as they grow older except for gang activity and the like. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In a scientific survey published in the prestigious journal Social Work, researchers found that one in four of the juniors and seniors in high school had experienced actual violence (not just threats) in their dating relationships. In this particular survey published in 1996, the students came from mostly middle-class backgrounds.
The researchers also reviewed other studies and found a remarkable consistency in how often teen dating violence occurs and who is doing it, regardless of family background. They found that an "equal number of boys and girls experienced as well as initiated abuse."
This finding may be particularly surprising to parents and to educators as well.
Many schools conduct domestic violence awareness programs these days, but in almost all of these programs instructors contend that 95% of the time it is only boys who are violent in dating relationships.
This is far from the truth.
By failing to discourage violence started by girls against their boyfriends, such programs only encourage reciprocal violence by their male dates.
The Social Work researchers, Nona O'Keeffe, Karen Brockopp, and Esther Chew, think they know why dating teenage girls are as violent as boys: "Unlike older women in violent relationships, teenage girls have less at stake materially and emotionally and may therefore be more willing to take greater risks with their relationships. These findings may also indicate that future generations of women are more likely to participate equally in all aspects of their relationships, including violence."
Parents then, need to be more aware of the high incidence of school bullying at the lower grade levels, and they also need to be more aware of the high levels of teen dating violence.
It also means that it isn't just "Sam" who needs to be told that it isn't right to hit girls, or other boys, but "Samantha" needs to hear this as well.
Philip W. Cook is the author of Abused
Men-The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (Praeger/Greenwood Publishing).
Your children want to trust you. Make it easy for them.
Trust is based on three principles:
Often we try to protect a child by telling them everything will be all right. If it is not, another bit of trust has been chipped away.
There are things that children can not understand. However, they will do better if you are honest with them than if you try to protect them from the truth.
Putting on airs, pretending to be perfect, covering up mistakes, and lying by omission are all ways you can hurt the trust your child has in you.
Parents need to be reliable and consistent to be trusted. Let children feel that if you say you will do something, it will be done.
Don't make promises you can't keep. Then children see you as unreliable.
Rather than take a chance on breaking a promise say, "I will do it if I can. Although I can't promise for sure, I will do my best to do it."
Children deserve the respect you give others.
Would you scream at your friends, criticize them in front of others, throw away their favorite possessions, discuss with others things that were shared in private, or ignore the opinions of your friends?
I don't think you would because if you did you would lose their respect and trust. So, also, will you lose the respect and trust of children if you do this to them.
Children love you and want to trust you. Don't betray that trust.
Often parents start feeling there is no way to get to the end of the work around home. Just as often, though, they forget one important thing: Kids can help!
You can teach your children responsibility and get more work done at the same time by merely allowing and expecting your children to help.
Even a toddler can use a toy broom beside you and dust an empty table.
By the age of five a child can:
A five year old can work about 30 minutes or less. An eight year old can usually work for an hour, and a young teenager can do almost anything an adult can do, if the responsibility level is there.
Six other hints:
1. Break a big job down into small steps.
2. Set a time when task is to be finished.
3. Assign tasks without sex discrimination.
4. Once the responsibility is defined and a time set for completion, let your child work unsupervised.
5. Check and compliment him/her when the task is finished.
6. Save suggestions and improvements for another time.
Don't redo a job your child has just finished. That destroys ego and initiative.
If it positively has to be done over, and most of the time it does not, get your child to do it.
If it has to be done over more than once, it is possible that you are asking a child to do something beyond his/her capabilities. Try a less complicated chore, at least until you can determine whether it was the complication level or the the child's general willingness that produced inadequate results.
Yep, we all know a child or two who will not not do the best possible job without prodding.
Just remember to be consistent and you can get more than adequate house and yard assistance from your children.
Don't be consistent--well, you know the result of that!
Depression to Children
"Why is Mom so sad all the time?"
"Why is Dad so grumpy now?"
Having a grouchy, grumpy parent with little energy and an apparent sadness is a family affair. But children in particular need an explanation for depressive behavior..
The illness is much easier for the child to deal with when he/she has received a simple explanation appropriate to age.
Make two points crystal clear to children of all ages:
1. Depression can be treated.
Each parent must decide how much information the child is mature enough to handle.
A preschooler would probably understand, "Mommy is feeling kind of sad, like you did when your puppy ran away. She is also really tired a lot like when you are really sleepy. It is not your fault. It is not anybody's fault.She is going to the doctor now and the doctor will help her get well. But we just want you to be sure you know you didn't do anything to start this."
For an older child you might say, "I feel lonely and sad a lot. Maybe like you do when you can't play with your friend Pat or you have to come home from Granny and Gramps' house. And sometimes I am really tired, even when I just woke up from a nap. But there is lots that I can do about it like go to the doctor and get medicine and talk to my friends and my doctors. The main thing for you to know is that it is not your fault. It's no one's fault. It is like being sick."
If you are being snappy and grouchy you want to explain that, too. Try saying, "Sometimes Dad just feels angry and picks on you for no reason. It is nothing you did and it certainly is not your fault. I don't really mean to be so grippey and I am getting help from my doctor."
Don't be surprised if one or more children in a family begin to identify with the depressed parent and shows similar symptoms.
Also, try to give the children an established daily routine. It is important for them to have as much stability in their day-to-day life as possible.
Mom's risk for most types of depression exceeds Dad's risk by two to one. Mom is also much more likely to suffer from panic disorders, anxiety, and phobias.
In addition the American Psychological Association says mothers of young children are highly vulnerable to depression.
Regardless of where depression strikes,
however, it is very important to the children, the family, and the depressed family member
to get professional help. It is also important to find a professional who can look
at the cause of the depression and the effect it is having on the family.
If you want your children to make wise choices about life--indeed, if you don't want to make choices for them for the rest of their lives, your children must learn to choose and make choices.
We want our children to know they have choices. We want them to know how to make wise choices.
This doesn't mean you need to let your child rule the home from age two up. It doesn't mean you can let your two-year-old choose between playing in the street or in the backyard. Give them safe choices they can handle.
For example, say to your two to three-year-old child, "Do you want to wear your blue pants or your green pants today?"
Do not say, "What do you want to wear today?" Do not say, "Do you want to get dressed now?" Do not say, "What color pants do you want to wear today?"
Say, "Do you want juice or water with your meal?"
Do not say, "What do you want to drink with your meal?" Your child will probably want a soft drink.
Many parents make the mistake of letting children do whatever they want when they are smaller, thinking they can limit these actions as the child matures and can understand (the parents') reasoning better.
It doesn't work quite that way. They need to make limited choices when they are younger and then be given more choices as they age.
What if they make poor choices?
There is no "what if" about it. They will make poor choices.
Just call them an "LL" for "lesson learned."
Let them experience the consequences of their choices while you keep your mouth shut completely or open long enough for only a very few words to emerge.
Don't go on and on about their poor choice. You want them to benefit from the LL and move on to the next choice, hopefully a better one.
If you never allow your children to make choices alone, they will become indecisive adults and/or perfectionists and fearful of doing anything wrong.
In fact, the choices you allow your children to make when young will definitely affect the choices your child is able to make as a teenager and adult.
One could really say, Mom and Dad, the original choice is yours!
Games are more than fun. They are also a learning experience for children and another way for families to bond.
Playing games as a family can help deepen family ties, strengthen friendships within extended families, teach the rules of fair play, help children learn the consequences of actions, and teach children to win and lose gracefully. Games could even help some members of the family talk about matters they might not be able to discuss or wish to discuss in day-to-day life.
When you are looking for more than fun or even just fun in a game, look for this:
1. Decide what you want from the game. Ask yourself:
2. Pay attention to the information on the box. This information will answer some of your questions.
3. Determine if the game will physically hold up to the use of your family:
4. Realize that educational, special purpose, and/or extremely study games may be more expensive.
Two other hints for a good family game:
No amount of attention or loving can stop babies from ever crying.
Some babies appear that they will never quit crying.
Others rarely cry and then only for short periods.
Here are a few remedies you can try for crying. Although every baby will respond in a different manner, keep trying alternatives. You will find something--maybe just about the time he outgrows it!
Respond to your baby's crying. It is the only way she has to communicate. If you don't respond when baby cries, babies can feel powerless and worthless, thinking no one comes when she cries. This will eventually reduce crying although it may not seem to be working at the time.
Wear your baby. Some societies carry their baby papoose-style. there is very little prolonged crying or fussing in these societies. Try to wear your baby in a carrier three or four hours a day. You baby will enjoy the closeness and you will be better tuned to your baby's needs.
Babies who are left to cry for long periods of time sometimes learn to cry just for the sake of crying. Eventually, they may get so upset it is hard to calm them when you do respond. They don't remember why they cried in the first place.
Extra bonus: Babies whose caretakers respond to crying as infants are actually found to cry less as toddlers.
Don't worry about spoiling a newborn. You can't. In fact, babies who do not have their needs responded to are more likely to be clingy, dependent and demanding as older babies and toddlers.
Just try to respond to needs promptly most of the time. Then be assured it will not hurt your baby to cry for a short period of time upon occasion.
Babies cry for good reasons. Some of those reasons are:
You start by checking the obvious:
Some babies like sameness and ritual. If you use one method to comfort him most of the time, use that method first when he cries again. If that doesn't work, try something else, of course, but use "tried and true" before changing your procedures.
And sometimes, all you can do is hold your baby and wait for the crying to end.
Guns and Family Safety: Are They the Answer?
More families than ever before are concerned about safety<197>: personal safety, family safety, and the safety of the property they own. Many men and women alike, have turned to guns to provide that safety.
Some have turned to guns after a brush with crime. But more and more people are taking the offensive in self-defense.
There are many pros, cons, and questions, of course, about guns and their safety factor.
Guns are often turned against the people who use them for self- defense. In fact, guns used for self-protection are 40 plus times more likely to kill a family member or friend than to wound or kill an adversary. Fourteen children are killed with guns each day in the United States.
Shooting a gun accurately requires proper training, practice, and upkeep of skills, i.e. lots of time at the target range. This is time consuming and expensive.
Not shooting a gun accurately probably makes it more dangerous to you than your opponent, however.
In addition, more adults are living alone than ever before. They need self- protection and a feeling of assurance and confidence regarding their safety.
Single women often enter dark apartments and homes alone. In fact, single women who want a social life must come and go after dark.
Many latchkey children spend hours alone daily in homes. They need to be safe but guns are never the answer for children or teen-agers. In fact, that is just the time for meddling and discovering the "hidden gun" in mom's and dad's closet.
Men are not exempt from crime either, of course. In fact, about 70% of the men in Texas say they own a gun.
Will that gun save them from a crime?
Not if it is unloaded or inaccessible when needed<197> or if it is turned against them by their opponent!
Will a gun protect your family?
Is it smart to have a gun?
Is it safe to have a gun?
What is the answer?
The sad truth is that no one knows. In the end it is a personal decision for each family.
Child's Social Security Card
All children over one year of age need their own Social Security number in order to be listed as dependents on their parents' income tax returns.
Despite what some "for-fee" companies would have you think, this is an easy thing to do yourself. There is NO reason to pay someone a fee to do this.
Call the Social Security office and request Form #SS-5 be sent to you by mail. You can reach the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
Complete that form then bring the following to the Social Security office:
Your child will receive his/her card in the mail within ten days or so.
Remember, regardless of how official some of the solicitations from companies offering this service look, they are not connected with the Social Security Administration or the federal government. Don't pay for something that is free.
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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent, LLC. They are not intended to take the place of advice from a health, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.