CREATING METHODS OF HAPPINESS, PEACE & SUCCESS

Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Behaviors that might suggest a teenager is experiencing difficulties



Parents often worry about their teens behavior. It is the norm for teenagers to sometimes appear withdrawn and moody and in their own world, but this shouldn’t last for a long time or interfere with their functioning.

We all have needs, such as feeling safe, liked, understood, and supported and they show up in different ways. There are times, however, when mental health issues can arise when things don’t seem to be going as expected. Your child may be experiencing lack of confidence, anxiety, perhaps even being bullied. Talk to them and help them express their feelings and come up with solutions.

The following is a list of behaviors that might suggest a teenager is experiencing difficulties.

If you are concerned about any of them, talk to your child and get professional help.

  • Becoming withdrawn and losing interest in friends, sports or favorite activities.
  • Having changes in sleep patterns such as not sleeping or sleeping for long periods.
  • Avoiding food, overeating or exercising excessively.
  • Seeming to be preoccupied or obsessed over a particular issue.
  • Having a change in mood such as becoming hostile or having feelings of anxiety or depression.
  • Having a sudden drop in schoolwork.
  • Doing things that don’t make sense to others.
  • Seeing or hearing things that nobody else sees or hears.
  • Being excessively tired or neglecting personal hygiene.
  • Wearing long sleeve clothes in hot weather. It may suggest they are hiding signs of self-harm.

Prevention is the best discipline



Discipline means to “teach”. It is simply a way to guide and manage a child’s behavior.

Behavior is a form of communication. Children often misbehave when they have a hard time expressing their needs. They can get overwhelmed or confused over what to do next or how to handle a situation, thus an inappropriate behavior can occur.

It is much easier to prevent inappropriate behavior than it is to correct it. Creating a positive relationship with your child, one that fosters communication, respect and understanding is the first step in helping your child do the right thing.

Here are some ways you can help your child to behave:

  • Notice the good behavior: it seems simple, but often we forget to acknowledge the good choices our children make. It empowers them.
  • Ignore the little things: concentrate on what you really want to change.
  • Set a few simple, clear rules and enforce them consistently: clarity and consistency are essential.
  • Redirect the behaviors you do not like: get the child interested in positive activities or change the setting.
  • Give children advance notice: don’t leave things for the last minute. Transitions and changes in schedules are often stressful.
  • Keep a positive attitude: your sense of humor can go a long way in helping your child be cooperative and positive.
  • Set a good example: children learn what they live.
  • Get the child’s attention: Say his name, look at him when you talk. Don’t just give instructions from across the room.
  • Spend time with your children: kids need undivided, personal attention from their parents. It will help you bond.

What changes “if any” can you make to teach and motivate your child to make better choices?

How to talk to your child about terrorism



In lieu of the Paris terrorist attacks, many parents may have questions on how to talk to their children about violence and terrorism. The challenge lies in helping your child feel secure while trying to explain complex and disturbing situations.

It is natural for parents to want to spare children the details about terrorism. Unfortunately, children are exposed to violence in today’s world at a very early age and must learn to cope with these tough issues.

As a parent, you have an opportunity to talk with your child and provide answers to any questions that they may have, as well as lifting the burden of facing their fears and uncertainty alone.

Your child’s age, maturity and personality will influence their questions and your responses.

 

Here are some tips on getting started:

 

1. Take time to talk to your child and listen to their thoughts and concerns.

Ask your child what they have heard and how they feel about it? Don’t force your child to talk about things until they are ready. Assure them that you will be available for them, once they are.

 

2. Provide accurate information to any questions that your child may have.

Keep the explanations simple and age appropriate. If you do not know the answer, it’s ok to say that you don’t know and that you will let them know as soon as you find out.

 

3. Help your child express their feelings and concerns.

Some children are comfortable talking while others are more comfortable expressing themselves through playing with toys or drawing pictures. Do not dismiss their feelings and always provide them with a safe place to express themselves.

 

4. Assure your child that they are safe.

Explain to them that the government, the police and people all over the world are doing things to prevent this from happening again. Reassure them that they are safe and that you will always protect them.

 

5. Limit television and news exposure as well as adult conversations around your child.

These images and conversations can be very disturbing and cause distress to children. Be mindful to avoid stereotyping and prejudice. Use this opportunity to teach tolerance and explain prejudice.

 

6. Remind them that terrorism events are rare and that the world is generally a safe place.

Point out all the good things that happen on a daily basis and explain to them that these are isolated and rare events.

 

7. Look out for symptoms related to stress or anxiety

These symptoms may included difficulty sleeping, persistent upsetting thoughts, intense fears, and difficulty separating from parents or going to school as well as physical complaints. Professional help may be needed if your child shows signs of distress.

Back To School Stress Busters



A new school year can be an exciting, yet stressful time in your child’s life.
Numerous thoughts cross their minds about the Welcome backpossibilities that await them, both academically and socially. For parents, there are stressors too, such as adjusting to schedules, additional demands and having your child out of your care. As a family, this is a great opportunity to strengthen your connection as you support each other through this journey. Here are some tips to help you manage the stress:

1. Talk about their school day everyday. Ask questions and really listen. Sometimes, your child may want help brainstorming solutions to a situation and other times they may just want you to listen. During this time give your child your undivided attention. Also remember to share their enthusiasm for all the good things that they experienced.

2. Make sure your child has at least 8-10 hours sleep and all the electronics, including TV are shut off 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Mornings can be easy by creating a morning routine, having them set out their clothes or uniforms, getting backpacks ready and breakfast chosen the night before goes a long way.

3. The best way to immediately tone down your stress level is a few deep breaths. The breath is best inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. Try this as soon as you feel a stressor.

4. Have your child develop a new mantra “I’ve got this.” This mantra will be useful every time they feel uncertain about something. It is used as a simple reminder that it’s ok, they are going to be fine, they can do it! So, before that test that they studied for- “I’ve got this” – before they go talk to that new someone – “I’ve got this”.

5. Social concerns are high for kids. Remind them that not everyone is going to see eye to eye with them and may not even like them and that’s OK! We are all unique and special and the most important thing is that we like ourselves and are nice and respectful to others. Encourage your child to find a group of friends that they feel comfortable with and remind them that over time they can always choose to develop more friendships.

Prevent the Summer Math Slide



Summer is half way through and as your child gets ready to go back to school in September, it might be a good idea to help them sharpen their math skills.

During summer, kids often forget math computational skills that they learned the previous year. So, it’s a good time to help them regain their memory.

Here are a few tips on how to weave some fun into a math review:

Problem Solving:

Have your child solve everyday math problems, such as:

  • If each candy bar costs $1.29 then how much do 3 candy bars cost?
  • How old will I be when you turn 18?
  • How old will you be in the year 2050?
  • If I were to give you $50 to spend and you had to buy two gifts, one for $15 and the other for $22, then how much money would you have left over?

Money:

  • Count the money in the piggy bank
  • Write out fake checks
  • Make towers of quarters and dimes and guess how much money there is in each tower
  • Let them pay and check the change wherever you go

Math Facts:

  • Ask them the times tables on a random car ride and offer a treat (maybe ice cream) if they get them mostly right
  • Use pizzas, pies, cookies and cakes to review fractions
  • Get a math facts placemat for the dinner table

Digital Practice:

  • Mathisfun.com
  • Fun4thebrain.com
  • Maths Bingo app
  • Virtual Manipulatives app

Kinesthetic Learners:

  • Use clay or Legos
  • Use sand and water to demonstrate volume
  • Use grapes, oranges or any other fruit or vegetable to count, divide or multiply

And of course, there’s the old lemonade stand, which will help your child boost mathematical, measuring and money management skills.

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All is takes is a few minutes everyday to practice math facts to ensure an easy transition into the next school year. Start today.

 

 

Teens “Hooking Up”



Romantic KissHooking up is a trend amongst teens that means “some sort of sexual activity with no strings attached.”  It is like “friends with benefits.” It can include anything from kissing and petting all the way to intercourse. It bypasses all the courting rituals and end eliminates the boyfriend and girlfriend relationship.

Research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the likelihood of sex increases with each school grade level, from 32 percent in 9th grade to 62 percent in 12th grade.

So why are teens doing this? Basically, because they like someone, they think it’s ok and everyone else is doing it too. So it comes down to sexual excitement and peer acceptance.  This is fueled by all the media sources portraying sexual provocative images that socialize teens to think of sexual activity as normative. In addition, dating apps such as Tinder make it easy for teens to match up with other teens for sexual relations.

So what do you do as a parent?

First, get informed and develop an on-going, open communication with your teen. Explain to them that sexual activity can have physical and emotional consequences. Most teens don’t think about the emotional consequences. Have an open discussion without getting angry or punitive.

Then, don’t assume your teen is not having sex. Ask. Sex can mean different things to a teen. “Oral sex” may not be considered sex by many teens. Make sure they understand what you mean when you talk about sex. Listen to what they have to say.

Teens “hook up” to feel wanted and fit in as part of what has become socially acceptable by their peer group. It is important to know who your teen’s peer group is and what they are doing and where they are doing it. The most common time and place for teen sex is after school in someone’s house.

Even though it is uncomfortable for many parents to have this conversation with their teen, it actually helps strengthen your relationship.  Ideally the conversation should begin before your child becomes sexually active in any way. Regardless, having insight in your teen’s social life and keeping the communication lines open by listening to them and asking questions is the best way to protect them, both physically and emotionally.

Shyness in Children



images (5)If your child suffers from shyness, they are not alone. Recent research suggests that over 50% of the general population currently experiences some degree of shyness in their lives. Many children are shy in situations that are new to them. It can be painful if it continues to adolescence and beyond preventing them from participating fully in most social settings. Being shy is not necessarily a problem, unless it causes distress. Luckily, there are many strategies and options to help overcome shyness.

Here are some tips to help your child:

  • Avoid labeling your child as shy. Reframe it as “reserved” or a “deep thinker”. You can say, “ Johnny likes to listen to others before sharing his views” or “ Mary likes to think before rushing in”.
  • Some kids need time to feel comfortable or warm up, so preparing them on what to expect really helps. Do not rush them into participating.
  • If you are going somewhere new, like school, try to have them meet the teacher and get familiar with the school grounds prior to the fist day of school.  You can also use the Internet to show them pictures of where they will be going, which will give them a general idea.
  • Take time to talk to them about what they could expect socially, in different settings, and how to handle sticky situations. Role-play with them or simply offer suggestions and brainstorm about possible solutions to scenarios.
  • For example, if it is lunchtime and your child isn’t certain where he should sit, he can try preplanning it with someone from class before lunch or identify possible lunch buddies and practice conversation starters that he can use.
  • Help them practice on how to approach other kids and speak up in class. Develop topics of conversation that their peers may find interesting. Using open-ended questions usually prompts conversations.
  • Encourage using “I” statements instead of “you” statements that can often cause others to become defensive.
  • Bring to their awareness social interactions such as using humor, standing up for yourself, saying “no”, asking for something and apologizing as they happen in everyday life.
  • Encourage your child to sign up for some sort of sport, club or extracurricular activity. Whether it’s a team sport or theatre, dance, karate, gymnastics, it will give them the opportunity to interact and have something to talk about with their peers.
  • Shyness and anxiety go hand in hand and many times it is actually not a skill deficit but rather a lack of self-confidence.
  • Remind your child of past successes. Give them confidence but don’t push them. They will evolve gradually when they’re ready.

Above all, love and accept you child’s personality and remind them to do the same. They are their own unique, perfect self.