27 September 2013

Bullying, Providing Support for your Child

Bullying isn’t something new, it has always been around. Instead of nasty texts when I was in school, it was notes passed around in class. However, what makes bullying in the 21st century so different, is that those notes wouldn’t follow me home, or I wouldn’t be sent new ones at home. Today, texts, messages, tweets, and posts follow where ever one goes. Our children are so connected with their friends and peers that they seem to be always communicating, even when home from school.

Now, I am not saying throw out the cell-phone, delete Facebook and Twitter accounts. It just seems that we as parents, when we hear that our child is being bullied at school, we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction. That is we go into the “rescue our child from harm” model; and we contact the school principal, the teachers, and sometimes even other parents. We want to see, and take action to protect our children or teenager from further danger.

What’s even more unfortunate is that sometimes we don’t hear about bullying until damage has been done. Typically what is happening is that we are not there when our children are ready to talk about bullying, we expect to hear about it during the scheduled after school drilling: “What did you do today?” “What did you learn today?” “Who were you with?” But often teenagers and children are still decompressing what happened at school and are not ready to talk about it.

Plus, I have often heard that teens don’t want their parents to put on the suit and cape and protect them, they want to be heard, listened to and loved. So here are some ways for parents to provide opportunities for their child to be heard, listened and loved:

  • Try to have a meal together. It has always been popular to say have dinner together, but having breakfast together as a family is better than not having any meal together.
  • Take time each day to listen to your child when they are ready to talk. If you are busy when they are ready and you can’t drop everything to listen, schedule or setup a time with them immediately afterward to chat.
  • Let your child know that you love them, in their love language. Some children like to be hugged, others told that they are loved, while others want to do things with their parents.
  • Understand their world. Don’t control their world of social media, but learn why social media is important to them so you can journey with them through the internet.
  • Be involved in the bedtime routine, in an age appropriate way. A lot of open and vulnerable conversations can happen at night.

But remember most of all; be there for your children. When they need a shoulder to cry on, be there. When they need someone to talk to, listen. When they need to yell about life, hear them. When they need to know that they are loved, let them know.

17 September 2013

Stomach Aches in Children may Lead to Anxiety in Adult Years

51% of the participants in a study who had experienced a stomach pain as a child later experienced an anxiety disorder as an adult. Also, 40% of the children who experienced stomach aches also had depression.

I bet that those children who experienced stomach pains as a child may have also been experiencing anxiety at that time, as a symptom of anxiety is stomach aches. So this may be more of a case where the anxiety disorder went undetected during childhood and adolescents and was later diagnosed as an adult.

16 September 2013

Potential Divorce Preventer: Siblings

Apparently the more siblings you have, the less likely you are to have a divorce. The study showed that people who came from homes with siblings were less likely to divorce than an only child.

I do wonder if this has merit, or if this is just another case of attacking the “only child” again. But nonetheless, it seems to be another protective barrier against an unsuccessful marriage.

13 September 2013

What does your reaction to the VMA’s say about you?

Now that it has been sometime since Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke took to the stage at the Video Music Awards, the dust seems to have settled. During the event, 10.1 million watched on TV and then took to social media, generating over 18 million tweets, the literal meaning of ‘going viral online’. Then the blog posts followed some praising, many calling out Cyrus. A couple days later, the married Thicke started getting attention. Everyone wanted in on the discussion, having Thicke or Cyrus as a tag, I am sure, helped increase traffic to their site, because there were over 12 million searches for ‘Miley Cyrus’ a week after the VMA’s. It is also interesting that Thicke and Cyrus have bookended this performance with Album releases; Thicke released his album in July and Cyrus is releasing hers in October.

Many parents are upset about the performance because their once reliable and family friendly character, Hannah Montana, has now changed. But it’s ironic that her performance did not stop people from watching, there was a 66% increase in viewership this year, the bulk of the viewership were 12-34 years olds. If parents were so appalled by this performance, why wasn’t there a drop in viewership? Why was there such a spike in the twitter-verse? How come there has been such an interest in online searches? And why have parents been using Thicke and Cyrus as examples of what not to be? Doesn’t saying don’t be like them bring attention to them anyways?

There have been and are several avenues to take with this subject, one is that we as parents need to be better monitors of our child and teens programming. We need to realize that people do change, for better or worse. Another is that by saying “don’t do this” only peaks interest in what not to do. But the avenue I wish to take comes from, I must admit, a comedian named Paul Aldrich. In one of his parody’s he does a cover of an Adam Sandler song. A line in the song goes: “I’ve made millions of dollars acting like a fool, but you’ve paid millions to watch me. What’s that say about you?”

Even despite our outrage over the performance, we still tuned in. We as a society have continued to search for the clips on YouTube and Facebook. We have gone out and searched for the ‘dear daughter, don’t be a Mily Cyrus’ or ‘dear son, don’t be a Robin Thicke’ internet letters, and then shared them. What does this say about us?

If we were truly appalled by their performance, we should have turned the TV off. We should not search them out or use them as topics. We should not support their new products. Instead, go out and find performers on YouTube that encourage the behavior’s you want to see, and are role models for your children. Go through your own music collection and see if you are contradicting yourself to your children. Check your own website history. What does what you have surfed online say about you? What do you watch and listen to say about you? Are you conveying the message to your children that you want them to see?

We need to start pointing towards examples of what to do, instead of what not to do.

01 September 2013

Tyler Haws: A Work In Progress

Current BYU star and sparingly used Team USA player, Tyler Haws, is a part of a Mormon Message about the importance of dedication to work.