Article by Justin Coulson.
See his Happy Families blog here or follow Justin’s twitter.
More than two thirds of girls under the age of 10 are bullied, according to a study recently completed by the Girl Guides association of Australia.
Here is a frightening audio example of just how serious it can get.
According to a report in the SMH “68 per cent aged between five and nine reporting that that they had been bullied, many of them online. One fifth of those aged 10 to 14 had also experienced bullying and some 65 per cent said that reports in the media made them worry for their own safety.”
The study pointed out the significant challenges associated with cyber-bullying and the use of mobile telephones.
Bullying and teasing occurs in every school yard (and many families) every single day.
Cruel remarks that are delivered to ridicule, taunt, embarrass, and make fun of a victim are common, and are unfortunately accepted as part of life. Parents need effective strategies to help their child overcome the mockery, and bounce back with a resilient mindset. The internet and mobile technology have enlarged the probability that your children will be involved, either as bully, or bullied.
Each case is unique, and should be treated accordingly. Below are three common mistakes parents make when dealing with children upset by teasing, and three simple strategies for providing a supportive environment that buffers your child from the harm teasing can cause. (It is important to note that if threats of serious harm are made, they should be taken seriously and acted on immediately. Intimidatory behaviour is never acceptable).
Mistake 1 – Dismissive Responding
“Oh get over it.”
“Well if you’re going to listen to that, or play with them, it’s your own fault.”
Children who are being teased, harrassed, or bullied will often come to parents for support. Parents who are dismissive are often trying to ‘harden up’ their child, but may reduce resilience by failing to provide needed support.
Mistake 2 – Retaliation
A nine year-old boy was told by his father, “If he’s mean to you again tomorrow, punch him in the nose”.
An eleven year-old girl was told by her mother, “You tell her she’s a rude little cow if she treats you like that again.”
While fighting fire with fire may seem logical in the heat of the moment, retaliation rarely resolves concerns in relationships. Clever comebacks only create an ongoing contentious spiral of teasing and hurt.
Mistake 3 – Ignore it and it Will Go Away
Passivity is unhelpful. Shrugging our shoulders, turning our back, or failing to address the issues will not meet the needs of our children. Ignoring our child’s plight will leave her feeling isolated, lonely, and questioning her value as a person.
Here are three strategies to use when your child is being teased:
1. Be Emotionally Available
Kids who have parents that are emotionally available are far more likely to have positive relationships with others (among a multitude of other benefits). Kids whose parents are not emotionally available are more likely to have negative relationships with others.
If your child is being teased, take time to simply be with him or her. Listen. Don’t offer advice. Just be there as an emotionally safe place.
2. Perspective Taking
Chloe and Lilly were best friends and in second grade. Lilly was crying because Chloe had hit her. After her mother took some time to be emotionally available, Lilly calmed down. Her mother asked why Chloe hit her. Lilly replied, “I don’t know.”
Her mother then said, “Let’s do a little experiment. I want you to pretend that you’re Chloe. Imagine I asked you, as Chloe, why you hit Lilly. What would you say to me if you were Chloe and I asked you that?”
Sheepishly Lilly replied, “That Lilly was teasing me about how she could see my undies.”
Through perspective taking, parents can gain insight into how their children feel. They can also develop the skill of perspective taking in their children to discover other important aspects of relationships in the school yard that their children may be less willing to share through typical questioning.
3. Strategise Together
When teasing is creating distress, children need parents who are available, and who want to help. But helping too much may not allow our children to develop important relationship skills. We may also undermine their decision making development.
It can be helpful to offer reassurance, and then invite your child to consider useful solutions. Often the answers are inside them, and will come out if they know we, as parents, are available to them.
Kindness, patience, and invitations to be friends are often far more effective in restoring friendship than aggressive practices, and as we strategies it will be useful to guide our children toward these types of mutually beneficial responses.
With the amount of time that the average person spends in the office amongst their coworkers, it can be all too easy to allow the levels of professionalism drop to an unacceptable degree. While there is certainly nothing wrong with building and maintain a working friendship with the people that you work with, there are certainly limits that you should be aware of.
Keep It Clean & Professional
Unless your work environment is one that freely fosters the use of inappropriate language, then it is best to keep the words you use strictly to words that you could be comfortable saying in front of your grandmother! You definitely don’t want to be labeled as the dirty-mouthed person on the team, so it is always best to keep the cursing either to an appropriate minimum, or cut it out completely. The professional language that you use in the workplace will greatly reflect on the impressions that your coworkers and managers form about you.
Too Much Information!
It is certainly understandable to form a close friendship with some of people that you spend the better part of your waking hours with; however, you should ensure that the information you share with your professional friends is not something that could be used against you at a later point. You should stick to the idea of “TMI can really be TMI sometimes.” That may mean keeping the tales of your weekend exploits to a professional level and avoiding topics that can relate to personal hygiene or even be of an inappropriate sexual nature. It is understandable to have the desire to share great portions of your personal life with your work friends; however, you should always be acutely aware of the fact that it is in fact a work environment.
There is little doubt that you will, at some point during your career, run into a situation with a coworker that requires a level of conflict resolution. It is important to understand and to realize that your reactions to the disagreements could reflect on your abilities to lead and potentially be promoted within the company; whether you handle the conflict with tact, professionalism and come to a suitable resolution, or you completely lose it and melt down – you need to understand the potential implications of your behavior. If it feels to you that you are unlikely to find a solution to the situation then you should give serious consideration to asking an HR representative or a supervising manager to step in and provide assistance.
Carefully cultivating working relationships with the people you spend time with at work is a great method of ensuring your day not only goes smoothly, but that you are able to interact with your coworkers on a more interpersonal level that will allow you to learn the best methods of successfully working with them. Just remember to keep things professional!
Article by Justin Coulson.
See his Happy families blog here or follow Justin’s twitter.
Overheard at a mother’s group earlier this week:
“I keep putting my four year-old son in time out, but it doesn’t seem to work. Nothing changes!”
One of the most popular “discipline” (that is, teaching) methods parents employ is the “time-out”. This typically consists of responding to a child’s challenging behaviour with the direction that he or she should sit somewhere boring and free of distractions for a set amount of time to “think” about what was wrong with said behaviour. After that period of time, the child will supposedly be remorseful and will also have learned his or her lesson. But does it really “discipline” (teach)?
Because most of us, if not all, have actually used this technique in various ways, I thought I’d make some points concerning the usefulness of it for “teaching” our children the best way to act.
Time out is really a politically correct euphemism for something I’m more inclined to call forcible isolation.
In real terms, time out involves a person of higher power using that power to hand down a sentence of solitary confinement to an essentially powerless child. Time-out is love withdrawal. Can you see your child sitting in the bedroom (or on the “naughty mat”) thinking “Gee mum, I see that I behaved foolishly and appreciate your wisdom in placing me here to reflect on my actions. I won’t behave in such a disappointing fashion again.”
It’s not likely. Instead she is likely to sit and stew. “I hate this. I hate my parents. They don’t understand. It’s not fair.” And if another sibling was involved they may also be thinking, “Just wait until mum’s not looking! I’m going to make my brother pay for this!”
Here’s a snapshot of what researchers have discovered about children who experience love withdrawal via the experience of time-out:
• Children become distressed when their parents threaten to leave them, particularly when the threat is associated with a child’s challenging behaviour
• Children will become highly compliant with a parent’s requests at the threat of love withdrawal.
• Time-out may be worse than other punishments despite there being no physical threat (or even any material threat). Thus, time-out is more devastating emotionally than other parental power assertions because time-out poses the ultimate threat of abandonment or separation. The parent may know when it will end but the very young child is totally dependent.
• The child who is repeatedly given time-out is far more likely to experience anxiety about love from parents. Time-out leaves kids in greater emotional distress for longer periods than does smacking!
• Kids who experience love withdrawal through the use of time-out and/or threats of abandonment (even for short periods) also typically have lower self-esteem, poorer emotional health, and are prone to increased challenging behaviour.
Of course a multitude of parenting experts (including many with PhD’s in the parenting arena) claim that time-out is the most effective way to teach our kids. But does it really teach? And if so, what does it teach?
Time-out is a power-based discipline. The power we have as parents is used to make a child suffer to change behaviour. So time-out certainly teaches that the big person is always right, and even if the big person isn’t right, he or she can make the smaller person do unpleasant things. Power is powerful.
Time-out teaches kids that their emotions and behaviours aren’t acceptable. Sometimes this may be true as it pertains to behaviour, but emotions are real and need to be respected. They also need to be regulated! Forced time-out is not an effective way to help a child regulate his or her emotion.
Time-out creates anxiety, so therefore teaches children that a parent’s love is conditional. Of course this is bound to have bad outcomes for the relationship between parent and child, and also for the feelings of worth the child experiences personally.
Time-out has some merit when used in one of the two following ways:
First, by giving myself time-out when I become frustrated I am better able to control my own responses to my children’s challenging behaviour. They also get the message that I’m upset when I remove myself and often remedy their behaviour without my intervention.
Second, when we give our children the option to go someplace of their choosing so they can work through their emotions we respect their autonomy. The time-out is chosen, rather than being a banishment.
So what do we do instead of using time-out?
Research has shown, again and again, that love-based discipline using reason, empathy, induction, and education, has far more positive effects on changing behaviour in the long-term (though not always in the short-term). Rather than creating a viscious circle where our withdrawal creates emotional distress which then prolongs our withdrawal, which then escalates our child’s emotional state there are other ways.
Cuddling a child who is distressed will typically calm him or her quickly. Children cannot be “taught” (truly disciplined) when their emotional levels are high. But when calm, they soon become rational – and teachable.
When a child refuses cuddles we can offer options, but never make threats. As the child sees that we will try to help rather than hurt, emotions can be regulated faster, and soothing occurs.
If more than one child is involved in a challenging situation, it is often best to go straight to the “victim” and offer soothing and “emotional first-aid”. This will help the aggressor to see that challenging behaviour will not get him lots of attention. It also teaches empathy and kindness. Once the child who is the injured party is treated, then attention can be turned to the offender. Using perspective taking and induction, the child can be taught what is appropriate behaviour.
The move from a power-based disciplinary focus to one of love is a challenge. But our efforts will be worth it – in the long run. The only thing that should be made to sit on the naughty mat is time-out.
The decision to end your marriage, and potentially all forms of relationship with your spouse, is a decision that should not be taken lightly. While there are certainly several good reasons to choose to immediately end your relationship with your spouse, there are just as many good reasons to take the time to evaluate if ending the relationship is in the best interest of all parties involved.
While yours may not be a happy marriage, it may be one that offers strong financial security. Remaining in an unhappy marriage purely for financial reasons is never a good idea; however, before you rashly apply for a divorce, you should take the time to ensure that you can take care of yourself financially based solely on your own income. If you find that both you and your spouse will struggle when trying to stand on your own financial feet, then you should give great consideration to discussing all of your concerns with your spouse – in a truthful and understanding manner. Perhaps it makes more sense for each of you to work on the goal of being able to support yourselves; once you are each able to take care of your financial needs then you should consider taking the final steps towards legal divorce.
Keeping the marriage intact strictly for your children is not necessarily in the best interests of your children. If there is a high level of stress and conflict within your marriage, then you can be sure that your children have already picked up on this. The things that you should consider, when thinking about your children, is if they may possibly be better served by having two parents who are much happier in their lives – even if they live apart from one another. While it is the rare child who encourages their parents to get divorced, all children can greatly benefit from not having to bear witness to the stress and conflict between their parents.
What Are Your Reasons
-Are you tired of repeating the same disagreements with your spouse?
-Are the financial issues just too much to deal with?
-Does your spouse refuse to tell you how they feel?
If your reasons for wanting a divorce can be attributed to several factors that have the potential to be repaired by counseling or increased communication between the two of you, then you should give serious and careful consideration to trying to make your marriage a success before you terminate it. Many a marriage can be saved simply by applying the basic rules of communication and compromise.
-Has there been an infidelity on either side?
-Is abuse a deciding factor?
If your reasons for wanting a divorce are simply not factors that can be ignored or remedied, then you should certainly take the steps that will ultimately lead you to a safer and more stable life without your spouse.
You are sitting at a lovely Italian restaurant with your boyfriend, enjoying the most delectable lasagna you have ever tasted. Between bites and sips of red wine, your conversation flows smoothly as you share the details of your work day and the tasks you undertook. The bus boy clears your dinner plates, and as you wait for dessert to arrive, a twinkle appears in the eye of your beau. He places his hand inside his handsome suit jacket and positions himself on one knee alongside your seat. The words “Will you marry me?” pass between his rosy lips as he snaps open a velvet box with the ring of your dreams waiting inside.
This perfect moment, or some variation of it, has occurred in the lives of an immense number of women. And, more often than not, the answer is “yes”. But, how many of those women are prepared for the proposal and are truly committed to a lifelong journey with the man on bended knee? Statistics paint a grim answer: less than half. So, how do you know if you are ready to get married?
Obviously, there is no magical formula we can use to determine whether we should allow that ring to be placed on our finger, but there is a common sense approach to deciding whether we should take a relationship to the next level. It is certainly not a decision to be made at the moment a sparkling diamond is displayed in front of us. It is a process we should use to assess whether a relationship is worth staying in at all and it should be on-going. In doing this, we can say “Yes!” with our whole heart and fulfill our promise of an everlasting commitment.
Regardless of whether we have been in a relationship for one week or five years, if our goal is to eventually marry, it is important to really consider how satisfied we are regularly. Of course, every couple will have their arguments, disagreements and differences of opinion, which are often resolved quickly and easily. Yes, following the old adage “never go to bed angry” is a good bit of relationship advice! However, when relationship problems begin affecting other aspects of our lives and diminishing our overall happiness, then we should really consider whether this is a healthy relationship worth continuing.
In order to be prepared for that fantastic moment of the surprise marriage proposal, it is necessary to look at the “pros” and the “cons” of the relationship anytime we feel unsure of where we are going as a couple. A truly strong relationship is built upon an unconditional love for one another, along with a type of uncensored honesty that creates an atmosphere of complete trust. In keeping the lines of communication open with our partner, all of these keys to romantic and relationship utopia will be fostered. If we recognize that any of these important characteristics are missing in our relationship, it is certainly a good time to analyze the relationship and discuss the value of maintaining it with our partner. If we know that our relationship encompasses these important principles, as well as the many others that strengthen it, then we are probably prepared for that romantic and magical moment of the marriage proposal.
For a child, the loss of a beloved family member or even a beloved family pet can mean the start to the end of their naïve innocence that all things go on forever; as the guiding parent in their lives, it is your responsibility to help your child understand, cope, and move on from the loss in a healthy manner. By not doing so you are potentially opening your child up for a host of behavioral and emotional problems further on down the road.
What Do You Think
One of the most important things that you can ask your child when you are helping them to work through a loss is to ask them what their thoughts are on the topic. Whether they openly display it or not, most children are aware, on some level, of what it means to lose someone. By asking your child what he or she thinks about it you will be able to tailor your own words of comfort and wisdom to their already forming belief system.
Opening up the conversation by asking what your child thinks will also help to encourage your child to speak to you about any of their questions or the major fears that they may have. Keep your answers honest and encourage your child to ask more questions if they appear to be confused or further upset by your responses.
Don’t Bottle Things Up
Despite your drive to be the strong role model in your child’s life, you still have the need to grieve for the loss of someone who was close to you. Certainly you don’t want your children to have to fend for themselves because your grief has left you unable to leave your bed. What you do want is to have your children understand that it is okay to feel sad, you want them to understand that grieving for the loss of their loved one is a natural part of the process. If your child is allowed to grieve in a healthy manner, then he or she will be better equipped to move on and heal in a manner that is healthy.
Your child may not be old enough to fully comprehend the situation when there is a loss in the family; it is important that you make the effort to not bombard the child with information that they simply are not old enough to understand. Try to find the simplest and most effective answers to their questions in order to keep them age appropriate and on a level that won’t further confuse or upset the child.
Above all, when dealing with any situation of loss in a family, it is important that your whole family takes the time to comfort one another and ensure that every member of your family feels loved, comforted, and safe. Loss can be a very scary and very confusing topic for a child to deal with, your response as their parent will play a key role in the way in which they approach the healing and moving on process.