As a child development consultant and parenting expert, mother, wife and friend, I often wonder if texting is really a good and effective form of communication. We are just in the beginning stages of looking at the research on the pros and cons of texting. Even though we are in a virtual world of texting, video games, social networking, and web communities, what does our future look like for the next generation?
According to the industry research 61% of our children between the ages of 3 and 11 are “virtual world visitors“. 22% of our children, between the ages of 6-9 years of age already have cell phones (YIKES!). According to Parenting.com, 58% of our children of the ages of 10-15 listed texting as a major form of communication.
In order to better help you and the young children, teens, and other adult kids in your life, I have compiled some of the field research on the pros and cons of texting.
- Between 8-13 years of age, kids spend a majority of their online, and over the phone time with the same people they know in real life.
- Kids love it!
- Subscribers under 12 years of age exchanged 3 texts per call to stay in touch with their friends.
- Teens 13-17 years of age were 7 times more likely to text.
- It allows a buffer according to Nathan Freier, PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, against “feelings of awkwardness during this emotionally frightened age.”
- Short text messages help relieve anxiety in some children.
- Much of the texts, according to researchers, is that kids build each other up by making positive statements.
- Kids see technology as extending communication, rather than replacing time with a friend.
- Marion Underwood, a researcher, stated “Kids stay more in touch with their families through texting.”
- According to Underwood, mothers are the first person a child texts.
- Parents enjoy sharing funny faces, comments, and ways to interact with their tweens by texting or online messaging.
- Oftentimes parents are grateful to hear that their kids are doing fine in terms of safety and happiness.
- Cell phones should be removed from children’s bedrooms because kids do not know when to stop texting during the night and become sleep deprived.
- Communication with strangers can turn into very frightening situations because of the naivety of a child, tween, or teen.
- It is less likely that families will eat dinner together and talk in person due to social media.
- Families feel less connected when there has been an increase in total time spent over the phone versus in person.
- If parents role model texting in front of their kids by being on the phone and taking phone calls, then it decreases their time spent talking to their children and they will repeat the same pattern in their own lives.
- The term Ambient Intimacy is when social media, electronic devices, texts, calls, etc. can take the place of living out real life moments together with people.
- Dating can become an uncomfortable situation by being asked out through texting and not on a telephone to clarify and uphold accountability. This is a casual method to connect face to face. Intentions can also be misconstrued.
- Breaking up through a text or a social media message can also be considered a rude, and disrespectful.
We, as a nation, need more research on the effects of social media and the way we relate to one another in terms of our children’s future. Only then can we conclude on whether or not texting is helping or harming our children’s, and family’s communication skills
Most people think of the homeless as disheveled adults with signs next to the freeway ramps begging for a handout. The staggering statistics that we don’t talk about is that 1 in 4 children are at or below the poverty level. There is some good news however; these numbers are changing due to the amazing efforts of some of the valley’s leaders.
Darlene Newsom, CEO of UMOM and Debbie Gaby, of Sleep America Charities met with me to discuss some of the ways the homeless have been able to successfully transition into society again. The idea that the majority of the homeless don’t work simply is not true. The biggest population of homelessness is created by families of the working poor. These families work hard, but due to the low wages of Arizona and the high costs of daycare it renders many incapable of sustaining themselves and their families.
UMOM has an all-inclusive program that not only shelters these families, but gives them the support they need but also the important life skills needed to further advance them into society. These life skills include programs such as counseling, parenting classes, interview skills, and safe daycare for their children. The shelter is almost fully self-contained with a beautiful daycare center, full medical center as well as a culinary school to help its residents learn valuable practices they can use in the outside world. The residents can stay up to seven years in transitional homes so that they can finish their education and gain the necessary skills to become self-supporting.
A great deal of planning and services has gone into the program to ensure the successful transition for its residents. Debbie Gaby, of Sleep America Charities was on hand to discuss her partnership with the UMOM organization. Sleep American Charities and Tempur-Pedic donated an astounding 140 beds. These are some of the most expensive luxury beds on the market and they are also made of hypoallergenic materials. Since dust mites and bed bugs cannot penetrate the mattresses, this makes them perfect for the homeless. The beds may be expensive but they will last longer and they don’t have to be replaced as often.
Homelessness is a problem but it does have a solution. If we all would write a check to organizations such as UMOM instead of giving our cash to the homeless we could actually make an even bigger difference. UMOM has a high rate of success for successfully transitioning the homeless.
Remember the donations that you make can put an end to homelessness and hunger for a child.
Most of us take our jobs as grandparents quite seriously, and therefore we are constantly striving to find activities that our grandchildren haven’t experienced before. Look no further than Tempe Town Lake for some fun and exercise, available every day of the week.
We took advantage of our daughter’s winter break to head over to the pedal boats on the south shore of Tempe Town Lake. You need at least two adults, or one adult and one grandchild who is big enough to reach the pedals.
Tempe Town Lake Rentals has both two person and four person boats available, and they have bimini tops so you won’t be uncomfortable on those really warm days.
If you are not regular bike riders, one hour is probably enough. You can let the kids sit between you (if they are small enough) and let them steer. It is loads of fun, especially if you don’t mind going in circles.
If, like us, you have little grandsons, they will be thrilled by TTL’s location in the flight pattern of Sky Harbor. Also, the view under the bridges is quite magical, with the reflection of the water painting ribbons of light on the underside of those beautiful structures. Last but not least, the Light Rail passes over the bridge at its scheduled intervals, another reason for excitement!
The pedal boats are just one form of watercraft available on TTL. In addition, you can rent motorized Duffy boats (electric boats), kayaks, Hydrobikes (quite a sight), and SUP, which stands for Stand Up Paddling boards. I doubt that kiddos under ten could manage the SUP’s, but they would be entertained watching you try to stay vertical on one. Just a little hint regarding the aforementioned SUPS: speed is your friend, paddle as fast as you can while you are learning that skill.
72 W. Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85282 P 480.303.9803 M-Th 10-6 ; F-Sun 10-7 boats4rent.com/tempe-town-lake Boat rentals start at $15 per hour
Where to grab a bite: Bison WitchesGOTG Tips: Bring sunscreen and sunglasses – pack light but bring a jacket
Be sure to take advantage of other activities at Tempe Town Lake. Check their calendar of events often, and don’t miss sampling the fare at Mill Avenue’s many fun eateries. We chose Bison Witches, which has some incredible soups and sandwiches. They also have an amazing view of departures at Sky Harbor Airport. You just can’t beat it, for where else can you find grilled PBJ?
Parenting a young adult can be a challenging experience for both parents and adult children. Often times, we can all regress to an earlier stage of development that feels familiar when our adult child communicates with us (speaking down to the adult child as if they were younger). This new stage of development and communication is a tremendous shift in our relationships. We are no longer disciplining our children, but attempting to relate to them as young adults, not children.
It may feel awkward at first to have been the parent guiding our children to letting them go and become independent adults. But isn’t that what we were supposed to do? Help them be their own person who is capable of making their own life choices? They need to make mistakes and fail in order to learn life lessons. If we do not allow that, by condemning them, then we haven’t helped them learn how to get back up on their own.
After experiencing my new role as a mother of daughters from 18 into their 20s, I had to readjust and shift my belief systems. I needed to think before I spoke and create new boundaries. I thought about my list of Do’s and Don’ts of parenting an adult child.
- Teach life lessons and life skills- cooking, laundry, finance, etc before they leave home. You may want to help or guide your adult child by showing them or reading rental agreements with them to get them started.
- Ask your son/daughter how they would like to redefine the roles at this age in terms of adult/guidance. Example: Ask your son or daughter what are the expectations at this stage in your life about the kind of relationship you want to have.
- Have faith that your adult child will make good choices; unless there is mental illness, learning disabilities, drug or alcohol abuse, or previous indicators that they have issues with making appropriate choices. (They need professional counseling. Refer them to an agency or school related counselor who can help them adjust.)
- Try to be available to give advice only if they ask you.
- Remember to share your life stories on your experience on living on your own, and the mistakes you made. This will open the doors for communication and create a more relaxed conversation.
- Although your adult child is independent, still offer to include them at family dinners, outings, vacations if they choose to join in.
- If they live out of state or at college or university, try to stay connected through emails, phone calls, texting, or voice messages. Try not to be overbearing and needy nor take it personally if they do not respond right away. Have an emergency number of one of their friends or roommates just to be able to contact them if you are unable to reach them. Be sure to have a code word your child can text you or tell you if there may be a safety concern.
- Help your adult child feel empowered to make choices and decisions. Give affirmations that they do make good decisions in order to encourage their independence.
- If your adult child marries, they may have a difficult time shifting their loyalty to their spouse since they have been part of the family for so many years. Give them time to adjust to married life and if they come to you for advice feel free to offer. If not, do not tell them what to do, because this often times ends with resentment.
- Do not impose your own way of doing things like decorating, buying clothes, finance, cars, dating…unless your adult child asks your opinion, or wants your help.
- Don’t compare your journey to theirs. It’s a different world today. Adult children are marrying later as well as having children later in life.
- Be careful of criticizing your adult child when he/she makes a mistake or needs your love and support when things are difficult.
- Be aware that your adult child may want to spend time with a boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, colleagues, instead of the family. Feelings of rejection may be difficult for you, but try to remember what you felt from 18 to your late 20s.
- Remember that we raised our children to leave the nest and become healthy, independent adults. So keep that in mind when they are showing independent tasks from you.
- Try not rescue your adult child if something goes wrong, unless it is an emergency dealing with health, or some other emergency situation. If you always bail out your adult child financially, they will never learn how to budget and rely on you throughout their lifetime.
- Don’t allow your adult child to speak to you rudely. No matter what. Use “I” messages such as, “I feel sad or hurt when you speak to me in a disrespectful tone of voice.”
- Think back to parenting your children in a different way as each adult child may respond differently to your statements. Ex: One adult child may not be bothered by a parental comment made as a joke, whereas another may take it seriously and internalize it.
- Try to avoid ultimatums towards your adult child. Example being: “I am going to give you a credit card for emergency situations, but if you mess up, you are on your own from then on.”
Often times a parent may have difficulty letting their oldest or only adult child move on and create their own independent lifestyle. This can create guilty feelings, and hurt when an adult child is ready to live in their own apartment or residence with other adult friends. This can also create financial issues between the parent and the adult child. Have the adult child use “I” messages to validate the parent, such as “I will miss you dad, when I move out, but I will always visit you and come back for holidays.” This can help a parent understand the need for their adult child independence.
Linda Levin M.A. has a handbook that can be purchased to review all of these Dos and Don’ts in addition to providing more specific guidance for both parent and adult child. See www.teenhealthmanual.com to order “Help I’m on my Own!”
It’s important to remember that children under 10 are still at risk for potential holiday hazards. Parents must be very careful when purchasing holiday items and toys that they are safe items to have at home. Please read each label and check consumer reports or websites such as the American Academy of Pediatrics when considering holiday safety tips.
If you are celebrating Christmas, and want to purchase a tree which is artificial, make sure it is labeled “fire resistant.” A real Christmas tree must be fresh, but the needles may break and can be hazardous to a young child placing things in their mouth. Keep your tree away from radiators, portable heaters, or fireplaces and out of the way of any type of doorways or anywhere with high family traffic. Wrapping paper burns quickly and violently in a fireplace so be sure you remember to throw it away immediately. You may also want to block off the tree if you have young children so it may not fall on top of them or they don’t break anything or put dangerous things in their mouth.
If you are choosing to use tree lights, make sure all the bulbs work, no frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Turn off all lights when going to bed or leaving your house so it could not start a fire. With a metallic tree, never use electric lights on it because a person could be electrocuted. Keep small batteries and magnets away from young children. Button batteries are also found in many toys, cards, hearing aids and electronics, and a young child can swallow them easily.
Young children under 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before you give them to your child. Toys that have strings that are longer than 12 inches can strangle a baby or preschool aged child. Keep older children’s toys, such as electronics, games, and other products with small parts, separate from younger children’s toys.
If you are travelling, just remember this can be stressful for both you or your young children. Try as much as possible, whether staying at a hotel or family members home, to set up a usual routine, a sleeping routine, an eating routine, napping, so that it can reduce stress within the family and among relatives or friends. Try not to overdo too many visitations, shopping, museums, and parks in one day. Spread it out.
During a holiday visitation with other friends or relatives, make sure you assign an adult or older teen to watch a baby or toddler at all times. Do not leave leftover food such as alcohol, nuts, grapes, hotdogs, peanut butter, tobacco or any choking hazards around on tables where they can reach or ingest them. You must childproof the home ahead of time.
Women’s purses, cleaning products, stairways, hot radiators, unlocked cabinets are hazards to young children during parties. Make sure you have numbers in case of emergency of police, fire departments, doctors, hospitals, or poison controls and your insurance card if an accident were to happen.
Make sure that young children do not have access to light strands, tinsel, or other ornaments that may contain lead or other poisonous materials. If you have a pool, make sure the gate is locked so the child has no access to getting inside a pool area or an aquarium. Do not leave doors unlocked where young children can open them or runaway.
We hope these suggestions will guide you and prevent any accidents to your family members. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season filled with joy, love, peace, and friendship.
If someone asked you to name the city with the world’s largest gingerbread village, chances are you wouldn’t guess a city in Arizona. But Prescott, Arizona is exactly where that village resides! Just one of the many reasons to head up to “Arizona’s Christmas City,” you and your grandchildren will be dazzled by the 100+ gingerbread creations that make up this one-of-a-kind village.
Organizations in the community, as well as families and individuals, create unique entries. These entries will be judged, then viewed by as many as 50,000 visitors to this display at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center. This year, there is a tribute to the 19 firefighters lost from this community. The village, which is free of charge to view, will be available until Jan. 1, and your little ones will be wide-eyed at this charming snow-covered village, complete with trains running through it!
There are so many events going on in Prescott during the next few weeks that I am resorting to a list to fit most of them in.
Dec. 1-21: Santa Clause Express at the Verde Canyon Railroad in nearby Clarkdale on the weekends
Dec. 4-8: Walk through Bethlehem
Dec. 7: Breakfast with Santa from 8-10 a.m., 31st annual Christmas Parade from 1-3 p.m. and Courthouse Lighting at 6 p.m.
Dec. 8: Santa with the Animals from 1-3 p.m. at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary – Santa will bring presents for the animals & will be available for photos
Dec. 13: Acker Musical Showcase from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at downtown locations – see over 100 musicians performing everything from steel drum bands to classical music (a ‘must see’ according to one of the Prescott locals)
Dec. 14: Wildnights at Night from 6-9 p.m. at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary (every Friday & Saturday night in December).
Since there are more than enough activities to keep you in Prescott for several hours, please support the many wonderful eating and drinking establishments while there, and check the websites listed below for a complete calendar of events.
In addition to the above festive activities, you may even be able to see some white stuff on the ground, which is such a treat at this time of year. Regardless of whether there is snow, be sure to bundle up your little ones so that you can stay longer and take in all that Prescott has to offer in terms of holiday sparkle.
To get there:
Drive north on I-17 to the 69 turnoff (be sure to keep a lookout for the decorated Mystery Christmas Tree in the median near Sunset Point at milepost 254, follow signs to downtown Prescott.
For over 3 decades this Mystery Christmas Tree has mysteriously been decorated at night on Thanksgiving Weekend (Psst…We saw some of those decorators at work, but we wouldn’t DARE post the photos!)
You will pass the Prescott Resort and Conference Center on the left as you are entering Prescott, 1500 Highway 69, 928.776.1666. Continue on to Courthouse Square.
The amazing lights of Courthouse Square is reason enough to make the trip north, but there is so much more to savor. A visit to our own ‘Christmas City’ will leave you all with that warm, cozy feeling of small town Christmases of long ago…
How do we balance extracurricular activities for our child so we are not stressed out?
Before our children are born, parents are already worried or thinking about childcare, preschool, or even the best public/private schools to enroll their children in. Some parents even consider moving to a different location in order to give their child the best education.
We always want to be one step ahead when it comes to parenting our children. We feel this pressure or competition to have our children speak Mandarin, Spanish, play a musical instrument, participate in a sport or be the president of their class. We do not always realize that we might be in competition with our own colleagues, other parents, and family members with children as well.
When is enough really enough?
We have stressed out parents and over-stimulated and exhausted our children. We all need down time to relax and regroup without being rushed all the time.
Here are some ideas and solutions to help you deal with this issue:
-Remember, children develop many interests throughout preschool to high school and they may want to explore new things all the time.
-Ask your child which extracurricular activity/sport would be their number one choice and which would be their number two choice. Do not give them more than two choices.
-After you decide together and give them time to think about it, tell them you will get back to them about the activity. (The cost, amount of time devoted to the activity, and scheduling for both of you before registering.)
-Find out if this activity is flexible or has a specific time, place, and hour to attend. If you are a working parent, this may affect your work schedule or feelings of guilt if you are unable to attend or participate.
-It is critical to consider time management when setting up activities for your child, yourself, and your family. Avoid cramming too many activities into one day. Consider traffic, health, dinner hour, homework, and your own personal time/marriage/relationship.
-Limit the number of extracurricular activities per week. Maybe one is enough, or no more than two, depending on the number of children you have. The last thing you want your child to experience is “burnout.” If your child is complaining every time that they have to participate, then investigate why that might be happening. Ask about bullies, or stress in their life, or about the coach, or their peers attending the activity before you pull them out. You may want to suggest that they finish that term before they quit.
-Sleep, healthy eating and exercise should be a priority as well. Observe yourself and your child if you are always picking up fast food for dinner, how it affects your health, mood, weight, and energy level.
-It is important that your child develop strong relationships with their peers and family members. When we over schedule our children, this will not allow for developing healthy relationships and inspiring teamwork. Talk to your child about the importance of sportsmanship and being respectful of others when they win or lose. Think about role modeling situations where they observe your reactions and attitudes, such as take them with you while you participate in your own activity.
-It is also vital that you find out what type of coach, or mentor your child is being exposed to when selecting an activity/sport.
-Incorporate family time weekly to try to have dinners together and discussions instead of everyone eating separately (this creates a much closer family bond). Father-Son and mother-daughter, even sibling time, alone is also an important thing to include in the calendar. Ask each family member to not have any electronic devices at the table while having dinner. This includes the parent as well as the child to try and avoid answering emails, texts, tweeting, etc. BE PRESENT AND MINDFUL.
-Maintain a large calendar/schedule that is visible to everyone in the house. If they are small children, use pictures instead of words, or color code. In your calendar schedule both parent work and school related activities. This way your children will know when and where you are at all times to avoid any communication issues.
-In addition to a schedule of work and school activities, have a chore chart placed in another part of the kitchen to review as to what is expected each day in order to receive an allowance, or privileges. This method of organizing can hopefully eliminate any excuses. Everyone will know what is expected.
-Contact friends or neighbors as a back-up plan in case you need carpooling, doctor appointment, or general assistance.
-Don’t forget to give positive affirmations and praise daily when your child has accomplished their chores or goals. Be cautious not to be negative with your comments if they did not do what was on the calendar right away. Communicate in a positive manner what time they are planning on doing it, and thanking them and showing appreciation.
-Set up bank accounts early for your children (piggy bank) for helping with chores, completing homework, or participating in family situations. (This teaches the value of a dollar.) Once elementary children can add/subtract and understand the concept of money, give them an opportunity to save or use part of their money towards a toy, food, or an event.
-Teach gratitude daily. Notice when your children do things for the house or family when you do not ask them. Express your thanks by saying phrases such as, “I appreciate that you did the dishes tonight. Thank you so much.”
“Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” sings the Cat in the Hat at the beginning of Seussical the musical, the beloved production based on the works of Dr. Seuss.
It’s a refrain that could well be every parent’s message to their children. It speaks to the possibilities that exist every day in our lives if we allow time for dreaming, exploration, and discovery.
In Seussical, Jojo, the Mayor of Who’s son, is admonished by his parents for thinking “thinks” — imaginary thoughts that disrupt his school classes and anger his teachers.
When Jojo’s parents lament, “Oh, where are the instructions on how to raise a child?” they speak to a universal question of parenting. However a parent chooses to answer the question, is it not common sense that opportunities for creative expression, trying and erring, and daydreaming be allowed and encouraged?
I’m reminded of a story told recently by Alberto Rios, whom the Governor has appointed as Arizona’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. He recounts, in an interview on KAET’s Horizonte, that, as a child, he was punished by his teacher for “the egregious crime of imagining.” He blesses his parents for not reprimanding him. He thanks them for seeing the possibilities within him and not stifling those creative juices that have made him today a notable literary figure and teacher.
I have had the privilege of working with nonprofit organizations such as Free Arts of Arizona, Phoenix Boys Choir, and Valley Youth Theatre and watched in awe as children from diverse social and economic backgrounds, with different personalities and temperaments have been transformed by the power of imagination. On stage, their talents are unleashed, their inhibitions dissolve, their fear or anxiety morphs into creative energy and expression, and they experience collaboration. And they are encouraged!
When you read a report such as that recently published in The Arizona Republic that Metro Phoenix has the highest rate in the nation of youth who are disconnected from work and school, you have to realize how unnecessary and unacceptable such idleness is — especially when pathways for transformation exist through our non-profit organizations and religious institutions.
Perhaps, all of us…parents, corporations, and government…ought to adapt and adopt Cat in the Hat’s refrain and proclaim, “Oh, the Thinks We Can Think, and the Thinks We Can Do,” to open doors to creative thinking, imagination, and productivity for all children!”
Has your child been bullied or is your child a bully? There are many warning signs and preventative measures you need to be educated on in order to help your child in both scenarios.
Bullying is still a growing problem nationwide. Although we are implementing and enforcing laws against bullying, we still hear on the news horrific stories about shootings, suicides, and peer abuse. Approximately 77 percent of students in the United States report incidents of bullying at their schools.
- Cyber- Through social media, text messaging, gossip, emails, and inappropriate photos, Facebook and other social media sites are becoming large outlets for bullying. This type of bullying has increased tremendously because it is harder to detect.
- Verbal- A child may report being called horrible names, racist comments, homophobic jokes, or being sexually harassed.
- Physical- Some kids bully by being physical, such as: Hitting, spitting, kicking, and physically attacking through weapons, guns, or physical force. These types of bullies are also known to destroy property or steal.
- Indirect- Some bullies will spread gossip or rumors that are not factual and is made up to embarrass another child or teen. Often times this is also considered to be emotional abuse as the child or teen becomes isolated because of the gossip/rumors.
According to bullying statistics in 2013 in the United States, we are still seeing, even with multiple anti-bullying programs mandated in our schools, that:
- 1 in 5 students admitted to bullying their peers at some point.
- About half of students reported being afraid of going to the bathroom for risk of being bullied there.
- Teenagers aged 12-17 claimed they have seen violence increase in their school in the past year.
- In approximately 85 percent of bullying cases, no intervention was made by a teacher or administrator.
- 30 percent of U.S. teenagers have been involved in bullying by either being a bully or a victim.
Cyberbullying advice for parents:
As a parent, it is important to tell your teen that they will not be punished for admitting to being bullied. If the bullying continues after the child has blocked the person on the Internet and their phone, a parent may want to contact the other parent whose child is cyber bulling their own child and have a discussion in order to stop the harassment. Educate your child or teen to keep all threatening or cruel messages and bullying evidence as proof to support their case. Remind your children about predators and how not everyone may be who they say they are online. Make sure you know where your child is at all times, so that a predator cannot hurt your child. Tell your child to have caution when sending messages or pictures through the internet or text because there is a risk that it could “go viral.” Have a code word, for example: a pet’s name, if your child is in danger so that you know how to find them and come and get them.
Cyberbullying statistics consist of some of the following:
- The i-Safe Foundation reported that 1 in 3 children have experienced cyber-threats online.
- Over 25 percent of students report being “repeatedly” bullied through their cell phone and the Internet.
- About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others.
- Girls are more likely than boys to engage in cyberbullying.
- Only 1 out of 10 victims of cyberbullying tell their parents about the incident.
- 1 out of 4 report the cyberbullying to the police.
Parents are very concerned but may not want to believe or imagine that their child is bullying other students. This is called “Denial” about our own child’s behavior. Children who bully other children, statistically, have been physically, mentally, or verbally abused in their own home or at school.
A bully has a need for power, control, and dominance over another child. Here are some indicators that your child may be a bully:
- He/She comes home with items, toys, money, or materials that may not belong to them.
- Your child may often get in trouble with teachers or administrators.
- May start fights with their own siblings.
- May easily react and become violent with others at or outside of the home.
- Blames others for their problems
- Chooses friends who bully other students.
On the other hand, if your child is bullied, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- The child may make excuses to avoid going to school or other activities.
- Your child may experience emotional changes, such as, depression, anxiety, anger, sadness.
- Change in appetite due to nerves or anxiety/stress.
- Drop in academic performance
- May want to attend another school
How can a parent help their child when they are being bullied?
Parents need to explain to their child/teen that it is not acceptable to be afraid or hurt by another person. They do not deserve to be picked on in any capacity. This is considered to be a form of abuse or bullying. Parents need to teach their child to be assertive, not aggressive, back to a child who is bullying them. It’s important to tell the child or teen to report any incident of bullying immediately to a counselor, teacher, administrator, friend, or parent. It is critical that you may need to seek counseling for your child and family.
If you’d like to share a story or comment about your child’s experience with bullying, and how you helped your child, please write to my Dear Linda column at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write on Facebook.
According to psychoanalyst, Alfred Adler, our birth order can predict our personality to some extent. Adler’s theories date back to the early 1900s and are considered to be credible. Dr. Kevin Leman also wrote books and researched the topic of birth order.
After interviewing my own family members and listening to their answers on birth order, I wanted to compare their answers to the research suggested. My oldest daughter Jessica, stated that as a first born, she enjoyed being the first granddaughter born on my side of the family. Jessica felt very loved and supported by parents and relatives. Jessica wished at times, that she had older siblings to learn from because she felt she had to do everything first. Jessica felt a need to figure things out on her own without the guidance of an older sibling. Jessica had high expectations for herself and she claims she is very hard on herself in many respects. Jessica enjoyed her childhood years because her parents played with her and took her on many vacations.
According to the research on first borns, they are considered to be:
- Natural born leaders
- Over achievers
- Center of attention
- Can be perfectionists
- They feel pressure to be the best
- They have higher IQs than younger siblings
- May be the favorites in the family
- Highly self critical
- Tend to be risk-averse
- Many presidents and CEOs are first borns
As a middle child within my family, I felt a need to share and be very social at an early age. I had an older sister whom I modeled after. I had a need to find my own way and be successful in my life. I also became a “big sister” to my youngest brother, along with my older sister, and played and cared for him. I had numerous arguments with my other brother, who was also considered a middle child since there were four of us. We became closer when my sister left for college and throughout the rest of our lives. I am a peace-maker and mediator, but at times I felt left out. According to research of middle children, they are considered to be:
- People pleasers
- Good listeners
- More secretive
- May feel isolated within their own families
- Very loyal
- Hard workers
- Create a different identity from older and younger siblings
The youngest child I interviewed, was my niece, husband, and brother and sister-in-law. All of them talked about being spoiled and received a lot of attention from their parents or siblings. They all discussed feeling a closeness to their mothers. They described growing up faster then they should have due to older siblings’ influences, i.e. drugs, dating, sex, conversations. Sometimes they stated that their siblings felt jealous of them. In some situations, their siblings were much older than them and left home so they felt like an only child. According to the research, the youngest child often times have the following qualities:
- More playful
- Had to fight for attention
- Developed a sense of humor(actors and comedians are usually youngest children)
- Higher risk takers
- More protected
- Felt indestructible
- Lacked some confidence
- Great problem solvers
- Feel a need to “dethrone” the first born
After interviewing an only child who had no siblings, we discussed that he felt lonely at times without siblings. His friends were very important to him, and became what some would call, “surrogate siblings.” He grew up having many adult like conversations with family members and his parents. He learned to be articulate, a leader, but also a risk taker. He had a great imagination, due to the lack of siblings to play with. There are times he has difficulty with criticism. He stated that being an only child put a lot of pressure on him to be very good at everything he attempted. Characteristics of only children:
- They can be leaders in the community
- They have the best of both, the oldest sibling characteristics as well as the youngest
- Risk takers
- Overly protected
- Center of attention, from parents
- Greatest risk for obesity, because food was a form of love
Think about your own family situation and how birth order relates to you, personally. Let me know what you think about this article and if these characteristics apply to you on my Facebook page.