Posts Tagged ‘protect children’

This morning, while I was dropping my 4 1/2 year old off at school she told me that one of her very best friends was mad and was not talking to her. She didn’t know why and was sad. I talked with her about asking him why so that if she had done something wrong she could apologize. She agreed but when I turned to leave he was right in front of me. He was not his normal smiling self – something was weighing on him. I bent down and asked him what was wrong. To summarize, he told me he could no longer be friends with Lilah because he had new friends at his new school (he is leaving in August to go to a different Kindergarten). I was CRUSHED and so was Lilah. He seemed so unhappy about it too. I thought this is not the way to spend the last couple weeks together. 

At this point, we were drawing a crowd of preschoolers and I tried to explain that you can have many friends. I told him how Lilah still has friends from her old school. He didn’t believe me. The teacher came over to gather all the children and it was time for me to leave.

I spoke with the head of the school before I left and he assured me he would talk to ALL the children about it.  As much as I want to protect her, I know this is only the beginning of the misunderstandings, harsh words, and miscommunications that are part of a child’s life.

Here are a few tips to help your child through leaving or being left by their friends.

  • Talk About It: Explain to your child that though they no longer attend school together, aren’t on the same team, or don’t live in the same area, they can still remain friends. We can’t have too many friends.
  • Stay Connected: Set up play dates shortly after they are no longer together to assure them that they are still friends. If they are far away have them write a letter or call each other regularly. Depending on the age of your child, they can also email or be friends on Facebook.
  • Try to make them understand that they will have many friends in their life and some see each other daily and others sporadically, but that doesn’t change their friendship.
  • Put photos of your child’s friends in their rooms and talk about them often.

Obviously not all children will be able to maintain ALL their friendships (especially the young ones). But remember, if it’s a close friendship those kids are part of what has shaped them and are worth the effort it takes to stay connected.

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I am sure at one point in your life, you were bullied by a kid at school – right? It is not fun. I have skinny fingers and I remember one boy in grade school used to torment me and ask, “Pick any locks today?” As an adult, we want to protect our kids, nieces, nephews, etc. So why, why and why? Kids bully for many reasons. Sometimes they “pick on” kids because they prey on more soft voiced children — someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker, or just acts or appears different in some way — to feel more cool, popular, or in control.

Sometimes kids torment others because they think it is okay because that is the way they were treated by other kids or from their families where there is fighting, anger, or name calling. Here are some basics to signs of bullying and how you can help.

Signs of Bulling
It can be hard to know if your child is being bullied unless there are visible signs of injury, but there are other types of warning signs. Let your child know that if he or she is being bullied — or sees it happening to another friend or schoolmate — it is important to talk to someone about it, whether it be you, another parent or adult, school teacher or a sibling.

  • Your child might be acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things that he or she usually enjoys.
  • When kids seem moodier or start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it may be because of a bully.

How can you help?
1.     Listen and talk to your child. Kids are often hesitant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed and ashamed that it’s happening. They worry that their parents will be disappointed. Encourage him or her to talk about school, other classmates, and the walk or bus ride to and from school. Provide everyday opportunities for children to talk about bullying, perhaps when watching TV together, reading aloud, playing a game, or going out for a walk.

2.     Take complaints seriously. Sometimes kids feel like it’s their own fault, that if they looked or acted differently it wouldn’t be happening to him or her. Sometimes they’re scared that if the bully finds out that they told, they might get beaten up or that the bully will be more mean to them. Others are worried that their parents won’t believe them or do anything about it. Make sure to praise your kid for being brave enough to talk about it and that he or she is not alone and it is most likely happening to other kids.

3.     Communicate with the school. If you think your child is having a problem, contact her teacher or school principal. Tell school officials when and where your child is being bullied, and ask them to supervise these areas.

4.     Team up with other parents. Sometimes it’s useful to approach the bully’s parents. Work together to make sure that the children in your neighborhood are supervised closely on their way to and from school.

5.     Help your child learn social skills. A confident, resourceful child who has friends is less likely to be bullied or to bully others. Encourage your child to have play dates with kids at school, or help him make friends with other children through Scouts, clubs, religious groups, etc.

6.     Help your child develop a new hobby or skill. Learning something new and enjoyable might help your child feel good about himself or herself, have more confidence, and even develop new friends.

7.     Teach your child how to walk away. It may be tempting to tell your child to fight back. After all, you most likely will be upset that your child is distresses and maybe you were told to “stand up for yourself” when you were young.  However, it is important to advise kids to NOT respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can lead to violence, more trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, encourage your child to walk away from the situation and hang out with their friends that love them.  It can be helpful to use the buddy system at school to avoid bullies.

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Every parent is concerned about their child’s safety whether they are in a car seat, swimming in a pool, crossing the street or when they get separated from us. My daughter is now 3-years-old and I’m determined to teach her some basics about safety. We’ve all had the scare in a store when our child steps just out of our site. They may be only 1-2 feet away hiding in a clothing rack, but they might as well be half way across the store! As a parent, if we can’t see them, we don’t know if they’re safe. I may not show it to my daughter when this happens, but I’m panicked. I don’t want to instill fear in her, but my goal is to teach her some fundamental concepts and practices to keep her as safe as possible.  

Lilah playing Hide and Seek

  • All children should know their Name, Parents Names, Phone Number, and Address as soon as they are able to (though they should also be taught not to share this with everyone).
  • Teach your child to dial 911 at home or on a cell phone and explain the problem (mommy is sick or hurt or someone I don’t know is in the house).
  • If your child gets separated it’s best to teach them to go to a woman (no offense guys) since statistics show that more children (beyond infancy) are taken or prayed upon by men.  Generally, telling them to go to a cashier is better than a security guard because an employees is always there (since children can not spot a fake badge or may mistake someone dressed all in blue as someone official) and they are likely to make an announcement for you or get security to find you.
  • Teach them not to take anything from a stranger unless it is approved by you. There are sites that have safety games or that show you how to make flash cards with photos to help your child recognize the difference between a friend and a stranger.
  • Abductors often ask for directions or for help finding a pet. Teach children to stay away from any adult asking for help because that adult should be asking an adult for help, not a child.
  • Teach children what to do in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster that can strike your area. In case of a fire they should also know what the smoke detector sounds like and how to get to safety.
  • Teach children to NEVER answer the door alone.
  • Teach them to NEVER get in anyone’s car without your DIRECT permission.
  • If you are out in public make sure your kids know where to go if you get separated. Make a plan. Statistics show that parents temporarily lose their children at theme parks 27% of the time. That’s almost 1 in 3.
  • It’s important for them to know that if someone tries to grab them and take them away to yell for HELP!
  • Promote an environment in which your child feels free to talk to you about anything. Tell them not to trust ANYONE who tells them to keep a secret from you.

As your child gets older, spends more time at friend’s houses or is unsupervised by you there are additional guidelines to put in place, but this should get you started. Here are a few websites ( www.kidpower.org, www.safechild.org,  www.dltk-kids.com, www.surfnetkids.com and www.powerofparentsonline.com) where you can find more information.

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