From the University of Arkansas
Question: How to talk to your child about a classmate who has an LD or Special Needs. What do we say as parents...
Answer: Children are naturally curious about others. When your child interacts, notices or asks questions about a person who learns, behaves or is visibly different than they are, it is an opportunity for you to talk about individual differences and respect. It’s OK to acknowledge differences. Your child may have a classmate with a disability such as a child using a walker or a hearing device. Your child may notice differences like those associated with learning or behavior. When your child begins to ask questions, answer those questions with facts, and be honest when you don't know the answer..
Choose language that focuses on individuals - not their disabilities, learning or behavioural differences. Using words that describe a person and not their disability or difference reminds children that it is only one part of the person. It may be helpful to use statements such as: "a child who is blind" rather than "a blind child,” Some kids have a more difficult time regulating their emotions than others; some people learn differently than others. Address name calling and jokes as when you hear them. Calling someone a bully, mean, crazy or dumb because they behave, learn or look different from us is not ok.
Question: Any tips for a family recently divorced/divorcing - any good books or resources to help
find positive ways to keep communication open for everyone?
Answer: From Kids health
These suggestions can make the process less painful for kids, teens, and families. Parents will
need to interpret them in their own ways; honesty, sensitivity, self-control, and time itself will
help the healing process. Be patient — not everyone's timetable is the same.
Encourage kids to openly discuss their feelings — positive or negative — about what's
It's important for divorcing — and already divorced — parents to sit down with their kids and
encourage them to say what they're thinking and feeling. But you'll need to keep this separate
from your own feelings. Most often, children experience a sense of loss of family and may blame
you or the other parent — or both — for what is going on in their lives. So, you'll really need to
be prepared to answer questions your kids might raise or to address their concerns.
Make talking about the divorce and how it's affecting your kids an ongoing process. As kids get
older and become more mature, they might have questions or concerns that they hadn't thought
of earlier. Even if it seems like you've gone over the same topics before, keep the dialogue open.
If possible, sit down with the other parent and plan how you're going to talk to your child or
children about what is going on.
Keep adult conflict and arguments away from the kids.
This is one of the hardest things to do. But it's important never to say bad things about your ex in
front of your kids, or within earshot. You'd be surprised at how good kids can be to picking up
on these things. Research shows that the single biggest factor in long-term adjustment for kids of
divorce is the level of parental conflict they are exposed to. It puts kids in really difficult
positions if they want to or have to take sides, or listen to negative things said about one of their
Try not to use kids as messengers or go-betweens, especially when you're feuding.
Even though it is tempting, don';t use your kids as messengers. There are plenty of other ways to
communicate with your ex-partner. Also, resist questioning your child about what is happening
in the other household — kids resent it when they feel that they're being asked to "spy" on the
other parent. Wherever possible, communicate directly with the other parent about relevant
matters, such as scheduling, visitation, health issues, or school problems.'
Expect resistance and difficulties as kids adjust to a new mate or the mate's kids.
New relationships, blended families, and remarriages are among the most difficult aspects of the
divorce process. A new, blended family can add more stress for a while, and can cause another
period of adjustment. Keeping lines of communication open, allowing one-on- one time for
parents and kids, and watching for signs of stress can help prevent problems developing.
Figure out how to reduce stress in your life to help your family.
Support from friends, relatives, church and religious groups, and organizations such as Parents
Without Partners can help parents and their kids adjust to separation and divorce. Kids can meet
others who've developed successful relationships with separated parents and can confide in each
other. Getting support can help parents find solutions to all kinds of practical and emotional challenges.
Question: With the Holidays coming - any tips for keeping the whole family (parents and kids alike) calm with all the busyness and change in routine (and sugar).
Answer: We came across a blog recently, and below are 5 tips to getting through the holidays.
1. Remember that the only thing you can control is the way you react. No family is perfect, no partner is perfect, children are not perfect. I can almost guarantee that not everything will go as you plan it so try to start out with lower expectations. Know going in to the situation that there will be bumps and mess-ups and then it won’t be as devastating when these things happen.
2. Try to stick to as normal a schedule as possible. Kids still need structure and routine, it makes them feel safe and secure. Letting things go over the holidays may cause the kids (and you) to act ‘out of sorts’.
3. Get some air when things get to be too much – or some silence in the bathroom, the basement, laundry room – where ever you can escape for a few minutes.
4. Keep your expectations realistic – No family is like the ones you see on those wonderful Christmas movies, no Christmas is like that either. Talk to your children and tell them your plans each day – this will help them know what to expect.
5. Try to enjoy yourself – don’t try to do too much. Spread out the ‘traditional’ activities, try not to do them all on Christmas Day. Ask your kids to pick two things they’d like to do, and let go of the ones that aren’t mentioned. You’ll enjoy the ones you keep much better.
*This blog originally appeared here on “Being Beautifully Bipolar” on PsychCentral.com in 2013. Other thoughts were added to each point for the purpose of this reply.
Now... just a bit on sugar – and ‘sugar highs’
Dr. Mark Wolraich, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, researched sugar's effect on children in the 1990s. Basically, there is no such thing as a sugar high. “Sugar is often the main attraction at birthday parties, on Halloween and other occasions when children are likely to bounce off the walls. But all that energy is the result of the kids being excited, not from the sugar in their systems, he said. The misconception comes from the idea that increased blood sugar levels translate into hyperactive behavior. It's true that someone with low blood-sugar levels (known as having hypoglycemia) can get an energy boost from drinking a sugar-filled drink. But it's a different story if someone has a sugary treat when he or she doesn't have low blood sugar.
"The body will normally regulate those sugars. If it needs it, it will use the energy," Wolraich said. "If it doesn't need it, it will convert it to fat for storage." So... if you have a donut when your blood sugar level is already just fine, those extra sugars may be converted into fat.”
Our advice for the sugar consumption holidays ... limit sugar as best you can – as you always do - and get them outside and moving as much as you can. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow ☺
Question: I would love to know how to Foster Healthy Adult-Child Attachment at School and at Home.
4 VIllages says: Children need adults to be reliable, caring and consistent when they are caring for them. Children learn to take care of themselves only as well as an adult cares for them. Healthy attachments develop as children’s needs are met consistently and reliably, and this helps them see the world as responsive and caring. This leads children to a sense of security and well-being that is critical in early development.
To develop a healthy attachment to your child – try the following tips.
✔ Always make Eye Contact with the child ✔ Smile and Talk to Your Child often
✔ Express Warmth and Touch at every opportunity possible
✔ Be Sensitive and Responsive to your child ✔ Get in Tune with Your Child
✔ Follow Your Child’s Lead in Play ✔ Read Together often
✔ Avoid Overstimulation
Strategies that will Foster a Helathy attachment
• Make yourself available. Young children can rely on you and come to trust you only if you are present. Try to make sure you are fully engaged in being available to your children when with them, not just a warm body that is present.
• Increase your knowledge and experience interacting with young children. Building healthy attachment requires knowledge and experience. Find opportunities to be around children by volunteering in child care/school settings, attending play or social groups, going to interactive classes with your child, etc. Pay attention to their likes, needs, desires and behaviors. Also, ncrease your knowledge by taking classes, reading books, watching videos or otherwise learning about healthy parent-child relationships.
• Be attentive to your child’s cues. Focus on your childs’ cues – recognizing that care or comfort is needed. Then interpreting those cues and responding in a way that comforts or helps the child.
• Provide a quick, consistent response to your child’s needs or cues. Children learn to trust when someone responds promptly and consistently to their needs, especially during the first years of life.
• Express warm, positive and caring responses as you interact with children. That extra word of reassurance, the caring touch or hug – these shape a child’s experience of security. Be nurturing. Be understanding. You should give children love, affection and touch abundantly as you interact with them.
• Respond to children being “in tune” with their cues. Parents need to respond appropriately to a child’s signals.
• Follow your children’s lead and cooperate with them in how they try to play or interact, rather than forcing them to follow your own desires for interaction. Cooperate with children when they make efforts to interact and follow their lead. Provide opportunities for interaction, but don’t take the lead. You can start it off, but let the child go with it. Pay attention to your children’s actions and “mirror” them, cooperating with them as you play or help them.
• Avoid over-stimulating your child as you interact. Pick up to their cues that they have had enough. Look for the signs of them losing interest in the play, and then end it.
Parents need to understand that attachment challenges may result from a variety of factors, including:
• Temperament of the child
• Prenatal or birth trauma (low birth weight, extended time in medical care, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc.)
• Significant family trauma (divorce, death, etc.)
• Poor family modeling for parents (parents in childhood had poor attachments themselves, etc.)
• Troubled or hostile home environment
These and other factors may significantly interfere with healthy attachment forming. All parents and caregivers should consider the possible influence of such factors in their own adult-child relationships.
For more information of building healthy attachment, please see https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs631.pd
Question: We would love to learn more about the Bystander - what can my child do if they witness Bullying? And what if your child is being bullied - how do you help them know if it 'is' bullying - vs. someone just making a bad choice/having a bad day (is there a good way to help kids understand that not every 'mean' act is bullying -that it could be something else)? Any resolution techniques for kids?
ANSWER (4 Villages Says): Here are some ways to help stop bullying when you see it: (From Kids Help Phone)
Speak up. Examples of things you can say include:
• “A teacher is coming!” (Even if this isn’t true, it can create a distraction that breaks up the bullying situation.)
• “That’s mean!” (If you show disapproval others are likely to agree with you.)
• “Stop – you’re going to get in trouble!” (Reminding the person that what they are doing is against school rules can be a good discouragement.)
• “Why is everyone standing around watching this? Let’s leave!” (Bullying behaviour is reinforced by those who passively watch, so ask others to leave with you.)
Provide an escape for the person being bullied. For example:
• “Let’s get out of here.” (Inviting the person to leave with you is a powerful way to show support and provide an escape from the situation.)
• “Mrs Carter has been looking for you. She wants you to go see her.” (Inventing a reason why the person being bullied needs to leave is another good way to help them get out of harm's way.)
Other ways you can help:
• If you feel safe, talk to the person who is bullying privately, and ask them what's going on. Let them know you’re aware of the bullying and that it's not OK.
• If you see someone being bullied on their Facebook wall or other online space, leave a message saying that you think comments like that aren't OK.
• Tell a teacher, administrator, or other adult you trust if you are afraid for your safety or someone else’s. It’s not tattling if you’re trying to keep someone safe. If someone is being physically harmed, you can call the police or 911.
• Support the person being bullied after the situation is over. For example, you can ask them how they're doing, or remind them that it wasn't their fault.
Here are some things to keep in mind about bullying:
• 87% of Canadian students in Grades 8-10 reported witnessing school bullying in the past year.
• 60% of the time, bullying stops in less than 10 seconds when bystanders intervene.
• Bullying makes everyone in a school or community feel less safe.
• Effects of bullying on bystanders can include depression, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, and loss of interest in friends, family, and hobbies. The more severe the bullying, the more severe the effect on witnesses, too.