US Swim School Association Helps Parents Detect If Their Kids Are Water Smart

Guidelines to evaluate if kids know the basic water safety skills after a summer in the pool

boy-in-swimming-poolDrowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. On average, 3,533 people die as a result of drowning each year, and most of those deaths are children under the age of four who drown in backyard swimming pools. The tragedy of these statistics is nearly all drowning deaths are preventable. Parents need to be aware of their children’s swimming capabilities as well as their knowledge of how to be safe around water.

To help parents determine if their children are knowledgeable of basic water safety skills, USSSA has created a basic safety guideline parents can use to evaluate their children at the end of the summer pool season. USSSA also reminds parents that enrolling their children in year-round swimming lessons is one of the first defenses in drowning prevention. Even if children can complete the following tasks, year-round lessons can help children maintain their swimming skills and build strength.

  • Flip and Float. Any time a child enters a body of water unexpectedly, he or she should know to first reach the surface then flip onto his or her back and float until help arrives.
  • Find the Side. If your child accidentally falls into a pool he or she should know how to swim to the side, and either pull them self out of the water or move along the wall to the stairs where they can safely exit.
  • Do a Clothes Test. Children might be successful swimmers in their goggles and swimsuit but if you have a backyard pool there could be a situation where your child falls into the pool fully clothed. To help your children know how to react and judge their skill level in a situation like this effectively, under your supervision, have them jump into the pool with clothes on and swim to the side.
  • Throw, Don’t Go. When asked what they would do if a friend or sibling is struggling in the water, children should know to not enter the water. Instead, they should look for a device that can reach into the water such as a pool noodle, a foam ring or even a large stick the struggling person can grab and hold onto while being pulled to safety.
  • Take a lap. If you have a backyard pool it is a good idea to test your child at the end of the summer to make sure your child can swim a full lap of the pool. This will inform you if your child can swim far enough to reach the side or a step to exit the pool no matter where he or she falls in.

For more information on USSSA, details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization, or to find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, visit: http://www.usswimschools.org

 

About US Swim School Association: US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org.

 

Tryout Tips for Parents: 5 Tips for Helping Your Child Make the Team

By CoachUp

sports-teamAs the upcoming sports season approaches, our throats begin to tighten. Winter and spring sports tryouts are underway, and our children are stressed. Chances are, you’re feeling just as anxious for tryouts as your kids.  Best case scenario, they make the team and happily transition into the regular season, worst case they don’t and they come to you in a whirlwind of emotion that leaves you struggling to find a resolution.

If you’re looking for a more concrete way to improve your child’s skills, CoachUp is a great resource for families looking to hire one in their area. There are a variety of private coaches that will fit your, or your child’s, needs. With experienced instructors from squash to basketball to strength and conditioning, CoachUp coaches are qualified and have all been background checked for safety.

If a private coach doesn’t pique your interest, there are definite steps you can take to help your child make the team. These tryout tips for parents from CoachUp will help guide you through both tryouts and a successful sports season.

1. Rome wasn’t built in a day, put in the prep

Encourage your child to begin practicing on a steady gradient from casual to intense sessions a month before preseason begins. Have them start their practice at about 30 min every other day increasing to an hour or two each day the week before. You shouldn’t put too much pressure on them to be perfect, but do convey that it is important to be well conditioned before the first day. Suggest that they play around with their friends or future teammates. This will help them get a feel for the competition early so that they can assess for themselves how much practice they need to be doing. During the first week, help them ease their nerves by reminding them how much great practice they’ve been doing, they’re ready for this.

2. Eat, Sleep, Play

Sleep and nutrition are extremely important for your child’s well being in the first weeks of preseason. Make sure that your child gets a great night sleep not just the night before the first day, but also the whole weekend before. Help them gear up by preparing healthy meals in the weeks before and during tryouts. Making great breakfasts and nutritious packed lunches during preseason will help take some of the load off your child and show them that you’re there for support.

3. Pencil it in now…not later

Creating a schedule for your child’s sports season seems like an obvious step, but it is an incredibly important one. List all practices, games, team dinners, etc. along with their times and locations. Consider linking up with other parents to make a carpooling schedule and to exchange information in case of emergency. Securing a time effective transportation system for the preseason will take the burden off your child. Children often feel stressed or judged by coaches or teammates when their parents are late or forget an event, so showing them you’ve got it all under control will ease their nerves.

4. Be a good sport, Mom and Dad

Reacting positively to coaches’ decisions, results of a game, or practice schedules will set a good example for your child. Sympathize and suggest alternatives if they are upset, but do not intervene or create unnecessary drama. Obviously there are always special cases, but use your best discretion to pick your battles. Your child will learn from your constructive attitude, which will reflect positively on the playing field.

5.  Put it into perspective

Last but not least, be sure to encourage and motivate your child while putting it all in perspective. Sometimes kids can get overwhelmed with tryouts and overreact. If they perform poorly in a drill or scrimmage, prevent them from wanting to give up by presenting the positive sides. They can make it up the next day, or if not, there’s always next year or other activities. Remind them that you’re proud of them no matter what.

Make tryouts as easy as possible for your children. If you take care of their schedule, meals, and transportation, they can freely focus on their game. Your children will be less stressed and perform their best when they know you’ve got their back, both logistically and emotionally. So here’s to a successful, best case scenario sports season, your children will thank you!

 

About CoachUp

CoachUp is a service that connects athletes with private coaches, believing that private coaching is the secret to reaching the next level in sports + life.  The CoachUp mission is to help change the trajectory of kid’s lives through sports. CoachUp has won numerous awards, including the 50 On Fire “Top 50 Hottest Companies in Boston” and  the Gold Prize at MassChallenge.  Backed by a stellar investment team including General Catalyst, Breakaway Innovation Group, and Founder Collective.

Steering the helm at CoachUp is CEO and Founder, Jordan Fliegel, a young entrepreneur whose passion for sports goes beyond his business. Jordan firmly believes his life was changed when his father enlisted the help of a private coach to step up his basketball game as a teenager.  Fliegel’s experience with private coaching led to a successful academic and basketball career at the college and professional level.  He returned to Boston to start CoachUp and pay it forward by coaching youth basketball players. For more information visit www.coachup.com.

 

5 Things To Discuss Before Your Teen Heads Off To College

talking-with-momCommunication between college students and parents is key. Here are five important things to talk about before your teen leaves home:

The Budget

One of the biggest potential sources of family conflict is the college student budget. Whether you are funding your child’s education, or expecting him to come up with the money himself, your child will need to be on the same page. If your financial assistance will be limited, it’s important to explain what help you can provide and how it will be distributed. Plan to deposit five hundred dollars a month to help out? Say so. Don’t expect your child to intuit your financial plan.

Parents often promise to pay for college in full, but may not define their expectations clearly. Maybe you have been saving since your child was a toddler, but how to you plan to disperse the funds? What if the savings won’t be enough to cover living expenses all four years? Paying for college extends well beyond tuition.

Points to consider:

·      Who will pay living expenses? Will those be paid directly by parents, or will money be deposited in an account for the student to use to pay bills him/herself?

·      How will food, transportation, and clothing be paid for?

·      What about the cell phone?

·      Will parents pay for health care?

·      Who will pay for extras?

The Timeline

College isn’t always four years of coursework. Some students extend time in college because their programs last five or more years. Some change majors. Others take it slowly for the first couple of years.

If your plan is to fund college for your child, does your strategy take these things in to account? Is there a time limit to your financial support? How about your patience? Are you prepared to pull the plug if your child is on the seven-year plan? If so, maybe she needs to hear your thoughts ahead of time, so she can find a part time job or pick up the pace.

Crisis Situations

Medical or mental health crisis: Record numbers of college students are seeking mental health support according to recently published studies. Common mental health related causes for leaving college include: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, excessive drinking, and drug use. Are there medical or psychiatric issues that might prevent your college student from completing school uninterrupted? If so, under what circumstances might you need to bring him home? Does he know when to ask for your help?

Academic Crisis: Do you have a plan for failing college grades? Most paying parents won’t want to continue writing checks unless kids are producing passing grades. Have you discussed your views with your soon to be college student?

Breaks From School

Some parents express frustration when kids arrive back home during college breaks, dump their laundry next to the washing machine, and flop down into bed for the duration of the school break. If your son or daughter is home on break, do you expect him or her to help around the house? Work a summer job? Be up and at ‘em by nine every morning and in bed before midnight? Whatever your expectations, be certain to spell them out before the first academic break begins.

Plan B

Recent statistics estimate that almost half of college enrollees drop out before completing a degree. No parent sends a kid to college hoping she’ll drop out, but with estimated dropout rates so high, all parents and new college students should discuss alternative strategies in case college doesn’t work out.

 

Dr. Melissa Deuter is a psychiatrist in San Antonio, TX who specializes in the care of emerging adults. www.MelissaDeuter.com; @MStenDeut

 

How To Cope With Bullying

by Gail Peterson

Too-Many-Rocks-in-your-Pocket-BullyingThe rise of social media and smartphones has made the impact of school bullying more apparent. A 2012 report from the US Department of Health & Human Services stated that 37% of students reported being bullied in school, and 52% report being cyber bullied.

These statistics are alarming to many, especially parents. As mentors and guardians to our children, we are all looking for tools to make our kids more aware of bullying and better able to handle conflicts with their friends and peers.

The negative feelings associated with being bullied lead to fear and anxiety, as well as a build up of stress. When combined the stress associated with bullying with other stressors (tests, homework, competitive sports, etc.), it becomes difficult for some kids to separate out the causes and find reasonable solutions.

After years of working with stressed and overworked clients and seeing my kids struggle, I came up with a new solution to help kids identify stresses in their life called Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket.

There is a pouch of hand-polished rocks painted with different common stress words that kids experience, such as bully, fear, fitting in, grades, etc.. How it works is by following the instructions to take out the appropriate rock from the bag that best fits the emotion or stress they feel at the time and put that rock in your pocket. Carry that rock around in your pocket for the day. In the case of a younger child, when the parent and kid get home, take the rocks out that have been put in the pocket for the day and open a discussion as to what caused that stress. When as parents we know what causes our kids stress or hurt we are much better equipped to help our kids understand helpful and creative ways to deal with it. What we have found is that children often have a hard time defining emotions such as pressure, fear, fitting-in, etc on their own. The rocks can be a tool to open up a discussion and help find a solution.

Tom Krause, a thirty-year classroom teacher and national motivational speaker in education, said of the rocks, “A wonderful resource for teens to deal with stress is Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket. They are a brilliantly simple and effective tool to help teenagers confront and deal with stress on a daily basis.”

In order for us as parents to effectively use tools such as stress rocks, we must first understand where bullying comes from. I believe, it is safe to say that to some degree our children are products of their environment. a child’s behavior is influenced through family life, school life, social and peer interactions. As a starting point we must first evaluate the home life. Of course the vast majority of us don’t think of ourselves as bullies or abusers, but we must be cautious of the interactions we expose our children to. Do you ever speak disparagingly of a co-worker or relative? Make a joke at someone’s expense? These are the subtle, often innocent behaviors that our children can pick up on and use as a justification to bully someone at school. As far as school and social relationships we as parents have a duty to be involved in our child’s life. Make an effort to talk with teachers in regards to not only grades but classroom interactions. Look for signs of aggressive behavior towards others. Know your child’s friends! Who do they hang out with? Are they positive or negative relationships. Simply put, be involved and know what’s going on when your child is away from home.

As adults it can be easy to blow off the seriousness of bullying. We may think back to when we were kids and say, yeah, I was bullied by a classmate, no big deal it made me build character and I got over it! That was then; the reality today is sadly that teen suicides and school shootings are on the rise, in large part to kids who feel bullied, alienated, stressed, and depressed. As I mentioned earlier, with the much wider availability of electronic communications and social sites it is easier than ever for a child to get ganged up on. Rumors spread in the speed of a click or text to a whole class or school. The days of one on one are gone; imagine being bullied by your whole class! Tom Krause, teacher and motivational speaker say, “Society, in general, has made teenage years more stressful today than it was thirty years ago. Increasing drug usage, suicide attempts, and dropout rates attest to the difficulty many children and teens face.”

I urge all parents to realize the seriousness of bullying and the importance of opening up discussions with their kids, parents of their child’s friends, and teachers. I also urge you to familiarize yourself with your state’s anti-bullying laws. 49 of 50 states have such a law, and there are also federal laws to be aware of. Consider using tools such as Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket to help your kids cope with the stresses of modern life and to help facilitate communication with your child. According to Elizabeth Washburn, a Social Worker and Development Disability Professional, “Tools such as “Too Many Rocks” can assist communication and coping skills because it allows them a verbal prompt that shows the emotion that they are attempting to express. In play therapy, psychologists use similar tools in allowing children to express and identify the target of their pain.” Bullying will never go away, but with consistent and comprehensive involvement by parents, teachers, and others professionals we can help our children develop the skills necessary to appropriately deal with bullying.

Training and Exercise for your Brain
Too Many Rocks In Your Pocket (Kids Series) is designed to help children cope with stress and to open up communication with parents on topics relating to stress and bullying.

How it works: Through research we have found that identifying target words help children open up with adults regarding important issues that may otherwise go unchecked. Through their teenage years – and sometimes beyond – many children lack a firm grasp of the concept of stress and how it affects their lives. When adults use the trigger words on our rocks and ask their children what those words mean to them, it becomes easier for children to recall significant conversations and situations in their lives.

Once you have had a discussion with your child, you are better equipped to help them deal with those stresses. This concept works by allowing children to confront their stresses visually and physically instead of suppressing them or not dealing with them appropriately. It is a tool designed as a step towards identifying stress – not as a solution in and of itself. The concept represents a simple, yet effective approach that practically anyone can learn to use.

A Different Kind of Gift!

As the holiday season is approaching, many of you are probably starting to think of gift ideas for the people on your list. If you are anything like me, you always want to come up with something different than everyone else will think of and really be enjoyable for your gift recipient. I came across an idea that I think is really awesome-a fun gift and you don’t even have to go to the store to buy it! I checked out both of these and loved everything about them. A nice, sturdy box filled with quality items that were well thought out. Whether buying for a fellow parent or a special child, this is a great way to go!

For a parent:

googaro Googaro

Googaro is a subscription box service that delivers the highest-quality, full-size products for children 0-3 years of age. For $35 a month, Googaro helps new parents find the most beneficial products for their baby that are organic, BPA-free and eco-friendly, and is the perfect gift idea to make a mom and dad’s job just a little bit easier.

Every month, subscribers will receive a care package with 4-5 full-size products that are the perfect blend of practical, safe, stylish and fun. Each box is carefully curated with new and exciting high-end toys, books, snacks and household products that are tailored to a child’s age and gender, with the occasional surprise thrown in for mom and dad.

Three, six and twelve-month subscriptions are available at googaro.com for newborns to toddlers age 3. A three-month subscription retails for $35/month, a six-month subscription retails for $32/month (with ½ month free), and a 12-month subscription retails for $32/month (with one month free). Check it out at www.googaro.com.

For a child:

thehappytrunkThe Happy Trunk

Creativity in a box! The Happy Trunk is overflowing with surprises including arts & crafts, science experiments and creative play items. You have two trunks to choose from: one for 3-7 year olds and one for 8-11 year olds. Each box comes with all the materials and instructions! The best part – you don’t have to go anywhere to pick it up. Imagine the excitement on your child’s face when they receive their own mail! You can purchase The Happy Trunk as a one-time gift or sign up for a monthly subscription. Prices are 20 dollars/month. Peek inside The Happy Trunk at: www.thehappytrunk.com.

Are You Doing Too Much For Your Child?

by Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D

lazy-teenOne of my clients, Katherine, came in yesterday and told me that she was feeling frustrated with her son’s behavior. “Today I asked Evan repeatedly to take out the garbage and he just kept saying, ‘Later, Mom.’ I finally did it myself, but I was so angry and resentful,” she explained. “And it’s not only the trash – it’s more important things, like finishing schoolwork. I do virtually everything for Evan – to the point where sometimes I’m exhausted – and he never seems to take any responsibility himself.”

When I asked Katherine why she continued in this way, she said, “I suppose it’s because I felt my parents never did anything for me…and I don’t want Evan to ever feel that way.”

I replied, “I can see this is hurting you – but do you realize you may be hurting Evan, too?”

Katherine’s overprotective parenting style stems from her own sense of neglect, but there are other reasons parents may overcompensate and feel they must do everything for their child.

Fear of dire consequences can cause a parent to step in, e.g., “If I don’t finish the science project for her, she’ll fail the class and never get into college,” or “If I don’t remind him to get to soccer practice on time every day, he’ll get cut from the team.”

Feelings of anxiety about the world in general can drive parents to take control or indulge their children excessively, in the belief that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed. For instance, “If I let him walk to his friend’s house alone, he may be kidnapped,” or “If I don’t buy her those expensive jeans, she says she just has to have, the other girls will make fun of her and ostracize her from their crowd.”

Although “do-everything” parents have good intentions, they can actually instill their own anxiety in their child. Parents who hover over and micro-manage their children at school functions or during play dates, because they themselves are uncomfortable in social situations, may create children who will mirror that same unease and apprehension.

Studies have shown that an overprotective parent can harm a child by engendering a lack of self-agency, the feeling that they are the agents that can produce a desired outcome, not the parent. Similarly, overprotective parents impede the development of self-efficacy, the sense that one has the capacity to take effective actions. Individuals with diminished self-efficacy are less resilient to stress and underestimate their own resources.

Children who have everything done for them lose the chance to develop valuable coping skills, to gain self-confidence and to learn to bounce back from failure when necessary.

So, if you catch yourself doing too much for your child, step back and give him or her a chance to learn to be more independent –– perhaps at first with a struggle, but later with ease.  Chances are you’ll both feel better about yourselves.

Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D has been a psychologist in private practice for 30 years. She is the director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, near Detroit. www.anxiety-treatment.com

Frugality – Teach Your Children Well

by Claire K. Levison

saleMy dad is a master of frugality.  His brother often remarks that it’s “the family way.”  As a kid, I thought my dad was cheap but as it turns out, he’s just smart.  He knows what’s important to him and what isn’t.  Those priorities are reflected in the way he spends his money.  The car he had when I was in high school was the base model.  It didn’t even have a radio.  When I would ask him why, he would say, “I don’t need a radio in my car.”  When Dad would take me to a fast food restaurant (a fairly rare occasion), he was never willing to buy drinks.  “Those drinks are so over-priced.  We can get a drink at home,” he would tell me.  As a child, I didn’t understand it.  It drove me nuts.  Now as an adult, I can see that where it drove me was down a path of financial success.

As a mother, I’ve vowed to teach my children to be frugal too.  My fourteen-year-old hasn’t fully embraced the concept yet.  She does enjoy seeing her money go further when she buys things that are on sale, but she’s still fairly enamored with high dollar items.  And I’m not always as good as my dad was when it comes to holding firm.  I can’t remember my dad ever giving in to those fast food sodas.  Although I’m sure he must have at some point during my eighteen years of childhood.

And yes, as time goes on in our society, it seems that ante is continually being upped.  Instead of a soda, my daughter wants UGGs. When I bought her first pair, I remember thinking, “I can never tell my dad how much I just paid for these boots.  He will think I have completely lost my mind.”  Although I was buying an expensive pair of shoes for my daughter, frugality was still churning inside me.  When I looked at the price tag of those boots, it set off an alarm in my head.  Even as a grown woman, I was asking myself what my dad would think of that purchase.  It made me feel uncomfortable.  It made me think, “This should be a rare occasion.  This should be a special treat.”

I could tell you that you should never buy your kids a pair of UGGs or some similar name brand item, but I’m not going to. I think as parents we can find a balance between providing a lifestyle that allows our children some flexibility in a world that puts such a high value on material things and providing a lifestyle that shows our children that frugality will ultimately be a roadmap for financial success.

I expect, like it is with so many other lessons we try to teach our children when they’re growing up, that it may not be until my daughter is out on her own that the light bulb will really go off in her head.  I picture her being debt-free, having a solid savings account, and investing for retirement and other future needs she’ll have.  I picture her standing in the midst of her firm financial foundation thinking to herself, “Wow, I guess Mom really did know what she was talking about when it came to all that frugal stuff.  She taught me well.”  I don’t think this is too much to hope for.

But for now, my sweet daughter just rolls her eyes when I drag her to the clearance section at the back of a store.  I don’t go shopping that often but when I do, I always hit the clearance racks first.  Maybe it’s my version of a radio-less car or a soda-less trip to McDonald’s.  Dad taught me well.  Teach your children well too.

Clare K. Levison is a certified public accountant and author of Frugal Isn’t Cheap:  Spend, Less, Save More, and Live Better.  She is a national financial literacy spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country discussing various personal finance topics.   She has served as a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Board of Directors and was named one of the 2010 Top Five CPAs Under Thirty-Five by the VSCPA. Levison has more than a decade of corporate accounting experience and is also an active volunteer, serving as PTA president, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher.  She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

www.clarelevison.com
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www.linkedin.com/pub/clare-levison/26/481/584

Tips For Children About the Basics of Money

by Patrick Bet-David

kids-moneyIt’s not that kids shouldn’t have fun, but today’s distractions are taking too much time from more important things like learning about money. Whether kids are going to the movies, shopping for clothes or music, buying a car, trying to help support their parents or even working a couple of jobs to pay for college, money is and always will be an important part of our lives.

 

Use these tips for children to learn about the basics of money:

 

Start a habit of saving money – Whether someone gives you five bucks or you just got your first paycheck, whatever money you are making, try to save at least 10% in an account that you try hard not to touch.

 

Start a budget – Open up your own savings account and learn the basics of having a bank account. Start a budget and learn to manage it.

 

Shop around – It’s tempting to see something we like and buy it on the spot, and that’s called instant gratification. But if you go online or wait a couple of months for a sale, that same item may cost less which saves you money.

 

Avoid credit cards at all costs – If you plan on buying an awesome car, buying a house one day, or being taken seriously in any business venture, your credit score will play a huge role in how much financial companies will trust your spending habits.

 

Focus on earning – Saving is very important, but if you’re not earning money you won’t have any to save. Start thinking like an entrepreneur at an early age. Open a lemonade stand, car washing business or pet walking service. The key is to offer a service that people are willing to pay for.

 

Expect more – People usually make the amount of money they feel they are worth, and most people sell themselves short. Teach children to have a high self-image, and they will create a world for themselves that meets that self-image.

 

Download an app on your phone – There are so many apps for managing your budget and savings on phones nowadays that you can track your money on the go. Get in the habit of keeping tabs on your spending habits.  Kids will have more fun doing this on their phones and tablets.

 

Bet-David says there is a difference between just saving money and building an awesome financial foundation, but it’s a good idea to start with the basics.

Perils of Distracted Parenting

By Will D. Rhame, author of The Voyagers Series, the first books of their kind!

ipad_and_iphoneThe time adults spend with their mobile devices might be affecting the way children learn language. Since the technology hasn’t been ubiquitous for long, research on this question is scarce. But other research on the effects of adult-child conversation makes a strong case for putting cellphones away when you’re around children.

Is technology distracting parents from teaching their children? Or distracting from children from learning?

Technology is both distracting parents and children from learning specific things. On one hand, technology has opened a whole new era of unparalleled learning of techno-gadgets, games, computers, social media and much more. On the other hand, this new and ever increasing world of apps, games, communications and computers have taken the place of parent/child bonding and the essential necessity of learning to read. Once a child learns to speak most working parents succumb to offering additional techno-gadgets to satisfy the child’s need for companionship, which to some extent alienates the child from the parent.

Many of the apps and computer games have become addictive by the user and act similar to a drug. Studies have been conducted that have shown the addictive affects these computer related games have had on children, and for those parents that have a computer at home, ask yourself how much time you spend on it compared to nurturing your child.

The statistics are scary. In the United States, now a dual income society many parents take their jobs home with them in the form of a laptop and continue their work at home thereby taking the precious time of parent/child bonding away if not completely then to a large extent. The addiction of computers is not just an adult thing it is a child problem as well.

What kind of research has been done on the effects of adult-child conversation?

A number of studies have been performed regarding the effects of child fun reading and essential reading. But surprisingly the research conducted regarding the effects of child/parent conversations has overwhelmingly found that this basic family interaction is crucial and yet becoming less and less in the parent/child household. Humans by nature are social and if a child does not get proper companionship at home they will seek it out wherever and whenever the opportunity avails itself. This is an ever increasing problem that has proven negative affects due to our dual income society. The United States has become a workaholic society and is following the path of Japan which research has shown to be one of the most unhappy societies in the world. Proper adult/child conversation is critical for children on many levels. These levels include bonding, learning, psychological happiness, well-adjusted and more capable of handling outside influences. Aware parents that recognize the need of child interaction naturally create an atmosphere of constant open communications. However, many parents are unaware of the needs of their children regarding inter-personal communications and think techno-gadgets provide a good alternative to interpersonal child/parent conversations. This is a growing and disastrous trend.

Is social interaction crucial to early learning in children?

Mountains of studies have been conducted regarding the crucial need of proper parent/child interaction. Without this interaction a child is left to their own devices to fulfill this critical need. They will seek interaction with peers and in many cases their peers are also parent interaction deprived. Therefore, children many times copy what they see on television. Hollywood becomes their role-model and this can lead to all kinds of disastrous outcomes. Proper social interaction is crucial in a child’s development. Parents provide stories, education, experiences and the ever needed bonding. Who does a child look up to if not their parents?

Can adult-child social interaction be replaced with technology? Will the results be the same?

There is NO substitute for proper parent/child interaction. Technology will never leave us and if used correctly is critical to understand and utilize on a global basis. There so many benefits to technology, but beware that is will never replace the parent/child interaction and bond process. Proper parent/child bonding is the key to well-adjusted children.

Children can make appropriate decisions with the confidence of parent backing, and in most cases follow a road of proper society production and long-term prosperity and happiness.

10 Steps to Guarantee a Teenager Drops Out of High School

By Ida Byrd-Hill – Urban Economist, Human Relations Expert, President of Uplift, Inc., and Author of “Corporate Gangster – Tapping the entrepreneurial talent of street hustler”

unhappy teenTeenagers dropping out of school, urban or suburban does not happen by accident.

If any of these 10 items occur in your life, your teenager is guaranteed to drop out from high school. The question is,When? If they are moving in that direction, you have the power to change their direction. K.I.S.S. (Kids in Successful Schools) Begins at Home.

10. Withholding Love
Humans have an intense craving to be accepted by others, to be comforted by others, to belong. This craving is the impetus to be loved.

What is love?  American Heritage Dictionary defines love as a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

“Love is a sanctuary for our spirits, a bath of empathy for our emotions, a tranquil meadow in which to nurture our fond hopes and dreams.” When love is present, the soul is at peace. Chaos and negativity fade away. Kindness and giving become commonplace. Joy and happiness, beyond current circumstances, radiates due to love. Everything becomes better when love touches. It can be a hug or kind word.

9. No Regular Family Time – Meals, Activities
A meal of family activity provides good nutrition and bonding time. It also sets the stage for regular family discussions and the foundation for transmitting family values. People including teenagers tend to talk more over food providing clues to the dilemmas in their lives. Teenagers need attention to shape their thinking process.

8. Living a Life Outside of Your Teenager
Parents have the responsibility to nurture their children from 0 to 18 years of age. Unfortunately when a teenager gets an adult like body at age 12-14 parents leave them to themselves as if they are adults. They may have adult bodies but child-like brains. They need more guidance after the age 12 as they believe they are invincible and do not understand consequences. Away from home 15 hours a day is disastrous if no one is available to supervise teenagers, even if it is to work a second job. Teenagers need some one-to-one quality time.

Parents are to model the behavior they desire for their children to replicate. If parents never spend time with their teenagers, teens are left to model their behavior after someone. That someone can be anybody usually someone who is cool, hip and not law abiding.

7. Embracing Anti-intellectualism
“Minority adolescents ridicule their minority peers for engaging in behaviors perceived to be characteristic of whites such as speaking standard English and enrolling in an Advanced Placement or honors class to wearing clothes from the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch (instead of Tommy Hilfiger or FUBU) and wearing shorts in winter” according psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett in 1999.  In many ethnic neighborhoods, education is seen as assimilation – losing one’s culture to become white. Education should not been seen as a negative but a positive. If education is not valued, then it will not be completed.

6. Refuse to Oversee or Review Student Homework and Class Work
Teenagers are children, whose mantra in life is folly and play. Without parent intervention and  a road map, they wander from class to class, school to school, playing and trying to find themselves. Their wandering, often, translates into behavior issues, truancy, failed classes, and then low graduation rates. When they finally land at high school graduation, they are 23 years old and forced to get a GED.

Many teenagers drop out of high school due to sheer boredom. Homework provides insight to the content of a class. The class is often boring with no hands-on activities leaving the student disengaged. This problem  can be rectified quickly before student drops out.

5. No Career or Education Goals For Teen
School is like traveling. One must choose a destination and map out a route to get to the destination; otherwise one will end up nowhere frustrated and angry. Urban students are becoming high school dropouts as they lack an ending destination, whether it is high school graduation, college or career” states Ida Byrd-Hill, President of Uplift, Inc.

Ida Byrd-Hill is former Dean of  Hustle & TECHknow Preparatory High School, an alternative high school in Detroit that catered to high school dropouts and adjudicated youth, generated an eighty (80%) graduation rate amongst its high school dropout population by inspiring their entire building to become college prep minded. High school graduation is a must to college admissions.

4. No Dreams or Family Goals/Plans
Chaos is evidence of no planning toward a goal or dream.  Where chaos abounds trouble comes.  Trouble creates stress, depression and a sense of failure.  If your life is full of trouble, take the time to write down your plans and goals for your life. Communicate your goals and dreams to your teenager. Teenagers like to know the direction of their family and how they can participate in its forward movement. Furthermore you provide a behavior of success they can replicate.

3. Set No Boundaries or Discipline
Many of the troubles young people face would be eliminated with the establishment and execution of rules. Rules loudly scream care and concern. Rules provide stability and tradition.

2. Speak Ill To or About a Teen 
The tongue is capable of giving an individual life or death.  Words are powerful. Many teenagers have repeatedly heard negative sayings “you can’t do anything right!” “You are ugly,” “You are stupid” “You will never amount to anything.”  No matter how intelligent they are, every time they are faced with a decision, great or small, their subconscious mind replays those sayings, causing them to  procrastinate in making the decision, hence fulfilling the prophecy a well-meaning adult spoke.

1. Pretending Everything Is Okay
We are in the worse economic recession since the great Depression. Everyone’s life has changed. Our cash accumulation or good credit is gone or leaving quickly. We are all struggling. Some of us are dependent upon unemployment,  food stamps, and food banks. For those lucky few, the affluent lifestyle has been reduced. We, adults, are walking around angry internally. We smile to people outside our house, but at home we are depressed and irritable.

We pretend we are not in a lifestyle funk to everyone but our children.  They are crazy. Their behavior leaves a lot to be desired. They should be mild mannered well behaved young people on track to out perform you educationally, but they are not. Children – teenagers – imitate your behavior. If they are crazy then they are probably reacting to your craziness. Stop pretending and deal with it.

If any of these 10 items occur in your life,  your  teenager is guaranteed to drop out from high school. The question is when? If they are moving in that direction,  you have the power to change their direction. Begin with reading K.I.S.S. (Kids in Successful Schools) Begins at Home.