Preparing for Back to School

by Major Mom

back-to-schoolCan you believe it’s already time to start thinking about the kids going back to school?  It will be here before we know it.  It’s best to get prepared now to make the transition of going back to school that much easier. Consider implementing one or all of these tips to make this school year the most successful it can be.

  • Establish routines. Summertime tends to be less structured than the school year. Children stay up later, wake later and have less overall responsibility. It’s important to begin setting the school year expectations well in advance to avoid problems with the adjustment. It’s never a good idea to start your new routines on the first day of school. Build up slowly to the new schedule.

  • Create a homework station. It can be helpful to establish a dedicated place in the home where children are expected to complete their homework. Set up the space with the supplies such as pencils, extra paper, dictionary, rulers, crayons, and other items that may be particular to your child’s grade level to help them complete their work efficiently. Having a dedicated space can help train the brain to focus more quickly.

  • Backpack/Out the door station. If there is nowhere to hang a backpack and coat where else is a child supposed to place them but on the floor? Create a small space where children place their items when they return home from school. It can be difficult to get them to use it right away, but if you stick with it and set the expectation far in advance they will eventually do it without thinking about it.

  • Lunch making station. Lunches are much easier to put together when you have everything you need in one place.  Dedicate a drawer or cabinet to everything need for lunches. Include Ziploc bags, plastic utensils, paper sacks, lunch boxes and non-perishable foods to make lunch making a snap.

  • Create a system for all that school paper. Children bring home A LOT of paper!  Be prepared  this year by setting up a sustainable system.

1.      Have an inbox for the paper they bring home daily.

2.      Before paper hits the inbox take 2 minutes to sort through them and decide what must stay and what goes.

3.      Separate action paper (permission slips, etc.) from paper to file (artwork, test grades).

4.      Keep a file folder handy of all action items.

5.      Keep a large tote of paper to file.

6.      Monthly or quarterly spend time with each child going through their tote of paper to file. Decide which items are important to both you and your child. Date the important items (you will forget later!) and toss the rest.

7.      Consider scanning the items you’re keeping to further reduce paper clutter. 

  • Update clothing. Spend time cleaning out clothing drawers and closets. Put away or donate any clothing that is too small or too big. Getting dressed in the morning is much easier for children when their drawers aren’t overflowing with clothes that don’t fit them anymore.

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.

7 Critical College Savings Questions Parents Should Ask

By Pamela Yellen

Paying for college without spending your life’s savings is one of the biggest challenges families face today. Many folks feel they must choose between saving for their children’s education and saving for retirement.

But what if there were a strategy that allowed you to do both? This is one of the advantages of the savings method I call Bank On Yourself. It uses specially designed, super-charged dividend-paying whole life insurance policies that grow by a guaranteed and pre-set amount every year. More than 500,000 Americans are using this method, many to simultaneously save for college and retirement.

In researching hundreds of savings strategies, I found this method be superior to traditional college savings plans, such as 529 college savings plans, UGMAs, UTMAs and student loans, for a number of reasons. Here are seven questions to ask when considering the best way to pay for college:

1. Do you have full control over how and when the money is used? With limited exceptions, you can only withdraw money that you invest in a 529 plan for eligible college expenses without incurring taxes and penalties. With UGMAs and UTMAs you lose all control the day your child legally becomes an adult. Student loan proceeds are paid directly to the college, so you have no control. The Bank On Yourself method gives you complete control.

2. Can you avoid having the funds count against your kids when they apply for federal student aid? Student loans and the cash value in a Bank On Yourself plan are not considered as assets. But the money in your 529 plan is counted as your asset, and UGMAs and UTMAs will be treated as your child’s assets. Having these assets will likely penalize your child when they apply for need-based financial aid.

3. If my child earns a full scholarship or decides to be an entrepreneur instead of going to college, can the money be used for non-educational purposes? The answer is “no” with traditional college savings plans; “yes” with the Bank On Yourself method.

4. Can I use the plan beyond college? The Bank on Yourself method allows you to use your savings however you choose. With 529 Plans, there’s the “Gotcha” of taxes and penalties. With UGMAs and UTMAs the money is not yours – it’s your children’s, and they can use it for whatever they want. Student loans can extend beyond college, but in a bad way – these loans can haunt the student for decades.

5. Are there tax benefits? With 529 Plans you may be able to get a state income tax deduction for your contribution, depending on where you live and the plan you choose. If the money is used exclusively for college, the gains in your plan, if there are any, can be tax-free. Gains in UGMAs and UTMAs can be taxed at the minor’s tax rate instead of yours, so that may save you some money. With student loans, there may be a state income tax interest deduction, depending on your income. With the Bank On Yourself method, you can take money at any time, and for any reason, and it’s possible under current tax law to do so with no taxes due.

6. What happens with my plan if I die prematurely? This is an important question, and unfortunately it’s one most families fail to ask. Among these college savings plans, only the Bank On Yourself method comes with a death benefit that allows your savings plan to “self-complete.”

7. Is growth of money in the plan guaranteed? In a 529 Plan, absolutely not.

With UGMAs and UTMAs, probably not, since most families put the money at risk in the stock or bonds markets. With student loans, the only thing guaranteed to grow is the debt, if interest payments are deferred. With the Bank On Yourself method, growth of principal is predictable and guaranteed.

This method also offers a great way for grandparents to contribute. My husband and I have done this for our two grandchildren, who are now 10 and 12. The plan we set up for our grandson is projected to provide about $90,000 for his college education expenses by the time he graduates, based on current dividends. Our granddaughter’s plan is projected to have a value of about $125,000. And if either of them decides to become an internet entrepreneur, rather than go to college, the money could be used to help fund their dream.

About the Author: Financial security expert Pamela Yellen is author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Bank On Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future. Pamela investigated more than 450 financial strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments, which led her to a time-tested, predictable method of growing wealth now used by more than 500,000 Americans. For more information, visit www.BankOnYourself.com.

Why 30 Million Americans Can’t Read

By Will D. Rhame

Education and Literacy Advocate; Author and Founder, The Voyagers Series, www.thevoyagers.net

child-readingIf we take a moment to investigate our current state of affairs regarding scholastic achievement in this country, we quickly come across some alarming statistics. Allow me to update you with a few current facts, and then let’s consider some possible reasons why we have fallen so far behind other industrialized nations.

1.) The U.S. scores at the bottom of all industrialized nations scholastically!
2.)  Thirty million Americans can’t read!
3.)  Forty percent of 4th graders can’t read at the basic level!
4.)  China and India have more honor students than the U.S. has kids!
5.) The U.S. is at the top of the list when it comes to spending money on education!

What is happening to the United States when it comes to education? There are a number of factors, but for the purpose of this article, I am only going to focus on a few.

First, let’s look at the dynamics of our society’s employment culture. Over the past fifty years, the American family has become a dual-income structure. Problems often arise among children when a parent is no longer home after school to help guide and coach them.

Second, there is the exponential increase in technology. Technology is helpful in most respects but  can be very  distracting in others. Did I say distracting?  With  so many devices, games, computers, cell phones, TVs, videos, etc. vying for a child’s attention, it’s much more difficult for the average child to focus on learning to read and to later make the decision to devote time to studying.

Third, there  are the ever-changing teaching philosophies that are imposed upon teachers. Public schools teachers have little, if any, time to be creative. Instead, they are required to teach kids how to pass tests. Additionally, they have  often  had to become psychologists, disciplinarians, and in some cases, mother/father figures, due to the lack of parental participation in the home and at school.

Fourth, there is the positive option to embrace technology as a means of teaching. It is never going away, so let’s encourage teachers to use technology to help educate children. Kids love gadgets, and many of them are more knowledgeable than adults when it comes to computers and other devices.

That brings us to the heart of the matter    ̶READING. Reading is the foundation of any education, without which little else matters. If a student cannot read, there will be lifelong consequences. Getting children to embrace reading as a fundamental part of their lives is critical. In today’s environment, asking a child to read some of the greatest works of literature is becoming harder and harder. Let’s make it fun for kids to read.

Let’s take advantage of technology and use it to enhance reading skills. Let’s gain the attention of students, and just maybe we can change some of the horrible statistics regarding reading proficiency in our country that now exist.

5 Simple Steps for Better Grades

By Rick and Teena Kamal

 

studyMost parents realize that helping their children set goals is important, but few realize that not all goals are created equal. While some goals can empower children to get better grades and achieve academic success, others can actually discourage children or cause them to become frustrated and overwhelmed.

 

How do you know the difference between a goal that inspires and one that is counterproductive? Here are five steps to help your child create goals that lead to academic and professional success:

 

  1. Inspire Dreams and Translate them into Long-Term Goals – When children are small, they’re often asked what they want to be when they grow up. Parents laugh lightheartedly as their tots talk about becoming ballerinas and astronauts.  As children get older, however, parents too often discourage those lofty dreams. When this happens children can grow complacent and lose their passion for their future. As youngsters enter middle and high school, help them revisit their dreams and begin thinking seriously about their personal and professional goals. Talk to your child about her future openly and without judgment. Allow her to dream as big as she wishes, and encourage her to jot down several long-term goals she hopes to achieve as an adult. Once children see the connection between their dreams and achieving academic success, they’re much more likely to put in the effort to make better grades.

 

  1. Transform Long-Term Goals Into S.M.A.R.T. Goals – An important part of the goal setting process is make sure all goals are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Go through your child’s long-term goal list, and together, decide which goals to keep, which to modify, and which to discard. Then work with this refined list to transform these long-term goals into their short-term S.M.A.R.T. counterparts. Make sure each short-term goal has a definite starting and ending point, so that you child doesn’t fall prey to procrastination.

 

  1. Make an Action Plan for Each Short-Term Goal – Help your child develop an action plan for each short-term goal. For example, if your child has decided that she wants to make better grades in English, then her action plan may consist of tasks such as reading for an hour each day, joining a study group and spending an extra 30 minutes of study time on this subject each night. Post this plan in a place where your child will see it every day, and help her be accountable for completing daily tasks.

 

  1. Monitor Progress and Adjust Goals Regularly – Schedule specific times to review progress and adjust goals as needed. If your child has met a goal on the list, set a new goal to encourage continual progress. If your child is making little progress despite remaining committed to his daily action plan, then you may need to reevaluate how realistic the goal is and modify it accordingly.

 

  1. Reward Success – Be sure to appropriately praise and reward your child’s efforts to achieve her goals. Whether you grant her a special privilege, give her a tangible reward, or simply pat her on the back for a job well done, be sure to take time out from your busy schedule to recognize her triumphs.

 

By following these steps you can help your child stay motivated as he follows his own unique path to success.

 

About the Authors: Study and life skills experts Rick and Teena Kamal founded EduNova to prepare students to lead and thrive in the global economy. They worked with 33 top university education experts and many successful senior executives to produce resources that empower middle school, high school and college students to succeed. Learn more at www.HowToStudyBest.com.

Child Safety Tips

By the Lost and Found Experts at FinderCodes

playgroundFinderCodes, an asset recovery system based on QR code technology, has gathered some of the most common places kids get hurt and provided easy prevention measures to make sure your kids stay safe no matter where they are!

Walking to School

If your children walk to school, make sure they’re getting there as safely as possible. Choose a route that avoids busy streets and construction and walk the route with your kids before sending them alone. Along the way, point out “safe houses” where your kids can stop in case of an emergency. Team up with a buddy to walk to school or give them a phone to use in case of an emergency or even if they just need to talk to you along the way.

At a Playground

Have a parent or caregiver prepared with a First Aid kit watching your kids at the playground at all times. It’s terrible to think about, but children can easily get hurt or abducted at playgrounds if you’re not careful. Always keep track of what they’re doing, where they are and who they’re playing with. Make sure your children know the rules – don’t talk to strangers and always stay within your sight. To prevent your kids from getting hurt on playground equipment, only let them play on safe, age-appropriate equipment.

Playing Sports

The most important safety tips to teach your little athletes are to wear the right equipment and to play by the rules. If they’re riding a bike or horse, wear a helmet. Protect your hockey or volleyball player with the right padding. Football players need a helmet and secure padding, and soccer players need to wear shin guards. Playing by the rules ensures no one gets hurt because of foul play.

In any situation where kids are carrying things they’re likely to lose (sports equipment, backpacks, jackets, etc.), it’s important to mark them so that if they get lost, they can be returned easily. FinderCodes Lost & Found Kits are perfect for that. As an added bonus, our smart tags keep personal information like names, addresses and phone numbers private. That means your child’s information will not be on display to strangers, and their safety will not be compromised.

At a Pool

Always have a CPR-trained lifeguard or adult nearby when your children are swimming. Make sure your kids know not to eat, drink or run near the water. If your children want to play in the pool but don’t know how to swim yet, give them a life jacket or floatie to stay safe.

In the Car

Keep a bag in the car ready to go with snacks, water, a First Aid kid and sunscreen. Use proper car seats – use these guidelines. Pull over if you need to help your kids with something in the backseat or need to answer your phone. Never leave your kids alone in the car and always remember to take your keys with you when you get out.

In Case of Fire

According to www.safekids.org, about 488 children (ages 14 and under) die every year because of residential fires, and another 116,600 children are injured by fire. Prevent fires at home by making sure your electrical appliances, cords and outlets are safe and not overloaded. Unplug appliances that are not in use, and keep your smoke detector batteries fresh. Teach your children to stay low to the ground if they smell smoke, and to get outside. Of course, a lesson in “stop, drop, and roll” is very important, too.

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.

Our Children’s Spiritual Education

by Robin Fuson

girl prayingWe love our children and we want them to benefit from a good education. Some of us homeschool or put them into private school. Many of us have our children in public school and are involved in what they are learning. We attend parent teacher conferences and volunteer in their class rooms or on field trips. We spend hours helping them with homework, reports, and science projects. Once in a while our homes become a disaster zone when the science project blows up. You may feel, as I do, that it is alright as long as they got the concept of that project and they help clean it up. These things show our children’s academics are important to us.

What about their spiritual education? Have you thought long and hard about shaping their beliefs? Wouldn’t it be great if they grew up and believed as we do? We need to be involved in this area as well. We take them to church and Sunday school. Some of us have them in church clubs where they are taught more about the Bible and learn verses. These are wonderful tools to help us in this area but there is more to it than that.

We are responsible for nurturing them in spiritual areas. Deuteronomy 6: 4-7, Psalm 78:1-7 112:1-2, and Joel 1:3 tell us to teach our children all about God and His word. This is so the next generation will know the Lord. This next generation is our children who will in turn teach our grandchildren and so on. There is nothing more important than teaching our children to have a relationship with the Lord.

It is not just knowing about God but trying to understand who God is and forging a relationship with Him. How do we go about sharing God in a way that they want to have a relationship to Him? We start by relaying the stories in the Bible when they are small. Recount the lives of great people of the Faith like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Esther, and Rahab.  Make the stories exciting and real. Then, as they get older have them read about the disciples and apostles like Paul and Silas. When they see you reading your Bible they will understand it is important to you and a way of life.

There are resources you can put into your children’s hands to help them grow closer to the Lord. Make sure the length and subject matter is appropriate for their age and understanding. There are great books and blogs that your children can read for themselves. DVDs and CDs are good tools to introduce and incorporate into their devotional times.

Devotions are times a person spends with the Lord. They don’t have to be long and boring. They just need to have a point. A regular set time is the best, but any time spent is beneficial. Reading, studying, and learning God’s word is beneficial. God speaks to us through His word. We cannot have a relationship with Him if we are not talking to Him and He to us. He speaks to us through His word and the Holy Spirit. We then talk to Him in prayer through the Holy Spirit. The more we listen and talk to Him, the closer we get and the relationship grows.

The Spiritual Education of our children is vital for their well-being. There is no time like the present to start shaping or strengthening their spiritual lives. I have a resource you can use at:  www.kidbiblelessons.com. On this blog I have spiritual lessons written in a story format. Most of the stories use animals to teach a Biblical character lesson. At the end of each lesson is a verse they can memorize corresponding with the lesson.

Rosita Valdez: And the Giant Sea Turtle is the first book in a fictional series that your child would love. It entertains while teaching Biblical characteristics through the life of a young girl. You can find it on Amazon, Barns and Noble, and Westbow Press.

Your Child’s Posture

Stand Taller for Back to School

by Dr. Steven Weiniger

Before back-to-school slumps your child back into the “backpack hunch”, build their posture awareness and benchmark their growing body with a posture picture. Annual posture pictures are a great idea to systematically keep an ongoing record of how kids look and stand. While kids ignore a parent’s nagging to “straighten up”, when they see an image of their own body hunched over…it makes an impression.

Taking your Child’s Posture Picture

Get a camera (the one on your phone is fine) and have your child stand in front of a wall facing you. When you are ready to take the picture, say these words to your child:

-Stand normally.

-Look straight ahead.

-Relax, take a deep breathe in and let it out

-Now, SHOW ME YOUR BEST POSTURE.

Using these words makes your child form a mental note of their “best” posture. Kids (and adults) often experience a moment of uncertainty as they try to find exactly how their “best posture” feels…and that is part of the goal of this exercise. After you’ve taken a picture from the front, repeat the process for a back and side view picture. Print out the pictures, one to a sheet, and note how their posture looks.

Upon seeing their posture picture, the first question people usually ask is “How’s my posture?” It always amazes me how completely unaware people are of what their posture looks like! I have heard thousands of people say they know they have poor posture, but nevertheless maintain that they can stand straight “when they want to”. From kids to adults, people are surprised to see a picture showing them standing with obviously distorted posture, despite their best efforts to stand up straight. Plus, the posture distortions of today’s kids, who spend hours slumped in front of TVs, crouched over Xbox and Playstations and folded over computer keyboards, are likely to be worse than their parents as they get older.

Use a pen and ruler to perform a basic assessment of your child’s postural alignment. On the front and back view pictures, simply draw a line from the middle of their head to the middle of the space between their feet. If you child has good posture alignment it should be absolutely vertical. On the side view picture, draw a line from the ear to the ankle. This line should also be vertical if they have good alignment. If the pictures look significantly out of balance or uneven from left to right, consult a Certified Posture Exercise Professional (CPEP), chiropractor, therapist or other clinician for an in depth evaluation.

Making kids aware of their posture is the first step to encouraging them to maintain strong posture. If nothing else, from a teen’s point of view stronger posture equates to looking more attractive and performing better at sports. They may still ignore your advice, but they will remember how they look now, and next year when it’s time for their annual posture picture.

Author Bio: Dr. Steven Weiniger, internationally recognized expert on posture and anti-aging, is author of Stand Taller~Live Longer. He is also senior editor of BodyZone.com, an online wellness resource which offers a national directory of CPEPs (Certified Posture Exercise Professional) and other posture professionals.