Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Parents Report Spending Just 5 Hours a Week With Their Kids

January 27, 2020

 

This is a startling survey and a great wake up for us parents.

I couldn’t believe it. Parents claim to have only five hours a week of contact and four hours a week of conversation with their kids.

Many will justifiably point to the demands of dual working parents and the difficulty of getting their children off their devices. It is not for me to judge.

The issue is that it is more likely that today’s kids will become maladjusted due to their lack of meaningful contact with loved ones. This should be of great concern to all:

A recent survey of 1,000 British parents found that the average parent spends a mere five hours per week communicating face-to-face with their children.

More than half of surveyed moms and dads with children under the age of 18 said they feel “distant” from their kids. In all, 43% blamed their measly family time on their kids spending too much time in front of the television, with another 51% saying their kids spend too much time in their bedrooms. Another 44% said their familial disconnect is a result of their kids logging inordinate amounts of time on their phones during traditional “family time” in the evening.

The study, commissioned by Cadbury Heroes, also found that the average youngster starts to really avoid his or her parents around the age of 13. A significant 73% of respondents said their relationship with their children really changed once their sons and daughters became teenagers.

Nearly half (46%) of surveyed parents said they only talk to their kids for a maximum of four hours each week. Meanwhile, 54% said they would love to spend more time with their children.

To rectify this problem, over 80% of parents have taken an active interest in their children’s favorite activities in an effort to reconnect. For example, 20% of parents have learned how to play the popular online video game Fortnite, while 39% said they have gotten involved with their child’s hobbies. Another 33% have listened to their child’s favorite bands or musical artists in order to bond with them.

Comically, 25% have even tried to adopt youthful slang words such as “dope” or “YOLO.”

All in all, the average British parent tries to designate five days per month for “family time.” Regarding family time, 44% believe getting together as a family is a great way to avoid technology for a few hours. Finally, 50% of respondents said they try to encourage their kids to be more open and honest with them.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Other “F” Word

January 21, 2020

The first line in my well-received new novel is, “I’m so fat.”

It elicits cheeky giggles whenever I used to read it out. Kids are not used to hearing that word anymore and are especially surprised that a major character in a kid’s book nonchalantly expresses such a candid self-reflection.

By the end of the first page, my audience grows to love the character and appreciate his honesty. Cheeky giggles are replaced with unabashed giggles. Finally, a character that feels comfortable to express the thoughts that many of us feel on a daily basis – seems to be the consensus.

When I first started reading the then-unfinished manuscript, a student approached me and told me how much the character of Jake meant to her. She told me that she had been ignored and disrespected because of her weight and it was inspiring to see those very same students that have ostracised her completely warmed to the fat character and instantly accepted him. She told me it gives her hope that the overweight kid can achieve some positive attention for a change.

I asked her what her name was.

“Nina”, she replied.

I told her I would name one of the major characters “Nina” because her words had moved me so much.

Nina is probably an adult now and probably has no recollection of that day and the origins of her namesake in my book. But her reaction has not been unique.

As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to read my book to thousands of students along the journey. There is a good reason why the word “fat” is frowned upon and there is a logic behind society’s reluctance to explicitly draw attention to weight.

But fat people know they are fat and are looking for a character that can own up to it and then prosecute the case why being overweight should never overshadow a person’s spirit, wisdom and achievements.

Enter Jake Archibald and the book, My Favourite Comedian.

Thank you, Nina!

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

The Real Violence in Junior Sport Comes From the Parents

January 20, 2020

 

It’s an all too familiar story and it has to end. Parents need to watch their children from the grandstands or stay home. Sport is all about humility, acceptance and trust in referees with the understanding that human error is always a possibility.

But some parents can’t let the game play out without the worst of interference:

 

A father was arrested and is charged with simple assault after he rushed and tackled a high school student-athlete during a wrestling match, according to a Kannapolis Police Department news release.

Barry Lee Jones, of Harrisburg, was arrested on Saturday at 415 East 1st St.

He is charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct.

The student-athlete he tackled was from Southeast Guilford High School and was wrestling Jones’ son, who is a student from Hickory Ridge High School, the release says.

Jones was processed at the Cabarrus County Jail and received a $1,000 secured bond.

The SGHS student-athlete was reportedly not injured.

The expert on the mat at the time of the incident gave the hand signals to call the SGHS student athlete’s move as illegal, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The Southeast Guilford High School wrestling coach and principal declined to comment.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The 221 Mistakes Parents Make Every Year

January 20, 2020

 

A recent survey claims that parents make 221 mistakes every year. Well, that’s a relief. I thought I was the only one.

I can’t wait until the survey claiming teachers make 798 mistakes every year.

The biggest mistakes were quite predictable:

 

A survey conducted by OnePoll of 2000 parents, ages 23 and up, on behalf of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, found that the biggest blunder of parenting was allowing too much screen time for children. It accounted for 65 percent, followed by teaching children swear words (42 percent) and allowing them to watch content inappropriate for their age (39 percent).

The survey explored the challenges of modern parenting, finding that age six was the most complicated for handling children. Parents were ready to give up quite a bit to make their kids behave properly. 30 percent were willing to give up social media, 30 percent were prepared to sacrifice wine, and 26 percent were ready to sacrifice Netflix.

Among the surveyed group of parents, when it came to parenting advice, 42 percent approached their partner, 41 percent reached out to their mother, and 31 percent relied on other parents. Parents also turn to technology for parenting advice, and while 17 percent use the internet, almost 10 percent refer to social media.

 

I note that this survey was conducted by Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Not sure I’d want a product with that name in my shopping trolley.

Surely that counts as one of the mistakes parents make.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Students Get Their Phones Banned but Teachers Don’t

January 19, 2020

 

Confession time: I walk into the classroom with my phone (on silent) in my pocket and my smartwatch on my wrist.

Should my kids get sick at school, or an urgent matter arises, I am the contact. I need the reassurance of knowing I can attend to serious family matters quickly.

This has come in handy. Like the time my wife went into labour, or the time my daughter’s ride failed to turn up, leaving her stranded outside the school gates.

I inform my students that I have the device not to look on eBay or scroll Facebook, but to respond to family matters in a timely fashion. They get it and don’t make a big deal of it.

But I am hardly the first teacher to have a phone in class, and although it isn’t a problem in my workplace, I would guess that there are plenty of teacher’s out there who aren’t as disciplined with their use of phones in class. My daughter constantly speaks of the addiction her teachers display with their phones, even answering social phonecalls during class.

So, the inconvenient truth needs to be raised. If students are forbidden to bring a phone to school, should a teacher be as well?

Kids could face detention or even suspension if they flout a new mobile phone ban in schools.

With just 10 days until kids return to school and the ban kicks in, the Sunday Herald Sun can reveal some schools are preparing to take a hard- line approach.

Under the ban, all phones must be locked away for the duration of the school day and smart watch and tablet notifications switched off.

Penalties for not complying with the new rules will be left up to individual schools, and some are expected to take a “three-strikes-and-you’re out” approach where students would be given detention for a second offence and could be suspended on strike three.

Public primary and secondary schools across Victoria must enforce the government phone ban from January 29.

 

The teacher’s union will ensure that teachers never have to follow the same rules as their students when it comes to technology. You can imagine the outrage if such a rule included teachers as well.

But students see right through the hypocrisy and teachers can never expect to command respect when they spend minutes every lesson checking their Instagram accounts.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Very Concerning Vaccination Trends

January 17, 2020

I am completely pro-vaccination. I believe the anti-vax view risks young lives and must, therefore, be refuted.

My side seems to be losing. Below are some very disturbing trends published by Gallop:

 

Percentage of Americans who believe it’s important parents vaccinate their children.

2001: 94%

2015: 84%

2019: 84%

 

46% unsure whether vaccines cause autism

45% say no

10% say yes

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Is There Anything Better Than the Laugh of a Child?

January 17, 2020

 

They tell teachers to avoid showing too much personality and that a teacher’s humour can be seen as a weakness. It can lead to a chaotic and uncontrolled classroom.

But I don’t care. I’ll take my chances.

Humour, is essential to who I am as a parent, teacher and now, writer. I don’t seek the laughter of children in the same way as I seek their happiness, security and academic progress. But I certainly don’t believe in withholding humour from the classroom.

Watching the clip above, I couldn’t help but reflect on the amazing impact of a child’s uncontrollable laughter. One of my great joys has been sharing my book, My Favourite Comedian, and watching kids laugh throughout.

So, no, I am not shutting shop on laughter any time soon.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Speaking to Children About the Australian Bushfires

January 12, 2020

 

It has been so difficult to watch the carnage at the hands of the bushfires in my country, Australia.

What has offset some of the pain and devastation has been the outpouring of goodwill from regular Australians as well as prominent figures both locally and overseas. No greater than Shane Warne, a local cricketing hero who has auctioned off his prized “baggy green” representative cricket hat for the bushfire appeal. The hat raised over 1 million dollars and will make a significant difference to those affected.

I don’t have a million dollars to give, but I am looking forward to donating all the royalties for my book sales during the month of January. I may even extend it to February to maximise my donation.

One of the difficult aspects of this story is how the crises is affecting children. An event of this magnitude poses many challenges for parents as they try to ensure that their children don’t become too anxious or depressed over it.

Samantha Dick from the New Daily wrote a brilliant article on this very topic, which included the following tips for parents and teachers:

 

1. Let them know that whatever they are feeling is okay

Listen to your children’s concerns and respond from a position of strength.

E.g. “I can hear how worried you are. What’s happening is scary, but you are safe. There are so many people who feel exactly the way you do. You aren’t alone – I promise.”

2. Reassure your children

Let them know there are lots of people like firefighters working hard to keep them safe.

If they see emergency services personnel or hear sirens, reassure them that these experts are very skilled at what they do.

3. Help your children know they, and others, won’t be alone

Disasters are a time when communities come together.

Remind them that people who have lost their homes or have been hurt in the fires will be looked after.

Talk to them about the charities and organisations like Foodbank Australia and Red Cross providing support.

Remind them of the good in the world.

4. What if this happens to us?

Traumatic events can make children very aware of their own vulnerability. They will usually look to the close adults in their lives for signs of safety.

E.g. “Every time something like this happens, we learn how to stay safer. We learn how things like this happen, so we can stop it happening again.”

5. Keep up to date with weather and warnings

Talk to your children about weather warnings and fire ratings, especially for total fire ban days, and explain why some activities like cooking sausages on barbecues are prohibited at these times.

6. Make sure your children know vital information

Make sure they can recite their full name and address, emergency contact numbers and any allergies or medical conditions they have.

Check they know to call Triple Zero in an emergency and practice what they need to say.

Practice your fire plan with them.

7. Help them find ways to help

Encourage your children to find ways to help others in their community.

Explain how their own acts of kindness will help alleviate their own feelings of despair and helplessness.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

A Marriage Story: Brilliant, Yet Bleak

January 10, 2020

 

I have long been arguing that we have taken the toll of divorce on children for granted (a theme central to my novel, “My Favourite Comedian”). Many claim that since it is so commonplace, divorce is less a tragic occurrence and more a reality of life. If most children have to go through it, it can’t be that bad, right?

I don’t subscribe to that theory. In fact, whilst there are often very good reasons for divorce and in many cases, the children are arguably better off, the effects of a family break down is as difficult for children now as it has ever been.

Enter Netflix’s masterpiece, A Marriage Story. A movie that couldn’t even spare one scene depicting the perspective of a child in the midst of a giant tug-of-war over rights to his upbringing. Not one!

This film is far more interested in the thoughts and needs of his parents. Parents who are decent people on the surface, but who have been racked with self-interest and continue to be. One had an affair, the other basically got bored and was feeling unimportant. Bad decisions were being made on both sides, with the power divested in terribly immoral lawyers continuing the trend of decisions made with self-interest trumping what is really best for the child.

The movie is quite brilliant. It captures the end of a marriage with great insight and the acting is brilliant. It is also a stark essay on the selfishness of the contemporary person.

Selfishness that I would argue does nothing for the child and his development.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Discussing the New Zealand Volcano Tragedy with Children

December 11, 2019

How on earth do you explain the tragedy that took place in Paris to young children?

Below are some tips by experts in the field that can be used to assist in facilitating discussions about the recent New Zealand volcano tragedy:

 

Watch for Trauma: “Young children may have difficulties identifying and expressing feelings. Parents should pay attention to the children’s play (for instance, preoccupation with certain aggressive electronic games, drawings, repetitive play that imitates the traumatic event or events). Another sign of trauma is avoidance of reminders.” — Dr. Aurelia Bizamcer, Medical Director, Outpatient Psychiatry at Temple University Hospital

Keep Answers Truthful but Simple: “We’re not holding back, but we’re not giving more because the giving more could have the risk of alarming the child. … As a parent you have an obligation to protect a young child from being overwhelmed.” –Alan Kazdin, Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University; Director of the Yale Parenting Center.

Reassure Them: “We need to appreciate that kids have different fears. Many will worry about the movies, but others will worry about such events spilling over to other areas, such as the mall, school, the neighborhood. For kids of all ages, it is really important to let them know that these kinds of events are incredibly rare. ” –Dr. Gene Beresin, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training, Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital

Keep Answers Age-Appropriate: “Parents should be sure to pitch the discussion to their kids’ developmental level. For a 6-year-old, it’s completely appropriate to reassure them of their safety, with some emphasis on the fact that this person is no longer at large. For kids over the age of 8, more concrete details are appropriate, along with, perhaps, a general discussion of how to be safe in public — locating exit doors for instance, and getting to safety in the event of any dangerous occurrence.” –Jay Reeve,President and Chief Executive Officer, Apalachee Center

Don’t Make Assumptions: “Don’t project your own feelings, fears and anxiety on kids because you know you don’t really know exactly what your kids are feeling until you talk to them.” –Dr. Jane Taylor, psychiatrist

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.


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