Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

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.

It is Never Alright to Sexualise Children

December 24, 2018

 

What are the media doing canonizing an 11 year-old for doing a drag routine in a gay bar?

The point of this story is not the courage and individuality of an 11-year-old. There are plenty of positive ways one could capture a story about an 11-year-old’s gender journey than having the child having money thrown at him while he does a drag queen inspired strip at a pub.

And my objection has nothing to do with the fact it was at a gay bar and that the boy is a drag queen.

My objections are as follows:

  • Doing a drag show is fine when it’s adults participating – not children. Drag shows are highly sexualised in nature and children should never be a subject of sexualised activity.
  • The fact that money was thrown at him is sick. It is a pedophilic act and it is totally unacceptable. To then celebrate this response as a a symbol of the child’s ability to entertain an audience is downright irresponsible. I would feel exactly the same way if it was an 11 year-old girl at a straight pub.

Watching the ABC’s treatment of this story in the video above makes me wonder how serious the media are about protecting children from the dangers of being represented as sexual beings.

The media should know better!

 

 

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Agree With This Guy Should Be De-Registered

Click on the link to read The Staggering Amount of Teacher Reported Child Abuse Cases

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Click on the link to read School Rewards Good Grades With an Earlier Lunch

Click on the link to read What Kids are Thankful For (Video)

Explaining Hawaii to Young Children

January 14, 2018

 

Twitter is awash with jokes about Hawaii and the missile false alarm.

One can understand why. When a person tries to regroup from a near trauma, they go to comedy to help them manage the shock.

But there is one section of the population that wont want to make light of this episode – young children. The kind that I teach in Primary school.

They wont get the humor and will be perplexed (and often wounded) by the story if it isn’t explained in a discrete and careful manner. The worst thing in the world a parent could do is make light of it or laugh it off. That wont work for children.

The best way to deal with it is to explain that sometimes adults believe things that make no sense. That a missile is never going to hit Hawaii and adults were so surprised by the message that they lost all common sense.

But isn’t that lying?

I feel that this white lie is imperative. Children must have it reinforced that their homes are not going to be pelted with missiles. Not now. Not ever.

Jokes will enable adults to move on.

I worry about the children.

 

Click on the link to read The Death of a Student

Click on the link to read Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

Who Should Lead the Parent-Teacher Conference?

June 1, 2016

parent-teacher

As much as I like the logic of having your students lead the parent teacher conferences, I am grateful taht this doesn’t happen at my school. I prefer meeting with the parents without the child present.

Sometimes vital issues are raised that are not for the child’s ears.

Others such as Monica R. Martinez clearly disagree:

 

I can still remember the anxiety I felt when my parents went off to school for the traditional biannual parent-teacher conference like it was yesterday. The anxiety I felt was not even rational: I was a good student, I was on the honor role. So why was this so disconcerting? Probably because a set of “authority figures” were discussing and most likely, assessing, my day-to-day behavior, habits and learning strategies. They were sure to talk about what was enhancing or deterring my performance and I knew I would learn all about it later.

I recognize that the purpose of the teacher-led conference is to honor the expertise of the teacher and solidify a relationship between the parent and teacher. This ensures parents can understand and support their children academically. But there is a different, and I believe, better way for parents to learn how to support their students academically – and that is through student-led conferences.

Instead of having students stay home while their parents and teachers talk about them in the third person, have students lead the conference. The student could be prepared for the conference by the teacher through a collaborative review of their previous work and a guided reflection on the connection between their efforts and the quality of their work. The teacher could kick off the conference with an explanation of the process but move to the side or sit across the table with the parents to serve more as a facilitator than the leader. While the specific logistics and dynamics of student-led conferences vary, the basic spirit is the same: This is the student’s moment to take responsibility for their own learning.

Parent-teacher conferences were a good idea in concept but they reflect a tradition that is too centered on adults. Flipping these conferences to be student-led empowers the student and facilitates a partnership between the teacher and parents that is focused on supporting what the student identifies as her strengths and challenges in learning, not what the teacher or parent identifies for the student.

 

Click on the link to read Tips for Making a Parent-Teacher Relationship Work

Click on the link to read Sometimes It’s Worth Risking a Fight With a Parent

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Parents

Click on the link to read 5 Helpful Tips for a Better Parent-Teacher Conference

Click on the link to read The Cafeteria Controversy

Just 1% of Children Eat Enough Vegetables

May 11, 2016

Hate-Vegetables

1 percent? Surely not:

 

Vegies might be brimming with goodness, but less than one per cent of Aussie kids are eating the recommended amount each day.

While children eat, on average, more fruit than adults, they’re having just 1.8 serves of veg a day compared to the recommended 2.5-5.5 serves.

And it doesn’t get much better as we get older, with less than two per cent of men and about four per cent of women meeting the guidelines of five-to-six serves a day.

The findings were based on analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

The ABS found that overall, most Aussies don’t eat the minimum recommended daily serves from the five major food groups – vegies, fruit, dairy products, lean meats, and grains.

More than one third of our daily intake is now coming from so-called discretionary foods such as sweetened beverages, alcohol, cakes, confectionary and pastries – all of which are high in calories and poor in nutrients.

ABS director of health Louise Gates said that among the five food groups, fruit and grains had the best compliance.

“Less than four per cent of the population consumed enough vegetables and legumes or beans each day,” Ms Gates said as the data was released on Wednesday.

“One-in-10 was meeting the guidelines for dairy products, while one-in-seven consumed the minimum number of serves of lean meats and alternatives per day.”

Health experts say the findings on low vegetable consumption are worrying and probably linked to increased consumption of discretionary foods.

Aloysa Hourigan, senior nutritionist at Nutrition Australia, says the cost of vegetables, particularly in regional and remote areas, is also a factor.

“There could be benefits for having a sugar or fat tax for those discretionary foods to help discourage people from purchasing as many of them and that money could be used to help subsidise other foods,” she told AAP.

Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Kate DiPrima said parents need to be role models for their children by eating more vegetables.

“If the parents don’t eat the recommended amount and aren’t serving them up to their kids, they don’t have any chance,” she said.

Ms DiPrima noted that only 4.5 per cent of kids ate the recommended amount of lean meat and other alternatives including poultry, eggs and tofu, putting them at risk of missing out on protein, iron and zinc.

“The two most commonly rejected foods are vegetables and meat. They’re harder to chew and have stronger flavours,” she said.

She advises parents persist with offering vegetables in all forms – mashed, grated, cooked, roasted, raw – at different times of the day.

“Don’t leave it until dinner at night when they’re tired and can’t chew, they’ll fall off the wagon.”

The Effect of Online Pornography on Kids

March 22, 2016

children-acces

 

The effect of pornography on kids cannot be understated. Although, we’d like to think that children under the age of 18 are not exposed to such material, we know better.

Take this disturbing piece of news:

 

CHILDREN as young as four are performing sex acts on each other in remote Aboriginal communities, according to a WA parenting expert who says online pornography is warping young people’s minds.

Safe4Kids founder Holly-ann Martin told a federal inquiry that children in remote WA were “at far greater risk” of being sexually abused because of easy access to pornography.

“I have walked into a classroom where I have witnessed children as young as four simulating sex on each other,” her submission said.

“I was also called into a community because four-year-olds were performing oral sex and digitally penetrating each other.

“Young Aboriginal men openly admit to watching pornography, telling me they want to learn ‘technique’ or ‘style’.

“Because these young men are not receiving good sex education and respectful relationships education, they are turning to online pornography for information.”

 

Click on the link to read School Rewards Good Grades With an Earlier Lunch

Click on the link to read What Kids are Thankful For (Video)

Click on the link to read Our Students Show us Up All the Time!

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video of Children Eating Candy

A Song for Exhausted Mothers

February 24, 2016

 

If a couple of kids is exhausting for a parent, think how tough a classroom full of kids is for a teacher! I realise that teaching doesn’t fully equate, but it is also a difficult job.  I hope teachers and parents can continue to see the humor in the challenge, as depicted so entertainingly above.

 

 

Click on the link to read Girl’s Hilarious Attempt at Getting a Day Off School

Click on the link to read The Love a Child Has for Their Parents Cannot be Properly Measured

Click on the link to read Hilarious School Drop-Off Clip Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Funniest Teacher Gift Ever!

Tips for Helping our Children to Adopt Healthy Habits

December 2, 2015

building-healthy-kids

Courtesy of heart.org:

 

  1. Be a good role model – You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts. You’ll send a message that good health is impor­tant to your family.
  2. Keep things positive – Kid’s don’t like to hear what they can’t do, tell them what they can do instead. Keep it fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
  3. Get the whole family moving – Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
  4. Be realistic – Setting realistic goals and limits are key to adopting any new behavior. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time, so start small and build up.
  5. Limit TV, video game and computer time – These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Limit screen time to 2 hours per day.
  6. Encourage physical activities that they’ll really enjoy – Every child is unique. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. check out these activities for kids.
  7. Pick truly rewarding rewards – Don’t reward children with tv, video games, candy or snacks for a job well done. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
  8. Make dinnertime a family time – When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
  9. Make a game of reading food labels – The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime. Learn more about reading nutrition labels.
  10. Stay involved – Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart. Make your voice heard.

 

 

Click on the link to read Experts Calls School Lunchbox Inspections “Perverse”

Click on the link to read Healthy Easter Treat Options for Kids

Click on the link to read How School Lunches Compare Around the World

Click on the link to read Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

Our Students Show us Up All the Time!

November 7, 2015

bobby

 

You just know when there’s a badly worded question that our students will pick up on it. Take the worksheet above for example.

 

 

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video of Children Eating Candy

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Learn from Failure

Click on the link to read How Babies Learn (Video)

Click on the link to read Celebrating Our Mistakes


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