Posts Tagged ‘Teenagers’

The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

August 12, 2015

 

bullying-the-disabled

It’s time to commence with another school year. Spare a thought for the trepidation faced by students harassed for having disabilities.

The following is a great piece on this very issue written by Chester Goad courtesy of The Huffington Post:

 

Typically going back to school means seeing old friends and making new connections, and while most kids are nervous about going back to school, some kids are actually terrified.

Research suggests that between 150,000-200,000 students are bullied in our schools every day. Many school systems have even added hotlines and “Student Resource Officers” (SRO’s) who can help identify and prevent bullying. Still bullying happens, and statistics show that students with disabilities are more at risk. In fact, anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the local cultural norm is a target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies.

Growing up is hard but growing up with a disability brings a different set of challenges. Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators, parents, and other students aren’t paying attention. What does all this mean?

It means families should talk more. It means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to avoid intervention. Yes, it’s that complicated.

In 2013, the increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied prompted the U.S. Department of Education to release a “Dear Colleague Letter” reminding schools of their responsibility to provide a bully-free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, but especially those with disabilities.

Parents of students with disabilities or any sort of difference should be vigilant and listen to their kids when they’re discussing school. Pay attention to changes in behavior, especially aggression and meltdowns. If your instinct tells you there may be an issue with bullying, talk with teachers or other adults and ask about changes in behavior or attitude. It’s a challenge for us as parents not to want to handle things completely on our own, but parents should avoid confronting others about bullying until they have all the information, and it’s best to leave the confrontation part to the school. Discuss the issues with teachers or administration. They may be able to give you valuable insight before you talk with the other parents or take your concerns to a different level.

Some adults are inclined to let bullying go assuming that kids will just “work it out,” and some students do work out one-time incidences, but sadly, true bullying involves a pattern of inappropriate behavior and when left alone can worsen circumstances for everyone involved. In some instances, students may truly not understand that their actions are being perceived as bullying. They may simply be seeking attention. However, in other situations they know exactly what they’re doing. Parents should never just “let it go” or trust the situation to work itself out.

Talk to your kids, and listen. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying.

Student suicide rates are on the rise. Quick, proactive communication and education is key, and could save lives.

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention (because intervention by peers is considered the most powerful deterrent to bullying), and to foster open positive relationships between parents and schools.

Going back to school is always going to be a little nerve wracking. Kids will always worry about classes, friendships, and keeping up with the latest fads. But they should never have to worry for their safety.

 

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

School Distributes Condoms to 6th Graders

June 7, 2014

 

condoms

I was under the impression that 6th graders were just at the age of puberty. It saddens me that pre-teens are thought to be in need of such drastic measures. Surely there is an alternate way to get kids as young as that to make smart decisions:

 

An Oregon school district plans to offer condoms to students starting in sixth grade as part of an updated sex education policy aimed at decreasing teen pregnancy, sparking debate over whether 11-year-olds are too young for such a program.

The plan by the rural Gervais School District comes after a 2013 survey by nursing students found that 7 percent of district high school girls had experienced pregnancy and 42 percent of students reported “never” or “sometimes” using protection.

“Over the past few decades, teen pregnancy in our community has remained somewhat constant, but higher than the board felt comfortable with,” Superintendent Rick Hensel said in a blog post dated Monday.

The district school board approved the sex education policy earlier this month for sixth through 12th graders in the tiny town north of Salem, and Hensel said administrators would hash out details this summer to be implemented in the fall.

The board decided to include middle school students because the middle and high schools are close in proximity and run by the same administration – and because middle school girls are getting pregnant too.

“Every few years, a middle school student either becomes pregnant or is associated with a pregnancy,” he said. “The board felt that the curriculum should reach the students of the middle school.”

But some question whether sixth graders, who are typically 11 or 12 years old, need condoms.

“I have to say that sixth grade to me seems incredibly young,” said Amita Vyas, assistant Professor and Director of the Maternal and Child Health Program at George Washington University. “We really don’t see high rates of sexual activity when we are looking at 13 and under.”

But she said educating young students and keeping them engaged with teachers and parents is a useful way to decrease teen pregnancy.


Click on the link to read Should High Schools Install Condom Vending Machines?

Click on the link to read Teaching Union Wants Porn on the National Curriculum

Click on the link to read Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else

Click on the link to read 3rd Graders Perform Sex Act in the Classroom Without Being Noticed

7 Ways To Teach Kids Self-Awareness

April 8, 2014

helmet

Courtesy of Sherrie Campbell, PhD:

 

1. Be a good role model.
In order to parent self-awareness, you have to have it yourself. This means that you demonstrate through your own behaviors that you can calm your anxieties and frustrations and not act out in a negative way. If you start to act out, demonstrate that you can call a time-out on yourself and get centered again.

2. Accept and recognize your child’s feelings.
Emotions are emotions. They are temporary energies meant to pass through. If we accept and acknowledge what our children are feeling, the emotions pass through much more quickly and with more understanding. Taking this time to sit with their feelings helps them to not act emotions out in a negative way. Accept the feelings from their viewpoint, and then, if possible, spin them in a positive light.

3. When in doubt, empathize.
Your empathy teaches children their emotional life is not threatening, abnormal or scary. Their emotions are not shameful or defective. They are human and manageable. In this way, you teach your children they are not alone. This helps them see that even the less-than-perfect parts of themselves are acceptable, which helps them to accept themselves and others more wholly.

4. Do not encourage the avoidance of emotions.
Emotions may be uncomfortable, but never minimize them to your children or tell your kids to “move on.” Refrain from telling them what they are feeling is wrong. They may not be ready to move on, and it is important for children to learn to navigate the uncomfortable. This is how they learn and grow. We must teach them that whatever they avoid will return in the form of a similar and harder lesson, so they may as well do their learning now.

5. Encourage communication.
Repressing feelings doesn’t work. Repressed sadness turns into depression; repressed anger turns into rage; repressed envy turns into jealousy; repressed love turns into possession; and repressed fear turns into anxiety/panic. When we reject or ignore our children’s emotions, this causes them to repress, which leads to more severe and chronic emotional problems all throughout life. Let them express freely.

6. Time, attention and listening.
Actively listen to your children. You do not have to agree with what they say or feel, but to argue against it doesn’t allow them to hear or know who they are as unique people. Accept their feelings, repeat them back to them for understanding, and listen. Show that you care and can see their point of view.

7. Teach problem solving.
Most of the time, when children experience that their emotions are understood and accepted, the emotions lose their charge and begin to dissipate. This leaves an opening for problem solving. Sometimes, kids can do this themselves. Ask them how they want or think they should handle the situation which is upsetting them. This helps them to hear themselves out, and to learn to make good decisions from within. Sometimes, they need your help to brainstorm, but resist the urge to handle the problem for them; that gives them the message that you don’t have confidence in their ability to handle the problem on their own.

 

Click on the link to read Kids Explain the Meaning of Happiness

Click on the link to read 5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play

Click on the link to read Allowing Children to Stand Out From the Pack

Click on the link to read Hilarious Examples of Kids Telling It As It Is

Click on the link to read Kids Can Operate an iPad but Can’t Tie their Shoelaces

30 Per Cent of Teens Have Sent Naked Images of Themselves Online: Report

July 18, 2012

If this survey is a reflection of teenagers as a whole, we have a lot of work to do:

Parents who don’t think their teens are sexting may be in for a rude awakening.

Nearly 30 percent of teens say they’ve sent nude photos of themselves via text or E-mail, according to a study published earlier this month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Another 57 percent report being asked to send naked pictures, according to the study, which surveyed close to 1,000 Houston-area high school students, ages 14 to 19.

Should those teens oblige, both the sender and the receiver could face serious consequences. Those private photos could resurface online or even land the teens on a sex offender list.

Click here to read, ‘Laws That Seek To Protect Our Kids Fail Them’.

10 Things Parents Don’t Understand About Their Teenage Children

July 12, 2012

I just read a very perceptive and humerous piece by Sam Koppelman about how little parents understand their teenage children:

1. Parents just don’t understand that not all teens like Justin Bieber and One Direction.

Parents, sure a ton of teens are Beliebers and Directioners (just look at how many followers they have on Twitter!), but I can assure you, there are plenty of us who aren’t exactly happy about the fact that if Biebs were our boyfriend, he would never let us go. And there are many of us who would run away if we saw five British boys chasing after us on the beach. So, to all the parents who are thinking about what to get their teens for their birthdays, ask us before buying the new Justin Bieber perfume at Macy’s.

2. Parents just don’t understand that we know they weren’t perfect in high school, either.

Parents, when you get mad at us for staying out past our curfew and going out with our friends on the weekends, stop pretending you weren’t doing the same things when you were teens. We have all seen the hair you guys tried to pull off in the ’80s. And if those weren’t “out past your curfew” boots, then I don’t know what were.

3. Parents just don’t understand that they don’t need to apologize for cursing…

Parents, as nice as it is that you guys try to protect the innocence of our ears, you really don’t have to apologize for cursing. Believe us, we’ve heard curse words before. In fact, we need curse words to get us through bad test scores and annoying classes. So, when you forget I’m in the car and curse out the driver next to you for cutting into your lane, please don’t apologize. Thanks!

4. Parents just don’t understand that we’ve heard worse than Howard Stern.

Similarly, parents, you don’t have to change the channel on the radio or the TV whenever Howard Stern comes on the screen. Right when you leave the room, we can stream his radio show or watch America’s Got Talent on the computer. No need to be martyrs. We can all enjoy Howard together.

5. Parents just don’t understand that we don’t “Twitter.” We tweet.

Parents, you would never say that we should “books.” You would say that we should “read books.” So don’t tell us to stop “twittering.” If you are going to pester us about what we do on the Internet, at least use the correct verb and tell us to “stop tweeting.”

6. Parents just don’t understand why we would want to make our photos look “old.”

Parents, we get that you might be self-conscious about aging. That’s totally normal! But seriously, when we make photos look old on Instagram or Hypstamatic, we aren’t giving ourselves wrinkles and turning our hair gray. Aging photos and aging middle-aged parents are not the same thing. We make our photos black and white because old photos look cool. Unlike old people. Unless, of course, they are named Betty White.

7. Parents just don’t understand that a movie being rated “R” won’t prevent us from going to see it.

Seriously, parents, how do you think The Hangover did so well if no teens under the age of 18 lied about how old they were on Fandango to buy tickets? As much as we like acronyms (LOL, OMG, JK) we don’t really care about what the MPAA has to say about what movies we’re allowed to see.

8. Parents just don’t understand that we find it creepy when they give us the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Parents, we don’t need your endorsement to look at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. We are just as weirded out by the prospect of you thinking that we would enjoy looking at those pictures as you are by the prospect of us enjoying looking at those pictures. So please keep the Sports Illustrated with Kate Upton on the cover wherever you keep the Sports Illustrated with Lebron on the cover. Thanks.
9. Parents just don’t understand that we know what going away to “celebrate their anniversary” means.

No explanation needed. Ew.

10. Parents just don’t understand that we honestly do love them.

No matter how annoying they are or how much they don’t understand, we know how much they love us. And we love them back.

 

We Should be Promoting Health Instead of Focusing on Obesity

June 21, 2012

It seems that we have given up on promoting healthy lifestyles and educating our students about nutrition. It’s now all about avoiding obesity:

The American Medical Association on Wednesday put its weight behind requiring yearly instruction aimed at preventing obesity for public schoolchildren and teens.

The nation’s largest physicians group agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders. Doctors will be encouraged to volunteer their time to help with that under the new policy adopted on the final day of the AMA’s annual policymaking meeting.

Facebook and Child Exploitation

June 19, 2012

The moment Facebook first made the sensible and responsible age requirement rules they have been trying to soften, if not repeal them. The age restriction guidelines exist for the safety and wellbeing of underaged children. Yet we are constantly confronted with the reality that Facebook is desperate to recruit the underaged demographic.

The latest news sees Facebook advertisements target the very children they are supposed to be turning away:

An alliance of consumer rights groups on Monday pressed Facebook not to aim advertisements at preteen children or track their activities online if it formally opens its site to them.

Facebook has millions of underage users who claim to be over the required age of 13, and the company has had discussions with some advocacy groups over how to keep children safe on the site if they insist on signing up.

The topic of whether children under 13 should be on Facebook is hugely contested. One side argues that under no circumstances should young children be permitted on a social networking site, and another argues for an array of restrictions and conditions on how they can use the site.

The groups that sent the letter on Monday to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, include Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and the Consumer Federation of America. They called on Facebook to refrain from tracking children under 13 both on the Facebook site and on other sites that have Facebook widgets, such as the “like” button. In addition, they called on Facebook to enable parents to monitor and review their preteen children’s activities, offer parents “granular control” over every application they use on the Facebook platform and keep children’s account settings as private as possible.

The letter read: “We want assurances that any space created for children under the age of 13 on the site is safe, parent-guided and controlled, and, most importantly, free of ads.”

Advertising is not the only reason Facebook would want to allow under-13s on its site. It could widen its user base, guard against children becoming attached to another social network, and potentially build a trove of information on users as they grow into adulthood. By developing special conditions for them, the company could also protect itself from a federal regulation that requires companies that gather information about children under 13 to obtain written consent from their parents; those regulations are being revised.

Teaching Children How to Argue

June 19, 2012

I noticed while teaching students about persuasive writing how difficult they find it to form opinions of their own. It is almost as if children today do what they have learned to do without ever reflecting on the reasons why. This poses a significant problem when it comes to peer pressure. If you don’t have the tools to work out right from wrong, positive from negative, you can be very easily lead.

This unfortunate consequence was part of the findings of a recent study undertaken by the University of Virginia:

WHILE parents have been teaching their kids not to argue with adults for generations, new research shows it may have its benefits.

A study by the University of Virginia shows that young teenagers who are taught to argue effectively are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol later in adolescence.

“It turns out that what goes on in the family is actually a training ground for teens in terms of how to negotiate with other people,” said Joseph Allen, psychology professor and lead author of the study, results of which were published in a recent edition of the journal Child Development.

Prof Allen said that parents are often “scared to death about peer pressure” but also frustrated by argumentative children.

“What we’re finding is there’s a surprising connection between the two,” he said.

Prof Allen said that teens “learn they can be taken seriously” through interactions with their parents.

“Sometimes, it can be counterintuitive to tell parents to let their teens argue with them,” said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student who worked on the study.

In fact, learning effective argumentation skills can help teenagers learn to “assert themselves and establish a sense of autonomy”, she said.

I don’t agree with the assertion that we should encourage our children to argue with us. Instead, teachers and parents alike, should encourage students to question everything, to feel confident to form their own opinions and not to follow a crowd just for the sake of safety in numbers.
Click on the link to read my post on beating peer pressure.

If You Respect Teachers, Please Stand Up

May 15, 2012

There is a growing hostility against teachers from the Government down, and children are picking up on it. There is little use reinforcing the message that respect for teachers is paramount to students whose own parents openly treat the classroom teacher with disdain. Teachers are not trusted to do their job, are having to write-up ludicrously long and detailed planners to prove they are covering the curriculum and are subjected to a distasteful smear campaign from elements within the educational system looking for someone to blame.

Why should we be surprised if children exploit the lack of respect for teachers within elements of society?

A STUDENT holds a replica pistol to the head of a staff member in the playground – while a Year 9 boy at another school sprays urine on his teacher.

These disturbing scenes are happening at schools across NSW, just two of 218 serious incidents logged during term four last year in reports to the Department of Education and Training.

The reports show teachers being abused, assaulted and sometimes forced to disarm out-of-control students during fights.

One student fight even featured a didgeridoo as an improvised weapon, while in another incident a pupil stole a teacher’s handbag and made off with her car.

Last November, a Year 8 student threatened a teacher with a replica pistol from the drama department at a south coast school. The deputy principal tried to intervene and was abused by the student.

Meanwhile, at an Illawarra school, a Year 9 student urinated into a bottle and sprayed it on a male teacher on playground duty.

Precise details of the schools, students and teachers involved are removed from the reports, which are published by the department with one-term delays.

A department spokesperson said nine in 10 schools did not report a single incident during term four.

“From time to time, incidents affect schools just as they affect society,” the spokesperson said.

Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said the number of violent incidents in schools wasn’t rising but were being noticed and documented “more vigorously”.

“Teenagers tend to be impulsive – all accelerator and no brakes,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“Violence as entertainment has desensitised teenagers and made them see violence as a problem solving device.”

He said another factor was teenagers becoming disaffected with rates of family breakdown increasing.

Kids and the Choking Game

April 16, 2012

A dull, dormant life can not be fully responsible for the rise of the infamous “choking game” played largely amongst kids, but it surely must be a contributing factor. The constrictive and restrictive nature of school, regulations, non-active lifestyles and anti-socialised extra-curricula activities must be factored into the increased popularity of this dangerous game.

Although the choking game is not new, very little research has been done to investigate how often it happens or which kids are more likely to try it. But the new study published today in the journal Pediatrics gives a snapshot of who is engaging in this risky activity.

Researchers surveyed nearly 5,400 Oregon eighth graders, and 6.1 percent reported playing the choking game at least once in their lives. Among those who had played, 64 percent had played more than once and 27 percent had done it more than five times. Boys and girls were equally likely to have participated.

The researchers found that kids who participated in the game commonly engaged in other risky health behaviors. About 16 percent of boys and 13 percent of girls who reported using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana on the health survey also reported playing the choking game. Girls who reported being sexually active were four times as likely to participate in the choking game as those who had never had sex.

Robert Nystrom, adolescent health manager at the Oregon Public Health Division and one of the study’s authors, said it’s significant that kids who play the choking game are also experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex.

“Risk-taking is a part of normal adolescent development. The fact that a lot of adolescents are participating in these behaviors shouldn’t surprise us,” Nystrom said. “What we want to do is prevent it.”

Nystrom noted that the choking game is different from autoerotic asphyxiation, where the goal of near-strangulation is sexual gratification. In the choking game, kids simply seek the rush that comes from passing out.

Before adults become hysterical about this growing trend, I ask them to consider the life of a standard teenager and reflect on what we can do to help them appreciate the real thrills that life has to offer.


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