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Friday, August 29, 2014

Obesity is now so normal that parents can’t see if their child is too fat

The Conversation – Jane Ogden

“Parents need to recognise that their child is overweight, and when they do they need to manage it in a ways that does good not harm, seeking to change their behavior in ways that won’t make a bad situation worse.” (more)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Language Skills Can Shape Children’s Impulse Control, Research Says

Education Week – Sarah D. Sparks

“Now, research from Indiana University finds that some children with poor language skills not only have trouble communicating with others, but can also lack the “running internal monologue” that helps them control their behavior.” (more)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Is your child a candidate for stress-related substance abuse?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Is your wise, well-adjusted teen really drug abuse proof?


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse more than 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, double the number six years earlier. Most of the new heroin users are young adults, age 18-25.


Because illicit drug and alcohol use among middle and high school students has been relatively steady, the increase has gone largely unnoticed by parents with school age children. Even though there is no immediate threat to younger kids, it is probably wise for parents to take notice.


With the weak economy, there is concern that college students and recent college graduates may be turning to drugs as a cheap way to cope with employment prospects and debt.


Finding high quality employment is challenging. About 40% of the recent college graduates are unemployed, 16% have part time jobs, and many of those that do have jobs are stuck in assignments that do not require a college degree. According to a recent Gallop/Purdue University poll, about 70% of college graduates have debt. The average debt is more than $33,000, up from $18,600 in 2004. Among those who took the poll, 11% took out more than $50,000 and an additional 21% borrowed between $25,000 and $50,000.


Between job woes and loan payment stress, it is easy to understand why this age group is under pressure.


How can parents help?


It is imperative for parents understand that the job market has changed. Good jobs, regardless of the field, require outstanding math, science, communication, and critical thinking skills.


Then parents need to talk with their children about the financial realities of higher education. Higher education only makes sense when the cost, including loans, is low compared to the income generated after graduation. Otherwise, kids should pursue a trade that has good earning potential and low entry costs like plumbing, hair dressing, and real estate.


Finally parents should think critically about high cost sports and arts activities. Frequently the costs of teachers, coaches, and travel reduces the money a family can save and may force a child to accept admission to a college where the prospects of high quality employment are low.


Making sure your child has strong math and science skills, carefully selecting extra curricular activities, and evaluating the need for higher education can decrease pressure and reduce the chance your child will turn to drugs to cope with financial stress.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What’s a few days missed? Autumn absences often snowball

The Seattle Times – Claudia Rowe

“Students who frequently miss class do much worse than their peers academically. No surprise there. What’s astonishing is how early in the school year those patterns show up and, by extension, how quickly they could be addressed.” (more)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Game Theory Secrets for Parents


“Game theory is, in essence, the science of strategic thinking—a way of making the best decision possible based on the way you expect other people to act…Here are a few more practical, game theory-based solutions to everyday parenting challenges.” (more)

Brains At Play

GPB News – John Poole

“Panksepp and others think the lack of play is a serious problem. Especially at younger ages. And particularly in school settings. Without play, we know that other species become quick to aggression and have trouble “fitting in.”” (more)

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Teach Your Children Cause and Effect

The Huffington Post – Anabelle Valenzuela-Alarcon

“One of the first lessons that we should teach our children is that every one of their actions has a reaction in the world — that what they do does matter!…Unfortunately, many of the teenagers and young adults nowadays never learnt this crucial lesson, and this may be one of the primary causes for the ensuing chaos in their lives, or around them.” (more)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Schools Must Abandon Zero-Tolerance Discipline

Education Week – Kavitha Mediratta

“By helping principals and teachers address the underlying causes of misconduct—and giving them options other than suspension and expulsion—forward-thinking school districts across the nation are demonstrating how positive discipline can improve educational outcomes.” (more)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Preparing kids for the real world

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


We all want our kids to be happy, thriving, independent adults. The challenge is how to get them from the highly needy infant stage to the point where they can successfully handle life on their own. There is a lot to teach and the world is changing rapidly, so it is important to start the process when children are young.


Fortunately, there are a few simple things parents can do to make the process easier.


Teach the basics.
Diet is important for overall health and wellbeing. Everyone needs to know how to prepare healthy meals and to understand the role exercise plays in quality of life. In addition, young people need to understand the basics of household finance – specifically that income needs to be more than expenses. And everyone needs to have some way to get from place to place, so it is important for kids to learn how to drive.


Step back.
Children need to do things on their own so they can become independent and self reliant, characteristics needed for adulthood. When parents do things that kids can manage themselves, it can foster low self-esteem and lead to poor decisions.


Allow choice.
It is better for a child to make “wrong choices” early in life when the stakes are low rather than to wait until he/she is older and the stakes can be life altering. Offering simple options when a child is very young, prepares him/her for the more complicated decisions he/she will have to make when he/she is older.


Let go.
When your child makes a poor decision it is important for you to allow him/her to deal with the consequences. This way he/she understands that there are negative consequences from making poor choices. Remember, the lessons that stick with us are the ones where we have to deal with the fallout from bad choices.


Encourage problem solving.
There are few textbook solutions in life. Without practice, children become overwhelmed when they are presented with problems they have not encountered before. As a result, it is imperative for children to learn how to think through a problem, come up with possible solutions, and move forward with the best approach. Parents can help children through the process by asking questions, but should resist the urge to provide answers.


If parents take these simple steps and gradually prepare their kids for adulthood, the transition from home to the “real world” should be fairly seamless.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Understanding and responding to the increase in teen depression

The Deseret News – Emily Hales

“Teen depression is becoming a prevalent issue within the nation and it’s never been more important to understand it.” (more)