What’s Your Anti-Drug?

An important message for your child, tween, or teen!

(ARA) – Think about it: How many times in your busy life have you felt like you had so much going on at once? You know, the feeling that you could barely fit another team practice, Internet chat, phone call with friends, or even a moment to just chill out from your crazy day?

Think about all the stuff that keeps you going – that gets you pumped, that frees your soul, that makes you feel alive. These are all the things that stand between you and drugs. Most kid’s lives are so busy that they don’t have the time for distractions like drugs. Look around, it’s easy to see that your friends and most kids are like you. Most kids don’t do drugs because they’re involved with so many things that are far more important.

Everyone has an Anti-Drug, and people want to hear about it. That’s why the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign created a national movement where kids are telling kids what makes life worth living and what inspires them to stay drug-free. Tens of thousands of responses have already come in from across the country with kids answering the question “What’s Your Anti-Drug?” through online replies, snail mail and even through artistic expressions.

The most popular Anti-Drugs have been family-oriented and sports-related, including parents, friends, brothers and sisters, football, biking, hoops, rock-climbing, soccer, and even hot air ballooning. Other submissions range from dancing to drawing, music, talking on the phone, even yourself!

All of this goes to show that kids have got better things to do than drugs. With a recent government survey showing that 72% of you have never used illicit drugs in your lifetime, you’ve proven the fact that most kids don’t do drugs.

Franklin Wright a teen from Bethesda, MD, said that he would rather play football than use drugs. “I’m always thinking about football. It makes me feel happy when I’m sad or down,” he said in a written essay submitted with a photo of himself. “Some kids just want to play in high school. I want to play forever.”

“My Anti-Drug is what lies ahead, my future, my life, my family, and friends,” said 12-year-old Kristen Sadaly, of Erie, Pa. She felt her future potential to succeed is more important than wasting her time using drugs. “I have so many opportunities headed for me.”

So, think about your Anti-Drug. What have you done or experienced that matters more to you than anything else?

Now be heard, too! Enter you Anti-Drug and check out what other kids are saying on the Web site www.whatsyourantidrug.com, or call 877-958-5900 for more information. And if you’re interested in visiting a great Web site that’s filled with entertainment, games and information on drugs, go to www.freevibe.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content, www.aracontent.com, e-mail: info@aracontent.com


Helping Children Cope With Tragedy and Fear

All of us are now facing our feelings of anxiety and fear as we prepare for the task of coping with this United States national tragedy. As we confront the challenge of helping our children, the following guidelines may help you give the kids you love and care about the emotional support they will need as they face the days ahead.

September 11, 2001

All of us are now facing our feelings of anxiety and fear as we prepare for the task of coping with this United States national tragedy. As we confront the challenge of helping our children, the following guidelines may help you give the kids you love and care about the emotional support they will need as they face the days ahead.

How to Help Kids

Talk to them about it. While younger children may not have a lot to say, older children will want to share their ideas and concerns. Listen to them without interrupting. Remember that all feelings are OK. They just are. Try not to judge. Just listen.

Reassure them that they are safe. You may need to do this often in the days to come.

Do not avoid the facts. Share basic information, as you know it. Be open and honest about what has occurred. Provide simple, accurate information. While you won’t have all the answers, your openness, love and support will make a tremendous difference in how children will cope with these events. Your caring actions will foster their resilience.

Reassure children that most people in the world can be trusted and that a small minority is involved in these acts. Reinforce that victims did not deserve to be hurt and that these events are rare and unusual.

Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. A predictable schedule brings comfort and security to kids.

Monitor their television viewing. Try to use a balanced view of what you see on the news and be aware of sensationalism. Discuss the situation as a family for as long as needed. If children wish to change the channel or the subject, take their lead. Try not to let your own need for the latest news override their routine television viewing.

Don’t overlook the positive in the wake of these horrific events. Reassure children that many injured people will get better. Look for news items about heroes and bravery and share them with children. Let your child see how people rally to help each other.

Donate blood if you are physically able. Show your support for the injured and call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE for details. Children can help in their own ways as well by making a small donation to a relief effort or in other ways that you will become aware of in the days ahead.

Help children feel protected. They may become concerned about their personal safety. Again, reassure them that these events are very rare and unlikely to happen where they are. Reassure them that you will always do everything you can to keep them safe and that someone will always take care of them.

Try and keep it together. Children can sense adult’s feelings including stress, anxiety and worry. It is OK to share your feelings of fear but reassure as often as needed that these events are very rare.

Give them a sense of control and optimism for the future. Offer choices without overwhelming them. Discuss future plans for the days, weeks and months ahead. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Help them feel needed, wanted and valuable.

Make family plans. Empower children with a plan of action when unexpected things happen. Have children carry important names and phone numbers in their wallet or backpack.

Be aware of extreme reactions. If your child’s reactions or distress begins to interfere with normal daily activities, contact a mental health professional to determine if intervention is needed.

Facilitate their creative expression. Provide art materials and opportunity to play. These experiences can relieve tension and give children their own “voice.”

Spend some extra time with them. More time to talk, to listen, to play. Get off the fast track and kick back a little more. Your time with them is precious.

Teach about a better way. Discuss your feelings about violence as a way of settling differences. Encourage your school to offer conflict resolution training. Set a good example.

In a nutshell…

*Watch television together and help them make sense of what they are seeing.
*Continually reassure without giving false assurances.
*Encourage talking about feelings.
*Contact a mental health professional if a child’s signs of distress are so severe they interfere with daily functioning.

Most of all…

Trust your instincts. You are the expert on your child and on your relationship with your child. Your love and concern will lead you well.


The Father That Chose Our Family

Discover the love of a stepfamily and the sheer joy of riding on the steering wheel of a 1938 Packard.

Charles William Bedal was my stepfather. Let it be said, however, that he was my real father. I call him “Dad.”

He started off in life at the age of 14 learning the carpenter trade. His formal education went up to and included some of the seventh grade. His teacher thought that he was stupid. When he got tired his right eye would go up and to the right. When this happened he said, “The pages in my reader blurred to a gray color and I couldn’t read.” He showed us one time where he lived when he was going to school. It was somewhere above Watsonville, California in the coastal mountains. He said that his older brother, Richard, would drive him to school each day in a buggy. Dad had to sit on the back of the buggy so Richard could have his girl friend up front with him. He liked to smooch with her on the way.

I can’t remember when I first saw him. I do remember that Russell and I enjoyed using the cigarette machine to make his cigarettes. We licked the edge of a thin paper and put it in one end of a mechanically operated machine. We put a measured amount of tobacco on the paper and moved the lever from left to right. We were pleased when the cigarette came out looking like a store-bought one.

Dad’s lack of formal education hindered him to some degree. Writing was a chore for him, but he did math in his head. Those years of carpenter work taught him math. His skills with people were very good. He loved to talk. I sometimes think that somehow there was an unusual genetic transfer of this skill from him to me. His smile and gentle laughter punctuated his speech.

When asked how many children he had, Russell and I were always included in the number. He didn’t say, “Two stepchildren and four of my own.” He said, “I’ve got six kids.” He was patient as he taught us the skills of his trade. “Let the saw do the work, Paul,” he said time and time again. I tried to hurry and wound up binding the saw in the curf. “Remember to grab the hammer close to the end,” he said. I eventually learned all of his lessons to become a skillful craftsman.

I watched him as he put in the vent to our indoor bathroom. It was on the outside wall of the house. He kept telling me to not get too close as he filled the seams of the cast-iron pipe with Oakum and sealed them with molten lead. He was careful to keep me out of harms way. I can feel the admiration I had for him as I thought of the things he knew how to do.

He was playful. One time he put me seated in the steering wheel of our 1938 Packard. He steered a crooked course for my sake and I laughed and laughed. It was OK until he had to make a right turn at a corner. I fell out of the steering wheel, but he caught me and put me on the seat close to him. My little heart burned with love for him.

He had a “junk yard” on our property where he “wrecked” cars for extra money. With the rationing that went on at that time used parts were like finding gold. He had an old Model “T” flat-bed truck in the junk yard with the intent of dismantling it. I decided to help him wreck it. I turned the steering wheel to the left with my puny little four year old arms. When it stopped turning I gave it my all to tear it off. That didn’t work so I turned it to the extreme right and did my all to tear it off. Later when he had decided to keep the truck and use it he told someone that it was the best steering truck that he had ever had. I was so proud that I had made it that way!

Dad loved us and showed it. He didn’t do it deliberately, it just happened. His dad was a steam roller man on a highway construction crew. Grampa Bedal was gone most of the time and when he was home he didn’t have much to do with his kids. When Dad was home I remember soon being in his arms. In later years when I was a grown man and had a family of my own he and Mom came to visit. As I went to embrace him he gently pushed me away. In his family grown men just didn’t hug. Years later, when we went to visit him in his old age, he put his arms around me and pressed me to him. He loved us all. At that time he finally gave me a talk about the birds and the bees. That was after I had eight children! Well, I didn’t learn. We had nine children.

I am so glad that he chose us to be his family.

Paul Yadon knows that everyone has a story or two in them. Most of what you will see in his stories will be glimpses into his life with Patricia and their nine children (he says he would do it all over again!) and his travels to 15 countries other than the USA. His former boss calls him honest and dependable.


Behind Closed Doors

When a teen struggles with the nightmare that is Bulimia, words from her mother bring about a life-changing moment.

Words that are never whispered, let alone spoken about in polite conversation.

But it is there. It happens. And there are more sufferers out there than you know.

People look at Bulimia and see emaciated bodies hunched over a toilet. No personality, no faces.

But this isn’t it at all.

I don’t know when I started to make myself sick after eating. It’s either been so long that I can’t remember or I’ve blocked it out, but it’s been at least a year.

I’d never been happy with the way that I looked. I felt fat and ugly. My self image hadn’t been done any favours by people at school who would bump into me in corridors saying, “Stupid Fat Cow”. I wasn’t any of these. I’m was in the top handful of my year, and although I was 3 stone overweight, no one had ever commented on it in earnest to me.

I was well-liked, although I didn’t see it at the time, but yet I started making myself sick. I can’t even explain why. I think that it might have been a culmination of things. I was under pressure to succeed at school, and at home my parents had just split up.


It’s unfair and untrue to blame my family for anything that I’ve done in my life. Quite simply I was over sensitive to everything that was said to me. I can remember comments from years ago as clear as if they were whispered in my ear this moment,

“This girl is unfit to dive into water”.

I haven’t been able to dive since, and I used to love swimming.

But I digress. I quite well knew the risks of forcing my body to do things it wasn’t designed for; stomach ulcers, corroded teeth, bad skin, digestive problems, liver and kidney damage… the list goes on.

But yet I still did it.

And the irony is, I didn’t feel any better about myself after I’d lost the 3 ½ stone and come into my normal weight bracket. I still saw fat in the mirror and ugly in the eyes of others.

The worst day of my life came about a year after I’d started down the eating disorder road. My mother confronted me and asked me straight out whether I’d been making myself sick. I reluctantly admitted it. My first thought was to cover it up. To lie, but I was tired of lying. I was tired of it all.

So, I ended up going to a psychiatrist who did nothing for me. I was as bad as I always had been.

The changing moment in my life came from my mother. After I’d confessed how little the therapy was helping me with my problem, I sat down and had a long talk with her. The talk covered many things. Me, her, the family, my feelings, her feelings… and then she said the most important words to me,

“Failure is not falling down……It is staying down.”

These few words have changed my life irrevocably. I’ve begun to see what I CAN do, not what I can’t. I see just how lucky I am; in my family, my friends, my talents… even my weaknesses.

I am no longer depressed. I have my whole life in front of me and I can do whatever I want.

I am the luckiest person in the world.

Whatever I want to do….



Editor’s note: 1 stone = 14 pounds

Eleanor Cole is an 18 year old student living in England, and will shortly be attending university to study Film and English Literature. She enjoys writing in a variety of different styles from comments upon issues such as cancer and eating disorders to poetry and short stories.

Natural Hairstyles for Kids

I am always looking for creative hairstyles for my natural hair daughter and so I decided to share some that I have done over the years.

I hope you enjoy and you are able to use some on your kiddos 🙂

Here are some natural hairstyles for kids:

Wash & Go



This was just a test to stretch her hair since she has a lot of shrinkage, to see how it would look and how long it would last on her hair. I was surprised she actually sat through this and actually kept it in her head all day to air dry. It lasted one day and the straight hair was gone. It remained stretched out until I added moisturizer and it was back to curly.


Braid outs & Twist outs


Individual braids

I love individual braids because it is low maintenance on the hair, it can last up to two weeks (with touch ups), and you can do different hairstyles with it. It is also a great protective style.


 Two-strand Twists (three strand braid at the roots and two strand twist on the ends)

Most people do two stand twists with just two stands but I like to start out with three stand braid and finish with two stand twist. It looks neater and it holds longer. Also a great protective style.



I love cornrows because you can be very creative with it. I am always looking for different hair styles to try. It is another protective style that will help promote growth. Really any style that minimizes combing or maneuvering the hair strands is a protective style. One advise I can give is try not to braid the hair too tight. Braiding the hair too tight can cause breakage and also pull the hair out from the follicle, which defeats the purpose of putting the hair in braids; so be gentle with the little ones 🙂


Here is a site with some other hairstyles you can try.


My favorite hair style when she was a baby and tiny tot. I still do them now but not as often since her hair gets really tangled.





Single Ballerina Bun


Any questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer 🙂

Happy parenting <3 🙂

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But I Want to Be Responsible!

Find six tips to help your child learn money management and financial responsibility.

Children are growing up faster these days than we did. It’s only natural, we grew up faster than our parents. We need to start discussing important topics with our children early. We need to have them start taking more responsibility for money as soon as we can. For one thing it will take the burden of being asked “mom can I get that…”. We will always have the answer “can you afford it” or “have you saved enough for it.”

Start Today

It never is fun to start this conversation with your children. But write out a plan, find out how much you want to give them for an allowance and stick to it. Decide if you want to have chores associated with their allowance and how you want to handle situations when the chores aren’t getting done. Set a particular payday and STICK TO IT! Don’t give pay advances, it will only open doors to MORE advances. This will defeat the whole lesson.

Get Them Involved

Discuss budget with your kids, when they are old enough to understand. Show them how you have set up your budgets and what you do to stick to the budget. Teach your children how to write checks and balance a checkbook. Teaching children the value of money early will create good spending habits for the future.

The Value of Charity

Teach your children that giving to others is important. It will help them in many aspects of their lives. It will teach them to value other people and open their hearts up to others.

Homemade Bank Accounts

Children learn visually, setting up a box for spending and a box for saving is helpful. This way they can move money from their “savings account” to their “checking account (spending account)” and vice versa when they see fit. It will teach them how to save. Kids, like adults, get excited when they see their savings grow.

Learn From Mistakes

At some point in time, your kids will want something “REALLY BAD” but they don’t have any more money. Don’t give in and buy it. Let them save up their allowance or pick up extra chores (if that fits into your system) to earn more money. They will remember and appreciate how hard they worked for that special something.

Keep Communicating

Help your kids set goals and stick to them. Start small, like a bag of candy then grow into something big like a bike. Have fun with it, if it’s painful, no one will learn and they will grow to resent budgets. Children learn by having fun! Keep it interesting and they will always want to speak to you about it.

Sara Kair is co-author of the Moms-connection.com http://www.moms-connection.com. Sara and her partners are dedicated to helping families connect with the way they want to live their lives. Other articles include making and saving money, spiritual growth, decorating and gift making. Please visit http://www.moms-connection.com. To sign up for the newsletter: http://www.moms-connection.com/subscribe.htm
Copyright 2002 moms-connection

Printed with permission

Social Media and Kids with Anxiety

Social Media and Kids and The Bogeyman

Some people think that family ties will bind, however your DNA ties and the strategies your parents gave you aren’t strong enough to hold together when the seduction of social media beckons – and the unintended consequences for our children can be very serious. There’s a new Bogeyman in town when it comes to social media and kids.

Highest levels of depression and anxiety in youth today

Dr. Jared Balmer, a contributor to the FamilyIQ clinical advisory board, member of the Joint Commission Youth Advisory Council, and leader in the field of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, delivered some extraordinarily troubling statistics in his July 25, 2012 presentation hosted by Mark Hobbins, FamilyIQ founder [If you are interested in viewing the presentation, please Opt-In on the form below]

Dr. Balmer’s presentation, The Four Headed Monster sites a report in the AMA Journal of September 2008 that states:

“following a steady two decade decline, between 2003 and 2004
we see an 18% increase in suicide rates in youth under 20 years of age”

Balmer goes on to deliver a terrifying projection and the link between social media and kids:

“Today experts who work with youth across the nation believe that anxiety and depression will be the #1 cause of mortality in adolescents in the next 20 years. As professionals race to discover the source of this frightening prognosis, research suggests that social media may be the culprit.”

The #1 cause of teens’ unintentional death in 2007 was motor vehicle accidents (70%) according to Child Health USA 2011. As horrific as this 2007 statistic is, it is even more difficult to fathom that in the year 2030 suicide will become the #1 cause of death in adolescence, giving credence to Balmer’s belief that,“ a cell phone is more damaging than a driver’s license – the boundaries are far more difficult to chart!”

Social Media and Kids in the Digital Playground

This week you received more information on your smartphone than your grandparents received in their lifetime.  In 2012 the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population of almost 7 billion claims cisco.com, a world leader in Internet networking since 1986.

Clearly social media and kids with mobile communication will become the norm, not the exception, as more than 90% of the US population are already mobile subscribers.  Our kids are growing up on a digital playground that we barely recognize. How do we supervise this new playground without appearing as either luddite or loon?

Check-out our INFOGRAPHIC: Depressed Teens and the Digital Playground

Can we link social media and kids and suicide?

While the social media and kids and suicide connection seems preposterous the research seems to hold water. New studies show that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 when a huge proliferation of cells develop late in the teen years. Until that time, the chemical soup of puberty, hormones, and high drama create a Bonfire of Emotions making teens particularly vulnerable.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that teens do have brains, but they’re wired differently from adults. Dr. Beatriz Luna, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh pioneered neuro-imaging studies focused on the adolescent period because this is the time when individuals show the greatest vulnerability to psychopathology and to mortality due to risk-taking behavior.

“As the chemical soup percolates without the benefit of executive function, teens are in the midst of identity formation and have an inordinate need for acceptance which is hyper-stated with technology­: texting, internet, and the necessity for lots of “LIKES”. This hypersensitivity for acceptance drives the desire for intimacy – but it’s not about intimacy, it’s a desire for acceptance.” explains Mark Hobbins, founder and president of FamilyIQ.

This perfect storm that goes on in a teen’s mind has many possible consequences:

  1. Teens have an inordinate need for acceptance
  2. Teens are hypersensitive to feelings – it becomes a crisis when someone didn’t say hi
  3. Teens desire for intimacy – this is not about intimacy, but rather acceptance
  4. Teens desire for thrills – this is not sexual, but focuses on extreme behaviours like piercing, tattoos—this is all caused by the “blasting, re-wiring and re-modelling” going on inside
  5. Teens desire for getting attention changes their behaviour – in their language and they way they dress
  6. Teens have an inability to cope with stress – and can fall into dangerous behavior. According to Hobbins, 50,000 to 60,000 kids a year fall into the danger zone
  7.  Teens and their “foolish in the moment” can have negative long-term consequences, for example, how long will a “sexting text” remain digitally?

Hobbins has made a 25 year career of helping families and began his career as the co-founder of a treatment and intervention company, during which time he saw a sad dilemma play out in the lives of tens of thousands of families who had to place their children in treatment programs.

The cause and effect of social media and kids

Dr. Balmer explains that to be socially attractive, we must look people in the face and to carry on an effective conversation demands an innate ability to read and interpret non-verbal language. With social media and kids, the opposite is true, teens buried in texting, online games, Facebook and the “LIKE”, become isolated and disembodied because their conversations are not real and their virtual friendships are without real assets. Self-esteem plummets creating historic levels of anxiety and depression in adolescence.

Dr. Balmer warns us not to believe that intelligent kids are immune to these pitfalls.“This is phenomenon is all about a child’s emotional IQ and social age – brilliant kids can be social morons and flock to social media for acceptance, where as many so-called popular kids may use it less having found their peer groups in the real world.”  

Actively involved in the treatment field, FamilyIQ’s Mark Hobbins also added,

“Here we are on July 25, 2012 and all the psychiatric hospitals for troubled adolescents in California are full!”      

Supervising the Digital Playground for social media and kids

Technology and digital communication has become the tsunami that washes over each of our intricate lives. To assume that as a parent we can simply eliminate the risk by forbidding exposure is not realistic; to allow ignorance of the medium to interfere with our parenting values is unacceptable; and to continue to parent they way we were parented limits the impact we can have with our children.

We’re cheating our kids if we don’t educate ourselves about how to set boundaries, develop strong relationships, and instill enduring family values before the teenage alien lands in our household. Parenting today is far more complex than imparting the simple life skills of yesteryear. We’re required to be more imaginative and more creative to get and keep our children’s attention and build a foundation of responsibility. We have such a short time together and time races on.

Consider this: 1 Exabyte = 1 Billion Gigabytes and took 2003 years to evolve

  • So what is a Gigabyte? It is a multiple of the unit “byte” for digital storage and represents a billion bytes. From the start of time to 2003, the world accumulated 5 Exabytes of data.
  • In plain speak, consider those birthday greeting cards that, when opened, play Happy Birthday. The computing power in that card, exceeds the world’s combined computing powering 1953, which would have taken up multiple floors in a high-rise office tower.
  • 1 Exabyte in 2010 and took 2 days to accumulate
  • 1 Exabyte 2013 will take about 10 minutes to accumulate

We can’t hold back the world to protect our children, but we can make sure we learn the parenting skills to appropriately supervise this digital playground. Don’t minimize the power and influence you can have with your kids.

“Make a deep connection with your kids before their teens and don’t be afraid to be different and set clear boundaries. Parents need to be on their A Game, urges Hobbins, “To protect and nurture their children through dignity, style and class and explain this perfect storm before it happens”.

Sadly Kids don’t come with a manual

Raising responsible children and nurturing a great family, the two most important skills in life, are the least taught and trained; however, we fill our lives with classes and courses to better our careers, cooking, capital, castle, character, cheerfulness, charm, charisma, company, and clout. Social media and kids is a relatively new phenomenon, none the less parents can be empowered to face these new challenges with the proper parenting tools.

Kimbal DeLare, another a contributor to the FamilyIQ clinical advisory board who has worked with troubled teens for over 30 years said, “When dealing with families in crisis, 99% believed that this would NOT happen to them and suddenly, things were not as good as they thought they were, and in that moment they realized they didn’t have the skills they needed.”

After all, you don’t know what you don’t know . . . we’d like to share that information with you. Let’s get started. Opt-In (on the form below) to view Dr. Balmer’s WEBINAR PRESENTATION


Opt-In on the Red Form (in the Right Hand Column) and choose a topic of interest for 12 FREE ARTICLES.


How Do Kids Succeed

How do kids succeed?

Kids succeed or fail purely on their academic ability – that has been the notion for many years.

Maclean’s journalist Brian Bethune reveals that for the last 25 years, the American education reform movement has been relentlessly searching for education’s equal opportunity so that kids succeed regardless of their heritage or economic background. Cause after cause has been targeted from standardized testing, to teacher quality, to the number of words a child heard by the time they reached the age of three as the trigger for the disparity in school achievement. Rich or poor, the age-old question has been how do kids succeed?

Bethune’s article in the September 6, 2012 Maclean’s Magazine issue suggests reformers have looked in the wrong place – and hints that kids succeed not just through academics, but points to new insight from the cutting-edge neurological and psychological research that Toronto-born journalist Paul Tough surveys in his book How Children Succeed.

Our children’s inability to deal with disappointment, dissatisfaction and upset have played the biggest role in their ability to succeed. Good old fashion character-building and personality traits like persistence, grit, curiosity, self-control, and conscientiousness—play a crucial role in life’s outcomes asserts Paul Tough.

Tough explains in the The Maclean’s article “I came into this interested in the problems of poor kids,” says Tough, “but whenever I talked about ‘character’ education to people from well-off schools, they’d say, ‘Oh, we’ve had that for decades.’ ” Tough goes on to describe two different types of character: moral (Are you fair? Are you honest?) and performance (Are you tenacious? Are you a hard worker?).

While Tough’s book lists the poorest children’s many crippling obstacles or ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) to educational success ranging from unemployment; disability; depression; substance abuse; household or community violence; the often frequent upheavals; along with the statistically high probability that many children are being raised primarily by an uneducated single mother, but he also points out that ACEs can also cross class lines (family breakup is a significant one).

Studies have shown a child’s reaction to constant stress or accumulating ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), changes their brain chemistry, making them depressed, anxious and, at times, traumatized. While the affluent can be poor parents, the disadvantaged can be great parents, however, parents encumbered with a challenging living environment and limited resources find it more difficult to deliver great parenting skills leaving their ACE-high children to arrive in the classroom marked by an inability to handle stressful situations (aggression or panic attacks being common responses), with poor concentration, disjointed social skills and a simple inability to sit still.

Two great studies on how kids succeed

To illustrate that kids succeed on more that academics, two noteworthy educational initiatives focusing on low-income black and Hispanic kids – the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Academy in the South Bronx in 1999 and the 1960 Perry Preschool Project were cited in the article.

Yale Grad student, David Levin, through a mix of high-intensity teaching and profound behaviour modification ushered 38 Grade Four KIPP Academy students through stellar grade school academic achievement on to hi-school and into college acceptance. The KIPP program’s success grew and today there are now more than 100 schools. However, as the original 38 students transitioned through college, the once academically successful students didn’t fare as well with only 21% of the students graduating from college.

Levin ultimately realized that the minority who persevered through college were not necessarily the most academically gifted. Instead they were the ones with grit and resilience, the ones who could accept a bad grade and resolve to do better, the ones who sought extra help, who did the work to master boring but necessary steps along the road.

Persistence and Grit help Kids Succeed

The 1960 Perry Preschool Project, a high-quality two-year pre-kindergarten program, followed enlisted children of low-income, low-IQ parents in the black neighbourhoods of the industrial town of Ypsilanti, Michigan through adulthood. Initially considered an abysmal failure when the Grade 3 results showed that the Perry Project participants IQ test scores were no better than the control group.

It wasn’t until Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman reviewed the adult data that the success of the Perry Project was revealed.

“IQ may remain stubbornly unmovable after about age 8, but something else, something perhaps even more positive, happened to the treatment group. Their teachers had rated and directed their “personal behaviour” (swearing, lying, cheating, absences) and “social development” (relationships with classmates, levels of curiosity). The adults who’d enrolled in the program as kids were more likely than the control group to finish high school, to be employed at age 27 and to be earning more. And they were less likely to have been arrested and less likely to have been on welfare. The Perry reformers hadn’t increased cognitive skills, but they had ramped up non-cognitive skills to the long-term benefit of their subjects. And for those who look at proposed education interventions with a flinty eye to the cost-benefit ratio, Tough helpfully notes Heckman’s calculation: the Perry project generated $7 to $12 in economic productivity, and it decreased taxpayer costs (health care, police, welfare), for every dollar put into it.”

Who teaches character?

Kids succeed with character, the tenacious kind, but who teaches that? Can we really expect our teachers to take on that responsibility or do we as parents need to re-think how we raise our children? Here’s an excerpt from Are We Raising a Nation of Wimpy Kids?

Apparently, in our efforts to protect our children’s self-esteem and nurture our culture of instant gratification we have unwittingly created a nation of wimps as Dr. Jared Balmer, a contributor to the FamilyIQ’s clinical advisory board; member of the Joint Commission Youth Advisory Council; and leader in the field of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, advocates. Well intentioned as it may appear,” chides Dr. Balmer, “the net effect is making kids more fragile and that may be why adolescents are breaking down in record numbers.”

Tired of Being a Nag Hag?

Nag Hag be Gone

Would you like your Nag Hag to just be gone? Do you wonder how you got here? How did you turn into this Nag Hag? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and question what happened to that fun lovin’ gal who made folks laugh and was the life of the party?

A Nag Hag rant only proves how impotent
you are as a parent

Raising my teenage son has had me question my good manners, my behavior, and frankly my sanity. Everything I believed to be true about my personality has been challenged and hung out to dry. I have been driven to the precipice and dangled dangerously on the edge and come perilously close to taking a long walk off a short pier . . . or forcing my son to! . . . and even then, he still didn’t clean his room!

When my Nag Hag readied to scrimmage, inevitably THE ROOM was the objective

What are your non-negotiables?

Now truthfully, it’s only moms who care about THE ROOM. Husbands are nonplussed at their wife’s sheer rigor for the campaign; and your teen, who hasn’t seen the carpet in THE ROOM since forever, can’t figure out what the big deal is because there’s a path to the bed! All I could think about was a Bermuda triangle: a vortex of sweat, stale farts and toxic socks. After all, what would people think about me?

Fact is, it should never have been about me. We moms have too big an investment in our image. Your teen doesn’t care about your mental health, why should you own their problems with cleanliness, tardiness, and homework?

When your Nag Hag threatens consider this:

“It’s all about a power struggle and control”, explains Dr. James Jones in his Effective Parenting Audio for FamilyIQ entitled, Rescuing and Teenage Retirement. “The universe is not set-up to control others. The world is set-up to have free agency. When the issue becomes control, all is lost. [Your children] have nothing to lose and everything to gain; you on the other hand only prove how impotent you are as a parent.”

Being a Nag Hag is akin to being in battle

In a recent Ted Talk by Scilla Elworthy (see link below) on Fighting Violence with Non-Violence, I was reminded of a quote from Confucius on the parallels between family conflict and world conflict:

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order;
to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life;
and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

Elworthy explains that for change to take place we must understand and adopt three things: Similarly for our Nag Hag to be gone, we must embrace these same three fundamentals of change.

1. Self Knowledge: What are my formidable strengths and what drives me to collapse? What has to happen within me for change to take place?
2. Our Fear: Elworthy describes the three o’clock in the morning monster of angst that wakes us as “My fear growing fat on the energy I feed it.” She challenges us to rise from our tortured and trouble sleep, have a cup of tea and, “Sit with your fear. You’re the adult, fear is the child. How can you help comfort it and resolve it?”
3. Our Anger:
“Wherever there is injustice there is anger, ” Elworthy declares when describing the world stage. Our home life is the same, whether real or imagined, if our sullen teen believes there has been an injustice delivered by his parents – he’s angry – and so are his parents if they believe he has committed an injustice with respect to their family values.

“Anger is like gasoline – spray it around and it becomes an inferno,” explains Elworthy, “but it is also a powerful engine. Anger can give us the energy to drive us through unjust situations. It is hopeless to be angry with people, they are just doing what they believe to be true. We need to and we must funnel the anger to drive change in the situation.”

If I knew then what I know now . . .

I would have learned how to stop being the message. I would have learned how to extract myself from the situation and employ consequences to teach my son about being a free agent; the responsibility of choice and the privilege of independent decision. “Consequences”, Dr. Jones shares, “that are reasonable, relative and consistent, can actually change behavior and instruct responsibility.” Now that’s a gift!

Older and wiser parents told us when our son was born to cherish those early years, because when he turned 13 we were going to turn stupid and we’d stay that way until he was 21. The early years were a friggin’ honeymoon compared to the painful passage of time with our teenage alien.

Now we’ve come to learn through FamilyIQ’s treasure chest of Effective Parenting information that our teen alien phenomenon was not an isolated incident. If only my Nag Hag had known about the maturing cocktail of raging hormones, identity formation, and immature executive function; if only I’d had information like that provided through articles like, “Teenage Brian: A Work in Progress”, I would have known that an adolescent’s brain doesn’t mature until at least 25 years of age . . . well duh!  When you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s easy to make mistakes.

We’re going to be stuck in stupid for a few more years, so there’s still time for my Nag Hag to be gone and a whole new relationship to begin. There’s a lot of stuff we make a big issue of that’s never as important as the relationship.

Learn how to be an Effective Parent through the amazing parenting skills offered by FamilyIQ through assessments, audios, and self-administered online interactive courses created by industry professionals. If you’d really like your Nag Hag gone, the change begins with you. Put your heart right and learn to be the parent you want to be.  Opt-In on the form below to try a FREE ASSESSMENT

Scilla Elworthy, founded Peace Direct which supports local action against conflict, and Oxford Research Group, a think-tank devoted to developing effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics. To view her TedTalk on Fighting Violence with Non-Violence . . . and think about your Nag Hag be Gone.


Avoid the Family Vacation from Hell!

Learn to Glean Great things from your Family Vacation

Family Vacation: The family that plays together, stays together

Did you know that a family vacation can actually strengthen relationships, build trust and a have profound physiological connection? But it’s not just any family vacation.

Mark Hobbins, CEO of FamilyIQ, the company that provides state of the art family skill building tools to improve family relationships designates family recreation as one of the nine crucial components that measure a family’s healthy compatibility and helps to define a family’s relationship IQ.

Ever had a Family Vacation from hell?

You know those journeys they cost a wack of dough and the only memorable thing is the never-ending chant of, “are we there yet”; followed closely by “I’m bored”; and right on the on the heels of “I hate you, I just want to be with my friends at the mall”?

Our most memorable trip was a journey to Mexico with our 16-year-old son and his buddy. We parents, well, mostly me, were filled with such great hope and expectations about all the fun we were going to have! We took an off-road journey through the mountains; zipped-lined in the jungle, surfed the waves at a deserted beach, and had some wonderful restaurant meals – but all they wanted to do was sleep in, watch TV; play game boy and the highlight of their trip was a visit to a Mexican Walmart.

And the fun just didn’t end there, on our return home as the Visa bills unfolded, we just delighted in each new payment reminiscing about the wonderful experience we’d had with these two teenage boys. Our only solace was poolside at the resort and eavesdropping on other parent’s exasperated conversations about their kids – ah yes, we were not alone in our family vacation from hell. And to think we actually paid for the torture.

A family vacation that changes the turf dynamic
has a profound but subtle shift on a subconscious level

So while the trips are great – and despite our Mexican sojourn, I’m sure there have been many happy tales of great vacations, but the role of recreation in your family vacation changes the whole dynamic. When a parent participates in recreational activities with a child, the parent shifts the playing field of control and a feeling of closeness can blossom because you’re all on common ground.

The FamilyIQ professionals have witnessed the amazing dynamic:

Physical Activity a great teaching tool and healthier lifestyle

Like adults, kids can experience stress and physiological tension – exercise is a great way to release stress for everyone. Recreational activities not only enhance large motor skills, but children involved in sports also develop emotionally, socially and cognitively at a superior rate to those who are more isolated and less active. Physical activity is also a great teaching tool through recreational activities kids also learn how to wait their turn, to be more emotionally connected and to be more empathetic.

So what is Family Recreation?

Recreation is defined as a pastime, diversion, exercise or other resource that affords relaxation and enjoyment. What are the benefits of making recreation a priority in your family? What value can physical activity, such as biking, hiking or even walking together, impart to your family? Watch your family closeness blossom, as you learn how indeed, the family that plays together does stay together!

A Family Vacation and the Ties that Bind

There are certain types of activities that are more conducive to building stronger relationships than others. For example, activities that involve physical touch may provide a marked improvement in relationships. FamilyIQ can point to studies that have found families who participate in regular recreation tend to be closer to each other.

  • riding a rollercoaster or playing a game of tag where body contact in an atmosphere of fun is inevitable can elicit a stronger sense of closeness and trust
  • choose activities that inspire a connection and appropriate physical touch – it will enhance your family connections
  • for example, while a game of scrabble is great the participation of twister because of the physical touch is more meaningful
  • get involved – this is how you role as a family

 A family that plays together stays together

Trust is not a given, it must be earned. Relational activities, Mark Hobbins recommends, like camping and hiking have the greatest capacity for change in a family.

The trip to Disneyland is great entertainment,says Hobbins, but should not be done at the expense of learning to entertain ourselves.

Activities often provide fertile ground for planting seeds that you as a parent would like to convey to your child in a non-threatening environment. “Create a culture of doing” advises Hobbins, “When combining teaching of a hobby or skill the child may view the parent as a welcomed teacher and the child may be more accepting of instruction in what is relevant to the activity and what may be offered as the parent’s on council of life”.

When families create ties that bind through the enjoyment of recreational time together, they secure the family against negative influence that place an opposite pull on the family unity. Simple and easygoing playtime is not just for kids.

Avoid that Family Vacation from Hell. Learn how to define the role of recreation in your family and understand how your relationship with your kids can be strengthened and discover the physical and emotional benefits of family recreation. We don’t know what we don’t know. The best time to have the map is before we enter the woods. Take the quick and concise course with FamilyIQ and be all that you can be.