10 Ways To Be An Upstander

Bullying and cyberbullying is an issue that everyone is concerned about.  From verbal abuse to online harassment, words can be used as lethal weapons.

On the same measure, words can be used to build people up too!

Your words matter, keystrokes count — how will you use them?

10 Ways you can become an upstander by School Climate:

  1. Learn more about mean, cruel, and bullying behavior. Educate yourself and your community with the resources on BullyBust.org. For example: Why do kids bully? Where does bullying take place most often in your school? What are the effects of bullying? How can we prevent it? Understanding this information will help you if you are bullied, and will help you to stand up to bullies if a friend or classmate is being bullied.
  2. Help others who are being bullied. Be a friend, even if this person is not yet your friend. Go over to them. Let them know how you think they are feeling. Walk with them. Help them to talk to an adult about what just happened. (Just think for a moment about how great this would be if someone did this for you when you were being picked on or hurt!)
  3. Stop untrue or harmful messages from spreading online or in person. If someone sends a message or tells you a rumor that you know is untrue, stand up and let the person know it is wrong. Think about how you would feel if someone spread an untrue rumor about you. Don’t laugh, send the message on to friends, or add to the story. Make it clear that you do not think that kind of behavior is cool or funny.
  4. Get friends involved. Share this site (and other related sites) with friends. Let people know that you are an upstander and encourage them to be one too. Sign the Stand Up Pledge, and make it an everyday commitment for you and your friends.
  5. Make friends outside of your circle. Eat lunch with someone who is alone. Show support for a person who is upset at school, by asking them what is wrong or bringing them to an adult who can help.
  6. Be aware of the bullying and upstander policies at your school and keep it in mind when you witness bullying. What are the school’s bully prevention policies? Are there also policies that “catch” kids “being good”? How can you support school rules and codes of conduct support students and adults doing the right thing? If there isn’t a policy, get involved or ask teachers or front office staff to speak about how you can reduce bullying.
  7. Welcome new students. If someone is new at your school, make an effort to introduce them around and make them comfortable. Imagine how you would feel leaving your friends and coming to a new school.
  8. Refuse to be a “bystander” and be a role model to others instead! If you see friends or classmates laughing along with the bully, tell them that they are contributing to the problem. Let them know that kind of behavior is not okay in your school.
  9. Respect others’ differences and help others to respect differences. It’s cool for people to be different—that’s what makes all of us unique. Join a diversity club at school to help promote tolerance in your school.
  10. Develop an Upstander/ Prevention program or project with a teacher or principal’s support that will help reduce bullying and promote socially responsible behavior in school. Bring together a team of students, parents and teachers who are committed to preventing bullying, and create a community-wide project to raise awareness, share stories and develop helpful supports. Learn more about how to start an Upstander Alliance at www.bullybust.org/upstander and access free support to sustain your team.

What Is Your Emoticons Saying About You?

emoticonsMost everyone, whether you are an adult or teen, have experienced what a headache it can be to have something you’ve written be misread or taken out of context – the back-pedaling, the awkward explanations, and then explaining the explanations.

Yes, communicating online is a tricky thing.

Since the creation of emoticons, thankfully, we’ve had some visual cues at our disposal to help convey feeling or intent more clearly. Emoticons, or icons that indicate emotion by the use of keyboard characters, have become an integral part of our online lexicon.

As a textual shorthand for everything from instant messaging to text messaging, there are 10 essential emoticons you need to know:

  1. :-) The Smiley Face – This one is the grand-daddy of them all, the first-born of our “iconic” lingo. It tells the reader that whatever is said in association with it is intended to be read in a friendly/jovial/non-threatening tone.
  2. 😉 The Wink – Another versatile character, this emoticon expresses anything from playfulness, flirtation, to a sort of “just between you and me” confidentiality. It’s also frequently used, as is the smiley face, to say “just kidding”. Careful with these two. Use them too often, and it becomes obvious to the recipient that you’re really not just kidding.
  3. 😦 The Frown – Expresses sadness, disapproval, sympathy, or “I just figured out that you really aren’t just kidding”. I told you to be careful.
  4. 😀 The Laughing Face – Self-explanatory, but context is important here. You’d like to know, after all, whether you’re sharing in the laugh – or being laughed at.
  5. :^* The Kiss – When you’ve moved beyond the simple smile or flirtatious wink, it’s time to pucker up with this little number. This can be used to maximum effect when combined with:
  6. ( ) The Hug – A parenthetic embrace, the hug conveys affection or empathy. Additional parentheses can be used for emphasis, but use this one sparingly, lest it lose its charm. Also, as in the case of all emoticons, the hug is not recommended for business correspondence. You could be labeled a suck-up … or worse.
  7. ❤ The Heart – Another emoticon for saying ‘I love you’. When used in conjunction with the kiss and the hug, now you’re really getting sappy. Easy does it. You can’t take these things back, you know.
  8. :-O The Surprised Face – This one expresses shock or dismay, as in:“I can’t believe you just e-mailed hugs to the GM, you suck-up”. Combine this with the laughing face when someone shares a bawdy joke or story.
  9. :-/ Confused Face – Bewilderment, apprehension. “How am I going to explain those hugs to all my co-workers, and what the heck was I thinking using Reply All, anyway?”
  10. { } No Comment – Empty brackets indicate that you’ve got nothing to say in response. You probably should have learned the difference before replying to that office email from the GM.

Source: Internet Service Providers

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Education in the 21st Century

In today’s dynamic classrooms, the teaching and learning process is becoming more nuanced, more seamless, and it flows back and forth from students to teachers.

Education in the 21st Century
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

 

Back to School: Dealing with Peer Pressure

PeerpressureNo matter what grade your child is entering, from elementary school to college campuses – some kids will be facing the judgment of their peers.

“Peer pressure is not always bad. It can be very good. It can be encouraging. Sometimes a person may not want to choose hi-risk behaviors and may not want to do the wrong thing because they know their friends aren’t into that.”

– Dr. Marilyn Billingsly, pediatrician

It’s conventional wisdom that peer pressure is a powerful force in the lives of kids, especially teenagers. A new University study reminds us that while peer pressure can push kids into risky behavior, it can also help kids do the right thing.

Alex Shillinger is in court facing drug charges. He says he was “worn down” by peer pressure to try marijuana.

“There were constantly people telling me, ‘Come on, just try it, just one time, it’ll be fine,’” says Alex, 18.

On the other hand, because of peer pressure, Ambra says she’s never done drugs or alcohol or had sex.

“Being around people like that, just like myself, it keeps me motivated,” says Ambra, 17.

Peers can be powerful influences, for both goodandbad behavior. A new study from the University of Southern California found that kids were less likely to use drugs if they were in a substance abuse program taught by other kids.

“Peer pressure is not always bad. It can be very good. It can be encouraging. Sometimes a person may not want to choose hi-risk behaviors and may not want to do the wrong thing because they know their friends aren’t into that,” says Dr. Marilyn Billingsly, pediatrician.

Of course, it depends on the friends — and parents have little control over that.

“I think it makes it even more important for parents to know their kids’ friends and the parents of their kids friends and monitor what’s going on with the group of friends,” Dr. Carol Drummond, Ph.D., psychologist.

If you suspect that one of your child’s friends isusing drugs, experts say to make your views on drugs loud and clear and tell your child you’re worried.

“Sometimes your kid will come back and say, ‘Listen, Mom, I know he’s drinking, doing drugs; I am not doing that.’ But at least you’ve gotten a chance to plant that message that you’ve got worries. You’ve got to watch your own child.  And if you feel like you have some concern that your child is making bad decisions, then you need to act aggressively,” says Dr. Judy Wolman, Ph.D., psychologist.

Tips for Parents

  • Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. For example, positive peer pressure can be used to pressure bullies into acting better toward other kids. If enough kids get together, peers can pressure each other into doing what’s right. (Nemours Foundation)
  • Some good behaviors that friends can pressure each other to do include: be honest, be nice, exercise, avoid alcohol, respect others, avoid drugs, work hard, don’t smoke. (National Institutes of Health, NIH)
  • You and your friends can pressure each other into some things that will improve your health and social life and make you feel good about your decisions. (NIH)

References

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Teen Depression: 10 Common Causes

Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the most well-adjusted child. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when kids suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage. After noticing the signs of depression in your teen and helping him to get the treatment he needs, understanding the root of his depression can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.

  1. Academic Stress – Kids are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause kids to become depressed, especially if they’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with their course load.
  2. Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, teenagers are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for kids that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
  3. Romantic Problems – When kids become teenagers and enter adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of their lives. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which their budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
  4. Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on kids, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or signs of depression in your teen.
  5. Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common for today’s teens than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on their emotional well-being. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
  6. Heredity – Some kids are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, your child may simply be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes him more susceptible.
  7. Family Financial Struggles – Your teenager may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation for teens, especially if they’re worried about the possibility of losing their home or the standard of living they’re accustomed to.
  8. Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though they may seem like fiercely independent beings that want or need nothing from their parents, teenagers still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
  9. Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against an adolescent to negatively affect her level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon for teens to become depressed.
  10. Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that he’s going to be affected on a personal level by things he has no control over can easily throw your teen into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.

It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your teen’s doctor about any concerns you have regarding his emotional wellbeing, especially if you suspect that he’s suffering from depression. Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. Your general practitioner or pediatrician should be able to help you determine the best course of action if your child is suffering from depression, including referrals to a specialist or medication.

Source: Babysitting.net

25 Blogs with the Best Tips for Shopping Back to School Deals

It’s never too soon to start thinking about back to school shopping. In fact, you can often save by shopping completely out of season. Oftentimes, shopping doesn’t even involve leaving your home, as online discounts are plentiful and recycling what you already have is an option, too. If you do plan to hit brick and mortar stores, there are coupons, sales and thrift stores to consider when making your back to school purchases. To help you get a head-start, here are 25 blogs for the frugal back to school shopper.

Budgeting for Back to School

Before you spend a dime, you need to know what you can afford to spend while remaining comfortably within your budget. Creating a back to school shopping budget is a great way to ensure you make the right purchases. Remember, too, that each child’s needs are different, depending on what stage of school they’ve reached. Start off by reading these five blogs, so that you don’t waste money on a spending frenzy.

Saving on Clothes

It goes without saying that your child will need a whole new wardrobe for the coming school year – or so they would have you believe. However, new doesn’t always mean off the rack, sometimes new means never before worn. Then there’s the problem of wear and tear. School age children, as is their nature, go through clothes like they’re going out of fashion. To make sure you get the best savings on back to school clothes, check out these five blogs.

Recycling, Thrift and Green Ideas

When it comes to saving on back to school clothes, supplies and books, recycling items and shopping at thrift stores offer excellent money saving options. For families who like to stay eco-friendly in everything that they do, there are plenty of back to school shopping options, too. There are treasure troves full of back to school bargains out there – you just need to take the time and effort to find them. In these five blogs you will find ideas for frugal shopping, as well as eco-friendly back to school products that won’t cost you a fortune.

School and College Text Books and Savings

While most schools will supply all the books that your child needs, there are some text books that support learning that you will have to buy yourself. However, when it comes to college age children who have to purchase all their own books, it’s time to really start hunting for those savings. The good news is, wherever there is a platform for students to sell their own text books, there’s a buyer’s market, too. Other alternatives include book-swaps, free online texts, yard sales and fairs. For both school age children and college students, there are some great resources for books available in these five blogs.

School Equipment and Supplies

As your child gets older, each year they will need more and more school equipment and supplies. Unfortunately, the cost of those supplies also greatly increases as each year passes. If you have more than one child, each with their own extra-curricular interests, you could end up out of pocket very quickly. You will find that plenty of the major outlets stock everything you need for your child going back to school, however, you probably won’t find the bargains you are hoping for. This is, perhaps, the area of back to school shopping where it is most important to make frugal purchases, so tread carefully. The advice in these five blogs will help you decide what your child needs and where to get supplies at the lowest prices.

Source:  Babysitting Jobs

Unplugging to Enjoy Outdoor Activities During the Summer

SportsSummer is almost here and many look forward to more screen time.

Have you ever wanted to bottle up a child’s energy?

Does your teen need to do more than text or use social media?

Yes, they will stop moving when there is a screen in front of their faces. It could be a TV screen or a computer screen but if they can see it they immediately assume a seated position and time will be lost. So even the most active children can have moments of lazy times in front of the TV or playing a video game. This becomes a problem if you would not recognize your child standing up or without that glazed look he gets while staring at the TV.

Sedentary activities can be allowed if they are monitored and do not become a lifestyle.  In today’s world of video games, iPods, Tablets, and texting we see more kids preferring to exercise their fingers over their bodies.  As parents we need to encourage a healthy way to stay active and burn off excess fat and calories before it becomes a problem.

Since children naturally have a ton of energy and love to play then engaging them in physical activity should not be too difficult. It is recommended that a child get 60 minutes of moderately intense exercise a day.

The one hour can be split up in half or quarters but the main goal is to make them sweat for more than not cleaning their rooms for at least 60 minutes daily. This alone can have a tremendous effect on keep their weight now and keeping them healthy.

Ways to keep your child active:

  • Martial Arts
  • Swimming
  • Join a team sport
  • Take the dog for job or a long walk
  • Bike riding
  • A quick morning routine of jumping jacks, running in place, push-ups and crunches followed by more activity later in the day.
  • Raking leaves
  • Doing yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Walking a neighbor’s dog
  • Toss a football
  • Go on a nature hunt.
  • Play catch in the front yard.
  • Kickball
  • Surfing

There are plenty of ways to keep moving. It seems so many try to calm their child down or have them satisfied by video games and TV. This will not give children the physical activity or mental stimulation they need to live a healthy life. A lot of that pent up frustration and fidgety behavior is an active kid just waiting to throw a football or go on a nature walk.

Make this a family activity and everybody wins.  Families who are active have active children.  With a rise in childhood obesity it is essential that we find activities the children enjoy.  One of the best ways to encourage an activity is by making it a family sport or activity.

Everyone in the family will benefit from working out together.

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