Summer is almost here and what a better time to catch up on relaxation and reading!
By Connect with Kids www.connectwithkids.com
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, in the year 2005, nearly half a million people were treated in emergency rooms for self-inflicted wounds. More of them were teenagers than any other age group. Experts say most aren’t trying to die, they’re crying out for help.
“We actually call it suicidal gestures,” says Dr. Apfelbaum. “…a way of asking for help without actually doing something too harmful.”
Family support and time away at boarding school helped Melissa pull her life back together and stop the vicious cycle of self-inflicted pain.
What exactly constitutes self-injury? According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), self-injury is the act of deliberately destroying body tissue – at times to change a way of feeling. Lately it has become a popular among adolescents, and its forms may include the following:
Picking and pulling skin and hair
Excessive body piercing
Physical abuse, such as domestic violence
Sexual abuse, such as rape or child abuse
Verbal abuse, such as bullying
Childhood neglect from one or both parents
Physical Illness or disability
Loss of freedom
To accept reality and find ways to make the present moment more tolerable
To identify feelings and talk them out rather than acting on them
To distract himself or herself from feelings of self-harm (counting to 10, waiting 15 minutes, saying “NO!” or “STOP!,” practicing breathing exercises, journaling, drawing, thinking about positive images, using ice and rubber bands, etc.)
To stop, think and evaluate the pros and cons of self-injury
To soothe himself or herself in a positive, non-injurious way
To practice positive stress management
To develop better social skills
The most severe cases of self-injury result in suicide. The CDC estimates about 32,000 people commit suicide every year in the United States. It is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old. The National Association of School Psychologists cites the following signs indicating that your child’s self-injurious behavior may be escalating to suicide:
Threats: Threats may be direct statements (“I want to die” or “I am going to kill myself”) or, unfortunately, indirect comments (“The world would be better without me” and “Nobody will miss me anyway”). Among teens, indirect clues could be offered through joking or through comments in school assignments, particularly creative writing or artwork.
Source: The Nemours Foundation
You’ve lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the but-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-school-today blues. So why is the word “teenager” causing you so much anxiety?
When you consider that the teen years are a period of intense growth, not only physically but morally and intellectually, it’s understandable that it’s a time of confusion and upheaval for many families.
Despite some adults’ negative perceptions about teens, they are often energetic, thoughtful, and idealistic, with a deep interest in what’s fair and right. So, although it can be a period of conflict between parent and child, the teen years are also a time to help children grow into the distinct individuals they will become.
Understanding the Teen Years
So when, exactly, does adolescence start? The message to send your kid is: Everybody’s different. There are early bloomers, late arrivals, speedy developers, and slow-but-steady growers. In other words, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal.
But it’s important to make a (somewhat artificial) distinction between puberty and adolescence. Most of us think of puberty as the development of adult sexual characteristics: breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair, and facial hair. These are certainly the most visible signs of impending adulthood, but children between the ages of 10 and 14 (or even younger) can also be going through a bunch of changes that aren’t readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.
Many kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They’re starting to separate from Mom and Dad and to become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and they’re desperately trying to fit in.
Kids often start “trying on” different looks and identities, and they become acutely aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents.
One of the common stereotypes of adolescence is the rebellious, wild teen continually at odds with Mom and Dad. Although that extreme may be the case for some kids and this is a time of emotional ups and downs, that stereotype certainly is not representative of most teens.
But the primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. For this to occur, teens will start pulling away from their parents – especially the parent whom they’re the closest to. This can come across as teens always seeming to have different opinions than their parents or not wanting to be around their parents in the same way they used to.
1. Make sure your child understands the rules.
Ask that he drive with an adult for at least his first 500 miles behind the wheel.
Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation through gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by e-mail (cyberbullying).
There is no one single cause of bullying among children. Rather, individual, family, peer, school, and community factors can place a child or youth at risk for bullying his or her peers.
Characteristics of children who bully
Children who bully their peers regularly (i.e., those who admit to bullying more than occasionally) tend to:
- Be impulsive, hot-headed, dominant;
- Be easily frustrated;
- Lack empathy;
- Have difficulty following rules; and
- View violence in a positive way.
Boys who bully tend to be physically stronger than other children.