How to Talk to Kids about War/Violent Events

  • Give reassurance of safety and physical comfort

  • Don't dismiss your child's fears.

  • Provide structure and stability.

  • Let children express their feelings of sadness and confusion.

  • Help children to talk.

  • Turn off the television to avoid repetitive news.  Watch television together with your older children to help them with their feelings of fear and confusion.

  • Provide opportunities for children to release their tension and cope with feelings by providing plenty of time for physical activity.

  • Promote peaceful resolution to conflicts.

  • Watch for changes in your child's behavior.

  • Obtain support from others for yourself and children.

www.Aboutourkids.org/ gives parents access to many articles regarding coping with trauma.  Robin Goodman's (1999) Childhood Revealed: Art Expressing Pain, Discovery, and Hope is also an excellent resource for parents and teachers.

 

 

Ways to Build a Child's Self-Esteem

  • Express your love for your children regularly and often.  Show them and tell them every day how much they mean to you.  Listen without interrupting; talk without yelling.

  • Take a direct role in encouraging social competence.  Choose residential neighborhoods where playmates are available and where flat areas, parks, and playgrounds make it possible for children to play outdoors.

  • Promote social skills by organizing informal and play group activities for children and supervise them to ensure that positive interactions occur.

  • Respect your child's unique qualities.  If your child does something well, encourage and praise their efforts.

  • Applaud effort, not just outcome.

Self-esteem is now recognized as a key to children's successful development.  Self-esteem is a set of skills that allows a child to keep trying, to keep learning, and to keep caring.

If you would like more information on self-esteem, The Confident Child (1997) written by T. Apter is a good read.  What Kids Need to Succeed (1998) written by Benson, Gailbraith & Espeland is also an easy to read parent friendly book.

 

 

Reducing Stress

Adults most commonly cite anger and stress as the source of greatest discontent with themselves as parents.

Parents can manage their anger by explaining to a child that some situations may arouse anger.

Demonstrate how to avoid arousing anger and show that the anger is not personally directed at the child. As adults learn to manage their own emotions, an important example is set for your children.

When stress can't be avoided we should not compensate by offering presents.

Keep the lines of communications open by:

* Setting aside quite time with your child

* Make your positive feelings known

* Give your child opportunities to make decisions

* Acknowledge your child's emotions

* Never deny the anger that you feel


Additional resources for dealing with stress in children and adults can be found in Dr. Anthony Coletta's book, What's Best for Kids and David Elkind's, The Hurried Child.

 

Developing Positive Character Traits in Children

  • Honesty - Be completely honest with your children.  This principle can always be applied and will demonstrate your commitment to it.  Be a role model for your children.  Give praise and the chance to "start-over."

  • Courage - Praise your child's attempts.  Reward even smallest evidence of courage in children of any age.  Teach by your own example and point it out to your children.  Teach by your own example and point it out to your children.  Teach children to look people in the eye.

  • Peacability - Children need calmness.  Peace and the control of one's temper are a powerful and important value that is largely a product of love and of the atmosphere created in the home.  Play restful music and control the loudness of your voice.

  • Self-reliance and Potential - Take responsibility for ones own actions.  Let children see that you can accept responsibility and blame.  Let them see that you take pride in who your are and that you are working to improve.

These four character traits are from Linda and Richard  Eyre's book, Teaching Your Children Values (1993).  They recommend a twelve-month system encouraging parents to focus on one value each month.

 

Managing the Strong-willed Child


Define the boundaries before they are enforced.
When defiantly challenged, respond with confident decisiveness.
Reassure and teach after the confrontation is over.
Avoid impossible demands.
Model attitudes we wish to teach.
Use an attitude chart with a point system and consequences.
Let love be your guide.

Dobson (1978) believes that strong-willed children possess more creative potential and strength of character that their compliant siblings, provided that parents help them channel impulses and gain control of rampaging will. When a parent refuses to accept his child's defiant challenge, something changes in the parent-child relationship. The youngster begins to look at his mother and father with disrespect.

Dobson's book The Strong-willed Child is an excellent resource for parents and teachers.

 

Discussing Hospitalization with your child

Discuss your own anxieties concerning your child's surgery with their doctor or nurse.  Know what is going to take place, so you can prepare your child.

Take your child on a tour of the hospital, so it will look familiar to them.

Explain procedures in simple terms.

Read them books concerning hospital stays.  Fred Rogers, Going to the Hospital and Pat Crampon's Miffy's in the Hospital are two good children's books.  Young children will benefit from role-playing with dolls or teddy bears.

Reassure your child that you will be waiting for him/her when the procedure is finished.  Use stickers or hero badges to symbolize courage for your child.

Relieve guilt.  Let your child know that it is not their fault that they need the operation/hospitalization.

 

 

Talking to your children ...

Be available whenever and wherever your children want to talk. Visit "Take time to talk/make time to listen," website at http://www.mentalhealth.org/15plus/aboutus.asp
 
When your children speak, really listen.

Communicate in a place that is comfortable for your children.
 
Spend quality time with each child. Make that time special - tell them it's special.

Communicate using "I" messages. Focus on the effect of a child's behavior or you rather that the bad behavior. This is less threatening than to suggest that there is something bad about the child. "I" messages provoke less rebellion.
 
Be an active listener. Listen to your child's statements and then frame a response similar to the child's statement. Listen to children's feelings is sometimes all that's needed to resolve the problem.

Dr. Thomas Gordon's, Parent Effectiveness Training (1975) and Dr. Anthony Coletta's, What's Best for Kids (1987) are additional helpful books for parents.

 

Reducing Sibling Rivalry

Don't inflame the natural jealousness of children. Parents should guard against comparative statements, which routinely favor one child over another especially when referring to physical attractiveness, body characteristics, intelligence, and athletic abilities.
Establish a workable system of justice. Parents need to establish rules and a balance of power at home. This plan required respect for the parent and willingness by the parent to mediate and occasional enforcement or punishment.
Recognize the hidden target of sibling rivalry in you. Make boundaries clear and act decisively the instant the altercation occurs. Approach a conflict with self-respect and restraint and enforce reasonable limits with love and dignity.



Additional information can be found in Mazlich's (1999), Siblings with out Rivalry: How to Help your Children Live Together so You Can Live Too.

 

Helping your child make healthy choices

Be an effective role model. Set good examples with good eating habits and regular exercise.
Eat dinner together as a family. This gives families quality time to communicate about their child's day. The best place for you and your children is to eat the family table away from distractions such as the television.
Provide your child with lots of nutritious food choices while maintaining appropriate-sized servings.
Balance the food you eat with physical activity.
Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits.
Choose a diet moderate in sugars and salt.
Choose a diet that provides enough calcium and iron to meet your child's growing body requirements. If your child doesn't care for milk, encourage cheese and yogurt.
Drink plenty of water (7-8 large glasses a day is a good approximation.)


Together you and your family will feel fit both inside and out. For more dietary tips visit http://www.keepkidshealthy.com

 

Involve yourself in your child's education

Make learning a family affair. Involve the whole family with learning games (in the car, supermarket or home.)
Talk to your children every day about school and what they learned and enjoyed about the day.
Communicate regularly with your children's teachers and attend school conferences.
Get involved with the Parent/Teacher Group (PTA, PTO, or HSA)
Provide positive learning environments in your house by having books, magazines and newspaper available for your children. Read with your children-get into a daily habit. If your child enjoys sports - read the sports page.

Reading to children, encouraging conversation and verbal expression are vital to the learning process and provide lessons and activities that develop children's skills, all which contribute to a child's academic success.

Research has shown that children whose parents are highly involved attain higher levels of education and economic self-sufficiency. A high level of parental involvement throughout adolescence has been associated with lower levels of child delinquency and better psychological well being.


For information on joining Franklin School's Home & School Association, leave your name and telephone number at 973-827-9775 ext 470 and someone will gladly return your call.