Archive for Communication

Our Children’s Inner Voice

Posted on Communication, Parenting, Self-Esteem January 20, 2016 by Mary George

     In our workshops and presentations we sometimes talk about how "we are our children's inner voice." As parents we try hard to instill a sense of goodness, confidence and integrity to help guide our children throughout their lives to make thoughtful, positive decisions. We do this through our everyday role modeling and communication with them. When we talk to them about situations as they arise, we can discuss what happens when they make one decision verses the other. We hope that this will help teach them how to think through situations thus giving them powerful decision making skills. But what about the many hours of the day that our children are with other adults? What are our children's "inner voices" hearing and learning from them? 

     Times have definitely changed in the classroom environment as I feel most teachers today work hard to help build our children's self esteem. They walk a fine line between teaching, understanding learning styles and disciplining. The days of considering a strict teacher a good teacher are no longer. I can remember when I was a child having teachers that I was afraid to ask questions to because of fear of being ridiculed and put down. Or the teachers who clearly did not like student in the class and they made it apparent. Teaching has evolved to understanding the whole child which is an incredibly difficult job. I commend the many teachers who take it on because that understanding of MY children is what will guide them towards their strengths and help them gain confidence to believe that they can do whatever it is that they put their mind to doing. Their teachers also become our children's inner voice. 

     One of the more questionable areas that our children must navigate is having coaches with many different styles. Children and adults respond differently to how a person speaks to them in any environment. For some reason though some of us tend to think that a coach who yells and berates is a right of passage. "It happened to me, it's going to happen to him." I realize that I am not a person who played sports at a high level but why is this attitude so pervasive in sports? Is it supposed to make them tough? Yes, some people are motivated by being yelled at but my guess is that most are not. We recently had a situation in which one of our kids and his team was yelled at and berated by their coach. As a mother, it was excruciating to watch. My child's body language was such that he clearly was terrified to make a mistake for fear of the coach's wrath. Some of the children on the team (yes, children- 10 and under) would rather not be put in the game because they would be yelled at by the coach. What do our children gain for this experience? What from this experience becomes their "inner voice?" Obviously this became a teaching moment for us to talk with our son about but at his young age why can we not just say "go have fun?" He is still at such a wonderful, naive age that he thinks that he will either go to the NBA or NFL but with a coach like he had, his belief in himself gets crushed and his love of the game becomes muddled with disdain for what he calls his "mean coach." Not to mention a happy, 10 year old's dream begins to die a bit. 

     We, personally, do not believe that our children should get a trophy for showing up and we are not helicopter parents. I do think though that it is important for our children to build positive self esteem at an early age to help them navigate circumstances and make good decisions as they grow up and throughout their lives. I want their "inner voice" to be loud and strong with confidence and integrity. 

—Mary & Claire

 

**My Remarkable Self is available to give workshops, school/camp assemblies and classes for parents, students, educators and businesses. Please contact us at info@myremarkableself.com for further information.**

© Kids Empowered LLC and My Remarkable Self® 2016

 

Sexting 101- How to Protect Your Children

Posted on Communication, General, Technology November 13, 2015 by Mary George

Just this week these are the SEXTING stories among teenagers that were uncovered:

Parma Heights, Ohio — A 15-year-old girl told her family, district administrators and police that nude photos of her had been posted and shared on the internet and at school.The teenager took the pictures for her boyfriend, but he never deleted the photos after the two broke up.Investigators said it was like something out of the movie ‘Mean Girls.’ Several teenage girls hacked into the boy’s phone, stole the pictures and then began sending them to other people, eventually posting them on a fake Instagram account which they had created.

Long Island, New York – Two fifteen-year-olds were suspended from school for opening a sex video on their smartphones and sending them out on a group text message. About 20 Long Island students were suspended for up to five days for forwarding the video or simply receiving it. Two of the students were arrested and charged with felonies for allegedly shooting a video of the one of them having sex with a girl and distributing it. Felonies are for distributing child pornography.

Canon City, Colorado — Students at a Colorado high school exchanged hundreds of naked photos of themselves, prompting a felony investigation by police and the forfeiture of a football game because many players have been implicated in the sexting scandal, officials said.

Sexting is not going away, it is growing dramatically. How crazy is it that just this week 3 major stories came out in various parts the United States. It happens everywhere – big cities, small towns, and in all socio-economic groups. So what is the true definition of sexting? According to Wikipedia “Sexting is sending and receiving sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones.” While this definition has now been expanded to include social media sites, the legal definition and laws vary from state to state. Teenagers do not understand the consequnces and/or the legal ramifications of sexting. In many states it constitutes felony charges that label them as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. So what can you do to help protect your child from having this happen to them?

  1. 1.  Communication is key – We cannot express this enough. Understanding what they are doing both on and offline can only truly be achieved by talking to them. How you communicate with your child is incredibly important. Are you listening to them or are you busy on your phone or doing work? Last week in our Mother/Daughter workshop that we had, the daughters told us that what they wanted was undistracted time with their Mothers. Meaning they did not want their parents on phones or dealing with other siblings. They wanted to be heard. And you want that too in order to know what they are doing and what is going on with them. It allows for teaching, listening and understanding them. It helps them to believe that what they have to say is important. All of these together will help to protect them. Research states that the communication that takes place at family meals is linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. So keep talking!
  2. 2.  Understand what your child is doing online. Children should not be given a smartphone or other technology without rules and parameters. Think of the web as the wild west – anything is out there for anyone to find. Create rules for your family to follow that suits your family. Follow your child or be there friend on social media. You do not need to comment or make yourself known but if your child knows that you are paying attention to his/her posts, they will think before they post, tweet or send something. And know who your child’s friends are. If there is an app that they have and you do not know what it is, find out. Ask them or research it. You need to know.
  3. 3.  Be the parent. Often parents let their child take the lead with technology. They are afraid that their child will be left out of the cool kids group if they do not have the latest and greatest. I heard a child telling her friend the other day, “I have almost broken my Mom down to give me Instagram. I keep bothering her about it and telling her that all my friends have it.” It is not your child’s choice – it is your choice as the parent. You pay for their technology and you will be held responsible too if they misuse it. It is yours to take away if they break your rules. Do you let them tell you what their curfew is?

 

Sexting is a very scary and growing problem with our children. The consequences of being involved with sexting can affect them for the rest of their lives. It is so very important to be the parent and take the lead with your child’s technology use. Talk to them, understand what they are doing and pay attention. We have to be vigilant in this new cyberworld to protect our children.

 

–Mary & Claire

 

My Remarkable Self® gives student, parent, educator and corporate presentations or assemblies on Cyberbullying, Cyberharassment & Navigating Social Media. Contact us at info@myremarkableself.com for further information.

**My Remarkable Self is available to give workshops, school/camp assemblies and classes for parents, students, educators and businesses. Please contact us for further information.**

© Kids Empowered LLC and My Remarkable Self® 2015