AMERICAN PRESSSAtuRdAy, July 13, 2013
BACK TO SCHOOL 2013-2014
Specal to the Amercan Press
Children grow and develop theirpersonalities in various ways.While many youngsters are teasedor receive some good-natured rib-bing at some point in their schoolcareers, some teasing can eventu-ally turn into bullying.The National Education Associa-tion estimates that 160,000 childrenmiss school every day due to fearof attack or intimidation by otherstudents. Furthermore, more than70 percent of students report inci-dents of bullying at their schools. Although children in lower gradeshave reported being in more fightsthan those in higher grades, thereis a higher rate of violent crimes inmiddle and high schools than in el-ementary schools. According to theassociation Make Beats Not BeatDowns, harassment and bullyinghave been linked to 75 percent of school shooting incidents.Bullying can take many forms,and learning the warning signs asa parent can help prevent harass-ment and potentially dangeroussituations.
If your child reports be-ing called names, being the recipi-ent of racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, or being spoken to in anoffensive or suggestive way, this canbe a form of verbal bullying.
Social media, email andtext messaging has become a wayfor bullies to spread malicious mes-sages or photos. In the era of digitalmedia, this type of bullying hasincreased considerably.
Some bullies engage inphysical attacks, including hitting,kicking, spitting, or other forms of physical confrontation. Destroyingpersonal property also is consid-ered physical bullying.
: Gossiping and spread-ing nasty rumors about a person isanother form of bullying. This typeof bullying may go hand-in-handwith cyber bullying.
SigS Ou CHiLiS Big BuLLi
Parents can recognize certainsigns that their child is being bul-lied at school. Bullied childrenfrequently make excuses to avoidgoing to school. While the desireto stay home is something manychildren may express, those whoare bullied may do so much morefrequently.Bullied children tend to avoidcertain places and may be sad,angry or withdrawn. They may havetrouble sleeping or experiencechanges in appetite, and bulliedyoungsters’ academic performancemay suffer. Also, parents may noticethat children return from schoolmissing some of their belongings.
SigS Ou CHiLiS TH BuLL
Parents may not want to imaginetheir children bullying other stu-dents, but bullies do exist. Childrenwho bully other kids have strongneeds for power and negative domi-nance. They may find satisfactionin causing suffering to others. Somesigns that your child may be a bullyinclude:
easily becoming violent withothers
having friends who bully others
blaming others quickly
comes home with belongingsthat do not belong to him or her
getting in trouble with teachersor school administrators
picking on siblings
not accepting responsibility foractionsThere are ways parents canteach their children to act properlywhen faced with a bully. First, par-ents should explain that bullying isnot the child’s fault and he or shedoes not deserve to be picked on.Next, parents can let childrenknow that being assertive but notviolent with bullies may diffuse thesituation, as some bullies thriveon the fear of their victims. If thebullying behavior continues, thestudent should speak to an adult orauthority figure.Parents of bullies may need to beespecially mindful of their chil-dren’s behavior. Counseling couldbe necessary to determine whatis compelling kids to bully otherstudents.
Learn the early warning signs of bullying
Special to the American Press
Bllyn can take many forms, and learnn the warnn sns as a parent can help prevent harassment and po-tentally daneros statons.
Specal to the Amercan Press
These days, bullying isn’t onlyhappening in the schoolyard. TheInternet has changed things tosuch an extent that students arenow vulnerable to bullying at-tacks at any time of day or night.Cyberbullying can have seriousconsequences and should betaken seriously.What is cyberbullying? It is theharassment of an individual thatcomes in the form of insulting,degrading, or threatening actsthrough emails, instant messag-ing, private or public posts andcomments on social networks anddiscussion groups. Even if themessages are not spoken out loud,the consequences can be disas-trous: loss of self-confidence,social isolation and even suicide.
LOg A COPLAiT
It is imperative to do some-thing about this type of situationas soon as it first arises. Studentsshould inform their parents or amember of the school’s personnel.Threats should be reported tothe police. People must be awarethat slander, extortion, criminalharassment, fabricated messages,and the uttering of threats areconsidered to be violations of thecriminal code. Civil courts area recourse for that type of case.Before lodging a complaint orattempting to sue a cyberbully,it is important not to delete themessages in question, as they willbe required as proof.
It is possible to prevent cyber-bullying. Some actions to take:never respond to a bully; protectpersonal information; inform theInternet or cell phone serviceprovider about incidents; andimmediately close the Web envi-ronment where the intimidationis taking place. Lastly, parentsshould monitor what their chil-dren are using the Internet forand be vigilant for any signsof distress, such as an unusualreluctance to go to school, fear oranxiety.
Cyberbullying can have serious consequences
Parents, you can alreadypicture those first morn-ings of the school year: thechallenge of dragging crankykids out of their beds at dawnafter two months of mellowsummer mornings.Each year, many of usswear we’ll do it differently.We will listen to the experts.We will adjust our children’sbedtimes back to a school-year schedule as soon as August arrives. We will workwith biology, not against it,by dimming the lights anddrawing the curtains in theevenings. We will rememberthe power of a good bedtimeroutine.It does sound wonderful.But each year, many fami-lies embrace the spontaneityof summer and the long, lightevenings, ditching routinesand enjoying late nightswith the kids. Or maybe wereally do try to get them tobed early, but Little Leaguebaseball games run late andvacations to other time zonesmake it impossible.Then we try to get ourkids up early for the first dayof school and their bodiesnaturally rebel. It’s nevereasy to be “waking up at thetime you’re biologically readyto be asleep,” says Dr. PeterFranzen, child sleep expertand assistant professor of psychiatry at the Universityof Pittsburgh’s Sleep Medi-cine Institute.Lack of sleep can affectkids’ ability to learn, to re-member and to handle emo-tions, he says.So here are some tips forgetting them back to a sen-sible bedtime:Begin adjusting bedtimeat least two weeks beforeclasses begin, says familysleep counselor Dana Oble-man, founder of the SleepSense system for gettingbabies and toddlers to sleepwell.“You don’t have to jumpinto going to bed at 7:30and being really strict,”she says. “But do an evalu-ation of where the bedtimehas been falling and moveback toward that by about 15minutes every third night.”(Of course, if you’ve alteredyour kids’ bedtime by morethan an hour, you’ll need tomake those changes in largerincrements.)For young kids, the mosteffective routine includesa warm bath and reading afavorite book. Skip televi-sion, which has a stimulatingeffect.With older children,Obleman suggests having asit-down meeting two weeksbefore school begins. Dis-cuss the importance of beingrested during the first weeksof school.Plan a solid bedtime rou-tine together, making surethey understand how muchsleep is necessary. Children,from toddlers to adolescents,need 10 to 12 hours of solidnighttime sleep, Oblemansays. Teens are likely to needat least 9 hours.“People say, ‘If my childgot eight hours, that’s ad-equate.’ And it might be ad-equate,” Obleman says. “Butyou want to be giving themgreat, awesome restful sleepat night.”Once you’ve chosen abedtime, agree to turn off electronic screens one hourearlier, because the lightfrom these devices signalsour bodies to stay awake,Franzen says. Kids alreadyhave a harder time get-ting sleepy at night as theyreach their teen years due tochanges in their body chem-istry, he says. Looking at thelight of electronic devicesonly delays that responsefurther. A regular bedtime routinetriggers a child’s naturalurge to sleep, and also cre-ates treasured memories of quiet moments with mom anddad, notes Lorraine Breffni,director of early childhood atNova Southeastern Univer-sity’s Mailman Segal Centerfor Human Development, inFort Lauderdale, Fla.
By elssa ayworthAssocated Press
Early to bed, early to rise can take effort at summer’s end
“Do an evaluation of where the bedtimehas been falling andmove back towardthat by about 15minutes every thirdnight.”
ana OblemanFonder of Sleep Sense
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