14 Steps to End Bullying

bullying 3 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bullying is a national epidemic. The consequences of bullying are low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and declining academic performance. Here are some tips on how to prevent bullying and how to prepare your child to deal with bullies.

TEACH YOUR CHILD NOT TO BULLY:

1. Model good behavior and social skills to your child. Treat people with respect and kindness. Bullies learn their behavior by watching others.

2. Monitor what your children watch on TV and the video games they play. If you see bullying behavior in a program, talk about it with your child.

3. Teach your child how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. You can start at a young age to help a child learn to deal with anger and disappointment appropriately.

4. Teach your child empathy for others. Talk about feelings. Teach appropriate social skills: sharing, taking turns, saying please and thank you.

5. Go to the library and check out books on bullying. Read them together and talk about the pain of bullying.

6. Build your child’s self-esteem. Remind them of how precious they are to you and God. Remind them that God made them just the way they are and that He has a special plan for their life. Bullies usually have low self-esteem and bully to make themselves feel better.

TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO RESPOND TO BULLYING

1. Teach your child to look people directly in the eye when they speak to them. Maintaining eye contact conveys strength. Bullies like to pick on children that appear weak and fearful.

2. Role play conflict resolution with your child. Teach them how to respond appropriately and defuse the situation.

3. Teach younger children to say “NO!” in a loud voice and walk away.

4. Teach your child to ask for help from trusted adults: parent, teacher, counselor.

5. Have your child find a buddy to sit with or a group of friends. Bullies tend to pick on kids that are alone.

6. Talk to your child, their teacher, and the school. Have a meeting at the school with the parents of the bully and school staff. If the school is not responsive, go to the school board, the police, and the newspaper. You are your child’s advocate.

7. Remind your child again and again that they are precious to you and valuable to God.

8. Pray, pray, pray.

15 Ways to Affair Proof your Marriage

An affair means death to a marriage. Here are some easy ways for you to affair proof your marriage.

1. Respect your spouse and speak highly of them to others.

2. Compliment your spouse in front of your children and other adults. Children learn how to treat others by watching how their parents interact. Show them love, mercy and forgiveness.

3. Make a decision that you are committed to your spouse no matter what. Make the decision to love them every day. Find something about them to appreciate and admire. Compliment them on it.

4. Let go of offenses. Don’t keep a record of wrongs. Someone once said, “A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

5. Be available to meet the physical needs of your spouse. This can be difficult in the years when small children or careers sap your strength. Make it a priority to be sure you are meeting the needs of your spouse for intimacy.

6. Arrange to have a date night without kids at least once a month. Date night does not have to be expensive. Arrange to swap child care with another couple and then take a walk, go to the beach, or buy an ice cream cone and sit at the park and talk.

7. Write love notes and leave them where your spouse can find them. Send your spouse a text or email during the day letting them know you are thinking of them and praying for their day.

8. Pray together. Make this a priority.

9. Put God first in your marriage. Ask God to help you find ways to honor and love your spouse.

10. Don’t make your children the priority in your marriage. Children are important, but your relationship with your spouse is more important.

11. Say “no” to porn. This is toxic to your relationship and to your sexual intimacy. Stand firm and do not allow this in your home or to be accessed on your computers or television.

12. Pay attention to warning signs in your marriage.

13. Don’t spend private time with people of the opposite sex. Don’t put yourself in a place of temptation.

14. No flirting with someone of the opposite sex. There is no such thing as innocent flirting.

15. Take care of yourself and your appearance. Show them you care enough about them that you want to look nice just for them.

Marriage takes a lot of work, but it is worth it. Commit yourself to building a strong and lasting marriage. Your children will thank you for it.

16 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Middle School

Students and parents alike fear the transition to middle school. Here are a few tips to ease the transition and prepare your student to succeed in middle school.

1) Be positive. Yes, there will be lots of changes, but it means your child is growing up and becoming independent. Focus on the positive and help your child have a good attitude and outlook towards middle school. Your attitude sets the tone of your home.

2) Talk about it. Ask your child questions. Do they have any fears or concerns? Find out what those are and address those specific fears. Knowledge of what to expect eases fear of the unknown.

3) Check out the school website with your student. There is a lot of information on the school website.

4) Attend orientation and open house with your student. Take a tour of the building. Find out where the cafeteria, office, gym, etc. are located. Make it a group tour by bringing their friends and their parents along. Shared memories build friendships.

5) Reassure your student that every other student will be experiencing the same feelings and emotions at the start of the new school year. “You are not alone.”

6) Equip them to begin to handle issues on their own. Remind them to ask questions and go to the teacher or school counselor for help, if needed. Remind them that you will be available to them at any time.

7) Help your child develop their social skills. Role play how to introduce yourself to new people. Talk about what it means to be a friend and how to treat people with respect.

8) Encourage them to get involved in clubs, sports, youth group, volunteering, etc. They will build friendships and gain social skills through their involvement.

9) Teach them to be organized and write down their assignments and test dates for each class. This is one of the best tools you can give them and they will use it throughout their lives.

10) Help them develop good study skills. Do they need extra help? Find a tutor or call the school homework line for help. Ask them, “How can I help?”

11) Ensure your child has the supplies and tools necessary for academic success. Help them come to class prepared to work.

12) Talk about bullying and what to do about it. There are books and resources to teach children about bullying. Check these out and read them together. Teach them to walk away from people who would tear them down. Not everyone will like them, and that is okay. Give them resources and skills to deal with difficult people.

13) Talk about the physical changes they will experience as they go through puberty. Please don’t leave this up to the school to teach your child or just ignore the topic all together. Talk about these changes with your child. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. Teach them about modesty and treating your body with respect.

14) Teach them cell phone/internet etiquette. Remind them that things posted online or sent in a text can last forever and be forwarded on to many people. Keep private things private. Teach them to NEVER post or forward inappropriate pictures of themselves or others.

15) Ensure your child gets the needed rest to be able to do well in school. Children need a lot of sleep. Set a bedtime and enforce it. Your child’s teachers will thank you. Your students grades will improve along with their attitude when they are getting enough sleep.

16) No cell phones at night. Cell phones should be recharged at night in mom and dad’s bedroom. No child needs to be texting or on the phone after bedtime.

7 Things Your Teenager Needs to Hear From You

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It is easy to let the days rush by and not be purposeful in making time to talk with our children. Here are a few reminders of important things your teens need to hear from you.

1. I love you. You send your teen out into a world where many people want to tear them down. Let them know you love them unconditionally. Home should be the safe place where they know they are loved.

2. I am available to talk at any time. Teens tend to hold things in and then want to talk at the most inopportune time. Don’t put them off! Make yourself stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention. Your message to them should be, “I have time for you.”

3. You can tell me/ask me anything. No topic should be off limits. Wouldn’t you prefer your teen ask you about those sensitive subjects rather than one of their peers? While this may bring up some uncomfortable feelings for you as a parent, welcome the opportunity to share this moment with your teen. If you are uncertain of how to respond, ask your teen for some time to gather your thoughts. Be open and honest with them. They will respect you for it. This is your chance to share your values and morals with your teen.

4. God made you just the way you are and He has a special plan for your life. Each person is unique and has God given talents and abilities. Help your teen discover their special talents and abilities. Give them the tools to succeed in life. Faith in God and His plan for their life will give your teen hope for the future.

5. Respect yourself and those around you. Teach your teen to be respectful to others. Teach them social skills. Role play introducing yourself to someone new. Role play how to respond to rude behavior or bullying situations. It is your job to prepare your teen to face the world. Don’t send them out unprepared.

6. Talk about the importance of respecting your body and treating it with modesty. Teach your girls to dress modestly. Make sure your teens know to NEVER text or post inappropriate photos of themselves or others. You can’t assume that your child automatically knows this is wrong. In today’s world, kids see these things all the time. Prepare them and teach them what is right.

7. Ask them how you can pray for them. Let them know that you think of them and pray for them throughout the day. Remind them that God sees them and cares about everything that happens to them. Keep a prayer list with them and write down how God answers your prayers. It is encouraging and builds our faith when we look back and see how God has worked in our lives. Teach your teen to rely on God.

What do you feel is most important to communicate to your teen?

10 Great Things About Today

Two precious ladies, Janice and Mom

# 1. I got to spend time with two of my favorite ladies, my mom and my disAbled sister, Janice.

# 2. We took a trip to visit the place where Janice had worked for twenty years before she had to retire for medical reasons. I have written about this organization before. It is called L’Arche Farm and Gardens and is located in Tacoma, WA. Growing People, Growing Plants

# 3. I had heard about the people at L’Arche for years but never had the chance to meet them until today. What a treat! Here is Janice with an old friend and co-worker, Debbie. Janice lit up when she saw her old friend.

Janice and Debbie

# 4. When we arrived, everyone was busy at their assigned job. Everyone, no matter their disAbility has a job to do at L’Arche. We took time to take a short tour of a couple of the green houses while we waited for the barbeque to begin. It was really hot, but nobody was complaining, they just kept right on working.

Greenhouse 2

Greenhouse 1

# 5. We were blessed by the great artwork in the room where we ate lunch. Beautiful!

family and friends at L'Arche

cross at L'Arche

# 6. They grow awesome plants and vegetables! They sell them at Farmer’s Markets, fairs, churches, etc. They also sell crafts and eggs.

bountiful harvest

# 7. They remembered Janice and were so glad she came back for a visit. This really blessed my heart.

Janice and Friend

# 8. They pulled out old photos to share. Look how young Janice looks in this picture! Click on the photo and read the kind words they wrote about Janice.

blurb about Janice

# 9. The program coordinator who hired Janice way back in 1987 is still there at L’Arche today…still “Growing People, Growing Plants”. That’s Pat (Program Coordinator) and Janice in the old picture below. (My camera battery died before I could get a new photo today.) They used to have epic water gun fights on Friday’s after the work was done for the day.

Janice and Pat 1987

# 10. They asked us back! They are having a reunion in August with people coming from all over the country to visit. At the reunion, Janice hopes to get to see a lot of the people in this old photo. Can’t wait!

the team from L'Arche 1987

If you live in Pierce County, check out L’Arche Farm and Gardens. You won’t be disappointed.

10 More Tips for Parents of Teens

tips logo Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parenting teens can be a challenge to even the most experienced parent. Here are ten more easy tips to help you through the teen years.

* Encourage curiosity and lifelong learning. Model this for them by always being interested in learning and trying new things. Help them to develop a sense of adventure.

* Teach them to serve others. Find a project to volunteer at together. Help at the local food bank, serve meals at the homeless shelter, read to elderly shut-ins or children. Your church or community would be happy to plug you into a volunteer position. Help them find the joy in serving others.

* Teach them to walk away from negative people and bad situations. Let them know they can call you anytime if they need to get away from friends who are making bad choices. Help your teen surround themselves with people who will build them up. Teach them to choose their friends wisely.

* Limit social media. Yes, I said that. Set a time limit for social media use each day. Of course, this means you have to model the same behavior. Let family time be family time. Focus on each other and not your phone, computer or other electronic device.

* Cell phones should recharge at night in mom and dad’s bedroom. No child should have access to their phone after bedtime.

* Teach them to accept defeat gracefully and win with humility. You can’t win every time, so teach them to lose with dignity and grace.

* Teach them to respect themselves and others. Show them how to disagree with someone without using foul language or violence. Teach them modesty in dress and speech.

* Teach them manners and how to behave in social situations. Expect good behavior from them at a young age and model it for them yourself. Prepare them to function in the adult world.

* Teach them there are consequences for their actions. Don’t always cover for them. If they forget to turn in an assignment at school, don’t rescue them. Children learn to be responsible for their own behavior if they face consequences.

* Teach them to apologize when they are wrong. Learning to apologize and accept responsibility for your actions is a mark of maturity.

Do you have a tip to share about parenting teens?

10 Tips for Parents of Teens

tips logo Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parenting teens can be a challenge to even the most experienced parent. Here are ten easy tips to help you through the teen years.

* Help them find something they are good at doing. Every child needs a hobby or sport that they enjoy doing and that gives them a sense of accomplishment. What are your child’s strengths? Do they enjoy art, photography, music, sports, volunteering? If you don’t have money for lessons, find an adult you know well that can mentor them in their hobby. Help them develop their gifts and explore the world around them.

* Help them succeed in school to the best of their ability. Do not expect perfection, but give them the tools necessary to do their best. Do they need special tutoring? Do they need some one-on-one help from you at home? Ask them, “What can I do to help you?”

* Teach them life skills. Prepare them for the time when they are on their own by teaching them to cook, do laundry, clean house and grocery shop. Cook dinner together one night a week. Have them help you prepare a budget for the month or six months. Teach them how to keep a checking account and pay bills. Their future spouse will thank you.

* Help them learn social skills. Practice how to introduce yourself to someone new. Teach them how to have a give and take conversation. Model great social skills to them. Teach them to ask some basic questions when they meet someone new to break the ice.

teenagers Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

* Help them build good friendships. Let your house be the place the kids all want to come to hang out. Be welcoming. Having your teen and their friends at your house means you get to monitor what goes on and who they hang out with. Get them involved with a club or church youth group. Help them come up with fun activities to keep them busy and out of trouble.

* Give them experiences, not things. Take them on a ferry ride. Go to the ballet, the symphony, the theater. Take a group to the art museum or the science center and talk about what you see. Experiences don’t have to cost a lot of money. Take them on a hike or a picnic at the beach. Get out of the house and teach them to enjoy life and all it has to offer.

* Help them develop a sense of humor. Have a family joke night. Go to a comedy club. Laugh at your own mistakes and teach them that a mistake or failure is not the end of the world. Help them learn to laugh at themselves. Help them find joy in life.

* Spend time with your teen. The teen years are when they pull away and start to become more independent. Don’t take this to mean that they don’t need your love and encouragement. They need it even more now!

* Teach them how valuable they are to God. Remind them that God has a special plan for their life. He made them unique and different than anyone else for a reason. God’s love is unconditional and He will never reject them.

* Listen more than you talk. Be available. Let your teen know that they can come to you at any time with any problem. Be empathetic. Don’t be afraid to talk about tough subjects. If you don’t talk to them about sensitive topics like sex, they will be talking to their teen friends about it. Wouldn’t you rather they get the information they need from you?

I hope these tips help and encourage you. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Tips for Parents of Teens.

What tips can you share about parenting your teen?