Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trust

Radio Commentary

Trust is an important issue with preteens and teenagers. Parents often wonder how they can question their children without being accused of doubting their judgment.
Checking up on your children’s outside activities may not be met with enthusiasm, but it is important.
Many parents have heard the refrain: “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” This can be a young person’s way of keeping parents at a distance and feeling more independent. 
It is not uncommon for young people to feel invincible and to resent interference with their social life.
One author recommends that parents respond to this resistance by saying, “We trust you, but we are concerned about the situation you’re going to be in.”
This response shows you’re concerned not with the child but with the circumstances that could occur.
Point out to your children that they won’t always have control over what can happen when they’re at a friend’s house without adult supervision.
Ask questions in a calm, non-confrontational way.
Safety issues top the priority list for parents. Young people are more likely to accept questions and supervision when it is framed in this context.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cyber crimes

Radio Commentary

It’s very common for any young person with a camera phone to take a picture with a friend and upload it to an Internet page or post it on a website.
Parents may be unaware that every picture taken by a cell phone now has a geo tag, which provides the exact latitude and longitude where the picture was taken.
This means that anyone who means harm to young people can see a picture online, even an innocuous one, and use the geo tag to find out exactly where the young people are. That’s cause for great concern.
Our office is working in partnership with District Attorney Joyce Dudley to be aggressive in the new battles against cyber crimes and cyber bullying. 
Incidents of bullying via text and online sites are mushrooming, and their impact can be broad and devastating. 
A good strategy for parents is to pay close attention to the ways their children respond to questions and conversation at home. If they have an especially short fuse or are more emotional than usual, and react badly to even mild criticism, they may be experiencing cyber bullying.
It’s also important to notice changes of any kind in a child’s behavior, such as a good student not wanting to go to school, or an outgoing child becoming withdrawn.
Most important of all, parents must monitor their children’s Internet activity and behaviors to make sure their children know not to frequent sites that are dangerous. We all have to work together in this area, because adults are truly playing catch-up.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Work ethic

Radio Commentary

Author and child advocate Marian Wright Edelman wrote a book for her children, “The Measure of our Success,” that outlines 25 lessons for life.
In it, she states: “Don’t be afraid of hard work or of teaching your children to work. Work is dignity and caring, and the foundation for a life with meaning.”
She writes that far too many children of privilege, of the middle class, and of the poor, are growing up without a strong work ethic, and too many are growing up without work at all.
It once was a given that children would work, sometimes after school, sometimes during weekends, always during the summer.
Though the goal was to earn money, these jobs were also a way to instill a work ethic, providing meaningful use of a young person’s time.
Edelman said too many people today are obsessed with work for the sole purpose of “ensuring their ability to engage in limitless consumption.”
She adds: “An important reason much of my generation stayed out of trouble is that we had to help out at home and in the community, and did not have time — or energy — to get into trouble.”
This is not the case with many of our children today. Leisure pursuits are highly valued by young and old alike.
Recreation, sports, and entertainment have filled the space once reserved for employment. And many of the values learned in the workplace are finding no method for delivery in a society obsessed with fun and pleasure.
There is dignity in work, and it’s never too early to learn that lesson. We short-change our children if we imply that fulfillment can be gained only from activities that are fun.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Relaxed and receptive

Radio Commentary

High-stakes testing is a fact of life. Students of all ages will take standardized tests throughout their school careers.
While some students are naturals at test-taking, others need help to do their best.
A publication titled “Principal Communicator” outlines four conditions that can help parents help their children feel confident about tests.
They all start with “R”: being Receptive Relaxed, Ready, and Rested.
Being “Receptive” is important. Parents can help young people develop a receptive attitude toward school in general, and testing in particular.
They can do this by making sure students understand that testing is merely a part of the learning process and that it is a measuring stick for how much they have learned.
The second “R” is for “Relaxed.” Anxiety can block the best-prepared student from doing well on a test.
It’s important to help children avoid getting hung up on how hard a test might be, or the negative consequences of doing poorly.
Being Ready — not cramming at the last minute — and being Rested, by getting a good night’s sleep before the test, are also vital.
Make sure your child knows you have confidence in them to do well, but that your approval of your child as a person does not depend on a test score.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More good books

Radio Commentary

We know that no single book has all the answers when it comes to good parenting. Even experts disagree on the best practices. Still, we know it can be helpful to read the parenting classics, so here are some bestsellers to consider.
Two competing books offer some good insights on sleep issues.
Dr. Richard Ferber’s Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems became famous for “Ferber-izing” your baby. This is also known as the “Cry It Out Method.” Dr. Ferber gives step-by-step instructions, and this book is still considered one of the gold standards when it comes to getting a child to sleep through the night and nap during the day.
Taking a counter-approach is The No-Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley.
It is set up like a workbook, allowing parents to review options and put together a customized sleep plan unique to their baby’s needs.
For those who want to gather information at an earlier point, there is the bestselling series, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel.
More than 34 million copies have been sold in the last 30 years. The books in this series are revised to provide up-to-date advice, including information about every stage of pregnancy.
Remember, it’s best to trust your own heart and your own judgment. No one knows your body or your children better than you do. You may not feel like the ultimate expert, but when it comes to your children, you truly are.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Public Schools Month 2017

Radio Commentary

Since 1920, the Free and Accepted Masons of California have sponsored Public Schools Month in April. 
The goal of the Masons has been to encourage communities to understand more about their public schools and to enlist support in the cause of public education.
As Frosty Troy, Oklahoma’s Pulitzer Prize winning editor and commentator said when he visited Santa Barbara some time ago, everything America is, or ever hopes to be, depends upon what happens in public school classrooms, where millions of boys and girls will get their chance in life.
In proclaiming Public Schools Month, the Masons always emphasize: 
And I quote: “It is crucial for America that the youth of our state and nation receive the finest and broadest-based education available … so that our standard of living, technological advancement, and national destiny are maintained.” End quote.
They see public education as the ultimate public service.
It is little wonder that PTA parents are the most ardent supporters of our local public schools — they see first-hand the good news that goes under-reported. 
They see, close-up, the real challenges that are overcome and the successes that are achieved every day.
So during Public Schools Month, take a minute to visit a local school. You’ll be impressed at what greets you — enthusiasm, dedication, lots of hard work, and great results.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Reading maps

Radio Commentary

Reading maps is an important skill for everyone to master, whether the map is on paper, a computer, or a GPS screen.
Help by putting your child’s natural curiosity to work. Even small children can learn to read simple maps of their school, neighborhood, and community.
Go on a walk and collect natural materials like flowers or leaves to use for an art project. Map the location where you found each item.
Create a treasure map for children to find hidden treats in the yard or inside your home. This can even be a great idea for birthday parties. Encourage children to play the game with one another, taking turns with hiding the treasure and drawing the map.
See if your child can find your street on a county or city map. Point out where your relatives or your children’s friends live.
Point out different kinds of maps, like state highway maps, city or county maps, and bus route maps. Discuss their different uses.
Before taking a trip, show your children on a map where you are going and how you plan to get there. Look for other routes you could take and talk about why you chose the one you did.
Children sometimes like to follow the map as you travel. If you are on a long trip, you can point out what town you have just reached and ask children to find the next town on your route.
All these activities help with geography skills year-round.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Homework problems

Radio Commentary

Homework is an essential part of schoolwork. There is no getting around it.
It is best when children accept homework as a part of their obligation as a student.
To avoid homework hassles, parents should monitor their children’s assignments. They should act as a resource or coach, but avoid the temptation to do the work for the student.
If problems do arise, despite your support and help, then parents, teachers, students and school personnel need to work together to resolve the issues.
First, share any concerns directly with the teacher.
If a child is refusing to do an assignment, despite your encouragement, there might be some larger issue.
 Also approach the teacher:
• If instructions seem unclear,
• If you can’t seem to help your child get organized to finish the assignments,
• If you can’t provide needed supplies or materials,
• If the assignments appear to be coming too often, or are too hard, or too easy.
Contact the teacher especially if a child has missed school and needs to make up assignments.
Remember that communication between teachers and parents is very important in solving homework problems.