UNA SIMPLE LECCIÓN PARA ENSEÑAR A TUS HIJOS DE CONTACTOS FÍSICOS POSITIVOS/CONTACTOS FÍSICOS NEGATIVOS

UNA SIMPLE LECCIÓN PARA ENSEÑAR A TUS HIJOS DE CONTACTOS FÍSICOS POSITIVOS/CONTACTOS FÍSICOS NEGATIVOS

Ayuda a tu hijo a comprender que hay buenas maneras de contacto físico y otras que no son apropiadas. Capacítalos enseñándoles a conocer el propósito y el significado del contacto físico positivo y que el negativo es un mal contacto que los hará sentir incómodos.

Les enseñarás habilidades sobre cómo decir no, cómo protegerse y cómo informar algo que es inapropiado.

Esta no será una discusión de una sola vez, querrá reiterar estos principios continuamente.

Esta lección probablemente conducirá a otras discusiones valiosas como anatomía, caricias inapropiadas y depredadores sexuales,

los cuales se pueden encontrar en 30 Días de charlas sobre sexo, empoderando a su hijo con el conocimiento de la intimidad sexual. (Disponible en Amazon.com)

Download the Lesson Here!

• Enséñale a tu hijo a acercarse a ti si alguien los toca donde la ropa interior se cubre o de una manera que los haga sentir incómodos o confundidos.
• Cada vez que tu hijo no esté bajo tu cuidado por un período de tiempo, es una buena idea recordarles las formas de protegerse y prepararse.
• Puede ser útil practicar maneras en que un niño pueda acercarse a un padre o adulto de confianza con información sobre “contacto físico apropiado”.

Consulte nuestras útiles guías para ayudarlo a hablar con sus hijos sobre la intimidad sexual saludable. Cada libro contiene 30 lecciones útiles con temas como Relaciones Saludables,Cada libro contiene 30 lecciones útiles con temas como Relaciones Saludables, Depredadores, Anatomía, Curiosidad, Identificación Sexual y más.

Tame Your Family’s Media Before it Takes Over Your Lives!

Tame Your Family’s Media Before it Takes Over Your Lives!

3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Family Media-Healthy

By Haley Johnson

When I was eight years old, I attended my best friend’s birthday party. Her parents were lavish with her, and the parties were extremely engaging. This particular year I remember being shocked and jealous when my friend opened her very first iPhone. I called home, still in the middle of the party, to tell my mom what this friend had gotten. I remember being quite put out with my mother’s response. She explained that although my friend had this gift that I thought was so wonderful, I would have to wait and prove that I was ready for such a responsibility. 

At that time I didn’t realize what my mother already knew. Our generation was growing up at the very front of the digital frontier and we didn’t know what the effects of such technological immersion would be. She wanted to protect me from the potential dangers of the internet while she could. 

Now, years later, we are seeing the negative ramifications of overexposure to media and how truly damaging they can be to the self-esteem and learning of children later in life. According to Victoria Prooday, an occupational therapist, our children are exposed to “endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments. Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being” (Prooday, 2017). 

Did you know that “fully 95% of teenagers have access to a smartphone, and 45% say that they are online almost constantly” (Anderson, 2018)? What is this constant exposure doing to our children?  There is an obvious result: a sedentary, screen-filled life can create unhealthy eating and exercise habits which lead to obesity and ill health later in life. As a result, body image issues and lack of confidence in everyday actions arise. Other problems may also appear, ranging from sleep difficulty, negative school performance, glorification of substance abuse and risky behaviors, trading nudes, pornography exposure, and more. All of these effects can be mitigated, managed and even avoided with proper media education in your home. 

 

Here are 3 ways to manage media before it manages you: 

  1. Be patient. It may seem like sometimes your child is purposely ignoring everything you have asked them to do but often, just like we do, they get distracted. “It may sound obvious, but we sometimes forget, even when kids do rotten things, our goal should not be to make them feel bad, nor to stamp a particular behavior out of existence” (Kohn, 2006). Instead, our goal should be to foster trust and self-reliance. We need to help them be the best version of themselves that they can be, especially when they’re trying to get out of a media rut. When you notice your child being utterly distracted by media, help bring them back to the real world. Here are some alternatives:
  •  Ask them to join you in a one on one game–not on the computer or phone, but a board game or card game. 
  • Take your child out to get a smoothie and go for a walk in the park. 
  • Go to the library and pick out a book to read together and set up a time to read every day until the book is done. 

It does not have to be a grand gesture, but if we show that we are willing to engage with them and put our own technology down too, we show that we truly value their thoughts and intellect. 

 

  1. Limit screen time. If your child is using too much technology, try setting some specific rules about screen time use. Be sure to include your child in the process as you set the rules.  Here are some easy ways to set boundaries: 
  • Set apart some time for a family meeting and create a Household Media Guideline together.
  • Post your rules about screen time in a public place, so everyone is on the same page.
  • Make a chore chart with tasks that your child needs to accomplish before they can engage with media. It might include goals such as: “30 minutes media time after dinner if homework is finished,” or “Shared sibling computer game time after all dishes are done and beds are made.” 

Since media can be a huge distraction, teaching self-monitoring while kids are young will give them an advantage when they need to work without adult supervision. We also want to be examples of how to live a happy life without media, so make sure you give your children ideas on how to have fun without using screens, and show them that you have fun yourself without being connected to the internet. 

 

  1. Be their teacher. Nowadays we are saturated in media-based living, and being sucked out of reality can be an easy mistake to make. “Using the Internet is like jet skiing, in which the jet skier is skimming along the surface of the water at high speed, exposed to a broad vista, surrounded by many distractions, and only able to focus fleetingly on any one thing” (Taylor, 2012). 

Don’t be personally offended when your child is distracted by their phone. Instead, help them to focus on things that matter most. When I called home to tell my mother about the awesome gift of an iPhone, my mother taught me a powerful lesson. She kindly and patiently helped me to understand that I didn’t need the newest gadget to be happy. Remember your child is a full-time learner, and when they aren’t at school, you are their full-time teacher. Be the adult. 

  • Be gutsy and do what you think is right, not popular or easy. 
  • Disconnect from technology yourself and be the best example of a healthy lifestyle for your child. 
  • Do fun things without documenting them on social media to show that media isn’t necessary or needed. 

 

From the time that our children are young, we must teach them media management. Your family must devise its own personal plan against the wiles of the internet. These little steps can help you to understand the nature of internet use in your home, while also keeping an open conversation about how to use media and when it is appropriate to do so. We never want our children to feel as though we disrespect them and their choices, but we do want to help guide them through this internet journey so they don’t find themselves stuck where they don’t want to be. 

 

Do you want a way to educate your child about how to overcome media influences in their life? Check out our read-aloud children’s books, specifically Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure and Noah’s New Phone: A Story about Using Technology for Good. Both these fun, engaging  stories are excellent sources for you and your child to read together to better understand the power of media and how to use it for good. 

Haley Johnson has a Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a world-wide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family, and destroying ideals that hurt society.

 

Citations: 

Anderson, M., & Jiang, J. (2018, May 31). Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/

Kohn, A. (2006) Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason. New York, NY. Atria. 

Taylor, J. (2012, December 4th). How Technology Is Changing the Way Children Think and Focus. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201212/how-technology-is-changing-the-way-children-think-and-focus

Prooday, V. (2017). The silent tragedy affecting today’s children. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://yourot.com/parenting-club/2017/5/24/what-are-we-doing-to-our-children

Snapchat y adolescentes: lo que necesitas saber

Snapchat y adolescentes: lo que necesitas saber

Por Courtney Cagle

Traducido por L. Antonio Mayen Castellanos
Un día, mi amiga abrió su Snapchat y BAM! Allí había una foto de un pene … Sin advertencia, sin signos, sin mensaje en la foto, solo una imagen de un pene. Ella se sorprendió! Era una de sus amigas del instituto que amaba ir de fiesta y probablemente estaba borracha en ese momento, pero es algo que ella nunca olvidará. Los incidentes de este tipo ocurren con frecuencia al usar la aplicación y pueden ocurrirle fácilmente a su hijo adolescente.

Estoy seguro de que has oído hablar de Snapchat. Es una aplicación de mensajería que le permite enviar instantáneamente (fotos, textos y videos cortos) a sus amigos, que desaparecen en 1 a 10 segundos. Puede publicar historias donde la foto o el video se muestren para todos sus amigos (a menos que los bloqueen de esa historia) y dura un día, pero puede eliminarse en cualquier momento. Puede ver cuántas personas han visto su historia y cuándo alguien toma una captura de pantalla de una foto o video. También tiene artículos que se pueden ver en el feed de inicio. Es una aplicación extremadamente popular para personas entre 13 y 25 años (Teensafe, 2017). Snapchat puede ser una forma rápida, divertida y fácil de hablar con la gente, por eso a muchos adolescentes les encanta usarlo.

Snapchat tiene muchas características que hacen que sea emocionante para los adolescentes enviar fotos y videos. Así es como hablan. No se trata de fotos y lo bien que se ven; se trata de tener una conversación a través de fotos y videos. Snapchat también permite que las personas mantengan una racha entre ellos y otra persona. Esto anima a más personas a usar Snapchat todos los días porque para tener una racha con otra persona, deben enviarse un mensaje cada día.

Muchos de nuestros hijos probablemente estén usando Snapchat, ya sea que nos demos cuenta o no. Tal vez los veas por teléfono tomando muchas fotos o enviando mensajes. ¿Sabes a quién le envían y quienes les envía? Es probable que estén en las redes sociales de alguna forma y Snapchat es uno de los más populares.

¿Debes preocuparte? Los mensajes de Snapchat desaparecen rápidamente en 1-10 segundos, lo que significa que las fotos y los textos parecen haberse ido para siempre, pero este no es el caso. Las personas pueden tomar capturas de pantalla o usar otras aplicaciones para guardar imágenes de Snapchat. También es posible tomar otro dispositivo y tomar una fotografía de la pantalla. Muchos adolescentes usan Snapchat para intercambiar desnudos (una práctica conocida anteriormente como “sexting“). Esta es una práctica peligrosa y generalmente la gente termina haciendo capturas de pantalla. Los depredadores sexuales pueden engañar a los niños para que envíen imágenes inapropiadas. Enseñe a sus hijos a tener cuidado con lo que envían y a quién se lo envían.

A menudo, los adolescentes piensan que Snapchat es una manera fácil de enviar fotos inapropiadas o intercambios de desnudos sin ninguna repercusión. Sin embargo, debemos enseñar a nuestros hijos que todo lo que hay en Internet permanece en Internet PARA SIEMPRE. No hay forma de saber dónde fue tu foto, por lo que es mejor no enviar ninguna imagen inapropiada. Es posible que algunos adolescentes no se den cuenta de esto, por lo que es importante que usted, como padre, tenga esta discusión (Roberts, 2016).

Con tantos niños en Snapchat, no debería sorprenderte que la industria del porno aconseje a sus propias actrices y productores usar el Snapchat como una herramienta de marketing. Como Lauren MacEwen de Xbiz informa en su artículo sobre qué redes sociales son más adecuadas para la pornografía, “Snapchat definitivamente acepta contenido para adultos. Esta puede ser una gran plataforma para que los artistas ofrezcan contenido gratuito o recompensen a sus seguidores con contenido “(Alexander, 2016)

El ciberacoso es otro problema que ocurre en Snapchat. Como las fotos no duran mucho, la mayoría de los niños no obtendrán la evidencia que necesitan para demostrar que están siendo acosados. Las personas pueden decir cosas malas o guardar malas fotos de otras personas para usarlas más adelante. Es una forma rápida y fácil para que los agresores hagan lo que hacen mejor (Todo lo que los padres deben saber sobre Snapchat, 2017).

Aquí hay 6 formas de ayudar a mantener a sus hijos seguros en Snapchat:

1) Edúcate sobre Snapchat. Si tus hijos te lo han pedido, descarga Snapchat en tu teléfono y juega con él. Conozca Snapchat y descubra en qué gastan su tiempo sus hijos. Incluso podrías agregarlos a Snapchat y enviarles fotos divertidas. ¡Para participar, debes entender a qué te enfrentas! Tienes que realizar el sorteo de Snapchat y qué hace que los niños quieran seguir haciéndolo. Si lo descargas y juegas, te estás permitiendo sumergirte en su mundo (Smart Social Team, 2017).

2) Habla con ellos a menudo sobre seguridad en Snapchat. ¡Comunícate con tus hijos!  Hable sobre los límites saludables, el potencial de la tecnología y cómo mantenerse a salvo (Alexander, 2018). Esto es muy importante en todos los aspectos de la crianza de los hijos, pero especialmente cuando se trata de las redes sociales. Los depredadores van donde están nuestros niños, y nuestros niños están en las redes sociales. Ayude a sus hijos a discernir. Enséñeles a mantener su información privada y a no confiar en extraños. La seguridad en línea es extremadamente importante. Enseñe a sus hijos que cuando publican algo en línea, las personas siempre pueden acceder a él. Las cosas marcadas como “privadas” pueden no ser privadas (Smart Social Team, 2017).

3) Darles acceso a las redes sociales a una edad temprana. Los niños deben obtener una cuenta de redes sociales mientras viven en casa para que puedan entender cómo navegar por el mundo de las redes sociales bajo su guía, pero le recomendamos que no les permita tener redes sociales a menores de 13 años. Depende de su familia individual y de la madurez del niño, pero la mejor edad sería alrededor de los 15, 16 o 17. Todos los días, los niños toman decisiones en segundos en las redes sociales que tienen el potencial de cambiar el resto de sus vidas, por lo que es una buena idea permitir Para que desarrollen un sentido de madurez antes de encontrar ese tipo de responsabilidad. (Alexander, 2018).

4) Establecer límites en su uso de Snapchat. Estoy seguro de que has escuchado la frase “nada bueno pasa después de la medianoche”, y eso también se aplica a Snapchat. Cuanto más tarde se haga, más fácil será enviar mensajes e imágenes que no habría enviado durante el día cuando está pensando con claridad. ¡Lo sé por experiencia! Haga que los niños mantengan su teléfono en la planta baja de la casa después de las 10 P.M. Asegúrate de que no tengan acceso a Snapchat a altas horas de la noche. Además, tenga momentos durante el día en que todos tengan que tener apagados sus teléfonos. Esto limitará el uso de Snapchat y los alentará a tener más interacciones cara a cara con sus amigos.

5) Enséñeles cómo ser responsables con los mensajes que envían. Si permite a sus hijos que usen Snapchat, explíqueles cómo ser buenos ciudadanos digitales. Muéstreles cómo usar Snapchat de una manera que sea saludable y satisfactoria. Aliéntelos a que salgan con otros cara a cara, en lugar de simplemente enviar mensajes de texto y enviar mensajes a otros en línea. Enséñeles acerca de los peligros de enviar imágenes inapropiadas o mensajes malos a otros. Enséñeles bondad y muéstreles cómo manejar los desacuerdos (Alexander, 2018).

6) Enséñales a evitar la sección “Descubrir”. La sección Descubrir de Snapchat contiene muchos artículos y fotos que los niños pueden hacer clic y ver. También hay enlaces a otros sitios web. Esta es una manera fácil para que los niños encuentren pornografía a través de Snapchat. Ayude a sus hijos a comprender los peligros de esta sección y ayúdeles a evitarlos. Enséñales sobre los peligros de la pornografía.

Al instruir a nuestros hijos de esta manera, estarán mejor equipados para navegar en las redes sociales de manera segura y aprenderán a pensar más críticamente sobre la manera en que se comunican con los demás. ¡Estas son habilidades esenciales en nuestro mundo saturado digitalmente!

Aquí hay algunos recursos adicionales que pueden ayudar a sus hijos a mantenerse seguros en las redes sociales:
Crianza en la era digital: es hora de ir a la ofensiva
¿Por qué los niños están llevando vidas dobles?

Lección para las familias: Uso de la tecnología para el bien

Para obtener más información sobre este tema, consulte nuestro libro Cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre la pornografía.

Courtney Cagle es estudiante de último año en Brigham Young University-Idaho y se graduó en Estudios de Matrimonio y Familia. Ella ama a los niños y quiere ayudar a crear un ambiente seguro para que todos los niños aprendan y crezcan.

Citaciones:
Alexander, D. (2016, 01 de febrero). Tendencias de la industria de la pornografía: ¿hacia dónde se dirigirán a tus hijos? Obtenido de https://educateempowerkids.org/porn-industry-trends-for-2016/

Alexander, D. (2018, 19 de febrero). Enseñe a sus hijos sobre las ondulaciones en línea: nuestras acciones siempre son importantes. Consultado el 3 de julio de 2018, de https://educateempowerkids.org/teach-kids-online-ripples-actions-always-matter/?utm_content=buffer7972c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Alexander, D. (2018). Redes sociales y adolescentes: la guía definitiva para mantener a los niños seguros en línea. Consultado el 25 de junio de 2018, de https://educateempowerkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Social_Media_Guide_Contract_Single_Pages.pdf

Roberts, K. (2016, 27 de abril). 6 Razón por la que los niños te siguen. Obtenido de https://educateempowerkids.org/6-reason-kids-sext-2/

S. (2018, marzo 07). Todo lo que los padres necesitan saber sobre Snapchat. Consultado el 25 de junio de 2018, de http://content.mobicip.com/content/everything-parents-need-know-about-snapchat

Equipo social inteligente. (2017, 22 de agosto). Consejos de seguridad de Instagram y Snapchat de 7 expertos. Consultado el 25 de junio de 2018, de https://smartsocial.com/instagram-snapchat-safety/

Seguro para los adolescentes. (2017, 08 de mayo). Todo lo que un padre necesita saber sobre SNAPCHAT. Consultado el 25 de junio de 2018, de https://www.teensafe.com/blog/everything-a-parent-needs-to-know-about-snapchat/

The Battle Against Pop Culture: Mom and Dad, BE IN THE GAME

The Battle Against Pop Culture: Mom and Dad, BE IN THE GAME

By Jamie Siggard and Melody Bergman

 

Every day billboards, TV shows, movies, magazines, ads, apps, and other content wash over us like a tidal wave. And whether we like it or not, these sources are teaching us–and our children–all sorts of lessons about our culture, including topics like body image and sexuality. 

So, here’s the question. Who will get there first? Who will teach your kids about these important topics? Pop culture … or you?  

Just as an example, we are going to look at Teen Vogue, one of the many platforms that are saturated with sexual content and specifically aimed at our teenage daughters. Keep in mind, however, that there is plenty of degrading media aimed at our boys too! 

Teen Vogue, a US magazine launched in 2003, is an “online-only” publication with a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. The name Vogue is synonymous with fashion lures in teen girls who want to stay on top of trends. Under the guise of “hip” and “cool,” young impressionable readers are being exposed to misinformation that objectifies and sexualizes women.  

However, unlike many teen magazines, which simply send harmful messages about body image, Teen Vogue has crossed the line and begun instructing their audience about highly sexualized topics. For instance, in the name of “sex education,” they recently published an article normalizing anal sex and walking girls through a step-by-step tutorial on how to participate. Another article speaks blithely about pornography and makes the dangerous implication that girls should watch porn to learn about sex. Consider what these articles are teaching teens about priorities and their place in our culture. What values are being instilled in our kids through pop culture sources like these? 

And it just keeps getting worse. Earlier this year Teen Vogue published another article titled “Why Sex Work is Real Work,” advocating for the decriminalization of sex work (which we know only benefits pimps and not the victims of sex trafficking). Here’s just a small snippet from the article: “The idea of purchasing intimacy and paying for the services can be affirming for many people who need human connection, friendship, and emotional support. Some people may have fantasies and kink preferences that they are able to fulfill with the services of a sex worker” (Mokefong, 2019).

Get in the game, parents!! No more playing defense; get on the offense. Rather than letting Teen Vogue or other media be the “go-to” for critical information about culture, sex, intimacy, and relationships, YOU be the “go-to” for your kids. Be your child’s first, best source of information when it comes to these important topics. 

 

Here are 6 great discussion topics to help combat misinformation from harmful media: 

  1.  Some media is not worth our time. There are lots of media sources competing for our attention. Learn to decipher the media around you. Listen to your gut. Follow, listen, and watch only what inspires and uplifts you. While some things are entertaining or popular, they are not always worth our time. 
  2.  Our value is unchanging. Our worth is not tied to our sexual appeal, the number of followers we have on Instagram, party invitations, or clothing brands. Our value is infinite and that does not change.
  3.  Our bodies are amazing. The human body is incredible and should be treated with kindness and respect by ourselves and other people. We should see each other and value each other for more than just our appearance. Recognize there’s so much more to us than just the way we look and appreciate what our bodies can do.
  4. I’m up for any question, anytime. Be sure your child knows that you are available to talk whenever, about anything. Always remember that the questions your kids have will not go away just because you avoid tough topics. Inevitably, children will find an answer, but you will be left out of the conversation. Just think: Do you want to answer that question, or do you want Google to answer it? Be your child’s first, best source of information. 
  5. Sexual intimacy is a wonderful thing, and it’s important we learn about it from accurate sources. There are many sources available to educate kids about sex, but it’s important that we learn about it from accurate and trusted sources. Be that accurate and trusted source for your child! 
  6.  Sometimes being “cool” is totally overrated. Most of us want to be “cool” and fit in. Make sure your kids know that being cool is only temporary and can leave us feeling empty. Remind your child often that real self-worth comes from being kind, respectful, and honest, which helps us to feel lasting happiness. Take the time to discuss values with your child. 

 

After discussing these topics, continue to stay in the game. Your kids need YOU. For more awesome discussion topics check out our new book, Conversations With My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age. This book is full of timely discussions about healthy sexuality, finding real joy, setting goals, social media, and so much more.

Want a fun, easy way to talk to kids about body image? Check our children’s books: Messages About Me: Sydney’s Story (for girls) and Messages About Me: Wade’s Story (for boys), both available on Amazon.

 

**If you are looking for modest alternatives to popular fashion magazines for your budding fashionista here are some options:

 Jen Magazine is an online fashion magazine and blog dedicated to modest fashion and positive media for young women from a Christian perspective.

Eliza is an online magazine started by a former top model as a response to the overly sexualized fashion industry. 

Verily is an online fashion magazine which is dedicated to the “real” beauty of women. They do not photoshop their images and avoid the use of “ideal body types and features” in their fashion spreads.

 

Jamie Siggard recently graduated with her degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently lives in the greater Seattle area and works as a nanny. Seeking adventure, truth, and strong relationships are her recipe for happiness, and she hopes to help others find similar joy through her writing. 

Melody Bergman is a mother and step-mom of three awesome boys, co-host of the Media Savvy Moms Podcast, and blogger at MamaCrossroads. She is also a member of the Safeguard Alliance for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and facilitator for the Virginia Alliance on Sexual Exploitation. Melody has a bachelor’s degree in communications and has been writing and editing since 2002. Her mission is to motivate leaders and community members to educate and protect children and families. 

 

Citations:

Mofokeng, T. (2019, April 26). Why Sex Work Is Real Work. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/why-sex-work-is-real-work

Why Parents Should Care about “The Great America Sex Drought”

Why Parents Should Care about “The Great America Sex Drought”

By Jamie Siggard

Have you heard of the Great American Sex Drought? Experts have suggested that sexual connection is rapidly declining in our society. According to the latest data from the General Social Survey, “…among the 23 percent of adults — or nearly 1 in 4 — who spent the year in a celibate state, a much larger than expected number of them were twentysomething men” (Ingraham, 2019). While various theories and factors play into this drought, here are two critical causes:

Pornography is easier to access. We all desire connection; however, using porn is easier–much easier–than creating and maintaining a healthy relationship. As a result, people are opting out of relationships and choosing porn instead. And now that pornography is available on digital devices, from laptops and smart TV’s to cell phones, it can create on-demand stimulation that will satisfy sexual urges, at least temporarily. 

However, pornography only leaves us wanting, which can result in an unhealthy domino effect. It creates a major breach between the individual and healthy sexual connection with a partner. Time spent viewing pornography is time that used to be spent making real-life connection in earlier years. This isolated way of living is devastating because of the loneliness it breeds. We deprive ourselves of a significant and meaningful part of the human experience when we spend our time and energy seeking connection in artificial ways.

Video games are replacing quality time and human connection. There’s always a new video game trending that is competing for our time and attention. Gaming, among many other things, is used as a “buffer” from the difficult emotions of life. Often times people turn to video games when they’re lonely, stressed, or frustrated. The stimulation creates a temporary high in our lives and can seem like a “quick fix,” but just as with pornography, this artificial solution will only leave us empty and wanting. 

While some gaming may have a place, families must set intentional boundaries and limits around this hobby. Where are you spending your time? Are your values in line with your actions? The price that is paid in gaming can be far more than just the monetary cost of the game. The price is time. The price is meaningful relationships. 

It’s easy to connect virtually every single day, but ironically we’re more disconnected than ever. Try to nip this problem in the bud before your little ones sprout. Help your kids avoid the Great American Sex Drought–a trend that only offers loneliness, wanting, and emptiness. Help educate and empower them so they have the tools necessary to live a life full of fulfillment, connection, and depth.

 

Here are some ways to help safeguard families from the drought:

  • Connect with your child daily. Your children need you. Help them understand the value of connection by spending time with them every day. When your children get home from school, stop what you are doing and greet them face-to-face. Set aside electronics and be intentional about the conversation at dinner. Take advantage of time in the car during the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping, school, and activities. urn the radio off and just spend time catching up. Look for opportunities to connect with your kids during your daily routine, and you will find them!
  • Support your children in their friendships. You can do this by helping to facilitate playdates, game nights, club/team parties, and more. Help them create habits of connection now that will carry with them throughout their life.
  • Love your kids through the struggle, but don’t rescue them. Pornography and gaming is often used as an escape when difficulties arise. Help your young kids learn positive coping mechanisms when they face challenges. Don’t rescue them from the struggle. Instead, stand by them, love them and help them learn and grow from it. 

 

Parents, be deliberate in counteracting the trends and statistics of our day. Teach your children the importance and value of healthy connection and deliberate living. 

 

To continue the discussion about healthy connection and sexual intimacy, check out our book series, 30 Days of Sex Talks: Empowering Your Child with Knowledge of Sexual Intimacy (available for 3 age groups: 3-7, 8-11, and 12+). 

Or check out our latest book, Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age. It’s full of lively, timely discussions about healthy sexuality, using tech for good, online pornography, finding real joy, and so much more!

 

 

Jamie Siggard recently graduated with her degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently lives in the greater Seattle area and works as a nanny. Seeking adventure, truth, and strong relationships are her recipe for happiness, and she hopes to help others find similar joy through her writing. 

 

Citations: 

Ingraham, C. (2019, March 29). The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high. Retrieved from https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2019/03/29/share-americans-not/?fbclid=IwAR34U-PQbnVcQyfnod089yV1oojw1V874GLA_GjquwfNiw3btQJfb4pZR0Q

 

Before you Spy on Your Kids, Try This

Before you Spy on Your Kids, Try This

By Haley Hawks

It finally happened. The sweet child who told you all the small things like when they found an interesting rock or which kids they like to play with at recess, has turned secretive. Questions get eye-rolls and responses like,” Really, Mom?” or “That’s a dumb question,” and it’s starting to make you feel paranoid and uncomfortable. 

Why won’t your child talk to you? Are they hiding something? 

If this sounds familiar, it might be tempting to think you need to spy on your kids. However, before you turn to espionage, there are some basics you can try to help you connect with your child and encourage them to speak with you.  There are times when we can take a closer look. If your child has a known pattern of lying, or your instincts tell you something is wrong, or there is a dramatic change in your child’s behavior, or they are knowingly breaking rules, consult with them about these issues and get them resolved so you can help your child in their time of need. 

 

Here are four steps to communicating with your child when you feel like you have lost connection: 

1.Listen–a lot! 

My father taught me I should listen at least twice as much as I talk. If you are having a hard time connecting with your children, this is especially true. Give them your full attention by disconnecting from technology and work, looking them in the eyes, listening to what they say, and being physically and emotionally available for them. Validate their feelings, even when you don’t agree; ask follow up questions, and be prepared to hear things that you don’t particularly want to hear.

Don’t feel like you have to jump in with suggestions or long speeches. Often, if a child expects a lecture, they won’t bother to open up at all. It is also important to wait for them to finish their story or point. They deserve the same amount of respect we give other adults all day long. Be prepared to interact and be genuinely interested. Your child could tell you the same thing over and over again, but if it is wonderful enough to tell you multiple times, it is worth it to pay attention for the simple reason of their joy. 

2. Avoid shaming your child.

Feeling shame is when we feel “I am a mistake” or “I am a terrible person” versus feeling guilt. When we feel guilt, we think “I made a mistake.” Sometimes when we express emotions, we can inadvertently shame someone we love. “When parents vilify the adolescent for causing their unhappy feelings (“He’s made us so unhappy!”) they do double damage…through casting blame parents burden the adolescent with criticism and guilt,” (Pickhardt, 2014). 

It is ok, however, to explain how you feel to your child. But try to express your feelings in ways that are less accusatory, such as “I feel sad we don’t talk as much as we used to.” And then suggest an activity your child likes in order to help you both connect. Use an activity you both enjoy as an excuse to deepen your relationship with each other.

3. Watch your tone of voice. 

Our kids have a way of provoking in us many of our deepest emotions. They know all the right buttons to push. After all, they learned a great deal of the things they know from us. But that’s why we have to be so careful about the words we choose and the tone of voice we use. “In anger, sadness, exhilaration, or fear, speech takes on an urgency that is lacking from its normal even-tempered form,” (Webb, 2013). Children pick up on these tones, and it can shut down their communication with us because they have become aware of our negative energy. For example, if you have had a hard day, don’t take that out on your children and dampen their enthusiasm to tell their own stories because you aren’t in the mood. 

4. Be passionate about their passion! (Or just passionate about them!) 

Get outside YOUR box and get to know their passions. Encourage their interests and share in them, even if it’s Pokemon or Shopkins. Dedicate the time to understand what they love. If you show them you care enough to sit down and read that book they love or fold the thousandth paper airplane, they will see your love for them manifested in real time.  

  • Let your kid teach you something they love
  • Take time to give them your undivided attention 
  • Give spontaneous or planned affection

As parents, we want our kids to become successful adults, but they can’t unless we show them the way to go. Spying on our kids might be a simple, short-term solution, but it will not solve any deep-rooted problems. Whether you choose to spy or not, let’s help our kids know they can communicate with us, and we want to communicate with them. 

Need some help teaching your child you love them and want them to succeed? Check out our book, 30 Days to a Stronger Child, which will help connect you deeply with your child and help him formulate confidence in himself and you! Filled with tons of great discussions and activities, this is a book that will truly strengthen your child and your relationship with them!

 

Haley Hawks has a Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a worldwide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family and destroying ideals that hurt society. 

 

Citations:

Pickhardt, C. (2014, November 24). Emotional Detachment When Parenting Adolescents. Retrieved September 16, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201411/emotional-detachment-when-parenting-adolescents

Webb, A. (2013, February 1st). Communication with Kids: Does Tone of Voice Matter? Retrieved September 16, 2017, from http://www.parentsareimportant.com/2013/02/communication-with-kids-does-tone-of.html

 

Autolastimarse: una preocupación importante para los padres en la era digital

Autolastimarse: una preocupación importante para los padres en la era digital

Por Marina Spears
Traducido por L. Antonio Mayen Castellanos

Ha sido un día muy largo. Mientras estaba junto al fregadero, cerré los ojos y me relajé un poco con las manos en el agua tibia y jabonosa por unos momentos. De repente escuché a mi hija llamarme urgentemente. Corrí escaleras arriba para encontrarla en el baño, goteando sangre de sus brazos, sangre por todo el piso y el fregadero. Ella sollozaba: “Lo siento, lo siento mucho”.

“¿Que pasó? ¿Que pasó? ¿Cómo te lastimaste tanto? ¿Te has cortado? ¿Te acabas de cortar? ”Mi cuerpo se fue en automático-piloto-mamá. Comencé a hablar suavemente e hice mi mejor esfuerzo para consolarla; Limpié y vendé sus brazos cortados. Mientras mis manos trabajaban y mi voz hablaba, mi mente daba vueltas en mil direcciones diferentes y mi corazón se sentía atrapado por el miedo y el dolor.

Unas horas más tarde, mi hija dormía en la cama y mi mente seguía corriendo. Me senté frente a la computadora y busqué en Google “¿qué significa cuando tu hijo se corta intencionalmente a sí mismo?” Me sorprendió la cantidad de información sobre “autolastimarse” o “autodañarse” y su prevalencia entre los jóvenes de hoy.

La Sociedad Americana de Psicología (American Psychological Society, por sus siglas en inglés) define la autolesión o la lesión no suicida (NSSI, por sus siglas en inglés) como “daño deliberado autoinfligido que no pretende ser suicida”. Las personas que se autolesionan pueden tallarse o cortarse la piel, quemarse, golpear o golpear objetos o incrustarse, incrustar objetos debajo de la piel o participar en una variedad de otras conductas que tienen la intención de causar dolor pero no de poner fin a sus vidas “(APA, 2015).

La información de internet fue una revelación; Hasta ese momento, sabía muy poco sobre las autolesiones y estaba muy agradecida por la amplia gama de recursos disponibles para los padres. Hay tantos recursos porque el recorte se ha convertido en una epidemia. USA Today informó recientemente sobre un estudio que se publicó en el Diario de la Asociación Médica Americana que realizó un seguimiento de un aumento reciente en las visitas a la sala de emergencias por cortes, el más grande entre las niñas de 10 a 14 años. En un lapso de 15 años, los cortes aumentaron en este grupo en 166% y para niñas de 15 a 19 años aumentó en 62% (Diller, 2018).

Mi hija también recurrió a Internet durante este tiempo, pero no estaba mirando los mismos sitios web que yo. Lo que pronto descubrí fue una gran subcultura en línea para aquellos que se autolesionan, algunos de los cuales son muy alentadores y positivos y un gran apoyo, mientras que otros son muy oscuros e inquietantes. Ella utilizó ambos.

Los sitios web pueden proporcionar información sobre cómo cortarse (incluso hay videos de YouTube), y algunos sitios incluso glorifican la autolesión. Instagram y Tumblr tienen algunas publicaciones de blog muy intensas de adolescentes que cortan, llenas de imágenes gráficas. Las imágenes a menudo representan el corte como una “mejor manera” de lidiar con el dolor emocional, y algunos de los blogs lo presentan como una salida artística para hacer frente a la situación que la mayoría de las personas simplemente “no entienden”. Estos sitios web pueden crear una falsa sensación de unidad entre los que se cortan, y lo alientan como una opción viable para hacer frente a heridas emocionales profundas.

Al principio, me horrorizó que mi hija estuviera mirando estas fotos, pero para ella fue un paso hacia la recuperación. Encontró que mirar las fotos era suficiente para no cortarse. Lo que es importante comprender acerca de este ejemplo no es si mi hija miró Tumblr, sino el efecto y nuestra comunicación abierta al respecto. Se sentía lo suficientemente cómoda como para ser honesta y compartir lo que estaba mirando, y para ella fue algo positivo. Como madre, me dio una visión y comprensión de su mentalidad y de cómo se las arreglaba.

Es importante tener en cuenta que tanto ella como yo íbamos con un terapeuta profesional para ayudarnos a navegar en este momento difícil, y empleamos muchos medios para ayudar a mi hija a canalizar sus sentimientos dolorosos y proporcionar métodos de afrontamiento más saludables.

El Internet puede proporcionar información, asistencia y muchos otros recursos útiles, pero también puede ser perjudicial y dar acceso a imágenes e ideas que no desea que su hijo vea. El equilibrio que debemos seguir a través de los pros y los contras del Internet es la relación con nuestro hijo. Como padres, nos da la perspectiva de tomar las mejores decisiones por ellos y les da a nuestros hijos una sensación de protección y estabilidad, incluso en los momentos más turbulentos.

Sugerencias para ayudar a un hijo que se autolesiona

Manten la relación con tu hijo como la prioridad y el enfoque. No permitas que el “problema” eclipse el vínculo entre ustedes dos.

  • Obten ayuda profesional para tu hijo. Las autolesiones son un mecanismo de afrontamiento poco saludable para problemas más profundos. Aquellos que usan la autolesión para sobrellevar la situación a menudo luchan contra la depresión, la falta de autoestima, la imagen corporal distorsionada y podrían estar experimentando acoso escolar.
    Encuentra un sistema de apoyo para ti mismo.
  • Busca una persona, tal vez un terapeuta, a quien pueda acudir, para que pueda regular sus propios sentimientos.
  • Se paciente y positivo. Tomará tiempo, pero yu hijo podrá superar esto. La mayoría de los adolescentes que se autolesionan no continúan hasta la edad adulta.
  • Como una madre que ha pasado por esto, sé que no es fácil, pero no se “asuste” si su hijo se autolesiona; permanezca tan tranquilo como pueda. 
  • Es importante crear un lugar seguro para su hijo, para que sepa que pueden acudir a usted.

Por encima de todo, ama a tu hijo! Recuérdale que sienten dolor y están manejando las cosas de la única manera que saben. Tu amor (como me dijo una vez mi hija) es un salvavidas para tu hijo; no subestimes tu poder.

Hay luz al final del túnel. Con el tiempo, mi hija encontró formas más saludables de hacer frente. Se paciente; las cosas se pondrán mejor. Para obtener ideas que ayuden a tu hijo a encontrar maneras positivas de lidiar con los tiempos difíciles, echa un vistazo a 30 días para un niño más fuerte, un recurso fantástico para mantener conexiones profundas con tu hijo y ayudarlo a desarrollar resiliencia.

¿Listo para hablar con sus hijos sobre temas difíciles pero importantes? Echa un vistazo a 30 Dias de Charlas Sobre Sexo, edad 8-11 anosCómo hablar con tus hijos sobre la pornografía

Marina Spears es madre soltera de cinco hijos y está completando su licenciatura en Estudios de Matrimonio y Familia en BYU-Idaho. Le encanta leer y pasar tiempo con su familia.

 

Citas

 

DeAngelis, T. (2015, julio / agosto). ¿Quién se autolesiona? Obtenido de la Asociación Americana de Psicología: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/07-08/who-self-injures.aspx

Diller, L. (2018, 28 de febrero). ¿Por qué tantos de mis pacientes adolescentes se están cortando? Necesitamos arreglar esto ahora. Obtenido de USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/02/28/social-media-one-reason-my-teen-patients-cutting-themselves-lawrence-diller-column/376741002 /

Media Literacy II: Teaching Kids How to Deconstruct Images

Media Literacy II: Teaching Kids How to Deconstruct Images

 

The media showcases advertisements and images that are beautiful, appealing, and inspiring. Behind each of these images is a message–sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental. Media and social media messages can sometimes be positive while others are destructive.

It’s important kids understand how to read these messages and DECONSTRUCT them, so they can avoid the pitfalls of low self-worth when comparing themselves to false advertising and social media messages. We can also help our kids reject unrealistic expectations of products, people, and relationships and instead embrace the realities of life and the joys and sorrows of real people, real situations, and real results. 

Lesson Objective:

Teach your child how to deconstruct images and see the underlying messages each image has to share. It’s important to teach there are both positive and negative messages and share the aspects of photoshop and editing. If your child can learn how to deconstruct images, they will reach realistic goals rather than deceiving ones.

Download the Lesson Here!

Lots of great advertisements for you and your kids to discuss, plus tons of great discussion questions to help you make this lesson easy and meaningful.

 

Looking for a great children’s book that will make understanding media, including social media, easier for you AND your kids? Check out Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure.

 

Or check out our latest book, Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.

An Hour of Play Every Day: 77 Things to do Outside!

An Hour of Play Every Day: 77 Things to do Outside!

 

 By Mary Bassett

My extended family loves to get together for dinner, playing games, and having fun. Towards the end of one particularly fun evening, my 4-year-old cousin asked to see my phone. When I asked her why she needed to see my phone, she told me she wanted to play games on it, I was shocked! It was a beautiful Sunday evening, but she wanted to play the games that were on my phone (joke’s on her because I didn’t have any games on my phone)! I chuckled a bit in disbelief and suggested that we go play outside. She scoffed and walked away to the next relative and asked to play on their phone.

We should be encouraging our children to play outside! Get them off of their screens, and out of the house. In order to do this, we need to get off of our screens, put down the phone, and make time to play! “When parents… join with [their children] in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their child’s vantage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his or her needs…Parents who have the opportunity to glimpse into their children’s world learn to communicate more effectively with their children and are given another setting to offer gentle, nurturing guidance” (Ginsburg, 2007).  Childhood does not last forever and all too soon the requests of “Can you play with me?” will be gone, so don’t miss the chance to get to know your child in the world they create through their play.

When our kids are outside, they are gaining “cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being, offering the necessary conditions for children to thrive and learn. Through play, the child can experiment, solve problems, think creatively, cooperate with others, etc., gaining a deeper knowledge about his or herself and the world. From an early age, the possibility to experience several opportunities for unstructured play, in which the child can decide what to do, with whom and how, promotes positive self-esteem, autonomy, and confidence” (Bento et. al., 2017). Make time as a family to “play” outside without screens, with just your imaginations. 

Ready, set, GO!

  1. Play tag
  2. Ride around on your scooter
  3. Challenge your neighbors to a paper airplane contest
  4. Go on a bike ride
  5. Rollerblade
  6. Skateboard/longboard
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Go for a run
  9. Play at a park
  10. Throw a frisbee
  11. Play “the ground is lava!”
  12. Go to the zoo
  13. Play miniature golf
  14. Host a lemonade stand
  15. Jump on a trampoline
  16. Go berry or apple picking
  17. Color on the sidewalk with chalk
  18. Have a water balloon fight
  19. Plant a garden
  20. Jump rope
  21. Play four square
  22. Play wall-ball
  23. Set up a slip ‘n slide
  24. Run through the sprinklers
  25. Go hiking
  26. Splash around at your closest lake
  27. Find some ice cream!
  28. Play hide ‘n seek
  29. Have a scavenger hunt
  30. Have a picnic
  31. Go to an amusement park
  32. Go to a water park or splash pad
  33. Be a tourist in your own town
  34. Go horseback riding
  35. Have a garage sale 
  36. Go on a scavenger hunt
  37. Go to a farmer’s market
  38. Make a music video
  39. Volunteer/Find a service project
  40. Go swimming
  41. Make s’mores
  42. Have a bonfire
  43. Go geocaching
  44. Play flashlight tag
  45. Play freeze tag
  46. Climb a tree
  47. Build a treehouse
  48. Visit an animal shelter
  49. Go rock climbing
  50. Have an outdoor movie night
  51. Fly a kite
  52. Go camping
  53. Go fishing
  54. Have a nerf war!
  55. Walk your dog (you can rent a puppy if you don’t have a dog)
  56. Play volleyball
  57. Challenge some friends to a game of kickball
  58. Play soccer
  59. Play basketball
  60. Go rafting/river tubing
  61. Make a bird feeder
  62. Play with bubbles
  63. Feeding the ducks
  64. Find a local county fair
  65. Play hide-and-go-seek
  66. Have a sack race
  67. Paint balloon darts
  68. Play kickball
  69. Create an obstacle course
  70. Play capture the flag
  71. Play red rover
  72. Race down your street
  73. Play dodgeball
  74. Find a hill to roll down
  75. Go bird watching
  76. Pick flowers
  77. Kayak or canoe in your local lake

Encourage your kids to play outside, get dirty, and use their imaginations. Children need to be outside and be creative. “Imagining, trying new ways of doing things, and experimenting help develop critical thinking in children and foster creative problem-solving. Furthermore, imagination builds social-emotional development by allowing children to contemplate different resolutions, thus boosting children’s confidence, which can be used in interactions with others.” (Bright Horizons).

Looking for more helpful ideas? Check out The Danger With Using Screens as a Digital Pacifier. Or, use our lesson plan for your next family night, Using Technology for Good

Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good is also an engaging story with great discussion questions that can help you and your family discuss how to have a great balance between tech and family life.

 

Mary Bassett recently graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University of Idaho. She is currently an intern writer for Educate Empower Kids. She hopes to one day work as a Family Life Educator. She is passionate about educating families on how important love is in the home.

Citations:

Bento, G., & Disa, G. (2017, April 06). The importance of outdoor play for young children’s healthy development. Retrieved August 17, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2444866416301234

Bright Horizons. (n.d.). Nurturing Creativity & Imagination for Child Development. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2014-nurturing-creativity-and-imagination-for-child-development

Ginsburg, K. R. (2007, January 01). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Retrieved August 17, 2018, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182.

 

Teaching Our Kids Body Gratitude: A Critical Skill in Our Image-Saturated World

Teaching Our Kids Body Gratitude: A Critical Skill in Our Image-Saturated World

 

By Haley Johnson

We’ve all been there. Our mother, our friend, or a peer has said something that has caused us to look at our bodies and think, “I don’t like this. I don’t like me.” Casual comments can turn our favorite outfit into the trash because we can’t stand the idea that someone else thinks that dress or that shirt makes us look bad in some way. And now our young daughters are coming to us, telling us they can’t wear a certain outfit because it makes them look “fat.” They ask to borrow makeup so they can look “prettier” for a boy they think is cute or want to buy new clothes so they can look just like Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lawrence, or some YouTube celebrity. 

Why does it seem most kids struggle with poor body image? Think for a moment about what our teenagers and children directly consume every day from television, billboards, social media, YouTube, or other internet sites. “We live in a culture where thinness and beauty are highly valued…Media images of ridiculously thin women are everywhere – television shows, movies, popular magazines” (Farrar, 2014). The idea that thinness is the standard for beauty is everywhere! We need to teach our daughters to be confident, happy, and self-assured no matter what kind of body they are living in. We want them to recognize true beauty does not come from societal standards but instead, is set by an inner barometer. This lack of body love and gratitude is even starting to affect our sons as well. 

Here are some helpful tips that can help us teach our kids how their bodies are amazing despite what they may see or hear from media and others. 

 

Teach them about body gratitude. 

Did you know the system of blood vessels that runs your body, which includes arteries, veins, and capillaries, is over 60,000 miles long (Amazing Heart Facts, n.d.)? That’s amazing! Does your child know how their body functions and how hard it works to run itself with relatively little effort from the child personally? Let’s teach our children about their arms, legs, organs, and more. 

The human body is simply incredible. It: 

  • Works most major body functions on its own. 
  • Grows and heals itself. 
  • Can be used to provide comfort to others by hugging and touching and talking. 
  • Adapts based on what we ask of it. 

As human beings, we use our bodies every single day. Without a body, we are without being here on this earth. We need to be grateful for it, no matter what others may say or think about our personal body. 

 

To help your child really understand body gratitude, try a simple exercise to find out what makes them happy about their body by asking these questions: 

What do you love about your body? 

What can you do with your body that makes you happy? 

Can you use your body to help other people? 

Do you like the way you feel when you run? 

What do you appreciate the most about your body? 

Do you appreciate that your legs carry you wherever you want to go? 

Take a few moments when your child is down or feeling less confident to remind them what they love about their body and how to overcome those who would make them feel negatively about it. 

 

Praise wisely, and give them a strong emotional base

There is a lot of talk lately that praise is bad for your child (For more information on this, check out what Alfie Kohn has to say about the way we praise). It’s true that too much of the wrong kind of praise could negatively affect the way your child sees themselves and the world around them. However, we do want to help our child gain confidence from a trusted source, which is us. So let’s talk about the helpful, constructive kind of praise. 

A lot of times we compliment our child based on something completely out of their control, such as having a clear complexion. We might say something like, “You are so beautiful. Look at your clear skin.” While this isn’t necessarily “bad,” compliments like this can bring on a false sense of security. What happens when your young child goes from having clear, shining skin to a teenager with tons of pimples? Are they still beautiful even though they have acne? Well of course, but they may not see it that way. They make think that because of their pimples, their beauty has diminished. So instead of compliments on physical characteristics, which are constantly changing, or natural-born abilities, focus your compliments on effort-based praise. 

“Look for opportunities to compliment the way your child is approaching a task. Effort-based praise lets you tell your child you value not only him, but also his willingness to take risks and his determination to work toward his goals” (Morin, n.d.).

This is a wonderful way to boost your child’s confidence. If you tell her you see how hard she is working, or you notice she is making a deliberate effort to improve in some area, that is a powerful form of praise. For example, if your child plays an instrument, and you have seen them practicing and improving, let them know you have noticed their hard work and can hear a difference for the better. Or if your child is working hard to learn a difficult subject at school and is spending lots of time trying to conquer that, tell them you have watched them working and striving to be better, and you are proud of how hard they are working. 

Your child will know you notice and care about who he is, but in addition to that, he will recognize some of his own strengths. He will get to see he is the one who changes his life for the better or worse, not other people. He will also see that YOU as his parent are going to be there for him and are willing to support him. 

Teaching your kids about body gratitude and praising them wisely are two critical steps you can take as a parent to help your kids love their bodies for exactly what they are–which is a living, breathing, beautiful miracle.  

It can be challenging raising kids in our image-saturated world, but you are not alone. Looking for more resources, especially on teaching kids how to love their bodies? Check out our books, Messages About Me: Sydney’s Story and Messages About Me: Wade’s Story, to find more ways to help our children understand how to be grateful for their bodies.

 

Haley Johnson has a Bachelor of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a worldwide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family and destroying ideals that hurt society. 

Citations: 

Farrar, T. (2014). Body Image of Women. Retrieved from http://www.mirror-mirror.org/body-image-of-women.htm

Amazing Heart Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2018, from http://www.arheart.com/heart-health/amazing-heart-facts/.

Morin, A. (n.d.). The Power of Praise. Retrieved from http://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/celebrating-successes/ways-praise-can-empower-kids-learning-issues