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Fame-seeking on Social Media

March 28, 2017

By Sunny Chico and Jessica Vician

Teenage Fame-seeking on Social Media | As parents of teenagers, social media is always on our minds. It's a communication and social outlet that we didn't have growing up and we must consider it in our parenting strategies.

As parents of teenagers, social media is always on our minds. It's a communication and social outlet that we didn't have growing up and we must consider it in our parenting strategies.

There are many reasons we need to pay attention to our teenagers on social media, and a prominent one is bullying. There have been multiple times when criminals have aired their crimes on Facebook Live, like the recent rape of a 15-year-old girl and a the torture of a special needs 18-year-old man.

What made these people—some of whom are teenagers—want to broadcast it for friends and strangers to see? 

Social and Emotional Development
Social media plays a strong role in teenage social and emotional development.

Unlike television, where you just sit and watch, social media is an active medium. Teens are chatting, sharing, liking, commenting, etc. They're having unsupervised conversations with each other, which can have a lasting effect on their development.

Knowing what teens are doing on social media, we have to ask, "What could motivate these kids to broadcast rape and torture of teenagers?"

Fame
The answer? The need for fame.

I read a great article that talked about teenagers and the value of fame. The researcher noted that in the past 50 years, popular television shows have promoted friendship, family, and community. Think about Friends, Happy Days, and The Cosby Show.

But in the past 10 years, television has changed. Now popular television promotes fame. It's reality TV—American Idol, The Voice, Real Housewives, the Kardashian's. Even Hannah Montana, which your kids might have watched when they were younger, is a normal teenager by day but a pop star by night.

The value of fame is everywhere for our teens, so it's only natural that they seek it in a place that is very public and yet very private—social media.

Internet fame is the most accessible fame that teens have access to. A well-hashtagged Instagram post, a YouTube video or tutorial that goes viral, even a smart, witty tweet might get retweeted by someone famous.

It feels great to have someone—let alone hundreds, thousands, even millions—recognize and appreciate you, what you said, or what you did. And in some cases, just getting noticed is enough—like in the example of the teens and 20-something who broadcast the torture of their 18-year-old peer on Facebook Live.

Those kids were noticed for doing something horrible. But they were noticed, which might be all that mattered to them. For kids who aren't getting enough attention from their parents, often times negative attention is better than no attention at all.

How to help
So how do we prevent our kids from seeking negative attention or seeking fame online?

We don't need to keep them off of social media. After all, when used well, it's a great communication outlet for them and a way to connect outside of school with peers they might not spend time with in school.

But we do need to nurture our kids offline—in real life—to make sure they are receiving the attention, the understanding, the love, and the pride from us that they need so they don't go seeking it online, and especially in a negative way.

Share affection
You can start by showing your kids love. If your daughter plays basketball, go to the games and give her a specific compliment afterward, like, "You did a great job finding teammates who were open and passing to them. I'm really proud of you—you're a great team player."

If your son is on student council, ask about the meetings and if he is on a committee. Compliment him on his leadership skills and being brave enough to speak up to help shape the school.

Even if your kids aren't involved in extracurriculars, compliment them on what you love most about them. Maybe it's their compassion for their peers, or how they help you clean up after dinner. Specific compliments, aside from "I love you," go a long way to help them feel loved and truly noticed.

Our kids learn from us. They learn to speak, smile, even frown from watching us at a young age, and that continues as they get older.

Be respectful
Treat your friends with respect, and avoid talking poorly about others, especially around your kids.

Refrain from engaging in negative posting on your social pages as well, as you want to continue to model positive behavior.

Watch better TV
Watch television shows that promote friends, family, and community—not fame. If you must watch shows that promote fame, watch them together and talk about what the people are doing. If it's The Voice, focus on the talent instead of criticizing. If it's the Kardashian's, focus on their familial bond, or talk about why negative behavior is good for TV but not for real life. 

Talk to the school
If you're worried that your teen is spending too much time on social media, is being a bully online or is being bullied, think about what you can do to help. For example, if your teen is spending too much time on social media, find a school sport or club that your teen would like and encourage them to join. Reroute their need for socialization to offline activities.

If your teen is being bullied, talk to the school about how to address the bullying. Teachers and counselors can help you take action.

It starts with you
Remember, you are your child's first teacher. Just as you taught them how to talk, you can teach them how to find confidence and pride in themselves in the real world. By nurturing their emotional needs, they won't be as likely to hurt others in social settings—whether that's in person or online.

And while everyone seeks a little bit of fame, if you show them your love and pride for them, they might be less likely to seek it online from strangers. All it takes is a little extra love. 

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How to Discipline Kids of All Ages

March 21, 2017

By Jessica Vician

How to Discipline Kids of All Ages | Effective non-physical discipline is possible with these tips.

When discussing punishment in our YOU Program workshops, many parents tear up as they share pain and fear from when they were physically disciplined as a child. It's a pain they never want their children to feel, but sometimes don't know how to discipline their children otherwise.

Disciplining a child isn't easy. It’s normal to feel frustrated and mad. If you grew up with physical punishment, take a time-out before disciplining your child to ensure you're cool-headed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes striking a child and discourages any form of physical punishment. Effective non-physical discipline is possible. Here’s how:

Set and enforce rules.
Make it clear to your children what you expect from them. Talk about the house rules frequently, when everyone is calm and things are going well. If the rules are clear and easy to understand, your kids will have an easier time following them.

Be consistent.
Ensure every person who cares for your children—babysitters, grandparents, daycare providers—knows the rules and knows how to enforce them.

Children model behavior and may not follow the rules if you or other caregivers don’t follow them, too.

Be supportive.
When identifying your child's unacceptable behavior, be clear that while you are disappointed with the behavior, you will always love and support him or her.

Use age-appropriate disciplinary techniques.
The disciplinary method you use with your children should depend on their ages. With toddlers, use brief verbal explanations about the bad behavior, then redirect them to another activity. With teenagers, explain what they did and the consequences of their actions.

It is possible to effectively discipline your children with love and without using physical actions. There's no need to repeat the mistakes of the past when parenting in the present and future.

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What are kids' favorite parts of school?

March 14, 2017

By Jessica Vician

What are kids' favorite parts of school? | The photo shows what kids wrote: lunch! yummy, language arts, reading, science, recess! math...

We asked. They answered.

What is your favorite part of school?

Math came in at number one. Are you surprised?

Tied for second place were:

  • Art
  • Lunch
  • Making jokes with teachers
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Recess

The answers—from a poll we informally conducted during a past Cesar Chavez Day event at the Brookfield Zoo—give us a glimpse into what really makes our kids tick.

While many of us think that math is hard, these kids are up for the challenge. Find ways to incorporate mathematical concepts into daily learning opportunities to keep your children excited and engaged. Encourage them to pursue activities, clubs, and classes that expand on basic mathematical principals. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers are in demand, so encouraging a love of math and science could lead to a great job in the future.

We also learned that kids love learning and socializing, even outside of their peer group! Six topics tied for second place, and of those six topics, three are opportunities for socializing. Use that knowledge to motivate your children to go to school and study hard. If your children are struggling with studying, remind them that doing well in school affords them time to see friends and favorite teachers.

If they like their teachers, encourage them to ask for extra help if they need it or extra activities to do at home for fun.

Lastly, kids love using their senses and imaginations. Let their minds run away in a good book, encourage them to listen to and learn music to boost creativity and cognitive abilities, and express themselves while creating art.

Use this glimpse inside our children's brains to foster a love of learning and desire to connect with friends. Celebrate with an outdoor concert, a trip to the art museum with friends, or even a camp or special class outside of school on computers, coding, or mathematics.

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March into a Big Month

March 7, 2017

By Jessica Vician

March into a Big Month | Besides bringing spring-like weather, March is bringing important awareness days and weeks that we should pay attention to. See what's lined up and what you need to know this month. | A girl poses with her biceps flexed while she wears a superheroine costume.

Besides bringing spring-like weather, March is bringing important awareness days and weeks that we should pay attention to. See what's lined up and what you need to know this month.

International Women's Day—March 8
March 8th is International Women's Day and March is National Women's History Month. What better time to remind our girls how valuable they are to this world?

Teach your daughters how women can make a difference by sharing inspiration from female history makers featured in this post.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day—March 10
Later this week is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This annual, nationwide observance reminds us of the impact HIV and AIDS continue to have on women and girls. Read this post to learn how and why you should talk to your daughters (and sons) about the illness.

St. Patrick's Day—March 17
Make St. Patrick's Day a magical holiday for your kids by sharing the mystery and wonder of old Irish tales, then send them on a treasure-hunting adventure.

National Poison Prevention Week—March 19–25

Did you know that 50 percent of all poison exposures happen to children under age six? Most poisonings occur from ingesting products that you probably have sitting around at home. Read these tips to learn how to prevent your kids from unintentionally consuming poison.

Cesar Chavez Day—March 31
Cesar Chavez spoke up for what he believed in and rallied for change for the betterment of individuals and society. We believe that every child should have access to a strong support network so that he or she can succeed in life and give back.

Use this day as inspiration to make a difference in your community starting with your own child. We offer tips to get started in this post.

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How to Raise a Bilingual Child

February 21, 2017

By Jessica Vician

How to raise a bilingual child | A girl reads from a book, with English and Spanish phrases illustrated as coming out of the book.

Today, more people in the world are bilingual or multilingual than monolingual, according to an article published by The Dana Foundation. And no wonder—in such a multicultural and globalized environment, many parents want their children to be able to speak more than one language.

The YOU Program recognizes the importance of bilingualism in families, which is one reason we offer our books and workshops in English and Spanish. We encounter many families who speak two languages with their children, and know of many who wish they could speak more than one language with their children. Whatever your language skills may be right now, you can still raise your child to become bilingual.

When one or both parents speak two languages, raising a bilingual child is a little easier. For example, this Huffington Post article outlines the one-parent, one-language approach: the English-speaking parent (if only one) speaks English to the child, while the parent who speaks another language speaks that language to the child.

If both parents speak a language other than English, they can speak that language at home while the child learns English at school or in the neighborhood.

If you live in a monolingual family (meaning you and your partner only speak one language), there are a few options for teaching your child. Seeking this goal for her child, one mother shared tips in this blog post that include learning a second language yourself and then teaching it to your child, using foreign language media—like TV shows and movies—to introduce the language to your child, and trips for immersion with native speakers.

Whether you live in a bilingual or monolingual household, teaching your child another language can be very helpful in developing his or her academic skills and later in his or her career. You may even consider a bilingual education for your child, in the form of a dual-language school, foreign language classes, or supplemental activities.

Of course, there are myths and fears about speech delays and confusion in young children who are learning two languages, but this article from Baby Center debunks the biggest myths. For instance, some children who are raised bilingual might start talking a little later than other children, but if that delay happens, it is usually temporary. The benefits of being bilingual far outweigh any potential and slight delays. And with such opportunity to travel, even virtually, children who speak more than one language can learn more about other cultures and translate that learning into greater compassion and understanding for others.

Tags :  academicbilingual
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