Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The truth about bullies

There are always many news stories and media outrage about the latest bullying scandals, and they always mention these standard psychological “fact” that makes no sense. Those that have been bullied or experienced any form of bullying will have a fundamental understanding about what I am going to say. We are always told that bullying is a behavior that is masking a certain weakness or insecurity in the person that is doing the bullying. This is a lie.

The truth is that bullies always operate from a position of strength, and always have abnormally high self-esteem. How else do you feel that you have the right to punish those weaker than you? How else would anyone feel that they have the right to abuse another person?

Trust your own instincts with this. Bullies are not insecure. Insecure people are shy, introverted, the furthest behavior from smug you can imagine. Now imagine the bullies you remember from your childhood. The biggest kid, content to revel in his masculinity and physical dominance, bullies weaker kids because he can. The smartest kids in class bully others by making them feel stupid. The funniest kids in class bully others with a sneer and a joke. The richest kids in class bully their classmates by making them feel poor. The most popular kids bully their classmates by making them jealous and preying on those kids that don’t fit the mold.

Where does this behavior ever mask any kind of insecurity? Do these types of people ever experience moments of doubt and loss of self-worth? I’m sure there are some instances where children who become bullies at school are actually abused at home (the old story we were told by teachers and psychologist in the 90s), but for the most part, the people who are bullies experience a great deal of success in life and never have their self-worth called into question. The physically strong kids become athletes, bouncers, or fighters. The richest kids always remain rich. The smart kids stop caring about everyone else because they go off to do smart people things (become doctors, get PhD’s, etc.). The popular kids all help each other get jobs and stay employed, usually becoming the bosses of the very people they used to bully. The funniest kids in class are either the most successful or the most likely to fail spectacularly. I call it Pagliacci syndrome…

The point of all this is to make parents aware of the world our kids are growing into and how awful bullying is as a behavior. The problem with bullying is that there is no ultimate consequence, as the people with the inflated sense of self-esteem and self-worth that become bullies as kids are rewarded for this behavior in the long run. What can we do as a society to stop this from happening?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Nighttime rituals!


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Introducing your child to exercise

This last year has been a year of holistic healing and health in our household (alliteration aside). We have started to exercise daily, making a commitment to our own health and well-being, not to mention showing our son a great example of putting together a healthy body with a healthy attitude. This got me thinking about how to introduce the concepts of exercise, nutrition, and overall health and how important it is to start young.

1. Be the example
The easiest thing to show your children is how important health is to you by making your own health a priority. Don’t smoke in front of your children, don’t drink heavily, exercise and eat right in front of your children. I personally have turned fast food into enough of a joke that my son says McDonald’s is fake food when he sees the golden Arches. You can’t eat that kind of food in front of your children if you want them to develop healthy eating habits.

2. Take your kids to the health club
Most health clubs these days, whether they are YMCA, private, or other public style places, have a kid zone so that your kids can get some activity while you do your workout. The simple of act of going to a health club with your child makes them understand that this something that adults build into their schedules, so it must have some inherent value.

3. Family outings
Whether it is a hike, walk, or a bike ride, it is important for families to be active together. My parents always took me on really long walks in order to get some exercise. In fact, I wished I listened to my parents more often about getting exercise, as they are committed to 5 miles of walking on a daily basis for the last 50 years. I watch so many families get stuck in ruts where the kids only leave the house for planned activities, and I count my family lucky that we made this change to our lives this year.

4. Order right
Teach your children how to eat out by making good choices when you go out to eat. Restaurants will tailor food to serve you in the way you want to eat, not just the way they normally cook it. Many restaurants offer a wide variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options these days, and it would be a great thing to show children that you experiment on the healthy side of the menu on a regular basis.

Obviously the one big thing is to model the behavior you want to see in your children. You cannot expect a child to eat healthy without seeing you willing to eat the same food. Good luck to you all, and happy health!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bringing Religion Into Your Home - Guest Blog from Jackie Tortorello

"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life."-Buddha 

Many parents wonder about the value of adding religion to their lives and the lives of their children. While some may maintain a skeptical outlook, others believe it can enrich their family by establishing a system of values, connecting with a higher power and creating a sense of community. 

Selecting a spiritual path
Sometimes setting out on the journey is the hardest part. If you and your partner have trouble picking out a spiritual path for your family to follow, consider a variety of options. Speak with friends and family about churches or centers they enjoy and consult the Internet with further questions. 

Not every religon takes place in a church and not all of them involve prayer, so be prepared to choose from a variety of experiences. Some non-denominational centers are designed to include all people and don't focus on a particular deity. 

Benefits of spirituality and religion
By introducing children to religon or spirituality at a young age, they enter a community based on morals and inclusion. Some parents might disagree but, said religous households promote stronger "self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious families."

Religous networks also provide an automatic support for parents who might be enduring hard times at home or looking for ways to establish a set of values within their family. Through prayer, consueling and meditation, a religous center can assist families in receiving the nourishment they need. 

One problem with bringing religon into households is the way it may create a source of conflict. Rather than enhancing a sense of unity and pro-family values, the pressure to conceive a higher power could isolate one family member if they choose not to believe.

While the decision to lead a spiritual life is left up to those who lead it, bringing kids into the church could help them grow alongside their family, their community and ultimately themselves. 

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Keep those shots up to date!

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