Domestic Violence and Bullying: What’s the Connection?

Bullying is a problem across all segments of society. People of all ages, sexes and socioeconomic groups have been victimized by bullies — or become bullies themselves. According to a survey by the iSafe Foundation, more than half of all teens have been bullied at some point in their lives, and a CareerBuilder survey revealed almost 40 percent of adults have been the target of a bully in the workplace. Because bullying has been proven to contribute to poor performance at school or work, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and even suicide, it’s vital we understand the causes of bullying behavior so we can take steps to prevent it.

Very few bullies engage in their abusive behaviors simply because they can or because they are not nice people. Bullying is officially defined as the repeated, aggressive use of power — whether physical, social, or intellectual — to harm or control another person. Bullies seek to create this imbalance of power, often to feel more in control of their own lives and circumstances. According to several recent studies, this need for power and control is often related to problems at home, most commonly domestic violence.

Violence at Home, Violence at School?

Any parent understands the basic concept of how kids gain information: children learn what they see. Children look for cues from their parents as to how they should behave or react in every situation.

Bullied KidTherefore, it only makes sense when parents engage in abusive, violent and bullying behaviors, their children learn to cope with the world using those same behaviors. This was the conclusion reached by a CDC study, which found the vast majority of bullies report witnessing or experiencing violent or abusive behaviors at home.

According to another study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the cycle of abuse often continues into adulthood. Researchers discovered both bullies and their victims have a much greater likelihood of becoming abusers in adulthood than those children who do not experience bullying. Another study, from Journal of Adolescent Health, discovered a correlation between bullying and sexual abuse and violence. According to the research conducted by the CDC and the University of Illinois, those children who engage in bullying behavior, particularly focused on sexual harassment or homophobic slurs, are considerably more likely to perpetrate sexual violence in the future.

Working Together to End Bullying

While there are clear connections between bullying behaviors and domestic violence, there are some differences in the perceptions of the victims of the crimes. Victims of bullies, particularly children, are often viewed as innocent victims of unwarranted attacks, while domestic violence victims are viewed by some as “deserving” their abuse because of their actions or behavior.  However, as the parallels between bullying and domestic violence become clearer, law enforcement personnel, MSCRIM students and victims’ advocates learn more about how these crimes impact individuals and society, the perceptions are shifting. Advocacy organizations are working to build awareness of the similarities between bullying and domestic violence and the connections between victims of abuse and bullying behaviors in hopes a better understanding will change popular perception of domestic violence victims.

Schools, local law enforcement, domestic violence organizations and health care providers are working together to identify and prevent violence sooner, and developing education and awareness programs to help stop the cycle of violence early on. Most schools have developed zero-tolerance policies for bullying, and professionals are being more effectively trained to identify the signs of domestic violence and engage in early intervention. Experts note children from abusive homes who receive effective treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy, can break the cycle of violence and develop healthy, equal relationships.

The issue of workplace bullying is also receiving greater attention, especially since it is often connected to domestic violence at home. Experts at the Workplace Bullying Institute note someone who is bullied at work is more likely to be abusive or bullying at home because they want to regain the power they have lost at the office. Being abused at worked can trigger negative behaviors at home when a victim releases pent up anger and frustration on family members. Workplace bullying leads to lost productivity, high turnover and other issues, many workplaces are taking cues from schools and developing zero-tolerance policies as well as reporting procedures and stiff consequences for offenders.

Some bullies are cruel to others because they can be or because they think it is funny. However, more often than not, bullying is a learned behavior or the result of a need to regain control over at least one aspect of life when domestic abuse is a daily reality. Understanding the correlations between domestic violence and bullying brings us one step closer to solving the problem and helping people of all ages develop healthy, safe relationships.

Internet Safety Tips For Kids

It’s so easy to understand why many parents have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. On one hand, it’s a wonderful source of information and knowledge. On the other, it could provide too much information and knowledge that is deemed inappropriate for kids who are at such an impressionable age. The internet is a good avenue for connecting and reconnecting with family and friends; however, it is also where you could have a brush with unsavory characters.

Here are some Internet safety tips for kids in order to remain safe even while making full use of the vast information available out there on the web.

  1. Be careful what you share online, particularly when it comes to personal and sensitive information about yourself and any member of your family. Social networks have privacy settings, but even those can be bypassed and hacked into, so the best thing to do is to not divulge too much. There are simply some information that is not meant to be shared to all and sundry. (This includes passwords.)
  2. When sharing photographs of yourself or of your family, choose where to post or upload it. Also, be mindful of the photos or images you share. If the photographs are of other people, like members of your family, for example, ask for their permission first before posting them online.
  3. When using a computer or laptop that is also used by other people, make sure to log out properly from any of your accounts (e-mail, social networks, etc) when you’re done using the Internet.
  4. Making friends is not a bad thing. However, before meeting any of the friends you’ve met online in person, make sure to get your parents’ or guardians’ permission first. Should you decide to eventually go ahead with the meeting, it would be better if you are accompanied by your parent or guardian.
  5. Respect applies online, too. When joining discussions online or adding comments on certain posts, don’t be insulting. This would minimize, or altogether prevent, hostilities against you.
  6. Follow the rules. If your parents forbid you to visit certain sites, or if the library at school expressly lists down which websites to avoid, heed their words. If you have homework and you need to use the internet, do not hesitate to ask for help. No one would think less of you if you ask for parental guidance while surfing online.
  7. If your parent has restricted your access to the Internet via tools such as Net Nanny or firewall software, do not try to hack into such a setup. Accept the fact that everything is done with a good purpose.
  8. Sound off. If you have any concerns, or there is someone bullying you online, let someone know about it. Keeping quiet will not solve the problem. Net stalking is a major problem on the Internet.

The best safeguard against anything that could pose harm to kids while using the internet is guidance and vigilance on the part of the parents. Good communication between parents and their children is vital in order to keep everyone safe from Internet-related risks and dangers. Needless to say, the parents need to be kids’ best friends in real life and on the Internet as well.

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Electricity Safety for Kids

It is better to be safe than sorry – the phrase may come across as a cliché, but there is no denying its pertinence. Though you cannot remove all the things that pose a safety hazard, you can certainly keep a more careful watch on them. It helps to be prepared for such emergencies when your personal safety and that of your loved ones – especially kids – is at stake.

Tips for Ensuring Electricity Safety for Kids

Kids are especially vulnerable and therefore always at a greater risk of sustaining an injury. Supervision is certainly the best way to ensure proper safety for them. It is necessary to exercise additional caution when it comes to ensuring their safety against sharp objects, furniture edges, chemicals and of course electricity.

The electrical safety at home is of utmost importance compared to other threats because in the case of electricity, the reaction time is very short in case of an unfortunate event. Due to the same reason, it is better to be prepared with all possible precautions to avert an accident.

Here are a few tips for electricity safety for kids:

  1. When you have kids at home, it is necessary that you take extra care to ensure that you do not plug a bunch of stuff into one power outlet or even when you are using an extension cord. This may disrupt the entire electrical system of your home and may even pose the danger of a fire.
  2. Toddlers and kids do have the habit of putting their fingers into open sockets. Thus it is necessary that you cover unused electrical sockets with safety caps. This will also help you to save energy by putting an end to cold drafts. If caps can be easily removed, try closing all unused sockets with transparent cellophane (Sellotape) that toddlers won’t easily notice or remove.
  3. Consider installing approved electicity cut-off units or fuse cutouts at your home that protect your family from power leakage situations and short circuits. Needless to say, you need to periodically test these units for their proper functioning.
  4. Do not pull an electrical cord from the wall. It can not only damage the appliance but also the outlet or the plug.
  5. You need to ensure that all electric cords are in their rightful place and arranged in a neat and tidy manner. Not only do these pose safety issues for your kids, but chances are that your pets might start chewing them. Kids may stumble over these cords and fall down on the floor.
  6. Avoid buying those toys and gadgets, for kids, that run on home power connections. Even when your high school child is doing a power experiment, it is better that you watch him or her do so during the first few times.
  7. You need to ensure that there is no water or spillage near electrical stuff. In most cases, accidents occur as a result of carelessness. Be careful about not leaving any electrical appliances or cords near sinks or bathtubs.
  8. Do not allow kids to fly balloons or kites near power lines. Electricity can travel through strings that often get tangled up in the power lines.
  9. Make kids realize the importance of danger signs and ask them to avoid restricted areas, such as the ones with warnings or caution about high voltage.
  10. Last but not the least, accompany your kids and be with them as much as you can, especially if you have a toddler or infant at home.

Following the above tips you can ensure complete electricity safety for kids thereby avoiding untoward incidents.

You may also check out the sites of Electrical Safety Foundation International and US Consumer Product Safety Commission checklists.

Positive Effects of Video Games on Children

Most parents and teachers of today think very negatively about Video games. In fact, they cannot be totally blamed for this attitude because the number of violent games that the kids get to play these days is way too many. Needless to say such games always gain popularity among kids – thanks to Television commercials and the social media.

In fact, If chosen carefully and sensibly (after analyzing the video games age rating, reviews and content) video games can have several positive effects on children, teenagers and even adults. For once, let us talk about the positive effects offered by the limited use of video games.

Positive Effects of Video Games

The following are some of the advantages of computer games and video games.

  1. Improved learning skills: Many research studies conducted by APA (American Psychological Association) conclude that video games can be very powerful teaching tools as they promote motivational approach to learning.
  2. Scientific-Logical thinking: Many of the popular science and technology oriented games are supposed to improve logical and scientific thinking among kids
  3. Planning, strategizing and problem solving skills: Since most of the computer or video games are built around step by step approach to reaching the target, they seem to help in kids’ planning and strategizing skills
  4. Goal setting: Video games help kids in setting short term manageable as well as stretched goals. By achieving them, they are motivated to proceed further with stiffer targets and mid-term goals
  5. Improved confidence and motivation: By achieving the set goals via logical thinking and well executed strategies, kids who play such video games are said to attain improve self confidence and self-esteem to take up real life tasks
  6. Social fun and teamwork: When played with other kids or with their online counter parts/team mates, kids tend to exhibit improved sharing and teamwork aspects.
  7. Improved fine motor skills: Handling of the game controllers are excellent for the kids to improve their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination – particularly applicable to lower grade school kids
  8. Improved helping mentality & social ethics: Since most games are themed around fighting the evil and saving the good, most game addicts are supposed to be exhibiting better helping mentality – especially with women and people in need
  9. Physical fitness via games: Certain highly interactive games (e.g Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wiimote based exercise, dance or field games) are excellent for physical exercise for not only kids but adults as well
  10. It makes everyone happy: Finally, a stressed out kid returning from school can be allowed to have a little bit of fun with his mates on their favorite Video games. It will definitely make them happy but it is extremely important to have agreement on the timings of play as well as duration.

Needless to say, the above points are only applicable only to clean and non-violent games that has certain positive themes and learning around them. Violent and obscene games are still bad for your kids.

References

American Psychological Association
Psychology Today

How to Teach Kids Math?

If you have a child in the elementary or grade school who has tough time learning basic math and mathematical concepts, then this article is for you.

For most kids, Mathematics is not exactly their favorite subject and due to pretty much the same reason it is a headache for parents and teachers as well. But innovative and fun ways of teaching (and learning) math can make a huge difference to kids in their approach to Math.

How to Make Math Fun to Learn?

The following are some tips and tricks to get your child interested in math and hence master it without him or her even knowing about it.

  1. Math based puzzles, activities and board games are excellent ways to get your kid interested in mathematics. By introducing these math games at the right ages, will help them understand math concepts and master them as well. There is no particular age to start these – the earlier the better
  2. During your story reading time, introduce interesting math questions related to and blended with your story and let your child answer them. He will definitely get interested in math over time
  3. It is important that your child understand the concept of buying and selling and the best opportunity to do that is when you do your grocery. Let him understand the concepts of rebates, coupons, buy-cheap deals etc and help you shop smart. As a next step, allow your kid to accept the printed receipt, read it and hand over the money to the checker. Let him take the change and count it as well. This is a very effective approach that needs to be tried out very early in the kid’s life
  4. Kids should understand the concepts of savings and let him join you during your bank visits and understand how things work at banks. Every child should also have his own piggy bank where he saves his pocket money and later you can introduce the concept of allowances
  5. Introduce him or her to the concepts of time and date by developing interest in calendars, clocks etc. Calendar math is fun when he learns about holidays, seasonal (Easter, halloweens etc), countdown to family events etc. At a later stage let him have his own planner calendar
  6. Youtube can be an amazing resource for math puzzles and questions for kids as well as some teaching lessons for parents. Use online resources as much as possible as they come free, not to forget those excellent tips tried and tested by parents
  7. Math learning software and videos are another way to get your kids interested in Mathematics
  8. You can introduce the concepts of angles, shapes, directions etc during your family drive by getting him interested in road signs, symmetries and by making him read sign boards, license plate numbers etc.

The above are some of the tricks that I as a parent used to do from time to time. You can be creative with what works best for your child.

Happy learning and teaching!

How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables?

No matter which part of the world you are from, as parents you might have similar stories to tell about your kids and their hate towards vegetables. It is just not possible to get most kids to eat vegetables that easily.

Worry no more! Next time, just try one or more of the following tricks to get your kid eat veggies:

1. Hide and package methods

Hiding and packaging vegetables in other food items or even change their appearance to make it look unlike veggies is good ways to get kids eat them. Please note that, the success rate of these tips vary with the kids age group.

  • Vegetable patties or cutlets are tasty, shallow fried form of vegetables that most kids eat
  • You can also make vegetable dumplings or batter fried vegetables that kids love to eat
  • Make fresh juice out of vegetables and mix with their favorite fruit juices and give them
  • Veg soups and purees are another way to supply vegetables to them especially when mixed with tastier ingredients like chicken stock
  • Yet another option is to use veggies as pizza toppings and cover the topping with a layer of melted mozzarella cheese on top to completely cover the vegetables
  • Offering kids their favorite dips can make some kids eat their veggies as well

2. Rewarding methods

This is yet another way of getting your child to eat vegetables. Small rewards are a good way to improve their eating habits of things that they hate the most.

  • If kids are offered a small gift (e.g. a sticker or tattoo) at the end of each veg meal session, they will be happy to finish the veggies off in a jiffy
  • Slightly bigger kids can be offered extended play time or even bigger kids some kind of weekly allowance for their improved eating habits
  • An offer such as their favorite dessert following a vegetable course will make kids more interested in quickly finishing off the veggies

3. Develop interest in them

This is the most sustainable approach of all and the following are some of the ways using which you can develop interest in kids towards vegetables.

  • For small kids, you may name the vegetables after their favorite idols and develop interest in the same
  • Have a ‘Learn a vegetable a day’ plan for the child, purchase that vegetable on that particular day during grocery (with them), cook the same for a meal or two. Kids will definitely develop interest in what they learn
  • Cite examples of characters (e.g. Pop Eye to make them eat spinach) and even invent imaginary characters on your own
  • Link eating vegetables as a pride factor via some fake stories or ‘who eats more’ kind of games on the dinner table
  • Develop gardening interest in kids and even dedicate a small area in the garden for them to grow their stuff. Let them learn more about each vegetable and their importance during this process
  • As a parent, even if you hate all-veg-meal days, never discuss that as something boring or not-so-nice-to-have. Treat such days like a normal day

One or more of these tips and tricks will definitely work for your child’s specific case to make him or her like veggies more. Good luck in your parenting endeavors!