Ensure a Successful School Year

Duval County schools welcomed back more than 120,000 students this week. WJXT and Daniel Kids offered insights a few weeks ago on how to help kids prep for the new school year. Now that it’s begun, how can parents make sure their kids have started on the right foot and foster success throughout school year? After all, decades of research indicate that a child's academic success or failure is largely dependent on the support they receive from home.

 

Rebecca Whitfield, licensed social worker and director of residential services for Daniel Kids, Florida’s oldest child-service agency, offers information on warning signs that indicate a child may be getting off to a rocky start and supplies tips for parents to help their children stay on track academically.

 

Determining If Your Child Is Struggling:     

Children and teens aren't always forthcoming about their school performance, especially if they don’t feel good about it. That’s one good reason to make sure you attend the open houses that are typically held about a month into the school year. These are a great opportunity to meet their teachers and get a sense if anything is up and might require a private follow-up meeting. Also, look for signs like these at home:

  • Refusal to Discuss School: You should be asking your kids about school daily and though many parents do, they often just get the answer “fine.” Dig deeper and ask more specific questions about school – about teachers, their favorite and least favorite classes, projects and more. If your child continues to offer very little in response or becomes agitated with your questions, then it’s possible that he/she may not be doing so well.
    • Spending An Excessive Amount of Time on Homework: It’s certainly a red flag when your child is falling into a pattern of having little to no free time outside of school because they are spending all their time on homework. A rough guideline is that there should be about 10 minutes of homework per grade level of school. So if a child is in 6th grade, you are looking at about an average of an hour of homework per night. If you notice there is one particular class where the child is doing an excessive amount of homework, it may indicate trouble and you should consider a parent/teacher meeting and/or a tutor.
    • Having Trouble Sleeping or Eating:Your child may have problems sleeping or eating if they know they aren't keeping up with the schoolwork.  The key is addressing this and working toward a solution with your children.

Helping to Ensure a Productive School Year:

  • Monitor School Assignments: According to the U.S. Department of Education, children are more likely to complete homework successfully when parents are monitoring their assignments and grades. School Home Access websites are an easy way to do this. Also, be ready to assist your kids with their homework, without doing it FOR them. Think helping with concepts, not giving answers. Too much parental involvement minimizes children’s ability to self-learn and develop responsibility.
  • Ensure Sufficient Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need to sleep at least nine and a half hours every night, while children aged 7 to 12 years need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Establish a household sleep routine – minimize screen time before bed, dim the lights and tone down the entire household so kids don’t feel they are “missing” something by going to bed.
  • Encourage Extracurricular Activities:Afterschool experiences can be invaluable on multiple levels. It's a great way for children to develop their talents and interests, build confidence, meet like-minded friends and feel more connected to the school. It's also a perfect way to develop soft skills such as self-discipline, perseverance, teamwork and time management.

Getting Help for Children with Special Needs

 

At the Daniel Academy we work with a lot of kids with emotional or behavioral issues and it’s especially important to make sure they get off to the right start or to correct along the way if things are not going well.

  • Collect Data: Write down your child’s triggers and learning strategies that work for him/her. Share them with teachers early in the year. Then, during the school year, add information – whether it’s about homework or classroom distractions. You may need this data to discuss a specific learning adjustment with teachers.
  • Seek External Help: There are many types of therapies available today to help enhance the academic performance among special needs students. For example, speech therapy helps children with learning disabilitiesto articulate sounds, improve vocal pitch and implement alternative communication methods. At Daniel Academy, we also use art therapy to help students with emotional and behavioral issues develop social skills, self-awareness and manage conflicts. Ask your teachers what’s available and if your child qualifies.

 

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Back-to-School Transition

Information from Monica Henderson-Ojo, principal of Daniel Academy and a certified special education teacher

After summer months of zoning out in front of the TV, playing outside, staying up late and eating snacks throughout the day, kids may not be ready to make the adjustment as they head back to school next week. As difficult as it sounds, parents can help their children make a smooth transition by planning ahead and maintaining a positive attitude.

Issues Children May Face Before New School Year

When children have to make a transition from loose summer activities to a new, highly structured schedule, it’s normal for them to feel a little nervous and unprepared. Each fall, millions of parents deal with their children’s back-to-school anxiety. They may be apprehensive about separating from their parents, riding the school bus, meeting classmates and learning a new subject. 

Your kids also didn’t have to wake up at a certain time every day to catch the school bus or eat lunch provided by the school cafeteria during the summer. However, these special treatments will end when school bell starts to ring again. The decreased freedom and structured deadlines can create a more somber mood among kids.

Back to school could be an even bigger challenge when your child is starting school for the first time or entering a new school. Unfamiliar teachers, higher academic demands and a changing social circle can all become the reasons why your child may have first day jitters.

How to Prepare Before School Starts        

Establish a Sleep Routine: During the last week of the summer break,encourage your child to go to bed one hour earlier every night and wake up closer to school time until the new routine is established. Doing activities like swimming or biking are great ways to get your child tired earlier than normal.

Eat Healthier: Many kids spend the summer eating differently, with fewer rules and more treats. Before the school year starts, get your child back into the habit of eating three regular meals a day. Having family meals with your children can help them reset the routine.

Support Special Needs: At Daniel Academy, we serve special needs children who have ADD or ADHD. In that case, parents can try to limit screen time and re-establish a regular reading schedule into your child’s day at least one week before school starts. Suggested by the Duke’s Healthy Lifestyles Clinic, if your child met with a behavioral counselor to manage behavior in the past, it’s good to start that again before school so they feel confident in themselves.

Tips for A Successful School Year

Reach Out to Your Child’s Teacher: Make sure to attend parent-teacher conferences and introduce yourself to the teachers. Find out how they like to communicate with parents and convey a sincere desire to be a partner with them to enhance your child’s learning experience. According to an analysis conducted by Public Agenda, 65 percent of teachers say students would do better in school if their parents were more involved.

 

Prepare a Study Area:Set up a special place at home for your child to do homework. Remove distractions such as TV, computer and make it clear that education is a top priority in your family—show interest and praise your child’s work.

 

Apply for Special Services If Needed:If your child is having problems with learning, ask the school to evaluate your child in his or her strongest language. The teacher might be able to provide accommodations for your child in class. If the school finds out your child has a learning disability, he or she should be able to receive extra help at no cost.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

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Impact of Video Games

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

 

Video gaming has grown dramatically throughout the years – especially with the advent of smart phones – with worldwide vide gaming industry revenues jumping 59 percent from 2003 to 2013. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 90 percent of American kids today play video games. Although there are positive effects of video games, this popular form of media can also create some serious problems for teenagers.

Positive Effects of Video Games

It is important to note that like with most things- with video games there are always positives and negatives. Many parents view video games as a time-waster. Yet, there are some positive effects of video games:

Problem Solving:In order to progress in games, one must learn to follow the guidelines and restrictions. As the player confronts new challenges, he or she must use problem-solving skills to find solutions. 

Multitasking:As games become more intricate, players must juggle different objectives while keeping track of all the changing elements and connecting ideas, which can help them develop the ability to multitask.

Teamwork:According to Phycology Today, more than 70 percent of video gamers play with friends. Many multiplayer games involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. These games encourage teenagers to make the most of their individual skills to contribute to the team. 

Negative Impact of Video Games

Increased Aggression: Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded in many video games. It’s widely disputed, but some experts point to a correlation between the horrific shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and the negative impact of violent video games. The two teenage shooters were known to be obsessed with violent video games. 

Reckless Behaviors: A wide variety of studies show that violent video games increase adolescent aggressiveness; however, recent research conducted by Dartmouth College finds that teenagers who play mature-rated video games are also more likely to engage in reckless behaviors, including smoking, drinking and risky sexual activities.

Poor Academic Performance: Long hours of video game playing can negatively affect your teen’s academic achievement. Boys who play video games on school days spend 30 percent less time reading and girls spend 34 percent less time doing homework than those who do not play video games, according to an article published on the Reuters.

Ways to Manage Your Teen’s Video Game Consumption

Set Time Limits: Consider limiting your teen’s video game playing to one hour per day. An Oxford University study suggests that children who play video games for up to an hour are happier, more sociable and less hyperactive than those who do not play at all.

 

Encourage Alternative Activities:Try to develop a list of activities and opportunities that can be achieved in the same amount of time spent video gaming. For example, in half that time your teen could improve in a sport, learn how to fish or play a musical instrument. The goal is to show your child what activities he or she may be missing.

 

Choose Educational Games:Teens can engage in decision-making, strategic planning and exploration with simulation games such as the Civilization. Another great example is the Endless Ocean—a fun way to explore the world's oceans and waterways, learning about aquatic habitats and sea life. 

 

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

Research Links:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/family-tech/tech-for-kids/10-educational-video-games-your-kids-will-love.htm#page=4

http://learn.eartheasy.com/2011/02/7-ways-to-wean-your-child-off-video-games/

http://now.dartmouth.edu/2014/08/new-study-video-games-and-teens-behavior

http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/parenting-todays-teens-weekend/read/articles/teens-obsessed-with-video-games-11951.html

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/video-games-saints-or-psychopaths-082814#1

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf

 

 

 

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The Importance of Sleep for Children

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

Many parents struggle to help their children fall asleep at night – with some resorting to counting sheep and checking that’s there’s no monster under the bed to help their little ones get rest. In fact, researchers have found that more than two out of every three children ages 10 and under have experienced some type of problem sleeping.

The Importance of Sleep

Sufficient sleep is an important part in the development of a child’s mind and body. According to the Nemours Foundation, most children between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours of sleep per night, but experts agree that most actually need 10 or 11 hours each night.

Adequate sleep has been proven to support healthy growth and physical development in children as well as fortify the immune system to fight of sickness before it begins.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep can also improve emotional and behavioral problems that stem from aggressive moods and outbursts associated with lack of sleep. In fact, a study conducted at Northwestern University Medical Center supports this conclusion, finding that children between 2 and 5 years old who slept less at night exhibited more behavioral problems during the day.

Healthy sleep also has the power to increase focus and attention span in children, supporting their academic performance and social growth.

Signs of Sleeping Problems

The good news is that while sleeping problems cannot be simply outgrown, they can be identified and solved. Some common sleep problems include insomnia, sleepwalking and night waking.

According to the UCLA Sleep Disorder Center, some of signs of sleeping problems include:

  • Parent Spends Too Much Time Helping Child Fall Asleep
  • Child Wakes Up Multiple Times Throughout Night
  • Child’s Behavior Changes Due to Poor Sleeping

It is also important to note that some medical conditions may trigger sleep problems. In these cases, parents need to seek help from a physician. However, most sleeping problems are common and can be corrected when caught early and handled appropriately.

 

Tips to Help Your Child Sleep          

Before I offer some suggestions, it’s important to just touch on co-sleeping – a prominent point of discussion across the country lately. The Department of Children and Families has warned against this controversial practice for infants as they say it increases the likelihood of death by suffocation.

A subject less often addressed is that co-sleeping can establish some bad habits for toddlers, too. It’s important for your child to know they can fall asleep and get through the night on their own.

For toddlers and school-age children alike, here are some tips to help them sleep:

  • Establish a Bedtime Routine — At Daniel Kids, we emphasize a consistent daytime and bedtime routine for the emotionally troubled children that live on our campus. Routines like these give children a sense of structure and comfort in knowing what to expect on a daily basis.
  • Avoid Screen Time Close to Bedtime — TV, smart phones, and tablets increase cognitive and retinol stimulation, both of which are counter-intuitive to calming down. Avoid screen time at least an hour before bedtime and use that time to interact with your child by reading a book or discussing their day.
  • Eliminate Sugar/Caffeine Before Bed — Feeding your children sugary or caffeinated foods close to bedtime can increase their activity and energy too late in the evening, making it difficult for them to go to sleep. Either skip the snack or try giving your child fruit to satisfy their sweet tooth.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit DanielKids.org.

Research Links:


 

 

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Kids and Peer Pressure

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

 

Adolescence is an important time in kids’ lives to teach them what peer pressure is, how it affects them and how to resist being influenced by it. An estimated 78 percent of teenagers have consumed alcohol by age 17, and peer pressure is one of the leading factors.

 

Positive and Negative Effects of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure begins when kids start to care about what others think of them, usually in the first years of elementary school and all the way through high school.People may realize that peer pressure can have both positive and negative affects on children.

Positive peer pressure can actually help your child do better in school or social activities. If everyone in your child’s friend group joins the honor society, admires community leaders or wants to be in the soccer team, your child will also feel compelled to do these things.

Negative peer pressure is when your child’s peers are influencing him or her to do something that he or she shouldn’t be doing. This could be anything from skipping school to shoplifting to smoking. Negative peer pressure is one of the biggest factors in teen smoking, drinking and sexual activity. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 percent of teenage girls feel pressure from their friends to have sex.

Reasons Behind Peer Pressure

Desire to Fit In: Kids are likely to give in to peer pressure because they are often afraid they’ll be made fun of or ostracized for not following the crowd. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, 55 percent of teens tried drugs for the first time because they felt pressured by their friends

Lack of Family Support: Friends can sometimes compensate for an unhappy family life. Conversely, kids with strong relationships with their parents are less susceptible to peer pressure than kids without them.

Identity Insecurity: Minority students who feel removed from their peers because of race or ethnicity are more likely to give in to negative peer pressure because they’re trying to find their own identity. On the other hand, a recent study found that middle and high school students with strong positive feelings about their ethnic and racial heritage had higher self-esteem and didn’t feel pressured to follow the crowd.

How to Deal with Peer Pressure

 

Talk About the Issues: It is vital for parents to be understanding and approachable. Make sure your kids know you’re available to talk about any issue they face, whether it’s dressing a certain way or pressure to try alcohol or cigarette.

Know Their Friends: Invite your children’s friends over to your house, know their names and get to know their families. The more you know about the people your children are spending time with, the more you can tell if they’re influencing your child.

Provide a Positive Role Model: Set a good example for your children to follow through your own behaviors and beliefs. Not surprisingly, many teenagers are not willing to take cues from their parents, simply because they are their parents. That said, still continue to be a good role model, but encourage your children to also talk to a teacher, coach, mentor or other adult family member they respect. Strong role models help your children become better equipped to resist negative influences.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

Research Links:

http://teens.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_Peer_Pressure

http://www.familyfirstaid.org/issues/peer-pressure/

http://text.teachingmatters.org/node/8625

http://www.secureteen.com/peer-pressure/teens-and-peer-pressure-pride-in-race-ethnicity-add-to-protection/

 

 

 

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Be Aware of Summertime Boredom

With the freedom that comes with summer break, teenagers face more difficult decisions and pressures to engage in negative behaviors as they hang out with friends more often outside of school and without supervision.

In fact, a recent study by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration showed a 40 percent increase in first-time marijuana use among teenagers during June and July, compared to the rest of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 11,000 teens each day try alcohol for the first time during the summertime.

That’s why it is essential that parents set firm boundaries, provide supervision and plan for their children to participate in meaningful activities during the summertime. Extracurricular activities not only promote executive function skills and higher levels of thinking, they also help students learn, grow and develop without having to pursue high-risk behaviors as the novel experience.

Summer Enrichment Ideas for Teens

There are so many different options out there to keep teens active and engaged this summer.  Some popular ideas include:

 

  • Volunteering: Volunteering builds job skills and has the potential to lead to a full-time position down the line. This is can also be a fun thing for teens, if they volunteer for a nonprofit that helps with something they are passionate about – for instance, one that works with animals or children. At Daniel Kids, we have plenty of volunteer opportunities for teenagers who want to contribute to the community, learn responsibilities while building a resume.
  • Finding a job: This can be as simple as household chores and neighborhood babysitting, or finding a job at a local store or restaurant. Summer jobs offer significant life-skills training and can teach your teen the value of hard-working and money.

 

  • Create an online presence: Encourage your teen to create an online presence that showcases his or her strengths and abilities will give colleges a picture that they won’t see just by looking at transcripts or test scores. A detailed LinkedIn profile that highlights extracurricular activities, awards and work experience can help your teen stand out among peers when graduation comes around. Another option is for your teen to create a blog about their experiences- for instance if they are traveling.

 

Summer Learning Loss Prevention

 

Use Vacation as A Learning Tool: Adding a learning component to your family vacation by going to a historical site or visit a science museum. Nothing is more educational or mind-opening than having a visual experience of different cultures, people and scientific achievements in the past.

 

Make Math Part of Your Daily Life:Math skills, in particular, can get rusty without regular practice and use. Since few teenagers want to sit down and do worksheets, parents sometimes need to be creative. For instance, you can have your teens plan the details for a family vacation such as determining the mileage of the trip, estimating time of arrival and amount needed for gas money.

                                                                                                            

Take Advantage of Apps:Today’s teenagers are constantly absorbed in their smart phones. Rather than trying to enforce strict time limits for phone use, consider getting educational, fun apps for teenagers that can be used anytime on cellphones or tablets, such as Math Bingo, Khan Academy and TED.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

Research Links:

Summer Camp Info: https://madmimi.com/p/9e4746?fe=1&pact=30728415044

http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/2015/06/9-smart-ways-to-prevent-summer-learning-loss/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/fun-ways-to-help-prevent-summer-learning-loss_b_5435718.html

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-ways-prevent-summer-learning-loss-barbara-dianis

http://www.parentingscience.com/summer-learning-loss.html

http://teens.lovetoknow.com/Summer_Activities_for_Teenagers

http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/youth-summer-camp-teen-tween/

http://nrfocus.org/latest_topics/summertime-risk-taking-by-teens-at-an-alltime-high/

http://www.newportacademy.com/summertime-is-prime-time-for-teen-drug-and-alcohol-abuse/

 

 

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Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

The three primary characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some kids may present all symptoms, others just possibly only one or two. The difference between ADHD and other conditions is that the symptoms are excessive and persistent.

Children with ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them or skip necessary steps in tasks. Children with impulsive symptoms of the disorder tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally.

Children who only have inattentive symptoms of ADHD are often overlooked, since they’re not disruptive. They may sit quietly, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. Adults may also mistake the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes for emotional or disciplinary problems.

Potential Risks of Untreated ADHD

Studies have shown there are a variety of problems that can occur if you leave ADHD untreated. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, these can include:

  • Falling behind in school
  • Having trouble with friendships
  • And increasing the strain between parents and children. (Parents can get frustrated or often blame themselves  - ADHD is no one’s fault, it is a medical diagnosis that is not due to bad parenting)

 

According to a Huffington Post article, teenagers and young adults with untreated ADHD are often plagued with impulsivity, failure to think through the consequences of their actions, an inability to finish what they start and poor judgment. They are more likely to be expelled from school, to abuse alcohol or drugs and to have early sex.

 

Adults with untreated ADHD struggle with higher rates of divorce and job loss. So it’s important to ensure EARLY steps are taken to help control the symptoms of ADHD.

 

Treatments for ADHD

 

There are effective, established medications for ADHD, which includenon-stimulant and stimulant medications (such as Ritalin). Before any medication treatment begins, your child's doctor should discuss the benefits and the possible side effects.

 

Another option that can be used with or without pharmaceuticals is therapy. Therapy can teach children to cope with daily problems, learn to better control aggression and help them pay better attention. It should also include coaching for parents so they can provide structure and positive reinforcement for good behavior. For instance, at Daniel:

 

  • We try to help parents teach consequences by identifying triggers of positive and negative behaviors, and setting clear expectations and rules. Making sure there are consequences for good as well as bad behaviors is key.

 

  • Adjusting lifestyle is also important. Some physical activity each day can help children with ADHD ignore distractions and boost their academic performance. Furthermore, eating a high-protein diet is proven to improve concentration.

 

  • Create a Routine:Children with ADHD are drawn to new activities, adventures and changes. As soon as your kids get home from school, make sure they do homework first. By making that a daily routine, children will eventually learn that they can have fun after taking care of their responsibilities.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

Research Links:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-who-dont-get-adhd-treatment-can-have-long-lasting-problems-into-adulthood-051215#4

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/defeat-your-child%E2%80%99s-adhd-without-drugs

http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/for-adhd-students-transition-to-college-is-tough/article_950df28a-ac05-5b50-8768-2ed34aa05376.html

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/02/easing-adhd.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-diets

 

 

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National Foster Care Awareness Month

 

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

 

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, drawing attention to the need for foster homes. According to Florida Department of Children and Families, there are approximately 8,000 children in foster care in Florida on any given day. Although hundreds of families across the country are volunteering to make a difference in the lives of children, creating more foster care is still an ongoing mission.

 

Importance of Foster Care

 

      • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 640,000 children spent time in foster care in 2013. However, there still aren’t enough people and resources to help them, mentor them or give them hope for the future.
      • Each year in Florida, there are between 9,000 and 10,000 children who are removed from their homes, often due to child neglect or parental drug abuse.  At Daniel Kids, we serve more than 800 children in the foster care system, and we specialize in therapeutic foster care, helping children who are struggling with emotional and behavioral problems.
      • Without families or stable relationships, too many of these formerly neglected or abused children and teens will end up facing life challenges all alone. Foster parents can provide for the daily needs and care of a child, creating a family-like environment and offering supervision, discipline and guidance. 

 

Future for Aging-out Foster Youth

 

      • Many foster children will age-out of the system when they turn 18, without a family and the skills to make it on their own. In fact, the percentage of youth that age out of foster care increased from 8 percent in 2003 to 10 percent in 2013.
      • Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college, according to a national research conducted by the University of Chicago.
      • Fortunately, there are programs out there to help these young adults make the transition from foster care child to independent adult. For example, at Daniel Kids, we have the Independent Living Village and Project Prepare that provides the housing, support and training necessary to safely transition these teens to living independently as productive members of our community. The Youth Crisis Center here locally also has a program for young adults who need help at their Touchstone Village.

 

 

 

Support System for Children in Need

 

  • Becoming a foster parent is one of the most rewarding experiences for a family. All types of people are welcomed as foster families—you don’t have to be married or own a home. Foster parents must:
    • Be able to provide a stable, nurturing home environment
    • Have household income that’s sufficient to meet current expenses
    • Be willing to have background checks done  
    • Own a reliable means of transportation with proof of insurance
    • Complete a 30-hour foster parent preparation course (and for those willing to accept kids with more severe emotional issues an additional 30-hour therapeutic training course)
  • If fostering or adopting isn’t an option for you, but you know someone who’s in need of foster care, you can always call for professional help. Florida Department of Children and Families is a great contact for issues related to children’s health and development. You can reach their Northeast division at 904-723-2000. Help is also available 24 hours per day at Daniel Kids at 904-296-1055.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1B19knx.

 

Research Links:

 

http://www.fosteringflorida.com/

 

http://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/aging-out/

 

http://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/foster-care/

 

https://www.fosterclub.com/article/foster-care-statistics

 

 

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Celebrity Worship Syndrome

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

 

A surprising amount of teenage girls participated in this so called “Kylie Jenner Challenge” this week to artificially plump their lips by sucking air out of shot glasses to look more like the 17-year-old reality television star. Sadly, the challenge resulted in many serious injuries that required stitches. With today’s social media, the phenomenon of celebrity worship among teenagers has become more of an obsession.

Understand Celebrity Worship Syndrome

 

      • Celebrity Worship Syndrome is a real psychology term used to describe an obsessive-addictive disorder where an individual becomes overly involved and interested with the details of the personal life of a celebrity. Yet, even if a teen doesn’t have a clinical disorder, sometimes their constant tracking of celebrities or wanting to emulate them can get out of hand.
      • In our culture, celebrity news often takes the headlines above world events. When young people see or track celebrities on a daily basis, it taps into a natural biological reaction and actually creates an artificial sense of friendship. 
      • A national survey published in USA Weekend showed that nearly 60 percent of teens said they wanted to pierce a body part or get a tattoo to match the style of a celebrity, and roughly 50 percent of them agreed that their peers drink or smoke cigarettes because they see their idols do the same thing.

Effects of Extreme Celebrity Worship

 

      • Children today grow up constantly connected to the Internet, social media and learn about celebrities at an early age. These children make up a generation that would rather be on reality television than become president of the United States.

 

      • Recent studies show that teens who develop an unhealthy obsession with celebrities often suffer from low self esteem and depression. Unrealistic media portrayals of female sexuality can lead young girls to feel insecure about their own bodies.
      • According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, more than half of teenage girls and one third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control methods such as fasting and purging. When they find that they cannot reach the level of perfection found in the usually photoshopped images of those they admire, many are propelled into depression. 

 

Prevention of Celebrity Obsession

 

  • Teach your child about media exposure: The average child sees 40,000 commercials a year. Educating them about how the image of their favorite celebrity is used to sell commercial products will help them distinguish real life from television. Also, make sure they know about the wonders of photoshop and how unrealistic many photos are.
  • Look for real-life role models: Children need figures of true achievement to admire. Discussing local heroes will help your child make connections with exceptional people close to home, and that authentic experience will leave a much more lasting impression than any Hollywood star.
  • Increase daily activities:Become more involved in your children's lives and encourage them to try new activities, including acknowledging what strengths they already have. You may also want to consider giving your teens more responsibilities around the house to divert their focus from their obsession.

 

For more information about children and parenting issues, please visit the parent resource page at danielids.org.

Research Links:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-excess/201307/celebrity-worship-syndrome

http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2014/05/20/is-celebrity-obsession-bad-for-us/

http://thecelebritycafe.com/features/24315.html

http://michelekambolis.com/blog/2007/08/15/star-struck-helping-kids-see-through-celebrity-obsession/

http://michelekambolis.com/blog/2007/08/15/star-struck-helping-kids-see-through-celebrity-obsession/

http://mcdevittportfolio.weebly.com/empty-promises-the-effects-of-celebrity-worship-on-our-society.html

 

 

 

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New Topic

Teen Smoking and Prevention

While teen smoking has declined from nearly 13 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2014, electronic cigarette use tripled and hookah use doubled among U.S. teenagers last year. In fact, University of Florida researchers found that 12 percent of Florida high school students reported trying e-cigarettes, up from 8 percent the previous year (http://www.news4jax.com/health/uf-study-more-florida-teens-using-ecigarettes/32210684).

 

Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker offered WJXT viewers information about the negative effects smoking has on teenagers and provided prevention tips for parents.

Negative Impact of Traditional Smoking

      • Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, and yet many teens still smoke. Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers became hooked by the time they were 18.
      • According to Smokefree Teen, a government organization, smoking can damage teenager’s developing brain by stunting the growth of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for functions like impulse control and weighing the consequences of actions.
      • In addition, many people don’t realize that aside from being a leading cause of future cancer, teen smoking also promotes Type 2 Diabetes, DNA damage, heart disease, disrupted bone growth and weakened immune system. 

Harmful Effects of E-Cigarette and Hookah

 

      • Many teens believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful and addictive. However, an e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that also contains nicotine. Whether it’s traditional smoking or vaping, nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain function, promote addiction and lead to sustained tobacco use.
      • Furthermore, since e-cigarettes are not regulated yet, there’s no way of knowing how much nicotine is in them or what other chemicals they contain. These two things make the safety of e-cigarettes unclear.
      • On the other hand, the health issues associated with hookah are more proven.According to the American Cancer Society, Hookah smoke can contain concentrations of toxins, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and heavy metals, that are as high or higher than those in cigarettes.
      • Beyond the health risks of hookah, its use increases a teen's probability of trying cigarettes by 19 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

 

Prevention Tips for Parents

 

  • Set a good example: Parents can set a positive example for their children by not smoking themselves or quitting if they do.
  • Start talking: Explain the health dangers of smoking - especially when it comes to e-cigarettes and hookahs. If you catch your teen smoking, try to avoid threats and ultimatums. Ask questions and find out why your child is smoking. Talk about what changes can be made in his or her life to help them stop smoking.
  • Use educational resources: More and more nonprofits and government organizations have dedicated their resources to preventing teen smoking and limiting tobacco products, such as CVS and the national “truth” public service advertising campaign. Introducing such news and information to teenagers can help educate and connect them with facts about tobacco products and its negative effects. 

 

 

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New topic

Child Neglect Information for Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

Information from Jim Clark, CEO and President of Daniel Kids and Licensed Social Worker

 

Definition and Scope of Child Neglect

 

      • Child neglect is the most common type of child maltreatment in the United States, according to the American Humane Association. In fact, more than 600,000 children country-wide were victims of abuse or neglect in 2012. In that same time period in Duval County alone, there were 1,210 reported cases of child neglect – and that’s just those that were reported.
      • Child neglect is defined as a type of maltreatment related to the failure to provide needed, age-appropriate care. Unfortunately, neglect frequently goes unreported and has not been acknowledged or publicized as greatly as child abuse.
      • At Daniel Kids, we serve early 2,000 neglected, abused and emotionally troubled children every day through a variety of programs. So we see first-hand how much pain those kids have experienced through neglect and how important it is for them to seek professional support and overcome their mental, social and academic difficulties.

 

Negative Impact of Child Neglect

 

      • The impact of neglect can become more severe as a child grows older and can encompass multiple areas, including:

 

  • Health and cognitive development: Naturally, one form of neglect is not giving kids enough food, which can lead to malnourishment. Neglect can also severely alter the way a child’s brain works. This can lead to an increased risk of depression in later life as well as dissociative disorders and memory impairments.
  • Emotional and psychological development: The immediate emotional effects of neglect are isolation, fear and inability to trust, which can all translate into lifelong consequences, including low self-esteem and relationship difficulties.
  • Social and behavioral development:According to the National Institute of Justice, children who experienced child abuse and neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile and 30 percent more likely to commit violence crime.

 

Prevention of Child Neglect

  • The most important thing to remember is to NOT be a bystander, if you reasonably suspect child neglect is occurring, report it to the Florida Abuse Registry Hotline, which is 1-800-96-ABUSE. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • In order to this you must be aware of the warning signs that may suggest a child is experiencing some type of neglect. They include:
    • A combination of outward signs, such as malnourishment, poor personal hygiene, inappropriate clothing for the season, or extreme fatigue
    • Slower-than-normal development
    • Failure to thrive
    • Unusual interaction with a parent
    • Sudden drop in grades in school
    • Unexpected change in behavior
  • To learn more about child neglect prevention programs or to help a child heal from neglect, people can also call Daniel Kids at 904-296-1055. Our team consists of experienced social workers and psychologists who can help neglected children to grow into healthy adults and provide families with professional resources to support a safe environment for their kids.

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NEW TOPIC

Importance of Talking Politics with Kids

      • Talking to kids about politics helps them understand the world and start to shift their thinking process from "me" to "we." Election season offers many excellent teaching moments. For example, how elections work, what democracy means or the value of leadership.
      • In the United States, young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have the lowest attendance at the voting booth. Talking about politics with your kids may not come naturally, but as parents we're responsible for raising the next generation of voters. 
      • In fact, many teens learn about important social issues, such as education, health care, same-sex marriage, financial planning and environment through media outlets during elections.

Effects of Political Advertising and What Children Can Learn from It

      • All kinds of mudslinging happens every political season, both in media and around kitchen tables, but it’s key to remember that children often learn from adults’ behaviors and words. Negative advertising from both parties can cause confusion and sometimes fear in children who may not understand the issues or the election process.

       

      • Try to Stay Balanced –You may have very strong opinions in regards to an election, but it’s important to tell your children why you feel that way. Younger kids in particular have a tendency to assume their parents' political views and parties without much thought or understanding. Encourage them to come to their own conclusions and defend their positions.

 

      • Teach Your Children Good Political Etiquette—Help them to understand that people often get emotional or offended with political discussions. Regardless of your political affiliation, it is important that you set an example for your children to respect elected officials.

Ways of Using Politics as A Positive Teaching Tool

  • Connect Issues to Everyday Life: The presidential race is obviously the biggest election in the country, but talking to kids about local politics can help open up clear, relatable discussions about how politics affect our everyday lives. Explain to your kids that a city election could determine what they will read in school next year, or whether your town gets a new playground. Helping them identify topics that are important and relevant to their lives will help them grasp why every vote counts.
  • Learn with Them: If your child asks questions to which you don’t have an answer, take time to look up the information together by surfing the web or doing a little research in the library. Capitalize on your kids’ natural curiosity to help them build a solid base of knowledge on how our political system works.

 

  • Promote the Importance of Voting: Be a role model by setting a positive example that lets your kids know you value the right to vote. Starting at a young age, take them along with you to a voting booth, so that they can get a good view of the political process. If not, make sure they see you wearing your sticker proudly to help them grow up knowing that every vote matters.

 

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New Topic

 

Getting Children to Bed On Time

 

      • With parents working long hours, after-school activities and other lifestyle factors, bedtimes are pushed back in many families. Missing naps or going to bed a little late may not seem to be a big deal, but it is.
      • Sleep helps your child focus and remember what he or she has learned during the day. According to a 2013 study, children’s brains transform subconsciously learned material into active knowledge while they sleep.
      • The primary consequences of poor sleep among children and adolescents are behavior problems, impaired school performance, and emotional instability as well as physical health consequences, including obesity.

 

Understanding Sleep Durations and Identifying Potential Sleep Problems

 

      • Preschoolers typically sleep 11 to 13 hours per night.

 To Watch: Because their minds and imaginations are developing so quickly, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors tend to peak during preschool years.

 

      • Children aged 6 to 13 usually need nine to 11 hours of sleep.

 To Watch: For this group, parents need to be mindful of helping kids get balance sleep with the increasing demands on their time from school, homework, sports and extracurricular activities. Parents should also monitor their children’s exposure to TV, cellphones and Internet as well as ingestion of caffeinated products (especially at night)– all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep.

 

Making Bedtime Better:

 

  • Keep Bedtime Consistent:Your child's body clock will adjust much more quickly to a routine if the routine follows a natural and consistent pattern. It’s important not to let your child sleep in sometimes and not others so he or she doesn't start shifting the sleep pattern.
  • Let Your Child Wind Down:Just as adults can't go right from the busy activities of the day into sleep, neither can your child. There should be no vigorous activity between a half hour and an hour before bedtime. Turn off the TV and play soothing music during the bedtime routine to help your child calm down and signal that bedtime is arriving.
  • Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Keep distractions out of the bedroom. Electronics like TVs, video games, cellphones and computers are all sleep distractions and can be hard to control once you close the bedroom door, especially for teenagers.

 

  • Teach Children to Fall Asleep on Their Own: Many sleep problems stem from the fact that parents tend to shy away from leaving their young children alone to sleep. During children’s lighter sleep phases, they subconsciously check their environment for the same conditions they went to sleep with. By all means, cuddle with your child, but your children should be not quite asleep when you leave, so they have a sense of being able to put themselves to sleep.

 

 

 

 

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New Topic
The Impact of Social Media

Social media has dramatically impacted the society in just the past few years. While it brings people closer and makes communications easier, social media also creates a potential platform for over-sharing personal information, online depression and giving into peer pressure. A child’s misuse of social media can become a serious problem, which is why helping your child navigate the world of social media is more relevant than ever.

Positive Impacts of Social Media

There are many benefits of social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all designed to help us better connect with the world around us like never before.

Social media can bring a sense of community among kids (even shyer ones) with their peers and even with friends and relatives across the country or across the world. Never before has it been easier for friends who move to keep in touch.

It is also certainly helping to build a technology-literate generation for a technology-based world. Teens can have easy access to breaking news and keep themselves informed about what’s going on around them through popular news accounts on Twitter, such as CNN, NBC News or The New York Times. Pinterest and Tumblr are also great sources for children to collect arts-and-crafts ideas as well as fashion trends.

Risks of Social Media

The problem is that these sites aren’t necessarily designed for children. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr’s current rules state users must be 13. Twitter doesn’t have rules, but their privacy statement mentions it being geared toward 13-year-olds and over. That said, a 2014 study finds that 59 percent of children join social networks before the age of 10.

There are a number of ways that social media can bring potential dangers to your kids:

  • Exposure to Inappropriate Material – Kids can be easily exposed to sexual explicit content, graphic violence, hate or racist websites and promotional material about tobacco, alcohol or drugs through social networks. They are not mentally mature enough to filter online information without the help of their parents.
  • Temptation to post inappropriate pictures or information themselves — They need to know that even what they post on platforms that supposedly only last a few seconds “like SnapChat,” those posts can indeed be lasting – for instance if someone takes a screen shot and saves it.
  • “Facebook Depression” – This is when your child becomes anxious and moody after spending a lot of time on Facebook or any other social media platform. This happens when they find that people aren’t responding to their posts, accepting their friend requests or they see friends having fun in a group or a party that they weren’t invited to.

 

  • Social Media Addiction — This is often forgotten about. It’s so easy for a child too blow hours they would have been spending on homework or playing outside on their phone or computer.

Social Media Safety Tips

  • Set Limits & A Good Example Although most of the rules are for 13 and older, it’s easy for kids to gain access – so as a family, set your own rules about the age your kids are allowed to use social media and which or how many platforms they are allowed to use. Then, set a good example, be sure you aren’t spending all your time on social media and that you demonstrate proper social media etiquette.
  • Monitor Online Posting Know what they are posting and let them know what they are NOT allowed to post – for instance, perhaps bathing suit pictures. Remind your child that there’s no real privacy online—every email, post or message leaves a digital footprint, which future employers and colleges might access. Ideally, you should be following your child on the social media they are using.
  • Encourage KindnessDiscourage meanness, gossiping and posting anything that’s untrue or potentially harmful.
  • Avoid Questionnaires, Free Giveaways and ContestsAnyone would be tempted by a free offer, but kids are particularly susceptible, so it’s important to warn kids against falling for this kind of trick. Many of these are attempts to steal personal information.

 

 

 

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Remembering to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means the biggest shopping day of the year is fast approaching. Families across the country will wait in long lines at stores to grab early-morning sales on the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become shopping staples, this year some retailers are extending sales to Thanksgiving Day, with national chains like Old Navy opening at 9 AM and Walmart opening at 6 PM. 

This has led to a concern that Thanksgiving has become more about getting the best deals rather than giving back and being grateful for what you already have.

 

Teaching Children to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reiterate the spirit of giving with your children. While these Black Friday and related sales are a way for the family to save money, it’s important to remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving and take time to reflect on what we have, not necessarily what we want. This message will then hopefully carry through to for the whole holiday season and beyond.

We all benefit when children learn to give to others. Charitable involvement has been shown to help raise self-esteem, develop social skills and encourage kids to appreciate their own lifestyle.

 

  • Acknowledge what your child already does – Introduce the idea of giving to others by first acknowledging what they are already doing that benefits others. For instance, the last time your children cleaned out the toy box or closet it meant that you were able donate those items to people in need. Spotlighting the things your children already do enables them to look at giving in a new light. In fact, your children will likely be so happy to discover how they already makes a difference; the motivation to give more often will quickly surface.
  • Give your children a choice – Your children will be more likely to adopt a giving spirit, when they are able to choose a cause that’s meaningful to them. Whether they have an affinity for animals or nature, finding what holds your children’s interest allows them to become more vested in the project.
  • Make giving a family affair – Include your children when YOU making a decision about supporting a cause. Allow them to see your thought process behind choosing certain organizations or causes. Also, volunteering as a family is a great way to spend time together while also modeling the importance of giving back.
  • Incorporate giving into activities your children already participate in – When it comes to incorporating acts of giving into everyday activities, the options are unlimited. For example, you might encourage your children and their friends to write holiday cards for our troops during a portion of their play date. Whatever you do, weave it into the fun of what you are already doing.
  • Give and receive – Often, children will go through the motions of helping others (volunteering, donating) without fully understanding why they are doing it. Take the time to spotlight how the giving process was received. For example, share the stories of families who benefited from your canned food drive.

 

Making Time for Family

 

Aside from giving, Thanksgiving and the holiday season is also about spending family time together. There are a number of ways for parents to accomplish this throughout the holiday season.

 

Continue or develop holiday traditions. If your family has a holiday tradition, be sure to keep it going even as your children grow older. If you don’t have a family tradition, now is the time to start. Perhaps you all have a different part of the Thanksgiving dinner you make or all take a nap after the meal. Maybe it’s even a family shopping trip during Black Friday.  Anything that your family can do year after year as a unit will create shared memories between you.

  • Consider getting a family gift. If you do find yourself out Black Friday, get a family gift. It does NOT have to be expensive.  This could be a board game, a movie you watch together every holiday season, or a football you all throw in the yard together. Getting a family gift will get everyone thinking in terms of the family as whole and get each member excited about spending time together using that gift.
  • Have kids talk to family members. Whether it’s during Thanksgiving dinner or over the long weekend, have your kids ask their grandparents, aunts and uncles about their holiday memories. This will help them bond outside the nuclear family and add to their understanding of the real meanings behind the holidays.
  • Volunteer as a family. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier- in terms of instilling the spirit of giving. Whether it’s something you do on Thanksgiving or a resolution to do something that you simply discuss during Thanksgiving, pick a cause close to your hearts and volunteer as a family. You could all go work in a soup kitchen or simply bake treats for local heroes – like firefighters, police and nurses that have to work Thanksgiving. Giving back to the community as a family will allow you all to bond through your gratitude and spirit of philanthropy.

 

Giving Back

There is also a new countrywide movement that’s building momentum called “Giving Tuesday” that focuses on the importance of giving after having received all of the holiday deals.

 

Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity for families to participate in a national day of giving to the nonprofit of their choice – like Daniel or any one of hundreds of nonprofit agencies. With an entire holiday dedicated to giving thanks and a few for getting deals, is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 3rd) and it’s a day for giving back. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to look at their annual giving and join their fellow Americans in an enormous gesture that serves as an example to future generations.

 

Resources:
 
http://givingtuesday.org/about/

http://www.more4kids.info/553/teaching-children-the-meaning-of-thanksgiving/

http://www.parents.com/holiday/thanksgiving/crafts/adorable-thankful-crafts/

 

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New Topic

How to Start a Great School Year

It seems hard to believe that we are in the last days of summer break. Summer has flown by – and parents are gearing up to go back to school. Duval County students start on the 18th and Clay County starts on the 12th which leaves just a few more days of summer time freedom before the school year routines kick back in. With the school year fast approaching – many parents may be wondering how to transition back into the more hectic school year schedule

Establish a Bedtime Routine

The night before school starts isn’t the time for a drastic adjustment to the bedtime routine. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine and those earlier sleep schedules gradually. They’re not going to like it after the late nights during the summer, but it will keep them from being miserable the first few weeks of school.

During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. If you haven’t started yet – start tonight! And begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they'll need to rise when school begins.

How to Make Mornings Less Stressful

Choose Outfits the Night Before

Mornings can be very hectic for families with children. There are a few things you can do to make sure you avoid chaos. Planning ahead really makes the morning go much smoother!

Lay out children's clothing the night before. This is a huge way to cut out morning stress. Let your kids help choose their outfits, or if they are old enough they can choose their outfits themselves.

Have backpacks packed and ready

Scan backpacks for missing homework, projects or library books the night BEFORE. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go. Again this is a huge way to make sure everyone gets out the door with as little stress as possible. If everything is packed and ready by the door, you won’t lose time in the morning searching for missing items!

 

Plan a Practice Run

 

Another thing that can really help is making a practice run before the first day of school. 

Before school begins, make a practice run to get children to the school on time. The first day of school is no time to find out it takes ten minutes – not five – to walk to the bus stop!Bus riders will need to be familiar with the location of the bus stop; print – let them take a copy in the backpack, so they won’t be nervous trying to remember their new bus number. You can post the bus schedule on a calendar at home to prevent a missed bus. Also – allow tons of EXTRA time on the first day of school – it’s always busier than you think it will be.

Getting Things Organized

One really important thing to do before school starts is to get your house organized! And it’s not as time consuming as it sounds - a little organization at home goes a long way when the new school year begins!

 

Create a Central Calendar

 

Create a central area for all family calendars and schedules.You'll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Plan Lunches

Create a list of school lunch ideas at the start of the school year, that way you won’t be left wondering what to pack. There are lists online of great ideas to keep those lunches creative all the way through the school year.

Create Good Homework Habits

Make sure the room your child studies in is quiet, has plenty of light, and has schools supplies close at hand. Remove distractions by turning off the television and discouraging social phone calls during homework time. Setting a regular time and sticking to it helps children complete their homework assignments.

These are great tips of things parents can do to help their kids get ready for a successful school year. With a little organization and planning, the transition of going back-to-school can be simple.

 

 

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New Topic 

Becoming a Therapeutic Foster Care Parent

In Florida there are over 8,000 children currently in foster care. There are many ways for the community to get involved and help these kids who are in transition – from foster or adoptive parents to volunteers and mentors. However, there is one group of children who need a special type of foster care.

Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care

Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care (STFC) servers children who simply can’t live with their families of issues and these particular kids can’t be in traditional foster care either. These children who have severe emotional or behavioral issues that often stem from prior neglect or abuse.

That’s where STFC comes in – the program provides a safe, nurturing place for children to work out their issues. The STFC program at Daniel is now the largest in the state of Florida and serves local children and children with severe needs from other counties.

 

Why children need Foster Care and/or STFC

All kinds of good kids end up in foster care when bad things happen in their families, whether it’s domestic abuse, drug use, or neglect – there are wide-ranging reasons that kids may need foster parents. For a child to be in STFC there are certain criteria.

STFC Criteria:

  • Children must be between the ages of 5 and 17
  • Exhibit symptoms of emotional or mental distress
  • Be unable to live in their own homes or need additional care outside of typical foster care

Foster parents provide these children a temporary and supportive home where they can heal.

Foster parents often say that being there for the foster kids is very rewarding.  They provide stability and loving home and that makes a big difference in a child’s life.

How to become a Specialized Therapeutic Foster Parent

There are certain training classes that people must complete prior to becoming a STFC parent.

 

Eligible foster parents must:

 

  • Be able to provide a stable, nurturing home environment
  • Be willing to be screened for law violations
  • Own a reliable car and provide proof of insurance
  • Complete 30-hour foster care training and 30-hour therapeutic training course 

 

Family Support Services – FSS – and Daniel work in partnership to train and license traditional and therapeutic foster parents so they can help the kids who really need it most.

Family Support Services (FSS) 

www.fssjax.org

(904) 421-5800

 

Foster Care Training Classes

Family Support Services (FSS) offers ongoing training for Traditional Foster Care. For information about traditional foster care please call 904-421-5800 for further information about the PRIDE training classes.

Daniel will be hosting a Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care training class in the month of June. Classes begin June 7th and continue throughout the entire month each Saturday.

June 7th   9 AM – 3 PM

www.danielkids.org

Contact: Mary Blackmon (904) 296-1055 x2708

 

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New Topic

Succeeding Through the School Year

As the school year draws to a close and the weather warms up, students tend to lose focus at school. They’re busy counting down the days until summer vacation and losing motivation in their school work. Parents are often left wondering how to keep their children on track and how to help them finish the school year successfully.

How can parents help their kids stay focused?

Parents need to know what is going on with their children outside of school. Children can be distracted by their
relationships with their peers, whether things are going well or going poorly. It’s important to keep track of the non-academic things that your children are dealing with.

  • Know their friends, and/or who they’re dating and how they are getting along with their friends.
  • These relationships can negatively affect your child’s ability to focus at school.
  • Make sure your kids feel comfortable talking to you – it’s important to keep an open dialogue. 

Tips on Staying Involved

Parents get tired toward the end of the school year too! But, we really need to remember to stay involved.
Remember, it’s easier to ask about assignments and grades, before the grades are final and report cards come home!

  • Check up on your child’s grades before it’s too late.
  • Many school districts offer an online “grade portal” where parents can check-in on grades and pinpoint any missing assignments.
  • Contact your child’s teachers if you have questions.
  • Email and/or write notes
  • Set up a weekly chat with your kids to check-in and make sure they are staying on track.

Reinforcing Good Study Habits

Kids begin to lose focus after Spring Break and that means that parents have to step in and provide encouragement. They may have started the school year out strong, but have lost focus on their studies. Parents can step in and reinforce those good study habits from the beginning of the year. 

  • Take a look at what technology they’re using
  • Make sure your children are studying in a quiet place without TV, phones, and computers.
  • They don’t have to work in silence, but make sure they aren’t surrounded by technology.
  • Parents plan a “homework time” of your own, whether that’s quietly reading or sitting at the table sorting mail
  • Your kids will be more focused seeing you setting an example

Spend Time Together 

One great way to keep kids on track to spend time together as a family! Take walks after dinner and enjoy the spring weather. It really helps kids finish school strong when they have those times when they are able
to relax. And of course, remind them that there is an END in sight for school. There are just two months left until the end of the school year. Have your little one mark off each finished day on a calendar.  They’ll be able to see just how FEW days they have left! 

 

 How Art Therapy Helps Children

It seems all children love to create beautiful works of art that end up proudly displayed on the fridge!  But, did you know that creating art can be therapy for kids? Here is more information about how art therapy benefits those affected by trauma and how you can find an art therapist.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, with the help of their art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

How Does someone become an Art Therapist?  

A master’s degree is required for entry level practice in art therapy.  Art therapists are as qualified as other mental health therapists and they utilize talk therapy as other therapists do.

Who does art therapy help?

Art therapy can truly benefit anyone! It is used in a variety of settings including: hospice, hospitals, wellness centers and in outpatient therapy. People who have experienced trauma benefit from art therapy and that includes those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster.

How does this type of therapy help children?

Art therapy gives children a safe place to talk about their feelings. It can increase communication, independence, self-esteem and focus. This type of therapy can help kids open up about things they may not feel comfortable talking about by using different types of artistic experiences.

How to Find an Art Therapist

Many parents may be interested in finding art therapist for their own children.

The American Art Therapy Association’s website is a great resource for parents who are interested in this type of therapy.

Visit their website www.arttherapy.org to search for therapists in your area, to learn more about art therapy and to read what others have to say about it.

Also, click on the “Find a Therapist” section for a full list of therapists in your area.

Upcoming Community Art Project

Daniel is working with the talented artists at Roux Art to create a community art piece February 27th – March 2nd, 2014 at the Spring Home and Patio Show at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Everyone is invited to come out and be a part of the making of the piece! We’ll be at booth numbers 1107 and 1108. Once the community art piece is finished, it will be installed at the Daniel Academy campus.

Event info:

Jacksonville Home + Patio Show

Prime Osborn Convention Center

Thursday, February 27 – Sunday, March 2, 2014

www.jacksonvillespringhomeshow.com

 

Web Resources:

www.danielkids.org

www.arttherapy.org

http://www.jacksonvillespringhomeshow.com/

 

Talking to Your Teens about Dating

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and many of us have love on our minds, including our kids. For most parents out there, the idea of your pre-teens and teenage children dating probably brings up feelings of fear and uncertainty. When should kids begin dating? What types of dating behaviors are appropriate at certain ages? So when should parents start preparing themselves for their kids to show romantic interest in others?


When to Talk about Dating with your Kids
The answer might scare some parents, but the truth is that it’s perfectly normal for kids to start having crushes in the late elementary and early middle school years. It’s part of the biological changes of puberty, and before we see the physical changes, the hormonal ones are already happening. Remember, if you child has a crush – that’s fine. The problem is when kids act on those feelings too quickly, which is why parents need to be alert and involved.


Guidelines for when Kids should start Dating

It’s difficult to extend age guidelines to all kids and teens when it comes to dating. Most child psychology experts say pre-teens should only participate in supervised group activities like school dances or trips to the mall or movies. One-on-one dating is appropriate for older teens, with polls showing most parents allowing the transition at age 16. The best approach is for parents to use their judgment to decide what is ok for their kids based on their maturity level.

 

Dating Patterns Among Pre-Teens and Teens

We can also look at some numbers on pre-teen and teen dating patterns so parents have a better idea of what to expect. Research shows that:

  • Among 13-year-olds, 37% of males and 34% of females have been in a romantic relationship
  • Among 15-year-olds, 49% of males and 56% of females have been in a romantic relationship
  • Most romantic relationships among 12 to 14 year olds last less than five months
  • By age 16, relationships last an average of two years

 

Teenage Dating Rules

It is important for parents to set some dating ground rules and clearly communicate these rules and consequences to their pre-teens and teenagers. Some of these rules should include:

  • Curfews
  • Appropriate age of partner
  • Telling you who they will be with, where they will be and contact information
  • Encourage your kids to invite friends over, but set ground rules such as no closed doors
  • When setting rules, there are two important things to keep in mind:
  • Don’t be too oppressive and restrictive, otherwise you’re asking for rebellion. Use logic and reason when creating dating rules.
  • Explain why you are setting certain rules or forbidding certain activities. This helps your teen see that you aren’t just trying to control them, but that you care about them and that’s why you’re setting rules.

Of course some of these rules, like curfew and partner age, will change as your child ages. But these are important basics to have established once your child wants to date.

 

Communication Tips for Parents

Talking with teenagers about dating can be difficult. Remember, having open and honest communication with your kids about dating is critical to staying involved in their dating lives.

  • By the pre-teenyears, you should have already had the basic sex talk, and this should be an ongoing conversation as your kids get older. Make sure you are also including feelings in these discussions.
  • Answer your kid’s dating questions openly and honestly. This will set the standard for all future
    conversations.
  • Talk to your teen about friends and daily events. This way you can learn about their peer network
    and what things they find important. When it comes to dating, this information can give you insight into who they might date and what kinds of activities your child and his or her partner might be interested in.
  • Be open to discussing your relationship experiences. Use these talks to establish how you define a healthy relationship.
  • Set an example for your pre-teen and teen in your own relationship. Model healthy relationship behaviors with your partner that so your child can see what it means to be in a committed, equal partnership.


Whether parents are ready for it or not, teen dating is something they’ll have to face at some point. But teen dating doesn’t have to be a horrible prospect, as long as parents work to have open communication and they establish and follow through with dating rules.

  

Helping Kids Understand School Violence

There have been a number of violent incidents at schools and universities across the country recently. Parents are left wondering how AND when to talk to their children about these issues. Approaching this topic can seem overwhelming and it may seem easier to avoid these topics all together. But it's important begin the conversation with your kids. 


How can parents help their kids cope with these situations?

It’s possible your child may overhear grownups talking about these difficult stories or hear about them on the radio or TV.   When these things happen, it's very important for parents to honestly listen to their kids and talk to them. Kids are often GOOD observers and take in that information, but BAD interpreters.

 

How do you begin the conversation?

It’s important to help kids understand and cope with this in an age-appropriate way. Of course, you’re not going to talk to your grade-schooler the same way as you would your high-schooler.


Make the conversation age-appropriate

There are gun awareness and safety initiatives happening in elementary schools in Duval County this year. That’s a great place to start – as a parent you can build off the presentation that is being done in schools and ask questions. 


Elementary-school age Children - Be honest, but not graphic

The best approach for school-age kids is a direct and honest one. Respond to any questions your kids may have and ask what they've heard about these situations from friends or classmates. Answer their questions honestly, with simple answers that don't delve into explicit, potentially traumatizing details.

 

Find out what makes them scared

Find out what makes them scared. If you're trying to comfort kids, you have to find out what's worrying them. Make sure any conversation you have includes lots of opportunities for your kids to ask questions and share their concerns.


Talk about safety plans

Let your kids know that the adults in their lives are doing everything they can to make sure they will stay safe. Check with your child’s school about safety measures they have put in place and talk to your kids about it. Talk about what you do to keep you home safe, such not opening the door for strangers. Reassure your kids that the chances something bad will happen are very slim.


Middle or High School Children - Be direct and honest

At this age, school shooting perpetrators are typically adolescents, too, which can cause serious feelings and anxiety in already-emotional teens. If they ask a question such as, "Why would somebody do this?" be honest that people sometimes have lots of anger and bad feelings that make them want to hurt and kill other people.


Approach the topic casually

Teens aren’t known for always being willing to talk with their parents.  Approach it with a question, "So I heard about this on the news. What are kids saying at school?" You can’t force them to talk, but you are more likely to get them to talk if you approach calmly and causally. They will open up when they are ready to talk about it. 

Don’t offer reasons for why these things happen

Don’t feel obligated to give a reason for what happened.  As parents, sometimes we’ll have to be OK with the fact that we don’t have all the answers. In reality, we don’t know why some of these things happen. And that has to be OK. It is also important to talk to your kids about how AND when to report issues to their teachers and administration at school. If they see OR hear something, they need to know how to get that information to adults.


 

Helping Families Reunite

Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry

 

Each year thousands of children are adopted right here in Florida. These children are then able to experience the comfort and security of finding their forever families. As adopted children get older questions can arise about medical history or they may become curious about their birth families and want to reunite.  One Florida organization can help people do just that – Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry.

Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR)

Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry is run by the State of Florida and is a mutual consent registry. It does not search for people. When people register contact information is stored and not disclosed until a match is made with another registered person who has a connection with the adoptee. The registry can make the process of finding your biological family much, much easier. Remember adopted adults have a RIGHT to medical and or social history of their birth family.

Who Can Register with FARR?

Adopted adults, birth parents and siblings, birth aunts, uncles and grandparents can all register with FARR. One really great thing is that Adoptive Parents can register on behalf of their minor child.

How to get started with Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry

You can find applications at: www.adoptfl.org 

What is the cost to register with FARR

There is a one-time fee of $35 (check or money order only.)  The registry is not an ONLINE registry, so applications and the fees must be mailed.

Florida Adoption Reunion Registry

1317 Winewood Blvd

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700

 

If you or someone you now have questions about any part of this process, please contact Florida’s Adoption Information Center at: 1-800-96-ADOPT

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New Topic

Beat the Holiday Blues


Now that Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially started, there is a lot of excitement at this time of year, but many people experience what is sometimes called, “the holiday blues.” 

 

Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a very stressful time. During the holidays we find ourselves facing the stressful demands of shopping, cooking, travel and even entertaining house guests. It’s important to remember to take care of ourselves  to prevent stress, fatigue, and even depression.

How to curb stressful holiday activities

  • Be reasonable about your schedule
    • You can’t attend every party; nor should your child. The last thing you want to do is overbook yourself and be at an event when you are irritable. Remember, it is the holidays.
  • Decide what your priorities are and stick to them
    • Lots of therapists will tell you to stay active during the holidays and engage in activities where you are giving back. Indeed, this is a very healthy approach. Understand that feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness, can be overcome when you are giving to others.
  • Let go of family resentments
    • It’s the time of year to declare amnesty to friends and relatives whom you may have had issues with in the past. The holidays are a perfect time to try to move past old resentments.

 

  • Don’t expect the holidays to be what they were when
    you were a child
    ; they never are
    • You aren’t the same as you were when you were a child and no one in your family is either. Make the best of each year and try not to compare to year’s past.

 

  • Control your alcohol consumption
    • If you do drink, don’t let the holidays become a reason to overindulge. Remember, alcohol is a depressant and people should not drink when taking medication or are depressed. Alcohol will worsen anxiety and depression.

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

  • Take care of your health
    • Have your family wash their hands often. This is the season for colds and flu.
  • Spend time in the kitchen with your children
    • Aromas can be particularly strong in triggering memories and often stay with a child for a lifetime. Make a list of dishes you make every year.  
  • Exercise
    • Physical activities like yoga and walking will stimulate brain chemicals that induce euphoria and put people in a better mood.

 

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New Topic 

Remembering to Give Thanks

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means the biggest shopping day of the year is fast approaching. Families across the country will wait in long lines at stores to grab early-morning sales on the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become shopping staples, this year some retailers are extending sales to Thanksgiving Day, with national chains like Old Navy opening at 9 AM and Walmart opening at 6 PM. 

This has led to a concern that Thanksgiving has become more about getting the best deals rather than giving back and being grateful for what you already have.

 

Teaching Children to be Thankful

 

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reiterate the spirit of giving with your children. While these Black Friday and related sales are a way for the family to save money, it’s important to remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving and take time to reflect on what we have, not necessarily what we want. This message will then hopefully carry through to for the whole holiday season and beyond.

 

We all benefit when children learn to give to others. Charitable involvement has been shown to help raise self-esteem, develop social skills and encourage kids to appreciate their own lifestyle.

 

  • Acknowledge what your child already does – Introduce the idea of giving to others by first acknowledging what they are already doing that benefits others. For instance, the last time your children cleaned out the toy box or closet it meant that you were able donate those items to people in need. Spotlighting the things your children already do enables them to look at giving in a new light. In fact, your children will likely be so happy to discover how they already makes a difference; the motivation to give more often will quickly surface.
  • Give your children a choice – Your children will be more likely to adopt a giving spirit, when they are able to choose a cause that’s meaningful to them. Whether they have an affinity for animals or nature, finding what holds your children’s interest allows them to become more vested in the project.
  • Make giving a family affair – Include your children when YOU making a decision about supporting a cause. Allow them to see your thought process behind choosing certain organizations or causes. Also, volunteering as a family is a great way to spend time together while also modeling the importance of giving back.
  • Incorporate giving into activities your children already participate in – When it comes to incorporating acts of giving into everyday activities, the options are unlimited. For example, you might encourage your children and their friends to write holiday cards for our troops during a portion of their play date. Whatever you do, weave it into the fun of what you are already doing.
  • Give and receive – Often, children will go through the motions of helping others (volunteering, donating) without fully understanding why they are doing it. Take the time to spotlight how the giving process was received. For example, share the stories of families who benefited from your canned food drive.

 

Making Time for Family

 

Aside from giving, Thanksgiving and the holiday season is also about spending family time together. There are a number of ways for parents to accomplish this throughout the holiday season.

 

 

  • Continue or develop holiday traditions. If your family has a holiday tradition, be sure to keep it going even as your children grow older. If you don’t have a family tradition, now is the time to start. Perhaps you all have a different part of the Thanksgiving dinner you make or all take a nap after the meal. Maybe it’s even a family shopping trip during Black Friday.  Anything that your family can do year after year as a unit will create shared memories between you.
  • Consider getting a family gift. If you do find yourself out Black Friday, get a family gift. It does NOT have to be expensive.  This could be a board game, a movie you watch together every holiday season, or a football you all throw in the yard together. Getting a family gift will get everyone thinking in terms of the family as whole and get each member excited about spending time together using that gift.
  • Have kids talk to family members. Whether it’s during Thanksgiving dinner or over the long weekend, have your kids ask their grandparents, aunts and uncles about their holiday memories. This will help them bond outside the nuclear family and add to their understanding of the real meanings behind the holidays.
  • Volunteer as a family. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier- in terms of instilling the spirit of giving. Whether it’s something you do on Thanksgiving or a resolution to do something that you simply discuss during Thanksgiving, pick a cause close to your hearts and volunteer as a family. You could all go work in a soup kitchen or simply bake treats for local heroes – like firefighters, police and nurses that have to work Thanksgiving. Giving back to the community as a family will allow you all to bond through your gratitude and spirit of philanthropy.

 

Giving Back

 

There is also a new countrywide movement that’s building momentum called “Giving Tuesday” that focuses on the importance of giving after having received all of the holiday deals.

 

Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity for families to participate in a national day of giving to the nonprofit of their choice – like Daniel or any one of hundreds of nonprofit agencies. With an entire holiday dedicated to giving thanks and a few for getting deals, is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 3rd) and it’s a day for giving back. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to look at their annual giving and join their fellow Americans in an enormous gesture that serves as an example to future generations.

 

 

Resources:
 
http://givingtuesday.org/about/

http://www.more4kids.info/553/teaching-children-the-meaning-of-thanksgiving/

http://www.parents.com/holiday/thanksgiving/crafts/adorable-thankful-crafts/

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NEW TOPIC

Celebrating National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, making this is a great time for people to learn the facts about kids in foster care and adoption in Florida.

Florida’s Adoption Information Center - a statewide service that’s been operated right here in Jacksonville by Daniel since 1994.  The Adoption Information Center averages more than 10,000 calls each year with a wide range of adoption questions.

Getting the Adoption Process Started

Many people think that in order to adopt you have to travel overseas or pay large sums of money to private agencies. While those are indeed routes you can take, many people don’t realize there are plenty of children locally who need adoptive families and who can be adopted for no cost at all.

 

  • As of November 1st, 2013 there are 62 children in Northeast Florida waiting to be adopted and 600throughout the state of Florida.

 

Children in the Community who Need Adoptive Families

 

When people think about adoption, they probably picture a family adopting a newborn baby. However, the majority of kids who need an adoptive home are actually school-age children. Kids end up in the foster care system due to no fault of their own. Most likely they have been abused, abandoned and neglected. Consequently, a judge decided the family was incapable of caring for the child, and they enter the foster care system.

 

Kids waiting to be adopted are all of different ages, races and circumstances. A lot of these kids have been through some rough times, but placed in a loving adoptive home, they go on to lead happy, successful lives.

 Details on Adopting a Child from the Local Community

 

Most private adoptions can cost upwards of $30,000,  a public adoption of a child in Florida comes at little-to-no cost.  The required training class and home study are provided for free, and court costs can often be paid for by the agency if the family cannot afford them. Some families who adopt can even qualify for monthly financial support to offset ongoing costs. The amount is negotiated on a case-by-case basis and depends on the child’s circumstances and availability of funds.  Other one-time expenses that might be reimbursed are birth certificate fees and travel expenses for visiting the child.

 

What’s the process involved to starting and completing an adoption?

 There are certain misconceptions out there about adoption. Many people may think it is a complicated process and they have to meet some stereotype of “perfect parents”, but none of this is actually true.

 

Adopters are as varied as the children who need to be adopted. To be able to adopt in Florida, you can be married or single, already a parent or never a parent, in your 60s or 20s, a renter or a homeowner, and a person of wealth or of modest means. There is no certain description required to be an adoptive parent. If you are able to open your heart and home to a child and give them the love and basic care they deserve, you can be an adoptive parent.

 

9 Steps to the Adoption Process

 

As far as how long the process takes, it varies case by case. There nine general steps to the whole process:

 

  1. Call - Florida’s Adoption Information Center (1-800-96ADOPT or 1-904-353-0679) to begin the process.
  2. Orientation - One to two hour session to speak with experienced adoptive parents and adoption counselors about the process.
  3. Preparation Course (MAPP) - The Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) is an in-depth, 10-week training course all adoptive parents must complete. It allows you to assess your family, yourself and to explore adoption issues.
  4. Home Study - This is the time when background checks and character references take place. A counselor will also come into your home at least once to make sure you can provide a safe and stable environment for a child. The counselor is likely to ask about your reasons for wanting to adopt, your financial situation and parenting philosophy. The whole point of the visits, background checks and references is to ensure a successful adoption for everyone involved.
  5. Approval - All the information collected is sent to an adoption specialist and you are notified when your application is approved.
  6. Finding the Right Match - You can continue looking online and attending recruitment activities where children available for adoption are in attendance. When you find a child or children you are interested in, notify your counselor for more information.
  7. Making the Match Permanent - Once you find the perfect match, you will spend more time getting to know the child, and the child will spend time getting to know you and your family. This can include sharing photo albums, short home visits, and eventually overnight or extended visits. Placement will happen once you, the child, and the counselor feel the child is ready.
  8. Placement Supervision - A counselor will make monthly visits to your home to see how the child is adjusting and whether any additional services may be needed. The supervision period ends when the counselor sends the “Consent to Adopt” to your attorney.
  9. Finalization - The child will usually live with your family six months before the adoption is finalized before a judge.

 

It may sound like a lengthy process, but in reality steps 1-4 can usually all be completed in less than nine months. Once these steps are completed, it’s just a matter of being approved to adopt and finding your child.

 

The First Step in the  Adoption Process

 

Call the Florida Adoption Information Center at Daniel at 1-800-96-ADOPT- we’re there to answer questions for prospective adoptive parents, parents who already have adopted and help answer any question you may have that has to do with adoption. You can also visit the Explore Adoption website at adoptflorida.org. In fact, you can even do a child search, putting in your parameters regarding sex, age and the types of special emotional or physical needs you do or don’t feel comfortable with. In this past year, Duval County was first in the state for the number of adoptions, with 265 adoptions  finalized.  

 

 

http://www.adoptflorida.org/kids1.shtml

http://www.adoptflorida.org/kids1.shtml

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NEW TOPIC 

Dealing with Bullying

In the light of the recent tragic situation which resulted in the death of Rebecca Sedwick, parents may be thinking now more than ever about the issue of bullying. 

Rebecca’s tragic death brings the issue of bullying to the forefront of the public awareness again. It really does raise the question for parents – how do I talk to my kids about bullying? What people should focus on is looking at ways to prevent the bullying from ever happening. No child should be made to feel that way. That’s why parents need to talk to their kids about the issue, especially if they think their child is the one who is the bully. Bullying is really about an imbalance of power.

How do you know if your child IS the bully?

Remember, children who bully come in a variety of packages, there’s not one type of bully. Here are a few things to look out for.  

Does your child: 

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Act increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Refuse to accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Cyberbullying

As we saw in the case of Rebecca Sedwick, cyberbullying is another way that kids are being bullied. Parents, it is imperative that you monitor what your kids are doing online! It is your responsibility to teach your kids how to act online. Monitor your child’s online activity and teach them how to use the Internet responsibly.

Be honest with them and let them know that you check in on their accounts. Remind them that they will be held responsible for the things they post online. Also, it is imperative that they realize that the things they put on the Internet last forever. These things can become an issue when they go on to college, try to get a job.

What can a parent do if they realize their own child is the bully?

Talk to your child about his behavior and don’t accept any kind of excuses.  You need to let your child know he is responsible for the choices made and must accept the consequences.

You may need to request a meeting with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor to find more about the situation because your child might not be telling you everything.

You do need to punish your child, but be careful not to belittle him.  You may also need to seek some type of counseling for your child because he may be bullying because of a problem he has.

Research shows that being a bully has long-lasting negative consequences.  A study found that boys who are identified as bullies in middle school were four times more likely to be convicted of a crime by the time they were 24-years old.  Bullies are more likely to be involved in fighting, vandalism, skipping school or dropping out and stealing.

Resources:

 

http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/

http://www.mychildsafety.net/effects-of-bullying.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html#

http://www.focusas.com/Bullying.html

http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/819-if-your-child-is-the-bully

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/81890/what_to_do_if_your_child_is_a_bully_pg2.html?cat=

http://www.life123.com/parenting/tweens-teens/bullying/school-bullying.shtml

http://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/be-more-than-a-bystander/index.html

http://www.a4kclub.org/get-the-facts/bullying-statistics

 

 

National Bullying Prevention Month 

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and there are many organizations working to bring awareness to the problem of bullying. Aaron Paul, of Breaking Bad fame, recently raised $1.8 million dollars for an anti-bullying charity. His wife is a co-founder and many kids will be helped because of his support.  But bullying is still happening in our schools.

Bullying can be a huge problem for kids and it has truly long lasting effects. Victims of bullying are often scared to go to school, ride the bus, or even be alone in the hallway.

A recent study shows one-third of school age children are bullied each year – with less than 40% telling someone about it. Of course bullying does include things like punching, shoving or hitting.  But it also includes:

Inflicting psychological distress or physical harm on someone

  • Bullying is unwanted, purposeful and repeated – whether that’s verbal, nonverbal, physical, or it is happening online  
  • That includes spreading rumors, excluding people, taunting, etc.
  • Cyberbullying, which includes sending mean or threatening emails or text messages through the use of technology.

Bullying is really about an imbalance of power.

Signs your Child is Being Bullied

The most obvious signs, of course, are physical such as bruises or injuries.  Others include:

Appearing anxious

  • Lack of interest in school, declining grades
  • Trouble eating or sleeping
  • Lost or destroyed clothing or books
  • Avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school

What to do if you think your child is being bullied

First, offer comfort and support, no matter how upset you are about the situation.  Remind your child that he or she isn’t alone and that it’s the bully who is doing something wrong, not your child. Be there for your child and let him or her know that you will work together to figure out the best solution to the problem. Do NOT confront the bully’s parents or the bully himself.  The parents are likely to argue with you or assume your child is part of the problem.

Duval County School Board Anti-Bullying Policy

The Duval County School Board has developed an anti-bullying policy and parents who have concerns should report the bullying to their designated school administrator, who will then follow up with an investigation. Seek out someone at your child’s school.

DCPS Bullying Hotline

DCPS takes ALL reports of bullying seriously and have set up a Bulling Hotline so that it is easier to report instances of bullying. You can either call the hotline or you can text or email to contact someone at DCPS.

Contact Info:

Bullying Hotline: 904-390-CALL (2255)

Text or email: 390CALL@duvalschools.org

How to Talk to your Kids about Bullying

A lot of kids see other children being bullied and confide in their parents. What should these parents tell their children to do to stop the bullying without putting their own kids in harms way?

 

  • Be a friend to the person being bullied. Children can help someone who’s been bullied by simply being nice to them at another time.
  • Tell a trusted adult at school, like a teacher or coach. An adult can help stop bullying by intervening while it’s in progress, stopping it from occurring or simply giving the person being bullied a shoulder to lean on.
  • Help the person being bullied to get away from the situation. However they do it, make sure the children know not to put themselves in harm’s way. A bystander can offer a way for the person being bullied to leave the scene by saying something like, “Mr. Smith needs to see you right now,” or “Come on, we need you for our game.”
  • Set a good example. Do not bully others. If a child knows not to bully others, then other students will follow their example. To help even more, children can actively participate in anti-bullying activities and projects.
  • Don’t give bullying an audience. If one of your child’s friends or peers begins to bully someone, they shouldn’t encourage the behavior by giving it an audience. Instead of laughing or supporting, they can let the bully know that his or her behavior isn't entertaining.

Warning Signs your Child Could be a Bully

Here are a few things to look out for:

     Get into physical or verbal fights

  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

What to do if Your Child is a Bully

Talk to your child about his behavior and don’t accept any kind of excuses.  You need to let your child know he is responsible for the choices made and must accept the consequences.

You may need to request a meeting with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor to find more about the situation because your child might not be telling you everything.

You do need to punish your child, but be careful not to belittle him.  You may also need to seek some type of counseling for your child because he may be bullying because of a problem he has.

Research shows that being a bully has long-lasting negative consequences.  A study found that boys who are identified as bullies in middle school were four times more likely to be convicted of a crime by the time they were 24-years old.  Bullies are more likely to be involved in fighting, vandalism, skipping school or dropping out and stealing.

Resources:

 

http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/

http://www.mychildsafety.net/effects-of-bullying.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html#

http://www.focusas.com/Bullying.html

http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/819-if-your-child-is-the-bully

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/81890/what_to_do_if_your_child_is_a_bully_pg2.html?cat=

http://www.life123.com/parenting/tweens-teens/bullying/school-bullying.shtml

http://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/be-more-than-a-bystander/index.html

http://www.a4kclub.org/get-the-facts/bullying-statistics

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