Friday, September 9th, 2011
September 11 is a painful event that brings up painful memories, even now during the 10th year anniversary. Every parent has a story that may be too stressful to share, but dialogue about September 11 may be appropriate as kids get older and discover more about our nation’s history.
We asked our bloggers and writers to share their personal stories and thoughts on how to discuss this dark moment with kids who may be too young to remember that day.
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GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, News, Your Child
Monday, July 18th, 2011
The story of Leiby Kletzky is a horrific one because it magnifies every parent’s worst nightmare: a child’s life is lost because of misplaced trust in a stranger. The 8-year-old was walking home alone, for the first time, in his Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn when he got lost. While asking for directions, Kletzy was kidnapped and went missing for a few days until police found his body. What has shocked everyone is the brutal way his body was disposed, and the fact that murder happened in a close-knit religious community founded on trust.
As police continue their investigation into the motives behind the young boy’s death, parents are left with tough questions: When is a child ready to travel or walk home alone? How can kids be taught to stay alert? In what ways can parents balance their fear of the world with their child’s desire for independence?
We spoke to Dr. Yoni Schwab, a child psychologist at the Windward School in White Plains, N.Y., and a Parents expert, to get his thoughts and advice on how parents can help their kids be self-reliant while remaining alert to potential dangers in this world.
At what age is a child old enough to travel by himself, whether by public transportation or walking home (from school, camp, library, store, bus or subway stop) alone?
There are no hard and fast rules about age. It depends on the child, the neighborhood, the length and complexity of the trip, and the time of day, among other things. In some neighborhoods, 8-year-olds can walk a couple blocks to a friend’s house while some 12-year-olds may live in a place that’s not safe enough to travel independently.
How do parents know when a child is ready? What characteristics determine independence?
Find out any relevant laws in your area and then speak to other parents to get a sense of what is customary in the community and how they managed the process [for independence.] (This advice comes from Wendy Mogel’s excellent book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.) Finally, you need to know your child. Really knowing your child is the only way to determine if she is ready. Quiz the child about what she might do in different circumstances. Observe your child when walking outside. Does she pause and look both ways before crossing the street? Does she notice details about the environment and possible dangers? Try walking a few steps behind the child to observe and see how she does on her own. Is your child attentive to his surroundings, thoughtful, responsible, and appropriately cautious? Or is your child impulsive, spacey, and overly trusting? All of these factors go into a decision about when to allow your child to travel alone.
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GoodyBlog, News, Travel, Your Child
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
Back-to-school and bullying seem to go hand-in-hand now that summer is over and children are grouped together at big schools. These days, bullying—especially cyberbullying—is on everyone’s mind, especially with the string of national tragedies (college freshman Tyler Clementi and high school freshman Phoebe Prince come to mind) that have made the news as a result of mean kid tactics.
Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age, but most bullying starts—and is experienced—at a young age in the hallways, on the playground, on the bus, and wherever kids are more susceptible to misbehave and to be mistreated when there is no closely monitored adult supervision.
If your child is being bullied or you suspect bullying may be happening to your child, we hope the Parents.com resources below will help your family understand, cope with, and end the cycle of bullying.
Don’t forget to report all bullying to school authorities (such as teachers, principals, and administrators) and even to law enforcement if bullying escalates into extreme violence.
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