Is Bullying a part of your child’s school day?

It’s Back to School season and as you relax back into the routine remember to keep a watchful eye on your child’s routine too! Are you missing the signs of bullying? Statistics show that 28% of children in school are victims of bullying which also means bullies exist in similar if not larger numbers.

Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveal that young people with low self-esteem are at greater risk of bullying, but a low-self esteem may also be what urges some to bully as well.

There are two factors at play when bullying is evident.  The bully is usually a victim of his or her own abuse and finds a bit of release when attacking another.  A victim of bullying is usually a weaker individual who is now subjected to emotional damage as a result from bullying.

Bullying varies from verbal abuse to violent acts depending on the circumstances.  All variations of bullying can do irreversible harm.

school-bullying.jpgMental Health Advocates have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression and an increased risk for suicide. But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. When a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers, this is a red flag and can indicate that the youngster has other serious psychiatric problems, and often, these children are at high risk for later adversities in adulthood, including a wide range of mental health problems.

Recognizing, Ending, and repairing the results of Bullying starts at home! 

Is your child a victim of bullying? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Visible cuts or bruises
  • Damage to property or loss of property such as school supplies or personal items
  • Chronic illnesses such as stomach aches, headaches, or just feeling sick
  • Behavioral changes such as different eating habits, different sleeping habits, withdrawn behaviors, or lack of interest in favored activities
  • Self Destructive behaviors such as being argumentative, poor school performance in grades or programs, or suicidal thoughts

Is your child a bully? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for negative actions
  • Often has new belongings that you did not purchase for him/hershutterstock_262406261-min.jpg
  • Hangs around with a destructive crowd while focusing on popularity or a reputation
  • Gets in trouble a lot at school
  • Is competitive and combative at the same time

 

5 THINGS CAN DO AT HOME TO PREVENT YOUR CHILD FROM
BEING A BULLY OR  A VICTIM OF BULLYING: 

  • Monitor your child’s social media activity, google searches and online activities. The internet is a great source of information not only for a person but also about a person based on their internet habits.  Is your child researching ways to harm others or defend his/her self?  Is your child making fun of others on social media or being made fun of on his/her social media account? If you monitor your child’s internet activity as well as set limitations you can prevent harm not only in regards to bullying but multiple other threats that are in the cyber world. (To learn more about technology safety and your child be sure to check out Project Harmony).
  • Communicate with your child on a regular basis! Keeping the door open to communication is the most valuable thing you can do for your child during their school years as this is the time they develop their social skills and general life skills. Keeping the door open means to listen without judgement and advise without bias. Sometimes it’s hard to be a parent and a friend, but when you’re not able to balance the two you could be seen as the enemy and it’s a fine line.  Talking with your children on their level can not only protect them from bullying, but also from being a victim of numerous threats out there for young, impressionable children.
  • Ask the right questions…carefully. Ask your children if they’ve ever witnessed bullying, how they felt about it and what they did if they saw it. Ask if they’ve ever been bullied or bullied someone and what the result was.  Choose your responses carefully.  Sometimes a victim is afraid to report bullying and telling them they have to will not help. Also, breaking their trust by reporting it without their permission could harm your relationship.  Never tell your child to fight back or choose revenge.  If you learn your child is a bully, find out why.  Is it their peers influencing the behavior? Did something happen at home to influence this behavior? Remember, also, there is therapy available for children that can help with the problems you may discover and aren’t sure how to resolve.  Also, schools have professional counselors on staff that are willing to meet with you and your child privately to resolve these types of situations so take advantage of that! (stopbullying.gov is a great resource on how to talk with your child about bullying and other valuable info on the topic.)
  • Remember that your home and family life is where it all begins! Be sure you are providing a quality way of life for your child(ren) to the best of your ability. Leben in der Familiep.jpgMany households have single parents trying to hold it all together, or even with two parents it can be hard in modern society to make time for your children when so much other responsibility is baring down on you to be able to provide for them.  It’s easy to lose focus on what makes quality family time when you are in a situation that brings your work home with you or many other issues that can consume most of your time.  Life is hard enough but being a parent is no small challenge, especially in this day and age. Do what you must to schedule time with your child(ren) daily and if there is more time available on weekends, use it wisely.  Pay attention to homework and school activities.  Be as involved as you possibly can in your child’s lives. (Families for Life offers a great list of tips to help you build a better family life in a hectic world – click here!)

Close Range Safety Training Academy recognizes and respects the importance of children and their future.  We urge you to join us.  For more tips about this important topic, visit: www.kidpower.org.  For more health and safety tips, please be sure to follow our blog.

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How to Help Our Heroes: Mental Health Resources for Veteran and Their Families

When we have a federal holiday, many of us focus on the opportunity to enjoy an extended weekend and our focus is on getting together with our loved ones or using our spare time to our advantage.  It’s easy to focus on the things we don’t get to do often and lose sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day.11377140_10152980829086775_5786723641010396236_n.jpgThis Memorial Day, we ask that you remember not only the fallen soldiers but also their families and the veterans among us today who suffer with the painful memories of war and their fallen brothers and sisters.

Statistics show an estimated 25% of people who served in the U.S. military have symptoms of at least one mental health condition, with more than 10% qualifying for a diagnosis of two or more mental illnesses frequently acquired while serving their country. Our military faces many challenges that we, as average citizens, cannot fathom such as; Extended separation from their loved ones, facing the harsh realities of combat, and head trauma as well as being obligated to press on in war under severe emotional stress.

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research many veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.  Major depression is characterized by encompassing periods of low moods, loss of interest in activities that were once desirable, continuing fatigue, and other characteristics that minimize the victim’s quality of life, ability to work and even his or her ability to function in basic day to day activities.  Post-traumatic stress disorder develops as a result of exposure to traumatic events such as war and is identified by disturbing or altered thoughts and feelings, mental or physical distress triggered by trauma related cues, increased fight or flight responses, and recurring nightmares for extended periods of time.  Both illnesses are leading causes in substance abuse and suicide cases nationwide.

What can you do to help those who suffer as a result of war while honoring our fallen heroes this memorial day? 

  • Learn how to recognize mental illnesses in your loved one by knowing the signs and symptoms.  There are several resources available for your research such as The American Psychiatric Association, Mental Health America, or WebMD.com where major depression and PTSD are explained.
  • Know how to treat someone who is suffering. Offer unconditional love and support while avoiding trying to fix their problems on your own. Never advise a victim to “snap out of it” or “move on from the past” in these situations.  Be realistic in knowing that these things require patience and understanding and healing takes a very long time for some.  Definitely encourage professional help whenever possible, but do so gently without making a victim feel insulted, judged, or unwanted.  Always express understanding and encouragement as well as acknowledgement that their issues are as real as any other illnesses.
  • Promote and support treatment whenever possible.  Help them to understand that treatment isn’t modifying their personality but can greatly help relieve symptoms.  Offer help with locating a therapist or health care provider, preparing for their appointments, transportation when needed, and tracking symptoms.  Use mild reminders for both medication and motivation when you see they are not having success on their own.
  • Understand the crisis our nation is facing regarding military mental health. According to Dr. Joel Young numerous studies have documented the fact that our service members struggle to access mental health treatment. Dr. Young shares some of the disturbing challenges our military faces when in need of treatment such as professional consequences, inaccessible treatment and the lack of military mental health screenings in his informative article in Psychology Today.
  • Pursue all the resources available to help you help someone you love who is suffering mental illness as a result of time served. Mental Health America offers a comprehensive list of resources you can reach out to on their website (click here for a direct link).
  • Donate to charities that support the well being of our veterans. Here are a few great charities to send your donations to: Wounded Warrior Project, Cohen Veterans Network, America’s Military Charity, American Veteran’s Foundation, or check out this list of recommended charities from “The Street’s” charity watch for veterans.
  • If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone. In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

We at Close Range Safety Training Academy want to honor our fallen heroes this holiday and every day as well as all who have served in the U.S. Military.  We thank you for your service to our country.  We wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday weekend as you respect and remember our courageous veterans. Please follow our blog for more health and safety tips for you and your loved ones.

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❄😔Holiday Blues got You Down? Try These Prevention & Survival Tips for a Happier & Healthier Winter Season😔❄

Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”

While people with clinical depression should seek professional help, those with a touch of the holiday blues can try these strategies recommended by experts to assure a merry holiday and a happy new year:

  • Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself such as taking on hosting responsibilities for events or trying to be the peace keeper in family conflicts.
  • Plan ahead by creating prevention routines for yourself and doing your best to follow your schedule. Set up a calendar of to do lists for positive actions for yourself.
  • Remember it’s ok to grieve. If you’ve suffered a loss and this season is a painful reminder of that, don’t be ashamed to grieve that loss. Feelings are a sign that you’re human and reflect where you are in your healing process.
  • Don’t rob yourself of proper rest! Sleep and rest are important to everyone. Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is directly connected to depression. Do not cut back on your sleep in order to get more done during this busy season. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid binging on food and alcohol. What feels good at the moment will have you facing regrets later on. Know your limits and stick to them at all times. In the moment binging may seem like a solution, but in actuality it creates more problems.

If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, do one of the following immediately: 1. Call 911  2. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room. 3. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Could I be Suffering from Depression?

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Here are some symptoms to help identify depression in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Struggling with concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
  • Loss of appetite or significant increase in appetite
  • Escalating irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Developing an increase in alcohol consumption or reckless (acting out) behavior
  • Thoughts that your life is not worth living or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Unexplained aches and pains

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek professional help immediately. If you observe these symptoms in a loved one, gently encourage them to consider professional help.

For a listing of depression support groups, please visit the DBSA online


For Family and Friends

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Keep in mind that a mood disorder such as Depression is a physical, treatable illness that effects a person’s brain. It is a real illness, as real as diabetes or asthma. It is not a character flaw or personal weakness, and it is not caused by anything you or your loved one did.

A “tough love” approach is widely considered  unhelpful in terms of aiding someone with depression.


What to do in Crisis Situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.

In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK