Helping kids grow into happy adults

Tami - posted on 03/24/2010 ( no moms have responded yet )

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Hi everyone,

I am new to this group but thought it might be helpful for me to share an article I recently published in the Medford Transcript. Some simple tips are included - things that I have to work hard everyday to remind myself when taking care of my 8 year old daughter and 5 year old son. Thanks for discussing!

By Tami Gouveia-Vigeant/Medford Health Matters
Medford Transcript Posted Mar 22, 2010 @ 02:00 PM
Medford — A recent survey conducted by Medford Health Matters and the Northeast Center for Healthy Communities show that Medford’s young people are behaving in risky ways (using drugs and alcohol, getting into fights, skipping school) at concerning rates.

As caring parents, adults and community members we know that we can have the greatest influences on our children and young people throughout the community.

The survey completed by Medford middle and high school students (spring 2009), show that young people actually want us to help them make healthy decisions.

Young people want their families to do more to involve them in important family decisions and have one-on-one and regular family fun time. Young people are looking for their families to recognize and reward them for making healthy, positive decisions.

Finally, young people are looking for their families to find constructive ways to communicate with each other while avoiding conflict.

If you’re a parent, this may seem like a tall order. As a single parent of two young children, I understand the demands placed on us by our jobs, family and friends, household responsibilities, and our community. I found some interesting tips from MVParents.com that makes me feel a little less overwhelmed and lot more hopeful.

· Have your child help plan your outing or vacation. This will help your child or older teen understand that you respect and value their opinion, and it will also give them a chance to see what sort of decisions you have to make on a regular basis not only about them, but for the family unit as a whole.

· Have your child help make dinner. This is another way to recognize their contributions, get in some one-on-one time, and have another chance to communicate about what’s going on that’s important to them.

· Have regular family meals together. Young people who have regular family dinners are more likely to make healthy and positive decisions because it provides time for bonding and communicating with your child.

· Encourage talking by getting rid of distractions. TV, radio and other electronic devices won’t foster conversation. Since many restaurants have TVs these days, find a family friendly place that does not have these distractions. Oh, and leave the DS2 at home.

· The same goes for parents. When talking with your children, don’t be distracted by the cell phone or e-mail. Make sure they recognize that you are listening and actually hearing what they are saying.

· Everyone likes rewards. Provide your child with incentives (maybe a special outing, a sleepover or movie night with friends, or their favorite dinner) to recognize them for a job well done.

· Examine your own way of expressing difficult feelings, such as anger, sadness and frustration. Children become afraid and sad when we yell, making it more difficult for them to hear what we are saying to them. Avoid name calling and stick with identifying the behavior that bothers you.

· Children thrive in environments that support them in expressing their feelings in constructive ways. Ask them about their day and tell them about yours. Ask them what went well, what didn’t go so well for them and what they hope happens tomorrow.

For more information, check out www.medfordhealthmatters.org, www.mvparents.com and www.search-institute.org for more tips and ideas for helping young people in Medford grow into happy, healthy adults.



— Tami Gouveia-Vigeant is the director of the Drug Free Communities Program for Medford Health Matters.


Copyright 2010 Medford Transcript. Some rights reserved

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