* Avoiding Parent-Child Power Struggles

by Terra Ours, LCSW, Courier & Press, July 25, 2017 –

It’s the end of the day and you’re exhausted.  Suddenly, you find yourself engaged in a war with your child – one you are determined to win.

You’re staring at him; he’s staring at you.  You’ve told him to go clean his room and received a firm response of, “No!”

Panic sets in as you struggle to come up with your next move and think, “What do I do? I’m angry and he’s angry.”  The result is an explosion as you hear yourself yell, “I said go clean your room NOW!”

This is an example of a parent-child power struggle.  Power struggles can leave parents wondering, “Why won’t he listen to me? Why do I have to yell to get him to listen?  Why won’t he just do what I ask?”

Fortunately there are simple solutions to avoid power struggles and increase desired behavior. The first suggestion for avoiding a power struggle is to not engage in one.  Once you have engaged in a power struggle with your child, the odds of winning are not in your favor.

Decide what rules are most important to you.  For example, you may decide your child cannot use electronics until homework is complete.  Be firm but gentle when reminding your child of your expectations.  Children learn more from a gentle approach and action versus screaming, negative words and idle threats.

If your child attempts to engage you in a power struggle, simply wait for everyone to calm down and utilize it as a teachable moment.  This may mean delaying the conversation until the next day.

Explain to your child that it is okay to feel angry; however, it is not okay to yell at you.  Ask your child to identify a more healthy way they could respond the next time they feel angry.  Role play more healthy responses to prepare safe ways to manage difficult feelings.

If this happens, explain to your child that you set the consequence when you were angry or upset and you now realize the consequence is too harsh.  Set a fair consequence and be sure to follow through.

Find ways to empower your child.  Give them choices.  For example, “You can clean your room now or you can clean your room after supper.”  You are stating your expectation but empowering your child to decide when to complete the task.

You may also decide to problem-solve together.  Try to come to an agreement on rules and family expectations.  Create a family contract and have everyone sign it.  This creates a win-win for everyone.

Praise your child when he follows through on expectations. Offering positive praise will motivate your child to have more positive behavior. Always focus on what your child is doing right and not just on what he is doing wrong.

Use empathy.  Try to understand your child’s side of the story or how they view something.  This will build trust and open healthy paths of communication.

Always remember to take a time-out if you feel angry.  Children learn by what they see, and our best teaching moments are when we can calmly show our children how to respond to stressful situations.

Youth First Announces Board Chair, New Members

    

YOUTH FIRST ANNOUNCES BOARD CHAIR, NEW MEMBERS

Youth First, Inc. is pleased to announce that Angela Brawdy has been named Board Chair effective July 1, 2017. Angela is Director of Compensation and Benefits at Shoe Carnival. She has been a Youth First Board member since 2012.

The following individuals have also been named to the Youth First Board of Directors:

  •  Danielle Falconer, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications – Field & Main Bank
  •  Dennis Lamey, Retired Business Executive, Banking Industry
  •  Stacey Lloyd, Human Resources Manager, Shoe Carnival
  • Ann Muehlbauer, Tax Director, Berry Global
  • Kyle Wininger, Vice President, Harding Shymanski & Company

They join 27 other Board members who are responsible for setting the organization’s direction, developing resources and providing the oversight necessary to ensure Youth First meets its mission.

 

* Understanding Social Bullying

By Tiffany Harper, LCSW, Courier & Press, July 11, 2017 –

When people think of bullying, they often picture physical bullying, such as knocking books out of someone’s hands, tripping them  or intimidating them.  Bullying can also take other forms, however.

Social bullying, also known as relational aggression, is a form of bullying that has grown with the boom of social media and cell phones.  It is relational in nature and causes harm by damaging someone’s social status.  It is often done covertly to avoid detection by adults.

Examples of social bullying are:

  • Posting about someone on social media, directly or indirectly naming the victim
  • Texting rude or negative comments
  • Excluding someone from a peer group
  • Refusing to allow a peer to sit with one’s group
  • Convincing others not to be friends with a peer
  • Starting and/or spreading rumors
  • Indirect communication directed at a peer such as eye rolling, laughing

This type of bullying is more common in females and can start as early as kindergarten. Today’s society has displayed social bullying as entertainment in movies such as “Mean Girls,” where it is glorified but then neatly resolved in the end. This does not usually happen in real life.

Victims can struggle emotionally with negative effects, including depression, social anxiety, hostility and low self-esteem.  There can be large shifts in one’s social network, as this type of bullying often results in loss of friends.  This can be devastating to a young person, as their focus shifts from family to friends during adolescence.

If you find your child in a situation like this, be aware that the innate desire to protect your child could cause you to act quickly and impulsively and ask questions later.  Since it is important to develop and maintain an open and trusting relationship with your child, it is imperative to react slowly and carefully. Whether you found out about your child’s bullying on your own or your child opened up, your response can be instrumental in getting them to talk further.

Listening with empathy is the  first  step.  Allow your child to tell you what has been going on and try to ask any questions you have with controlled emotion.  Avoid placing blame or giving your perspective right away.

* Teen Employment Has Many Benefits

By Dianna Miller, Courier & Press, July 4, 2017 –

Should your teen have a part-time job? There are pros and cons, but there are many benefits to getting some early work experience during the high school years.

On average, teenagers report the highest rates of unemployment. According to Labor Force Statistics, in early 2017 the youth unemployment rate for individuals ages 16 to 19 was around 14.7 percent. The unemployment rate for individuals 25 years and older was 3.6 percent. Indiana has a 10 percent unemployment rate for ages 16-24.

Interestingly, according to a recent study from Career Builder, from 2001-2014, the number of jobs held by teenagers decreased by 33 percent. Over 1.7 million jobs teens held were cut during that 13-year window.

The loss of teen jobs appears to be correlated partly to the fact that a growing number of people ages 55 and older are not exiting the labor market at the pace they used to. More individuals are retiring from their current job and transitioning to entry-level positions.

In this study from 2001-2014, the number of workers 55 years and older increased by 40 percent. These days, the workforce tends to favor experience over education.  Even though college is very valuable, it becomes even more valuable when paired with a resume full of experience.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s. When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills and helps them save money.

Working also gives teens an opportunity to establish contacts with adult employers that can serve as a future reference.  As teens work a part-time job they learn how capable they are, which in turn builds confidence and self-reliance. This can help teens feel more independent and have the confidence to further their development with a sense of responsibility.

Some research indicates youth who are Hispanic, black or economically disadvantaged who balance school and a job are less likely to drop out of high school than those who do not work during their high school years.

Having a summer job is linked to an increase in the chances of youth graduating from high school and reducing the risk for involvement in criminal activity and the juvenile justice system.

In order to effectively balance the stress of academics and work, studies indicate that 20 or less hour per week is an optimal amount of time for a high school student to work. Some studies indicate that students who balance 10-15 hours of work per week during the school year earn higher grades than students who do not work.

The federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times since 1938 when it was set at 25 cents per hour. Currently, our minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

If your teen is looking for a job, snagajob.com and groovejob.com could be great starting points for them. The most popular time of year for teens to look for jobs is from April to July. Point out the many benefits and encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience, learn to balance their time, and make a little extra money.