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How to Talk to Your Child About Violence

July 11, 2016

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How to Tall To Your Child About ViolenceIt has been a tumultous few weeks here in the United States and I’ve been reeling.  With the police killings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castillo, and the police shootings in Dallas on Thursday night, there’s been a lot of talk of violence in the news.  How do you talk to your child about all this violence?

I was unsure of how to talk about all this with my 7-year old daughter.  I initially took a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to it.  Probably not the best way to handle it.  

I then decided I needed to lighten the mood and move away from all the violence, so I took her to see the Secret Life of Pets.  I maybe should have read Roger Moore’s review in Movie Nation before going. He wrote: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how violent this pre-tween farce is. Slapfights, brawls, violent death and near death experiences abound.”

The characters, both “good” and “bad” all employed incredible amounts of physical violence and coercion towards each other.  Especially after this sensitive week, I was slightly horrified.  My daughter loved it though.

After the movie, I knew my daughter and I definitely needed to have a “teachable moment” talk and discuss the violence we had just seen depicted.

I did a wee bit of research to figure out the best way to have this discussion and in the end we had a talk that was very positive. 

With all the violent media and news, I thought it would be helpful to share with you too, how you too can talk to your kids so they can better cope with the violence in media and in the world around them.

  1. Talking to your childEncourage your kids to talk about what they see and hear.  After your child sees or hears about something violent, it’s a great idea to sit down with him or her and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Give any needed information at age appropriate levels. Also, for real occurrences, reassure them.After the movie, I sat down with Aliza and we started talking about how she felt. At first she said “It was good. I really liked it.” I then asked specific questions like: “That movie we just watched seemed pretty scary to me, what did you think?”. And I asked her “How do you feel after watching so many animals fighting and getting injured?” I listened for her feelings and shared mine as well.
  2. Limit exposure to violence. Research has shown that children who watch a lot of violence on TV, movies or video games feel more anxious and less safe than those that don’t and also may be desensitize them to violence. So it’s always a good idea to limit the amount of violencec they see. When they do see violence, remind them that the characters they see in the movies or on tv are acting. Also talk about the consequences of what would happen in real life.angry GidgetIn the Secret Life of Pets there’s a little dog named Gidget that got laughs because she seems sweet and then slaps around a cat to get him to talk and later single-handedly beats up all the “bad guys.” Aliza and I talked about what would happen to Gidget if she did that in real life. We both agreed she would get in a lot of trouble.
  3. Reassure your child. Kids who see or hear about violent acts can become fearful and anxious about a similar act happening to them or a loved one. Reassure your child by telling them they are safe and lots of people are here to watch them. Also, let them know what they should do if they feel unsafe and you are not at home. You can let them know they can go to another trusted adult, a teacher or a family friend.Make them feel like they can always tell you when they are afraid in any situation. It’s important that boys get this message as well as girls. Also, talk to them about the police and that they are there to keep the community safe. You can let them know about the police as a resource.For children of color who may feel anxious about the police, teach them to be respectful but not fearful. Provide a consistent and supportive environment to help reduce your kids fears and anxieties.
  4. Don’t Allow Violence In Your Home and Stand firm. The values you wish to instil in your kids need to be clear and consistent. Explain to your kids why you do not allow violent media or actions in your home so they can accept your decision. Model the behavior you want them to exhibit and be firm about what you won’t accept them doing. Just because “everyone else is allowed to watch it” doesn’t mean you have to.  You could say something like: “Your father and I don’t agree with the message that movie sends. Watching violence is not enjoyable and we don’t allow it in our family”.With regards to teasing and other more aggressive actions, talk to your kids about teasing and its limits. Let them know that teasing can be bullying and can go further than what you sometimes intend. Tell them that in your family you have zero tolerance for bullying or roughhousing.If your child is violent towards another, child, put them on “time-out” or whatever disciplinary strategy you prefer. Once they are calm, ask them about why they have behaved or reacted in that way.  Try to understand the why of the behavior (sometimes it’s just hunger or fatigue, other times it is something else). Together, work out a peaceful way using words to resolve problems without using violence.
  5. Educate your kids. Give them options and prepare them for what to do if they are faced in situations where they feel unsafe. For example, what to do if they see a gun, how to deal with bullies, what to do if they see someone else being mistreated, etc.
  6. Control your own behavior. Examine how you approach conflicts and know that your child is learning from you and may model the same behaviors. Ask yourself – how do you settle an argument or other conflict? Are you respectful or reactive?  When you’re angry, how do you deal with it?Model the behavior you want your child to emulate.  Model respect and peaceful dispute resolution.  The nice thing is that if you model the behavior you want your child to emulate, you’re training yourself to be the best version of you possible.  It’s a win-win-win – for you, your child, and all society.

    Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

 

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids

April 19, 2016

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your KidsEarth Day is coming up this Friday and it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about taking care of the environment.  This is something that I’m really passionate about teaching my kids.

I’m not sure why, but people in the part of Los Angeles where I live really litter!  Sometimes I’ll even see people driving down the street and they’ll throw their trash out the window!  It drives me and my husband nuts.  Once he went to talk to someone who’d just dumped a bag of trash on the street and asked him “Why did you throw that on the street?”  The guy responded “Because the street cleaners come and pick it up.”  My husband replied “They only come once a week!”  The guy just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  Grrrr.

I was raised that you NEVER littered.  You picked up after yourself and you left a place at least as clean as you found it.  Because I live around so many people who obviously were not raised that way, I’m obsessive about making sure my kids have more respect for their neighborhood, city, and world.  Litter is just one of the problems challenging our environment and it’s up to us and our keeps to make sure that the world is around (or we humans are around) for future generations to keep enjoying it.  Earth Day is a wonderful time to bring that message home to our kids.

Towards that end, I gathered 5 easy ways to share Earth Day and the importance of nature with your kids.

  • 800px-MCAS_Yuma's_Environmental_Department,_CDC_assist_kids_with_Earth_Day_event_130425-M-HL954-163PLANT SOMETHING: Go into the garden or even a potted plant for the house.  Plant a tree, flowers, herbs, a vegetable garden.  Allow your kids to play in the dirt and get their hands dirty.  Then you will all enjoy watching your plant(s) grow and maybe eating of the fruits of your labors.
  • CLEAN SOMETHING: Earth Day is a wonderful time for a clean up.  Grab the kids, some rubber gloves and some trash bags and pick up trash from the beach, creek, city streets or anywhere else you find litter.  If you go online, you will likely find organized clean-ups in your area.
  • LEARN SOMETHING: Take the kids to a museum (natural history museum or science museum), zoo, or farm to learn about nature.  You can also take them on a nature hike and point out the birds, animals, and plants.
  • RECYCLE SOMETHING: bottlesGather up and return bottles and cans to a recycling center (you can even do something fun with the money you get back).  You can also create a recycled material craft.  
  • REDUCE SOMETHING: Teach your kids about the importance of reducing.  Turn off the lights.  Save on gasoline and bike or walk somewhere to commute.  Visit a Farmer’s Market and save on packaging by buying straight from the farmers.

Those are some ways I came up with to celebrate Earth Day with your kids and teach them to be good stewards of our natural resources.  How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?  Let me know in the comments.

How will you and your kids celebrate earth day

 

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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The Biggest Mistake I’ve Made as a Mom

April 5, 2016

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The Biggest Mistake I've Made as a MomI’m far from being a perfect mom.  I make mistakes all the time.  I can definitely lose my patience and raise my voice from time to time.  My kids don’t have the best sleep schedules (my little one could be part vampire – at least I’ve never had the issue of her waking up before me and getting me out of bed), and I’ll let my kid just eat pasta with olive oil and salt for days so she will JUST EAT SOMETHING.  But I don’t think any of those things are the biggest mistake I’ve made as a mom.

I think the biggest mistake I’ve made as a mom has been to not prioritize having fun and quality time with the kids.  I feel like my interactions are more of the purposeful, task-oriented variety – getting them up and ready for school, eating or rather negotiating eating, making sure homework is done, chauffeuring to extra-curricular activities, getting kids to do chores, etc.  By the end of the day I’m exhausted.  My husband has the bedtime routine where he tells stories and has the quality time.  I feel like my biggest mistake has not been prioritizing the fun and quality time.  Someone does need to keep the ship running and on course, but my mistake has been to be so focused on the ship running that I haven’t focused enough on enjoying the journey with my shipmates – my husband and kids.

I shared before the story of my challenging childhood with my mom.  When I was young it seemed my mom was only focused on making sure we ate, were clean, did homework, did our chores, etc. Those were important things, but I don’t have any memories of fun times with her as a child.  In contrast, I have vivid memories of going to the duck pond or the library with my dad or just sitting and having tea with him and talking.  The fact that I don’t have any similar memories with my mom makes me very sad.  The thought of my kids might not having similar memories with me makes me even sadder.

So, I have shifted some things.  I am sharing some other duties with my husband and taking my turns at bedtimes and story times.  I am prioritizing fun outings with the kids and fun experiences, because I want to leave my kids with great memories (not of how much homework I got them to do, but of how much joy we managed to have).  How about you?  How do you get quality time in with your kids?

I took Aliza on a boating and kayaking trip.

Last weekend I took Aliza on a boating and kayaking trip.

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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