Do Dads Matter? Darn Right We Do. Get Used To It . . .

Now that the ‘Mother’s Day’ celebration is gone for another year it didn’t take some folks long to get back to the topic of Do dads matter? I would like to say, emphatically, that yes, we certainly do. Why wouldn’t we matter? To me this is such a dumb question to put out there. Those who are saying ‘no’ need to get over themselves, drop the ‘sainthood’ role, and pull their heads out of wherever they have been for the past while. There also seems to be a great deal of assumption flying around that ‘dads’ are the bad guys–that we are the ones who shouldn’t be single parents looking after our kids without someone watching us to make sure we don’t mess up.

Before I continue I want to be clear. I don’t see all co-parents as horrible parents. There are many great parents who are doing a terrific job as responsible parents. There are many that aren’t doing such a good job. There are many great single parents-both male and female who are doing a great job of raising their kids with values, morals and helping to instill a great attitude about where they fit into the world. There are many who aren’t doing such a great job. This is for all of those parents who aren’t doing it as well as they could and there are, unfortunately, many who fit into this category.

Just to make the point that there seems to be a great deal of research available suggesting that Mom’s are just about as likely to abuse their kids as males are and in some cases (considering particular types of abuse) perhaps more so. I don’t place a great deal of stock in ‘research’ since good ‘researchers’ can make the numbers say just about anything they want them to say and they often don’t point out the variables that were considered or not considered when correlating the information. Sad to say, according to this ‘definitive information’ that we haven’t come as far in the struggle to find equality and common strengths among the sexes as we thought or hoped. The one finding that is clear and hasn’t changed much is that our children are much better off when they are involved in a family that has two parents contributing to the upbringing of their kids. Isn’t that the mark we should be striving for? How do we make that happen instead of doing all this ‘dumb ass’ ‘research about how worse off our children might be. Isn’t it enough to know that our kids don’t do as well in single-parented homes no matter who is the single parent. Might we be better off and might our kids  be better off as well if the prospective parents got a grip on themselves and actually thought through why they were getting married prior to ‘tying the knot’? How about asking “Is this partner that I have chosen really my best choice”? “Am I really ready to get married or am I looking to escape into another world that seems better than the one I am currently occupying”? “Is this partner really ready for family life or are we just hoping that when we mature or settle down some things will change and we’ll be great parents”?

Parents are the ones who need to shoulder the responsibility for how their kids turn out. Let’s stop blaming all the ‘nasty’ things that are going on in the world as being the culprits. Perhaps they are just really poor parents who really don’t care all that much. Perhaps they are so selfish that they can’t see what they are or are not doing to their kids. My advice to young parents today: grow a pair and perhaps for the first time, ever, place your kids ahead of yourselves and provide them with the leadership, awareness, the life lessons, and the love and care they deserve. I am not talking about buying their attention with ‘stuff’ but rather demonstrating, on a consistent basis, that they, the kids, are the most important thing in the lives of their parents each and every day.

Grandparents get asked to ‘watch’ the little ones. Nannies are hired, 10 year old brothers and sisters are asked to look after their younger brothers and sisters until one of the parents gets home from work. It is deplorable that a little kid gets to be responsible for the life and well being of another human being who is 3 or 4 years old. That 10 year old needs to be out playing sand lot baseball or riding his/her bike around the neighbourhood having FUN and not ‘babysitting’.

If you are parents and reading this rant, and it is my rant, and you can honestly say that you are among those I have described who are doing a great job as a parent–good for you. If you are not able to say with any degree of honesty that this is who you are-shame on you. Why have kids in the first place if you are not going to commit to making them the most important factor in your life-your #1 priority.

I’m done now.

Anyway, that’s how I see things.

All the best, and thanks for stopping by–Jim

Please pass this along to family and friends. If you have a comment to make send it to me at either jimcloughley.com   OR  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

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The 2 Absolutes Necessary To Be The Best Parent You Can be . . .

What is it that our kids need from us the most? What is the prime factor in any parent-child connection? What paves the way for learning? I used to think that it was respect, patience, knowledge understanding, and your time. I have written in this space about those things and I still believe in their importance. But I have come to understand that these are building blocks for a much more important and complex reality. Parents need to be consistent when providing these , that is true, but they are not primary in and of themselves. They need to be present as component parts but they combine to create one reality. As the title suggests I believe there are only two things that parents need to be aware of if they are striving to be the absolute best parents they can be.

The first one is creating the best relationship they can between themselves and their children. This is first and foremost.  As many of us know this is not as easy to do as it sounds because so many things can get in the way. For instance our own past history and the relationships we had with our own parents. This can be especially problematic if the parent(s) still haven’t worked through their issues before having kids of their own. That ends up like building a house on a sand foundation. Perhaps we were forced to adhere to messages that were not appropriate or healthy. We may have been encouraged or taught how to hate someone for their differences. Our belief systems are easily manipulated when we are young because we desperately want to believe that our parents would never hurt us or lie to us or tell us stuff that isn’t true-would they? Then there are our experiences at the hands of others. That could involve abuse of some kind or what we were told over and over again by people we didn’t know or who didn’t like us. We can make our kids our best friends or worse we can become their best friends. The difference?? Best friends rely on each other for support. We listen to them and they listen to us and then we problem solve together. Our kids should never be asked to solve their parents’ problems. It is not healthy to ask for or expect our kids to provide our emotional support. Friends comfort each other-that’s why their friends. Parents are not supposed to be comforted by their children and supported through a traumatic time. Our kids are not equipped for that and boundaries can become a serious issue. That’s why we have to pay absolute attention to our kids every day and not just check in with them when they are hurting or in trouble of some kind.

They need to know from us, on a daily basis, that they are loved, valued, taken seriously when they are serious, and that we will listen to them without judgement or criticism. Ask them about their day-how did it go?-what did you learn that you didn’t know before? Show that you are interested in their lives and that you care. We need to encourage them and teach them how to think for themselves. Now this is not new news but the point is we cannot teach our children anything of value without them knowing in their hearts that they are in and are a part of a strong relationship with us. It does not matter the lessons we have to teach them or the importance of them sharing our experiences. It does not matter what we feel, as parents, or what we need to show them or demonstrate to them about life itself. As parents we need to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and what it can provide our children.

The primary desired outcome is that there is a genuine trust  that has been established and as long as that trust lasts your kids will want to learn all you have to teach them. They will watch you and learn about healthy relationships. They will learn about how to manage emotions and how to accept success. According to Parent Magazine children who are involved with healthy co-parented families are more likely to experience less mental health issues, less involvement with legal systems, have better and more healthy relationship with partners, and do better in affairs. Whether a parent physically lives at home or not that parent still needs to be involved in their children’s lives. He /she can still make a difference. It’s being involved and showing that you care that is most important.

The point here is that parents need to work much harder at establishing a healthy relationship with their kids first and worry about ‘life’s lessons after that’. It doesn’t work well if you are trying to do it the other way around. Parents need to LIVE the lessons they want their kids to learn. They believe what they see so if there is No trust there will be No learning.

Anyways, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim and thanks for stopping by.

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3 Suggestions About How To Give Step Family Relationships A Fighting Chance . . .

First I need to provide some more recent information about blended families and about step families because they are NOT the same thing.

According to Wikipedia: A stepfamily is a family where at least one parent has children that are not genetically related to the other spouse or partner. Either one parent may have children from a previous relationship. Children in a stepfamily may live with one biological parent, or they may live with each biological parent for a period of time.[1] In addition, visitation rights mean that children in stepfamilies often have contact with both biological parents, even if they permanently live with only one.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a blendedfamily this way:                                                       ‘A family that includes children of a previous marriage of one spouse or both.’

Still a bit confused?–me too. But it really is the step family that I wanted to talk about anyway. We have come a ways in naming and renaming our family structures and relationships. As we progress down the lane of ‘what’s next’ we find that we have gone from ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and The ‘Cleavers’ to ‘The Brady Bunch’ and more recently into the world of single parenthood. From there we have gone into gay parented families, lesbian parented families, LGBT parented families arriving at blended families and step families. We are drifting away from the traditional mom-dad-children living arrangements. This trend of coming up with alternative family life styles will continue until the ‘regular’ or ‘ordinary’ family set up will become representative of the minority.

When society points it’s finger at kids and asks what’s wrong with those people–why are they so messed up I believe the answer to that may very well be US–we parents. We are who is messed up. Parents are expecting the kids to adapt to the life style that is presented to them when, in truth, it’s the parents who need to provide a less selfish, more considerate, more stable and predictable, environment that the kids can identify with.  I have no comment to make about the right and the wrong of any particular life style that someone wants to indulge in. Just don’t mess up the kids along the way under the banner of they need to accept what is described as diversity in the world. This is NOT diversity as it is attended. We can be encouraged to understand it but we don’t have to live it to prove it.

It would be difficult to keep morals, values, life lessons, expectations, consequences for decisions made, both good and not so good, the same for everyone. What about when it comes time for Mom to discipline Dads kids and the other way around? How does that work? How does one kid get to do something that some of the other kids can’t? It’s natural for each parent to have some kind of bias toward his own kids and that each parent would have a set of standards that he/she would impose on ALL the kids. How well would that work? Speak about conflicting and mixed messages I would think it would be very difficult for a child to keep anything straight.

I have included 3 basics that stepfamilies might consider embracing if their goal is for things to somehow work out:

  1. Make sure that everyone in the family has some respect for the members of the other family. Create several opportunities, not just a weekend at Disney World, together doing ‘family ‘ things to observe the dynamics of the group.Things like age differences will be important, personality types, general interests and how do the kids from one group get along with the soon-to-be new mom or dad.
  2. How will decisions be made and who will deliver those outcomes–who gets to be the ‘bad’ guy? and how will that go down with the other parents kids? This needs to be decided ahead of time so that a united front can be presented. The parents need to be able to agree on why there is a problem (the issue in question may be contentious for one parent but not the other) and what the consequences will be as a result of one of the kids or several of the kids ‘messing’ up?
  3. Remember that new routines will have to be created for ALL the family members and ALL the kids must be mindful and respectful of each members rights to their routine.

One of the biggest mistakes is assuming the kids will be OK–eventually. There is absolutely nothing that guarantees this will EVER happen. Kids need to discuss and state their feelings about what they think is coming. Disagreements/concerns need to be sorted out before any moves are made. Kids are resilient-true. Can they adapt-yes they can. Will the kids in this group want to adapt is more the question. Then there is the issue of one of the kids or some of the kids wanting to spend time with the ‘other’ parent–the one which is not involved in the ‘new’ family. How does that work. Can the ‘new’ couple tolerate the ‘old’ ex hanging around? Will the kids rebel hoping to break up the new family so that they can go back to the old family?

And we wonder what is wrong with our kids today-WOW

Anyways that’s how I see it, all the best,  Jim

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Disclaimer: This photo resource by ‘hubpages.com’ is being used for education, research or criticism purposes. I do not derive any financial benefit from using this photo.

What’s Been Happening . . .

Disclaimer: Photo resources are used for the purposes of education, criticism, or research. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo.

Commentary:

There has to be another way of helping our kids get their needs met beside allowing and, in some cases, condoning aggressive, rude, or manipulative behaviour. But many parents are at a loss as to what those methods or ways are. Many more are feeling as though they have tried everything they could with no satisfying results in return. The children are now running their own ‘show’. When opportunities for parents to learn a new skill come along we often hear  parents say “those methods might work with other families but not mine.” Consequently many parents get pulled into power struggles with their kids and many just give up hoping that it is a phase that their kids are going through.

We live in times where everyone has rights but no one has responsibilities and this is more true for our kids than anyone else right now. This is the age of ‘entitlement’. I agree that we need to ensure that our rights and the rights of our children are respected and not violated. However, this cannot happen at the expense of someone else’s rights. What parents are missing, unfortunately, is the opportunity to convert the teachable moments that are so vitally important to our childrens’ social development. Helping our children learn important strategies concerning speaking their truth without being obnoxious or finding the courage to speak out sometimes to say “I don’t like that” or “I’m not going to do that” is part of our responsibility as parents. Our children depend on us to teach them how to be safe and respectful of others rights. How can we, as parents, expect our children to be responsible if we are not willing to demonstrate that same responsibility so they know what it looks or sounds like. We parents are supposed to be their teachers. It is the role we are to play in the big scheme of things. They expect us to help them grow into insightful human beings and when we don’t have time for them or make the effort to be a teacher we disappoint them-deeply.

On May 24th, 2016 I published an article titled: “Many Kids Think Their Parents Are Obsolete.” In it I speak about the things that parents need to start doing differently if they want to relate differently to their kids. Right now many kids are feeling as though they are second best at best.

I was asked to re-post the following article by a group named:   Xooloo, Your Child’s Digital Life. Apparently Xooloo and I we see this situation with our kids in a similar fashion.

I highly recommend this article especially for parents who are struggling with how to connect or re-connect with their kids. The article suggest some very valuable strategies and insights that can assist parents who are feeling discouraged, lost, angry, and at their wits end. It is a great read and it is short. This could be the best 5 minutes you have spent trying to figure out how to establish an appropriate parent-child relationship. Nothing to lose here and everything to gain. Enjoy the read–Jim

Effects of Helicopter Parenting, Embrace Negotiation Parenting

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

(click on ‘continue’ twice and click on ‘leave’ if that shows up and asks if you want to stay or leave)

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Why We Do What We Do . . . How Do We Change That?

A while back I heard a celebrity of sorts promise the people of the United States that he, and only he, had the ability to get the country out of trouble and only he had the solutions to the problems. Anytime someone says that he/she has ALL the answers and that we should trust them–RUN.

Trumps’ attempt at stewardship has become an indefensible situation that jeopardizes, not only the stability of the present government in the US, but the resilience of global peace. What particular strengths does Trump possess that he calls on to help make his decisions? It can’t be knowledge and it can’t be intelligence and it can’t be because he has visionary skills. I will say, whether or not you agree with what decisions he has made to date, he has made them decisively. He believes that he is right and that’s that. What he does seem to understand is how to motivate a great number of people.

Donny is a great example of someone who knows how to fan the flames of hate, discontent and injustice by tearing the scabs off of old wounds that people continue to carry with them. These are folks who were moved by believing their best interests could be met and ‘fairness’ could be restored if Donny was in the cat bird seat. When you consider where the greatest source of his strength comes from it is not hard to see why he got elected–numerically at least. He appealed to the old political right.

In truth, people are more apt to manage their behaviour based on a particular belief system and belief systems are often ingrained from birth long before a person has developed morals, values, ethics or wisdom. Donny is able to recognize an opportunity to create a different belief system and with very little resistance. He knows what his audience wants to hear and tells them what they want to hear. He is like a chameleon who is able to assume which ever role a particular situation requires. He can be the tough guy or the compassionate one or the hard-nosed no nonsense guy who won’t take no for an answer. He can be a stand up guy. Most of his followers have been taught since childhood that they deserve better than what they have and now it’s their time to have it. Trump is the guy to get it for them. This is their new belief.

Shame, guilt and fear are the results of experience and so they have a bearing on future behaviour and responses to stress or adversity. Even so, they are still outcomes of previous situations or solutions but are not the genesis of the actual thinking processes. If we consider the messages that we receive as little people-perhaps as early as one or two years old we can see that thoughts and ideas that were demonstrated to us in some way laid the ground work for much of what we did from there on. For example. If we were told over and over again that people who looked different from us were dangerous and not to be trusted that is exactly what most of us would believe and therefore we would see ‘those’ people in a very different light. Besides, why would our Mom and Dad lie to us about something like that if it weren’t true? IF you were told that homeless people are really just too lazy to find jobs and don’t want to work we will always see them as folks who don’t care but just want an easy life on the backs of those who are willing to work hard for what they want.

The point to all of this is this: as teachers and parents, as care givers and educators we need to be particularly careful of the words and messages we are sending to our young folks. We need to be sure that we are not, with the best of intentions, unduly influencing are children’s belief systems–helping them to see things from our perspective because we know better. Where else will they learn these worldly lessons.

The message we need to be sending our children is that, MOST importantly, we are encouraging our children to become independent thinkers creating their own belief systems based on their own experiences and what they know to be true for them.

If you are struggling with some of your thoughts and actions involving everyday people and events begin to challenge your beliefs–those thoughts that seem ingrained-the ones that have been there forever. Ask: “where is the evidence that supports this idea you are struggling with. For instance: “Where is the proof? Where has it been written that folks who look different are not to be trusted.”

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

Send this article to friends and family if it can help someone. Thanks for stopping by.

Comments/contact can be made with me by connecting at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

This photo resource is used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this resource.

Are Parents Smarter Than Their Kids . . . Not In My Mind

In May of 2016 I wrote an article titled:’Many Kids Think Their Parents Are Obsolete . . . True?’ I received some interesting feedback suggesting that I was way off base.  So I ask again–when you, as a co-parent, a private citizen with no kids or a single parent judge our history from that time until now and with the rise in violent crime perpetrated by our youth in the interim are you still sold on the idea that generally speaking, folks are doing a great job parenting their kids?

Kids must be smarter than their parents because the parents of the day have not learned much about what they need to be doing differently, as parents, to answer the call of their kids. Children are fast becoming their own parents. Once they get there they will not need and in some cases want their ‘real’ parents anymore. Is this a good thing? No–likely it is one of the greatest blunders of our so called modern and enlightened age.

Oh there is more than enough blame to go around when we think about how we have treated or rather mistreated our children. The legal system, with their archaic rules and beliefs, needs to accept the lions share in my mind. Parents of course rank high on the list and one of the greater offenders is the educational system. But when I think about child abuse there are no greater offenders than parents themselves. I will say that there are some wonderful parents–great parents who have accepted the gift of being a parent and the opportunity to shape a human life with enthusiasm and openness. They have become tremendous role models for their kids. They have taken the time to learn how to be good parents and more important what it is that their kids need from them as good parents. That said there are some parents who continue to ignore the opportunity that has been given them to play an active role in determining what the next generation of human beings will be like. Will they be generous and kind? or will they be selfish and violent?

Most parents would say that they are good parents because their kids have all the toys, advantages of up-to-date technology, the best of this and the best of that. They would also likely say that they are just too busy doing other things to spend the kind of time that I have suggested they need to spend with their children. They don’t seem to understand that there is no substitute for parental quality time. To provide anything less is to abuse your kids. You are withholding or taking away one of the most important life affirming needs of any child. It’s close to being the same as withholding food or shelter.

We usually consider a divorce or separation as a familial structural defect. For a kid to live in an environment where he/she has little or no emotional and physical connection is every bit as much a defect and a breakdown of the family structure as anything else could be.

The following is information that has been documented and researched. It is NOT fake news. If you need more information then take some of your precious time and do your own research. It’s all out there. I’ve indicated some of what happens when kids are ignored or feel disconnected from a healthy family structure or unit:

  1. Educational performance is affected. More kids underperform at school and the drop out rates go higher .
  2. Crime rates increase in households where parents are too busy to parent and spend little quality time with their kids.
  3.  Incidence of drug use/abuse increases. With no time given to supervising kids, those kids have been known to experiment under the watchful eye of their peers and potential dealers.
  4. Increase in sexual acting out–nothing gets a parents attention like an early pregnancy by son or daughter or contracting a disease of some kind. Condoms don’t stop everything.
  5. Increase in physical and mental health problems–depression, anxiety, and child suicide rates or attempts certainly rise.

Are parents smarter than their kids? They should be but are they? You be the judge. My inclination is to say NO they are not. If they were they would recognize what they are or are not doing and would make an effort to change what they need to change. The kids are just kids. They are not supposed to know this stuff. Parents are.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Comments are welcomed at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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With thanks, Jim

The photo resource, from ‘belfasttelegraph.co.uk’,In May of 2016 I wrote an article entitled ‘ is being used for education, research and/or criticism purposes only. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this photo.

Are We Doing Right By Our Kids So They Can Do Right By Us? ( Part 2 of 2)

Disclaimer:  Photo posted by paultonspark.co.uk.   Resources are used to highlight this article are for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial gain from the use of this photograph.

A great deal can happen in a week. Just look south of us for a minute to see the White House and Trumps’ government beginning to implode. Part of that craziness comes from the relentless pressure and media attention created by citizens picketing and protesting. All in all people are using what resources they have at their disposal to try to, legally, interrupt the Presidents’ plans for ?we are not sure.

Last week I outlined 2 majors issues that have the potential to be more serious to our long term mental and physical health than most other social issues combined. One of those is the continued use of an educational system that is actually stifling our kids creativity and their thirst for knowledge and innovation. The other issue is fatherlessness. This is a problem that has a direct influence on school attendance, behaviour, bullying, increased violence in schools as well as our communities.

Single parented homes are increasing and the number of women who get left with the burden of being a being a single mom is also rising. Approximately 80% of single parented homes are parented by moms. These are issues that we, as a community, can ‘fix’ provided there is a political will to make that happen. The fatherless issue is one I have written about many times in the past. I will continue to expand my knowledge base about this important concern and send along information to those who want to learn more about it.

The approach of providing education is another one that I will continue to learn more about. I have included a website that will be of great interest to those who share a common concern about the type of education our kids are receiving. It’s a bit lengthy but worth every minute of your valuable time.

Canada currently ranks 7th on the international rating system considering educational programs. However, this ranking sees Canada falling behind other countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Cong, Finland, UK and then CANADA. The U.S. is 14th despite spending more money per capita on education than most other countries. Money can no longre fix this realization.

Finland is usually in the top five internationally but recently declared that they will, starting next year, remove the core subjects of math, literature, science, history and geography from their curriculum.  I believe it to be a brilliant idea, a bold move and long overdue.

Before you tell me that I’m crazy please read the article that explains their thinking about this controversial move. This is not a country which makes decisions lightly especially when it comes to the education of their children and ultimately their futures. As successful as Finland has been internationally they see the need to approach education from a different place in order to continue to provide the best educational system for their learners of the future.

We, also, need to pay attention and keep up if we want to remain competitive in the world marketplace.

Here are 7 things that we can do to begin the march toward ensuring a better and more relevant education for our children:

  1. Become informed. Use the internet. It’s free and has a wealth of articles and information that will help provide unbiased answers to your questions. Information is power. Get it and use it.
  2. Seek out other concerned parents and care givers including disgruntled teachers whose numbers are growing. Many are frustrated because they see what is not happening for learners but are powerless to change the system. Innovation needs to shift from the boardroom to the classroom.
  3.  Organize town hall meetings and invite local MPP’s and school trustees to participate. Help them become aware of how you see things as a group and what you would like to see happen next. Don’t settle for their promises to ‘look into things’ or to ‘study’ your concerns. The studies have been done. The outcomes are public knowledge. The proof for the need to change is there.
  4. Go to U-Tube and listen to experts who have been an integral part of the ‘studies.’ I would suggest listening to Dr. Ken Robinson first. Brilliant.
  5. Read a book called ‘Abundance’ written by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. They outline the need for developing a new global educational plan and some suggestions to consider about how to get started. It is a book filled with innovative ideas and hope.
  6. Keep your children connected to you as a family member and as someone who has value and importance in the family. Our kids need us to be leaders for them now.
  7. Be mentors to your kids and not dictators. Don’t always be telling them what they have to do but rather ask them questions about why they want to do certain things.Get to know them for who they are. Parental common sense needs to take hold for sure but our job is to teach our kids not train them to be something they don’t want to be.

It’s a new world and one that is not totally understood by us as parents. Our kids get it. Truth be known we could learn a great deal from them. The point is we need to do right by them so they can do right by us when the time comes. We need to help them prepare for success over the next 20 years. That means a great deal of thinking regarding a new educational paradigm needs to start right NOW.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, JIm

Please pass this along to your family and friends. Any comments can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com   OR through my web site at: jimcloughley.com/

Thanks for stopping by–

 

Are We Doing Right By Our Kids So They Can Do Right By Us? (Part 1 of 2)

Disclaimer:  This photo resource from summitcom.org. is used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from placing this photo in this article.

These kids appear to be happy, healthy and together. Although this may describe many kids there are just as many or perhaps more that are not. My goal here is not to create anxiety and fear among parents but rather to inform parents of the many crises our children are touched by as we speak. As parents we need to know or try to understand what their reality is like-what is it like being them in the world they live in.

First the issues to consider.

A few years ago I became interested in the social and human issues connected with fathers who walk away from their families and the ‘why’s.’ Why are fathers walking away? I wrote a book about it called “A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons”. The book did OK but more importantly it shook up a few parents along the way and I even managed to upset some of the staunch womens’ supporters.

My intent was not to denigrate women especially single moms. I have the utmost respect for single moms but I realized that single moms can only do part of the job that is needed no matter how hard they work. The problem of fatherlessness and fatherless homes is a serious social concern to this day and getting worse not better. Do some investigating for yourself (click on the highlighted texts) and you will find that legal and emotional problems are indeed a problem in our society. There is violence in the streets that is unprecedented. Shootings, stabbings and beatings are becoming commonplace. Our communities are at risk of becoming war zones.  Much of this can be attributed to fatherlessness and the lack of a strong and healthy male role model in the lives of many young men. Fathers need to step up and assume their responsibility as a parent. We need to create a way for those fathers who want to remain in contact with their sons/daughters after a separation or divorce but are prevented by legalities.

The other concern is about our educational system and the lack of finding creative ways to combat fluctuating drop out rates. We need to provide better learning opportunities for the so called ‘hard to serve’ students. Many of these hard to serve learners are simply kids who don’t learn at the same speed as others. It seems there isn’t enough time to spend on these ‘slower learners’. ADHD diagnoses have increased dramatically as well. Some professionals believe that the stress associated with standardized testing is partially responsible for this sudden increase and are advocating for the end of such testing practices.

The education system needs to be working in conjunction with business interests, entrepreneurs and manufacturers so that graduates are better prepared to make their career choices and prepare for the expectations that business and the market place will be looking for. Business needs to have a greater role regarding input into what the curriculum offers its learners. They know exactly what new graduates will need to show in order to be successful when transitioning from school to employment.

This is not a criticism of the teachers that work dutifully in a system that, in many cases, does not encourage creativity by the teachers in their classrooms. Many teachers are and have been quietly screaming for a change in the philosophy of the school system for years. They have been met with little attention paid to their ideas. Enter taxpayers! Demand change. It’s your money and your childrens’ future. Don’t settle for “we are doing the best we can.” There is much that can be done.

Change costs money. Many universities are not willing to spend the money to make the changes that are important to the futures of our children. In some cases universities are actually cutting classes from their schedules to cost save instead of adding ‘after hours’ classes for those who have conflicting work/class schedules. Education needs to move out of the boardrooms of universities and government and do it quickly.

Next week I will go over what parents can do to help prepare their sons and daughters for the challenges to come. If we are looking for them to help us when we get a bit older then we have to help them now to become all they can be. It’s not all that difficult to do but it will take work and WE have to do it.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by.

All the best, Jim

Please send this along to family and friends. Comments sent to: jimcloughley.com or jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

Are Our Children At Risk Mentally By Going To School?

Photo by amadorvalleytoday.org. Resources used for education, research or criticism purposes only.

Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, who co-wrote “The ADHD Explosion”,  have researched the topic and make the claim that there is a connection between some learners being diagnosed with ADHD and participating in Standardized Testing in schools.

If it is true that the diagnoses are accurate and that available treatments may be valid my concern is more about who knew what was going on and when? Why was something not done about it in a more public way? Any statistics being quoted relate to the educational system in the U.S.

Recent follow up research suggests that this documented research may well be true. Apparently some physicians say there are some treatments that could help so it’s not that bad. Well excuse me but if I could PREVENT my child from developing ADHD as opposed to having he/she just a ‘little messed up’ I believe that I would opt for the prevention option.

The following statements are part of the research findings reported:

1. Young boys are more likely to develop ADHD symptoms than young girls–13%-5%

2. As of 2011, 6.4 million kids in the age group of 4-17 approximately 11% had been diagnosed with ADHD. The rapid growth of this illness is amazing. 7.8% in 2003; 9.5% in 2007 then up to 11% by 2011.

3. Some states seem to be affected more severely than others. For example, North Carolina, who had implemented the ‘No Child Left Behind’ program using standardized testing as a method to determine who was doing a better job at educating kids, had diagnosed 15.6% of all kids in the state as having ADHD.

4. Apparently medication can help moderate the symptoms. One side effect of taking the medication is better scores for those kids diagnosed and being treated. The better scores occur because the meds calm the students down so they are better able to concentrate longer. It comes as no surprise that some states began to take their untreated kids diagnosed with ADHD out of the classrooms prior to testing so that their scores wouldn’t bring down the overall results. Financial support from the Federal Gov’t in the U.S. depends on the quality of the scores. The lower the findings the less money is granted to them.

5. Young adults are now experiencing a rise in ADHD diagnoses which brings with it a huge increase in dollars spent on drugs. 85% of young adults on meds for ADHD are reported to be women.

To read more about this report click on the highlighted text.

Such definitive results in Canada are a bit more difficult to find but it would not surprise many to find that similar results would be indicated here as well.

For me the more important point to this research is this: Standardized testing is not only out dated as a reliable assessment tool but is virtually useless when determining a fair, unbiased and accurate account of how an individual learner is doing. It does not help to locate areas of needed improvement either. It simply compares a base line across a board that is filled with unfulfilled and disinterested learners. Now we can add that it is or can be detrimental to the mental health of our children and nothing is worth that risk. Standardized testing–Needs to be gone for many reasons.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”–Albert Einstein  

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

Please send this out to family and friends or anyone you know who has school aged kids.

For further discussions please contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR go to my web page at:

What’s Been Goin’ On . . .

Photo by stuff.co.nz–This photo resource is used for education, research or criticism purposes only.

Commentary:

For the longest time most members of the other gender have made their thoughts known quite clearly that men are not good at multi-tasking. Of course I disagree with that statement. On the contrary men can be good at it when we put our minds to it. However, we don’t much see the need to multi task to the extent that our counter parts do. Are women good at multi tasking? I really don’t know. If you ask most females they will undoubtedly say they ALL are. I could agree that SOME are but only at certain things.

Look at the picture above and then ask the question again: ” Can men multi task and do it well?–YES! We can. Truth be known we often choose not to because we don’t understand the need to. We also understand that it really is not ‘good’ for people to continuously take on more than one job at a time.

Men are more likely to  take on a job–one job at a time thank you–see that job through to it’s end–step back and survey the finished product–correct any small imperfections and then move on to the next job or challenge. It is more satisfying for us this way. Most of the time we know that it is done as well as it could be given all the possibilities. We also know that the human mind, this includes the lassies as well, can only process one thought at a time. To try to do otherwise can promote stress and panic attacks. Why would anyone knowingly do this to themselves? This is not true, of course, for the autonomic responses such as breathing, blinking and heart beats. We don’t have to think about doing these.

Multitasking simply is not something that we see as beneficial so why do it?–All the best, Jim

Comments are welcome–jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

Please pass this long to family and friends–with thanks.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I are back in the saddle this week discussing the value or downside of making New Years Eve resolutions. If you have any thoughts about them we’d love to hear them. To hear more about how we see things go to my web page at jimcloughley.com and click on the tab marked: Truth Talkin’ Thursday. The latest episode will pop up for ya.

Forward Thinking Program:

After taking some time off to re-energize I’m back to the work of creating and producing a new comprehensive educational model that will truly and totally revolutionize how we educate our children and how this approach will enable them to, not only compete successfully but to be leaders in the new global economies that will soon mark our way of life. We, as parents and guardians of the next generation of learners, must do all we can to prepare our children so they can utilize the best opportunities for success. More to come regarding this exciting news and what you can do to become more involved in the process.

Video For The Week:

This clip might pick up the old heart rate a bit. When Tom C was king–Enjoy

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