If you are like most parents with school aged children, you have either received a child’s second report card recently or will be receiving it very soon. For some of you, this will be a time of joy and for others; a time for concern. I have been through the highs and lows of report cards. As a former teacher, I obviously had to give them to each student. As a parent, the only thing that has changed is that I am on the receiving end. Today’s post is meant to highlight what this particular report card really means and how to help your child get a jump start on the next term no matter the final grades.
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The television in today’s home can mean so many things. For some, it’s a status symbol. For others, it’s instant babysitting when a parent needs a break. Most of us also wouldn’t dispute the entertainment value. But, there’s a hidden consequence not talked about often which may have you think twice before your child watches the next latest greatest show.
Today’s post is going to be a little different. I don’t typically give plugs to organizations but I am going to make an exception today. There is a national organization I am a part of called All Pro Dad. This is designed for dads and their sons or daughters. The national spokesperson is former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. Here is a link where you’ll find meetings in your area. http://www.allprodad.com.
The crux of the group is for dads to spend quality time with their child. The meetings are typically once a month to once every six weeks. Last week’s theme was humility which is a trait that I could certainly use more work.
The meeting is a lot of fun as well. We started it by watching this truly funny video. I’m not really into rap music but this one made me laugh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOKuSQIJlog
It continued with dads standing up in front of the group to announce one reason they are proud of their child. The children really love the public praise from their fathers. I wasn’t raised with a father and my mother wasn’t a person to give a lot of praise. I’m certain though my child loves the recognition I give him at this time.
During the meeting, I had an interesting moment. All the fathers were asked to answer this question to their child. Who was the most humble person we knew? After thinking about it for a few seconds, I came to the conclusion that the answer is my wife. I’ve always thought of her as a humble person but being put on the spot in front of my child was eye opening. These kind of moments makes All Pro Dad special.
The last thing we did before adjourning was a raffle. The last prize was an All Pro Dad shirt in which I won. Granted, I would have rather won the prize before the shirt which was a football signed by my favorite quarterback of all time Dan Marino. Nevertheless, the shirt is super. On the back, it lists 10 ways to be an All Pro Dad. Here is the list.
1. Love Your Wife
2. Spend Time with Your Children
3. Be a Role Model
4. Understand Your Children
5. Show Affection
6. Enjoy Your Children
7. Eat Together as a Family
8. Discipline with a Gentle Spirit
9. Pray and Worship Together
10. Realize You’re a Father Forever
By the time the meeting was over, I felt like I worked with my boy on a great message, had fun, and took a step towards being a better person. My child said he can’t wait to go again. I think a lot of fathers would agree that they would like to spend more time with their child. There’s not a doubt we will be at the next one!
My next article will be on Friday. All my best to you and your family!
Over the weekend, I received my 1,000th “like” on my Facebook fan page. It’s a great way to keep up with this blog. Also, when I discount my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, it is announced there first! You can log into Facebook and find my page at claytonpaulthomas.
I am very excited to write to you today! I want to thank everyone who sent a parenting question. I will be answering questions not chosen privately by email.
The question I chose from “Billy” asks if I have worked with children who had anxiety issues and what strategies I used. I like this question because it is a bit tricky and I enjoy a challenge.
First, please understand it’s difficult for me to group children who have anxiety together. That’s because anxiety is an extremely broad topic. Some children I worked with have shown signs of anxiety because of something that happened in school. Depending on the circumstances, symptoms didn’t last very long. Others though showed anxiety from severe abuse suffered long before they were in my care. The symptoms were treated with medication and lasted for years.
I read from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America that it may be time to see a doctor if the issues last beyond a month and there are several treatment options. I am not a medical professional but that seems like a good rule of thumb. For the sake of this blog, I am going to pretend that the anxiety issues are less than a month old.
My first question to Billy is where does anxiety stem? Did the child watch a scary movie? Was there a death in the family? Is there an upcoming test in school that has the child on edge? Is there something on the child’s mind he/she doesn’t want to talk about but is driving them crazy? (Drugs, pregnancy) Getting to the heart of the matter is often a good first step in anxiety relief.
My oldest child once hid a poor school note from me for two days. The anxiety climaxed when he became physically sick while at school. Basically, his teacher had confronted him because I had obviously not signed the note. Once I picked him up and he finally told me what happened, consequences were assessed due to the behavior but his anxiety was instantly relieved.
A second step to help a child relieve anxiety is to be a supportive listener. When I was a child, I had a lot of anxiety issues due to not being popular and bullied at school. My mother went with the “it will pass someday” philosophy. Granted she was correct. But, that “someday” turned out to be years later. I can vividly remember examples of days when my stomach would be in knots and constant tension in my head that wouldn’t seem to go away.
Children I have subsequently worked with over the years have had the same issues I felt. I found that being a good listener and advocating where I felt it was appropriate really assisted in anxiety relief. When a child knows you are there for them and believes you can help, anxiety will typically be decreased. The key though is the belief in you. If a child doesn’t believe you can or are really willing to help, merely talking to you probably won’t be enough to relieve the anxiety.
On a side note, it is important to know a little anxiety is not a bad thing. For example, anxiety can keep a child attentive while taking a test. It can also give a child an extra pep in their step while on a football field.
There are a lot of things I am leaving out because this is a complex issue. I encourage Billy and everyone who is interested to check out this website from the aforementioned Anxiety Disorders Association of America for more information. I believe you will find the general tips helpful. http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children-and-teens/tips-parents-and-caregivers/help-your-child-manage-traumatic-
I want to thank the people who take the time to read my material and pass it along to others. Some of my recent articles have received more attention on Facebook and Twitter than I have ever seen. I’m thrilled you think enough of my work to share it with the people you know and love.
Have a super weekend and I’ll write to you again Tuesday.