Psssst I know you listened to the Corporal Punishment podcast because it tells me how many times it was reviewed.
It’s ok, I know this is a hard topic to discuss out loud. I sometimes feel the most comfortable when I can look up information on my own and think about it first. Here’s the catch – information has to be credible AND reliable information. And here at extension we also demand that it be research based.
So how about we start there – I’m going to share some solid research based resources around the topic of corporal punishment for you to review and ponder over -and then we can talk a bit more. Feel free to ask us not to post your question individually and we will be happy to post it as a ‘subscriber submitted question’.
Here you go!
Zero to Three
bullying, corporal punishment, discipline, education, positive parenting, safety, social-emotional, spanking
Sometimes the idea that what’s old is new again can be positive. But when I listened to the podcast and heard how the alcohol and pot of the 60s and 70s are now favored by teens – well, it wasn’t a good thing. We’re talking about the era I grew up in and yes, teens were doing plenty of experimenting and rebelling. However, it seemed to pass quickly for most and the consequences were not too significant.
Fast forward to today and I can tell you I worry about my grandkids and the choices they may make. The use (and abuse) of alcohol and drugs has been normalized and the behavior often glorified. There does not seem to be any rules to this game, but the consequences are severe.
So where do parents start? This sounds so simple – spend time together as a family. The podcast mentioned the alarming small amount of time dads and moms spend with their children. Time together is how you build affection and trust. This is the basis for communication.
Talk about yourself and the pressures and choices that came at each age. Be honest in sharing your own experiences. That doesn’t mean I have to tell every little detail about what I did, or didn’t do. But I can share my mistakes and the consequences of my choices. I can share my values and beliefs.
Allow for some experimentation. What I mean is it is natural for kids to experiment. That is how they learn. As a parent you can allow experimentation in areas where there is little or no long term danger. Let your child experiment with various school activities, part-time jobs, types of hair style and clothing. A wise parent learns when to close her eyes or bite her tongue. I choose to look past the trendy clothes and purple hair. The clothes change and the hair grows out. Instead i focus my energies on open conversations about choices that affect my grandkids’ futures. We may not always agree but they know they can speak freely with me.
Children are growing up in the same world as we adults live in but their experiences are very different. The one thing I, and you as a parent, can do is be present. Do not turn over all influence to peers and media. Children and teens need and want, support, guidance, and caring from their parents. If that is what’s old is new again, I think it is a very good thing.
media and kids, positive parenting, raising teens, safety
When you decide it is appropriate to allow your child to stay home alone, you will want to establish rules for your child. Examples of rules you may wish to set include:
- Internet/computer/telephone/television use
- Not answering the door
- Refraining from telling anyone he/she is home alone
- Use of appliances, such as stoves, microwaves, and grills
- Having guests or friends over when parents are not home
It is also important to make sure your child knows important safety tips, such as what to do in the case of an emergency. It is helpful to leave important information available for your child, such as:
- Telephone numbers for 911, family members, and neighbors.
- Your child’s full name, date of birth, and home address.
- Each parent’s full name, phone numbers, and employer information so parents can be reached immediately.
- Other family members’ full names, phone numbers, and employer information.
- What to say when someone calls.
- What to do if someone knocks on the door.
- The location of a flashlight and other emergency items such as band aids.
Before leaving your child home alone, practice the above rules and safety tips so you will feel at peace when you leave your child home alone and your child will feel more confident about how to handle this new role. Finally, you may wish to leave your child home alone in small increments, such as 15-30 minutes the first time, 30-45 minutes the second time, and so on. This will give everyone an opportunity to assess the situation.
Many parents wonder when their child can stay home alone. While there is not a magical answer, there are many factors to consider when making this decision with your family.
First, remember that all children mature at different rates and have varying levels of skills and abilities that should be taken into consideration when making this decision.
Second, it is important for families to consider the amount of time the child will be home alone (i.e., one half hour or an entire day).
Third, it important to know how your child feels about being home alone and how your child will handle an emergency.
Answer these questions to assess your child’s readiness to stay home alone.
- Is your child mature enough to handle the responsibilities of being on his or her own?
- Do you and your child communicate well about feelings?
- Can your child manage simple tasks like making a snack and taking a phone message?
- Has your child indicated an interest and/or a willingness to stay home alone?
- Does your child generally observe rules that exist in your home?
- Does your child spontaneously tell you about daily events?
- Is your child physically able to unlock and lock the doors at your home?
- Can your child solve small problems without assistance?
- Does your child know when and how to seek outside help?
- Do you think your child is prepared to handle an accident or an emergency?
- Will your child follow your household rules when you are not home?
If you answered “yes” to most of the questions, this may indicate your child is ready to stay alone.
Many parents find it helpful to allow their child to stay home alone in small increments to begin with, as a “testing period.” For instance, maybe a parent will go for a walk while their child is home for 20-30 minutes. This is a good opportunity to assess the event and to discuss how your child felt about staying home alone. As you and your child become more comfortable with your child staying home alone, it would be appropriate to gradually increase the amount of time your child is home alone.
Check back next week to learn about setting rules and teaching safety tips.
Parents: You can help prevent your child from using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Research consistently demonstrates that parents are extremely important in preventing youth alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. For instance, parents who talk to their child about substance use and about everyday events can protect their child from using substances. According the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), children are less likely to use substances when they remember their parents talking to them about their disapproval of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Youth who also believe their parents are involved in their activities are less likely to use drugs. Key research findings demonstrate that it is the youth’s perception of whether or not their parents are talking to them about daily activities or expressing disapproval of drug use that prevents them from using substances, as opposed to parents’ perceptions of these discussions. Often times, parents do not reiterate these conversations with their children, which can cause children to disregard, or not remember, the important messages.
Evidence shows that parents can also reduce their child’s substance use by:
- Working together to communicate rules, boundaries, and values to their child
- Knowing their child’s friends and friends’ parents
- Being a good role model
- Keeping apprised of their child’s whereabouts and activities
- Eating family meals together
- Spending time together as a family
- Understanding their child’s developmental stages to effectively parent
In summary, a parent is an extremely important influence in his or her child’s life. Parents should talk to their children daily, know who their children’s peers are, know where their children are going, and discuss disapproval of alcohol and other drug use somewhat frequently.
positive parenting, safety