Bullying – What Children Should Do if They Are Bullied

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It’s normal for children to be frightened or angry when other children bully them. But they can discourage attacks by showing confidence and not overreacting.

Children should not fight with a bullying child or make verbal or written insults. This could lead to more aggression and possibly serious injury. Have your child call out for help or find an adult or peer right away if he or she feels unsafe.

Face-to-face and cyberbullying

Children who are bullied online or in text messages should not reply. It is best for them to show the message to an adult and block any more messages from the sender. Remind them to only accept messages from people they know.

Give your child these tips to handle face-to-face bullying:

  • Talk to the bullying child if it feels safe. Look him or her in the eye and say strongly but calmly, “Leave me alone” or “You don’t scare me.”
  • Walk away from the bullying child or children. Children who are being bullied should not run (even though they may want to). It may strengthen a feeling of power in the bullying child.
  • Tell an adult about the episode. It might help for children to identify an adult at school to tell if incidents occur. Children who see another child being harmed also should seek help from an adult right away.

Children may worry about making other kids angry by telling on them. But exposing the abuse is the only way to stop the problem. A child can ask to remain anonymous when reporting an incident.

If your child gets left out

Bullying happens when children shut out or exclude others. These actions can be subtle. But they can be very hurtful to the child who is abused. This type of bullying is called emotional or social bullying, and it is very isolating. It’s also hard to manage because the pain it causes is not physical and can be hard to explain to an adult.

Girls who bully tend to do so in social or emotional ways. And boys who bully tend to do so in both physical and emotional ways. Both boys and girls can be targets of emotional bullying. Gossiping and “backstabbing” are common techniques used by girls who bully in this way.

Although there is no easy or foolproof solution, it may help to try some of the following strategies.

  • Recognize the behavior. Trying to ignore it won’t make it go away. Help your child accept that there is a problem and know that you will help him or her through this difficult time. Help your child understand that he or she is not to blame.
  • Role-play. Practice, practice, practice ways to respond to hurtful comments or actions until they come naturally. Help your child think up different scenarios and different ways to respond in them. Have fun with this—make up absurd or outrageous situations. Also, practice using humor as a way to be assertive. Sometimes saying things like, “Oh, please! You’ve been watching too much TV!” or simply, “I don’t need that!” and walking away can stop bullying. This creative thinking can help your child relieve tension and gain some feeling of control.
  • Encourage your child to pursue interests in a different environment. Assure your child that he or she will meet friends who value him or her. Help your child look for areas of life where he or she feels accepted, likable, and normal. And help your child find opportunities to develop well-balanced friendships.
  • Talk to school leaders. If the bullying occurs in certain social situations or school activities, sometimes it is just best to remove your child from the situation. It is not always in a child’s best interest to “stick it out.” Often, in fear of causing disappointment, children do not want to tell their parents that this is the solution they prefer. Ask your child if he or she really wants to continue to be in the activity. If the bullying occurs in a general school setting, work with teachers and counselors to help your child not be around those who bully.
  • Stay out of groups who bully others. Sometimes a child who was shunned before will suddenly be “invited” into or back into a group. Talk about the fickle nature of such friendships. Ask your child how he or she would feel if pressured to exclude another person. Help your child discover the qualities of long-lasting and true friendships.
  • Let your child know you are always there for him or her. You may not be able to come up with the perfect answer for the problem. But you can help by telling your child that you will always be there to listen and to help him or her think about new ways to handle being bullied.

Reasons Why Kids Should Go to School

Reasons Why Kids Should Go to School

 

A portrait of elementary school classmates in front of a chalkboard. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Overview

Close to 50 million children attended America’s public schools in 2010. Five million more students occupied lockers in private schools. Prekindergarten and kindergarten enrollment numbers are breaking records accoring to the United States Department of Education. More than 3 million teachers dedicate themselves to teaching these youngsters. The important lessons of reading, writing and arithmetic are just three reasons that these children and teachers will fill the classrooms.

Gain Social Skills

Family Education lists the development of important social skills as one of the leading reasons to send a toddler to preschool. By interacting with other children at an early age, kids learn how to take turns, how to listen and how to share. Playing with other kids also helps children learn about their own personalities, and their own likes and dislikes. The independence that kids gain in preschool is also a lesson that is hard to learn at home.

Social development doesn’t stop in kindergarten. Throughout elementary and secondary school, children learn how to negotiate, compromise and interact with their peers. Without learning these valuable skills as children, individuals would struggle in a professional setting when they are old enough to start working.

Learn Other Viewpoints

Public School Review explains that children who learn only at home have an individual learning experience, whereas children who learn in school do so through relationships. Learning through relationships is more reflective of the adult world in which people contribute to society by working together. Children in school systems hear other people’s ideas and viewpoints. They learn to merge different beliefs to create their own values and principles. In a school setting children learn to listen to various thoughts before forming their own opinions.

Qualify for Jobs

According to the Education Commission of the States, more than half of today’s employers insist on hiring people who have at least graduated from high school. That is up from 20 percent in the 1940s. The organization claims that young people with high school diplomas also earn more and are less likely to turn to public assistance or crime than those who haven’t graduated. A high school diploma shows colleges, technical schools and potential employers that a student has important life skills such as problem solving abilities, negotiation skills, and the ability to focus. A diploma is not given lightly. It is earned by students who go to school and succeed.

20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools

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Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

2. A mastery of memorization: Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

3. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

4. Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

5. A sense of achievement: Learning to play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement.

6. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

7. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

8. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures They also tend to have higher self esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

9. Students learn pattern recognition: Children can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills with the help of musical education. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

10. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

11. Fine-tuned auditory skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

13. Music can be relaxing: Students can fight stress by learning to play music. Soothing music is especially helpful in helping kids relax.

14. Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who learn to play an instrument can learn a valuable lesson in discipline. They will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning with discipline to master playing their instrument.

15. Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

16. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

17. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

18. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

19. Responsible risk-taking: Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential.

20. Better self-confidence: With encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Musical education is also likely to develop better communication for students.

How to Talk to Sad, Jealous, Anxious Kids

However, we’re right on top of people, so we hear the goings on, especially with a neighbor family whose kids play outside. The parents are cool and friendly people in their 30s, and they’ve got two boys. The older boy is five, and the baby is just under two. The boys have very different temperaments. The baby is very adventurous and giggly, and the five year old is more careful, a little bit delicate, and he cries loudly when he’s scared or his feelings are hurt. A sensitive guy.

Photo of sad bunny

When the dad comes home from work, he and the boys play outside for about an hour, and over the weeks we’ve been here, a change is occurring. The older boy was the main play pal for his dad, but now the baby is walking and running, and it seems that dad is bonding a little bit better with the baby.

He and the baby will be crawling around in the ivy and laughing while the five-year-old stays separate and gets dramatic about falling or tripping or something. You can see the dad’s frustration at being called back constantly to attend to the older boy’s difficulties, and you can see that the older boy is trying to get his father back on his side, but he’s going about it all wrong.

Today, I heard someone yell loudly in a very mean way, “What do you think you’re DOING! You don’t take his toys! Get inside!” It sounded like an 11 or 12-year-old girl who was babysitting and hating it. But today’s a school day, so I looked outside, and it was the boys’ mom! I’ve never heard her yell like that, so it sounds as if the tension is increasing between the boys, even when Dad isn’t in the picture. Whoops.

This is a story that occurs every day, but how could it be different? Clearly, the older boy is feeling jealousy, envy, anger, anxiety, and grief. And he’s acting from all or most of them without any direction.

He’s a mess. But each of his emotions is true. He is losing his place in his most important love relationships (jealousy). He is losing his access to status and material possessions (envy). He is losing his old sense of self and his place in his world (anger). He doesn’t know what bad thing will come next (anxiety). And he is experiencing a serious loss (grief). It’s all true.

So how does a parent or a teacher help? First, of course, is to accept the emotions as true, even if they’re annoying. If you know what the emotions mean, you could ask the boy, “Do you sometimes feel like your parents like the baby more?” or, “Do you think the baby gets more attention than you do?” or, “Wow, when my little sister was born, I was so sad! How did you feel when your brother was born? How do you feel now?”

If you give a child the chance to explore his emotions in a safe place, he will learn how to manage them without other people needing to yell at him.

I know it’s hard. Every one of us as parents has gone all wild-eyed and acted like an 11-year-old babysitter who wasn’t getting paid enough. We’ve all done it, and if our emotions are working as they should, we have also felt shame for doing it. So the practice for shame is to make amends. To apologize to our children and let them into the emotional backstage of our lives — so that they’ll know that there IS an emotional backstage, and that everyone struggles.

Photo of LegosOur boy outside, he feels alone. But he’s not alone. We all struggle with our emotions in this emotionally-confused world, and we’re only alone if we lie to people and pretend we’ve got our emotions figured out.

Everyone needs training in emotions, and everyone needs a safe place to talk about them, so let’s make a safe place and change the world, yes?

I think I’ll see if our boy wants some Legos that I’ve got in the garage. Sensitive little people often love Legos, don’t you find? And you can talk about all sorts of stuff when you’re building with Legos. Sneaky!

11 Ways to Increase IQ

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1. Exercise

People who exercise tend to have higher IQ scores than those who don’t. On average, individuals that take care of their bodies tend to be more intelligent than the chronic couch potatoes. Exercise is known to stimulate brain cell growth through a process called neurogenesis and flood the brain with pleasurable neurotransmitters like dopamine. Fitter individuals in high school are more likely to go on to college and do well there.

A lot of people don’t realize how powerful an effect rigorous exercise can have on decreasing stress and improving cognitive performance. I tend to think that exercise is one of the easiest ways to boost your IQ simply because it’s free and you can do it any time that’s convenient.

2. Stimulants and Nootropics (Smart Drugs)

Taking smart drugs like Adderall and NuVigil may help boost your IQ score. The abuse of these psychostimulants and cognitive enhancers is becoming more common these days to help people dominate the competition. They help people get into universities and graduate with good grades. These drugs will help you learn quicker and retain more information. There are many other enhancers like Ritalin on the market which stimulate the brain and boost brain power.

Any pill that increases your overall cognitive ability is going to help you improve your IQ score and performance on an IQ test. These are referred to by many as “smart drugs” for a reason. In my opinion, these boost mental brain power similar to taking steroids for improved physical abilities. Should you decide to take these medications to simply improve your cognition, just know that what comes up must come down; there’s no biological free lunch.

Eventually your tolerance is going to increase to the point where these no longer have an effect and withdrawal is generally tougher than most people admit. If there were one item on this list I would probably not want to get caught up in heavily, it would be the use of these smart drugs.  Read: “The Potential Dangers of Nootropics.”

3. Supplements

There are a variety of supplements that you can take to help boost your IQ. Will taking all of these supplements help you increase your IQ? Really the only way to find out is to experiment for yourself and see what happens. One of the most common ways to get a quick IQ boost is to drink some caffeine because it helps stimulate brain activity.

Caffeine + L-theanine – In combination these substances help improve performance on cognitively demanding tasks.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681988

Creatine – Has been shown to help improve brain performance.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/pdf/14561278.pdf

Ginkgo Biloba – Has been shown to help improve attention in healthy young volunteers.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11026748

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Improves working memory. I’ve sorted out the best fish oil supplements and best krill oil supplements if you aren’t able to get sufficient dietary omega-3s.

4. Meditation

It is known that meditation can help decrease stress, improve mood, and light up brain activity. Additionally, it can increase performance on intelligence-related measures and increase IQ scores over time. There are many different types of meditation that can be practiced, but one that has been proven effective is Transcendental Meditation. Nearly all types of meditation will improve general brain functioning and cognition, so if you are already practicing your IQ and cognition should continue to improve.

Transcendental meditation involves sitting peacefully with one’s eyes closed and focusing on a specific mantra. This helps your brain focus on one specific thing at a time and can help improve overall focus. Although there are many different types of meditation, if you want to improve your IQ score, I would recommend a focus-oriented approach. In other words, choose a type of concentration meditation as opposed to mindfulness meditation.

5. Healthy Diet + Vegetarian?

Researchers have found that diet does play a role in IQ and brain development throughout childhood. The degree to which IQ is affected later in life by food choices isn’t as well documented. However, if you want to boost your intelligence, it is best to avoid eating processed foods. Individuals who eat a lot of processed foods tend to have lower intelligence scores than people who eat healthier non-processed items. The researchers found that diet influenced IQ regardless of other factors.

Another interesting finding was that individuals that reported being a vegetarian by age 30 had scored (on average) 5 points higher on IQ tests than those who were non-vegetarian. Since higher IQ’s are linked with: less obesity, healthier hearts, and living a longer life – some researchers suggest vegetarianism may play a role. Theres a link between healthier lives and IQ, and a link between higher IQ and vegetarianism. Does that mean there’s a link between vegetarianism and health? Possibly – more research needs to be conducted for me to believe that being a vegetarian increases IQ especially because I tend to think meats and fish are healthy for the brain.

6. Neurofeedback

Although there aren’t many studies linking neurofeedback with improvements in IQ scores, there is evidence that it can help increase intelligence among individuals with ADD and ADHD. People with ADD and ADHD tend to have slower brain wave activity in certain brain regions compared to normal individuals. Training their brains to speed up production of brain waves in specific regions can help them perform better and improve their intelligence scores.

Despite the fact that neurofeedback isn’t used much other than to help with cases of ADD and ADHD, it does have potential to improve cognitive performance in a normal brain as well. If the brain wave patterns are slightly abnormal on the EEG, uptraining SMR, low beta, or mid range beta may help improve intelligence.

7. Brainwave Entrainment

In most therapies involving brain waves, the purpose is to help people who struggle with ADD and ADHD. People that don’t have any major problems with focus or concentration likely don’t need brain wave stimulation to help them improve their intelligence. Despite the fact that brainwave entrainment has only been studied in people with ADD and ADHD to determine whether it would boost IQ, it was effective and increasing the GPAs of college students.

 

Additionally, low levels of gamma brain waves have been linked to brain development problems and mental retardation. Gamma waves are the range higher than beta waves and at 40 Hz or 40 cycles per second, they are claimed to be associated with peak cognitive functioning – especially in regards to memory and perception. That does NOT necessarily mean that if you up-train gamma you will automatically become “in the zone” or develop an awesome memory.

I am a bit skeptical of most brainwave research out because it seems to be largely conducted and pushed by companies selling brainwave-related products. Based on what I’ve read it seems as though targeted uptraining of certain frequencies help individuals with ADD and ADHD more than anyone. There is still relatively little research involving brainwave entrainment in general – more needs to be conducted.

I’ve written up an article documenting the benefits of brainwave entrainment as well as the types of brainwave entrainment on the market.  If you’re interested, consider reading those articles.  I’ve also highlighted some potential dangers of brainwave entrainment, so do not assume that it’s always a utopian option.  With the wrong type of training, you may reduce your IQ.

8. Brain Games, Brain Training, Puzzles

Many people swear by doing crossword puzzles and sudokus to keep their brain as sharp as possible. Companies that sell brain related puzzles and games tend to market the fact that they will help you boost your IQ and become smarter. What these games have potential to do is give your brain some exercise. They make you think and put forth some mental effort which is a good thing.

  • Dual-N-Back training – This is a game that torches your working memory, and requires sustained time and effort.
  • Crossword puzzles – Crosswords make people think and can keep your brain stimulated.
  • Lumosity – There are specific brain training protocols on this website.
  • Puzzles – Other types of puzzles that make you think and focus are good for your brain.
  • Video games – Games like brain age and big brain academy may help your cognition.
  • Sudoku – This is a popular game involving logic and numbers.

It was found that “memory training” helped give kids an IQ boost. Most of these games will help stimulate brain activity, thinking, and memory. If you are going to use a brain game in attempt to boost your IQ, research the program and determine whether others have had success with it as well.

9. Enriched Environment

Some agree that one of the most important things for developing a higher IQ is to grow up in an enriched environment. Many believe that individuals who grow up in an enriched environment tend to be smarter and have a higher socioeconomic status than those who do not. Although I think genetics plays a big role in determining intelligence, I think growing up in an enriched environment during pivotal developmental years can play a role too.

  1. Active learning – Actively learning new things helps your brain learn and may help you make connections that before were not possible. Learning a new skill such as chess, how to play a sport, how to juggle, or anything new for that matter – may help your brain in ways you never thought possible.
  2. New experiences – In addition to actively learning or engaging your brain to learn new things, new experiences can also help rewire and increase your intelligence. Something like taking a trip to a foreign country, becoming fluent in their language, and lifestyle is going to have an influence on your brain.

Although heredity plays a major role in the development of IQ, there is evidence that environment still plays a role. It is best to stimulate your brain as much as possible while growing up before the brain reaches adulthood. There are plenty of studies conducted on enriched environment vs. non-enriched environment – the enriched environment will produce a higher IQ.

10. Intermittent Fasting (BDNF)

It has been proven that the act of Intermittent Fasting helps improve cognitive functioning in both mice and humans.  It works by increasing the amount of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).  If you properly learn how to intermittently fast, you will be increasing your BDNF – which has been linked to improvements in both learning and memorization.  It is obvious that if you are able to improve your ability to learn as well as your memory, you should experience an overall boost in intelligence.  Ironically, the process of intermittent-fasting is also linked growing new brain cells.

Intermittent-fasting is nothing too complex.  It involves eating for a specific window of time, followed by a period of “fasting” or not eating for a period of time.  This can be done in windows of a specific number of hours, or this may be conducted on an alternative-day (i.e. every other day) basis.  Not only could intermittent fasting give you a boost in intelligence, it also seems to be physically healthy and is hypothesized to help prevent against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

11. Reading

Reading is especially important if you want to boost the IQ of your children. Some non-scientific studies have shown that reading can increase a child’s IQ by up to 6 points. Generally I would take these studies with a grain of salt since they are not published in any major journals. However, the fact is that reading will stimulate thought, learning new vocabulary, and helps people make connections between certain events should be good for the brain.