Helping Your Children With
the Stress of Divorce
Divorcing parents know that the additional life changes divorce brings will require special parental attention and guidance to help kids come out healthy when the process is over.
When you have kids, the decision to divorce brings a host of heart-wrenching concerns. Each phase of youth, from babyhood to adolescence and from teenage years to college, has its own requirements for healthy development. Steering children through these important times in life is challenging under normal circumstances, but divorcing parents know that the additional life changes divorce brings will require special parental attention and guidance.
What We Know
When it comes to shepherding your kids through a divorce, the experts largely agree on a few major points:
Take care of yourself first. In order to care sufficiently for your kids at this incredibly difficult time, you need to be sure you are coming from a healthy place. This may mean seeing a counselor or therapist to help ease the stress of the transition from married to single life. Staying healthy through exercise, eating well, staying engaged with friends and extended family, meditation or prayer according to your beliefs can also be helpful. Your children will observe your self-preservation and be reassured that you are strong and steady despite the change whirling around all of you.
Be sure the kids know it's not their fault. Kids may blame themselves for the marital breakup. Telling them once it isn't true may not be enough; be sure they really hear you.
Don't trash talk your ex. As hard as it may be, try to speak about the children's other parent with respect, or at least in neutral terms. The children are not the appropriate people to air your grievances to. This puts them in the middle and makes them feel like they need to take sides.
Routine, routine, routine. To help kids feel more secure, try to lessen change and maintain as much consistency as possible in your children's lives. If you can postpone moving to a new residence, wait. If you can keep them in their school, do so. If major changes have to be made right away, try to keep it as routine as possible at home with set schedules for homework, meals and activities. On a related note, do not stop disciplining them or enforcing family rules; they still need to know there are structure and limits in place.
Kids need both parents. As hard as it can be in some relationships, especially when one parent behaved badly during the marriage, as long as there is no threat of violence or abuse, it is well known that it is better for children to maintain relationships with both of their parents after a divorce. Try to communicate meaningfully with your former partner about the kids and maintain consistent rules and discipline between the two households.
Honesty is really the best policy. Try to make your children understand that it is safe to tell you the truth about how they are feeling. Be sure they know you are there to listen and provide advice and comfort, even if what they have to say may sometimes be hurtful to you personally. As a parent, you should also tell them the truth in response to difficult questions, keeping in mind their ages and ability to understand or process certain things. This doesn't mean they need to hear all the gory details, somewhat simplified or general answers are fine, but avoid lies.
Get professional help for the kids if needed. Despite your best efforts, if your son or daughter does not seem to be adjusting over time or exhibits behavior of concern, talk to his or her pediatrician or doctor or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
Express your affection for them. Don't forget to reassure your kids often of your love, both verbally and with physical affection.
In the Long Run
At the time of a divorce, you may worry that your children will never be the same when you see their sadness, fear, loss, anger or whatever other negative emotions they express. But research shows that in the long run, most kids will survive divorce and come out on the other side stronger, more flexible, more resilient people.
In the grand scheme, workable post-divorce arrangements can help everyone move on in a healthy way. To that end, consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand your options for child custody and visitation so that you can set up the best arrangements possible for your children under the circumstances.
Press release: 24-7pressrelease.com
26 September 2012
CDC Misleads Public with Inconclusive Study on Salt and Children
A recent paper from the CDC on childhood salt consumption and blood pressure (Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure Among U.S. Children and Adolescents) misleads the public according to the Salt Institute. Instead of measuring sodium intake using 24-hour urine collection and analysis, the scientific standard, the CDC study relies on interviewing children and asking them what they have eaten and then calculating the sodium content of these foods.
"The authors of this study also do not make any effort to describe the sodium content of the diet the individuals evaluated consumed. All things being equal, it is obvious that those who consume more total food will also consume more total sodium. The problem is not the salt content of the food but the amount of food consumed," said Morton Satin, Vice President of Science and Research of the Salt Institute.
The attempt of the CDC to link sodium consumption and obesity is also facetious since the authors fail to describe the physical activity of the different individuals they evaluated. Children who engage in more physical activity will be less likely to develop obesity even given the same diet with the same sodium content as less active children. The key factor in determining hypertension and pre-hypertension in children had more to do with the incidence of obesity than it did with sodium intake.
The CDC report itself admits this very point, buried on page 651, “Although we observed a non-significant association between sodium intake and BP or risk for pre-HBP/HBP among normal-weight children, it should not be interpreted as indicating a null effect of high sodium intake on BP.”
According to Satin, “It is a sad fact that the CDC’s own results clearly demonstrate that when the level of salt in foods is reduced, children will simply consume more food in order to satisfy their natural need for salt. In effect, salt reduction efforts will actually exacerbate the obesity crisis.”
What the paper does demonstrate is that our current level of salt consumption, when combined with a balanced energy intake to energy expenditure leads to good health. The problem of childhood obesity is a separate issue and should be dealt with as such.
Press release: PRWEB
23 September 2012
Does Back To School Mean Back
Approximately 71 percent of students report bullying as an ongoing problem and almost one out of every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying. Moreover, military kids that have added stresses like deployment and relocation are more susceptible to bullying. This month, best-selling author, motivational speaker and USO Tour Veteran, Trevor Romain, kicks off his Fall USO World Tour to help children and their parents recognize the signs of bullying and how to address it — whether the child is the victim or the bully.
"Often children become bullies because they are angry, frustrated or sad and they just don't have a way of managing these feelings and they turn to bullying as a coping method," said Romain. "We as adults need to create a comfortable, safe place for children to report what is going on in their lives."
The With You All the Way USO tour will take Romain throughout Europe to meet with hundreds of military children. Military children are faced with unique challenges like deployment, reintegration and when a parent returns home with visible or invisible wounds. Romain weaves information, tools and resources through the presentation with humor to reach children and help them learn to express their feelings in a positive way. In partnership with the USO, the Trevor Romain Company and their foundation, the Comfort Crew for Military Kids, provide military children with kits that include DVDs, resources for parents and caregivers as well as a journal to help children express their thoughts and feelings.
"Part of our USO tour is to leave children with a journal that has prompts in it and a place to write and express their feelings," said Romain. "This little girl wrote to me about the journal. She said 'Dear Mr. Romain I wrote in my journal like you told me to. I wrote all my feelings down and when my Daddy came back he read my journal and he cried. And when my Daddy cried I knew my Daddy got his feelings back. And when my Daddy got his feelings back that's when I got my Daddy back.'"
Romain authored the book "Bullies are a Pain in the Brain" based on his experiences being bullied as a child and working with children from around the world. He says there are a few simple signs parents can look for and things they can do to help:
Are they acting out? Is their behavior out of the norm?
Listen to your child — they want to tell you about their situation, but sometimes just don't know how.
Talk to your child's teacher or school counselor. Ask what programs they have in place to combat bullying.
Share your experiences. Children want to know they are not alone and sharing an experience you had as a child can help ease their fears.
Press Release: PR Newswire
19 September 2012
White Matter Structural Differences in Young
with Type 1 Diabetes
Children with type 1 diabetes have significant structural differences in the white matter of their brain compared to healthy children, which correlates with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) values, according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Diabetes Care.
Children, ages 3 to <10 years, with type 1 diabetes (n = 22) and age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects (n = 14) completed neurocognitive testing and DTI scans.
RESULTS: Compared with healthy controls, children with type 1 diabetes had lower axial diffusivity (AD) values (P = 0.046) in the temporal and parietal lobe regions. There were no significant differences between groups in fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity (RD). Within the diabetes group, there was a significant, positive correlation between time-weighted HbA1c and RD (P = 0.028). A higher, time-weighted HbA1c value was significantly correlated with lower overall intellectual functioning measured by the full-scale intelligence quotient (P = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Children with type 1 diabetes had significantly different WM structure (as measured by AD) when compared with controls. In addition, WM structural differences (as measured by RD) were significantly correlated with their HbA1c values. Additional studies are needed to determine if WM microstructural differences in young children with type 1 diabetes predict future neurocognitive outcome.
American Diabetes Association
Launch of Online Database for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs: “Patient At Risk”
A coalition of parents, emergency responders, community partners and hospitals has launched the Patient at Risk secure online database. Patient at Risk gives emergency responders specific, individualized instructions for children and youth with special health care needs. The program has been piloted in Milwaukee at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Baraboo, Waukesha and West Allis, and is being rolled out statewide.
“Kids with special health care needs don’t ‘fit’ into our routine emergency response protocols,” said Jesse Alba, Assistant Chief of Operations for the City of Waukesha Fire Department. “We need to know exactly what to do for each case – health history, allergies, dealing with specialized equipment, medications and other care instructions.” Alba added, “Responding to an emergency with any child is our toughest job. When we need to address more complicated needs, the more information we have, the better.”
Patient at Risk allows parents or guardians to create secure, detailed health profiles for their child to store and manage online. This information is converted into an Electronic Information Form (EIF) that can be printed and distributed to community emergency responders ahead of time, and also accessed online at any time as needed.
“Patient at Risk is a lifesaving program,” said Kathleen Beckmann, DO, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who sees patients in the emergency department at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “Having a single database to access critical medical information in an emergency allows everyone to quickly and effectively provide care to patients with even the most complicated medical needs.”
The program is funded in part by the Healthy Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP), a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Foundation. Other partners include American Family Children’s Hospital, Baraboo District Ambulance Service, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, GFWC Oconomowoc Junior Women’s Club, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, The Regional Centers for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent Hospital, Waukesha Fire Department, West Allis Fire Department, and Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services for Children.
To learn more about the Patient At Risk program, visit http://wiaap.org/patient-at-risk.php
Press release: Melodika.net
16 Serptember 2012
Teen Ink Tackles Bullying
Shocking first-hand accounts of bullying in the latest issue of Teen Ink
Until you've seen bullying through a teen's eyes, you have no idea of the intense turmoil that young people face every day. A series of shocking first-hand accounts written by teenagers in the latest issue of Teen Ink magazine suggest that the bullying crisis has reached increasingly severe proportions, following teens everywhere in their 24/7 digitally connected world and revealing a culture of cruelty that adults seem disinterested in changing.
In its September issue, Teen Ink, the nation's largest monthly print magazine written entirely by teens for teens, tackles the complicated issue of bullying by asking teens to share their perspectives and accounts – including devastating personal stories – as well as their insights on how to address the problem.
"Today bullying follows you home. The Internet is always there, 24/7," writes Madelyn Noel of Covington, La. "Severe cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and in rare cases, even suicide. Unlike a schoolyard taunt, cyberbullying is long lasting. Messages and photos posted on the Internet may resurface later and renew the pain."
Teen Ink's bullying issue follows an essay project conducted in partnership with The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, which enabled Teen Ink to collect over 1,200 stories from teenagers across the nation on a topic the Department of Education considers an increasingly serious problem for today's youth. In their accounts, expressions of deep discouragement over a culture of cruelty ring out. "Meanness isn't just a teen problem. It's in adults too, everywhere," writes Gabriel Sandler of Lake Oswego, Ore.
Most damning to the recent efforts schools and communities have undertaken to combat bullying, many teens shared their dissatisfaction with adults' responses to bullying, citing their obliviousness and questioning the worth of reporting incidents.
"Growing up I was told by adults to ignore bullying or accept my abuse as jealousy – a form of misguided admiration," writes Karen Maldonado of Houston, Texas. "I soon realized that the biggest problem with addressing bullying is the simple fact that we often choose to accept it."
"Severely bullied kids often become America's very
own 'invisible children,' ignored by their peers – except the ones who
continually harass them," writes Aidan Combs of Verona, Wis. "They often
don't seek help because they don't think anyone will care."
About Teen Ink
Now in its 24th year, Teen Ink is the nation's largest monthly print magazine written entirely by teens for teens. Every year, millions of students read the magazine, which speaks directly to their interests and needs. Teen Ink provides a national outlet for real teens to express themselves — an important alternative to most newsstand magazines that often present an unrealistic image of teen life.
Welcomed in middle schools, high schools, and libraries nationwide, Teen Ink magazine is completely about empowering teens and providing them with a responsible forum to express their ideas, concerns, and creativity and to let teens know that they are valued and respected. More than 55,000 teens have been published in the print magazine alone.
With over 400,000 pages of teen-generated content, TeenInk.com is the largest website of its kind. The site has more than 6 million visitors and 24 million page views per year.
Teen Ink has no staff writers and there are no assigned stories. There is no charge to submit or be published, and Teen Ink editors read every submission before it is published. The magazine and website are published by the nonprofit Young Authors Foundation.
Press release: PRNewswire-USNewswire
13 September 2012
Halving Benefits an Insane Logic
“How will chopping a parents benefit in half lead to better outcomes for their kids? How do those two things even fit together – it’s an insane logic”, says MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira in response to Paula Bennett’s announcement that the government will cut benefits by up to 50% if beneficiary parents don’t comply with their policies.
“And you know why they continue to push this line? Because they know that beneficiary-bashing helps drum up voter support and keep the focus off their total lack of solutions to stop yet more job losses throughout the country”.
“To pretend it’s for the good of the kids involved would be laughable if it wasn’t so sickening. The government’s repeated efforts to punish beneficiary parents is a sure fire way to ensure their kids remain at the bottom of the heap – and it’s a move that will affect Maori and PI kids most of all”.
“MANA welcomes any moves to increase government support for things like early childhood education aimed at children in our poorest communities, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the income upon which families depend for survival”.
“Yes we need welfare reform – but it should start with creating decent jobs for those who’re unemployed and ensuring those who are on benefits get a liveable income. It should start with picking up key recommendations from the Children’s Commissioner’s expert advisory group on child poverty like providing meals in low decile schools. It should start with what works to enhance whanau and community wellbeing which is certainly not about making continuous brutal attacks on those who already have the least”.
MANA has recently introduced a bill to the Member’s ballot to introduce breakfast and lunch programmes in all decile 1 and 2 schools in New Zealand. The proposed programmes would be required to meet Ministry of Health nutritional guidelines and would be monitored annually
11 September 2012
Chattanooga officials hear findings from six months of gang research
There's been talk for years about what to do about gang violence.
But on Friday, after six months of research, the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga issued the most detailed study on gangs in Chattanooga's history. Members of the city's anti-gang task force steering committee reviewed highlights of the study and 19 recommendations.
Among the findings of the Comprehensive Gang Assessment:
Most gangs are entrenched in certain neighborhoods where there is high unemployment and poverty and where most households are headed by women.
Children of all ages attend school in fear. The study includes surveys from more than 5,000 students at 13 middle and high schools. More than 700 students surveyed said they are affiliated with a gang.
Gangs have a real presence in the lives of students. The students live in a certain amount of fear in our schools. They are aware of gang activities taking place. They have been subjected to gang activity, intimidation," said Barbara Medley, director of Center for Applied Social Research at UTC.
Law enforcement doesn't keep accurate statistics about gangs, but Chattanooga Police Department figures show 1,391 gang members.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the business community remain detached from the issue.
People have lost faith in elected officials, the criminal justice system, nonprofits and churches.
"I haven't seen the study, but from the summary you gave us, to cut to the chase, you confirmed what we know. More elaborate. More detail. It's not surprising to most of us," said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd, who attended the meeting Friday and is on the steering committee.
He was one of about 15 officials who attended.
"Yes, we may have confirmed what we already know, but we feel like this assessment has enabled us to learn a little bit more about the 'Why?' and has really helped point us in directions toward the 'How?'" said Marcy Porter, a senior research associate at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Some steering committee members sounded frustrated.
"It's time to get the real people at the table," said former City Judge Walter Williams, who retired in 2003. "It's time to get the superintendent of schools here. The chairman of the board of education here. It's time to get the city mayor here. The county mayor here. The chairman of the County Commission here. The head of the Chamber of Commerce here. The president of the bank here. The head of the Lyndhurst Foundation here."
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond came to the meeting late and left early. He never voiced any concerns during the meeting.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith was absent. So were both mayors.
Despite the frustration, Hamilton County General District Attorney Bill Cox said progress has been made in the last year since task force formed.
"I think that a year ago today there was no table and no one sitting around it. There was no task force getting up every morning to think of ways to reduce gang violence," he said. "This is not the day we can solve all the problems. This is the day that can give us insight to where we can act first to start addressing all of those problems."
Dodd said the business community must step up. No one representing large employers was present at the meeting.
"Why don't we as a group, or collectively as a city, bring in the mayors and go to Alstom, Amazon and go to Volkswagen and demand jobs. Not ask them, demand them. 'You're going to be a corporate citizen here; here's what we need from you,'" he said.
"There's no way in the world we can't take 100 hard core criminals who run most of the crime we have in this city. Not 1,200. Not 1,300. It's about 100 people. There's no way this city can't give those 100 people a job," Dodd said.
The 173-page assessment is scheduled to be released next week.
8 September 2012
Missed Goals & Budget Cuts Adds to New Jersey's Child Welfare Concerns
Recently, the U.S. District Court Judge who is in
charge of supervising the court-appointed monitoring of New Jersey's
child welfare system voiced his concerns regarding budgetary cuts to the
department's funding. Specifically, the judge's concerns stemmed from a
recent $11.5 million cut to New Jersey's Department of Child and
Families -- which includes the Division of Youth and Family Services
In response to the budget cuts, the Star-Ledger reported that federal judge Stanley R. Chesler was concerned that "[e]very gain which we have made will start to vanish," after being briefed on the state's Department of Child and Families recent attempts to improve their performance.
Improvements Needed in New Jersey's Child
This current budget cut adds additional hurdles to a department that has been struggling with perceived poor performance in recent years. In fact, the state of New Jersey settled a lawsuit in 2003 which originally alleged that the state's child welfare system was so poorly managed that it did much more harm than good to the children it was supposed to protect -- eventually spurring the appointment of a court monitor and prompting repairs to the system itself.
Unfortunately though, the overhaul to the state's child welfare system has had limited results. In a recent report -- which was presented to Judge Chesler by the court-appointed monitor -- the Department of Children and Families only met 20 of 54 court-ordered improvement requirements from July 2011 to December 2011. The report further indicated that the department missed 24 requirements and "partially" met seven.
Even with these less-than-stellar numbers, Judge Chesler voiced his belief that things may turn around as he told the court it is his "obligation to ensure that whatever is needed for this (reform and improvement of the agency's services) to continue will be done," as reported by the Star-Ledger.
Tragically, improvements are coming at a very slow pace for a department whose mistakes can have such a detrimental impact to the children of New Jersey. On a daily basis, DYFS removes children from their homes -- sometimes removals are based on suspicion alone with no evidence. Even though department employees believe they are acting in the best interests of the child, it is hard to place such trust and authority in a department that is so riddled with performance deficiencies.
If you are facing a DYFS investigation or your child has been removed from your home by DYFS, you may want to speak with an experienced family law attorney to be advised of your rights and options.
6 September 2012
Child Poverty: A duty of care and responsibility
Fr. Anthony Brown stated today that “the ministerial committee on poverty instigated by the Maori Party as part of its confidence and supply arrangement with the National Party is to be supported”. NZ Maori Council of Churches spokesperson, Fr. Brown hopes the Maori Party does not align itself with the cynicism of National as it deploys benefit cuts, for want of a drug test.
“At the same time, the advisory group reports to the Commissioner of Children on the shameful state of child poverty in NZ”, he said. Setting targets for a reduction in child poverty as a statutory requirement of government; expanding the programme on state housing construction; increasing the participation rate in early childhood education, credible thoughtfulness, rigour of analysis and innovative recommendations are better initiatives would be better responses.
Fr. Brown says “National and its Ministry of Social Development is currently offering neareugenic solutions that basically penalises the poor for being poor”. Further, he retorted Mr Key’s comment “a dopey idea that would make the rich even richer”, when reviewing the advisory groups recommendation of a universal payment going to all children regardless of income.
The NZ Maori Council of Churches (TRWINH) , as a body of Christian churches have 'a fundamental belief of the expectation of a new earth with a new heaven and not weakening our desire to develop on this earth the values of human dignity, fellowship, freedom'.
Press release: NZ Maori Council of Churches
4 Septmber 2012
Local Guardian ad Litem officials react to state award
Florida’s statewide Guardian ad Litem Program received the Angels in Adoption award, a recognition that honors 150 Angels nationwide for their work in finding adoptive families in the foster care system.
“The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program’s volunteers reach out and help children in need all over the state every day,” said DCF Secretary David Wilkins in a press release. “These volunteer s share our strong commitment and passion to help improve the lives of Florida’s children and families. Our partnership with Guardians ad Litem help give a voice to our children in care and help ensure their safety, well-being and success.”
According to a press release, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio , R-Fla., picked the Florida program for the award. It will be recognized at an awards gala in Washington , D.C.
For Fred Hapner, circuit director for the local Guardian ad Litem program, the award recognized the tough decisions staff and volunteers face as advocates of children who are in the court system for allegations of neglect or abuse.
“We think it’s wonderful,” Hapner said of the award. “We think it’s great for our volunteers and our staff. Our volunteers put in a lot of hard work on the cases.”
According to a press release, the state Guardian ad Litem program has represented more than 125,000 children since it began over 30 years ago.
Volunteers are needed in Jackson County, Hapner said. He attributed the need to a difficult economy as well as a rise in cases. They aim to have one volunteer assigned to each case.
“We are a volunteer based program,” said Jane Powell, local case coordinator. “We hope by this recognition and any exposure that it gives us that it will spread the word.”
A training class for new Guardian ad Litem volunteers will be held on Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in a classroom at Trinity Baptist Church, 3023 Pennsylvania Ave. Powell asks that those interested to contact her at 482-9127. A background check is necessary to become a volunteer. Volunteers need to be over 21 years old
1 September 2012w