For parents, the dangers of fire are so apparent that the sight of a child anywhere near a flame is enough to send them scrambling. And fortunately, most kids are afraid of fire and understand that it can hurt them and others.
But it’s not unusual for kids to be curious about fire, too. After all, we enjoy campfires and singing over birthday candles. That’s why it’s so important to educate kids about the dangers of fire and to keep them away from matches, lighters, and other fire-starting tools.
Even with the best efforts from parents, kids might play with fire. Most of the time this can be handled by explaining the dangers and setting clear ground rules and consequences for not following them.
But sometimes kids seem to be especially preoccupied with fire and repeatedly attempt to set things on fire, which can be a sign of emotional and behavioral issues that require professional help.
Why Kids Set Fires
Young children who set fires usually do so out of curiosity or accidentally while playing with fire, matches, or lighters, and don’t know how dangerous fire can be. During the preschool years, fire is just another part of the world they’re exploring. Unfortunately, these fires tend to be the most deadly because kids in that age group don’t know how to respond to a fire, and may set it in a small, enclosed space, such as a closet.
As kids get a little older, they might be fascinated with fire. It’s fairly common for them to do things like light paper with matches, set things on fire using a magnifying glass, or play with candles or other things that have a flame. That’s usually not a cause for concern.
But if a school-age child deliberately sets fires, even after being reprimanded or punished, a parent needs to talk to the child and consider getting professional help. That’s especially true if the child is setting fires to larger objects or in areas where the flames can easily spread and cause injury and damage.
Talk with your doctor or consult a mental health professional if your child exhibits behaviors such as:
- adding more fuel to fires in the fireplace, grill, or campfires, even when told not to
- pocketing matches or hiding fire-starting materials
- lighting candles, fireworks, and other things, despite being told not to
Kids might set fires for any number of reasons. They may be angry or looking for attention. They may be struggling with stressful problems at home, at school, or with friends. Some set fires as a cry for help because they’re being neglected at home or even abused. Even if they know how dangerous fire can be, they might have other problems that involve difficulty with impulse control.
Whatever the reason for firesetting, parents need to get to the root of the behavior and address underlying problems. It’s important to consider seeking professional help as soon as possible to prevent serious damage or injury.
Ron Huxley’s Response: I wanted to find an article on firesetting because it is a problem that we (parents and professionals) don’t talk much about. This blog post gives a good introduction into firesetting by children. It follows my “80/20” rule about misbehavior: 80% of the children do it for curiosity and attention-getting. 20% do it for more serious, underlying causes. It is this later group that parents need to take action on immediately by consulting with a professional. How have you dealt with this frightening behavior?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Unlike Halloween, it’s not about dressing up in costumes (which my best friend Jen and I do all the time; we don’t need an excuse). Unlike Christmas/Hanukah, it isn’t about gifts and shopping. It’s simply about expressing gratitude.
A recent article in The New York Times points to a growing mountain of research supporting the idea that gratitude is good for us. The article states that “cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”
Yet somehow, in the subtle way our consumer culture often does, we’ve managed to twist even my favorite holiday into a materialistic occasion. In every storefront, magazine article, and blog posting we see, we’re made to think that the real meaning of Thanksgiving is food.
Sharing a delicious, homemade meal with our loved ones is a ritual to be savored. Yet while celebrating Thanksgiving with a feast may give us an excuse to come together, we don’t have to stuff ourselves to the point of bursting to make it a happy holiday.
Too often, in fact, we eat out of fear. Psychologists call this “emotional eating.” Have you ever noticed yourself taking an extra helping of pizza or making your way to the freezer for ice cream when you are anxious, depressed, lonely, angry, or upset? Food is not the answer to our interpersonal problems. Love is.
And so, in honor of the holidays, as a reminder of its true meaning, I’d like to offer this mantra: LOVE MORE, EAT LESS.
I derived it from my personal mantra of the last several years: LOVE MORE, FEAR LESS. Here’s how my mantra evolved.
Within one month in 2005, I experienced two traumas that reshaped my existence. First, I separated from my husband and partner of nine years. Next, I watched in horror as my father’s conviction for a federal crime was plastered across the front page of the Honolulu newspaper.
My entire world crumbled. I went from a relatively smooth and easy life, in which I demanded no less than perfection from myself and those around me, to a lost soul who didn’t know who she was or what she stood for. Anxiety consumed me. I couldn’t sleep without taking pills. I became convinced, at age 32, that I’d never have a family of my own.
Yoga, meditation, poetry and spiritual books, being outdoors in nature, and the love of friends and family got me through these dark days. I began to see how fear overtakes us, causing us to act from a place of panic, a mentality of scarcity, and an attitude of grasping.
I adopted the mantra: FEAR LESS. And that helped me a great deal. I began to surrender to a higher power. I realized that no matter how hard I tried or how much I planned, I would never be able to completely control my external reality. What I could control, however was my reaction to the events that happened to me. I could choose to accept where life had taken me and make the best of it.
I often thought of the serenity prayer recited in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
My anxiety lessened. After many months of loosening my grip on the steering wheel of life, I found myself cruising down the highway and actually enjoying the view. I was invaded by peace.
Still, something was missing from my mantra…
Then, in the spring of 2010, I journeyed to Haiti post-earthquake to volunteer with my friend and role model Alison Thompson at Sean Penn’s non-profit, J/P HRO. Many friends advised against it.
“It’s too dangerous,” they said.
But I remembered to “fear less,” took a deep breath, raised several thousand dollars in donations, and ventured onward. In the tent villages of Port-au-Prince, offering counseling, hugs, and smiles to people who had lost their health, homes, and loved ones, the completion of my mantra came to me loud and clear: LOVE MORE.
Now I recite this mantra to myself on a daily basis: LOVE MORE, FEAR LESS.
By giving to others, we heal our own wounds. We become happier, more fulfilled, and even live longer. So yes, fear less: take on your demons, push yourself past your limits, be brave and bold. But also, love more, starting with yourself. You are beautiful, unique, and totally loveable. You have so much to offer the world.
So remember to bring yourself and your loved ones back to the core purpose of the occasion: Expressing gratitude. Say a little prayer. Give thanks for all that you have.
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Ron Huxley’s Resonates: Although this blog post doesn’t directly deal with parenting, it does directly relate to life. If parents could fear less and love their children more than they would escape a lot of daily hassles. Think about it…Share about it too. What do you do to “fear less”?
Now’s a good opportunity to knock off a chunk of your holiday shopping. But before you start working through your gift list, see if you can shorten it.
First, remove anyone who doesn’t really need a present. I’m not trying to stifle your generosity; I’m just inviting you to consider if gifts are the best way to express it.
Does every service provider in your life need a gift, or would a generous tip be more helpful? Might some of your giftees feel awkward if they don’t have a gift for you?
Next, ask yourself:
How about a handwritten card instead of a gift? Teachers, especially, appreciate this.
How about a donation instead of a gift? Good for everyone who already has everything they need and may even be trying to declutter.
How about one special present instead of multiples? If Santa visits, one gift plus a full stocking is plenty. For kids, especially, the initial WOW of piles of wrapped boxes often turns into overwhelm or lack of interest (and possibly, down the road, greed and entitlement).
How about a small gift instead of a big one? Some people feel uncomfortable when presented with extravagant gifts. It’s fun to make a big splash every now and then, but usually, the best gifts are small treasures that demonstrate how well you know someone.
How about an experiential gift? Membership to a local museum, theater or performance tickets, a massage, a night in a hotel?
Paring down your gift list will save you money and time, and will help you feel calmer during the holidays. But, most importantly, it will help you express your love and gratitude to friends and family in ways everyone will appreciate.
How do you keep your gift list from getting too long?
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Ron Huxley Recommends: Anything that shortens my shopping list and lightens my expenses, is a must for me…hopefully, this helps you as well. How do you deal with holidays on a budget?
by Vanessa Van Petten |
Monique is a sixteen year old girl living in Louisiana. She is a writer, dancer, and actress who enjoys playing video games and learning about others. Her favorite subjects are English, History, and Science; she plans to attend college and get a PhD in a related field.
Cyber bullying is becoming an increasing problem among teenagers today as social networking sites like Facebook becoming increasingly popular. However, parents today are not aware of the psychological damage this cause for their child.
What is Cyber Bullying?
According Merriam-webster.com, Cyber bullying is the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously. Cyber Bullying occurs over various websites such as: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Formspring, Myspace, Chat sites, email, and other social networks and servers. The scariest part about cyber bullying is that it can be done at any time, from anywhere, by anyone (anonymously or not). While physically bullying was an issue before the technology age it was not nearly as agonizing. Primarily because you can’t just go home to escape cyber bullying; it is everywhere. Unless your child is a technophobe, every time they get on a computer there will be some form of bullying that is uncontrollable because of the mask that the internet creates for us. Because one is not face to face with your children “honestly” tends to cross the line into vicious hate and unnecessary comments that would never be made in the presence of your child.
Statistics on Cyber Bullying:
According to Isafe.org 58% of children admit that they have been a victim of cyber bullying, and 53% admit that they said hurtful things through the internet to their peers. Sadly 58% did not seek help from an adult and endured the bullying. According to this chart provided by cyberbullying.us Children who are cyber bullied have a significantly lower self esteem than those who don’t. However, the saddest chart is this one; This is a chart also provided by cyberbullying.us which shows that adolescents who were victims of cyber bullying scored higher on the suicidal ideation scale.
Is it worse over the internet?
I think the hardest thing for people not of our generation to grasp is how we could possibly let this effect us. It’s only the internet right? Wrong. Especially when it’s anonymous, bullying through the internet is something that sticks to you. When you receive a hurtful message or IM it’s completely unexpected and sometimes we don’t know how to handle it. Usually it leads to extreme amounts of anger and sadness which stays with us longer than usual because this message is almost engraved into our brains. We can see it, read it again, and repeat it in our head. It hurts more than usual, especially if it’s anonymous. When it’s anonymous It could very well not be the girl you think hates you; it could be your best friend, it could be anyone. The uncertainty, anxiety, and dwelling of the victims of cyber bullying can lead to serious issues such as suicide, self injury, low self esteem, eating disorders, and depression. What’s horrible is that you as a parent will probably never know that your child is a victim of cyber bullying because for a teenager to tell a parent is almost shameful. Teenagers are on their own unless they ask for help, and they very rarely do which gets them in deeper trouble.
How can you prevent it?
- Tell your child if they are ever victimized through technology to just delete the message. Tell them not to react to it. Reacting to it will lead to the continuing of the harassment. Which will make your child more upset. Deleting the message will also help them forget about the harassment and not dwell on it.
- If the bullying takes place over Instant Message tell your child to take advantage of blocking someone. Tell them to follow the first suggestion and then block that person or IP address from contacting them again.
- Pay attention to warning signs of Depression, suicide, Self harm, Eating disorders, and other issues that cyber bullying can bring on. If your child is showing signs ask them what’s going on in their life and how you can help. They may be afraid to talk with you.
- Get school involved. Every school has a commitment to insure that your child is getting an education and that nothing is interfering with it, including bullying. Almost every school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying in and out of school. This means, they can get your child the justice they deserve and possibly prevent future attacks if the right punishment is given. Warning: Kids do talk. Everyone WILL know that you brought the issue to the attention of the school. This could lead to future problems if not handled correctly.
- If Someone seriously threatens your child do not be afraid to call the police. Threats are a very serious issues that need to be handled by professionals such as law enforcement and should not be taken lightly.
If you need more information on Cyber bullying please visit:
Adoption Awareness Month: Can We Heal?
Did you know that every November a Presidential Proclamation launches activities and celebrations nationwide to increase awareness around adoption?
Adoption is a huge deal in the U.S. with 125,000 children adopted annually according to the Evan B. Donaldson Institute.
As a two time adoptee, I join this national conversation to offer a unique forum of conversation???the live teleseminar???to discuss HEALING & THE ADOPTEE. Adoptees are too often shoved into a corner, most often a place we put ourselves. We are the silent sufferers and we are the adaptors.
Can we speak up?
Can we share our stories?
Can we transcend our adoptions?
Each conversation this month will take on these questions and more!
Wed, Nov. 2 & 9 @ 1:15 p.m. PST to 2:45 p.m. PST
Featuring: Jeanette Yoffe, Trish Lay & Brian Stanton
Jeanette Yoffe, M.A., M.F.T., earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children, from Antioch University in June of 2002. She treats children with serious psychological problems secondary to histories of abuse, neglect, and /or multiple placements. She has specialized for the past 10 years in the treatment of children who manifest serious deficits in their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development.
Trish Lay coaches & motivates people to make positive life change. As an adoptee, she has asked herself: ???Who am I???? As she got older it turned to ???What is life???s purpose for me???? Trish asks these questions of herself and poses them to others. She has been a force of motivation and inspiration for twenty years.
Brian Stanton wrote about his reunion and issues around identity in his original solo play BLANK, performed in L.A., NY, Kansas City, Dallas, and Orlando. BLANK has also been seen at national adoption conferences for the Concerned United Birth-parents & The American Adoption Congress. In March of 2012, Brian will bring BLANK to the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture 4th International Conference in Claremont, CA.
Watch an except from BLANK:
Sunday, Nov. 13 @ 11:00 AM & 12:30 PM PST
Featuring: Nancy Verrier, Speaker, Author & Therapist
As a licensed MFT (marriage and family therapist) Nancy Verrier has been practicing psychotherapy and counseling in Lafayette, California, for over 20 years. Her specialty is working with people affected by relinquishment and adoption. Her books include the groundbreaking The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child & Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up. Nancy and Jennifer will talk about issues that impact adoptees that last a lifetime. Nancy will take your questions during this call.
Sunday, Nov. 20 @ 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST
Featuring: John Sobraske, MA, Adoption Attachment Counseling
Linda Hoye, Writer, Editor & Adoptee
John Sobraske is an adopted person, a stepparent of adopted children and an adoption psychotherapist in private practice. His research interests include adoption-related history, anthropology, media and mythology; depth work with adult adoptees; and the use of natural medicine and psychoenergetics for healing.
Linda Hoye is a writer, an editor, and an adoptee. She has reunited with some members of her birth family but both of her birth parents had passed away prior to reunion. She is a member of the Forget Me Not Family Society, the Adoption Council of Canada, and the American Adoption Congress. She recently finished writing a memoir charting a course through a complex series of relationships stemming from her adoptive family and two birth families. Linda maintains a blog called A Slice of Life Writing
Wed., Nov. 30 @ 1:00 p.m. PST
Featuring: Marnie Tetz, President of the Forget Me Not Family Society (FMNFS) & Bernadette Rymer, Director & Newsletter Editor FMNFS
Marnie Tetz of the Forget Me Not Family Society, Vancouver BC In 2000, ???The Post Adoption Registry in Alberta matched me with a brother who had also registered, the following year I paid for a search and my mother was found, the next year I was united with another brother and sister. I had started my search almost 20 years before. The Forget Me Not Family Society has been a life saver for me. I became a director, and then 2 years later Vice President. At the AGM in 2010, I took over the role of President.???
Bernadette Rymer: ???My daughter and I have been in reunion for 18 years. Our first years were tough as we struggled with feelings and questions of how to develop a meaningful relationship. Things improved dramatically as we became involved in the Forget Me Not Family Society which was my first opportunity???after 38 years???to talk about the loss of my daughter and the trauma that had stunted my growth. Since becoming involved in the FMNFS a passion has stirred within me to reach out to others who have similar experiences, heartaches, struggles and successes in the reunion process.???
International Number provided for this very special call with our Canadian friends.
Do not miss these incredible conversations which will also be recorded and provided to those who sign up! Fill in the form below and I will send a confirmation of your registration for these events and details on how to join in the calls.
Ron Huxley Recommends: November is National Adoption Month and healing is at the core of my work with families. I encourage you to check our Jennifer’s website and her teleconferences on “healing and the adoptee.”
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