Monthly Archives: November 2010

Are We Training Our Children to be Greedy During Christmas?

2010-12-20T22:40:53+00:00

Imagine beings from outer space arriving on our planet the first week in December.  They would have to choose one house to secretly observe and they select yours.  From the first week in December until the twenty-fifth they watch a tremendous build-up for some kind of celebration called Christmas.  This is a time when parents pass on something to their children.  What would be the aliens take-away from your home?  What would they report they saw you passing on to your children?  What is this celebration all about?

For many church goers, the Christmas celebration would appear to be focused totally on the giving and receiving of gifts.  The Magi gave gifts so we give gifts.  The difference through is the motivation behind their gift giving.  They gave to celebrate the birth on Christ.  We give to…?

It’s almost as if many years ago a clandestine meeting of marketers took place. They decided to come up with a plan to create an end-of-the-year buying frenzy.  One that would make people feel obligated to buy extravagant gifts for everyone they knew.

The aliens observing might think this was a brilliant economic decision to help store owners end the year in the black.  “We’ve got it,” they would say.  On December 26, “They all ban together and go into a huge buying frenzy, lavishing their children with toys so they can stimulate the economy.”

The loser in this Christmas paradigm, however, is the child.  Ironically, even though the alien watches the children receive much in the way of toys for that day, the child actually receives little in the way of answers for all of life.

Parents even compete with other parents not to use Christmas to give the answers for life; but to purchase more and more stuff for their children. The first day back at school the question about this Christmas orgy will not be “what did you learn,” but rather what did you get… “what did you get for Christmas?”

The aliens will walk away feeling sorry for a generation of children that got nothing for Christmas but things!  The aliens will realize that there is a generation being taught that happiness comes from getting, rather than giving.  Yet, if the alien actually goes to church during his stay, they will probably hear the verse that says “It is better to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35)

“Wow! If I’m confused” think how our alien visitors must feel, “I can’t imagine how confused those children must be!”

In all reality, we do have someone not of this world watching how we handle His birthday celebration.  It’s probably not a matter of taking away the presents as much as it is a matter of perspective.  Getting your family focused this Christmas season with the right perspective.  The gifts are not the problem.  The Magi gave gifts that were about Jesus but were actually for the ones Jesus loved; His parents.  They were able to use these gifts to do their unexpected traveling to another country.

This Christmas let’s decide that we are going to put Christ back at the center.  That the story of the birth of Christ is the gift we will unwrap for our children.  Let’s decide to give gifts not only to each other but to people in need.  Find someone in your world that you can help this Christmas.  It’s not for them.  Their need just provides the opportunity to give a gift to God and teach the children the joy of giving.

There is someone that is not of this world watching our Christmas celebration this year.  It’s the celebration of His birth.  He needs nothing; but our children desperately need to know Him.  Give the gift of focus this year. Focus more on the birth of Christ and less on the giving of gifts.

This incredible one month preparation and celebration teaches something to your children.  What will they take away from this Christmas celebration?  If you knew someone not of this world was watching, what would you do differently?  He is and He’s rooting for you to bring the children to Him.

Are We Training Our Children to be Greedy During Christmas? 2010-12-20T22:40:53+00:00

Cyber-Bullying – Part 5

2010-12-20T11:53:18+00:00

More Resources to Help Your Kids with Cyber-Bullying

During the week we touched on a few ways to place boundaries on the internet. We are going to spend more time discussing that topic today.  We already mentioned to keep the computer in an open area.  This means that for many reasons it is not wise to have a computer in your child’s bedroom.  It is also a good idea to keep cell phones out in an open area of the house as well.  You can create a charging station where the family can put their cells together.  There are many reasons for this one being it will help with creating an atmosphere for family time to happen.  Another thing that should happen is that parents should have access to the child’s email and social networking accounts.  This is for your child’s protection.

There are many who may feel these are extreme measures but as we have discussed in the past your child’s protection is more important.  This can help the parent not only be aware of any bullying that is taking place but can help protect the child from bigger threats such as predators.  We can remind ourselves, and our children if need be, that internet and cell phones are a privilege not a right.  With allowing our children these privileges it requires the parent greater responsibility in monitoring.

Check out these websites for more information on cyber-bullying.

www.stopcyberbullying.org
www.parentingteensonline.com
www.cyberbullying.us

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on cyber-bullying.

Cyber-Bullying – Part 5 2010-12-20T11:53:18+00:00

Cyber-Bullying – Part 4

2010-12-20T11:54:10+00:00

How a Parent Should Respond to Cyber-Bullying

There are two things that we can do as parents when our child has been cyber-bullied.  The first is to take a breath.  We need to realize that how we react to the situation can determine if our child will continue to come to us with these types of problems.

There are many reactions we can have.  The first is to treat it like it is not a big deal.  We need to remember that to our child it is a big deal and we need to not blow off their feelings.  Another response is to overreact.  If the things that are said about our child are not true, our child may be fearful that we will believe them and shut their world down.  Our child may also fear that we attempt to take matters into our own hands.  This can be a very delicate situation because for some, the rumors may be true and the parent has been unaware of it.  In this instance we also have to be very careful how we respond to our child because even though they may have messed up they are still being bullied.

The appropriate response is to first lend a listening ear.  Then we can slowly begin to advise our child on how to handle it.  If we are over reactionary at first then our child will be less apt to listen to our advice.  Keep in mind the victims of this type of bullying feel so alone and that every one is out to get them.  It is very important that family is there to surround them with comfort and support.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on cyber-bullying.

Cyber-Bullying – Part 4 2010-12-20T11:54:10+00:00

Cyber-Bullying – Part 3

2010-12-20T11:54:56+00:00

The Forms of Cyber-Bullying

There are many forms of cyber-bullying out there.  So we are going to focus on a few.  Because it is so common for teens to always have these on them, cell phones have become a common tool for bullying.  One of the ways utilize this tool is to use the camera or video on the cell to capture unflattering things or anything that can be mocked.  These can be sent out via text or posted to Facebook or YouTube, even instantly if the bully has a smart phone.

The victims themselves can unfortunately cause another type of bullying.  A child can unwisely send a picture, even an inappropriate one, to a boyfriend/girlfriend.  This can be posted to the internet as well.  Once things like this get out it can be overwhelming for the victim because it may feel like they cannot escape these images or videos.

One of the other big ways to cyber-bully is to gang up on someone.  This can happen a lot between girls.  A group of girls will find someone to pick on and then like dripping water do little things constantly to annoy. It can then carry over into the social networking arena.  When this happens home is not even a sanctuary from the constant picking and it is easy to see why kids feel so overwhelmed and alone.

This is one reason why it is so important to have the family computer out in the open, like the living room.  That way you can be there to observe your child as they are talking to friends online.  And you can be there instantly to support if you see that there is something wrong.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on cyber-bullying.

Cyber-Bullying – Part 3 2010-12-20T11:54:56+00:00

Cyber-Bullying – Part 2

2010-12-20T11:58:49+00:00

How is Cyber-Bullying Different Than Typical Bullying?

There is something that is different about cyber bullying from the usual form.  There is certain anonymity to it.  If you are on a social networking cite you can even set up an account with a fake name.  This would allow the bully to be totally anonymous.  What this means is that anyone and everyone could potentially be a bully. And statistics would show that it is a very common practice.  Even the victims of traditional bullying can take part in this form.

Because this is such a common occurrence and such a part of teenage culture, we must make sure that we talk with our kids about it.  When we set up the house parameters about internet we need to include the rules about cyber bullying.  Discuss with your spouse what the consequences will be if your children are caught being mean too or defaming someone else on the internet.

Many parents may ask, what’s really the big deal with this issue? First and foremost there are countless scriptures about guarding your tongue and not allowing unwholesome or slanderous talk come out of your mouth, in this case fingers.  But we also need to teach our children that not only is spreading lies wrong but spreading gossip about someone else is wrong as well.  The second thing to keep in mind is that there have been children that have been so affected by cyber bullying that they have gone so far as to take their own life.  Because of the seriousness of this we need to protect our children not only from being bullied but from being a part of bullying someone else.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on cyber bullying.

Cyber-Bullying – Part 2 2010-12-20T11:58:49+00:00

Cyber Bullying – Part 1

2010-12-20T12:02:14+00:00

What is Cyber-Bullying?

In past generations children could run into their home for protection from the bullies outside.  Unfortunately for today’s children that is not always the case. With the addition of the internet and social networking, today’s bullies can continue to pick on others even after school and at home.

As parents we need to be aware that this can happen.  The internet is not a bad thing in fact there are many benefits to today’s student.  They have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips.  However, if left unmonitored it can be dangerous for our children.  In fact, in April we spent some time discussing internet safety.

Through the social networking arena bullies can continue to attempt to defame other children.  There always needs to be an open door policy when it comes to the internet, both figuratively and literally.  Your children should always come to you if there is something that makes them uncomfortable while online.  Just like discussing with your children how to handle bullies at school, you need to talk to your children about bullying online.  What it actually looks like and how to handle it.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

Cyber Bullying – Part 1 2010-12-20T12:02:14+00:00

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 5

2010-12-20T12:04:57+00:00

Things that could cause your child to bully.

There are many things that could cause a child to bully.  Insecurities are often the cause.  Some children bully others as a way of being able to control their circumstances.  For example if things aren’t going well at home or there are painful things going on in a child’s life, they may feel more in control of these circumstances if they can exert control over other children.  It may just simply be that a child is a follower and the crowd they are involved in bullies others.

There are attitudes we can watch for to help prevent our child from being the one who bullies.  The first attitude is an attitude of entitlement.  If our child has the tendency to be self-absorbed then it may be easy for them to bully if another gets in their way.  Being others focused is something we have to continually train from early childhood on.

Another thing to watch for is anger.  If our child struggles with anger it may be difficult for them to control their outburst if another child irritates them.  This is another area to spend some time working through with your child, before it is another issue that affects others.

Spend some time working with your child in any red flag areas, so that they don’t cause your child to bully others.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight in the area of bullying.

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 5 2010-12-20T12:04:57+00:00

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 4

2010-12-20T12:05:36+00:00

Is There Ever a Time to Fight?

Is there ever a time that it is permissible for our children to fight back? This is a question that may need to be answered family to family.  However, there may be some Biblical insight for this.  If we look at the life of Christ, He always defends those who cannot defend themselves. One thing we can train our children is to look out for those who are smaller or maybe those who are continually getting picked on.  This doesn’t mean that our kids need to go around “bullying the bullies” but if they come onto a situation where someone else is getting picked on they may need to get involved.

This is where we need to spend time dialoging with our kids on how to handle these situations.  We also need to make them aware that there may be social consequences for these types of actions.  Just so they are prepared when they do step in.  The next thing that we need to do is go crazy with praise if our child takes any step to champion someone else.  This is way outside the social norm today because of the “me first” attitude of society.

Take some time to talk to your kids about when it’s acceptable to “fight back.”  When it’s using Christ’s example and defending those who can’t defend themselves.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on the topic of bullying.

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 4 2010-12-20T12:05:36+00:00

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 3

2010-12-20T12:06:24+00:00

The Bullied

It is our responsibility as parents to constantly observe our kids.  If we are students of our children then it is easy to see when something is wrong.  Depending our your child’s personality they may not share with you when they are getting bullied.  You may just see the signs that they are upset or it may even be one of the causes of them acting out themselves.

If we are noticing signs that something is wrong we need to take the first step and go to the child.  Sitting on their bed at night or even taking them out one on one for ice cream just to talk, can help spark conversation.  There are several reasons why kids don’t talk about being bullied.  They may be embarrassed that it is happening.  They could also be afraid that we will over react and jump to the rescue unnecessarily.  Another reason why our kids may not talk about it is they simply may not know what to do.

It is our job to be a safe place for them to bring this up, we must first be a listening ear.  We need to, in most circumstances, follow our child’s lead in what they want our involvement to be, under the stipulation that they continue to talk to us about the situation.   It seems the children who have the most lasting emotion impact of bullying are those who feel alone through the situation.  Study your kids so you can  be there for them if there is a problem.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on bullying.

Helping Your Child Learn to Deal with Bullies – Part 3 2010-12-20T12:06:24+00:00