Archive for In the News

May
19

Cyber-bullying and Teens

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I just wrote an article for a local publication, and thought you might be interested. It’s about the disturbing trend toward cyber-bullying. It’s especially prevalent with the 12-15 year old teenage girls.

Teens More Frequently Bullied Online

When socializing on the Internet, many teens are exposed to “cyber-bullies.” Cyber bullying occurs when highly negative or abusive language is used, or there are threats of violence or assault. Over the past five years, researchers have seen a 50% increase in the amount of cyber bullying that teenagers experience.

Surveys of teens Internet behavior reveal some disturbing trends.

Typically, cyber-bullies represent no real threat. In the wide majority of circumstances, this takes the form of ugly comments about looks or friendships or boyfriends. For most, this has relatively little consequence. However, some teenagers are deeply bothered by the conversations they experience.

Teen discussions online often use harsh language.

If you allow your teenager to chat freely on the Internet, without monitoring their conversations, it is likely that you are missing a very disturbing trend. Absent any parental limitations, teenagers often end up using harsh, and profane language. In my parent coaching practice, I see more and more examples of teenagers whose parents do not model such language, and the adolescent does not use such language at home. However, on the Internet, they become “one of the crowd” and ultimately end up using very abusive and ugly language.

Internet chat rooms become very personalized.

Another growing trend is for chat and instant messaging (IM) sessions to take on a highly personalized quality. As if no one is watching, teens (and particularly teenage girls) will open up and share the most intimate thoughts and feelings. In doing so however, they then open themselves up for ridicule and attack. These can get very ugly. Many parents are appalled when they discover the true nature of the dialogue that goes on in their homes!

The teenagers who are most vulnerable are the newbies, who are not particularly Internet savvy.

When new to the Internet chat world, adolescents are often not prepared for the harsh language they experience. Many feel traumatized, and deeply hurt, by how quickly conversations deteriorate into personal attacks.

Those who are quite savvy, and who use the Internet frequently for socializing, express fewer incidents of cyber-bullying behavior. This appears to be the result of learning not to take the conversations personally. However, very few parents would view these discussions as healthy.

What can parents do?

1.) Use parental controls on your browser. Then monitor. Monitor. Monitor.

Most parents will affirm that they do monitor their child’s activities. However, your teenager is likely much more savvy than you are. It is not enough to occasionally walk by and look over their shoulder. You need to make sure the parental controls are always activated. You don’t need to know more about computers, but you must know more about monitoring the computer than they do!
2.) Purchase “ghostware” to know what your teenager is doing when you aren’t looking.

It is relatively easy to install software on your computer that will allow you to monitor what your teenager is doing. Unfortunately, you may be able to trust your teenager, but you can’t trust everyone that they are meeting online. It is essential to carefully monitor communications, to ensure that your teenager is following guidelines that you can support. This also gives you a tool for keeping track of their language, and the quality of the exchanges. You can see every keystroke made when they are online, or writing an email.

They won’t like it…but…the Internet is the gateway to the entire world…the good and the bad. In my opinion, it is fair game to warn your teenager that this is not a confidential form of communication, and that you will be watching over their shoulders. They don’t need to know exactly how you are doing this. You just need to keep an eye on things, and have integrity by letting them know you will be watching.

3.) Keep the computer in a central area of the home.

There is a growing trend for teenagers to have a computer in their bedroom. With several teenagers in the home, this makes monitoring computer usage difficult.

It is much easier if you establish a ground rule that requires the computer to be within eyesight. In this way, your presence serves as a significant deterrent to behavior and conversations that you would not approve of.

4.) Establish clear consequences for violating your guidelines.

Establish guidelines about the kind of language that you approve of. Also, make it clear that your teenager is not to have their profile on websites such as Myspace.com or Facebook.com. Furthermore, make it clear what types of websites are off limits for them, such as sights containing adult language and content.

Once you have established these guidelines, then make sure that your teenager understands that there will be a consequence for violating the guidelines. If you make clear that they’ll lose the computer for a week, and then follow through with that consequence, your teenager will learn to honor the guidelines that you put into place.

If you follow these simple principles, I think that you’ll find that you can keep a handle on your teenager, and make sure that they are not a victim of cyber-bullies, or other negative influences online.

Jul
07

Tantrum Downs Airplane

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Two weeks ago, a 5 year old tantruming about apple juice forced an emergency landing of a flight headed for North Carolina out of NYC.   See details here:

» http://www.nbc10.com/news/13575254/detail.html

Okay, this is where I have both compassion, and shock. 

It is likely that this child was so far out of control…that no one felt that they knew what to do.  I have been there…and see kids turning white and parents afraid they will pass out.  You and I have both seen embarrassed parents who just don’t know how to handle their tantruming child! 

The good news is that this was the “Grand Performance” that occurred after many dress rehearsals. 

In other words, this child has tantrumed many, many times before and mom and dad just haven’t handled it well.   The “dress rehearsals” have happened at home, at the grocery store, the park, and maybe even at pre-school. 

 When behavior is extreme, it can be scary…but it doesn’t change the approach.  Some of you have worked through such difficult challenges with your children by using solid approaches that really work.  It would be great to share with other parents the sense of optimism (AND RELIEF) that comes from discovering that things do get better with a change in strategy!

Randy Cale, PhD
 

Jul
07

Weeds and Seeds Reflections

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Here I was, in the autumn of my life, at the point where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel of raising my 3 kids (teenagers) when one fall almost 4 years ago, I found myself expecting!  I have heard a variety of comments and advice (not all good) so I decided early on to take a very positive attitude. Since I had been a parent for over 20 years now- I have the benefit of knowing some of the mistakes I made in focusing on some of the wrong things (“weeds” as Dr Cale would say). I definately treasure this time even more as I carry my little one up to bed, I recall carrying my son to bed for the last time when he was 6 now that he’s 20 and almost 6ft tall! One of the coolest benefits, is that I get to “re-teach” my older kids what I wish I had said or done  with them when they were younger.  

 

Categories : In the News
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Why a Powerless Parent, Like Alec Baldwin, Reacts with Anger!

(And How Children Learn To “Tune-out” Powerless Parents.)

In a research article published in the journal, Child Development, the authors explored the ways in which children learn how to respond when parents behave in powerless ways. In this article, I will explain the specific implications of these findings for parenting, and for the recent fiasco between Alec Baldwin and his daughter.

These findings serve to highlight and support a conclusion that I have observed for years with parents:

When parents feel they have lost control, they compensate with controlling, power driven strategies that only serve to make the situation worse.

Powerless Parents Use Exaggerated Tactics

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Categories : Divorce, In the News
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I’m writing in hopes that someone will comment on children with Non Verbal Learning Disabilities.  My daughter has been diagnosed as ADHD and NLD.  I’ve read the information on NLD, but am curious as to how others are handling this particular challenge, especially in regards to school work.

Kmom

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About Dr Cale

During the past 23 years, in working with hundreds of families, I began to realize that many parents, just like you, were showing up in my office well-educated—but getting poor results. They had been to therapy, they had read the books and even attended other training programs—yet their children were still not listening, not doing homework and not cooperating.

I discovered that many of these parents were parenting with false ideas about how to predictable and reliably shape and change their children’s behavior. As a result, I began to develop ideas about the core behavior change principles…and how to turn each of these into specific parenting solutions. As long as I was able to stay true to these principles, the most challenging problems quickly faded away.

My purpose with this program is to give you access to the strategies that come from these core principles. By practicing and following through with the techniques in this program, you will be able to transform any set of negative behavior patterns in your home. Your kids will be happier and more responsible. They will quickly learn to be respectful, cooperative and helpful around the house. Tantrums, whining, complaining and negativity will be a thing of the past.