Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Child Protest - What To Do About It?

Our children are growing fast right in front of our eyes and yet not always do we notice the changes in them. The wake-up call -  a strong objection to our decision or suggestion often comes as a surprise for which not all of us are ready. Sometimes we don't even realize that it is our own stronger and authoritative reaction that provokes the child's protest in the first place. There are no rules how to handle these situations, because each situation is unique and even under similar circumstances people react differently depending on their personality, upbringing, etc. There are, however, some common situations and knowing a bit more about them can help us handle best our own cases.

Case 1: This Is Mine!

Holding to a toy or an object as if holding to dear life is a typical reaction for younger kids. It clearly shows that the kid starts to develop strong sense of ownership, but still cannot comprehend the principle of sharing. Showing your anger and forcing the kid to let go of his own thing can only worsen the situation. At this moment there is no point of explaining to him he has to share because obviously he is too young and too upset to understand. Best is to try and distract the kid and then calmly show him you will not give in to his wishes. You must however,  slowly and patiently, one step at a time start teaching him about ownership and sharing.

 Case 2: This Is Not Fair!

You've probably  heard this countless times. Being angry and forceful won't help at all. Try to talk to your kid and explain that sometimes even parents have to do things they don't feel like doing. This will make the kid feel understood and trusted and it will be much easier for him to accept your argument.

Case 3: I Want This!

This is another popular form of protest, which typically starts with choosing clothing. No need to get angry or upset with your kid over this. First of all, it shows your kid feels grown up enough to want to be independent and make their own choice. You will have to teach them about independence and making choices in life anyway, so why not use this first opportunity to start doing exactly this? Make a point though that one's opinion and wishes have to be expressed politely.

Case 4: I Hate You!

Yes, many of us have heard this statement and it can bring some to tears. But that is really a childish and immature reaction. When one is very angry or upset they can blurt out things they don't really mean, especially young kids. And that's exactly the case. Don't take it personally and don't get upset. Apparently your kid strongly disagrees with your decision and they don't know a better way to express their protest. Keep calm and wait until the kid calms down too. Then explain your argument and point out you don't appreciate such attitude. The kid will not only understand you, he will feel your caring and love and next time he disagrees with you he will know how to state his arguments better. Until then - and hopefully for all the time to come - you will most sincerely be proclaimed the coolest parent ever.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is Cyber Addiction a Disease?

Nowadays a lot of people use heavily the Internet. For some it offers unlimited opportunities for access to information and is a place to excel professionally and build a solid career. For another big category of people however, the Net has become basically a replacement of human interactions and has turned into a dangerous and potentially harmful habit. 

A recent statistical study from Germany discloses that almost 2 million Germans are a
cyber addicted - they interact, shop, entertain, and work online and for these people their virtual life is more important that their real life. A study from Stanford University points out that although cyber addicted individuals are typically healthy, the number of people from all age groups who admit to being addicted to the virtual world and experience certain symptoms of addiction constantly increases.

Unfortunately, about  43% of teenagers are heavy Internet users and therefore seriously endangered. Alarming news from China acknowledge over 10 million minors are already seriously troubled by their addiction to the Net. It is no secret that children and teenagers are a lot more susceptible  to all these negative influences as their bodies are still growing and forming and the consequences are a lot more serious.

Although cyber addiction is not yet officially recognized as a disease, medical professionals have to deal with the odd behaviour of the victims of virtual reality, as they are commonly known. The symptoms can hardly be mistaken - negligence towards one's own health and looks; lack of sleep; low physical activity; much less interactions with people; fatique and eye dryness - some of those closely resembling the symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome. Many experience strong irritability and anxiety when away from an Internet-connected device and those can elevate into sense of loneliness, depression. The function of the hands, neck and shoulders can be strongly damaged. To make things worse this type of addiction applies not only to computers, but to cell phones as well.


 “Just one more minute” is a popular response of cyber addicts, strongly resembling other “lasts" - last smoke, last drink, last shot...

As with any medical or psychological condition prevention is as important as healing,  even more so with children. A few simple steps can help:

  • Acknowledge that you or your children spend unreasonably long hours in cyber space.
  • Use technology to exercise control over your children's computer and cell phone use.
  • No matter how much work has to be done or how interesting a game or conversation is, try to take or impose to your kids a 10-minute “break time” away from the screen.
  • Try to restrict the use of computers and cell phones to a reasonable minimum. Be a role model and apply the same rule to yourself.
  • Engage in a hobby which does not require the use of computer  and involve your children in it.
  • Create a daily routine with chores and activities away from a computer.
  • Do not allow eating in front of the monitor.

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