In a society where even small kids learn about certain horrific subjects, it is essential for parents to put things in the right perspective. As a parent, one of your most complicated jobs is talking to your kids about difficult subjects.
At times, it might be difficult to explain some of the issues related to drugs, crime, racism, violence, and other weighty issues. In the era of smartphones and live videos, it becomes crucial to take the lead and face these issues head-on.
While some might feel that it is a complicated task, addressing difficult issues helps your kids feel secure and even strengthens the bond that you have. It also educates them about things that happen in the world.
The world is full of many difficult topics, such as alcohol or drug abuse. Many parents do not want to give up their information-rich and dynamic culture. They want to engage in compassionate, yet frank conversations that help children create sense from things that appear senseless.
Here are some tips that parents can use to discuss difficult topics with kids that are as young as two years old. It is essential to learn how to explain the news to kids and explain issues to teens, tweens, and young children.
Talking to kids age 2 to 6
Kids in this age bracket often do not have enough life experience to understand some difficult and complex topics. Additionally, they may still be learning about abstract concepts such as cause and effect. They may be more concerned with things that affect their primary relationships with their mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents.
Address their feelings and yours too. It is important to let them know that feeling confused, sad, and scared is okay.
When breaking news to them, do it in the simplest terms. When talking about violent crime, for instance, you can tell them that an individual used a gun to shoot other people. When discussing hate crimes, you can tell them that some people do not receive the same treatment as others.
It is also critical to use basic terms when talking about feelings. Such terms include surprised, happy, angry, afraid, or sad. Even though young kids may not understand mental illness, they may understand emotions well. Try to avoid using expressions that only adults may understand.
Assure them that someone is in charge. You can include sentiments such as, “Mom and Dad will ensure that nothing bad happens to you,” in your talks.
Use ideas, vocabulary, and ideas that they already know. Recall some recent happenings in their own lives so they can relate to them. When talking about or crime, for example, you can recall when someone stole something from your children.
Talking to kids age 7 to 12 (tweens)
Children in this age bracket may be exposed to a great deal of age-inappropriate content. This is partly because they can read and write. In addition, school and activities separate them from their parents, they are entering the puberty, and they have more access to different forms of media.
As a consequence, they may encounter violent video games, distressing news such as reports of mass shootings, and hardcore pornography. They should be able to open their discussions about such matters without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
Begin by addressing their curiosity. If children find adult material while surfing the internet, you should find resources that may help them learn about age-appropriate and mature subjects.
Be sensitive to your children’s temperament and emotions. You may share how you feel when discussing how they feel. It may be difficult to know what triggers them. Honestly explaining your emotions may make it easier and more comfortable for children to discuss their own feelings.
Look for positives and not the just negatives. Try to be optimistic and not critical of their opinions.
Encouraging critical thinking is also a good way to talk with kids. Ask questions that are open-ended to prompt them to think more deeply about serious topics. Ask children what they heard and what it made them think and feel. Your questions and the responses may vary based on the children’s ages.
Offering perspective and context is another good way to discuss difficult topics with kids in this age category. To make sense out of an issue fully, kids need to understand the circumstances that surround a particular issue.
When discussing a mass shooting, you might tell children, “The individual who did the killing had problems and that confused his thoughts.” When talking about race and hate crimes, you might say, “There are some groups of people who believe that white people are better than people with darker skin. They sometimes commit crimes based on this idea.” Listen to children to understand what they are thinking and feeling.
Talking to teens
Teens engage in various media platforms on their own. They hear about difficult subjects from many sources. They may hear about news from social media sites or online chats without their parents’ knowledge.
Because teens often think that they know everything, they might bristle at lectures. Looking for media sources that can enrich their knowledge is important. It is also important to ask teenagers questions that will help them analyze their arguments.
Encourage open dialogue so teens know that they can always ask questions. Create dialogues where they can test their opinions and freely speak without fear.
One effective way to talk with teens is to help them consider the complexities that surround difficult subjects. Factors such as traditions, politics, and social problems may make some problems appear more difficult to solve.
Seek your teens’ opinions on why issues such as poverty, violence, and crime are so difficult to solve. Discuss the changes needed to solve other difficult issues.
Many teens are creating their identities and may consider taking risks. Ask their opinions on what they would do in difficult situations. Inquiring how they would react when faced with certain issues may appeal to their sense of adventure. It may encourage them to wrestle with ethical problems and ensure that they make better choices on their own.
Teens may be very cynical at times, but they may also be idealistic. Try to encourage them to consider solutions. Show them that they have your full trust. Seek their opinions and solutions about issues.
Understanding your children may help you communicate with them. This communication can be the key to open, honest, and positive relationships that last their entire lives.
Books are not just meant for children to learn about academic concepts, but also for them to develop character. One of the ways to do this is to educate them early on about the negative effects of substance abuse through reading and other means.
If you are a parent, it may be quite a temptation to go through an easy route–to shelter your children from the realities of this world, crossing your fingers that they won’t encounter negative influences in their lives. However, this approach can be like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Although they can be safe as long as you keep your eye on them, children also have their environments that are outside the home. This is why educating your children about “the real world” is so crucial as they grow up.
One of the most dangerous things that children may encounter once they reach pre-teen or teenage years are drugs. According to recent statistics, even children as young as 8th, 10th or 12th graders are experimenting on different substances that may develop further into substance abuse and addiction. The problem seems so difficult to resolve, rather than creating preventative measures to avoid it altogether.
As a parent, what can you do to help your children become aware of the dangers of drugs? What are effective ways, through education and other means, can you help them steer clear of this influence?
Effective ways to teach your children to say no to drugs
1. Read them interesting books about saying no to substance abuse.
Although it is difficult to make young children understand, there are actual story books that discuss the sensitive topic of substance abuse. Perhaps you have a family member suffering from substance addiction that you want to explain to your child. There are an ample amount of books for such situations.
There are also general books that discuss substance use to children in a language that’s safe for certain ages. They also help explain terms in a simple manner that may be comprehensible depending on the age group provided. These educational materials are vital for children to get an idea of what the problem is, to increase their awareness, and find ways to rise above related situations that they may encounter in the future.
2. Give them “The Talk”.
It is important to have open communication when it comes to educating children about drugs and other harmful substances. When these things are not discussed at home, children tend to find information through other sources such as their friends or the internet. Although this topic may be uncomfortable for your child or even yourself, you have to take responsibility as a parent to tell them about how people can get lured into experimentation and eventually, abuse.
If you are familiar with a story of someone who has been through substance abuse, how they suffered, and had a hard time recovering, it can be helpful. Some children will tend to ignore facts, but they won’t pass up on actual experiences that happen to others. If you personally have gone through a period of substance abuse, you may, at the right age and discretion, share the information with your child. This type of sharing can foster a culture of openness and vulnerability between your relationship.
3. Give some guided exposure for others to share their experiences.
If you feel like you need to take things a notch further, or if you have noticed that your child has a predisposition to substance use and abuse, you may, at the right age, be able to bring them in places where they can listen to other people’s experiences with substance abuse.
Around the ages of 13-17, children are less likely to share their experiences and feel more uncomfortable talking about touchy subjects. This is why as mentioned earlier, you have to open up the conversation as early as you think is wise about the topic of drugs, especially if this is something that affects your family. Around the teenage years, a great way for them to understand what others go through in a deeper level is by going to events held by drug rehab centers, or accompanying them in share-a-story encounters with people who want to educate against drugs.
4. Be an example.
Lastly and most importantly, it is best to set an example towards your children about drugs. Do not mock, ridicule, or take substance abuse subjects as a topic of light jokes in front of your children. If you have suffered from substance abuse in the past, staying sober for yourself and your kids are the best ways to help them avoid falling on the same path. If children come to know you as someone to be respected, they will more than likely follow your example.
As you ponder on these strategies to guide your children against drugs, remember than education and experience go hand-in-hand. Do your best in situations you can control, and give enough trust to your kids that they will make wise decisions in life.
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Teaching children about money is one of the most important lessons a parent can give. But what most parents haven’t prepared for is their eight year-old asking: “Mommy, what’s bitcoin?”
This question is likely to send most parents into an internet search frenzy, but unfortunately it’s one area Google can’t help you with.
Most explanations of cryptocurrency are far too complicated for children (and parents!) to grasp. In a lot of cases, you need to be a total tech geek to understand what on earth bitcoin is.
There’s a great YouTube video where a child explains: “Bitcoin is to cash what email is to paper mail.”
Also, Square, a financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company, made an illustrated children’s story to explain bitcoin.
We also spoke to some of the industry experts to ask how they’d approach the question.
“Mommy, What is bitcoin?”
Garrick Hileman, co-founder of asset-backed digital currency ARC, suggested describing cryptocurrency as “invisible money”.
He pointed out that the vast majority of money today is invisible to children because it’s in our bank accounts and we predominantly buy things online. Cryptocurrency is essentially the same – it’s digital cash.
You have your own digital wallet on your smartphone, and with the help of a wallet you can send cryptocurrency to another person.
“Daddy, how is it different to ‘normal’ money?”
The key difference is that cryptocurrency is not legally recognised or controlled by the government. You can’t pay taxes with it and you can’t settle any debts in court with it. At least now.
Clem Chambers, chief executive of ADVFN, a financial market website, and author of Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, said: “Cryptocurrency is just a different kind of money that’s not made by the government. You can transfer it backwards and forwards, and you can buy stuff immediately. It’s no more different than when you buy and sell virtual objects in video games.”
David Prais, chairman of blockchain platform Cofound.it, added that parents might want to explain that crypto is a global currency: “When we go to America we have to change our pounds to dollars. But in time we won’t need to do that. We’ll be using the same currency all around the world.”
Tennis & Children
Increasing numbers of children are becoming involved in competitive and recreational tennis at an earlier age Children as young as four or five years of age participate, with some taking part in year-round practice and competition.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) organises tournaments and competitions for juniors ranging from 12 to 18 years of age, and many countries organise national championships for the 10s and under.
Growth and Maturation
Childhood is a period of relatively steady progress in growth and maturation and rapid progress in motor development. With the onset of puberty, differences between boys and girls start to increase.
The main events of puberty are the growth spurt and sexual maturation. Most girls start puberty between nine and thirteen years, whereas boys have a later puberty, mostly starting between eleven and fourteen years.
Regular, intense physical activity has no effect on growth stature.
Physical and Psychological Development
Tennis is, without doubt, good for the mind and body. Playing tennis regularly has many physical and psychological health benefits associated with it.
These health benefits are particularly important for a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. However, the human system can be trained and improved at any stage of life, so these health benefits apply to adults and seniors too!
Listed below are 33 specific reasons why you should consider playing tennis regularly.
Tennis is a sport for kids to learn early in life, and there are numerous physical benefits from playing tennis regularly. Regular tennis play has been demonstrated to improve:
1 aerobic and cardiovascular fitness while maintaining higher energy levels
2. anaerobic fitness through short, intense bursts of activity during a point, followed by rest, which helps muscles use oxygen efficiently
3. acceleration by practicing sprinting, jumping and lunging in order to move quickly
4. powerful first steps, by requiring anticipation, quick reaction time and explosion into action
5. speed through a series of side-to-side and up and back sprints to chase the ball
6. leg strength, through hundreds of starts and stops which build stronger leg muscles
7. general body coordination since you have to move into position and then adjust your upper body to hit the ball successfully
8. gross motor control, through court movement and ball-striking skills, which require control of your large muscle groups
9. fine motor control by the use of touch shots like angled volleys, drop shots and lobs
10. agility by forcing you to change direction as many as 5 times in 10 seconds during a typical tennis point
11. dynamic balance through hundreds of starts, stops, changes of direction and hitting on the run
12. cross-training by offering a physically demanding sport that’s fun to play for athletes who also participate in other sports
13. bone strength and density by strengthening bones of young players and helping prevent osteoporosis in older ones
14. immune system through its conditioning effects that promote overall health, fitness and resistance to disease
15. nutritional habits , by eating appropriately before competition to enhance energy production, and after competition to practice proper recovery methods
16. eye-hand coordination, because you constantly judge the timing between the on-coming ball and the proper contact point
17. flexibility due to the constant stretching and manoeuvring to return the ball toward your opponent
The psychological benefits from regular tennis play may help children to learn and develop positive personality characteristics which are useful on the tennis court, but more importantly, are essential for many everyday situations through life. Regular tennis play has been demonstrated to improve:
18. work ethic because improvement through lessons or practice reinforces the value of hard work
19. discipline since you learn to work on your skills in practice and control the pace of play in competition
20. mistake management by learning to play within your abilities and realising that managing and minimising mistakes in tennis or life is critical
21. one-on-one competition because the ability to compete and fight trains you in the ups and downs of a competitive world
22. accept responsibility because only you can prepare to compete by practicing skills, checking your equipment and during match play by making line calls
23. management of adversity, by learning to adjust to the elements (e.g. wind, sun) and still be able to compete
24. effective accommodation of stress because the physical, mental and emotional stress of tennis will force you to increase you capacity for dealing with stress
25. learning how to recover by adapting to the stress of a point and the recovery period between points, which is similar to the stress and recovery cycles in life
26. planning and implementation of strategies since you naturally learn how to anticipate an opponent’s moves and plan your countermoves
27. learning to solve problems since tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry and physics
28. performance rituals before serving or returning which help control your rhythm of play and dealing with pressure. These skills can transfer to taking exams, conducting a meeting or making an important sales presentation
29. learning sportsmanship since tennis teaches you to compete fairly with opponents
30. learning to win graciously while losing with honour. Gloating after a win or making excuses after a loss doesn’t work in tennis or in life
31. learning teamwork since successful doubles play depends on you and your partner’s ability to communicate and play as a cohesive unit
32. developing social skills through interaction and communication before a match, while changing sides of the court and after play
33. having FUN… because the healthy feelings of enjoyment, competitiveness and physical challenge are inherent in the sport
How does the development of the various physical capacities in juniors and, more specifically, junior tennis players, progress, and at what age should physical training be started?
- Strength and Power – Up to approximately age fourteen, boys and girls can perform conditioning exercises together. After age fourteen, the training groups should be split up, or tasks should be individualised due to physiological differences in strength, power, and growth.
There is no consensus at what age tennis players should commence strength training. Historically, resistance training for the development of strength was not recommended for prepubertal children. It was believed that injury risk was too high, and that any strength improvement was negligible.
However, it has been shown that closely supervised, primarily concentric strength training programmes in prepubertal children may lead to significant increases in strength and to small increases in body mass, with low injury risk.
- Anaerobic Performance – The anaerobic lactic system is less developed in children compared to adults. Children are not able to attain and sustain as high blood and muscle lactate concentrations during high-intensity exercises as adults, even relative to body size.
- This should be taken into consideration when young tennis players have to perform high intensity exercise (beyond their anaerobic threshold). Thus, the duration of high intensity (anaerobic) exercise should be shorter in children than in adults, and the rest periods between high intensity exercises should be longer than in adults.
- Co-ordination – Middle childhood (age six to adolescence) is an important time period for the acquisition of co-ordination and complex technical skills.
- Children who start playing tennis around this age and experience a wide variety of games and sports will have a distinct advantage over children who do not have these experiences until a much later age.
- Flexibility – Girls are more flexible than boys at all ages, and gender differences are greatest during the adolescent growth spurt and sexual maturation. It is important to put emphasis on the flexibility component, but the above mentioned aspect should be kept in mind.
- Stretching should be done gently. Also, stretching should be avoided after intense training programmes with a lot of eccentric exercises or when the player is very sore.
- Heat StressChildren are at an increased risk during tennis in the heat. Children have a lessened ability to dissipate heat and are more susceptible to heat injury. Thus, young players should carefully observe the guidelines for extreme heat conditions and even more conservative measures may be applied.
This information is reproduced with permission from the USTA. For further information on the USTA Player Development programme visit their website at www.Playerdevelopment.usta.com