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Tips Thoughts and Easy Talk

Parents Back to School Preparation Guide

Tiffany Sanders - Sunday, July 24, 2011
As the summer winds down, summer camps are coming to an end, and the last family trip has been taken, parents must now begin to prepare their children for returning to school.  For parents back to school preparation means more than buying a new book bag, it means encouraging their children to start the academic year on a positive note, helping young children reconnect with old friends by arranging play dates, equipping children with the necessary supplies, resources and tools to get the work done, and establishing a positive communicative relationship with their children’s teacher and school to avert potential problems in the future.  

To make this process simple and stress free for parents, here are a few tips and suggestions parents should consider. 

It’s important to take advantage of all of the back to school deals that are being pushed by retailers. If your state offers a tax free “back to school week”, take advantage of it by stocking up on supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, folders, computer paper and toner, USB disks, binders, scissors, crayons, markers, glue, and Kleenex to save money.  Once the back to school rush has ended, typically these items go back to regular price and can put a dent in your pocketbook if you need to purchase a large quantity later. Unused items can be saved for the next school year which can reduce next year’s back to school costs.

Getting organized is one piece of advice that cannot be over emphasized. While parents are shopping for back to school supplies, it’s important to purchase items that will help keep their children organized. All too often children lose homework; forget about tests and projects, which can negatively affect their grades. Most schools provide their child with a daily planner; however, purchasing a large dry erase family calendar that could be placed in a central location, is important because it can remind parents and students of tests, after school activities, events, trips, and deadlines that are coming up. Creating an in and out folder system is important so parents don’t forget to sign permission slips for their children to attend school sanctioned events, and children don’t forget to return the permission slips.

Consider purchasing a desk or sectioning off a portion of the dining room table to create a quiet study area free from clutter, noise from the TV, radio, and foot traffic. This should be used as your child’s study area. Discourage your child from doing their homework on the couch or in their bed which could entice more sleep than study. 

One of the most exciting things about returning to school is wearing new clothes and shoes. Parents should check the school’s dress code policy to ensure they are buying appropriate clothing for their child. Parents also consider buying extra uniform clothes (khaki or dark pants, solid polo shirt) especially if they know their child can wear out clothes and shoes very easily.

One week before the first day of school, parents should slowly transition their children from a summer schedule of staying up late and sleeping in to their school night schedule. The week before school commences, parents should start having the child go to bed one hour early each night until they reach their bed time. Also, parents should implement the same routine for waking up in the morning to ensure their child gets up at the correct time. Older children and teens should be responsible for waking themselves up in the morning. These sleep routines should be strictly adhered to because a child who is tired is likely to be inattentive, miss out on pertinent school lessons, and more irritable than a child who has received an adequate amount of sleep.

Back to school preparation can also be an exciting time for children because it represents a fresh start – a chance for students to earn better grades, learn new things, meet new friends, join a varsity sports team, and to have an overall better year than they had last school year.  This time can also be full of anxiety and trepidation for some children who realize they are returning to class with students who bullied, taunted or teased them for being different.  Parents play an important role in helping to emotionally prepare their children for the joys and pains of returning to school. 

Here are a few pieces of advice that parents should consider when their children are anxious about returning to school.

Inform middle schoolers, freshman, or students new to a school that it’s normal to be anxious when starting a new school. Encourage your child to visit the school before the first day of classes so they can familiarize themselves with the layout. Encourage them to walk the halls to find their classes, their locker and other pertinent places in the building (cafeteria, main office, and nurse’s room). 

Many students are anxious about attending a new school often because they don’t know anyone there. Utilize role-playing to teach your child social skills to lessen their anxiety about making new friends. For example, teacher your child how to introduce themselves to someone and how to find commonalities between themselves and peers they like. Encourage your child to join clubs or afterschool activities, and to invite friends over to their home to hangout. 

Help your children learn how to stand up to bullies in a healthy way that is void of verbal and physical aggression. Teach them strategies to ignore the bully, walk away when they are being taunted, or to seek out the assistance of a respected teacher, psychologist or school social worker to help mediate or resolve the conflict.  

Lastly, encourage your child to do their best, rather than pressure your child to be the best or smartest student. Many parents who apply this undue pressure can cause children to become perfectionists or anxious children who worry more about earning an “A” versus appreciating and enjoying the learning process.


As the summer winds down, summer camps are coming to an end, and the last family trip has been taken, parents must now begin to prepare their children for returning to school.  For parents back to school preparation means more than buying a new book bag, it means encouraging their children to start the academic year on a positive note, helping young children reconnect with old friends by arranging play dates, equipping children with the necessary supplies, resources and tools to get the work done, and establishing a positive communicative relationship with their children’s teacher and school to avert potential problems in the future. 

To make this process simple and stress free for parents, here are a few tips and suggestions parents should consider.

• It’s important to take advantage of all of the back to school deals that are being pushed by retailers. If your state offers a tax free “back to school week”, take advantage of it by stocking up on supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, folders, computer paper and toner, USB disks, binders, scissors, crayons, markers, glue, and Kleenex to save money.  Once the back to school rush has ended, typically these items go back to regular price and can put a dent in your pocketbook if you need to purchase a large quantity later. Unused items can be saved for the next school year which can reduce next year’s back to school costs.

• Getting organized is one piece of advice that cannot be over emphasized. While parents are shopping for back to school supplies, it’s important to purchase items that will help keep their children organized. All too often children lose homework; forget about tests and projects, which can negatively affect their grades. Most schools provide their child with a daily planner; however, purchasing a large dry erase family calendar that could be placed in a central location, is important because it can remind parents and students of tests, after school activities, events, trips, and deadlines that are coming up. Creating an in and out folder system is important so parents don’t forget to sign permission slips for their children to attend school sanctioned events, and children don’t forget to return the permission slips.

• Consider purchasing a desk or sectioning off a portion of the dining room table to create a quiet study area free from clutter, noise from the TV, radio, and foot traffic. This should be used as your child’s study area. Discourage your child from doing their homework on the couch or in their bed which could entice more sleep than study.

• One of the most exciting things about returning to school is wearing new clothes and shoes. Parents should check the school’s dress code policy to ensure they are buying appropriate clothing for their child. Parents also consider buying extra uniform clothes (khaki or dark pants, solid polo shirt) especially if they know their child can wear out clothes and shoes very easily.

• One week before the first day of school, parents should slowly transition their children from a summer schedule of staying up late and sleeping in to their school night schedule. The week before school commences, parents should start having the child go to bed one hour early each night until they reach their bed time. Also, parents should implement the same routine for waking up in the morning to ensure their child gets up at the correct time. Older children and teens should be responsible for waking themselves up in the morning. These sleep routines should be strictly adhered to because a child who is tired is likely to be inattentive, miss out on pertinent school lessons, and more irritable than a child who has received an adequate amount of sleep.

Back to school preparation can also be an exciting time for children because it represents a fresh start – a chance for students to earn better grades, learn new things, meet new friends, join a varsity sports team, and to have an overall better year than they had last school year.  This time can also be full of anxiety and trepidation for some children who realize they are returning to class with students who bullied, taunted or teased them for being different.  Parents play an important role in helping to emotionally prepare their children for the joys and pains of returning to school.

Here are a few pieces of advice that parents should consider when their children are anxious about returning to school.

• Inform middle schoolers, freshman, or students new to a school that it’s normal to be anxious when starting a new school. Encourage your child to visit the school before the first day of classes so they can familiarize themselves with the layout. Encourage them to walk the halls to find their classes, their locker and other pertinent places in the building (cafeteria, main office, and nurse’s room).

• Many students are anxious about attending a new school often because they don’t know anyone there. Utilize role-playing to teach your child social skills to lessen their anxiety about making new friends. For example, teacher your child how to introduce themselves to someone and how to find commonalities between themselves and peers they like. Encourage your child to join clubs or afterschool activities, and to invite friends over to their home to hangout.

• Help your children learn how to stand up to bullies in a healthy way that is void of verbal and physical aggression. Teach them strategies to ignore the bully, walk away when they are being taunted, or to seek out the assistance of a respected teacher, psychologist or school social worker to help mediate or resolve the conflict. 

Lastly, encourage your child to do their best, rather than pressure your child to be the best or smartest student. Many parents who apply this undue pressure can cause children to become perfectionists or anxious children who worry more about earning an “A” versus appreciating and enjoying the learning process.

What to do if he wants to have sex and you are not ready?

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A lot of girls feel pressure to have sex or “to put out” with their boyfriends in order to keep them interested. This type of pressure comes from a variety of sources that include from within themselves, their boyfriends, and popular culture such as listening to sexually explicit music lyrics. Teenagers must realize that sex will not keep their boyfriend interested in the relationships – either he likes you for who you are or he does not. When you start to feel that he is only interested in you in order to have sex, that’s a red flag to exist to the left! He should generally like you for your personality, character, intelligence, common interests, and values. His interest in you should be maintained by enjoying spending quality time dating you, going to the movies, and by the mere fact that you like to do things he finds enjoyable such as watching sports, playing video games or working out. Additionally, his interest in you should be maintained because he sees you as a friend who does not crowd his space, respects his time hanging out with the boys, and offers support to him when he faces a difficult moment in his life. If you do all of the above and more and he’s not interested in being your boyfriend unless you have sex, then recognize that he is not the boyfriend for you and walk away holding your head up high. The right guy is out there for you and he will recognize you for your worth and not for what sexual favors he can gain from you.

Breakup Etiquette: Dealing with an Ex on Facebook or Twitter

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 or 20 years ago, when you broke up with someone, the only things you had to really worry about were occasionally running into your ex while you were out and about or receiving occasional gossip and updates from mutual friends about how they were doing. If you didn’t have mutual friends or run in the same circles, ideally you were able to move on at a normal, healthy pace. However, Facebook and Twitter have unknowingly changed the break-up game because they provide you with 24/7 access at your fingertips to your ex which can ultimately slow down the healing process.  Because of the constant news feed updates there are more opportunities to be exposed to unsolicited information and pictures that your ex is happy without you which can leave you feeling jealous, slighted, or depressed. However, Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be blamed for the break up game changing. Rather, individuals need to take responsibility for their emotional health and determine whether having access to their ex’s social media page is worth the emotional pain and turmoil.

After you have amicably broken up with your ex, here are the dos and don’ts of dealing with your ex on FB and twitter. You should scale back checking the like button or commenting on your ex’s status or tweet that you find interesting.  If you can’t resist the urge or are emotionally unable to handle seeing their pictures, updates or tweets, consider removing your ex from your news feed or not following them at all. Really there’s no need to subject yourself to announcements that he/or she is in a relationship or to view pictures of them spending time with someone else or having fun without you. There is an option to hide all of the posts by your ex. Also, you may want to consider removing old pictures and videos of you and your ex vacationing or spending time together off your page. Again, dwelling on the past and the memories will only keep you paralyzed and unable to move forward. We are all human so the urge to lurk or monitor their page will remain strong for a while. If your ex has decided to defriend or not follow you, don’t use a friend’s account to keep tabs. Also, don’t confront your ex on things you have read while lurking on their twitter page or account. That’s considered cyber-stalking and is a huge indicator you are not over the relationship! If you were holding out hope for reconciliation, the chances are by stalking their page you may have put the final nail in the coffin and confirmed to your ex that they made the right decision to end the relationship.

Social Media Break Up Tips

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Breaking up with an individual can be an emotionally challenging and painful thing to do. Oftentimes we may experience discomfort and anxiety because we are unsure of what to say and/or how the person may react or respond to the news. With the advent of new super technology and social media websites people have begun to use unconventional and often insensitive and inappropriate ways such as sending a text, tweet, or making status or profile update, to end a relationship or to embarrass, humiliate, or unload their hurt feelings onto an ex.

Truth be told, there really is no polite way to tell someone that “I’m just not into you.” However, communicating privately and in person with your soon to be ex is always considered the preferred way for singles to break up. Not only does it allow privacy for the ex to emotionally process the break-up, it also provides both parties with an opportunity to ask each other questions to learn what caused the demise of the relationship so a similar outcome can be avoided in their future relationships. 

We all have heard the age old statement, “Women are from Mars, and Men are from Venus.” Generally speaking, men and women vary in terms of how they approach a breakup.  For women who are pondering how to end a relationship, explain to the man in exact terms why you have decided to end the relationship and stick to your ground so he doesn’t have any doubt or hope that the relationship may can be salvaged or resumed after a cooling off period. It’s unfair to lead a person on to believe there may be a shot at reconciliation when in actuality there is none. Men should take heed to the same advice and also remember to avoid absolving themselves of internal guilt by using cliché terms such as “It’s me and not you. You are a great woman and any man will be lucky to have you.” These statements can cause more emotional harm than good because they essentially pour salt on an open wound and do not promote healthy healing or closure.

Generation X or adults who did not grow up having access to computers, cell phones, or the internet and may be less inclined to use texts, tweets, or status updates to communicate their dissatisfaction with a relationship and feel more comfortable with speaking in-person or expressing how they feel in a Dear John letter. Generation Y, which constitutes teens and young adults growing up with access to this super technology, typically used these mediums to communicate with their friends and may not feel it’s inappropriate to fire off a quick 160 character text message that essentially says “Deuces. It was good while it lasted, but I don’t want to be you any longer. It’s over.”

Overall, it’s considered poor taste to break up with someone using social media or a text. It can be emotionally upsetting to your ex and considered a faux pas to change your status from “in a relationship” to “single,” defriend your ex, or not follow them on twitter without telling your ex first. Additionally, broadcasting to your entire online community the inadequacies of your relationship, calling your ex-boo a jerk or making other disparaging remarks can paint you as immature and passive aggressive to others. And who wants to date a person like that? Even if the relationship has ended on bad terms, taking the high road and not trampling on that person’s dignity is preferred.

If someone has kicked you to the curb or told you to “exit to the left” via text, Facebook or Twitter, the five best ways to handle that shocking news are to first step away from your computer or smart phone so you can process what you have just read. Secondly, you may have an immediate inclination to respond or lash out in an angry tirade, but squelch that urge by taking a couple of deep breaths and calling a friend who will listen to your hurt and reassure you of your self-worth while offering you gentle words to remain calm. When you have calmed down and are able to gather your thoughts and respond coherently and rationally, contact your ex and ask them to meet with you to talk privately in a comfortable, yet safe setting about the matter. If they decline and you still feel compelled to issue a response or statement, avoid including incendiary words that will increase the tension between the two of you and allow the world to be privy to your personal business. Rather, maintain your dignity by holding your head up high, issue a diplomatic statement, and refuse to comment further on the matter even if friends or followers try to stoke the issue. Recognize if there is no fuel to the fire, individuals will eventually stop commenting on or tweeting about the status change and move onto other important news. Fifth, consider removing the person from your friends’ list to avoid being exposed to other hurtful or harmful statements from your ex. Protecting your emotional psyche is of the utmost importance and there is no need to continue to be exposed to or barraged by harmful statements from a jilted lover.

Nonetheless, it’s reasonable to assume that you will experience some emotional pain, hurt, and turmoil from a break-up whether online or in person. If and when that day occurs, be honest with yourself and admit that you are feeling angry, disappointed, rejected and humiliated. Recognize that it is perfectly normal to cry and feel the way that you do. Give yourself time to grieve the relationship and to process those feelings of hurt and rejection. Don’t beat up on yourself for the break-up – even if you are primarily responsible. It won’t help you feel better or bring the person back. Everyone must kiss a few toads before they meet prince/or princess charming. However, avoid at all costs denying that the relationship is over, convincing yourself that there is still hope in the relationship, or asking if you guys can remain friends. Rather wish your ex well in life and start your healing process.  Your healing process involves not sending late night texts begging for your ex to come back, driving by their house or visiting their profile page online. You may even want to consider restricting access to your ex’s tweets or profile page to prevent the urge to keep tabs on him/her. Regularly checking your ex’s tweets or status’ updates will only keep you emotionally paralyzed and unable to move on.

Take the necessary steps to keep from dwelling on the breakup in order to move on and reclaim your joy. For example, exercising such as taking a run or walk, shooting some hoops with your friends, or lifting some weights will increase neurotransmitters and endorphins in your body which can help relax you and elevate your mood.  Spend some quality time with friends and loved ones that you haven’t seen in a while. Resume a hobby that you likely put on hold to spend time courting or cultivating the relationship, and consider journaling or writing poetry to help you process any remaining emotional pain that lingers. Consider dating again after you have adequately addressed the reasons that caused your previous breakup as well as the emotional baggage.

If after a reasonable amount of time has passed and those hurt feelings continue to persist to the point that you are unable to move on, concentrate, feel depressed, and your performance at work, school, and home is affected, consider talking to a licensed therapist who can help you process the grief that you are feeling, and offer suggestions to help you move on with your life.
 

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