Teen Challenges – Differing viewpoints – What happened at the US Capitol?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week last week?

Did you check in with that teen in your life? Jim took our young adults and new ice fishing gear on a father/son fishing day trip. They caught a couple of fish but learned a lot for the next time that they go.

Did you hear about what happened last week?

United States Capitol Building

A group of people got together in Washington D.C. at a rally down the street from the U.S. Capitol Building, where our elected officials were counting votes to certify the 2020 election results for the positions of President and Vice-President of our country. The people attending the rally didn’t agree with the results that were going to come from the certification of the ballot counting. So, instead of remaining in peaceful protest, which is within their rights as citizens of the United States, they decided to rush the capitol, break windows and get in, unlawfully, to make their feelings known to those people doing the counting.

What should have happened?

The offices of President and Vice-President each have a term that one can serve. In the United States, one term is serving four years. Those offices are limited to two terms (if they are re-elected to serve a second term.) When their term is up, they are responsible for a peaceful transition of power from themselves to the next ones elected to hold the position.

What did happen?

Since our current president believes there were issues in the election process, he also believes he should have earned a second term as president. So, he hasn’t been very cooperative about a peaceful transition of power to the people who did win the election based on the results of the counted votes. His supporters who attended the rally believe the same things our current president does about those results. They wanted to let the people counting the votes know how they feel. So, they went to the capitol and things got out of hand.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website, the 2020 election took place during a very stressful time in our history. Between the pandemic, economic distress and racial unrest, a lot strong emotional reactions were being put forth which stirred up disagreements between many Americans. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we have a lot of work to do to heal and move forward as a country.

What can we do?

Moving forward from here, there are a few things to keep in mind

Respect the democratic process – there has been a process we have used for hundreds of years to run the elections, get the results, and transition from one president and his team to the next without violence. If the process is not working, we need to talk about it and make appropriate changes. Until then, we need to respect how the process works.

Channel views and feelings in a positive direction – you may be having confusing feelings about what happened. You may agree or disagree with what happened. Either view point is ok. Be sure to keep your reactions positive. Talk to other people about how you feel but don’t become mean to others or distructive to property in showing how you feel.

Accept people and their differences – the United States is made up of many people who are of different races, religions, and hold different beliefs. We don’t have to agree with everyone else, but respect and embrace the differences we have with each other.

Moving forward from here?

Keep the lines of communication open. Be willing to listen to others and talk about what’s on your mind. If we talk about issues with other people, and listen to what they have to say, we may be able able to understand and work with each other to avoid events like what happened at the Capitol last week.  

Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Have a good week!

STOMP Out Bullying – #SeeMe Campaign

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog – Wednesday Edition!

Checked in with that teen in your life yet? I picked up dinner last night and sat down at the table with our two young adults. We didn’t solve any big problems, but had a very nice check in about how we were all doing.

National Bullying Prevention Month

Like I mentioned on Monday, there are many ways you can take an active role in bullying prevention. One of those ways is just to treat other people with respect. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them how you would like to be treated yourself. We all have differences that make us who we are. They should be celebrated and not be made fun of. Would you want someone to make fun of you for no reason? Think about that the next time you are tempted to pick on somone for how they look. You may think you are just teasing, but if you keep doing it, it is considered bullying.

STOMP Out Bullying #SeeMe Campaign

What do you see? What should you see? What should we see?

The #SeeMe campaign focuses on the fact that we are all people. It encourages teens to get to know others who may be different from themselves. There is a lot to be learned from persepctives that are different from our own.

Young people are brought up seeing the world through the eyes of the adults in their lives. They tend to model the feelings of judgement and hatred that adults in their lives display, unless they make the choice to change the culture and embrace others for their differences and not judge them for them. It is something we all can do.

By joining the #SeeMe Campaign, you are helping to make a culture change towards acceptance of the differences in people.

Change the way our culture… thinks

Change the way our culture…. acts

Let’s Change the culture for all of us!

from the STOMPoutbullying.com website

So, what can you do to Take Action?

Join the #SeeMe Campiagn by posting what others should see when they see you. Complete the following sentence,

#SeeMe I’m _______ and I want you to see that I am __________. (Don’t forget to use the hashtag)

So for me, I would say,

#SeeMe I’m Selma and I want you to see that I care about others and embrace them for who they are.

Post this sentence with a photo of yourself on your social media pages. You can also send the photo and the statement to art.stompoutbullying@gmail.com and they will post them for you.

No matter how you decide to take action in the #SeeMe Campaign, the key is to Take Action and prevent bullying. For more information about the #SeeMe Campaign and STOMP Out Bullying, here’s a link to their website STOMP Out Bullying.

Shawn’s Way

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, focuses on this teen challenge of bullying. Shawn Townson is a freshman in high school and this is his story about being a target of a bully, who is a teammate of his older brother’s. It is due to be released in November. Be sure to check it out.

While you are waiting, my first book, The Hard Way, which focuses on the teen challenge of peer pressure is available through a link on the books tab or for free through your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free preview of chapter one if you sign up for my email list.

Have a great week!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you checked in with that teen in your life yet?

Our two young adult sons took on the adult role of and taking the docks out at our cabin without Jim or I going along. Passing the torch of an annual project. Becoming adults with responsibilities.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

This is a campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Originally a weeklong event, it was expanded to a month to help people across the nation and around the world unite with the powerful message that bullying should not be a part of childhood. Here is a link to their website National Bullying Prevention Center

Today is also

World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

It occurs the first Monday of every October. On this day students, schools. And communities all over the world go BLUE together against bullying and cyberbullying. It is the kickoff to National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month every October. Here is a link to their website World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

What Can You Do?

There are many initiatives and programs out there to help build awareness for this issue. By getting involved, you can help the teens in your school and in your community.

What can you personally do to prevent it? It may take you to change how you look at people.

People are just like you. They get up in the morning, they eat, they take the bus, they go to school, they play sports or video games. They may look different. Maybe they have glasses and you don’t. Or they have acne and you don’t. Maybe they are white and you are black. This is no reason to make fun of them.

We must treat people they way we want to be treated. Would you want someone to tease you because you are wearing a red jacket instead of a black one? Sometimes that is the reason why teens become the target of a bully.

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November, focuses on the teen challenge of bullying.

It is the story about a freshman at Mulston High School, Shawn Townson and how he becomes a taregt of a bully, just for being someone’s younger brother.

It is Book 2 of The Way Series and a sequel to my first book, The Hard Way. To find out more information about it, check out the books tab of my website.

Have a great week!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Good Morning! Here’s my Monday Morning Blog!

Happy Monday!

Being a author who writes about teen issues, I’m wondering how our teens are doing through this unprecedented time. I see stories about how some kids are working through the changes and being as resilient as they can be. But what about the kids that aren’t? The ones that aren’t doing well with the stay at home orders? Aren’t learning as well at home without the day to day interaction with their friends? Those kids may not reach out and remain quiet. Are we checking in with them and asking them how they feel?

Since 1949, Mental Health America and affiliates have observed May as being Health Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.

There are many messages popping up on social media with resources to help us. The CDC currently has a public Service Announcement which pops up when you search for mental health awareness on Google.

Be Kind to Your Mind:
Tips to cope with stress during COVID-19

PAUSE – Breathe and notice how you feel

TAKE BREAKS – from COVID-19 content

MAKE TIME – to sleep and exercise

REACH OUT – and stay connected

SEEK HELP – If overwhelmed or unsafe

During the quarantine and stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are isolating alone, have major changes to their daily routines that are leading to feelings of helplessness, or are just scared they are going to get the virus. The stress created by this has affected everyone’s mental health, but the tips listed above are good ones to be aware of even when we aren’t involved in a full-blown pandemic. In my research on the topic, I have found a couple of resources for you, your teen, or someone you may care about to look into. Remember, we are all in this together.

“You are Not Alone”
Everyone faces challenges in life that will affect their mental health. Mental Health America states 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. NAMI joined with the national movement to raise awareness about mental health with their “You are Not Alone” campaign which focuses on the power of connection for those affected by mental illness. Collectively, we can make a positive impact on the millions of people who are struggling and feeling particularly alone given the current situation of social isolation and physical distancing. They are asking the public to share their experiences with mental health conditions at NAMI.org/YourStory. They want to share the lived experience of others to provide a means for people who are struggling to relate to and find comfort in. They also have a NAMI COVID-19 resource guide available in English and Spanish, just follow this link NAMI COVID-19 Resources.

Tools 2 Thrive
Mental Health America’s 2020 theme is Tools to Thrive. They have a 2020 Mental Health Tool Kit that you can download from their website that provides practical tools that we can all use to help improve our mental health regardless of what we are currently dealing with. This year’s tool kit offers printable handouts on topics like Owning Your Feelings, Finding the Positive, Creating Healthy Routines, and others. There are also marketing materials that may be helpful for teachers or community leaders, but may also help families educating from home with some reminders or materials to discuss with their kids. Here is a link to their site Tools 2 Thrive. When requesting the Tool Kit, it will ask for title and organization. If schooling your kids from home, I would enter parent as your title and homeschool or remote learning as your organization.

For as much as we may not like some of the effects of social media and online gaming for our kids and teens, I think it is a saving grace we have it for our kids to stay in touch with each other. It also helps for families and friends to stay in touch during this strange time in our history. Be sure to use the technology to reach out to family members you haven’t heard from in a while. Let your kids have play dates and zoom meetings to just be themselves with their friends online. But, be sure to keep an eye out and ear open to make sure they are doing it safely. We all need to embrace some of the changes that are happening right now on how we interact with one another. But the interaction doesn’t have to and shouldn’t stop.

Lime Green ribbons signify Mental Health Awareness. Be sure to promote awareness by wearing a ribbon or wearing a lime green shirt. Remember to reach out if you are feeling lonely, scared or overwhelmed. We are all in this together.


Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you all found ways to celebrate with your moms, grandmothers, wives, etc. yesterday. Some of us have moms in heaven that we recognize with flowers and prayers. The traditional ways of taking mom to brunch or meeting up for dinner at her favorite spot aren’t going to be an option this year. Let me know what creative ways you came up with to show mom that she is special in the comments below.

Have a great week!

Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

Good Morning! Here’s my Monday Morning blog!

How are you doing with the whole Coronavirus thing? It is too big to not be affecting most everybody in some way or another. We couldn’t have imagined all the changes that have happened since the virus was deemed a pandemic in the United States almost two months ago. Being told you would have to stay home to curb the spread of the virus, learn and communicate via the computer or a six-foot distance, or to have to wear masks when you go out in public.

Did you know that this week, May 4th-8th, is Teacher Appreciation Week? Since 1984, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has designated one week in May to honor men and women who lend their passion and skills to teach our children. Teacher Appreciation Day is tomorrow, May 5th. Before, parents would have been out shopping for that special teacher’s gift to present in peron, now it will turn into showing that appreciation virtually or by special delivery.

I have been wondering about kids and teens are really doing at this time. How are they feeling about missing out on going to school and seeing their friends? Yes, we have Zoom for teachers to bring their classes together, but learning from a computer at your dining room table isn’t the same as being at school with your friends. Even though some kids and teens have always said they don’t want to go to school, I don’t think this complete change was what they were imagining. Or, the reality of having their parents trying to teach them the ins and outs of algebra or that new math after breakfast was what they had in mind.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a very special seventh grader in my life. She’s a smart kid and loves school but, misses her teachers and fellow students. She finds it hard to get into remote learning because of how it was just thrown together and doesn’t feel very structured. It isn’t anyone’s fault that it happened this way, since we didn’t plan for the effects of the Coronavirus. She also feels that her grades may be suffering because she isn’t thriving as well in this less structured learning environment. Sure, it is one of the casualities of the situation we must adapt to, but it winds up being a negative impact on someone who is trying to do everything right.

The other ones who are on my mind lately are high school and college seniors who were due to graduate this spring. Just a couple of months ago, they were rolling into their spring quarter or semester on what they thought was the downhill slide into graduation. Then it all came to an abrupt halt. No prom, spring sports, or graduation ceremony. Those school events are what has given some of us adults the fond memories we hold in our hearts about that time in our lives. Things change, so maybe our “normal” will not be the “new” normal going forward.

Congratulations to all 2020 Graduates!!!

We are all trying to make the best of the current situation for those seniors and give them something similar to what they were expecting for their end of school activities and graduation.

-Many high schools around me made up signs for those seniors to put in their lawn to show us who they are. They are also having car parades drive by their homes to honor them.

-A friend of mine has a senior in her household. She had her daughter and her prom date still get dressed up, they got a dinner to go from the Olive Garden, took some pictures in the park, and did a bonfire at their house with the prom couple to make a memory for them. I have seen other seniors pose for pictures in what they would have worn to prom and post them on Facebook.

-There will be a graduation ceremonies, probably virtual, coming in the near future, but not the same as going to your high school football field or college auditorium to walk across a stage to receive your diploma (or the fancy document holder).

Have you seen people struggling with change through this pandemic? I have seen and personally struggled with things through all of this,

-Seeing friends and family struggling with things they were looking forward to doing being cancelled.

-The struggle from some teens to do school remotely when their heart is at school with their teachers and friends.

-College students being sent home to do school remotely, instead of being able to enjoy the college experience away from home.

-Me and many others who are now in the process of looking for new jobs due to no fault of their own.

-Me and many others, not being able to see their loved ones, who are in assisted living facilities which are currently on lock down from having visitors.

The best advice I have seen is to be gentle with yourself right now. Let yourself feel sad if you are sad or mad if you are mad. But, let yourself do what needs to be done to keep yourself moving forward with your goals and dreams accepting what the new normal may bring. It is ok if it feels a little bit weird, because it will. Be ready, life as we knew it pre-Coronavirus will probably be changed forever too.

If you are struggling, please reach out and ask for help. We are all in this together.

Have a great week!

Teen/Young Adult e-book free this weekend!

Peer pressure doesn’t have to win. Learn from Paul’s mistake in The Hard Way, go with your gut and do what you feel is right instead of getting involved with a crowd going the wrong way.

Be sure to pick up your e-book copy of The Hard Way for free this weekend through Cyber Monday.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

The Hard Way

How teens react to bullying

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

I intended on publishing this in October as a part of National Bullying Prevention Month, but we had a death in the family that delayed me from making it happen.

So, here it is now.

Bullying

In my last blog post I talked about the differences between being rude to, mean to and actually bullying someone. Bullying is defined as repeatedly doing something intentionally hurtful and not stopping when asked to do so. Sometimes the bullying stops, and the victim is able to work through it. But, in some cases, this behavior has led to victims living not only with depression and self esteem issues but also hurting or even killing themselves because of it.

Teen Suicide

According to an article on the website, kidshealth.org, 60% of all teen suicides are committed by shooting themselves with a gun. Overdose, cutting and hanging are other options typically used by teens. How many kids have gotten to the point of wanting to kill themselves and changed their minds? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suicide is the third highest cause of death amongst teens ages 15 to 24 and there is one teen suicide for every 25 attempts. In my opinion, with the number of the teen suicides there are, the fact that there are 25 attempted ones just makes me sad.

Teens are at a transitional age. They want to be adults, but don’t have the life experience to handle everything that life throws their way. It may be one reason why some teens feel suicide is the only way to ultimately get away from a bully.

warren-wong-253598-unsplash
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.com

There are many programs available to help victims of bullying, why don’t teens choose to use them more? Fear of retaliation from the bully and being seen as weak by their peers and others are two main reasons why teens don’t try and get help. They try to power through their feelings. If the bully ends up getting bored or move onto someone else, the powering through it worked. If the bullying continues, then the teen may reach out for help or may resort to drastic measures to escape.

What are parents and mentors trying to do to help teens deal with bullying? We may be sending mixed messages to teens through what we are saying and doing. We teach our kids not to tattle on others. Is this helping the bully get away with hurting others? I will talk about this in my next blog post.

On another note…

My books in The Way series focus on teen issues. I would like to get copies of them into the hands of teens. I hope these books will help teens relate to what my characters are going through and help them work through the issue they are facing. Reading a book about the issue is a great way to start a conversation about it.

My first book, The Hard Way was published in 2017 about peer pressure. My second book, The Bully’s Way, is due to be published summer of 2019 and is about bullying.

Be sure to check out my website for a link to get your copy of The Hard Way!

The Hard Way Thumbnail

The Hard Way