Tag Archives: Government

11 Words You Need to Teach Your Son Before He Turns 6


The things we say to our kids help shape their identity.

 

The following story first appeared on the Good Men Project. 

Recently, while helping in my youngest son’s art camp, I noticed one little boy falling behind the others and no longer participating.

I touched his shoulder and pointed at the teacher, as a reminder to pay attention. He ignored me and looked around the room. A few minutes later, his head was down and he wasn’t even trying.

I knelt in front of him and asked, “Why aren’t you doing the project?” He started crying.

“Everyone’s ahead. I can’t do it now. It’s too late.”

Thing was, he could have done it. They were simple steps and all laid out in front of him. He also could’ve asked for help. But he shook his head and said he couldn’t. He just couldn’t.

“Oh,” I said. “Do you feel overwhelmed?”

He looked at me funny and asked what “overwhelmed” means. When I explained that it’s a feeling you get when there’s so much happening and you just don’t know where to start, so you sort of freeze up.

His eyes lit up. “Yes!” he said, and seemed excited that someone understood exactly how he felt.

When his mom arrived to pick him up, he ran to her and said, “I was overwhelmed today, but then I got all caught up.” He shoved the craft into her hands and beamed. At that moment, it occurred to me how important it is for kids (and adults, too) to have a wide variety of words to describe feelings and situations.

As a parent, and someone who pays close attention to social issues around gender, I think it’s crucial that we make a conscious choice to arm all of our kids with words that can give them important social skills or the ability to describe feelings. This list is for parents of kids of any gender, but I am focusing a bit on what words boys need to know, so we can help them describe things we don’t typically think of as manly or boyish.

***

1. Lonely.

Loneliness often happens when you feel like nobody cares about you. As adults, we can often reason with ourselves about this feeling, but for a child it can be awfully hard to understand why people aren’t giving us what we need, emotionally, at the moment we need it.

Your kid may be resisting bedtime and say that he gets scared or sad in his room. He may actually be scared, or just sad, or he may feel very alone. Maybe you watch TV on the couch after he goes to bed, or you and your spouse sleep in the same bed without him. Being excluded from those things could be a lonely feeling for a kid.

Once you understand the nature of his feelings, you can better explain that even though he’s by himself in his bed, he’s very much loved by his family and in the morning you can all be together again.

2. Frustrated.

It’s not angry. It’s not sad. It’s something else, and young children feel this sensation regularly. Imagine having to follow every command of somebody else all the time, even when their demands feel illogical. How frustrating would it be to watch other kids get to do stuff you aren’t allowed to do, just because of your size? These are the challenges kids face every day. And it’s frustrating.

And yet most little kids don’t know that word, so when they start to feel that way, they can only define it as mad. I suspect that’s why tantrums often look like little rage-fests. So get down to eye-level with your child and describe that frustration is when you get upset because you just can’t seem to do what you want to do, and maybe you don’t even know why you can’t.

Try teaching them the word, explaining the definition, and asking them to say “I’m so frustrated!” next time. Once you understand, then you can walk him through the problem and help him solve it—or at least understand the “why”.

3. Intimidated.

I remember arriving at a park to play with a bunch of our preschool buddies with my son and he turned and said, “I want to go home.”

I’d driven thirty minutes to get there, and we weren’t going home. I asked him why, and all he’d say was, “Because.”

“Because what?”

Nothing.

Finally he said, “I’m scared.”

There was nothing to be scared of, and I told him that, not realizing that I was invalidating his feelings at that moment. He was safe, he’d played there before, and I was right next to him.

Finally he explained that he felt like his friends were all together and he didn’t know what they were playing. I realized then that he wasn’t scared, he was intimidated. He felt unprepared and unworthy. Once I understood that, I was able to solve the problem. And once he knew the word, he used it frequently in situations like that.

4. That’s just not my thing.

This is a funny one, but it’s something we’ve evolved in our family after a lot of trial and error.

Saying, “that’s just not my thing,” is a way for kids to back out of socially-pressured situations without seeming like they’re judging others or making a big deal out of something. This can be anything from, “Hey, why don’t you play basketball with us at recess like the other guys?” to something that he or she’s not ready to handle, like a roller coaster or a scary movie.

It can also be used to diffuse a dangerous or amoral situation like bullying or excessive risk-taking. Of course when kids are being cruel or harming someone (or themselves), you should empower your kid to stop or report them to a trusted grown-up, but he may also need an “out” for the situation that’s handy in a pinch so he can take a moment to figure out how to proceed next.

5. Hangry.

Things we know about kids: They act out and get more emotional when they’re hungry. But oftentimes, they don’t realize they’re hungry! They just feel mad, and will tell you that in no uncertain terms!

We joke about the word “hangry” with our kids, but it’s a useful term because hungry anger is a pretty specific feeling, and having a word for it may help your kid feel empowered to explain exactly what he or she is feeling, and remind them to stop and eat a nutritious snack like a string cheese or some almonds, that will help stabilize his or her blood sugar and mood.

6-8. Proper names for their body parts. 

Specifically: Penis, Vagina (or vulva), and anus.

I know, there’s nothing cute or fun about talking about the accurate terminology for body parts, but it’s necessary. Being able to accurately describe parts of our own bodies empowers us to speak openly and honestly about them. Using these terms without shame teaches our kids that they can come to us with questions or concerns, and this is important for their health and their emotional development.

By not using cutesy terms, we raise kids who are empowered about their own bodies. We can then discuss that their genitals are their own private business, and that nobody gets to touch them without permission. Likewise, we don’t touch other people’s genitals or make people feel uncomfortable.

Christopher Anderson, Executive Director of MaleSurvivor.org—an advocacy and support group for men and boys (and their loved ones) who have been sexually abused, explains further why accurate terminology is important:

Many child protection experts strongly urge parents to empower children with the proper terminology for all body parts. Doing so can have greatly improve a child’s understanding of their own bodies, which can in turn improve their self-image and confidence. Confident, well-educated children are also less at risk for abuse, especially sexual abuse, at the hands of perpetrators who often seek out children who are more vulnerable and less informed.

This is, of course, part of a much larger conversation, but it’s one that can help prevent your child from being abused or abusing others. This conversation has to start at age 1 and continue into their college years. For more specific instructions, see The Healthy Sex Talk, Teaching Consent Ages 1-21, which I co-authored.

I want to note that I think following your child’s lead in what they call their genitals is okay, as long as they are clear of the technical terms too. I wouldn’t stop a boy from calling his penis a “weenie” or something, as long as it was very clear he knew the word penis was accurate and totally fine to say, as well.

9. Touched-out.

This term has become synonymous with new parents who have babies climbing all over them all the time, but it’s useful in a lot of different ways, too.

Sometimes, as a parent, you just feel like you need some personal space. Maybe you’re in a bad mood, or maybe you have had a baby on you all day long. Regardless, it’s okay to lovingly tell someone—even your own child—that you’re feeling “touched out” and would like a little time where nobody is touching you. Reassure him or her that pretty soon you’ll feel like snuggling or wrestling again, but for now you need everyone to honor your “space bubble”. I always use my hands to show my kids how far around me my space bubble is, and ask them not to pop it.

Not only are you teaching them to honor others’ bodily autonomy, but if you also offer this as an option for your child, then you’re empowering him or her to say “no” to touching, even loving or innocent touch. If his little brother or sister is poking him or trying to snuggle, then he can say to you or them, “I feel touched out” and you can help advocate for his personal space.

10. Overwhelmed.

I talked about this at the beginning, but I want to underline the way I see this word helping kids, especially boys, in classroom settings.

Often, when we see a kid drifting or fidgeting in class we may default (even if only subconsciously) to assuming that the kid has an attention issue or just doesn’t care about school.

But what if there’s another issue? What if he really wants to engage but is overwhelmed because he’s behind, or because he can’t hear the teacher, has a distraction, or see the board well? I really do think this feeling-word could be of great service in young elementary school classrooms.

11. May I please…?

At the top of my list of things kids do that drive me crazy is when kids make demands. It drives me absolutely bonkers to hear a kid say, “Get me some milk” or “Give me that toy”. I know kids are naturally very selfish creatures, and being demanding is a part of development, but part of teaching your child empathy is asking them to consider how it feels to have someone demand something from them.

“Dad, may I please have a glass of milk?” or “Mom, could you please get me the Lego bin?” are questions that require your child to consider how you feel, what you’re doing, and how their request might affect you. If my arms are full of groceries, I hope my sons will see that and not tell me at that exact moment to open the door for them. But if we don’t teach them to ask people for things nicely, they may not learn to consider the feelings of the person they’re imposing upon.

And trust me, you child’s teacher will appreciate the good habit.

Becoming comfortable with asking for things with respect, as well as learning to be kind and gracious when someone says “no” are lessons that will carry forward into their lives as older kids, too, especially when they start dating.

Buy a lady a drink ~~ Stella Artois …. water.org a repost


Today, 750 million people around the world live without access to clean water. This crisis disproportionately affects women, who walk a combined 200 million hours a day to collect water for their families. Stella Artois is supporting Water.org to help solve the global water crisis. Learn how you can help at http://BuyALadyADrink.com

#JusticeForMikeBrown ~~~ #Ferguson police confiscate​d our billboard!


During an event in Ferguson where hundreds of people marched for an end to police brutality, police confiscated our Governor Nixon mobile billboard and arrested the truck driver, who was then held in police custody for hours and later released.1 Witnesses say police in an unmarked car targeted the driver and ripped him from the truck before he was even able to undo his seat belt.

It’s a shameful attempt to silence our message and diminish our power, but we won’t be stopped. Now, the “accountability truck” is back on the road and it’s time to redouble our efforts to hold Governor Nixon accountable. In just a few days, a grand jury will decide whether or not Officer Darren Wilson will be held acountable for killing Mike Brown — meaning the time for Gov. Nixon to secure a special prosecutor and protect the right to free speech and peaceful protest is now.

Will you help amplify already growing media and public pressure on Governor Nixon?

Share this image of the Governor Nixon “accountability truck” on Facebook.

Tweet this image at Governor Nixon.

Picture of billboard outside Governor Nixon's office, image reads: Go. Nixon, what will you do in this moment with the whole world watching

When communities are prevented from speaking out and challenging their country we are no longer in a democracy; we are no longer in America. From the unconstitutional “keep walking” rule that was ultimately shutdown by a federal judge2 to unlawful arrests, tear gas, and rubber bullets,3 Missouri law enforcement have consistently violated the constitutional right to free speech and peaceful demonstration since Officer Wilson killed Mike Brown. The confiscation of the “accountability truck” and arrest of the driver is just another instance of these outrageous and discriminatory intimidation tactics and police abuse, which Governor Nixon must immediately address.

Right now there are military tanks in St. Louis, which suggest police are preparing to crackdown on peaceful protesters after the grand jury verdict is announced.4 Failure by Governor Nixon to take immediate action to keep Black Missourians safe and secure justice for Mike Brown only condones further police brutality and human rights violations. We will not sit idly by as police treat courageous Missourians as enemy combatants.

If enough people take action today, we can show Governor Nixon the cost of his inaction and hold him accountable for securing a special prosecutor and enforcing a higher standard of police conduct across the state.

Call out Governor Nixon’s failed leadership on Facebook.

Demand #JusticeForMikeBrown on Twitter.

Thanks and peace,

—Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Lyla, Jamar and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
November 8th, 2014

References

1. “Activists rip Ferguson cops for seizing ‘rolling billboard’ criticizing Gov. Jay Nixon,” RawStory 11-06-2014 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4324?t=6&akid=3893.1174326.EfyXLv

2. “Ferguson protest leaders seek 48 hours’ notice of indictment decision” Guardian 11-06-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4325?t=8&akid=3893.1174326.EfyXLv

3. “Police Violated Constitutional Rights Of Ferguson Protesters, Federal Judge Rules” Huffington Post 10-06-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4326?t=10&akid=3893.1174326.EfyXLv

4. “On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson,” Amnesty International Report 10-24-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4327?t=12&akid=3893.1174326.EfyXLv

5. ShordeeDooWhop Tweet 11-05-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4328?t=14&akid=3893.1174326.EfyXLv

 

Austerity V Progressive ~~


Progressive
Progressive (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

Just another rant …

As we move into Campaign2016 voters need to remember the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 ~ 2008, how Republicans are reacting to your financial and personal status, Women’s Rights and Race in the year 2015.  We must remember the Sequester of 2013, $24Billion shutdown and ALL the NO votes against Americans in Congress. The craziness in my opinion is clearly based on conservative insanity and could shove America into another moment of chaos in the long run. if “We the People” do not open your eyes and make your vote count in midterms more than ever before because they matter … Stop ignoring our Midterm elections and fight against conservative redistricting.

I ask you, what has a Republican done for you and yours, what are they thinking and how disturbing is it that past elections have taught them nothing! They continue to vote against bills that could help their own constituents like seniors, Students and the Unemployed just to name a broad group that has to include their own families or someone they know, right.

However, Republicans seem to believe and act as if they have no middle-lower or poor constituents that will feel the pain of all those NO votes …

We may never know all the reasons or facts behind our receding economy and yes; we all have to admit some housing loans were a big mistake. We know that AIG wrapped up some products in questionable paper, put a bow on them, which blew up, and a whole lot of poo was spread through the world. I am no expert, but what part of “the global economy” did the extreme right misunderstand. Republicans have made it a mission almost impossible since they first held Americans hostage and while we still need Banksters and Wall Street to take responsibility for the out of control greed that caused our financial downfall. There is still a sense that those who played with consumer money knew the government would not only pay to get them out of the ditch but the government would be held accountable and not the banks. I am convinced this was on the minds of those willing to make bets against the housing consumer since Freddie and Fannie Mae are governmental programs.

Good’ole Abe said…

 “The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. The desirable things, which the individuals of a people cannot, do, or cannot well do, for themselves, fall into two classes: those, which have relation to wrongs, and those, which have not. Each of these branches off into an infinite variety of subdivisions. The first that in relation to wrongs embraces all crimes, misdemeanors, and nonperformance of contracts. The other embraces all which, in its nature, and without wrong, requires combined action, as public roads and highways, public schools, charities, pauperism, orphanage, estates of the deceased, and the machinery of government itself. From this it appears that if all men were just, there still would be some, though not so much, need for government.” ~ Abe Lincoln

The fact is; being out of a job, homeless or being on food stamps is a non-partisan reality. Yet, Republicans do not feel this way. In fact, they have yet to move on from the original stimulus bill choosing to make comments though we all saw a great number of Republicans cutting ribbons, telling their constituents they were their champions even stating President did not do his part. Honestly, the idea that Republicans state they need to be more pragmatic is laughable and as these folks continue to riff on who did what when to whom, President Obama genuinely tried to be bipartisan for the last 4yrs, but some of us feel the ultimate plan was to embarrass him … old school politics will continue to be a battle. Putting ones Party first before the People, a practice that began in 2009 has continued into President Obama’s second term with the Party of NO not only misinforming voters but also filibustering our President’s ability to govern.

The American People are hurting. yet Boehner and his group of carpet baggers seem to agree to vote for bills privately decide to vote no to anything beforehand and continue to say no to legislation which shows just what kind of person he and his party are.

It made me sad and angry given what is going on that someone could be so cynical but it shows how Republicans see politics as a game and we Americans are the pawns

While the whole thing seems amusing, I would laugh but it hurts

55% of our nation’s streams& rivers are in poor condition, unfit for swimming, drinking or fishing..repost


Boys fishing. (iStockphoto)

BREAKING ACTION! Clean Water Rule just released—help protect it from imminent attack! Today, President Obama finalized a strong rule making clean water a priority.

Send your thanks and urge him to stand strong against congressional attacks.

Today, after a decade of uncertainty created by the Supreme Court and the previous administration, President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have finalized a strong, commonsense rule to make clean water a priority by protecting the sources of drinking water supplies for more than 117 million Americans.

Thank the Administration for protecting clean water!

More than 800,000 Americans like you have called on the administration to finalize the clean water rule. Now it’s time to stand up once again for strong water protections.

Over the past decade, Earthjustice has been working hard to strengthen national Clean Water Act standards, establish legal precedents that raise the bar for polluters, and close loopholes that let polluters off the hook.

The Clean Water rule will:

  • Reduce confusion over which waters are protected by our environmental laws
  • Restore key environmental protections to many waters across the country that are currently vulnerable to toxic pollution
  • Provide hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits
  • Ensure that our rivers, streams and wetlands are protected for future generations to enjoy

Unfortunately, Congress is determined to put the interests of polluters ahead of clean water, including the quality of the water your family drinks. Members of both chambers are doing everything they can to block this rule so their polluter friends can easily dump waste in our waterways. That’s why it’s critical that we all stand up now to protect our clean water!

Join us in thanking the President for standing up to polluters by finalizing the clean water rule, and urge him to stand strong against congressional attacks.

Sincerely,

Chris Espinosa
Legislative Representative