From the Parent Education Desk: Positive Communication IS Possible!

“Positive communication with your kids IS possible!” SCAN’s Parent Education team members often find themselves giving these words of encouragement to parents in our classes, support groups and workshops. Thanks to a great monthly email they send to parents, we’re sharing their thoughts here on the blog, too:

Positive communication can reinforce good behavior, and help you understand and eliminate bad behavior. It can build your child’s confidence and self-esteem. But positive communication is not always easy. With parents’ busy schedules these days, it can be hard to find the time to just talk with your children.

We recommend taking advantage of downtime and talking with your child while riding in the car, walking to or from the bus stop or waiting for a sibling. What should you talk about? We like using open-ended questions like, “What was the best part of your day? The worst?” or, “Who did you spend time with today?” and allowing your child to finish talking and really listen to what they are saying, without judgment.

For more tips on positive communication with your children, including fact sheets in English and Spanish, click here. For on-the-go-access to Positive Communication resources (and more!) download SCAN’s free app for parents here.

(Learn more about SCAN’s Parent Education Program here.)

5 Topics to Help Parents Start the School Year Off Right

Back-to-school season can be a time of changes and challenges for families with school-aged children. Sharing information and tools like these can be a great way to connect with parents when they need it most:

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  • Advocating for Your Child in School: Help parents connect with teachers and school staff in constructive ways at the beginning of the school year, and learn how to communicate throughout the year by working with teachers to put the child’s needs first.
  • Bullying: Increase parents’ understanding of bullying, how it happens and what they can do to be aware of its impact on their own children.
  • The Importance of Routine: The beginning of the school year means new schedules and activities – how can parents establish healthy routines, and why does it matter?
  • Positive Communication with Children: How can parents keep kids talking to them about their experiences and feelings? (And how can they really listen and respond in the best way?) Positive communication is critical for parents who are working to connect with their kids in meaningful, lasting ways.
  • Unplug with your Child: What are the best ways to reconnect after spending the day apart at school and work? How can unplugging as a family help children and parents lower stress, grow closer and build resiliency?

And one more thing—perhaps “back-to-school” is the perfect time for parents to take a class, join a support group or attend a workshop to strengthen their parenting skills. Browse SCAN’s Parent Connection Resource Guide for a list of offerings for parents from dozens of organizations and agencies across Northern Virginia this fall.

Listen, Parents: ’50 Shades of Grey’ is an Opportunity for Good Discussion

fifty-shades-greyThe recently released film ’50 Shades of Gray’ is dominating the box office, but discussion around the storyline — including sex, abuse and relationships — is also filling the radio airwaves, morning talk shows and social media. Your kids are certainly hearing about it, which means it’s time for parents to decide how to react.

We encourage parents to not ignore these topics, but to start the discussion. And we like this new blog post from Prevent Child Abuse America‘s VP for Programs and Research, Dr. Janet Rosenzweig. Read the full article via Philly.com here. Here’s a sample of the great list of messages to address with older kids:

“Here’s a few topics from this movie that make a great discussion with any child, from around age 10 on:

  • In real life, it is never OK for an adult to seduce a child (Grey was introduced to sex by a friend of his mother)
  • In real life, it is never OK for people to hurt each other
  • In real life, girls want to have their own lives, their own opinions and don’t crave domination
  • In real life, if a man tells a woman (or a woman tells a man) he’s too damaged for a relationship, as Grey tells Anna early on, listen to him and run the other way.

With all of the hype about the books and movie, you may have read points like these, or thought about them yourself if you’ve read the books. As a sex educator, here’s the point I consider most important: This material was written to induce sexual arousal, and when it does, your child needs to understand that just because they experience reflexive arousal does not mean that this is the type of sex they want to have when they are mature enough to have sex.  It is a very common experience for humans to experience arousal from observing or reading about a sexual act they would never consider, and it takes honesty and maturity to understand that fact.”

> Read the full article via Philly.com here.

> Check out SCAN’s Parent Resource Center page on Sex & Violence in the Media here.

> Check out SCAN’s Parent Resource Center page (and fact sheets) on Sexting here.

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