Every year on Martin Luther King Day, following the first refrain of “We Shall Overcome,” a young blonde girl’s face immediately floods my mind. Doesn’t that happen to you too? No?
Well, a few years back this cutie (we’ll call her P. because “poo” would be too crass) attended a Lutheran preschool where she was enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten. Most Kansas City schools educate children about appreciating diversity and celebrating the life and teachings of MLK, even at a young age. So this was standard curriculum.
According to P.’s mother, P. said her teachers had been talking about how they were going to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr., and in several weeks they were to get a day off from school because of this special day.
Four-year old P. came home eagerly announcing to her family a blessed day was nearing. She had learned about it in school and was proud her church had royalty so famous she and the rest of the country didn’t have to go to school or work that day.
Her parents were confused.
“What are they teaching our child? And furthermore, why don’t WE know about this sacred holiday?” they wondered.
After more probing, P’s parents discovered the special holiday was NOT what their daughter insisted to be “Lutheran Kings’ Day.” With some more instruction and withheld laughter they were able to set P. straight.
As much as I appreciate Martin Luther King, Jr. and all he stood for, and sincerely mourn the loss of his life and what could have been; this day of remembrance will always be shared with P. and to her “Lutheran Kings.”
So to all of you Lutheran’s out there…have a happy Lutheran King Day as well!
Any of you take your kids to school today or try to put them on the bus when they had the day off? Don’t forget…no mail either!!
SIMPLYkc Magazine November 2012 issue
by Stacey Hatton
What produces more fear than scanning a full cart of groceries, then remembering you left your wallet at home? Having to make a call to Poison Control! The adrenaline surges, your heart pounds, and your mouth becomes dryer than a Sahara mirage as your “Parent of the Year” crown is stripped away as you push speed dial…
Who is at Risk?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Each year, approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance.”
The Kansas City metro’s Poison Control is run by the University of Kansas Hospital. They receive approximately 30,000 calls/year, and have been taking these calls since 1982. Dr. Tama Sawyer, Director of the Poison Control Center at the University of Kansas Hospital says, “Poisoning has overtaken motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause of deaths in the U.S. last year. The numbers keep increasing. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, old or young; it can happen to anyone.”
The center’s busiest hours are near the end of the day. “The biggest time for calls to our center is at 4:00pm. When moms are getting dinner ready and ask the older kids to watch out for the toddlers,” Sawyer says.
She also warns that when kids travel to their grandparents’ houses for babysitting or family get-togethers, “Daily pill reminders are great for grandparents, but NOT for kids.” These containers are usually kept easily visible for the grandparent so they won’t forget to take their medications – which are terribly dangerous for children –it is like opening up a toxic candy store for young kids with all the small pretty colored pills.
Common Calls to Poison Control
The American Association of Poison Control Centers say the majority of these calls occur when someone is home with the child, but just not paying attention. Make sure to lock up these items, or keep them out of reach:
• Medicines (vitamins, herbals, pain medications, diaper rash creams)
• Foreign objects (silica gel packages, glow products, batteries)
• Cleaning products (laundry detergent, floor cleaners, furniture polish)
• Cosmetics (makeup, perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover)
• Personal care products (deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap)
• Garage items (antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil)
The AAP states if a child is “unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.”
If your child has contact with a poison, and the child has either no symptoms or mild symptoms, first aid should be performed first and THEN poison control should be called immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
If your child has… Swallowed poison: Take leftover poison away from child and have her spit out any remainder from her mouth. Do NOT have her vomit!! Do NOT use syrup of ipecac. Poison on the skin: Remove child’s clothing and rinse his skin directly with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Poison in the eye: Wash child’s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a continuous flow of body temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes. Poison fumes: Take child into fresh air immediately. If the child isn’t breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and continue until the child breathes on his own, or until someone can take over. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)
Bullying isn’t original for this generation of children; but perhaps the methodology of preventing your child from being threatened by the proverbial “thugs” has changed. You don’t have to start your preschooler in Karate or dress them in designer clothes to ensure they won’t get picked on because, unfortunately, genetics plays a mean hand in this longstanding battle.
WHO’S AT RISK?
Children who are smaller, weaker, and appear shyer than other classmates are typically targeted by bullies. There’s no gender discrimination when it comes to bullying – both boys and girls can be targets AND bullies. However, kids who easily get emotional (i.e., crying, angry), or “give in” to their bully, puts them at a higher risk for being repeated targets.
Bullying can occur anywhere: at school (recess, lunch room, bathroom, hallways, or any place a teacher isn’t watching), when adults are absent (around the neighborhood, on the way to school, church or extra-curricular activities) or via computers or cell phones (emails and texting are increasing in severity and frequency of harassment). Bullying can be verbal, social and/or physical, or it can be one or a combination of these; but each type is just as destructive to the psyche of the bullied child. Examples of bullied attacks:
Social: Excludes child from events and stories, start rumors about them.
Physical: Pushes, slaps, punches, kicks, chokes.
ADDRESSING ISSUE HEAD ON
If you believe your child isn’t being bullied, it’s still beneficial to have the “bully conversation” with your family. They may know someone being mistreated and want to help, OR you could be wrong and someone is actually picking on your child. When there are no distractions and emotions are calm, ask your child, “Do you like all the kids in your class?” “Does everyone get along?” “Is anyone getting picked on or bullied?” Then educate in these areas:
1. Ask for help: Adults may need to mediate when the bullying occurs. Tell your child it’s appropriate and not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s not the child’s fault they are being attacked. “If a store is being robbed, doesn’t the store clerk call the police for backup?”
2. Make more friends: Four against one is better odds. If your child has friends who will stick up for him and verbally defend him, your child’s self-esteem will increase and he will find strength in numbers.
3. Extra-curricular activities: Being involved in a group, school club, or sports team will makes them feel like they “belong.” Just make sure they don’t join the same team as the bully.
4. Alerting school officials: Let everyone involved in your child’s life at the school know about the bullying, so they can intervene. If school officials don’t know of the problem, protect your child. Speak with the principal, the guidance counselor, and your child’s teachers. It takes a team to stifle this type of behavior.
If your child needs to approach his or her bully and training needs to take place, there are a few skills you can work on to get your kiddo through self-esteem “boot camp.” First you verbally educate her on how to stand up to the bully. Then you must “play act” these skills with your child. Usually, you will have to do this repeatedly or she won’t muster up the strength to address the bully. First, she must look the bully in the eye while standing tall and staying as calm as can be. Then she should announce her “catch phrase” and walk away strongly and proudly. This is NOT an easy task…hence, practice with your child.
Teach your child to say in a clear, firm voice: (AAP recommendations)
“I don’t like what you are doing.”
“Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
“Why would you say that?”
UH-OH! YOUR KID’S THE BULLY!
If you discover your child displaying bullying behavior, don’t waste time because typically their actions worsen with time. Take bullying seriously, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), follow these guidelines for the child:
Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior. Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
Be a positive role model. Children need to develop new and constructive strategies for getting what they want.
Show children that they can get what they want without teasing, threatening, or hurting someone. All children can learn to treat others with respect.
Use effective, nonphysical discipline, such as loss of privileges. When your child needs discipline, explain why the behavior was wrong and how your child can change it.
Help your child understand how bullying hurts other children. Give real examples of the good and bad results of your child’s actions.
Develop practical solutions with others. Together with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has bullied, find positive ways to stop the bullying.
As always, if you see your child’s behavior progressing or spiraling out of control, make sure to consult with your child’s medical provider.
What’s your bullying story? Were you or your child ever victims of a bully’s attack? Does your child’s school have an interesting policy on bullying? Is this information useful to you and your family? Please share below in the comment section… Stacey
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