FREE online course to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children

SelfharmUK and the Virtual College have worked in partnership to create a free online course designed to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children.

Thousands of children and young people in the UK are thought to be impacted by self-harm each year. Spotting the signs can be difficult, and approaching the subject with your children can be an uncomfortable experience.

‘Talking to your children about emotional resilience and self-harm’, has been designed to provide parents with a basic awareness of the subject to help them approach their children with confidence about the issue.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • Know what self-harm is and why young people may do it
  • Know what makes young people vulnerable to self-harming behaviour
  • Understand in what ways you can support a young person is who self-harming

Register for the training here

What children want for Christmas: a Dad

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survery of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

Children’s & youth work links

Links from around the world of children’s and youth work:

What happened when 9 teens gave up their mobile phones for a week: anyone who has worked with teenagers for more than 5 minutes know how connected to their mobiles they are.  So what happens if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

The Smart Talk is a website that helps parents and kids come up with a set of mobile phone rules together, and creates a handy agreement you can print out.  This tool is more than a simple checklist; it’s meant to start conversations between parents and their child.

What I Teach My Students About Alcohol: Austin McCann shares what he taught his young people about drinking alcohol from the Bible.

Teens Tell All: Your Guide To Teen Slang, From Bae To Woke: As part of TODAY’s “Teens Tell All” series, they asked teenagers to enlighten adults about all those mysterious terms they throw out when they talk or message.

Jesus was a Youth Minister: Jesus’ disciples were mainly young men.  This makes Peter the perfect, Biblical example of what it looks like to mentor a teenager!

 

An Infographic on Anonymous Apps and Teenagers

An Infographic on Anonymous Apps and Teenagers

One of the most frequent questions I receive from parents is about apps that teenagers are using and what a caring parents perspective should be on them.

The team from Rawhide.org have released a helpful infographic which gives a quick and concise overview of these anonymous apps – something you can share with parents.

Temporary and Anonymous Apps

 

What children want for Christmas: a Dad

Christmas presents

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survey highlighted in The Telegraph of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot. One child asked for Eva Longoria and another wanted Harry Styles from One Direction.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

The 10th Ofcom report on ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report‘ has just been published.

This report examines children’s media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4.

The report also includes findings relating to parents’ views about their children’s media use, and the ways that parents seek – or decide not – to monitor or limit use of different types of media.

Summary of key themes

This year’s report shows that:

  • In 2005 levels of take-up of key media among children were higher than we might recollect, and not dissimilar to those of today. However, the experience of using these devices has been transformed, leading to a much richer and more expansive online experience than was the case in 2005.
  • Over the last few years, tablets are increasingly being used as a default entertainment screen, particularly among younger children. This is set alongside a small but important decrease in the numbers watching TV via a TV set.
  • The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries, including providers like YouTube and Google. As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites.
  • The move towards smaller screens makes supervision more difficult for parents, and the proliferation of devices increases the need for parents to keep up to date with technology. For example, while over half of parents use any of the technical tools we ask about to manage their children’s online access and use, and around a quarter use ISP network-level filters, less than one in five parents whose child uses a smartphone or tablet use any of the tools for restricting app installation or use that we asked about.
  • The wider range of sources of content, set alongside the increased exposure to advertising, the use of services like social networking and the relatively low levels of critical understanding raises challenges for how children keep their personal information safe, understand the implications of sharing personal information and content and navigate the increasingly complex online environment in a way which allows them to reap the benefits and minimise the risks.

Pages 4-12 contain the Executive Summary with key themes and findings – if you don’t have long, do take the time to read these few pages.  Section 3 also contains some fascinating charts on the difference in usage by children between 2005 and 2015.

 

Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:

 

Children of Divorce More Likely to Become Smokers

Smoking

The Atlantic has reported on how children of divorce are more likely to become smokers:

Researchers at the University of Toronto weren’t able to prove that children of divorced parents turn to cigarettes as a coping mechanism from lingering childhood trauma. But they did find that people whose parents had divorced when they were children were at a significantly increased risk of initiating smoking.

Of the 19,000 U.S adults included in the study, the odds of having smoked 100 or more cigarettes increased by 48 and 39 percent for sons and daughters of separated or divorced parents, respectively. The “100 or more” metric is the CDC’s way of deciding who counts as a smoker (people who never reach that milestone get to be labeled “never smokers.”)

Gender-specific association between childhood adversities and smoking in adulthood: findings from a population-based studywas published in Public Health.

11 year old fakes being kidnapped to avoid parents evening!

11 year old fakes being kidnapped to avoid parents evening!

A boy in Spain was dreading a planned parents evening.  He had not done well in school, so he anticipated a bad meeting. Fortunately, he came up with a brilliant solution:

Early on Monday afternoon the unnamed 11-year-old son of a Spanish police officer stationed in the north-western town of Xinzo de Limia sent a text message from his mobile phone to tell his father he had been kidnapped.

When his father phoned back, the boy confirmed the worst. He had been snatched off the street as he was putting out the rubbish, he said, and was locked in the boot of a car. He had no idea where his kidnappers were taking him, but knew that the car he was in was a blue Seat. […]

It was only two hours later that the boy’s father noticed the keys to a spare flat owned by the family were missing.

The child was soon discovered there and reportedly explained that he had been terrified by the prospect of his parents going to school to speak to his teachers.

Read the full story here

Ministering to Children conference: Q&A with the speakers

Just before the end of the conference there was a Q&A with the speakers

How much do you refer to the parents, in resourcing them to disciple their children?
Colin: Who is Israel in Deut. 6 is it parents, God, the church, the nation, all of the above. It is a partnership from all. Anyone who is involved sees it as a partnership between church and parents.
Andy: a leader who was a mum told another child off, and the parent complained, had to work through it. We have to see all God’s children as our children.
Pete: primary role for looking after children is me, and if you’re being paid then people assume you will do it. The more we can do to help parents the better.
Helen: Parents are desperate to hear feedback at parents evening, what opportunities do we give.
Jane: remember the non Christian families as they don’t have parents to help them. Church can provide a safer community, helping families to connect with 20 mums doing toddler groups, become a Christian through Alpha, and now have tough challenges moving forward.

Do you have a stance on non-Christians helping to lead children’s work?
Andy: a bunch of non Christians who were in worship group but not leading, all of them were involved in a mentoring relationship moving forwards toward faith, so no problem so long as in that relationship and have boundaries.
Helen: need to be very clear in boundaries and relationship, and you would never want into be outnumbering the Christians, and sympathetic to Christian faith. Seen many volunteers come to faith, and equally how we do know that our “sound” Christians aren’t having crises of faith etc.
Colin: is it on God’s heart or yours, is it because you don’t have enough people to fill the roles. Anyone can paint but to what standard?

Love the idea of integrating children more fully into church but what does that actually look like?
Pete: that is the heart of Messy Church, an all-age group that meets midweek or Saturday. Don’t go to Sunday church as am a member of the Messy Church.
Jane: preached in a church, did the singing and liturgy, and the Vicar said we will go to groups, if want arty and crafty go here, if film go here, if discussion go here, and if want to listen to Jane go here. As started preaching someone interrupted with a question and ended as a dialogue sermon.
Teresa: a common theme from all-ages in Godly Play is that they have their own spirituality, it is visual and so they taken in from where they are.
Andy: don’t need to dumb it down, too many parishioners don’t attend as think it will be dumbed down,
Colin: what is church, a relationship with God and each other, a discussion with church leaders sounds important.

How to survive being 13 by a 14 year old

Be careful what pictures you put on Facebook …

A Netmums survey suggests that 13 is the most difficult age of all.  A 14-year-old has written a fantastic piece in The Guardian explaining how to get through it, well worth a read:

According to a Netmums survey, 13 is the most difficult age. But it’s not only parents who find it hard going – it’s tough for the teenagers too. Here’s how to make it through to being 14, by Miranda Smith, aged 14 and four months.

1. Don’t put up pictures of yourself on Facebook with a bottle of WKD beside you and a comment like: “Got SO drunk last night.” No one thinks it’s cool – and WKD is only 4% proof.

2. You’re going to feel a whole lot more grumpy when you’re 13 than you did at 12. But the thing is it’s not just you – every other 13-year-old feels exactly the same. Knowing that helps a bit.

3. It’s tempting, but try not to be on your phone 24/7. It really bugs your parents but, worse, it’s boring for your friends.

4. Thirteen is the age when you’re likely to start getting attention from the opposite sex. Don’t get carried away by this – there’s nothing more moist than a lovesick 13-year-old.

5. Don’t send pictures of yourself in your underwear to ANYONE – because they’ll end up being spread around, and you’ll regret it.

6. Your friends will annoy you, make you angry and get on your nerves. But don’t insult them on Twitter – 13-year-olds do that all the time. Twitter is a public forum, and if you start tweeting about your issues anyone can get involved even if it’s none of their business.

7. A few months ago, you hardly thought about your body at all. Now it’s the only thing on your mind. Of course your body matters: but the thing to think is that no one else notices it as much as you do. So try to chill about it.

8. At precisely the moment when you decide there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than staying in bed til late afternoon, your parents will become obsessed with you doing the chores for them. Rule of thumb: you can only say, “I’ll do it later,” five times. After that, just do it.

9. Thirteen-year-olds have massive fights with their friends, all the time. A year on, you won’t even remember what those fights were about – but you will remember how unhappy they made you feel.

10. Plan a really good party for when you reach 14. When the parents say they want to be around you’ll think, “OMG no,” … but it’s probably going to be best to let them stay. Agree on the conditions, and stick to your side of the bargain provided they stick to theirs.