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‘SO, HOWWAS SCHOOL TODAY?’
FROM THE DESK OF Jeffery L .Robinette “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison Labor Day is much more than just the unofficial end of summer. Most importantly, it is a day set aside to honor the contributions workers have made to build our country. Throughout history, countless workers have been injured or died while on the job with absolutely no compensation for their injuries and families. Thankfully, a hundred years of legal progress have entitled you to a workplace that protects you from known health and safety hazards. Employees in the U.S. have the right to speak up about safety concerns without the fear of retaliation. Additionally, workers have the rights to: Have safety gear to protect from harmful substances or dangerous environments, such as gloves and harnesses Report and review injuries or illnesses as a result of unsafe work conditions Receive copies of medical records Get copies of test results that show hazards in the workplace Request an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection • • • • • • • Get adequate training Use safe machinery
How to Get Your Teen Talking About Grades, Friends, Bullies, and More
If you’re the parent of a teenager, you’ve likely had one particular conversation a million times. It goes something like this:
You: “So, how was school today?” Teen: “Fine.”
That’s it — that’s the whole conversation. It’s a cliché dialogue played out to exhaustion on TV and in movies, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate. And now that school has started back up again, you and your teen probably have it at least once per week. While the curt reply seems inevitable, it seems worse not to ask and risk missing something important in your child’s life. Also, you don’t want to seem disinterested; all you really want is to make their adolescent years as smooth as possible. So, is there a better way to communicate? According to the experts, yes. Here are a few tactics teachers and psychologists recommend trying to get teens to open up about school and tough issues like friendships, grades, and bullying.
Know your rights, work hard, and work safe!
The first mistake is the immediacy of the standard conversation. If you want your teen to talk, don’t ambush them when they come through the door. Instead, wait for a comfortable,
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casual setting when you’re both relaxed. Don’t make the conversation feel like a big deal, and don’t even make eye contact if you don’t have to. Car rides, shared chores, and dark rooms before bed are ideal times and places for tough questions.
bring up a problem they’re facing at school, don’t take over the conversation and start lecturing about how to fix it. Instead, ask what they think they should do and work together to develop a solution. If all else fails, do a little research. Both Psychology Today and Life magazine have excellent lists of questions to ask your teen instead of “How was school?” Questions like “If your day at school today was a movie, what movie would it be?” and “If you could be invisible for the day at school, what would you do?” are guaranteed to yield interesting information, even if it’s not the kind you were looking for. with that age group is an art,” Liz Evans wrote for HuffPost. “But when you get dialogue, engaged dialogue, with a teen, it’s never disappointing. It’s guaranteed to be interesting; sometimes it can be very enlightening, and it’s always worth the work. Always.” “I taught either junior high or high school for almost a decade, and I get that communication
Instead of jumping right in with a blunt question — like “How was school today?” — you’ll probably have better luck if you talk around the subject. Try leading with something new you’ve noticed about your teen’s behavior (a new book, a different kind of music playing, etc.) or something you’ve heard about a teacher or peer. That way, you can set up a discussion rather than an interrogation. Whatever you do, be careful not to sound accusatory when you’re commenting on their behavior, even if it’s suspicious or concerning.
LISTEN AND LEARN
It can sometimes feel like pulling teeth, but try to let your teen do most of the talking. If they
What Happened in Reed Springs?
How a Small Town Went Bankrupt Over a Pothole
In 2002, the quaint town of Reed Springs, Missouri, declared bankruptcy. The hard decision came after the town was forced to pay $100,000 to Sally Stewart, a woman who sued Reed Springs after she tripped over a pothole during a shopping trip. News of a greedy woman ruining a small village tomake a quick buck sparked outrage across the country. But Stewart wasn’t the real villain of this story. A little digging into this case reveals a much deeper conspiracy. Stewart had been visiting Reed Springs in 1998 when she tripped on a pothole hidden beneath some overgrown grass on the sidewalk. But this was no small stumble. Stewart tore two ligaments in her ankle and had to undergo
surgery. To help pay for the medical bills, Stewart, who’d never sued anyone before, initially filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owners of the store in front of the pothole. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals determined the city of Reed Springs was liable for Stewart’s injuries. The court ordered Reed Springs to pay Stewart $100,000, over half the city’s annual budget. Despite the high price tag, in normal circumstances, this verdict wouldn’t have forced Reed Springs to declare bankruptcy because the town’s insurance would have covered the bill. Unfortunately, at the time of Stewart’s accident, the mayor of Reed Springs was a corrupt man named Joe Dan Dwyer.
Dwyer left office while being investigated for insurance fraud, child pornography, statutory rape, witness bribery, and perjury, and he was later sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Among his many indiscretions, Dwyer also let the town’s insurance policy lapse. Reed Springs didn’t have insurance when Sally Stewart got hurt, which is why they had to write a check out of their own budget and ultimately declare bankruptcy. In this case, what started as a simple pothole accident quickly unveiled the lasting damage of an unscrupulous politician. Perhaps this case serves as reminder about why it’s important to vote in local elections.
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What You Can Do to Help Is Your Child Being Bullied? A new school year is a prime opportunity for kids tomake new friends among their classmates. Unfortunately, kids also form connections during the school year that aren’t always positive, andmany children become the targets of school bullies. If you suspect your child is being bullied, there are a few things you can do to help. KNOW THE SIGNS Kids usually don’t open up about being bullied right away. However, there are some common signs that your child is being harassed. Here are a few of them:
• If they’re refusing to go to school or ride the bus, they may be dreading their bully. • If they’re rushing to the bathroom after school, it may indicate that they’re being bullied in the bathroom, which is a common tactic bullies use to avoid teachers. • If their grades suddenly change, it may be the result of constant harassment • Anxious or depressed moods can be the result of bullying as well. If you spot one or more of these signs, it’s time to talk to your child about what’s happening to them at school.
LISTEN When your child does open up, the best thing you can do is listen. It can be tempting to try to give them advice or question the way they handled the situation, but doing this can give your child the impression that it’s their own fault they are being bullied. Let them tell you the whole story, without judgment, and then help them come up with ideas on what to do next. FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION Once you’ve been informed that your child is being bullied, you should inform teachers as soon as possible. Apart from that, there are several ways you can help your child to deal with bullies, so talk to them about what approach they would be most comfortable with, such as de-escalation strategies or a buddy systemwith their friends. As with most conflicts, the sooner you handle the situation, the better.
Take a Break!
CLASSIC APPLE CRISP
Inspired by Food Network
5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
Directions: 1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Jeffery Robinette PAGE 1 How to Talk to Your Teen About School PAGE 1 A Surprising Reason for Bankruptcy PAGE 2 How to Respond to School Bullies PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Classic Apple Crisp PAGE 3 Do You KnowWho Your Kid Is Talking to Online? PAGE 4 Our advanced technological age, with its plethora of online platforms to connect people all over the world, is riddled with obvious benefits as well as unfortunate side effects. Nearly 60% of children ages 8–12 have a smartphone, so cyberbullies and online predators pose a legitimate threat. Parents now wonder what they can do to preserve their child’s safety without completely invading their privacy, andmany have turned to Bark for help. According to Bark’s website, the app was created in collaboration with child psychologists, youth advisors, digital media experts, and law enforcement professionals to deliver a research-backed way of safeguarding families using technology. Once purchased, the app connects to 24 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) tomonitor text messages, emails, and social activity for signs of harmful content and interactions. When Bark’s
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Bark Lets Parents See Potential OnlineThreats toTheir Kids How Does the App Work? What Do the Experts Say About It?
algorithms detect potential risks, it alerts parents via email and text and sends them snippets of flagged content paired with recommendations from child psychologists on how to talk to their kids about it. Since its launch in 2016, Bark has scannedmore than a billionmessages from 2 million children and claims to have helped prevent dozens of potential suicides, school shootings, and bomb threats through its detection of problematic language. While the app’s claims are certainly advantageous, many parents wonder if they are infringing on their child’s privacy. According to Jasmina Byrne, a child protection specialist at UNICEF, the privacy concerns get exponentially worse if parents don’t inform their kids about the app. Other experts claimparents should let their child know they are using the tracking app, but, as a result, the childrenmight
feel forced to express themselves differently, which poses a threat to their online freedom.
While there has yet to be 100% consensus among child psychology experts regarding parental smartphone-monitoring software, all seem to agree that if a parent deploys these types of apps, the experience can lead to better family communication if they let their kids know about it, and
Bark might be the safest and least invasive option on the market thus far.
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