The stimulated mind of a child: The impact of environmental factors on behaviour.

A number of students are referred to me exhibiting signs related to behavioural and emotional challenges. More times than not, I will see clients who are moderate to severe in their behaviours. So we’re talking about students who are involved in disruptive behaviours or illicit activities, atypical behaviours, and consistent violators of school policies. To be more specific, these are children who were referred to the multidisciplinary team, for the following issues at school and at home:

  • verbally abusive
  • fighting with fist and weapons
  • uncontrollable sudden outbursts of anger
  • vandalism
  • constant stealing
  • excessive lying
  • drugs and alcohol abuse etc.

Generally, I will begin with a Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) on the student.  This will include a number of observations, interviews with teachers, parents and the student, along with checking reports from other stakeholders.  The objective is to get as much information as possible.

Over the years I have come to notice that behavioural or emotional challenges do not always exist in isolation (in this case only in one particular setting), but, sometimes their expressions do.

Some years ago, after graduate school, as I was starting off as a psychologist working with children with emotional and behavioural disorders, at the time I did not realise there was so much more I had to learn.  I remember taking the approach that clients will be consistent in their behaviours, regardless of the environment they were placed in. But human beings are not like programmed robots.  For instance, if we install software on our laptops, then regardless of where we are in the world, it should work the same.  So, if I take my laptop to Europe, Africa, United States or the Caribbean, when the icon for Microsoft Office Word is clicked, the program will open.  People should be the same, right?  No!  This approach will be so wrong.

Behaviour is affected biochemically, but environmental factors (or lack of specific ones) around us, also influences our reactions or expressions.

It is therefore very important, that to reduce or to completely eradicate an unwanted behaviour, we look at things which maybe contributing as fuel to the behaviour.  When this is identified, we should manipulate it to modify the behaviour.

Now, the understanding that children are affected by their environment has vital importance on the way they learn as well. For this reason, as an educational psychologist working with teachers and students, I encourage teachers to create an environment with things that acts as positive stimuli. These positive stimuli may include:

  • posters,
  • a library,
  • multimedia,
  • adequate space for group work and other social interactions,
  • proper lighting and temperature,
  • and a reasonably outfitted soundproofed room etc.

What are some additional features you believe can be used to act as positive stimuli to our children learning?

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30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class

One day, in front 36 riotous sophomores, I clutched my chest and dropped to my knees like Sergeant Elias at the end of Platoon. Instantly, dead silence and open mouths replaced classroom Armageddon. Standing up like nothing had happened, I said, “Thanks for your attention — let’s talk about love poems.”

I never used that stunt again. After all, should a real emergency occur, it would be better if students call 911 rather than post my motionless body on YouTube. I’ve thought this through.

Most teachers use silencing methods, such as flicking the lights, ringing a call bell (see Teacher Tipster’s charming video on the subject), raising two fingers, saying “Attention, class,” or using Harry Wong’s Give Me 5 — a command for students to:

  1. Focus their eyes on the speaker
  2. Be quiet
  3. Be still
  4. Empty their hands
  5. Listen.

There is also the “three fingers” version, which stands for stop, look, and listen. Fortunately, none of these involve medical hoaxes.

Lesser known techniques are described below and categorized by grade bands:

How to Quiet Kindergarten and Early Elementary School Children

Novelty successfully captures young students’ attention, such as the sound of a wind chime or rain stick. Beth O., in Cornerstone for Teachers, tells her students, “Pop a marshmallow in.” Next she puffs up her cheeks, and the kids follow suit. It’s hard to speak with an imaginary marshmallow filling your mouth.

An equally imaginative approach involves filling an empty Windex bottle with lavender mineral oil, then relabeling the bottle “Quiet Spray.” Or you can blow magic “hush-bubbles” for a similar impact.

If you want to go electronic, check out Traffic Light by ICT Magic, which is simply a stoplight for talkers. Other digital methods include the Super Sound Box, Class Dojo, or the Too Noisy App — an Apple and Android tool that determines noise level and produces an auditory signal when voices become too loud.

Late Elementary and Middle Grade Attention Getters

Back when I taught middle school students, I would announce, “Silent 20,” as a way to conclude an activity. If students returned to their seats and were completely quiet in 20 seconds, I advanced them one space on a giant facsimile of Game of Life. When they reached the last square (which took approximately one month), we held a popcorn party.

One of the best ways to maintain a quiet classroom is to catch students at the door before they enter. During these encounters, behavior management expert Rob Plevin recommends using “non-confrontational statements” and “informal chit-chat” to socialize kids into productive behaviors, as modeled in Plevin’s video.

Two approaches for securing “100 percent attention” are modeled in a short video narrated by Teach Like a Champion author Doug Lemov — a minimally invasive hand gesture and countdown technique (“I need two people. You know who you are. I need one person . . . “).

Another idea is to use a content “word of the week” to signal that it’s time for silence. Examples: integer, renaissance, or circuit.

Quieting High School Students

Sometimes, rambunctious high school classrooms need a little longer to comply. In An ELT Notebook article, Rob Johnson recommends that teachers write the following instructions in bold letters on the chalkboard:

If you wish to continue talking during my lesson, I will have to take time off you at break. By the time I’ve written the title on the board you need to be sitting in silence. Anyone who is still talking after that will be kept behind for five minutes.

The strategy always, always works, says Johnson, because it gives students adequate warning.

Another technique, playing classical music (Bach, not Mahler) on low volume when learners enter the room, sets a professional tone. I played music with positive subliminal messages to ninth graders until they complained that it gave them headaches.

Call and Response

Below is a collection of catchy sayings that work as cues to be quiet, the first ones appropriate for early and middle grade students, and the later ones field tested to work with high school kids.

Teacher says . . . Students Respond with . . .
Holy . . . . . . macaroni.
1, 2, 3, eyes on me . . . . . . 1, 2, eyes on you.
I’m incredible . . . . . . like the Hulk. Grrrrrr. (Kids flex during the last sound)
Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy . . . . . . macarena.
I get knocked down . . . . . . but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down.
Oh Mickey, you’re so fine . . . . . . you’re so fine, you blow my mind — hey Mickey.
The only easy day . . . . . . was yesterday. (A Navy Seals slogan)

Implementation Suggestions

For maximum effect, teach your quiet signal and procedure, as demonstrated in these elementary and high school classroom videos. Next, have kids rehearse being noisy until you give the signal for silence. Don’t accept anything less than 100 percent compliance. Then describe appropriate levels of noise for different contexts, such as when you’re talking (zero noise) or during a writing workshop (quiet voices), etc.

If a rough class intimidates you (we’ve all been there), privately practice stating the following in an authoritative voice: “My words are important. Students will listen to me.” Say it until you believe it. Finally, take comfort in the knowledge that, out of three million U.S. educators who taught today, two or three might have struggled to silence a rowdy class.

How do you get your students’ attention?

Post:http://www.edutopia.org/blog/30-techniques-quiet-noisy-class-todd-finley

Advisory: 22 Ways to Build Relationships for Educational Success

Taken from:Nashville Big Picture High School

A shy and quiet ninth-grade student, Harley didn’t want to make friends when he entered Nashville Big Picture High School. He didn’t think he could. “Freshman year, I didn’t think I could really do anything,” remembers Harley, now a Nashville Big Picture alumnus and a rising college freshman. “Now, I believe in myself.”

On the first day of school, everything changed for Harley in his ninth-grade advisory when he met Michael, today one of his best friends. “He helped me to expand myself, talk more, and become friends with more people. I can now easily go up to somebody, shake their hand, and start a full-on conversation with them out of thin air,” notes Harley. His confidence shows in his senior capstone project, a 20-minute documentary honoring his graduating class. “I interviewed every student, every teacher, and most of the staff that we have ever interacted with,” recounts Harley. He also interviewed his peers about student voice and choice for Edutopia.

Relationships are the hub of advisory. Students stay with the same peer group of about 15 students — as well as the same advisor — throughout all four years. “Advisory gave me a place in school that I looked forward to,” recalls Harley. “In middle school, I would dread every day having to be with those kids again, but at Big Picture, I looked forward to seeing not only the group of people I considered friends, but the group I considered family.”

Students at Nashville Big Picture attend advisory Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (their on-campus days) for 15 minutes in the morning before classes and two hours at the end of the day. (They’re off-site at internships on Tuesday and Thursday.) During advisory, they have individualized learning time where they work on projects and assignments for their classes; ten-minute one-on-one meetings with their advisor weekly (the frequency and time can change depending on their students’ needs); and relationship-building activities, like family meals, problem-solving discussions, and games of Uno.

Nashville Big Picture has a 95 percent attendance rate and a 98 percent graduation rate. “They want to be here because they feel welcomed,” says Chaerea Snorten, Nashville Big Picture’s principal. “They feel like they matter. They feel loved and appreciated.”

If you want to create a culture where your students feel supported, appreciated, and safe to open up to you, here’s how you can adapt Big Picture’s philosophy of building intentional relationships, both inside and outside of advisory.

How It’s Done

22 Ways to Build Intentional Relationships With Your Students, Even If You’re at a Big School

If you can’t fit advisory into the master schedule, you can implement a lot of what Big Picture does during homeroom, in your classroom, or during lunch and break periods. At the heart of advisory is building intentional relationships with your students. Here are 22 ways to do that.

1. Know your students’ names, suggests Snorten. When you use someone’s name, you’re recognizing their identity. It’s simple, but it helps your students know that they’re being seen.

2. Recognize something that your students like. “Even something as simple as, ‘I know your favorite color is green,'” recommends Snorten. “Or, ‘I know your favorite football team is the Washington Redskins’ — anything like that. It’s a talking point.”

3. Notice something about your students. “‘Hey, I love your blouse. It’s really pretty.’ That extends itself for a conversation,” explains Snorten.

4. Ask your students about their experience in after-school activities. You can say something like, “’Hey, I know that you were able to go speak in front of the mayor. Tell me what that experience was like for you,’” suggests Snorten. “Or, ‘You all had a softball game the other day. I understand it was pretty tough. Share some fun things about it.’ These kinds of conversations are quick, and they don’t take hours and hours to build.”

5. If a student is late (or acting up), check in with them. “Instead of saying, ‘Go to class,'” suggests Courtney Ivy Davis, Nashville Big Picture’s school counselor and internship coordinator, “start a conversation, and say something like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen that you’ve been late for the past couple days. What’s going on? Do you need some help with anything?'”

6. When you’re having conflict with a student, use that as an opportunity. As a teacher, you’re positioned to help students problem solve and work out their issues. The language that you use in these situations is key, and Snorten advises asking the following questions:

  • What happened with this situation?
  • Was there something that you could have done differently? What would the outcome have been?
  • What are resources that you can use to help you work through issues or concerns that you have?

Related Resource: 13 Common Sayings to Avoid

7. Have your students address you by your first name, offers Snorten. This helps humanize you to your students. You’re not just their teacher or principal, but you become Miss Courtney or Mr. Gary who has two cats and loves to freestyle rap.

8. Know that it takes time to build relationships. Whether the role of advisor is new to you, or your advisory group just graduated and you’ll be starting over with freshmen again next year, remember that building relationships takes time. “It takes time to get through your students’ walls,” says Derick Richardson, a math teacher and advisor. “I have an awesome young lady in my advisory. It took a few years for her not to blow up on me whenever we had conversations revolving around conflict. Now I know how to present things to her so she can receive it.”

9. Be open, honest, and vulnerable with your students. “There’s nothing off limits,” says Gary Hook, a Big Picture history teacher and advisor. “I’m honest with them, I’ll say, ‘Hey, I had an argument with my wife this morning. I’m sorry if I’m in a bad mood. We’re going to get through it.’ I’ll say that, and it disarms them, and they may say, ‘I had an argument with my mom this morning, and I’m feeling …’ I like to take that approach because, at the end of the day, I know the real student versus a false personality. We get in touch with the human side of one another.”

10. Bring your personality into your advisory. If you walk into four advisories at Big Picture, you’ll notice that each one is different, and each one reflects the advisor’s personality. In Hook’s advisory, for example, they’ll sometimes have freestyle Fridays. He has been a fan of hip-hop since he was ten, and now he uses hip-hop as an avenue to connect with and engage his students; they challenge him to freestyle rap battles. “I’m pretty much undefeated,” he says. Another Big Picture advisor ends each advisory with a game of UNO, which has become an ongoing tournament.

11. Help your students learn that not knowing the answer is OK. “The number one thing that students think about is not wanting to appear as if they don’t know something,” says Laura Davis, a history teacher and advisor. “That’s a big hurdle to get over, getting them comfortable with asking for help.”

12. Guide your students to become resources for each other. “They learn who is good at computers, who is good at art, who’s good at organizing, and who is good to practice their presentations with,” says Davis, “and that is a life skill.” Help your students recognize their strengths — as well as the strengths of their classmates — so that they can support each other and know who they can reach out to for help.

13. Make sure you take care of yourself. Staying balanced is necessary, says Hook. As a teacher, you’re always thinking about your students. The same is true for being an advisor, and maybe even more so. When considering your students’ needs, don’t forget your own in the process. If you’re burnt out, you won’t be able to be fully present for your kids.

14. Create advisory expectations with your students on day one. “The most important thing in ninth grade advisory, from day one,” emphasizes Davis, “is setting what the culture of the room will be like. What are the expectations for the students and for the adult?” Have your students create the classroom norms, but allow yourself veto power. Be clear on each expectation and what that looks like. If be respectful is an expectation, what would being respectful look like?

15. “Whatever happens in advisory stays in advisory,” stresses Davis. It’s important to include confidentiality in the advisory expectations so that your students are comfortable sharing their feelings, struggles, and successes in a safe space.

16. Focus on teaching your students skills with long-term benefits. “Teaching them how to manage their time, their projects, due dates, syllabuses, and multiple apparatuses of online tools — that’s extremely key,” says Davis. “Reflecting, journaling, we do that every day. That happens at the very beginning. I want them to take these skills with them all four years. These are things I model every day.”

17. Check in with each student for ten minutes. If you have an advisory or homeroom, use some of that time to check in with your students one-on-one. “We talk about school, internships, life, and things they want to let me know,” explains Davis. “If you’re in a school with 500 students,” adds Hook, “and you don’t have the ability to connect with a small group, start having conversations about how to do that. Could it work if you add 15 minutes to your day, or if you take ten minutes away from your lunch?”

18. Do something fun. “If you have a homeroom of 36 kids, what could you do tomorrow to build relationships?” asks Davis. “Do something fun to get your students to start slowly breaking down their walls.”

19. Let your students do walk-and-talks when they’re having a hard day. When Davis’ students are having a difficult day, she lets them leave class momentarily to walk with her (while someone covers her class) or with a peer so that they can share what’s on their mind. “I think that’s really important for kids to know that they have a supportive group of peers — and an adult — that will listen,” says Davis.

20. Use family meetings to resolve conflicts. If there’s an issue, “we gather in a Quaker Circle and talk about what has happened and where we move from here,” explains Davis. “It prevents the ‘he said, she said,’ dialogue. Anyone can call a family meeting. I can, or the students can.”

21. Host family meals. “Every first Friday, we pick a menu, and every person has a responsibility,” explains Hook. “They bring in their food, and we eat, hang, and laugh together. That’s just my way of bringing them all back to this space, refocusing our energy, and hitting home the idea that we’re a unit, and we’re moving forward.” Family meals initiated from a holiday brunch. Hook’s students loved coming together to cook for each other, and they came up with the idea to have a family meal to celebrate all of the birthdays for each month. Hook begins each family meal with a lesson or philosophical question, like discussing what is wealth, or what traditions the modern American family no longer follows and what’s the impact of that. “Sometimes they entertain my questions, and they want to talk about it,” says Hook, “and other times, they’re just like, ‘Oh, gosh, here he goes again.'”

22. Reflect on your practice. At the beginning of each school year, as well as bi-monthly with their professional learning community, Nashville Big Picture’s staff looks at how they can improve what they’re doing. “We don’t just sit in one place,” says Ivy Davis, “and say, ‘Hey, this works,’ and leave it that way. No, we’re always looking at, ‘Is this still working? Do we need to keep it? How can we enhance this?'”

Building relationships is one of the most critical elements at Big Picture, says Snorten. “That’s key because it’s the catalyst. When a student can relate to you, and they know you care, that makes a big difference.” Nashville Big Picture has cultivated a relationship-focused culture, and advisory allows them to deepen those relationships.

Educating Parents About Education

In too many classrooms in America, parents are often viewed as the adversaries of teachers. While this isn’t true for every school district, even one is too many. The parent-teacher relationship is just one of the many factors that complicate our educational system, and it’s a prime example. Why is this relationship such a variable? The parent’s personal experience with education probably tops the list, but how the culture of the school accepts and relates to parents is a close second. Of course, every parent’s number one concern will be: “Is my child getting a proper education to compete and thrive in our world?”

Things Have Changed

In the past, communication has always been a key factor in bringing teachers and parents together. Today, we might add transparency as a key factor in parents’ understanding of what goes on at school.

The one thing most Americans have in common is an experience with our education system. As a result, almost everyone has an opinion on what is right and, even often more vocalized, what is wrong with the system.

What complicates these views further is the fact that most of us were educated by teachers who employed 20th century pedagogy and methodology, which means that the 20th century is the basis of our educational experience. Since we are now almost halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, we need to get everyone up to speed. This requires educating parents about the education of their children. For example:

  • No longer can a teacher’s quality be judged by the amount of homework assigned.
  • Quiet and complacent kids are not necessarily signs of students engaged in learning.
  • The teacher’s content expertise should no longer be the controlling or limiting factor in a student’s education.
  • We do not need rows of desks to ensure attention.
  • All learning is not limited to the classroom.

We are struggling today to bring teachers up to speed with all of the effects that result from our living in a technology-driven society. It has had a profound effect on many educators’ pedagogy, methodology, and education philosophy. Education is a conservative institution that is slow to change, but make no mistake — changes are occurring. As big of a struggle as it may be to affect the mindset of educators while they model and share those changes with their students, we must recognize that parents are left almost entirely out of the process.

Keeping Parents Informed

If we don’t want an adversarial relationship with parents, we need to educate them about the education of their children. Technology provides a number of methods for keeping parents informed. Of course, the most effective way of all is a face-to-face meeting. In the past, Parents Night or Back to School Night was the standard way of informing parents about the teachers’ expectations. It was one night set aside for parents to check out the mean teacher they had heard so much about at dinner. We probably need to make that a more collaborative process. These nights could be more effective if we allowed parents to pose sessions on topics that they had an interest in. Teachers could pose topics that they thought parents should be aware of. Back to School Night could be just that — a night to learn about topics relevant to education in the 21st century. Sessions could be a hybrid form of the edcamp model.

A class website could be most helpful in creating transparency. Parents could access it at any time to see what is currently going on in class. Of course, this impacts a teacher as another set of things to do, so we should expect a great deal of support from the district in order for teachers to accomplish this. Effective websites often result in parent support, as well as an appreciation for seeing their child’s work being modeled online. Kids respond differently as well, since they now have a voice and an audience that includes their parents.

There are apps like Remind that allow teachers to communicate via text to parents without revealing the phone numbers of the teacher or parent. Communication of both good and bad news can happen instantaneously in a medium that many people are familiar with. A text doesn’t take two days to go through the mail to be possibly swiped from the mailbox by a mail-notice-savvy student.

Teachers can preserve students’ work in digital files or portfolios. These can be instantly shared with parents. Grades on a report card are only subjective promises of potential, while the portfolio shows the actual work, which is proof of achievement and hopefully an example of mastery.

Parent Education Starts With Us

Today, educators are doing many things that are not in the education experiences of parents or teachers. We can’t expect parents to understand these new dynamics of education if they aren’t taught about them. Age may produce wisdom, but relevance needs to be worked on every day. In addition to the load that teachers already carry, parent education needs to somehow become a priority. If we want our kids’ education to last, they will need models that both teachers and parents can provide. And we have to work harder at keeping parents in the loop.

How do you keep parents informed about and involved in what happens in the classroom?

Original article: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/educating-parents-about-education-tom-whitby

Teamwork and reflective practice in the family.

Imagine a company is going through some economic challenges and it comes to the point that the only way to survive is to make some immediate changes. So the Chief Executive Officer gets all the ten managers together for a meeting. You happen to be one of the managers.

 

One by one, he comes down the line asking what could be done to have this company, and by extension jobs saved. After the ninth manager, here comes your turn. With all eyes on you, the question is asked: “What can we do to save this company and your job?”

 

With a confident smile on your face you blurt out: “I have absolutely no idea!”

 

Now, if you were the last one that the company was depending on to come up with a good idea, then, there goes the jobs and the many lives depending on the employee.

 

Hi, my name is Allick, and I’m the Behaviourist Buy, and today I want to talk about actively thinking about the needs of the family as it pertains to building a stronger, better team.

So what are we talking about here?

 

There comes a time, when a parent, husband or wife, need to reflect on the direction the family is heading, and what can be done to ensure the family see the success it deserves.

Now this approach of becoming a reflective practitioner can help solve most, if not all major problems a family may have.  The following are some steps you can take to help you become more reflective of issues affecting the family and how to solve them:

 

Step 1: Identifying the problem.

An adult may say to a child: “You never listen to me when I say go cleanup your room.” And this is normally followed by some kind of argument, back and forth. Now, most times the conflict would have been averted if the adult had said something differently. What I mean here is that if the adult was more specific in what the child appears to not be doing, this may reduce the chance of a conflict escalating.

 

So the next time you are having a disagreement with your child, try to be specific.  For example, if you want them to cleanup their room, let them know what is to be done.  So we are looking at things like remove clothing and books from the floor and pack them in their respective cupboards, dust writing desk, place shoes under bed, side by side in a straight line.

 

Step 2: Try to see the problem as though you were the other person.

This means, that you must walk in their shoes, as it were. That would mean, that you look at the named issue, and try to see if it would really be considered a problem for all persons.

 

Let say, again, it has to do with cleaning up their room after playtime. You as the adult may look at the entire room and say it is untidy. But, could you see, that for a child, it may be that they can still get to bed and sleep; at least if they arch their body just right, they can actually fall asleep between the rubble. And, that is a reason why they may not see an untidy room as a problem.

 

Step 3: Think in terms that the child may not be previously aware of the behaviour we are calling to their attention.

The child may see for instance the room with a number of stuff thrown about, but a question that could be ask is: Are they aware of the reasons for keeping their room clean? Don’t take for granted that they know.

 

Why?

 

Because they are 10 years old or 12 years old or because they are teenagers?

 

Sometimes what can happen is that we look at the child’s physical structure and make a determination, that cognitively or their ability to reason, should be commensurate with how they look. And that’s, not always the way to determine knowledge.

 

Step 4: How could I modified the child’s behavior?

It is often stated that a picture can paint 1000 words. This means that at times you may have to show them a picture of what behaviours you are expecting them to engage.

 

Video content is something that can keep the interest of a child. So it may be that you show them someone engaging in the behavior you want them to also engage in.

 

At times you may have to tell a story from your experience.  For example, when you found as a child a scorpion in your untidy room (or something else with a little shock factor). Let them know how you felt scared and what you decided to do after that experience (hopefully it was to start keeping your room tidy!).

 

You may need to also build, or purchase cupboards for them to pack away their stuff. Also, teach your children how to label sections of the room, so that they will know exactly what goes where.

 

Step 5: Think about whether you are showing reasonableness or patients.

Sometimes you may want a particular behavior to stop immediately. Fidgeting for instance or speaking out of turn might be one of them.

 

Or once more, for them to clean up their room.

 

But it is important to think about the age group of the child, and the length of time they may have taken to develop this unwanted behaviour.  As such, it may also take some time to reverse, or learn different behaviours; or the more positive ones.

 

It is important to note that there are some behaviors that are simply age specific. And so, more than likely, with proper guidance or appropriate discipline, the child will grow out of this unwanted behaviour.  Please understand that this will also take time, patients and reasonableness on your part as the adult.  In so doing, you will help the child to successfully navigate through this time.

 

So, you are a good manager, who can come up with how to solve family problems.  Especially with how you interact with a child when there is a perceived problem. Follow these five steps and you’ll be fine.

 

Well, that’s all for now. This is Allick. Hope you learned something.

 

See you next time.

 

Essential things to know about physical child abuse (Script)

Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child or young person under the age of what is considered to be an adult. In a number of countries a person might be considered a minor if they are under the age of 18. 

Hi, my name is Allick, and I’m The Behaviourist Guy, and today I want to talk about physical child abuse.

 Physical child abuse seems to be all over the news these days.

I want you to imagine this story, and I am telling you this because when you hear of it you can make your own judgment.

 So it goes like this, a boy’s father looks through the window and see his son forcing the face of his pet dog into a puddle of water to drink. His son is about eight years old, the dog is a puppy just a couple months older. In the child’s mind, this seems to be no malice. He simply wants his dog to drink the water, because he thinks it is thirsty.

His father runs out of the house after witnessing what was happening outside.

 Pulls the puppy away from his sons hand and drags the boy by his shirt collar. He shakes him a couple times. Then ask, “What is wrong with you, are you stupid?”

 The boy dropped his chin. The father, not getting an answer pulls his son back to the area where the puddle of water was and pushes his son’s head into the water, as he screams at him, “Why don’t you drink, you want to drink now, don’t you?”

 Do you think the father was being physically abusive to the child?

 Now, some persons may say, the father is simply punishing his son for doing a bad deed. They may even see it as a form of discipline.

So while physical abuse may be seen as hitting, punching, kicking, shaking, not all people will agree with these being physical abuse. A matter of fact, some people accept some of these as normal or acceptable part of child rearing.

“Surveys of parents for example, show that 90% use physical punishment on their children,” states the book Family Violence Across the Lifespan.

Murray Straus, he died in 2016, was a professor of sociology and he said: “Spanking is harmful for two reasons. First, it legitimizes violence… Condoning the use of violence as a way to deal with frustration and settle disputes. Second, the implicit message of acceptance contributes to violence in other aspects of society.” He called this a “cultural spillover”.

 Research supports this perspective that spanking is positively correlated to “forms of family violence, including sibling abuse and spouse assault”.

 While official estimates indicate that child physical abuse is increasing, in a number of countries, there is a lack of definitional consensus.

 Characteristics Of Victims

Age: research findings suggest that a little over 50% of all physical child abuse takes place when the child is between 0 to 5 years old.

 Gender: research findings are mixed with some showing a 50% for both males and 50% for females.

 Consequences Of Physical Child Abuse

Children who experience physical child abuse often present with medical complications such as injuries to the hand and legs, even head and abdomen.

And then there is a number of behavioral problems such as aggression, fighting at schools and on the streets. These behavioral problems might even manifest themselves in noncompliance to authority, oppositional defiance or conduct disorder and in some cases may lead to antisocial personality disorder.

And there might be a number of cognitive difficulties as well, where, because of feeling of inadequacy, the child may not be motivated to engage school task. As such, areas such as mathematics and language skills might be deficit.

 What You Can Do.

Many times a child may come to you and disclose that they are physically abused, other times it will be evident by means of their behaviors. Once they come to you it is important that you believe the child. This is not a time to second-guess whether or not the child was actually physically abused. But in believing the child, you place yourself in a better position to now listen to what the child has to say to you. And that places you in a better position to offer help.

Another thing you want to do is to be as calm as possible. Sometimes a child may role play or draw a picture depicting the physical violence or physical abuse and it may be upsetting, but try to be as calm as possible. The reason is, if you display shock, panic or disbelief, the child may close in and not continue telling you what happened.

Also, do not be afraid to report all cases of physical child abuse as the relevant authority will determine whether or not the child was actually abused. In a number of situations, reporting physical child abuse to the police, health centers and hospitals, may not even require you leaving your name or a telephone contact.

 So let’s protect our children

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Essential things to know about physical child abuse

Physical child abuse is to be taken seriously, as an abused child is a traumatized child. And so, while physical child abuse can be seen on the body of the child, it is also inflicted mentally. As a result the child is therefore affected emotionally and behaviorally. What is physical child abuse? Who is affected? What can we do to assist a child experiencing physical child abuse? Listen as I discuss the answers to these and other questions in the video.