Chicago: The Deadliest U.S. City for Children?
America is no doubt one of the “best” nations on earth. But all is not well here. One of the country’s best cities – Chicago, seems to be a death trap especially for children. In a special report in his program – AC360°, last Wednesday, 6 May, 2009, CNN’s Anderson Cooper X-rayed the growing death toll in Chicago, where school children are being killed in an alarming proportion.
So far, 36 students have been murdered in Chicago, during this school year; with 16 – year old Ramone Morris, as the latest victim. He was killed early Wednesday. Police found him on the street, shot in the back of the head. It should be noted here that most of the shootings are believed to be part of gang turf war – a common phenomenon in the city.
Chicago, according to Maureen Miller, an AC360° contributor, “is now the deadliest city for school children in the United States”. The program (AC360°) gave an up close look at the problem through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, whose brother was murdered. Meanwhile its presenter Anderson Cooper also talked with Chicago’s Police Superintendent, Jody Waise, on what the cops is doing to try to stop the calamity. Waise told Anderson Cooper, that the issues of Death, Violence and gang activities are being provoked by the proliferation of guns and illegal drugs on the street.
But Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Daley, told AC360, “This happens in every big city.” A statement many took as an opportunity to condemn, and fault the mayor for being uncaring, and out of touch about the issue.
“Mr. Mayor, tell us what you’re doing to stop these murders and protect the CPS students?” Louis questioned. Adding, “He can’t tell us because he’s not doing anything about it. These murders will continue to occur as long as Richard Daley is our mayor. His #1 priority is securing the 2016 Olympics, not the safety and well being of Chicagoans”.
Sullivan Anu on his part expressed great concern on the children who witness these killings especially those who are directly affected. He further marveled about the counseling system for the younger ones who are still at school. “How do the younger ones deal with such experiences?” he queries. Though Sullivan honestly recognizes the hard work of the police in handling the situation, he intimated “we need to understand that every action is a reaction to some other action and if the community in question is not seeing any breakthroughs, developments, changes… that too contributes to the numbness that was pointed out so much more effort is needed in Chicago”.
But Mike strongly believes race has a part to play in the whole issue. Hear him “I am wondering if it were well off white kids dying in these kinds of numbers if more people would take notice. The point is that “well off” White kids don’t murder each other at anything even approaching the pace that “disadvantaged” non-white kids do. And that’s even when you count the much-publicized Columbine-type shootings – the overall numbers still aren’t even in the same ballpark. Ask yourself why”.
People react to temper tantrums in several ways. Whenever they see a kid scream, some of them point out that the scenario could be the inspiration advertisers of contraceptives really need. Many a person who hears and sees a choir of squalling youngsters at the mall wishes that the parents would spank or even hotsauce them. Some others just stare, then ignore them ‘” that’s all.
But what if they ever judge a kid who might have autism, …
A Fire Safety Message for Your Children
Young children are particularly vulnerable to fire hazards and it is therefore important to teach them about fire safety in the home. A number of parents will turn to the internet or visit the local library to search out this information. Such steps are unnecessary. Much of what can be taught is common sense. By taking practical steps and ensuring your home is safe you can help reduce the risk to children.
Child education programs often suggest formulating a plan of what to do in the event of a fire that the whole family understands. It should be kept simple enough so that young children under the age of 12 will know what to do. Youngsters are often exposed to lighters and matches at school or in the park so get to them first and warn them of the hazards of playing with fire, before curiosity gets the better of them. Try to enforce the message that lighters and matches are not toys and should not be treated as such, and if you keep such items at home, place them somewhere little hands cannot reach.
In the home, the kitchen is a prime spot for fires so be sure to teach children about kitchen safety. It might be an idea to keep youngsters out of the kitchen while you are cooking until they reach an age when they know how to be safe. A common cause of fires in the kitchen is oil being left on the stove at a high temperature so it is important to keep an eye on flammable products. It is worth noting that it is actually adults who are more likely to start a fire. Be sure to let children know this fact. It will help build their awareness but also their confidence.
Children need to know what to do in case of a fire breaking out. Tell them what they should do if they ever catch on fire or find themselves trapped in thick smoke. In emergency situations children will rely on their parents or the nearest adults to keep them safe. Stay calm – it will only make matters worse if the adults start to panic. The important points to remember and pass on to children are if clothes catch on fire, drop to the ground and roll around until it is extinguished. In the event of thick smoke, it is crucial to get the child wrapped in a wet blanket crawling below the smoke.
Educating children about the dangers of fire is a long process with parents and guardians being the educators. While you may think your house is completely safe, you can never be sure – hazards are everywhere. To reduce the risk ensure your house is well-equipped with smoke alarms and consider purchasing non-traditional vocal smoke alarms that allow you to set up an alert using your own voice. You can then record instructions on what to do, which is great for younger children as the sound of your voice may help them to calm down.
As the adult, the child¹s safety lies in your hands so it is important that you constantly keep up-to-date with the safety information out there and pass it on to them – do not let your child become susceptible.
How to Keep Your Adult Children from Moving Back
Thrilled my parents told me, thrilled. At least that made one of us, or so I thought.
After graduating from college I had two choices. Find a place without a job lined up and sign a lease when I only needed a temporary place to stay or talk to mom and dad. My parents claim none of the circumstances that kept me from moving in for months were intentional, but I have reason to believe otherwise.
If you have adult aged children who are asking about the possibility of moving back home and you are less than thrilled there are some things you can do to keep that from happening.
Time to start those remodeling projects that you have been putting off for years. Sure you have more than enough room for them to stay, but first you need to remodel the room to make sure it is the best it can be for them. There are two ways to go about this project. Hire yourself a contractor who is a perfectionist and make sure you tell him he has all the time in the world to finish the project. If you have budget concerns or are a do-it-yourselfer, even better. Grab your favorite sledge hammer and have fun with the walls, don’t forget to pay special attention to the floors.
Both of these approaches work best when you run out of energy or money halfway through.
Introduce a Roommate
One of the hardest parts about moving back in with your parents is moving back in with your parents and everything that comes with them. So use this to discourage your children as much as possible, introduce them to their future roommate, their teenage sister. If they thought freshman year with an incompatible roommate was difficult they will die when they find out they have to room with a teenager. Suggest they begin their new life together by discussing closet space.
Already planning on hiring a maid, gourmet chef, or personal assistant? Perfect! The minute your children bring up the subject of wanting to move back in throw out the pile of applications and let them know they just solved your biggest problem. If the discussion is taking place in your home tell your son or daughter they can start their trial period immediately and hand them the grocery list.
Bond, Bond, Bond
Your adult children are used to their space and freedom by now, so greedily take it all away. Do whatever is in your power to spend all the time you possibly can with them. Does your daughter go to the gym every morning? Get a membership of your own. If your son plays video games to relax after work make sure you join him and insist he play 20 questions with you on the side.
Find out every interest, hobby, and activity your children take a part in and make it your newfound love. Make sure you are there for them all day long, all in the name of bonding of course.
There are several more aggressive ways to deter your children from moving back home but give these passive ideas a try before moving on. Who knows, you might just end up with a beautiful new sewing room or a newfound love for the playstation.
Parents with Children Not Growing Up and Moving Out
There was a Dr Phil show recently that featured a young man who would not grow up and go out on his own. He was quite comfortable allowing his mother to take care of his every need. The most remarkable aspect of this situation was the young man’s unabashed attitude about living off his parents. This situation may not be as rare as we think it is. I realize now that when I was growing up there was a man next door who was living off his mother. It was remarkable to me, even at an early age, how irresponsible he was.
How does this situation evolve and what should parents do to make sure that it doesn’t happen to them?
I may not be the best person to answer this question since all three of my children were more than ready to be on their own. My concern at that time was that they might be out there too early but they all did real well in life and I could not be prouder of them. So how does this life-long dependency evolve? It has to be an absence of ambition and the lack of development in one’s self-confidence.
How does a parent correct this situation?
I will leave that up to people like Dr Phil and other psychiatrists. How to prevent it from happening does not require clinical help. Dependency is a learned trait in a child. What a child learns sticks with them into adulthood. If a child’s life consists of one or both parents constantly making all the decisions for the child, how can they expect the child to make decisions on his own? If the child never experience’s the opportunity to make choices in life, the young man or woman will not be able to make life choices. If the child does not develop the maturity to overcome a fear of the unknown then there is no way they can face the unknowns of pursuing a life of their own in adulthood.
It is becoming fairly obvious that the problem results from a parent being overprotective or a child growing up in a small protective cocoon where he makes friends with computer games instead of experiencing life with his or her peers. Young people have a remarkable talent for forcing each other into adulthood. They do not accept their peer’s reluctance to try things. They introduce each other to experiences and choices (good and bad) that one would not encounter alone. This is one of the problems facing parents who home school. They have to make a special effort to ensure that their children have an ample opportunity to interact with their peers.
The most important lesson a parent can teach a child is the lesson of expectations in adulthood.
I have some relatives who raised five great kids. One of their family traditions was the “Breaking of the Plate” ceremony when the appropriate time came. The ceremony consisted of a few sentimental words about growing up and then the literal breaking of a plate. This ceremony accomplished two purposes. One, the ceremony creates a demarcation point in life for the young person. Secondly, all the young people present know that this point if life is in their future and they have to think about it whether they want to or not. What is most important is the reference made to the ceremony in early childhood. Children must grow up with the expectation of developing their way in life.
Many parents develop a general acceptance in their child that their future will consist of college, …
Top Children’s Movies of All-Time
I recently began doing research on a list of the top children’s movies ever made. I’d hoped to be able to compile a list of 100 great movies you can watch with any age child and not have to explain anything to do with sex, cover their eyes during graphic violence or explain ideas that are well over their heads. The first thing I discovered is that there really aren’t that many resources for this type of list and no one seems to ever have been able to come up with 100 movies that you could watch with both a 4-year-old and a nine-year-old. I fairly quickly assessed that my list would have to be considerably shorter. Perhaps 50 films. In reality, fewer films
Many lists included films that I believe everyone should see at some point in their lives but I didn’t feel were even remotely appropriate for or interesting to children. Some of the truly wonderful animated films that were included in other lists I simply have found too complicated for younger children to understand and, in some cases, too frightening. Many included movies that would be terrific for your pre-teen and teenaged children, but not for younger children. What I was looking for were those films that your family could pop into the DVD player on Friday evening and watch as a family. Eventually, I put together a list of 45 films that you can all watch together. Disney is, of course, heavily represented, mostly because they are the only studio that has been putting out movies for children for as long as they have. Many are classics, some are new, some are foreign (but no subtitles are needed), many are animated, and some are part of a series. I have not attempted to rank the movies; I’ll let you do that on your own.
1. The Wizard of Oz
2. National Velvet
3. The Yearling
4. Old Yeller
5. Black Stallion
6. E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial
7. The Princess Bride
8. Fantasia (the original)
9. The Red Balloon
10. Babe, the Gallant Pig
11. Toy Story (both)
12. Beauty and the Beast
13. Finding Nemo
14. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
15. The Music Man
16. The Sound of Music
18. The Little Mermaid
19. Mary Poppins
20. The King And I
21. Peter Pan
23. James and The Giant Peach
24. The Secret Garden
25. The Rookie
28. The Incredibles
29. The Princess Diaries
30. Fly Away Home
31. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
32. Cinderella (animated)
33. Sleeping Beauty
34. Wallace & Gromit (the trilogy of shorts as well as the full-length feature)
35. Oliver (1968)
36. Whale Rider
37. Jungle Book
38. The Bear
39. The Incredible Journey (original)
40. Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang
41. The Lion King
42. The Iron Giant
43. The Secret of Roan Inish
45. Lassie Come Home
Movie Subgenre: Children with Magic
Walt Disney Productions has produced many different films that give a sense of outer realm for children in their minds. Anything is possible in a Disney movie, where taking things in everyday life that maybe stand still and breathe life in them to become an entity in the movie whether it be an animal, a piece of furniture, automobiles, or anything of that nature. In 1975 Disney Productions made the movie Escape to Witch Mountain. Basically giving us real life people with extra ordinary abilities as the two children did in this movie. Taking events such as being able to think about something like picking up a pencil with your mind and drawing on the wall, or playing a harmonica to produce dancing puppets with no one playing with their strings were all early evidence that children who were given the chance to see this type of film, would spark an imagination of doing it themselves. It was an evident starting point to bring children and their imaginations together as one. As this movie was a great classic, it was evident that soon many were to follow.
At such a young age and a sense of complete innocence is one of the many enjoyments of seeing children grow. Playing with friends and being able to imagine that they are a powerful, helpful, or make a difference in the world type of character whether climbing trees staving off wolves, or using magical powers to become everything that they hope to be is nothing short of the best stimulation a child’s mind can have. Which brings us to the area of animated movies with different types of characters that do many different things good and bad. You can pick a movie on a more recent scale such as “Cars” where they are in a world of their own without human life, but automobiles interacting just as people do in the real world. Movies of this magnitude that don’t necessarily have magic in the movie, it creates a magical feeling for the children to experience cars talking to each other as you and I do.
However, children grow up and as they do they find that entertaining themselves in an independent state is much less as time goes by. Many start becoming friends with classmates, and other children in their neighborhood being able to create less time occupying their minds and doing other things such as video games. When this happens the movie industry still understands the time or era some grow up in and want to attract those type of children, adolescents or teenagers, even adults in many different stages. A great example of this is the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling that turned into millions and millions of dollars for the movie industry. Where as normally you will see one movie and understand the character, in this particular instance you get to see a boy with a troubled home life become the center of attention in a magical place. Where either they love him or hate him, his popularity is huge and creates animosity at the school (Hog wart’s) where they learn to control their magical powers. As Harry gets older kids watching the films become accustomed to wanting more. Wanting find out what new powers Potter and his counterparts will have that will leave them yearning for the next installment. This translate into more revenue not only for the movie industry, but also the the video game world, clothing lines and more. Not only are children as young as five and six years old able to take something from …
Helping Children Lead Productive Lives
When becoming freshly aquatinted with people, they naturally seek information about my occupation, and I proudly emphasize my role as an educator who works with children living in an urban environment. It becomes apparent through conversations with uninformed people that children from urban envionments are highly misunderstood.
We often times fail to give credit to the heroic efforts made by students struggling to jump the hurdles of adversity to lead productive lives. Fortunately, I serve in a school district, which is made up of educators who sincerely believe that their students possess special gifts, and we work diligently to help them realize their dreams.
Although its difficult to generalize the adverse forces children contend with, we can promote certain rules which facilitate success.
Leading a law-abiding lifestyle must be promoted on a daily basis. Such an obvious concept is often overlooked, yet it forms the basis of upright citizenry. Educators can achieve this noble cause by modeling peaceful conflict resolution, honestly, and compassion. Simply preaching a life of virtue will yield insignificant results, but providing an example will facilitate the desired outcome.
In addition, we must emphasize that the American dream of upward mobility is still alive, and can be achieved through education, either in the form of academic and/or vocational training. Its unfortunate that educators must contend with some negative public figures, who glamorize illicit methods of achieving financial rewards, however, we can still find plenty of examples of great people who utilized steadfast determination to achieve dreams.
Above all else, simple recognition can provide children with the greatest sense of self-worth. Praise for admirable actions have a positive effect on children. People naturally focus on behaviors that we wish to change, and fail to see the many positive acts, which take place on a daily basis. If the roles were reversed, and we could feel the hardships some of our children face, it would become clear that many of our students are heroes just for showing up to school everyday.
Adult Children Do Not Want Their Parents’ Advice
Adult children just detest getting any kind of advice from their parents. They particularly hate the following advice.
First, when it comes to money, they never want to hear anything unless it is “Here is an extra $20.00 just for you.” Now if they hear the words, “Here is what you should do with that money.”, they will turn and run as fast as they can. You see, once a child reaches adulthood (which for some is not until they are in their 40’s or older), they know it all. There is nothing anyone can tell them that they do not already know. So, when a parent tries to tell them how to save their money or spend their money wisely, an adult child simply tunes them out with an occasional “Uh huh, sure, whatever, yeah right, o.k., o.k. I get it.”
Second, oh now let me tell you, an adult child will never sit still for relationship advice. Once they are in love then they are in loveand no one is going to tell them they are not. You see, they do not know that parents can see right through the girl/boyfriend. A mother knows exactly what a girlfriend is thinking and feeling and wanting, while a father knows the mind of the boyfriend. Yet, when you try to tell the child that, you get laughed at and a “Sure, that is what you think. She/he is not like that.” The next day they are crying on your shoulder “I can’t believe he/she did that (or said that). I should have listened to you.” And with a “Yes, I was right” under you breath, you hug and comfort them.
Third, an adult child never wants to hear what kind of car they should buy. They want what they want even if it means they will drive it down the road and call a tow truck to get it home. Yet, when Mom or (usually Dad) tells them “But, (Son/Daughter), this car is not what you need. It is not in good shape. You need something safer.” They are right back with, “But, (Mom/Dad) this is what I want and it is my money. I earned it all myself.” Of course, a few days later the phone rings at midnight and the voice on the other end is “Mom/Dad can I borrow enough money to pay the tow truck driver. My car broke down.”
Fourth, I do not care if a place is infested with bugs and has holes in the walls and ceiling, an adult child will live in it if their parents protest it. An adult child hates to hear the words, “Honey, you really need to find you a better place to live. This is not safe.” Oh, and if you tell them that they are making enough money to pay for a better place, then they will go find one even worse.
Fifth, adult children absolutely positively detest to be told what to wear or fashion advice. If you tell a young lady that her skirt is too short, she will get a shorter one. If you tell a young man that his jeans are too raggedy to wear out in public, he will rip even more holes in them. And the all dreaded pants down around their knees…if you tell them to pull up their pants they will put them down around their ankles.
So, here is some advice to parents everywhere. If you have an adult child let them make a few mistakes as long as it will not get them into trouble (or …
Where to Find Developmental Toys for Young Children
If you are a parent, caregiver, teacher or therapist, you know the importance of play and child development. Children learn through play but how do you make that playtime as productive as possible? Developmental and educational toys are the answer.
There are a number of toys, games and other resources that are developed with your child’s development in mind but they are hard to find at your local Target or Walmart. Yes, they do carry toys targeted at child development, but what if you have a child that needs help with speech and language development, strengthening gross and fine motor skills, oral motor or sensory issues. Target or Walmart just don’t deliver.
This article is designed to help parents, teachers, therapist and other caregivers find companies that specialize in developmental and educational toys as well as other resources to meet your child’s developmental needs, regardless of ability.
Beyond Play – Beyond Play is dedicated to providing early intervention products for young children with special needs. You can shop based on developmental need. Although this company focuses on products for special needs children, any child can benefit from these products. Visit their website at www.beyondplay.com
Lakeshore – Lakeshore is another company dedicated to providing educational toys to children of all ages and abilities. You can shop by category, age or grade. There is even a FREE resource section for teachers. Visit their website at www.lakeshorelearning.com
Other companies specializing in developmental and educational toys:
Five Children’s Photographers in Southern California
There are many options for you if you want your child’s portrait professionally taken in the Los Angeles area. Here are five of them.
Grins2Go serves the Rancho Cucamonga area. They are always ready and mobile, and they offer portraits as well as candid photographs. Grins2Go photographers are trained to handle children, from newborns to teenagers. They also offer a service called Grins2Grow, capturing your baby at different stages of his or her life. One membership fee covers a whole year of portrait sessions, 4 times a year. Give them a call at 909-944-9700 for more details.
Moments to Embrace offers photography for families, children, babies, and even pets. Their prices begin at around $200. Moments to Embrace offers videography as well, and they can be reached at 909-227-1343.
Debbie Lund Photography offers photography of newborns, babies and children.
A natural light session is $300, a studio setup session, $450, combination is $500. Sessions are only on the weekends and must be booked 1-2 months in advance.
Debbie Lund has also worked as a graphic designer and an illustrator as well as an art and photography teacher. She’s located in Orange County and can be reached at 714-904-4249.
Jennifer Gilmore Photography professional photography service can also take portraits of your children. A standard portrait session is $175 and must be paid in full to reserve your date at the time of booking. The price does not include prints, and sessions are usually about an hour. Travel is included for anywhere in Orange County; a small fee may be required for longer trips. Call 949-645-5382 or email [email protected] The studio is located at 2390 Redlands Drive, Newport Beach, CA.
Dodgen Photography is unique in that they offer black and white photography exclusively. There are different packages starting from $400. They photographer takes time to get to know the child if he or she is uncomfortable, as to have a fun and easy photographing experience. The photographer addresses specific requests right away, and the rest are more candid. After this, portraits are posted on a password protected website, where you can order prints and other items. See their website at http://www.dodgenphotography.com.
Los Angeles children’s photographer Jennifer Wilson of Jennifer Wilson Photography is a two time winner of the California Children’s Photographer of the Year. She is based out of the Santa Clarita Valley, just north of Los Angeles. A session will usually be about one to two hours, newborns taking a bit longer. Sessions can take place virtually anywhere! Home is generally easier for a newborn. Visit her website at www.jenniferwilsonphoto.com.