Teach your child how to ride a bike really quickly

There are some learning that can never be forgotten if these are acquired once. Riding bike is one of the types of learning as if you learn it once, it will be preserved forever. That means you will never forget how to ride a bike if you can learn it one time in your life time. Like swimming, riding bike is quite easy in early ages of children and now we are going to have balance bike reviews – the most prominent for learning is with a Skuut balance bike that is basically made for learning the balance.
You can teach your child to ride a bicycle from 3 years of age though it may vary as upon depending on physical and mental development. It is always advisable not to force your child if it does not want to do so.
Children have an adaptability to learn things differently of their own. So keep an eye on that.

teach your kid how to ride

Perfect Bike for Children

It totally depends on the growth as well as the age of your child. Choose a bike that can be operated by your child quite easily. The size of the bike should be neither too big nor too small.

Necessary Equipments

You need not only the bike, but also some necessary equipments such as helmet, gloves, protectors for elbows and knees. These equipments will save your child from different types of risks. Research in the US has shown that wearing a cycling helmet reduces brain injury by 88% and face injuries by 65% (read more here). Choose all the necessary equipments in a way so that these fit well with your child and it feels comfortable.

Best Place to Teach Riding

Choosing a perfect place for teaching bike riding is an important matter. Choose a place that has less or no traffic as to make sure that it is totally safe. The place should be open and flat. Dry and grass field is also good for less risk as it helps your child cut its skin by falling off of the bike.

How to Start Riding Bikes?

It is recommended to add additional 2 training wheels so that children get much confidence as they consider the wheels as a balancing factor.
First of all your child has to keep his feet up so that the bike can go slowly. This is done as to make the child feel balanced. If your child feels unsafe or afraid it can lower his legs down. You should stay close to your child by running while he rides a bike. Hold the back of the bike with one of your hands and the wheel with the other hand. In that way, you show your child how to keep the bike upright. Praise your child for each successful attempt.

How to Paddle?

Tell your child to put his feet on both of the pedals while you push the bike a little. Run along with the bike, hold the seat and the second wheel with both of your hands respectively. After a few times, let your child try pedaling alone.

How to Stop?

Show your child how to stop the bike. Follow him and gently move forward the bike until the brakes stop it. Do that until or unless you are not sure that your child knows how to go.

How to Balance?

The real challenge is the fear of falling from the bike. Maintaining balance is the key to avoid the risk of falling. Most of the children at their age of riding bike don’t know how to stand with one leg. We can take lessons from our own experience such as when we go to fall, we try to paddle the pedal of falling side. So teach your child that if the bike goes to fall on one side, then push the pedal of that side.
So, all you need to teach your child is how to avoid falling, or what to do when he feels he loses balance and what to do when he wants to stop. Undoubtedly it’s easy! Think about it – what do you do when you feel you are losing balance on a bike or when you stop? Put one or both legs! And that’s it!

Practice lowering the legs on the ground.

It’s very crucial to show and convince your child that whatever the situation is, if you can place your feet properly, you must not fall in trouble.
If you can make children realize that they are ready to learn the rest of the skills independently, it will be very easier for them to learn biking. Show them how to start: Place one of the legs on one of the pedals and the other leg on the floor.

Push the pedal and leave the leg from the floor.It’s very important to teach your child how to land his legs on the ground safely so that he doesn’t fall. Tell him that if the bike is about to fall or make imbalance, then he must put off his legs from the pedals and keep these on the floor.
After that, it is all about exercise. Every time children start riding bikes, carry it on for long for some distance, they will be skilled more and by this way they will achieve confidence.
Lastly, carry on the whole process and make compliments for your child for every step that he does to grow his confidence.

How to be your kid’s companion in their first ride with a balance Bike?


Training wheels are a common choice when you first learn how to ride a bike. These training wheels seem to guarantee your balance so that you can hop right on the seat and pedal off. The extra clanking wheels keep you from unbalancing and falling off the ground. But what happen when you take them off for a real ride? Without this extra support, balance is a little scary, right? That’s why balance bike are invented. For kids and toddlers, a skuut wooden balance bike is a perfect gift.

What is a balance bike?

Balance bikes are ordinary bikes without pedals. To propel, riders use their feet to push along the surface they are riding as they want to move forward, just press on pedal and the wheel will be rotated. This process is similar to walking, which is comfortable and easy for toddlers who just have their first ride.

Why such a hype?

Balance bike is one of the rare thing that is actually worth the type.

It is beneficial in many ways. Kids riding balance bike is prepared with understanding of how to keep balance in motion before their parents introduce pedals. Pedal is not a bid deal, balance is the hardest part. Therefore, balance bike allows your children to get along with the most difficult part while their feet are safe pushing on the ground.

Spend your quality time

The major benefit of a balance bike is that you can have fun and easier time teaching your kids to go on a bike. It won’t take much effort.

Firstly, remember to adjust the bike!

No matter how suitable bike you have select for your kids, the bike hardly ever fits them at the first time. So here are some adjustment you have to make before starting the ride.

– Saddle height: the most important adjustment, based on your child’s height. Make sure he or she can sit saddle with flat feet on the ground while both knee slightly bend. The common distance is 3 cm less than his or her inseam.

– Handlebar height is set based on to the saddle: if setting of the saddle is the lowest then the handlebar is also at the lowest setting. If the saddle is in the middle of its adjustment range, also set the handlebar in the middle of its adjustment range… and so on.

And don’t forget kids are growing quickly, so mind their height every couple months and adjust the bike if necessary.
Secondly, that’s it. Have fun!

Adjustment is all thing you need to prepare for the first ride. The excitement of hopping on the saddle and take the first pedal is every child’s nature. They will do it instinctively.
 

Let them be!

Kids are curious and love fun, especially fun time with parents. The more praise you give them when they spend them with their kids, the more they are encouraged. Pushing should be avoided when they are not ready because they may act as a rebel against riding. Falling off from the bike might get trauma and never want to get near a bike anymore. It’d be the best if we just let them decide the pace or else it’ll take a long time to undo the scary moment.

Lastly, enjoy!

Just because it’s a balance bike doesn’t mean your kids no longer need support. But it’s your child you need to support, not that bike.

It’s understandable that we feel the urge to help holding bicycle to prevent falls. However, this won’t help them learn balance. When the parents help supporting the bike as they are tipping to one side, it makes the kid not realize your assistance is the main reason to keep their bike most stable. This reason is the same to training wheels so kids will take longer to learn balance as they think they should have their bike tipped over sides.

As a companion, an instructor, your role is supporting the body of your kids. By walking behind them or next their right or left side, you can hang onto their chest, under the arms or the back of their shirts and make them feel safer. This approach helps kids learn basic balance trying to keep the bike centered. Your support will be unnecessary in no time.

One more note is that some kids prefer not sitting on the seat at first, which is okay. As soon as they feel more confident with the bike between their legs and walking around with handlebar, they will decide to give it a try. The best part is enjoying your time with them. You will experience great memory before you know it.

Mountain Bike: Tips For Choosing You Should Know

How to choose a mountain bike compatible with your using purposes is still a question that bewilders a lot of people. Is the bike durable? Can it keep safe for bikers all along their roads? These are some most popular confusing questions of mountain bike buyers.

Nowadays, the mongoose ledge 2.1 has appropriate designs and features that have attracted a number of professional bikers. However, for many people who have less experience in biking or choosing bike, selecting seems to be a difficult task. In this article, I am about to introduce to you some tips that you should know to buy a satisfactory bike.

  1. Things to consider

When it comes to buying a new mountain bike, all the things related to the structures and features need to be considered thoroughly for the purpose of anti – counterfeited products. Things will be right if you are sensitive to mistake or error of the vehicle. In this part, I will help you to figure out the least essential factors related:

  • Using purpose has decisive function

This is the first and foremost factor for all bikers in buying a new item. I am certain that a sporty bike to conquer mountains is totally different from a racing bike or a bicycle for exercising.

Owing to different purposes, the way to choose will be different, too. How good the quality is also depends on the standards and criteria that buyers bring out. In addition, the market is abundant in types of mountain bikes, which has various models for various styles. That is why you have to figure out what you need in a bike for mountain biking.

  • Bike’s structure

Bike structure can be the factor leading to your rearmost decision. Here, we will go for the structure in more details with the most important parts.

  • Bike frame

It is subject to the design of each bike model to describe its frame. However, in general, there are two parts of the bike frame. The upper part connects the saddle through the seat post; connects the handlebar stem, too.

The lower part connects the chain rings and keeps the mech. Even though it is quite complicated, we need to have a good apprehension about it before using it.

  • Bike tire

This is the second most significant structural part that bikers have concern about. The tires are made of rubber which is thick and hard enough to resist thorns. To keep the tire in good condition, it is essential to supply full air for it.

  • Bike saddle

The most important thing in choosing saddle is that it has to create comfort for bikers when they are in every biking posture. In addition, during biking, bikers may feel uncomfortable as they have to sit on the saddle for too long. They can stand up for a while then go on.

  • Bike chain rings

The chain rings are responsible for creating motion for the bike to go forward. Without the chain rings, the bike is not able to move forward or backward.

  • Bike rear shock

It is advisable to choose the bike that has good rear shock. This part is useful when we bike on rocky roads. The shock will cause a lot of inconvenient and discomfort for bikers so there should have a set of bike rear shock.

You know, these days, one famous model: Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch) is what a lot of bikers are looking for. It is integrated with full of outstanding features as mentioned above. This is a great choice for mountain bikers.

  1. Notes for selecting

When you select to buy a mountain bike, you may be bewildered by the sellers as they can talk too much in order to promote their products. However, remember to compare and contrast what you understand about the bike with what they say.

A lot of sellers play trick to sell bikes at high price while its real value is not really good. Through the considerations above, we think that you will be wise in choosing mountain bikes. In addition, it is vital to test the quality by biking for some rounds.

 

The basic features of the best lightweight stroller

Today, on the baby product market, Umbrella strollers (the lightweight stroller) is considered one of the most important and essential tools for babies because they have not had the capacity for sitting or standing steady. For this reason, a large number of manufacturers have produced a series of umbrella stroller models with outstanding features in order to reduce the hard caring baby process of the parents. However, not all of them are the best options so you have to consider the following basic features, if you would like to buy the best umbrella stroller for your baby:

The basic safe features:

It is extremely important for fathers and mothers to choose the stroller getting five-point harness with a safe lock especially brakes of two rear wheels and canopy hinges should not cut due to most infants and babies can not sit firm. In addition, because of manufacturing a large amount of strollers, on the market, there will be a great many wrong models by manufacturers. Therefore, you must select carefully without purchasing the lightweight strollers with recalls that have not been repaired the shortcomings. Continue reading “The basic features of the best lightweight stroller”

The best gas scooter and electric scooter on the market for your “angels”

When choosing the scooters for either adults or kids, you have to compare carefully all functional features of both scooters – the electric powered scooters and the gas powered scooter – in order to determine the most appropriate one to your fund and daily using demand. Especially it is more important when you intend to select gas scooter or electric scooter on the market for your “angels” because it is able to influence directly to your baby’s safety and preferences.

For example, when you had bought a gas powered scooter, you recognized that the child can not stand its noise sound. At that time, it is too late for you to change the electric powered scooter and vice versa. For these reasons, you had better pay attention with your choice in such a way that it meets your aspects below:

Gas vs electric

  1. Cost

This is always the first aspect which is mentioned because of its importance. The cost is not only the price of a scooter but also the extra money such as maintenance, gas fuel fee and the like. Apart from the secondhand scooter or discount, the price of a kids electric powered scooter which added the extra money is cheaper than a kids gas powered scooter. Moreover, it is also equipped tubes, hoses carburet.

  1. Range

For range, the gas scooter is more dominant than the electric scooter due to it runs by the expensive gas fuel so you can travel for a long time with this vehicle while the electric scooter can just drive within a short range as some places around the town. The basic range for the kids powered scooter is only 8 – 10 miles.

Thus, with the electric powered scooter, after running out of battery, your baby have to use the kicker of scooter to pedal home while it is very easy for you to pump gas into the gas powered scooter so that your child can continue the fun trip as soon as. Do you want your angel to use an electric scooter which is charged full battery within 4 – 6 hours or the gas scooter which you can utilize as soon as after pumping? I believe that it is very easy for you to answer.

  1. Weight

The weight of kid scooter is about 70 lbs equivalent to the weight of X-treme X-360 for adults so it is quite durable that keeps your baby’s safety without falling out the scooter. In general, the both kinds of scooters have the similar weight so no type of scooter surpasses in this aspect. For instance, the gas scooter is heavy because of the gas and oil while the electric scooter owns the heavy battery.

  1. Noise

When mentioning the noise level, most of people appreciate the electric powered scooters due to there isn’t the noise sound when running but this is not think of most children. Some of them love the sound of gas scooter because it likes the warning signs other means when driving on the same way so this depends on each individual’s think.

  1. Speed

Most kid scooters will not exceed 15 mph but there are also diversified models with the different speeds. Therefore, it depends on whether you want a scooter with average speed to ensure your kid’s safety or simply you need the most fast one.

  1. Maintenance

For maintenance, the electric powered scooter need be not took care of too much, you just need to pay attention its battery while with the gas powered scooter, because it run by the expensive gas fuel, some important parts had better be maintained regularly like its tubes which deliver gas to the engine, the gas balancing and oil in motor.

  1. Environmental Awareness

Perhaps everyone know that the electric powered scooter is more friendly with human’s environment than gas scooter because it operates by the charged battery without using the polluted gas fuel.

Travel backpack Swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900 review

Swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900 is an amazing travel backpack for solo travelers. The design of the backpack is always ready to support the backpackers with 35L packing facility. Moreover, the quality of the backpack is great to provide you good space for carrying many items.
swissgear-travel-gear-scansmart-backpack-1900
When you will go through the best travel backpack reviews, you will find that the backpack comes with several colors. Therefore, this is really an important issue for both men and women for selecting this as next backpack companion. Many of the travelers avoid a good backpack because of the wrong color. Therefore, this backpack will be in high preference for its color combination and quality!
Specifications of swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900
Before deciding purchase of a backpack, you should have a quick look at the specifications. Therefore, have a look at the specifications of scansmart backpack 1900!

  • Dimensions: 9×13.5×18.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 Pounds
  • Capacity: 35L
  • Compact in size & easy to fold
  • Multiple compartment for organizing things properly
  • Water resistant with high quality nylon design

Advantages

The swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900 is one of the best options for the solo travelers because of its awesome features. The features enable the traveler to get certain advantages that are mentioned bellow:

  • Scansmart backpack 1900 is very easy to pack because this is a compact size designed model. The zipper inner packet is perfect to fit and easy to unfold for packing.
  • Scansmart backpack 1900 comes with classic shape along with several compartments. Therefore, you can organize your things properly in order to pack. Moreover, the main compartment is roomy and has enough space for keeping the things. The front zipper pocket is perfect for small things so that you can keep the electric items as well as your smart phone.
  • The swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900 is only 3.2 pound weight that is really low for its high capacity. For that reason, you will have no extra fees for carrying the backpack for traveling. The 35L capacity is relatively enough to avoid extra weight charges.
  • The backpack offers lifetime warranty to the customers that are the biggest advantage of the backpack. Whenever you face problem in the backpack, you can replace the backpack. For getting the warranty issue, please read the policy too!

Disadvantages

This is a good quality travel backpack; however, it has also some disadvantages.

  • The backpack zippers are not enough good for using security locker system. This is the biggest problem that may feel you insecure.
  • There is no special laptop compartment that some travelers want to have in the backpack.

Conclusion
This is important to read Swissgear travel gear scansmart backpack 1900 reviews before you make the decision. If you are in tight barrel between purchases and avoid it, then, the reviews can give you a better option. This will always provide you the right way to deal with the problem and give you a great look.
For that reason, always care about the terms and you will have different way to look a great vacation time. Remember that the quality of the backpack is really impressive enough to provide you a secure journey. Of course, this has no extra security issues, but, still this is a good option for the solo travelers for its quality, design, size and weight. Simply impressive for solo traveling!

Eye on the prize – Story of a natural family.

I’m in the grocery store. My son sees a large stuffed sheep and asks to buy it. When I tell him that it’s not something we need, he begs. When begging doesn’t work, he whines. When whining doesn’t work, he cries. Everyone turns to look. Some look with a been-there-done-that empathy. Others look with a shut-that-kid-up irritation. Suddenly, my parenting skills are on display for all to see.

kid whines

If I speak gently to my child while I continue through the check-out, some people will think I’ve let him away with bad behavior. If I am stern with him, others will disapprove. There are times when I think that I just can’t win. Then, I think, win what? There is no prize other than the relationship with my son. Really, some people will agree with how I deal with this familiar situation; others won’t. I have to do what’s best for my son and for our family.

During my four short years of being a morn, I’ve had so many wonderful conversations with other parents about the challenging job we do. However, I’ve also been criticized about not using a soother, breastfeeding for too long, not having enough play dates, putting our son in group daycare, taking our son out of group daycare, using cloth diapers, using disposable diapers, and lately, having one child (apparently this is the worst parenting offence). Gasp.

My husband and I have made some choices for our son that might be against current parenting norms. Our four-year-old doesn’t watch television. He doesn’t eat refined sugar. We co-sleep. Ironically, we didn’t set out to parent this way. The unique person we are raising needs us to parent this way.

I’ve learned to be more confident in my parenting. This doesn’t mean I don’t waver. Raising a son with medical issues demands a whole new series of decisions. I lose a lot of sleep over difficult choices. However, I am confident that

I’ve always made the best choices based on the information I have.

Yet I still find myself reeling when our parenting is questioned. So here are some ways I manage unwanted criticism:

Don’t Justify: When we’ve made a parenting choice, my husband and I now avoid justifying our decision to others unless they are genuinely interested. We simply say that we’ve made an informed choice.

Ask for Advice: Sometimes I want advice. When my son recently started having nightmares, I turned to my mother to ask if she thought it was normal. When he went through a phase where I was unable to speak on the telephone without him screeching and tearing the house apart, it was comforting to hear my mother-in-law describe how she went through it with all four of her children. Asking for advice allows loved ones to stay connected on our parenting journey and lets them know that their wisdom is valued.

Share Resources: Have a few websites or resources handy to recommend. Sometimes people truly don’t understand the benefits of certain parenting choices. When people question, guiding them towards information will determine whether they truly want to know more or are simply looking to undermine.

Be Compassionate: Remember that some might question your choices because they regret their own.

Prioritize: Our son’s diet is extremely important to us because we feel it plays a role in managing his medical issues. When he is in the care of others, we are clear that he should not be given any food that we do not provide or approve. My dad laments that he can’t take his grandson for an ice cream cone but he shows his love in other ways.

Use Humor: If someone sneers because your child sleeps in your bed say, “It’s easier than saying I have a headache every night.” If someone thinks it was irresponsible to give birth at home say, “I didn’t want to miss the hockey game.” This doesn’t mean it’s not important to share our parenting choices. Nor am I trivializing other people’s opinions or concerns. However, there are times when criticism is meant to be hurtful. That’s the time to crack a joke and step away.

So next time I’m in the grocery store and my son transforms into a rabid howler monkey over a toy, I’m not going to worry about what others think. By the time they’re out the door, they’ll have forgotten that I let my son away with “being bold” or scolded him so severely he’ll be destined for a life of crime. I, however, will be leaving the store with my son. I’ll be the one living with the outcome of my choices. And so will he.

Andrea Cameron is a mother and educator living in Eastern Ontario. Her work has been published in literary magazines and she writes a weekly newspaper column.

13 parenting tricks you’ve got to try

When it comes to raising kids, it seems like everyone (friends, relatives, the guy at the video store) is happy to offer up their pearls of wisdom. Now, not all parenting advice is created equal, of course, so we asked moms across the country to tell us the true gems of advice they’ve received. Use these smart tips to cope with your trickiest parenting conundrums.

parenting tips

On making kids fend for themselves …

 

1. “My friend Ana gave me a great suggestion: She’d had enough of her kids not taking care of basics like hanging up coats and keeping school stuff in order. Her 7- and 9-year-olds didn’t have these same problems in school, so she took some classroom ideas home. Now she has fun signs decorated with happy faces and stickers to remind her kids: ‘Coats go here,’ ‘Put your book bag here.’ It’s become a fun game for them all. It works for my family, too.”

Laura Logan, Atlanta

 
2. “Some advice from a parenting book: Kids may have trouble remembering house rules, so once they can read and comprehend, make them sign a written contract. It can even be drawn up for something happening that day: ‘We have plans to go out to dinner. Clean the dishes by this time and you can go.’ I print the contract on the computer, which makes it feel more ‘official.’ Writing down the rules makes the expectation very clear.”
Michelle McGuire, Fayetteville, Arkansas

 

3. “My daughter is anxious in new situations, and had been reluctant to get on the school bus for kindergarten. A colleague of mine reminded me that young kids look up to older ones, and suggested I ask a ‘big girl’ who my daughter admires to meet her at the bus stop and sit next to her on the bus. My daughter was much more interested in going to school each morning knowing that her big friend would be with her. If down the road my daughter is anxious about trying a dance class or other new activity, I’ll look again to a big girl for help.”
Linda Miron, West Hartford, Connecticut

 

On yelling less …

yelling-less
4. “My 2-year-old, son, Aidan, has a way of pushing my buttons, whether he fidgets during a diaper change or refuses to sit and eat. Yelling is pretty harsh, so my stepsister, Cathryn, told me to try whispering instead. It works because it catches Aidan’s attention. He stops what he’s doing and concentrates to hear me.”
Lynn Todorov, Las Vegas, Nevada
 
5. “I want my boys to be more responsible about things like packing their own gear for hockey practice, but at ages 7 and 10, it’s in one ear, out the other. I used to yell, but my sister suggested I look for ways to be funny. The other day, when I noticed that they forgot to pack their hockey sticks, I stuck their mini-sized, plastic sticks in the car. I had them going the whole way to practice: ‘Tell them you’re using your little blue sticks today.’ When we got there and I pulled out their real sticks, we all had a good laugh. Yes, I bailed them out in the end, but the whole experience–the scare, the humor–now prompts them to get it right.”
Dawn Silva, New Bedford, New Hampshire
 
6. “The wife of a work colleague shared a parenting tip I wish I’d known when my kids were little. Rather than constantly yelling, this woman chooses at times to give her kids the ‘silent treatment.’ For instance, when back talk gets out of hand, the child loses the right to have a parent’s ear for 10 or 15 minutes. Too often, a child will sass at a parent, the parent yells, then moments later the child is back chatting as if nothing happened. The silent treatment sends the message that if a child uses mean or rude words, parents won’t listen.”
Debbie Adams, Houston, Texas

 

On communicating …

7. “I found terrific parenting advice in a publication from my daughters’ school. When your child is agitated, it recommends you try acting as a ‘human tape recorder.’ In other words, if one of my four girls is worked up, I listen and repeat back key details. When she hears me, she’ll often say, ‘Whoa, that’s not how I meant it,’ or ‘Boy, it was silly of me to get worked up over that.’ It slows her down, lets her hear herself, and gives her the satisfaction of knowing I’m listening.”
Amy Ferris, Rye, New Hampshire
 
8. “An article that I once read reminded me that just being with your kids is the best learning tool when it comes to knowing how to communicate with them. To relate to my 2-year-old son, I have to get down to his level. He’s happiest when we’re both sitting in his play area, lining up trucks, and talking about the jobs they do. It’s given us a way to communicate messages of love, a shared wonder at the workings of the world, and the pleasure of playing together.”
Anne-Marie Linas, San Diego
 
9. “I got this advice from a colleague: Take on subjects with your child that you don’t have answers to. You can acknowledge, for instance, that you don’t know everything about sex, and you’re not totally comfortable talking about it–then talk about it anyway. And commend a child for asking about things by saying, ‘My gosh, that’s a great question. I wish I knew more. Let’s see what we can find out together.’ There’s a benefit to letting on to kids that there are things we don’t know–that we’re human.”
Pam Smallwood, Waco, Texas
 

On playing favorites …

10. “When I’m accused of favoring one of my three kids over another, my first impulse is to defend myself and deny it. A friend’s advice made a lot of sense to me: Admit it if you’re caught. Our job as parents is to give each kid what’s best individually. Tell your child, ‘You’re right, I am spending a lot of time with your sister because she has a test tomorrow and needs my help studying.’ But make sure to also say, ‘When you need me to help, I’ll be there for you, too.'”
Holly Behre, Charleston, South Carolina
 
11. “My 7- and 9-year-olds weigh everything in terms of ‘No fair,’ or ‘He always gets to!’ My neighbor gave us the idea of ‘Friday night movie night,’ which has been great for allowing both boys a feeling of control and recognition. Each kid gets to rent his own movie–there’s the control. But every week we alternate whose movie is the ‘Friday night feature’–there’s the recognition (the other child watches his movie selection later that weekend). Each boy understands his time will come.”
Alexandra Darrow, Chicago
 
 

On sibling fights …

Sibling_fighting
12. “A friend gave me this wacky advice that helped when her three kids fought: In opera style, at the top of her lungs, she’d sing things like, ‘Go cool down in time out.’ She said it was so distracting that they’d stop fighting.”
Gena O’Keefe, Baltimore
 
13. “In my daughter’s school, a different child each week served as a ‘dispute mediator.’ When a fight erupted, the children would take their conflict to the designated kid to help resolve it. For families with several kids, this teaches siblings to work through disagreements, as each child rotates in as mediator for a week. Have the mediator check back with a parent, saying, ‘Here’s what I’ve decided.’ This increases the other kids’ confidence in the fairness of the process.”

How to cope with change

What’s new in your life? Are you excited about starting a new school year? Have you recently moved or started a part-time job? Perhaps there’s been a new addition to your family. Maybe you’re thinking about joining a club or trying a different sport.

Many changes are good. Other changes can turn your life upside down. Are you prepared to cope with change?

cope-with-change

“Life is a series of changes,” notes Elizabeth Berger, a psychiatrist who wrote Parenting by Heart: How to Stay Connected to Your Child in a Disconnected World. Many changes occur as part of normal growth. Bodies change dramatically when children become adolescents. Changes continue as teens grow to be adults.

Teens’ minds and outlooks change too. The ability to reason and exercise judgment changes as you mature. So do the types of decisions you must make. Interests in dating, friends sports, hobbies, and possible careers develop and change too.

Some changes happen because of choices you make. If you join drama club, for example, that’s a change. Learning to drive is other change. Or someone might get sick.

Other changes are entirely beyond your contol. your parents might lose their jobs. An accident could hppen. Or, someone might get sick.

Change Can Be Stressful

Change of any type requires adapation–a response to handle the new situation. Often the mind perceives changes in routine as a kind of “threat.” That stress can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight responses and send it into “full alert.”

“Even good changes are stressful from an emotional point of view,” notes Berger. For example, Paul was excited to get his driver’s license. But that meant paying for gas, getting insurance, and assuming other responsibilities.

“You’re in charge of getting where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there,” notes Paul. He often has to drive his two brothers places too.

The more changes that occur in a short time period, the more stress people tend to experience. Back in 1967, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe ranked various adult life changes. Death of a spouse topped their scale (“event value” of 100). Next came divorce or separation from a partner, arrest or jail, and personal injury. The more “event value” points people racked up within several months, Holmes and Rahe reasoned, the more likely they were to become ill.

Life changes for teens differ from those of adults, but they’re just as significant psychologically. Major events could include: death of a parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, or another family member; parents’ divorce; puberty; pregnancy; jail or breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend. Again, the more changes within a short period, the more likely that added stresses will take their toll.

More recent research suggests that it’s not just the total number of changes that matter. People’s sense of control over change makes a big difference too. So, even “minor” events can cause substantial stress.

“When there’s a minor adjustment change–just a new teacher in the classroom or a change in routine society is less understanding and less patient with the adjustment,” notes Judy Linger, a psychiatrist at the Center for Emotional and Behavioral Health in Vero Beach, Florida. “People are taken off guard by the fact that there is such a reaction to whatever the loss or adjustment is.” Recognize when change is challenging for you. Then enlist support from people around you.

When Tragedy Strikes

Normal changes cause enough stress. What happens when tragedy strikes?

“Among the most hurtful changes are disappointments from people who you counted on,” says Berger. Divorce is relatively common, she notes, but it can still turn a family upside down.

“Even adults become upset when their parents become divorced,” Linger agrees. “It probably does hit adolescents every bit as hard as it does little ones.”

Teens are resilient and can adjust to many changes, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Paul’s parents divorced three years ago; both are now remarried. “There’s no real answer to it,” says the 17-year-old from Indianapolis. “You just have to think about what it means.”

Death is another major tragedy. Besides suffering several strokes, Amy’s grandmother had cancer. Instead of sending her away to a nursing facility, Amy and her mom cared for the grandmother at home until she died. “That was really a significant loss,” says Amy. “Some days are better than others, but the pain doesn’t go right away.”

“A lingering death is traumatic, but there is a bit of an opportunity to at least get used to the idea,” says Linger. In contrast, Allyn’s dad had a fatal heart attack during her senior year of high school. Mike’s father committed suicide near the end of his freshman year.

“A very sudden or accidental death can generate a lot of anger and a lot of guilt,” says Linger. Teens in these situations need to face the loss of the parent, friend, or family member. They also need to address the other strong emotions stirred up by an untimely death.

Sometimes tragedy strikes on a grand scale. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters can wreak havoc over large areas. At these times, care and support from around the country can help victims in their shared grief.

After September 11,2001

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks killed thousands of victims and forever changed lives across the country. One year later, all of America remembers the tragedy. Yet responses vary.

Many people were affected only indirectly. Like other travelers, Amy must allow extra time when she flies home to Ohio for college breaks. “I know it’s necessary,” she says, “but all the waiting and lines and extra precautions can really be a hassle.”

On the other hand, Amy sees more concern at school about accepting diversity among people. Newsweek reports that student interest in politics and global affairs has shot way up too.

For other people, September 11 struck much closer to home. Seventeen-year-old Chris lives on Long Island, where many people commute into New York City. Almost everyone in his neighborhood knows someone who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

“The initial shock may be over, but I expect people are still trying to cope and adjust to the loss,” says Chris. “There’s an ever-present awareness that things are changed permanently.”

Grief–Universal, Yet Unique

Everyone experiences grief at one time or another. Yet each person’s experience of grief is unique. Some people cry a lot. Others feel extremely angry. Some people become withdrawn. Other people start acting wild.

Despite wide variations, experts have identified five major stages of grief:

1. Shock and denial. Not believing the bad news buffers people from reality–but only temporarily. (Recall how the awful video images from September 11 seemed unreal at first.)

2. Anger. Grieving people often feel angry–with them selves, at whomever or whatever ever is gone, at whomever may have caused a loss, or at everyone one in general. Guilt often goes along with anger.

3. Bargaining. People don’t like feeling powerless, so they try to make a deal. (If only Mom’s cancer would go away, Dan might mentally promise not to argue with her anymore.)

4. Depression. When there’s no hope of changing the loss, emptiness and desolation can take over.

5. Acceptance. Eventually, people may accept the loss. After that, they can cherish any good memories and move forward.

Time helps, but there’s no “typical” grieving period. Many schools offer grief counseling. Otherwise, it’s important to find support from friends and trusted adults who will listen non-judgementally.

How to Cope

Even if change doesn’t cause major grief, the stress can be hard to handle. Fortunately, strategies can help you cope.

Here are a few to consider:

* Admit your emotions: “Recognize and acknowledge that these thoughts and feelings are going on,” says Linger. Don’t let stereotypes about being macho, tough, or grown-up bottle up emotions. Face your feelings head on.

* Make a list. “Changes often have the potential for growth and also the potential for a sense of loss,” says Berger. When you foresee a change, list all the good things that might result. Make a list of drawbacks and related losses too.

Chris knew he needed elbow surgery. “Baseball was out of the question for at least six months,” he says. Many activities like driving got temporarily derailed too. “I also knew the pain I was going to be in,” says Chris.

But there was a plus side. “I can’t do anything with my arm right now, but I’m looking forward to when I can,” says Chris. “Knowing that I will be able to throw again and better than before is the only thing that’s keeping me going.”

* Talk, talk, talk. Go out of your way to talk with family and friends. This helps you admit to and process your emotions.

Friends are are always good,” says Paul. Going from junior high to high school was a big change, with more responsibility, tougher classwork, and hectic schedules. Because Paul’s friends were experiencing the same challenges, they relieved stress together by sharing feelings.

Don’t limit yourself to face-to-face talking, says Linger. Talk on the phone. Write letters. Use E-mail and instant messaging to keep in touch with friends too.

* Express yourself artistically. Keep a journal. Write a poem or story. Draw or paint a picture. Compose a song. “Any shaping of the experience is in itself a kind of mastery,” notes Berger. Let your creative talents help you deal with your feelings about change. Share the result with others.

* Be proactive, rather than passive. “People don’t like feeling like something happens to them,” says Berger. Anything you can do to “grab the reins” and gain control helps.

For example, Amy and her mom had no choice about moving when she graduated from high school. But Amy helped clean and show their old home to prospective buyers. Amy helped shop for a new home too. These actions helped Amy plan for and deal with the change. Her mom’s acceptance of the help also told Amy her mom respected her feelings.

* Get involved. “A community activity that addresses some aspect of the loss is also a wonderful coping skill,” notes Linger. Blood drives, fundraising, and other community projects helped many people stop feeling helpless after September 11. Even now, Chris and his friends have stayed involved in volunteer activities that they began last fall. Likewise, walks for breast cancer or other causes can help teens do something positive after a loss.

* Reinforce relationships and values. “What sustains children and adolescents when terrible things happen is the reliability of their love relationships,” stresses Berger. “One survives change because the one thing that is eternal is someone’s love for you.” Let change be a chance to reinforce relationships with family, friends, and other people who care about you.

If you practice a religion, that can also help. Especially after her grandmother died, Amy says her faith gave her comfort.

* Maintain a healthy routine. “Keep some constants in your life,” recommends Amy. “Hang on to what works.” Going away to college was a big change for Amy. Besides staying in touch with family and friends, Amy made sure she ate well and exercised regularly. Getting enough rest helps too.

In contrast, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs spell disaster. These destructive choices harm your mental and physical health. Plus, they make it even harder for you to cope with change. More than ever, say “no” to substance abuse.

* Be patient. Like it or not, coping with change takes time. “Adolescents like instant gratification, and they’re not willing to give themselves a lot of time,” says Linger. Nonetheless, “They should be a little bit gentle with themselves at these times.”

“There’s always a bright side, even if you don’t realize it for a week, a month, or a year,” says Chris. “You and your life will be better.”