Sunday, April 14, 2013

Our children: an International report card

What a week it has been.  It seems that only days ago we heard of Amanda Todd, a young teenager from B.C. who died by suicide.  This week, in Nova Scotia, Rehtaeh Parsons has also died by suicide.  From coast to coast our youth are dying due to bullying, which in both cases involved sexual assaults and abuse through the internet.
On Wednesday, UNICEF announced Canada’s ranking on the quality of lives of Canadian children when measured against the lives of children in other rich countries. Of 29 countries, Canadian children placed 24th when reporting overall life satisfaction. Rates of bullying placed our children 21st.
Our children ranked 16th in behaviours and risks   Our older Ontario “youth” are being linked to terror investigations including Mujahid Enderi, who goes by the more common name of  “Ryan”.
It is so easy to get discouraged looking at these stats, and while the public’s concern to have Rehtah’s case reopened creates some hope, what can we do on a day to day basis to help our children?
We know that praising our children is a key to positive child development.  However, a recent study; suggests that how we give praise can have a major impact.
At the University of Chicago and Stanford University, 53 children were followed for 5 years.  They learned that a key to success is to encourage the child’s efforts rather than just the child.   We should be telling our children that they tried really hard vs. the fact that the child is so smart.
 It’s easy to get discouraged considering this week’s news.  Obviously in regards to raising our children we are not so smart but we can encourage each other’s efforts to make improvements in our children’s lives. Let’s try really hard!

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