Friday, December 18, 2015

Grand Parenting - The Grandparent Boot-Camp part-II

Here comes Santa (err Grandpa)...
   As the holidays are upon us this can be a most difficult time for Grandparents.  Living on fixed income, budgetary constraints, rising expenses, and expectation that the Christmas or Holiday gift giving is going to be immense can really stress this Grandpa out!  End of year taxes (Thanks Obama), Obamacare Skyrocketing costs, property taxes, and income taxes can really pack a one-two punch in your gut.  So what to do?  You have Grand Children you want to spoil.  The children make Holidays a magical time of year.  Their glowing faces, sparkle in their eyes, excitement building...then the gift giving culminates in a fury of shredded wrapping paper and happy faces.  This is not all what Christmas is about though. Love for fellow man and woman, neighbors, your peeps, good health and good cheer.  Peace on Earth.  All this is such an abstract concept with all the trouble going on in the world.  As a Grandparent it is my job to bring sparkle to the holiday season, stitch love together like a patch-work quilt, and make the Grand Kids feel warm and loved.  A tall order for the untrained Grandpa or "Crampa" as my 6 year old grandson calls me. What's a Santa wanna-be to do?  Here are some ideas that you can use to bring that sparkle into the Holiday season and not empty your wallet.

Be creative - Be resourceful
When stuff breaks like old toys, old appliances, broken stuff in general take the stuff apart. Save the parts.  Get some small empty boxes and save the plastics, the metals, the flat pieces, the rubber pieces.  Save the screws, clips, metal rods, rollers, wires, bulbs, etc.  If it looks like it can be used again to create or repair save some of it.  I have several boxes of "Stuff".  I use this stuff to create toys for my Grand kids out of nothing.  I also use this stuff to fix toys that break in the normal action of wear and tear with my Grand kids.

Come up with ideas to capture imagination
Some of my best creations have come from recollection of toys I played with as a child.  Toys of today are marvels of artificial intelligence that interact with computer chipped sounds, flashing lights, and very little else.  Being bright and flashy they attract attention for a short time but then their appeal subsides and then become the next items to dissect for parts. What I have found is that my now 6 year old Grandson gets immense enjoyment from concepts I create that invoke his imagination, his motor skills, and challenge his senses.

The Airport Creation - "Glide Slope"
I created a concept he calls the "Airport".  I call it "Glide Slope".  It consists of 4 large pieces.  He plays with the air field part in the house on bad weather days.  I spent about $10.00 USD on it.  Hobby store black foam panel 3' x 4' makes the basis for the air-field.  I purchased a small set of  battery powered blue lights to line the airfield with taxi way lighting.  The second part is the 6 foot runway made of sheets of black dense card-board with strips of cloth holding at the seems.  This is where his airplanes land then taxi onto the airfield.  I painted runway lights with glow in the dark paint.  I created a decal for the runway personalized for him with his name.  Third are the planes.  Basic model planes are best especially the snap together kind.  Quick assembly is key.  The kid is going to crash them up anyway.  Finally, the action.  The magic.  Fishing line and fishing tackle pieces create the magic.  Along with the Cockpit, the fishing line allows the planes to fly through the air under his control and land on the runway.  The cockpit lights up, has a working electronic automobile compass, a game console joystick, and a spinning radar dish.  Aside from the auto-compass all parts were acquired from stuff.  Wires, motors, lights, a plastic clear dome, screws, clips, metal brackets, and paint.  My Grandson asks to play with this toy at least 3 times a month.  He loves it.













For my next concept - "Spin-Art"

I remember a toy I had as a kid called Spin-Art.  It spun paper while you poured paint on it creating artwork.  I am making spin-art as a family gift this holiday season.  It will bring us all together to play and create so even the little guy can play.  I did purchase some parts as clearance items together with the batteries cost me under $12.00 USD.

"Letters from Santa"
Last Holiday Season I sent my Grandson a letter from Santa.  I single page letter on nice paper with Santa' likeness on it.  Whimsical, a little sarcastic, a smidgen of risque innuendo to keep Mom interested while she orates to junior and presto - Instant magic for the holidays.  It was a big hit last year.  St. Nick will be sending out the 2nd edition soon.

"The Set-Train"
This one toy I had a great amount of enjoyment creating and still enjoy watching Grandson and now his little sister playing with it.  It is a train set made of wooden trains, wooden track, set up permanently on a solid wood platform.  Grandson loves it.  It is indestructible.  He can stand on it, walk across it, slam on it and it is still going strong.  I found a 4' x 5' wood platform at my job sort of like a pallet.  I placed the wood track on the platform rearranging until I could get the most elaborate track array on the 4x5 space.  I permanently mounted the track then custom painted the platform for play.  I mounted some fine wood trim around the edges, sanded down sharp corners, and attached plastic utility handles to make carrying the "Set-Train" easy.  All kinds of trains are sold for the wooden track sets including motorized and remote controlled units.

As you can see with a little imagination you can play Santa Clause, build in your own Santa's Workshop, and create magic for the little ones without breaking open the piggy bank for your last dime, eating hot-dogs until July to pay help pay off  holiday shopping charges.

Take care my friends - Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - May you have a blessed, happy, and healthy new year.

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS
hematech@yahoo.com
labhematech@gmail.com
@hematech



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grand Parenting - The Grand Parent Boot-Camp part-I


As the Grand Father of three beautiful children, two beautiful daughters, and a wonderfully talented wife I believe I have enough life experience to share some worth-while reading material to anyone who is about to become one of life's greatest titles - Grand Parent.  Sure it is easy to become a Grand Parent...Have children, raise them, clothe them, furnish them with their every need, send them off to college or careers, attend wedding, and then attend birth of grand child or a special adoption procedure.  Voila - Instant Grand Parent.  See. easy right?  Here are some tips on how to be a better Grand Parent, smooth the bumpy ride a little, and enjoy every second of "Grand Parent-Hood" where its all good in the hood!  What happens at Grandma's stay's at Grandma's.  There is nothing like the love of a Grand Parent - Nothing like the love for a Grand Child.

Let me start off first by saying of course I love my Grandchildren and they are the center of my fragile little world.  But, my Grand Children are not old enough to commit felonies, misdemeanors, or even a parking violation.  I have no experience with what some Grand Parents go through on a daily basis with a young adult Grand Child who may be responsible for a violent death committed during a robbery for example.  Bless their pointed little heads the ones that get on TV and claim "My little Johnny would never do that" or "Not my my Grand Child"?  That is not what this posting is about.  I am talking boot-camp for the impending earned title of Grand Parent.  There is nothing like earning this prestigious virtual badge of honor.  The birthdays, the holidays, the weekends, the dinners, lunches, sleep-overs, the teaching, the creating...and Here we go!

First Introductions:
The birth of a child is a wondrous occasion.  Human life arriving into the family unit is a grand occasion and you must not miss this event as the Grand Parent if possible.  Meeting the little one for the first time brings such joy whether in the delivery room, hospital nursery, or at a home coming.  This event will melt hearts, water eyes, and fill you up with feelings of instant love and devotion.  Not all baby's are beautiful to every one's eyes but your Grand Child is spectacular to your eyes.  After the birth and through the first few weeks of life little baby Grand Child will develop quickly some mannerism's that you cannot afford to miss which will offer some glimpses of future personality traits.  Holding the little bundle of joy for the first time will bring incredible feelings of love, responsibility, and joy.  After the birth of each of my Grand Children I immediately met them and was able to bond quickly.  My thoughts ran a gamut of emotion.  I helped produce this baby, this child is here because of me and my wife.  My parents also had a part of this as well.  We all would not be here if not for the love of our parents for each other who took on the responsibility of giving birth to us, we in turn give birth to our sons and daughters, and thus here are Grand Children.  God is Great! Praise the Lord!

Bonding:

What will you think when you first hold that Grand Child in your arms?  How will those feelings be validated when your Grand Child holds onto you,clings to you for safety for the first time, asks you a question, or maybe the same question over and over again...There will come a time when a Grand Child physically demands your support for the first time and trusts you with their well being.  When that situation occurs you will immediately see the light bulb light up, you may get a chill in your spine, or you will just get affirmation that you are loved, you are trusted, you are depended on for needs of that child.  This trust you earn will come in handy someday.

Instant Love:
Even before the birth of your first Grand Child there will be mixed feelings and confusion.  You have no idea what you are feeling and you will not know until it clobbers you over the head.  What is it?  It is Love.  Before the birth you will observe the pregnancy as it progresses along, the preparations, the celebrations...But, you will have weird feelings?  Will I love this baby?  Can I love this baby like my own children?  What if I don't?  What is wrong with me?  Don't worry.  That is instant love.  You don't know you love that child but you do.  How can you?  The child is in your daughter's or daughter-in-law's body?  You do love that child.  Trust me you do.  You just don't know it yet.  You can't understand it!  There is inner strength derived from this impromptu love affair yet to begin.  When you hold that baby for the first time you will know.  With each Grand Child you will feel it.  The first Grand Child will scare you to shreds.  The second baby will give you feelings of "I can get through this" and "I have experience with this". The birth of the third one will feel strange.  You are confident you love the child even before birth but worry about bonding.  How can you supply love to all these Grand Children...sometimes all at once no less.  Family gatherings with all the children present at the same time can be scary.  Don't worry.  Remember, that instant love comforted you before the birth - it will carry you along and support all your Grand Children with inner strength even when they are all around you.

Sharing the Love:
Spreading the love is not just presents, treats, or materialistic things you give to your Grand Children although you will enjoy immensely doing so.  "Spreading the love" encompasses teaching, supporting, respecting, bonding, and disciplining the Grand Child.  Rewards given to your Grand Child from you are special though.  While teaching children stranger-danger there is a delicate balance of gaining and fostering trust between you and your Grand Child.  Attaining the level of trust that you can give your Grand Children anything and they will trust you that you will not harm them or in the case of medication or health care; it may not taste or feel good but it is necessary. It takes the good parts and the bad parts together to make everything alright.  Let me give you an example.  Grand Son was 4 years old.  A difficult age.  Very active, very aware, and hard to control.  Grand Son got a terrible splinter from the decking outside the house while my wife Leslie and I had him for the weekend.  We tried to get the splinter out of his foot to no avail.  He screamed, he kicked his legs, and cried in pain.  He cooperated as best he could but it was just too much a task for Grandma and Grandpa.  So off to the pediatric clinic we went.  What an ordeal.  It was really bad.  Screaming, crying, fighting, pain, tears on every one's faces.  After the splinter was cut out of his foot the most important aspect of the whole ordeal occurred.  It was so sad.  But, it made me so proud to be a Grand Parent.  The little guy told the Doctor and Nurses he was sorry for screaming and kicking so much but it hurt so bad.  He hugged his Grandma while bandage was applied.  The Doctor had tears in her eyes.  This little 4 year old went through a very painful ordeal and apologized for screaming.  What a good boy.  He trusted us.  He depended on us as Grand Parents to fix his foot.  It broke our hearts to have him go through that.  I was so proud that he was able to respect strangers he knew he had to depend on, show them gratitude, and have so much bravery in  such an ordeal.

What about that Stranger-Danger? Am I a stranger and "The Order of the Secret Hand Shake"!
Here is a valuable tip for the Grand Parent to be.  Stranger Danger is a natural feeling almost all children will develop.  You just don't know at what age they will develop this sense of well being and who from which they will use it to protect themselves.  Develop a Secret Handshake with your Grand Child at an early age.  How early?  Start at 2-3 months old.  Let me give you an example here of secret handshake.   With my Grand Daughter I started a secret handshake when she was weeks old. I count her fingers and toes on each hand and foot.  Then I take her hand and touch each of my fingers when I count to five.   So, when my Grand Daughter was about 8 months old in her own home upon meeting me one evening she had that sense of stranger danger towards me.  Her Grand Mother was holding her in the kitchen area.  Grandma said "Want to go to Grandpa"?  Little darling looked at me and did not quite look like she wanted any part of me.  I put my hands up as if to reach out to her like I have so many times before.  She cried, turned away, and buried her face in my wife's neck.  Luckily, I had the secret handshake.  I took Grand Daughters hand and I slowly counted her fingers.  Upon reaching 4...she turned to me and stopped crying.   I held out my hands again after 5...and she then came to me.  I held her in my arms and she put her head on my shoulder.  That is how Grand Parents melt.  You should develop this technique of your own.  If not counting fingers, identify eyes, nose, ears, hair.  It can even be some special sounds like gentle whistling, clicking, purring, or singing.  It must be a unique combination of gestures and repeat it often especially when meeting the child after an absence of a day or few days. You will never know when you need it but you will need it some time.  I felt terrible she did not trust me for a moment.  But it is a natural reaction for all children.  It is part of their defense system of self protection.  Being able to break through that defense was priceless.  Here is another example.  My youngest Grand Child born Sept. 2015 loves to lay on his Grand Mothers Chest.  Well I don't have that comfy kind of chest.  So at 5 weeks old, I was holding him on my chest and he was fidgeting, fussing, and starting to cry.  I had to come up with something anything to comfort him.  I started Purring like a cat.  A deep purr so my chest would vibrate under him.  He quieted down, relaxed, and fell asleep.  That was priceless as well. 

Nurturing:  What is that?
How as a Grand Parent can I affect nurturing in a Grand Child?   Nurturing a Grand Child is probably the most important aspect of being a Grand parent. It is a life long process.  You will nurture your Grand Child for the rest of your life.  This is the stuff that will make your Grand Child hurt and cry in pain when you pass.  You may have probably observed with your own children and your parents the power of nurturing and the agony of a child losing a Grand Parent who nurtured them along in their life.  Nurturing stems from wisdom.  Wisdom allows us to teach.  Wisdom gives us street cred with our Grand Children.  When we teach and learn them we have a high level of respect.  One - because this is not Mommy or Daddy teaching.  Two - We are not Mommy or Daddy; we are different.  We have the respect of our children and our Grand Children see that.  This further gives our Grand Children affirmation that we are knowing, have valuable lessons, and can affect our Grand Children immensely.  For example; my wife taught our older Grand Son about "Compassion".  Compassion for Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma, Family, other people, animals, and nature.  He is a good little boy with a warm heart and caring spirit. I can skateboard.  My 6 year old is amazed.  I can put him on the front of my skateboard and run him down the street with me.  I can do lots of things he can't.  He is amazed.  My wife Leslie has talents he appreciates as well. When he gets a scrape or bruise he knows Grand Ma can fix him up and make him feel better.  He watches, learns, soaks up information and emulates as best he can. With our 2nd Grand Child Leslie taught her "Kitty-Face".  What is Kitty-Face you ask?  Squint your eyes and extend your mouth sideways.  That is Kitty-Face!  Grand Daughter picked up on that real quick.  Now anytime she wants something like a toy, cookie, milk, juice or whatever; she does "kitty-Face" and sometimes repeatedly in rapid succession I might add.  It is so cute and smart.  That is nurturing.  The secret handshake is nurturing as well.

Sadness - Happiness  and Understanding:

Your grandchildren growing up are going to go through periods of happiness, sadness, and hysteria on either side of the emotional scale.  It is important to cope with these swings, manage, control, and nurture at the same time.  Letting little Johnny get away with bad behavior because in a few hours he will go home to his Mother does no one any favors.  Stability, cohesiveness, fairness, and leading by example are so important.  The bad behavior you let the Grand Children get away with even out of apathy will intensify as the child gets older.   Reward, guide,  and counsel your Grand Children through their various stages of development.  Counsel with kindness the bad - reward the good.  The child's mind is like a sponge. Empower them with small wins or accomplishments.  They will respect you and someday they will come through for you.  Here is an example.  My little guy had just turned 5 years old.  He is starting to get really interested in cars, mechanical stuff, engines, how stuff works, etc.  So I taught him how to start a gas powered electric generator.  I brought him outside, Instructed him in the procedure of how to start the machine.  I demonstrated.  Then I asked him to start the machine.  He refused.  He was afraid of the noise.  I told him to do it but the engine will not start because the gas flow will be off.  He demonstrated the procedure for me in a dry run.  Then I asked him to repeat for real.  He did.  He was so excited.  He accomplished it and he felt empowered.  Not more than a month later his Father purchased a generator of different model, color, size, etc.  Little guy was home with his mother and the electricity went out.  He was able to start his Father's generator for his Mother when it really counted.  Now, every couple of months when I test start the generator I have my little guy do it.
When the children hit a low emotional point it is important to respond appropriately as well.  Don't feel inclined to try to give them the world to make them feel better.  They probably just want someone to babble on to, complain to, rant, whatever you want to call it.  Don;t let them be disrespectful or mean but let them vent.  Support but firmly guide them away from mean trash talk and despair.  Kids want guidance and fairness.  Give it to them.  Also, meal time is so important to maintain stability as well.  No toys or electronic devices at the table.  No TV or distractions.  Just nutrition, conversation, and good behavior.  For the best behavior there will be desert.  For bad behavior there is no desert.  Plain and simple.  No screaming, no yelling, no threatening language.

Gather up some tools for success:
Lets face it - kids like to receive stuff as gifts, surprises, and for just whatever reason.  You are the Grandparent. It is your right to reward your little ones.  Don't break the bank though.  Here are some tips to get prepared.  Gather up some art supplies such as paper, paints, craft kits, markers, pencils, crayons, etc..  These are great for when the weather is too bad to go outside.  Shop the clearance sections at hobby and toy stores.  Garage sales are also a good source of stuff.  After Christmas sales, after Valentines sales, etc.  Shop and save the items.  Distribute to the kids when appropriate.  Do the same with sports equipment, fitness, etc.
Kids like the simple stuff but They want interaction and activity.  They love games and play.  They love that interaction right up to bed time.  Get some books that are are relaxing, calming, and have happy subject matter to read.  Read to the kids before they go to sleep during sleepovers.  A  snack, a bath, and some important time together to relax and read is perfect before bed.  Start at young age like two or earlier and continue as long as you can.

Injuries, hurts, sickness oh my:
  It is inevitable; the kids stay for long periods of time and they are going to get injured or hurt under your watch.  Be smart and prepare.  Work out the details before hand about doctor visits if needed, emergency room visits, minor over the counter medication administration and such.  Work out all the high level details with you kids about what to do with the Grand Children in such circumstances.  Obtain a copy of medical insurance cards, note social security numbers, and for long periods of watch like more than 2 days get written documentation from the parents to be able to administer care.  It is called "Loco Parentis".  If you have the Grandchildren and your son or daughter is on extended vacation on a ship or across the country...be prepared.  Leslie wrote an intuitive blog post on "Traveling With Children" on her blog Leslielovesveggies.net.   Take a look to review the post for insightful info on traveling with Grand Children written by a Neonatal/Pediatric Nursing Professional and former School Nurse.

Obtaining the title of Grand Parent is easy.  Being a great Grand Parent is difficult.  I am fortunate to have a great partner; my wife Leslie of Leslielovesveggies.net.  The Grand kids adore her, respect her, and are crazy in love for her.  She is a Pediatric/Neonatal ICU Nurse so that is an added bonus for all in our family.  We all can't be Pediatric Nurses.  But, if you maintain fairness, be practical and stable in your guidance of your Grand Children you will succeed.

Have fun, love your Grand Kids, and don;t be afraid.  Be that Great Grand Parent!


Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS
hematech@yahoo.com
labhematech@gmail.com
@hematech - See more at: http://hematechstraighttalk.blogspot.com/search/label/Ask%20the%20Med%20Tech#sthash.CymvFgiY.dpuf
Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS
hematech@yahoo.com
labhematech@gmail.com
@hematech

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bullycide - The Bullying Continues In Our Schools

 BULLYCIDE - The Bullying Continues

Bullycide is a term that describes the tragic taking of ones own life as a result of bullying.  Some of my readers can remember from August 2013 I wrote a post about one such Bullycide that occurred in the Greenwich CT Public Schools system.  A young boy killed himself at the commencement of school after summer break.  This was a tragic case of a student suffering incessant long term bullying.  This suffering student telegraphed his fears to fellow students, school officials, and even posted on facebook his music request for his impending funeral.  Bullying in our schools and workplaces is a big problem.  The insidious act of bullying is a more widespread and serious problem than most parents realize.  School districts and school boards have a vested interest in keeping reports of in-school bullying close to the vest and will cover for and protect not only the victim but also perpetrators under the guise of "protecting the student".  This results in gross under-reporting of incidents on campus.  Make no mistake about it - Bullying continues on school campuses across the country as sure as these campuses of rampant torture are awarding teachers as "Teacher of the Year".

According to bullyingstatistics.org, for year 2010, 30% of students 6th through 10th grades experience bullying as either a victim or bully.  That is 1 out of 3 students exposed first person to bullying.  I myself was victim to physical bullying as a young boy in middle school.  No wonder we have Police officers dedicated to school campuses.  Bullying in schools is such a large problem as many as 70% of students in public schools acknowledge that bullying is an ongoing problem.  As kids get older and progress to college bullying also follows them their in the form of hazing rituals whereby serious injury and death are common conclusions to hazing activities.  Something needs to be done.  Suicide is the leading cause of death amongst children under 14 years of age. With the massive influx of children from neighboring Mexico and South American countries the epidemic of bullying in our country is only going to get worse and the inherent yearn for school officials and main stream media to hide such bullying incidents is only going to get stronger. 

Become Informed
What can we do as parents and grand parents of children school age and older?
Look up information on bullying.  Learn what forms and types of activities that occur on campus and off which constitute bullying.
Even subtle name calling which continues for long periods is harmful.
Gather  as much info as possible on the school district you are concerned with in respect to incidents on campus.
Attend school board meetings, ask questions, request documentation and statistics on bully cases, raise issues, and hold school board officials accountable for issues happening on school property.

Protect Your Child and Grandchildren
If you ask school officials what you can do to protect your child against bullying you will get weak responses and diversion from reality.  Don't bother asking.  You will be labeled a troublemaker.  School literature such as student and parent handbooks will give the impression that all is well, your child is safe, and officials are trained and equipped to handle bullying cases effectively.  That is a half true pile of bunk.  School officials are trained more on damage control than protecting little Jane or John while in their charge.  So, what can you do?  Take heed of these guidelines that are common sense, empowering, and self supporting of your child taking an active role in self protection rather than simply encouraging your child to report what they see and feel.

Talk to your child about bullying and the different forms of such behavior.
Talk to your child about protecting ones self and not to rely on school officials to protect them.
Learn about situational awareness yourself so you can teach your child.  No one else is going to teach this to them.
Practice makes perfect.  Practice through drills of demonstrating bully tactics with your child.  Have your child act both the bully and the victim.  This includes physical contact as well as verbal and electronic bullying.  If you are not capable of the physical training get your child enrolled in a practical self defense training course.  See below on how to evaluate a self defense, Karate type school for your child that will teach reality based skills.
Train your child to be resourceful with materials that can be used in a self defense situation if necessary.
Teach flight or fight response.  It's ok to run.  Sometimes that is not an option.
Equip your child for school.  You can't send little Billy to school with a club, brass knuckles, or a gun.  You can send him or her with non-lethal practical tools to protect and instill confidence.  See below my list of items every child should have on them or in their back pack.
Most importantly teach your child about what to do if bullying happens to them.  What to do if they have no choice but too physically defend themselves against an attacker.  Most important is to tell your child you are their protector and advocate.  No matter what the circumstance or predicament they are to say nothing to anyone until you join them at the school.  Nothing means nothing beyond Name and your contact number.  No details, no names, no lies. Nothing.

Lets say you prepare your child and you did it well.  Bullying has occurred and your child has witnessed it or is the victim.  Your child had no option but to use self defense against an attacker and felt his or her life was in danger.  Training really paid off.  Not only did your child defend but now the attacker has serious injury or worse had to be taken off campus in an ambulance.  It is imperative that your child clam up.  At that point Police involvement is a necessity.  So will legal representation for you and your child. Clam up, shut up, and keep quiet until Mommy or Daddy get there or your attorney arrives whether at the principles office or heaven forbid Police Station.  Prepare your child for the worst.  As a parent, walk you child off campus post incident if possible.  Say nothing if possible or at minimum state your name, relationship to the [your]child, and your child was fearful of "serious bodily harm".  If there is police presence and leaving is not an option everyone clam up until you can lawyer-up.

Here is my list of items you can equip your student with to protect and command self confidence.
  • A pocket Spy pen; USB memory with camera.  The police wear body cameras.  Why not your child. Remember no inappropriate use and only for capturing evidence of bullying, bad behavior, or attacks.
  • Keys on a key ring with at least three keys.  One key in-between each finger.  Johnny can't have brass knuckles but a fist full of keys is almost as good.
  • A good solid metal pen.  You can't equip a knife in your child's bag but a good sturdy steel cased pen is almost as good.  Learn and teach various strike points to your child for such an improvised weapon.
  • A strong draw string bag.  One that can hold some money-coins, keys, or some other heavy and dense object or improvised with items such as a rock, can of soda, bottle of water, etc.  This can be swung at an attacker with devastating results.  Attach the bag to a belt from around the waste, swing with great velocity, and an attacker is going down quick.
  • How about a small bottle of artist ink, the darker the better.  The bottle can be opened and splashed on an attacker even in the dark.  This will positively identify the bully attacker or even teacher with the roaming hands of a pervert.
  • How about a loud audible personal alarm.  These 70+ decibel screamers are an excellent distraction.
These are all legal, non threatening, non-violent passive tools of protection your child can carry on their person.  However you can train you child to use what is available within their reach as a weapon or distraction as well.  A broom handle, dust pan, chair, lunch box,  some hard dense object, or anything that can be implemented as a self defense weapon.  Schools are full of safety equipment that can be used as a last ditch effort to defend, distract, or deflect an attacker.  Fire extinguishers are excellent pieces of equipment.  Especially the dry chemical types can blast an air depriving blast of powder in an attackers face.  Fire alarm pulls can be a great distraction as well in a dire circumstance.  When your daughters or sons life depends on quick action all is fare.  Teach them to use what is available and don't be a victim.  That is why school buses particularly scare me.  With a distracted driver struggling to keep 4 tons of metal in control, some bully's surround your child, and then start the pummeling.  The school bus environment is a very risky place for an unprepared child to be in.

The School District of Shame and Awards
So what about the School District in Greenwich CT almost 2 years after a student was tortured to death in classrooms and hallways?  Since my post in August 2013, the school district has posted all school board meeting Minutes and is up to date.  After a few mentions in school board meeting minutes containing some empty promises and pep-talk memos to school staff and concerned parents does anyone think the kids are any safer than before this terrible tragedy took place in 2013?  You would think that a school district that lost a child to bullying would take active measures to get staff training, document monitoring of bully activities on school property, and report progress in School Board Meeting minutes.  Well think again.  No such activity commenced after this poor child was tortured to death in the hallways and classrooms.  Since the burial of that poor student in Aug 2013, nearly 14 teachers in that child's school district have been congratulated as Teacher of the Year.  You can rest assured that the teachers are covering for themselves and are getting their pay raises.  They could not care less about the bully crimes on-going in the school.

More and more there are stories on mainstream news mediums about teachers abusing trust granted to them and perpetrating horrible crimes of abuse such as molestation, cruelty, and rape.  These are some of the most dangerous bully's with access to our children.  Teachers having "affairs" and resultant pregnancies with students is sick.  School districts prepare students for this insidious festering atrocity by assigning reading lessons containing sexually explicit stories of rape, incest, homosexuality, and even bestiality.  All under the guise of a nurturing learning environment.  Take a gander at little Johnnie's reading list.  Then go to open school night and orate the worst sexually explicit dialogue from the reading list, article, or distributed pamphlet.  Likely, you would be threatened with prosecution for lewd behavior if you did that in the kids play area of your local fast food restaurant.  Why is it acceptable for your child to read that material while alone but if read out loud at a school board meeting  it is not.  Schools have become sewers containing some of the worst behavior of human kind.  Protect your child.  Prepare your child.  Prepare yourself.

Martial Arts Training
Get your child some professional training in self defense techniques with a practical martial arts school.  Navigating the multitudes of schools available practically on every street corner can be an arduous task.  When selecting a school for your child keep in mind the purpose for that school and your child.  Not babysitting, not someplace to go after school until you get off work, not a club, and definitely not a school boasting a huge pile of trophies in the front window.  Ask friends, neighbors, acquaintances about schools in the area and if their kids go to those schools.  Inquire about the schools philosophy, instructors, structured curriculum, and training activities before even asking about cost.  Run a background check on the instructor(s) before enrolling your child.  Here are some things to look for when deciding on a martial arts school.
  1. Does training occur always with bare feet?  This is a big mistake.  In the "Real world" bare feat self defense only happens at the beach or pool.  Training with street shoes, school shoes, sneakers is imperative, real world, and practical.
  2. Is training always in the classroom?  Dojo?  Again real world is not the Dojo.  Training in a public park, on different surfaces, and close quarters is ideal.  Remember the school bus scenario?
  3. Is situational awareness taught along with the fighting disciplines?  This is incredibly important.  Knowing your surroundings and risks can be half the battle of keeping one safe.
  4. You want a well rounded training for your child and one that will prepare for real life situations.  Bringing home a bunch of trophies because your kid is quicker than a matched opponent at slapping an arm or leg is not going to protect anything.
Be safe my friends.  Click the links below for more information about the epidemic of bullying across our nation.


bullyingstatistics.org
teencentral.net
Megan Meier Foundation
www.ncjrs.gov
www.sheriff.org
Spytecinc.com
Brickhousesecurity.com
Blackbelt daily self-defense



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