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Safeguarding Children and Building Resiliency in a Challenging World Dr. Scott Poland Nova Southeastern University.

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Presentation on theme: "Safeguarding Children and Building Resiliency in a Challenging World Dr. Scott Poland Nova Southeastern University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Safeguarding Children and Building Resiliency in a Challenging World Dr. Scott Poland Nova Southeastern University

2 Statistics …. The leading causes of death for children are accidents, homicide and suicide Adults have a responsibility to work on prevention at school and in homes and neighborhoods Children are dying in nearly record numbers

3 Recommendations for Parents Bring back the family meal Don’t let technology steal your child Avoid setting their room up to be a kingdom Know where your child is and know their friends and their parents--Network

4 Driving and Riding in Cars Most dangerous thing your child does Approximately 3000 teens die in car accidents every year and most were not wearing seatbelts Graduated driving laws when enforced save lives Don’t let your teen be “INTEXTICATED” Contract for life Irony is you thought the phone was for safety!

5 More Recommendations Avoid putting children in the middle of divorce Importance of modeling—Gandhi quote Enjoy your children and let them know they are the sons and daughters you always wanted Make family the priority but don’t try to be best friends with your child Separate the deed from the “doer” Teach restitution

6 Technology a Curse or a Blessing? It Is here To Stay There is something dangerous and largely unguarded in almost every home! Children today view being connected as a birthright but it is a privilege What are sexting and cyber bullying all about?

7 Question…. “My child is fascinated by violent video games and plays them for hours….should I be worried?”

8 Tips for Parents Online activities are not just your child’s business Discuss online behavior with them and what information is appropriate to share Know the online communities and your child’s password Be up front that you will investigate their postings, profiles, website etc. because you care! Take Charge!

9 New Program for Monitoring Internet and Cell Phone WebSafety Searches for key words about danger and obscenity and alerts parents immediately Alerts parents if contact is from strangers You can prevent teens from driving and texting and be alerted if they are speeding You create no texting zones

10 Fathers Need To Be More Involved Reality is that “parent” is still a code word for Mom in most families The supreme test of a society is can it teach men to be good fathers? Margaret Mead Positive association between father involvement and child well being and academic success

11 Good relationships with other youth Seeks adult help when needed Lack of access to suicidal means Access to mental health care Religiosity School environment that encourages help seeking and promotes health PROTECTIVE FACTORS

12 Family cohesion and stability Coping and problem solving skills Positive self worth and impulse control Positive connections to school and extracurricular participation Successful academically PROTECTIVE FACTORS

13 Youth Suicide Incidence Everyone must know the warning signs and not to keep a secret Don’t hesitate to get professional help for your child Removing lethal means

14 2011 YRBSS RESULTS Surveyed 15,000 H.S students and in the last year 15.8 % considered suicide (increase from 2009) 12.8% made a suicide plan (increase) 7.8% made an attempt (increase)

15 U.S. Preventative Task Force 2009 Routine screening recommended for all teens 12 to 18 Major depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated Begin with a questionnaire that teens can fill out in private at the medical office Screening should be repeated even if “no red flags” Teens at risk should get full diagnostic work up

16 WARNING SIGNS OF YOUTH SUICIDE Suicide notes Threats Symptomatic clues Giving away prized possessions/making a will Fascination with death Exposure to suicide

17 Depression Untreated depression can lead to substance abuse, academic failure and even suicide It is not moodiness but a mood disorder Estimates are that by end of teen years 20% of adolescents will have suffered from depression The majority do not received treatment

18 Symptoms of Teen Depression: Present for more than two weeks Irritable or cranky Loss of interest in activities Withdrawal from friends and family Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns Physical agitation Making critical comments about themselves

19 More Signs of Depression Behavior problems at school Drop in grades Frequent absences Somatic complaints and visits to school nurse Suicidal comments and fascination with death

20 Depression Is Treatable! If you think your teen is depressed get them evaluated Depression may be related to abuse or triggered by a stressful event like divorce, loss or a break up of relationship Depression often runs in families Most effective treatments involve cognitive behavioral therapy and medication

21 Bullying Repetitive and humiliating Physical and/or verbal Involves power Cyber bullying impact What if your child is the victim? What if your child is the bully?

22 Average age of participation ranges from 9-14 years of age. Behavior more common among white middle class boys not demonstrating other risk behaviors More information Choking Game

23 “The object is to cut off blood flow to the carotid artery causing the player to nearly or completely pass out, then releasing the pressure allowing the rush of blood back into the brain causing a lightheaded feeling resembling a quick high.” Definition

24 Key Points Most youth learn about the game at school Should not be referred to as a game Adolescents attracted to it for thrill seeking It is not illegal like drugs Parental supervision is important Schools and communities need to provide safe outlets for adventure and thrill seeking

25 Helping Children Recognize developmental levels and protect them from horrific violence on television, movies and video games Reach do not preach Support the school and do not prevent your child from receiving consequences because children learn from their mistakes Do not hesitate to get professional help when it is recommended

26 Resiliency Learned behavior Importance of being surrounded by caring family and friends Utilize coping skills and vent strong emotions Keep an optimistic view

27 Recognize that all children need: three or more significant adults in their lives in addition to parents. a sense of safety and belonging in the home, school, and community. three or more hours of organized activities weekly. adolescents need volunteer work

28 Significant Adults/Mentors

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31 Resources Suicide Prevention Resource center American Association of Suicidology American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Centers for Disease Control National Association of School Psychologists

32 In Conclusion Be involved in your child’s life especially outside of school! YOU ARE THE PARENT! Many of my articles are posted at


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