Jim Tuman, Royal Oak, MI Student Mentor/Advocate says, “For some kids, the anxiety of facing another day in school can be overwhelming. Trying to fit in and ‘make the grade’ has become more challenging than ever,” Jim states. “When parents, teachers and students make the effort to communicate and work together, as a team, the emotional health of the entire family- even the community at large, can benefit.”
To raise the bar on the quality of relationships within the family unit with the following tips:
1) Every family should have their own youth “focus group,” made up of friends of your children. Ask about new designer drugs, new at-risk problems in schools, but most of all, ask their opinions.
2) Lunch room “social”: Creating a climate of belonging and helping your child to learn appropriate social skills in school is important. If permitted, bringing wholesome activities, that other students can participate in, during lunch or other school downtime periods can be a peer-booster. That said, be sure to get the school’s okay prior to implementing that.
3) Find the very “verbal” kids, who have struggled with addictions, gang involvement, teen pregnancy (no fathers), bullies and violent behaviors. Have them both tell their stories in school assemblies or in your home.
4) Have students write a column in the local newspaper or be moderators on a parent call-in show.
5) Experiential learning is the most powerful.
a) Spend a day in a wheelchair to feel what it is like to be disabled, so they become more empathetic.
b) Watch movies that have a POSITIVE message/ lesson, such as “A Girl like Her,” and open up the dialogue.
c) Take them to drug and alcohol clinics to see, first-hand, how addictions affect young lives, etc.
6) Be real with your children, so it is not “us and them.” Tell them how badly you personally messed up.
7) Don’t ever enable them! As long as you bail them out, they will keep messing up.
8) Reinforce good behavior and don’t dwell on the bad.
9) Have them become the eyes and ears of your family, and in their school.
Jim’s definition of great parents: “No matter how badly your son or daughter ‘messes up,’ provide a place where they know they can always come home to, a place where unconditional love resides.”
Jim Tuman, from Royal Oak, Mich., is a Student Mentor-Advocate who knows a great deal about student safety. Now in his 40th year, Tuman has spoken to over 2 million kids in over 2000 schools, nationwide. His slogan, “Creating an environment in schools where kids feel safe, valued and loved” has resonated and affected the lives of those he has presented to. Because of his belief and caring for kids, he has created a safe space for them to be real and be themselves, in a time when it is extremely rare for an adult to win their trust.
To see more about Mr. Tuman, please visit his website at: http://www.jimtuman.com.