HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SWEARING
over 2 years ago
As kids get older, they come across strong language in everything from YouTube videos to online comments. And lately, the amount of swearing on some of tweens' and teens' favorite TV shows seems to have bumped up a few notches. Preschool-age character Lily dropped the F-bomb (it was bleeped) on an episode of Modern Family, and The Daily Show is chock full of easily identified censored words. Parents can take advantage of these moments by explaining how shows (and other media) get attention for profanity -- a strategy that's part of selling a product.
Kids' fascination with taboo words isn't new, of course. Around the age of 5 or 6, most kids get a big thrill out of potty language (hello, Captain Underpants!) or any word that gets a rise out of parents. This age is a great time to help kids understand that there are places where certain language is OK (like in silly books) but not in others (like at the dinner table).
What kids intuitively understand is that words are powerful, and certain words make a big impact. Here are some tips for talking to kids about strong language:
- Think time and place. What might be no big deal at your house could be offensive at your best friend's place. Remind kids to keep their audience in mind when they're speaking. The language you use when texting your best buddy can be a bit looser than the words you use in a classroom or when speaking to Grandma on Skype.
- Expand your own vocab. You can almost always find a substitute for a curse word. Encourage kids to check out a thesaurus and find some creative alternatives to common curses or different ways to describe the feeling that's making them want to curse. (My son is saying "peanut butter" instead of "dummy." I tend to use "fig" a lot when I'm frustrated.)
- Words can hurt. Being called a name like "bitch" or "jerk" can sting. And just like it's not OK to hit someone or bully them, it's not OK to curse at someone to hurt them. Point out when TV characters call each other names, and ask kids how they could have handled the situation differently.
- Language reflects on you. Maybe some of your kids' friends think cursing makes you cool, but the reality is that someone who curses a lot tends to look immature and not at all classy. Remind kids to keep that in mind, especially when they're sending their language out into the world on social networks, online communities, etc.
- Limit exposure. Check out the "language" sections of our media reviews to help select TV shows, movies, games, etc. that keep the language within your comfort level. Find out how to turn off comments or access to chat rooms if kids are seeing inappropriate language on the web.
OVERCOMING TEST ANXIETY
over 2 years ago
Testing with success series
Overcoming test anxiety
Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam
However, when anxiety affects exam performance it has become a problem.
General preparation/building confidence:
Review your personal situation and skills
Academic counselors can help you in these areas, or refer to our Guides on the topic:
- Developing good study habits and strategies (a link to our directory)
(dealing with procrastination, distractions, laziness)
- Organizing material to be studied and learned
Take a step by step approach to build a strategy and not get overwhelmed
- Outside pressures
success/failure consequences (grades, graduation), peer pressure, competitiveness, etc.
- Reviewing your past performance on tests
to improve and learn from experience
Test preparation to reduce anxiety:
- Approach the exam with confidence:
Use whatever strategies you can to personalize success: visualization, logic, talking to your self, practice, team work, journaling, etc.
View the exam as an opportunity to show how much you've studied and to receive a reward for the studying you've done
- Be prepared!
Learn your material thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test. Use a checklist
- Choose a comfortable location for taking the test
with good lighting and minimal distractions
- Allow yourself plenty of time,
especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early
- Avoid thinking you need to cram just before
- Strive for a relaxed state of concentration
Avoid speaking with any fellow students who have not prepared, who express negativity, who will distract your preparation
- A program of exercise
is said to sharpen the mind
- Get a good night's sleep
the night before the exam
- Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach
Fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress.
Stressful foods can include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, eggs, fried foods, junk foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, chips and similar snack foods, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices
- Take a small snack, or some other nourishment
to help take your mind off of your anxiety.
Avoid high sugar content (candy) which may aggravate your condition
During the test:
- Read the directions carefully
- Budget your test taking time
- Change positions to help you relax
- If you go blank, skip the question and go on
- If you're taking an essay test
and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind
- Don't panic
when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for finishing first
Use relaxation techniques
If you find yourself tensing and getting anxious during the test:
Relax; you are in control.
Take slow, deep breaths
Don't think about
Pause: think about the next step and keep on task, step by step
Use positive reinforcement for yourself:
Acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best
It's a reminder that you want to do your best and can provide energy
Just keep it manageable
Realize that anxiety can be a "habit"
and that it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed
After the test, review how you did
- List what worked, and hold onto these strategies
It does not matter how small the items are: they are building blocks to success
- List what did not work for improvement
- Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle
Check out local centers and resources in your school for assistance!
If you are aware that you have a problem with test
be sure your teacher or instructor knows before any testing begins
(and not the hour before!).
There may be other options to evaluate your knowledge or performance within the subject matter.