Valentine's Day.... the beloved time of year where we are spoiled or showered with gifts of love, adoration, and appreciation from our significant other has rolled around again. Just as the Hallmark stocks its shelf, and Wal-Mart overflows with super teddy bears, and even Dollar Tree increases his balloon orders, many will flock to the stores in honor Valentine's Day.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month! It is so important to EDUCATE, EMPOWER, ENCOURAGE our young people early and often about healthy relationships!
Relationships that we develop as children, with peers, and even the "puppy love" we experience as young people serve as the foundation and development of relationships across the lifespan. The reality is that dating violence is more common than many people think. In the U.S., 1 in 3 teens will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.
Welcome to 2017. This is an exciting time because BFE and I are undergoing some wonderful new changes in this year! To make this all possible, I had to really sit down and map out the experiences that I hope to enjoy and celebrate in this year. In doing this, I found myself exploring goals and visions for me, my profession and business, and my son.
Goal setting is an important process in life that we take to help us propel forward in our own purpose and development. As we navigate through various life stages, we grow in our understanding of the importance of goal setting. Moreover we also learn how to set goals to accomplish and achieve great things in our life.
Even though Christmas day has not changed since the birth of Christ and the celebration has become known to man, every year, I (probably like many of you) find myself taken by surprise by the rituals of the holiday season. Just after the children storm out for tricks and treats, we are reminded that the most wonderful time of year is just around the corner. To be honest, this holiday I have turned into an Ebenezer Scrooge! However, I have had the pleasure of getting a visit from 3 Christmas Ghosts who brightened my Spirits.
Browse or download my ebook, Bahambug! 3 Christmas Ghosts to Spread Holiday Cheer and read along to the video below, to learn how the Ghost of Christmas Self, Ghost of Christmas Family, and the Ghost of Christmas Vision can help lift your spirits!
As an advocate against Domestic Violence, I am taking action to bring more awareness to the impact of Domestic Violence in family homes, and particularly in communities of color. As we advocate for awareness of domestic violence, it is also important that we also discuss the connection between domestic violence and gun violence. More than half (55%) of American women killed with a gun are killed by an intimate partner or family member. Research shows that easy access to guns turns domestic violence fatal. For African American women, the homicide rate associated with family violence is even more alarming.
During this great month of awareness, I have been fortunate and honored to join the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (VSDVAA), Virginia's leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence as a Training Faculty.
Tips and Tools to Help You and Your Child Succeed this First Year!
"Back to School" is always one of my favorite times of the year. Ever since I was a kid, I have looked forward to the "first day of school." Indeed my favorite part was getting new clothes and shoes, and taking pictures to add to the photo album book. Since becoming a Mom, I have most certainly enjoyed the excitement of preparing my son having for his "first day" of school each year too. Indeed the time has changed, with the many craft and Pinterest ideas, because I now look forward to creating photo booths and frames to highlight my kiddo on the rise!
During the early stages of life, children learn to trust and develop a sense of safety and assurance about the world through their caregivers. As such, when these attachments are disrupted or unhealthy (abuse, neglect, exposure to violence), children begin to feel a sense of uncertainty, fear, and hopelessness about the world. As children continue to develop through childhood, similar or continuous exposure to traumatic events, can further derail healthy physical, intellectual, and emotional/social development. Because each stage of development, as popularized by Erik Erikson (see picture), builds upon successful completion of early stages, these missing "steps" make it difficult for a youth to confront and master new challenges.
Beginnings Family Enrichment is supportive of fostering and strengthening families by providing parent education and one-on-one coaching with an positive discipline, as well as providing training and consultation to child and family serving systems that promote positive behavior interventions, family engagement practices, and understanding the impact the of trauma on child development. The month of April focuses on some key national initiatives and campaigns that are geared towards the specialized support and protection of children and families.
As a state advocate on children and family mental health policy, programs, and services, I remain very much so connected to early childhood intervention for children with mental health and developmental disabilities, child abuse and neglect prevention, and services for youth and families who have experienced victimization from crime and violence. This month brings multiple passions and advocacy interests full circle.
Autism Awareness: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. For more information and resources about ASD, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/
Child Abuse Prevention: During National Child Abuse Prevention Month we are focused on “strong, nurturing communities that are supportive of families can get involved and play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being.” It is important to understand child abuse prevention and what to do when children are at risk. Programs, such as BFE, promote family well-being by providing family resources and education on protective factors, marriage and relationships, fatherhood, and parenting. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse.
Sexual Assault Awareness: This year, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's (NSVRC) campaign and efforts to raise awareness and provide resources for prevention. With the theme, “Prevention is possible,” NSVRC helps individuals, communities and the private sector understand how they can take action to promote safety, respect and equality to stop sexual assault before it happens. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).
Crime Victims Rights: Every year, the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW), which will be observed in 2016 on April 10–16. This year's theme—Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.—underscores the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery.
So this month, please join BFE in raising awareness in your community!
February is Teen Dating Violence (DV) Awareness Month! Teen DV Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teens and transitioning young adults relationships.
Dating violence can happen to any teen in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship, and it is more common than many people think. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner every year. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, findings indicated that 1 in 10 teens reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once. What is more alarming is that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Parents and trusting adults (teachers, counselors, healthcare professionals) need to talk to teens about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.
Without support and awareness, unhealthy relationships can have long term consequences. These behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence. Moreover, teens who experience dating violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and experiment with drugs and alcohol. Studies suggest that teens who experience dating victimization are at higher risk for victimization during adulthood.
There are many organizations that provide direct services and support to youth and transitioning young adults who experience dating violence. These organizations can also provide information to adults and caregivers as well.
National Dating Abuse Helpline: Provides 24-hour national web-based and telephone resources to help teens experiencing dating abuse. Young people (as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement and service providers) anywhere in the country can call toll free, 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or log on to the interactive website, loveisrespect.org, and receive immediate, confidential assistance.
Break the Cycle is a national nonprofit organization that provides preventive dating and domestic violence education and outreach to teens and young adults.
Love is Not Abuse campaign includes comprehensive resources for parents, a digital abuse curriculum and tips for engaging men and boys.
On a final note, Love is Respect is bringing awareness with its theme "Love = Setting Boundaries," because boundaries are an important part of every healthy relationship. Explore some of the conversation and resources, including an upcoming webinar on February 25, 2016 available on the website.
Whether it is temper tantrums in the grocery store, screaming at the dinner table, throwing toys or food, it can be a tough job helping your child balance his emotions and behavior! The most effective ways for children to learn acceptable behavior is to see it modeled. While you can do this with your own demeanor, you can also encourage your child by providing books on the subject. This is a safe, effective way to introduce appropriate behavior to your child and reinforce your own teaching. Some great published children's books include:
Words Are Not for Hurting: This excellent guide urges children to think before they speak and take responsibility for what they say. Also included are valuable lessons on facial expression, body language, dealing with serious problems, such as abuse, and the power of saying, “I’m sorry.” This is an excellent starting point for discussion and teaching kids behavior that respects everyone.
How to Lose All Your Friends: This collection of playful rules, or anti-rules, is perfect. as each "rule" is accompanied by colorful illustrations and examples. Your child will see the undesirable consequences and be reminded that being nice is the best way to make and keep friends. A great guide for any contrary child!
The Behavior Survival Guide for Kids: This guide for kids with behavior disorders and learning disabilities with advice on coping with feelings, getting along with friends, family, and teachers, and dealing with people who are hard to get along with.
How to Take the Grrr Out of Anger: This is a valuable resource for children and parents to use to develop healthy ways to deal with anger and resolve conflicts. You can effectively teach your kids behavior that is safe and appropriate and that will help him throughout life.
Know and Follow Rules: This is a great guide for teaching your child rules because it simplifies them down to just four: listen, do your best work, keep your hands and body to yourself, and say please and thank you.
Want to learn about a cute and creative way to help your child with dealing with and identifying their feelings, triggers to certain behaviors, and developing coping skills to help them? Please join us for a great workshop to learn to make your own Behavior Books! You can utilize your personalized Behavior Books in similar ways as professionals and parents who utilize "Social Stories" for children with Autism and Spectrum Disorder. By utilizing this concept, parents can help children handle a variety of situations: Anger, Separation and Divorce, Anxiety, Welcoming a New Baby, and so much more! Behavior Books focus on behaviors that your child may have exhibit, or reactions and expressions that your child may have as a result of situation to help them to identify solutions and problem-solving skills to reduce his frustration.
Behavior Books are taught in BFE's workshop, "Positive Parenting Seminar" or can be personalized in your own customized workshop for your family and friends. Through this workshop you will learn how to develop your own Behavior Books that are unique and special to your own child. BFE's next upcoming Positive Parenting Seminar is February 27, 2016 in Drakes Branch, VA!