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The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Relational Aggression and Bullying: What Can Parents Do About It?

Ask the Experts by Georgia Michalopoulou, Ph.D.

Q: I am parent of both a middle school student and high school student. I occasionally hear from my children about issues of bullying in their daily lives. What can parents do about relational aggression and bullying?

Relational aggression is a form of bullying. It consists of manipulating relationships to exert control over another child, or harming another child by damaging his or her friendships or reputation.

This kind of behavior is a growing concern for parents as it can sadly lead to life-long consequences and even death. Research shows that students who have been the targets of relational aggression have:

Read more: Relational Aggression and Bullying: What Can Parents Do About It?


Developing Healthy Relationships at Home, School and in the Community

Ask the Experts by Eric Herman, MA, LLP, DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan

Q: As an parent I know that there are many benefits to developing healthy relationships at home, work and in the community. What tips can you share to help me teach my children those benefits so that they can better navigate school and throughout life?

What are some practical tips on how individuals can develop healthy relationships at home, school and the community?

Parents are the model for their children as to how to relate or have a relationship with the world. For good or bad, what a child learns or does not learn at home, will have a significant impact on his or her ability to have healthy, effective and satisfying relationships with others.

Read more: Developing Healthy Relationships at Home, School and in the Community


The Psychological Costs of Bullying

Ask the Experts by Michael Butkus, PhD, LP, DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan

Q: Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. I've learned that bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. How can parents and educators better understand just how extreme bullying can get, and how it impacts everyone involved? 

What are the effects bullying can have on the victim?

There are numerous potential consequences. These include increased stress, anxiety, and worrying about both going to and being in school. Victims can have school attendance problems and physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches. Other potential issues include:

Read more: The Psychological Costs of Bullying


Starter Fluid of Bullying = Meanness

Ask the Experts by Sean Hogan Downey, LMSW, LMFT 

Q: There is so much education on bullying in the schools, but I'm not sure that I understand what the difference is between unkindness between peers and bullying? What do I need to know to help my kids navigate these issues in school and socially? What's the major difference between meanness and bullying?

All bullying involves meanness but not all meanness is bullying. What distinguishes bullying from unkind behavior is that it is intentional, aggressive and involves an imbalance of power.

Bullying and meanness is becoming more prevalent in our children's' day to day lives:

Read more: Starter Fluid of Bullying = Meanness


Peer Expectations during the Middle School Transition Years

Ask the Experts by Michael Dib, EdD

Q: My oldest child has just entered middle school. What should my expectations be regarding my child and peer relationships?

A: Each student who enters middle school comes with a unique sense of belonging and confidence. Accept your child for who she/he is and support the transition to middle school with a consistent and positive demeanor. New peer relationships will likely occur during the middle school years.

Encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities and school events which will help develop new peer relationships, while still maintaining existing friendships. As tempting as it might be, don't pick your child's friends based upon what you think is best for your child.

Read more: Peer Expectations during the Middle School Transition Years


Parental Responsibility for Underage Drinking in their Home

Ask the Experts by Ed Lazar

Q: Are parents responsible for the consequences of underage drinking in their home? If so, how serious are those consequences?

A: Kids love to celebrate. Whether at a family graduation party or a spontaneous late night get together, some kids celebrate with alcohol. What's worse, 65% of kids under age 21 who say they drink admit they get alcohol from family and friends. That means they get it from their parents, their friends' parents, or older siblings.

Make no mistake about this: If you provide alcohol, directly or indirectly, to someone under the legal drinking age you can be held responsible for what happens after they have consumed it. 

Read more: Parental Responsibility for Underage Drinking in their Home


Family Center GPNews Feature

A recent article in the Grosse Pointe News that features the work of The Family Center begins with:

"Guiding families: Parents always have questions when it comes to their children and for a dozen years The Family Center of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods has been the go-to resource providing those answers."

Read the article >>


STRESSED OUT?!? Its time to connect to calm

Ask the Experts by Jill Wrubel

Q: Last week at lunch I noticed how my coworkers and I were very anxious and talking about how busy and overworked we were feeling, and that even at home most of us are unable to relax and have any sense of peace? What can we do?

A. Have you noticed that the most popular conversation has become how we're stressed-out? Many succumb to the notion that it is next to impossible to avoid stress. Current studies say that 90 percent of disease is stress-related. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has determined that managing stress improves health.

SO WHAT DO WE DO? Good question. How can I fit anymore into my already over-scheduled day? Reality: "HOW CAN I AFFORD NOT TO?"

Read more: STRESSED OUT?!? Its time to connect to calm


Tips for families with students soon to be taking the ACT

Ask the Experts by Michael Richman 

Q: What can we do as parents to help and support our children preparing to take the ACT this coming fall?

A: For those tackling the ACT for the first time, it can be daunting, but not only can students take the test more than once, it is highly recommended they do so! In fact, on average, students will do better the second time they take it, once they are familiar with the process and past those first time jitters.

Read more: Tips for families with students soon to be taking the ACT


Navigating the Senior Years

Ask the Experts by Karen Adair

Q: My 75 year old father is terrified about having to someday go into a nursing home. What can he do proactively to extend his time at home?

A: This is a complex question and depends a great deal on the health condition of your father. However, in general, ensuring your father stays active physically, mentally and socially will help him maintain his independence as long as possible. Having the regular assistance of a professional caregiver can ensure he is remaining active.

Q: My father is currently living in an assisted living facility and can no longer drive. All my siblings work and the van service is not always convenient. I feel trapped, what should I do?

A: It is natural to feel trapped when mobility becomes limited. Thankfully there are services available through companies. They provide caregivers who will drive you wherever you need to go whether it is to church, a friend's house, a social outing or any appointments you may have.

Read more: Navigating the Senior Years


Children Need a Good Night's Sleep (Pt. 2)

Ask the Experts by Helen Landuyt, PhD

To help ease the time transition of daylight savings time, try the following to help your child adjust to the time change: Maintain your child's regular sleep, wake and nap times. Try not to compensate for the lost hour by delaying bedtime or allowing your child to sleep in. This will increase the time it takes to transition.

There may be some crankiness from being tired, but this should last only a day or two.

Make gradual adjustments. Some parents find it best to try and start making adjustments on Friday night rather than wait until Saturday.

Read more: Children Need a Good Night's Sleep (Pt. 2)


Children Need a Good Night's Sleep (Pt. 1)

Ask the Experts by Helen Landuyt, PhD

The return to daylight savings time on March 11, 2012 coincided with the final day of National Sleep Awareness week. As our nation springs forward each year, families need to give some real thought about whether you and your children are getting enough sleep.  

Sleep is food for the brain. You want to make sure to get enough of it. There is growing evidence that a chronic lack of sleep can lead to obesity, mimic the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and contribute to depression and health problems. Tired kids get lower grades, don't do as well at sports/videogames and have more emotional meltdowns than youngsters who get adequate rest.

Read more: Children Need a Good Night's Sleep (Pt. 1)


Women and Heart Attacks

Ask the Experts by Basil M. Dudar, M.D.  

Q:  Our family often has "what-if" discussions to be better prepared in the event of an emergency. We recently had a friend who had a heart attack. What does it mean to have a heart attack?   

A:  A heart attack means the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or completely cut off. Heart attacks can permanently damage the heart's muscle tissue and can be life-threatening events if not treated quickly. 

Q:  Is it true that men and women experience different heart attack symptoms? 

A:  Yes. Not everyone will experience a heart attack the same way. Warning signs of a heart attack can include pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back; feeling weak, light-headed or faint; chest pain or discomfort; pain or discomfort in the arms, shoulder or between the shoulder blades; and shortness of breath. 

Read more: Women and Heart Attacks


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