School Violence

Even though the school year is coming to a close, we must not forget the impact that school violence has on children of all ages. Check out this article in the Samhsa news letter, and stay tuned for more blogs from Star Point Counseling! Hope everyone is having a great week so far.

Children and Discipline Pt. 1

spankingIs anyone familiar with the bible quote, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”? Even if you are agnostic, or do not believe in the Bible, chances are that you may have been using this philosophy for parenting. The idea is that if we do not spank our children, then they will have no boundaries. This interpretation also assumes that without corporal punishment children will not grow up to respect others, especially their elders. But what does research actually say about this sort of “fear based” disciplne?
Well, according to Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Texas Austin, corporal punishment actually can have many negative consequences. Kids may be more likely to have a hostile nature about them, may find it hard to connect with their parents, and often do not get the opportunity to learn what they should be doing but are only scolded for what they should NOT be doing. Gershoff also argues that spankings can lead to abuse, due to the angry feelings the parent often has while the corporate punishment is taking place. The idea of “I’m gonna teach him a lesson” may not be teaching a life long lesson but rather promoting the child to just do better at not getting caught next time the opportunity arises. Even with the astounding research, our society still looks at corporate punishment as an effective means to discipline children.
So then lets look at what the reference, “spare the rod, spoil the child” could mean given Elizabeth’s suggestion from her research. We must break down what discipline really is. In part 2 of the series, “Children and Discipline” we disect the term and look at what research says about incentive and reward driven learning. Please comment if you have anything to add to this discussion.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

National Childrens Mental Health Awareness Week


On top of May being named National Mental Health Awareness Month, the week of May 5th through May 11th is National Childrens Mental Health Awareness Week. Millions of American children suffer from Mental Health Disorders that include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, Anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Autism, Bipolar Disorder, and even Schizophrenia, just to name a few.These disorders are sometimes even co-occuring, where more than one exists within a given child. These illnesses are real and effect children in many aspects of life from school, to home, to recreational activities. The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, estimates that somewhere between 3% to 7% of children who are of school age suffer from ADHD, but recent studies are suggesting even higher amounts in the range of 5% to 15%. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that about 11% of the population of kids age 13-18 have experienced Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and/or Dysthymic Disorder.

With these astounding statistics it is important that at least a week of the year be set aside for awareness of these serious issues. Environment, parenting deficits, and lack of knowledge may also be factors that perpetuate and exacerbate some of these issues. Without knowledge of how to handle a child with a mental health issues, parents, caretakers, and the community could be adding to the problem, even with their good intentions. It is extremely important that we all make ourselves more prepared to handle and help children with mental health disorders, as well as other children who are having a hard time coping with life in general. For additional information please click the link below