Bullying – Stop It!

Bullying – Stop It!

Have you ever been bullied or know someone who has been bullied? I know I have. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Each October since 2006, there has been a national effort to raise awareness about bullying and provide education and resources to try to prevent it. According to data from 2017, about 20% of youth ages 12-18 experienced bullying at school and nearly 30% reported cyberbullying during their lifetime. That is a lot of our country’s youth!

What Exactly is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior. Bullying must have a real or perceived power imbalance between the bully and the victim, where the bully uses their power to control or hurt their victim. The bullying behavior needs to be repeated over time, or at least have the potential to repeat over time.

There are three categories of bullying:

  1. Verbal bullying includes teasing, taunting, threats, or name-calling
  2. Social or relational bullying includes ignoring someone on purpose, ostracizing, spreading rumors, or embarrassing someone
  3. Physical bullying includes damaging belongings or harming another’s body such as spitting, hitting, pushing, rude gestures, or tripping
White female working in computer lab

The constant and easy access of cell phones, social media, and the internet has increased the real dangers of cyberbullying. (Photo source: UF/IFAS)

Cyberbullying

Technology has changed the ways of bullying. Bullying is no longer only ‘picking on’ someone, making fun of them, calling them names, or ignoring them at school. The constant and easy  access of cell phones, social media, and the internet has truly expanded bullying to an unthinkable, unending scale. There are many ways to bully someone online, including:

  • Verbal attacks, mean messages, or rumors on social media accounts, online games such as Fortnite, or through email or text
  • Releasing embarrassing or inappropriate pictures, GIFs, or videos online or through text (e.g. sexting)
  • Creating fake profiles or hacking into someone’s account online in order to hurt that person

Perhaps one of the most dangerous things about cyberbullying is once something is posted online and is circulated, it’s very hard to permanently remove. This oftentimes makes escape from the bullying unusually difficult or even seemingly impossible. It’s so important to keep up with ways technology is advancing in order to protect ourselves from things like cyberbullying.

Effects of Bullying

The negative psychological effects of bullying are very real – for the bully, the victim, and those who may witness it.

For the bully, they have a greater risk of using substances, engaging in risky or violent behavior, being abusive in future relationships, committing crimes, and developing other external behavior problems.

Effects of bullying include low self-esteem, fear, loneliness, heartache, and potential physical illness.  These effects put a widespread toll on the mental, physical, and social health of the victims and also those who witness bullying. The increased risk of using addictive and illegal substances, anxiety, depression, eating disorders or even becoming suicidal are to be taken seriously and should be treated appropriately. Seek out mental health professionals or physicians and consult with them on the best combination of treatment. These effects can last days, months, years, or even lifetimes depending on the person and the circumstance.

The Story of Amanda Todd

The story of Amanda Todd is an unfortunate real example of cyberbullying and how unforgiving and never-ending it can be. Amanda ultimately committed suicide to get away from it; she was only 15 years old. Her YouTube video, published in 2012 a month before she committed suicide, has 13.5 million views to date. To better understand the reality of bullying, please consider watching it or sharing it. However, viewer discretion is advised.

Bullying, harassment, discrimination, or any other type of negative, cruel, or harmful behavior is never okay or acceptable in any way. If you have been a witness of bullying or a bully, stand up to stop it! If you have been bullied or know someone who has, please seek help from caring professionals, family, or friends. Go-to resources are found below.

 

Additional Resources

Stop Bullying Now Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Available 24/7, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Available 24/7, there is an online chat option available here

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

  • Available 24/7, suicide prevention help specifically for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Texting and chat options are available here

National Eating Disorders Association: 1-800-931-2237

  • Mon-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 9am-5pm

The Cybersmile Foundation

STOMP Out Bullying

Stopbullying.gov

 

Sources

National Center for Educational Statistics, Indicators of School Crime and Safety Indicator 10: Bullying at School and Electronic Bullying, April 2019.

Cyberbullying Research Center

The Amanda Todd Legacy

Living Well Resources for Times of Disaster

Living Well Resources for Times of Disaster

Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30, with peak season in September and October.  And hurricanes are not the only disasters we have to contend with.  Living Well in the Panhandle provides the trusted Disaster Resources you need so you know what to do to keep your family and you living well.

Disaster Resources

Below are helpful resources for preparing for and handling the aftermath of a disaster.  For more information, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

Food Safety
Is My Food Safe to Eat?
Keeping Your Food Safe During Emergencies:  Power Outages, Floods, and Fires
USDA – A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety-Severe Storms and Hurricanes Guide
Well Water Safety
Well Water Testing

Housing
Search for an open emergency shelter near you by texting SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362) Example:  SHELTER 01234

lightning storm with palm trees

Lightning storm. Photo Source: UF/IFAS

Cleaning Up After a Hurricane
Safety Comes First!
Get the Right Tree Care Professional
Hiring an Arborist – Spanish
Cleaning Mold After a Flood
Hurricanes and Mosquitoes
Mosquito Control Tips for Homeowners

Money Management/Consumer Issues
Avoiding Fraud and Deception
Six Steps in Making an Insurance Claim
Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents
FEMA – Individual Disaster Assistance
FEMA – Interim Housing Resources
USDA Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance
Disaster Recovery Loans
Tax Relief After a Disaster
Complaints – If you have a complaint about disaster relief assistance, contact the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office at 1-800-323-8603.

Family Health and Wellness
Call the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 for free counseling – 1-800-985-5990 (TTY) 1-800-846-8517
OR text TalkWithUs to 66746
Mental Health for Adults
Mental Health for Kids
Mental Health for Adolescents

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Practices to Minimize Flooding Damage to Commercial Vegetable Production
Florida Panhandle Agriculture
Florida Panhandle Agriculture Facebook

Building Financial Capacity in Children and Youth

Building Financial Capacity in Children and Youth

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB) has defined financial capacity as a the combination of attitude, knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy needed to make and exercise money management decisions that best fit the circumstances of one’s life, within an enabling environment that includes, but is not limited to, access to appropriate financial services. 

Many of the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to build financial capacity can be learned.  People learn behavior through a variety of contexts.  Children, in particular, learn through practices modeled by a parent or caregiver. In fact, research shows that parents and caregivers have the most influence on their children’s financial capability.

If you are like most parents, you probably recognize this—and you are interested in setting your kids on a good path toward financial well-being. However, many parents also say they do not always have time, tools, or personal confidence to start talking about money thinking their children will learn about it in school, later on, when they are old enough to understand.

This is most unfortunate. According to the Council for Economic Education 2018 Survey of the States, only 17 States require high school students to take a course in personal finance.  So, if a parent isn’t teaching their children basic money/financial skills who is?  Economical and financial literacy is a foundational element to achieving financial health and financial well-being.  It is never too early (or too late) to start building this.

Talking to children about money, even in EARLY CHILDHOOD, helps children build the skills they need later in life.  Early childhood education experts like to call this scaffolding.  You are setting the framework…the support…the platform, encouraging financial capability milestones from early childhood into young adulthood. Children can learn the behaviors, knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics that support financial health and well-being.

Books can help start these critical early conversation. The CFPB has made it EASY!  Parents can be their child’s first financial capability teacher!  The University of Wisconsin-Extension Family Living Programs and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security have selected books for the CFPB Money as you Grow Book Club.  This program uses easy to read and understand children’s books to discuss money concepts. These books include many favorites:

  • A Bargain for Frances, by Russell Hoban
  • A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams
  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst
  • Count on Pablo, by Barbara deRubertis
  • Cuenta con Pablo, by Barbara deRubertis
  • Curious George Saves His Pennies, by Margaret and H.AS. Rey
  • Just Shopping With Mom, by Mercer Mayer
  • Lemonade in Winter, by Emily Jenkins
  • My Rows and Piles of Coins, by Tololwa M. Mollel
  • Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall
  • Sheep in a Shop, by Nancy Shaw
  • The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job, by Stan & Jan Berenstain
  • The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Purse, by Kathy Caple
  • The Rag Coat, by Lauren Mills
  • Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts
  • Tia Isa Wants a Car, by Meg Medina
  • Tia Isa Quiere un Carro, by Meg Medina

Fortunately, many of the building blocks for good financial decision making – like self-regulation, patience, planning, and problem-solving – do not require a lot of financial know-how.

Reading books with children is a creative way to learn about the many sides of money management. Pick up a few of the titles at your local library and influence your children’s financial capability.  Building good habits leads to a life of good financial health and well-being.

Example of key ideas from reading books:

 

PLANNING How Children Show It
Making Decisions Can look at a few choices and select on what will bring the best results.
Setting Goals Can follow a multi–step plan.
Prioritizing Can prioritize choices when they want two or more things at once.
Solving problems

 

Can describe problems and come up with a few idea to make things better.
MONEY
Earning Can identify the different jobs people in the family and in the community do to earn money and keep it safe.
Spending Make spending choices with their own money – real or play.
Saving Keeps money in a safe place and keeps track of amount saved for future spending.
Sharing and borrowing Can explain the difference between lending and giving something away.
ME
Self-control Can talk about times when they were able to wait and how they were able to do it.
Follow-through Can identify who they can turn to for help reaching a goal, or what tools or tricks might help them stick with a plan.
Staying true to yourself Name one special thing they like about themselves and their loved ones.
Flexibility Can talk about a time when their plans did not turn out how they wanted and what they did instead.

 

Resource:  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/money-as-you-grow/

Summer Canning Methods with Your Children

Youth learn food preservation skills. Photo source: Melanie Taylor

At this point in the summer, many parents are at a loss for what to do to keep their children engaged and “off the couch.” How about a focus on healthy eating and food preservation? If you have a backyard garden be sure to pick the fruits and vegetables at their peak readiness. If you do not have a garden make a family trip to the local farmers market and/or a local u-pick farm.

Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables are full of nutrition and taste, but if you have or buy more than your family can eat in a few days’ time, be sure to make preparations to teach your children how to preserve those foods to eat later in the year. There is nothing more enjoyable than having fruit jam on biscuits or summer vegetables in your soup during the cold depths of winter.

There are six different methods of food preservation to teach your children. They are boiling water/water bath canning, making jam, pickling, freezing, drying, and pressure canning. The easiest method being freezing and the most complex and time consuming being pressure canning. No matter which ones you choose to teach your children be sure to follow valid recipes and procedures. Family and Consumer Science Extension Agents always recommend using the most current recipes and procedures from The National Center for Home Food Preservation, which are maintained at https://nchfp.uga.edu/. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation. The Center was established with funding from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (CSREES-USDA) to address food safety concerns for those who practice and teach home food preservation and processing methods. Many of the recipes are available for free on the website, or you can order the 6th edition of the “So Easy to Preserve” food preservation book at https://setp.uga.edu/.

Specific to children, there is also a Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth curriculum through the University of Georgia, which is a series of informal educational lessons that guide youth to explore and understand the science of safe food preservation. This free curriculum can be found online at https://ugeorgia.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a5Y4IfBZ2Vh0EIt after a quick questionnaire of how you plan to use the curriculum.

Teaching these food preservation skills to your children will be a fun-filled and very educational opportunity. Be sure to use the above resources to assist you in the food safety methods to be certain your products are safe for consumption. Enjoy this special time in the garden and kitchen with your children this summer.

Resources:

National Center for Home Food Preservation https://nchfp.uga.edu/

“So Easy to Preserve” https://setp.uga.edu/

Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth https://ugeorgia.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a5Y4IfBZ2Vh0EIt

 

 

 

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

May is Older Americans Month – Photo credit: Wendy Meredith

“Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” are grandparents who are caregivers for their grandchildren.  They have obtained temporary custody or have adopted because the grandchildren’s biological parents often are either incarcerated for crimes related to drugs and/or alcohol addictions or the parents are deceased due to their lifestyles and addictions.  The UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) ​has partnered with the Council on Aging in our area to work with these “great” grandparents.  EFNEP is a series of nine lessons.  We teach parents and grandparents raising grandchildren the knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to raise healthy families.

What EFNEP Offers Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Welcome!

Eating Smart Being Active. Tell us your story – we listen to you.  We share helpful resources available in the county.

Get Moving!

Let’s Be Active. Learn Physical Fitness with Exercises and Games for the family. Drink Water.

Plan, Shop, and Save!

Plan for nutritious meals and recipes.  Shop on a budget and save money.

Fruits and Vegetables Half Your Plate!

Make simple, family-friendly recipes using fruits and vegetables.  Use all varieties including what’s in season and grown locally.  Learn about important family vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains!

How many grains do I need a day? Why is it important to eat grains?

Go Lean with Protein!

What are animal proteins?  What are plant proteins? How much protein do you need each day? What is a lean protein?

Build Strong Bones!

What are sources of low-fat or no-fat dairy?  How many servings does your family need each day?

Make a Change!

What are good ways to get rid of too many fats, salts, and sugars from your families’ daily meals and snacks?

Celebrate!

Each EFNEP participant receives a certificate of completion to frame and hang in their home.

Why are Grandparents Raising Grandchildren?

The opioid epidemic is affecting so many families and, really, these folks should be enjoying retirement and their “Older Years.”  We are here to supply grandparents who are raising grandchildren with education and tools that equip them to raise healthy and happy children.

EFNEP is here to help

Grandparents Shopping Healthy – Photo credit: Wendy Meredith

EFNEP aids in the challenge with recipes, activities, cooking skills, and researched info. Then we educate about nutritious foods, food safety, physical activity, and how to shop for food on a limited budget. We also provide fresh produce grown, harvested, and donated by the Extension Master Gardeners for in-class recipe tastings. We have, on occasion, taken the grandparents to a local grocery store to “put into action” what they have learned in the EFNEP classes. Each one is given a challenge to purchase a healthy item from each of the five food groups with money that is provided for them.

We also are currently working with Fresh Access Bucks (FAB), which enables us to share with our Grandparents Raising Grandchildren the locations and times of local Farmers Markets and Produce Stands that are FAB partners and accept SNAP and WIC when purchasing Fresh Florida Grown Produce.

Raising children can be hard in our younger adult years.  Raising children in our “Older Years” can be extremely challenging, overwhelming, or downright exhausting.  Through our partnership, we have been able to help the grandparents by eliminating some of their everyday stresses.  We do this by offering them fun, factual, and fresh ideas about nutritious foods and how to prepare yummy, kid-approved snacks and meals.  Working with the grandparents has been and continues to be very rewarding.  They are always eager to learn and they are committed to the program.  And they are so grateful for our involvement.  The big smiles on the faces of the Super Grandmas and Super Grandpas say it all!!!

 

National Grandparents Day 2017:  September 10

National Grandparents Day 2017: September 10

For nearly 40 years, National Grandparents Day has been celebrated as an opportunity to express gratitude for all that grandparents do for families and communities.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau Profile, America Facts for Features, in 1970, Marian McQuade initiated a campaign to establish a day to honor grandparents.  In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation, declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day.

Across the U.S., not only are grandparents appreciated for sharing their time, wisdom, and values, but they are currently stepping up to raise over 7.2 million children under the age of 18 whose biological parents are unable to do so, thus keeping the children out of the foster care system.  In Florida, 11% of children live in homes where householders are grandparents or other relatives.

Locally, in Leon County, there are more than 2,000 grandparent-headed families, where:

  • 13.1% of the grandparents are 60 years and older
  • 39.8% of these families live below the poverty level
  • Nearly 50% of these families have had the children for 5 or more years

The reasons as to why so many grandparents are raising grandchildren are many and varied.  Nationally, substance abuse causes more than one third of this type of placement.  Nevertheless, because of a grandparent’s selfless devotion and generosity to the needs of others, grandparents are, in fact, owed a great deal of thanks for their altruism.

As one grandmother exclaimed, “For my 50th birthday, I got a 2 year-old.  My story isn’t unique.”  In fact, grandparent roles in children’s lives are so significant that the Grandparents as Parents (GaP) Program of the Tallahassee Senior Foundation, funded by the Leon County Commission, grants, and donations, has a program and support group just for them!  According to Karen Boebinger, GaP Program Coordinator, “The GaP program provides moral support and resource assistance to these grandfamilies who are trying to navigate through their new lifestyle.”

AARP® has streamlined the gathering of relevant information pertinent to this nationwide dilemma.  The AARP® resource, Grand Families Fact Sheet, includes state-specific data and programs available, as well as information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options, and state laws.  This fact sheet also contains many other resource tools such as the National Council on Aging’s questionnaire that helps grandparent caregivers and/or the children they are raising determine if they qualify for certain programs that pay for food, an increase in income, and/or home and healthcare costs.  Once the questionnaire is completed, the website generates a list of eligible programs and contact information.  (www.aarp.org/quicklink)

Take a moment today and every day to give thanks and appreciation for the thousands of grandparents in our community and around the country for the service they do for children.  One thing is for certain:  grandparents are more valuable to their grandchildren and communities than ever.  Grandparents are indispensable and important people.

Want more information about supporting GaP or do you need support yourself?  Contact Karen Boebinger, GaP Program Coordinator, at 850-891-4027 or karen.boebinger@talgov.com.