The Wrong Choice: Senate Bill 520

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Child Abuse

Child abuse and fatalities are national problems. According to Child Welfare Gateway, despite the efforts of a child protection system, child maltreatment fatalities remain a serious problem. The recent incidents of child abuse and fatalities in South Carolina have caused us to examine more closely, the state of our children. Why are so many of our children falling victims to abuse and fatalities, and in most instances, crimes committed by family members? In a recent article in The State newspaper, Dr. Kathleen Hayes, director for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, responded by pledging to change practice and policies to improve child safety. Dr. Hayes, a caring professional, who is committed to protecting our children will take appropriate action to improve policy, procedure and staffing in reducing child fatalities in our State.

We expect the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) to protect our children. Without community support, it is practically impossible for this agency to totally protect our children. We must all work together in protecting our children. Community involvement is a must in reducing child abuse and fatalities.

For example, Neighborhood Watch programs have reduced community crime. Neighborhood Watch programs have been recognized as one of the most effective means of reducing crime in a community. We need to launch Neighborhood Child Watch programs in communities to protect our children from dangers such as abuse by parents and others. In every community, there is someone who knows what’s going on. The community, along with the SCDSS protective services, must work more effectively in protecting our children–our future.

We need a state-wide campaign to engage our neighborhoods in protecting our children by reporting abuse and neglect to the appropriate authorities. We as a community must move from the side line to the front line in protecting our future–our children.

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Positive thinking: an economic stimulus

Self Empowerment: See It. Claim It. Achieve It.

Our 2008 theme Self-Empowerment: See It, Claim It, Achieve It is a call for community sufficiency and self-actualization. Generations of disenfranchised people have overcome insurmountable odds by believing in a better tomorrow. Their hope birthed an inner strength to succeed. It is a can do attitude that says, “I will not allow anything or anybody turn me around or steal my dream, my vision.” It is the power of perseverance, a personal drive to keep on keeping on! Additionally, it is recognition that your vision will only be accomplished through hard work. The Bible says faith without works is dead. Read the rest of this entry »

The Science of Parenting

We hold parents accountable for the successes as well as failures of their children. It’s not unusual to hear others blaming parents for their children’s poor academic performance, teenage pregnancy, poor social skills, disruptive behavior and even gang involvement.

 Many parents are shocked when things go wrong. They know they are good parents. They believe they have given their children love and support to be successful. Their plea is universal: “What could I have done differently?” 

These parents all want successful outcomes for their children, and they are constantly seeking ways to become better parents. Over the years, I have discussed this issue with hundreds of parents. We talked about the tried-and-proven approaches to parenting. But the perfect answer was always elusive. 

Well, help may be available now — through science. According to U.S. News & World Report (“Good Parents, Bad Results,” June 23), researchers have come up with an evidence-based approach to parenting. The article lists eight common mistakes of parenting: 

Failing to set limits. Rule-setting works best if it’s done well in advance of conflict, according to Robert Hendren, a professor of psychiatry at the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopment Disorders Institute at the University of California-Davis and president of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 

Being too protective. Robert Brooks, a clinical psychologist in Needham, Mass., and co-author of Raising Resilient Children, says “many well-meaning parents jump in too quickly.” Parents need to give children time to work through their challenges in order to develop resiliency. 

Repeated nagging, yelling and lecturing. Lynn Clark, a professor emeritus of psychology at Western Kentucky University and author of SOS Help for Parents, says, “There is an abundance of research that indicates that children tune out repeated commands.” Also, “the child imitates that behavior, and you get sassy talk.” 

Too much praise. Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, says, “Fifth graders who were praised for being intelligent, rather than making a good effort, actually made less of an effort on tests and had a harder time dealing with failure.” 

Punishing too harshly. Rex Forehand and other researchers have spent many hours observing the use of time-out as a disciplinary strategy to determine exactly what makes it effective. Their key finding: Discipline works best when it’s immediate, mild and brief, because it’s then associated with the transgression and doesn’t breed more anger and resentment. A time-out should last for just a few minutes, usually one minute for each year of age of the child. 

Telling children how to feel. Myrna Shure, a developmental psychologist at Drexel University and author of Raising a Thinking Child, says, “Children need to think about how their own feelings will be affected by what they do. That is what will inhibit a child from hurting others, either physically or emotionally.” 

Putting grades ahead of creativity. Stanley Greenspan, a child psychiatrist in Chevy Chase, Md., says: “We like kids to learn rules, and we want them to learn facts. We’re impressed when they can read early or identify their shapes. It’s much harder for us to inspire them to come up with a creative idea.” Also, children who think creatively are more likely to rebound if their first idea doesn’t work. 

Forgetting to have fun. Parents should not forget the importance of laughter and having fun together as a family. 

In addition to these evidence-based best practices, parents I’ve talked to have repeatedly highlighted one other essential approach to effective parenting: prayer. Many gave testimonies on how prayer helped them to overcome parenting challenges. 

Also, please know that parenting is a work in process, so stay encouraged. 

Closing The Achievement Gap

The achievement gap is described by the United States Department of Education as the difference in academic performance between ethnic groups. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices says “the achievement gap is a matter of race and class.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Qualified Applicant

Best qualified is the most qualified term that is widely used in describing the best candidate. This term is frequently used by political candidates in highlighting their qualifications over their rivalries. In the 2008 presidential primaries, candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties used this term to describe their superb qualifications and experiences over their opponents. Read the rest of this entry »