imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Who is the media?

The media gets blamed for a lot of the problems in the world and rightly so.  Every day we are bombarded with images that influence the way we think about ourselves and others.  We see images of beautiful people living perfect lives that make us feel like there is something wrong with us.  We see ads that tell us we need to buy certain products in order to be accepted and loved.  Our confidence takes a hit and we become a person who feels unworthy and inferior to everyone else.

So, who is the media?  Who is telling us the lies that we are not good enough, that we don’t measure up and that we have no value?  It is not just a screen or an image that we see.  The media is comprised of people just like you and me.  It is people who are creating these images that have a profound influence on us.  We are influenced by everyone and everything that goes on around us.  These influences can be positive or they can be negative.

The ads that promote beauty products are most often created by women.  It is women that are tearing other women down!  Did you ever consider this?  The ads they create tell us:

  • we don’t look good enough (FOR WHAT?)
  • we are too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, etc….(COMPARED TO WHAT RIDICULOUS STANDARD?)
  • we don’t measure up (TO WHAT?)
  • we need to buy their products in order to have friends and be successful (WHY IS OUR FUTURE DEPENDENT ON THEM?)

We need to stop believing what the media tells us. Next time you want to believe something that the media is telling you, stop and consider who is really speaking to you.  The media is just a bunch of strangers who don’t know anything about you and don’t really care who you are.   All they want is to make you feel bad about yourself so they can line their pockets with your hard-earned money.   Don’t believe their lies.   We DO have value.  We ARE good enough.  We DO measure up.  We DO NOT need their products to be a productive and successful human being.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Our value lies in who we are, not in what we look like or what we have.

 

 

 

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Why I don’t watch much TV

When I was raising my children, I used to enjoy watching some great programs on TV.  We would sit together as a family and watch Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons or Eight is Enough.  If you don’t recognize those names, they were programs from the 70’s and they were wholesome, family viewing.  You didn’t have to worry about your children hearing or seeing anything that was inappropriate.

Today, there is really little on TV that is even worth watching.  In my opinion, there are few programs that are suitable for all ages, but most of the programs show too much violence, sex and the language leaves a lot to be desired.   Our young people are learning that it is okay to engage in activities that are inappropriate, dangerous to their health and damaging to their relationships.  The media promotes violence and sex as being exciting and rewarding when the exact opposite is true.

 

A few days ago, I was sitting with my husband watching TV.   He can’t just sit in our living room and not watch the TV, so when we eat supper, I sit with him and watch a game show.  A commercial came on about some marvelous product that women simply can’t do without.   There was a nice-looking lady talking to a man about some wonderful cream that reversed the aging process.  She even had a small tube of it that you could carry in your purse.  Isn’t that great!  If you happen to feel a wrinkle coming on while you are out, you can just reach in your purse and apply the cream.  Then poof….the wrinkle disappears.  How ridiculous is that?  The problem is, there will be many insecure women who will rush to the phone to buy the product.   Then when the product doesn’t work, these poor women, who are already emotionally damaged, will feel even worse believing it is because something is wrong with them.  It is so sad that companies prey on weak people just to make a buck.

We should be working together to help people feel good about themselves and not be making them feel bad about their self-image.  I meet so many people in my coaching, both women and men, who are so broken and insecure, that they will believe anyone who promises to fix their lives.

What are you watching on TV?  What are your children watching on TV?  Does it help you or hurt you?  Don’t let the media tell you that there is something wrong with how you look.   Instead of trying to find a magic potion to keep us younger or make us good about ourselves, we should be working hard to live a healthy lifestyle – eating properly, exercising and eliminating any bad habits that affect our health.  Then we wouldn’t have as many wrinkles to erase and excess weight to lose.  We would look younger and healthier and stay active well into our senior years.

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Help your children build esteem

It is so important that we teach our children how to build their confidence and maintain a strong esteem.  Young people struggle today with their body image, feeling insecure and having distorted ideas about their appearance.   Media pressures are extremely powerful and can have disastrous effects on a child who lacks confidence in their abilities and has very little esteem.   They need the support of parents who can be positive role models that demonstrate through example how to feel good about their own self-image.

When your children are small, start helping them build confidence by working alongside them to master their abilities and skills, supporting them when they fail and encouraging them to try again.  When children feel that they are loved and valued, they will become confident and this will build their esteem.    If you are a parent who lacks confidence and has low esteem, work hard to make positive changes in your own life so you can help your children become confident, responsible adults.  Don’t let your children struggle with feelings of insecurity, believing what the media tells them and allowing bullies to have a negative effect on their thinking.   The article below shows the devastating effects that bullies have on insecure teens.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/16/bullied-teenagers-increasingly-want-to-have-cosmetic-surgery-says-survey

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Is childhood becoming extinct?

Many child psychologists and therapists are in agreement on one thing – children today are becoming adults too soon.  In reading various articles and also from personal observation, I am in total agreement with this.  Everywhere I go, I see young children dressing provocatively, using language that is inappropriate and acting in ways that would have embarrassed me at their age.  Instead of enjoying the few short years of their childhood, they are trying to be mini adults.

So why is this happening?  It is because many parents are pressuring their children to become responsible for themselves at a young age.  They allow them to make their own choices and often try to be a friend instead of a parent.  In many homes there are no restrictions as to what children watch on TV or the computer.  Children often watch the same programs and movies as adults do which causes them to be exposed to sex and violence at a very early age.   Children can’t handle this information emotionally, physically and spiritually and the result is early sexual activity, teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and violent behaviour.   This results in relationship issues, problems in school, low esteem, eating disorders, addictions, depression and possibly even suicide.

Children are a gift and we should treat them with special care.  We don’t need to show other people that our children are smarter, faster or better looking.  We don’t need to tell our children that they are better than someone else.  We  don’t need to help them grow up any faster than they need to.  Children need to be children.  They need to play and explore.  They need to be loved, appreciated and respected.

Do your children a favour and allow them to be a child.   We have enough adults in the world.  Don’t let childhood becoming something that is extinct.

Which child would you rather have?  The one that looks like a serious model or the one that looks like she is having fun being a kid?

tots in tiaras1happy girl standing on hands

 

 

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Don’t parents care what their children watch?

This week I was having lunch with a friend at a local McDonald’s restaurant and as I was eating my nuggets meal, I happened to glance at one of the large screens on the wall.   Usually there is some kind of news programme and I don’t pay much attention, but this time there was a nude man going across the screen.  I was both disgusted and appalled to see something like this being shown at a family restaurant.   There were several children present who should not have been viewing this nudity.   If my young grandchild had been with me, I would have covered his eyes and taken him out of the restaurant immediately.  I did soon leave but not until I noticed that the parents with the children did absolutely nothing.  They looked at the screen but didn’t even stop eating or seem upset in any way.

This really doesn’t surprise me because I have been in people’s homes where children are being exposed to content that is inappropriate for their age.  However, it does bother me very much.  Children are watching far too many things today that are hurting them and affecting them in a negative way.  Research has shown that children who are exposed to adult content at an early age are more apt to engage in poor behaviours such as drinking, drug use, having casual sex, viewing pornography, becoming violent.  You can read the following article from Psychology Today that explains in more detail.   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201208/overexposed-and-under-prepared-the-effects-early-exposure-sexual-content

I just don’t understand why parents don’t seem to care what their children watch.   When I was growing up,  I was not allowed to watch anything with mature content and I was very restrictive about what my children watched.  I knew they would see and hear things in the world outside our home, but they were taught what was acceptable and they knew what was right and wrong.   I have actually talked to some parents who don’t think there is any point in bothering to restrict what their children see and hear because they will just learn it anyway in the outside world, so they just give up and don’t even try to protect them.  This is a very bad attitude.  When children are brought up in an environment that teaches love and respect, they will be able to make better choices when they do encounter things that are inappropriate.  Children need a solid foundation and if they don’t have one, their world will crumble and fall.

We need to be responsible adults and help the children around us to become strong and know how to make good choices.  They need to know right from wrong and good from bad.  This is one tough world to grow up in and they need all the support they can get.   Children are a gift from God and they are the future of our world.   Let’s start caring for them the way we should.

 

 

 

 

 

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Surprised when your child shows violence?

aggressive silhouetteWe should not be surprised when we see children display violence.   Many people allow their children to watch violent acts on TV or play violent video games, let them look at magazines and books that portray violent acts.  Then when they act out aggressively, we wonder why.

Violence is accepted as normal and we are becoming immune to these horrible acts.  When we hear news about killings, terror or atrocities, we don’t get upset or even shed a tear to show that we care.   Watching these violent acts every day is having a negative affect on our children and we don’t even realize how much harm is being caused.  The same goes for children who are allowed to watch sexual acts on TV or see nude pictures in magazines.

What are the results of exposure to violence?  Children:

  • develop fear and anxiety – they see the world as dangerous and unsafe
  • will model violent behaviours and will imitate violent acts
  • will become more aggressive (kicking, hitting, fighting, playing rough) and destructive (breaking things)
  • will become desensitized and lose their sense of empathy – not caring about what happens to other people

The American Psychological Association says that babies as young as 12 months will react to what they see on TV.  The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 years of age not watch TV at all and instead should be encouraged to play more interactive activities (talking, playing singing, reading) to promote proper brain development.  Research shows again and again that children who watch violent TV programming will show violent tendencies as adults.

It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to protect their children from anything that will harm them.   We can’t hide them from the world, but we can give them a solid foundation by raising them in a loving, caring environment.  Help them deal with any anger or aggression in a positive way and teach them what is right.  Be a good example and only watch decent family programming.  Better yet, turn of the TV!

 

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The Tender Twenty Paradox (and Miley’s big mistake)

A very well written piece on Miley Cyrus!

The Beggar's Bakery

By: Jana Greene

thebeggarsbakery.net

I must admit that curiosity got the best of me, and I watched the clip of the Miley Cyrus debacle at the MTV VMA awards.

My first reaction was total disgust. Miley is only twenty years old! And then a primal urge to find this world-famous woman-child, and smother her in hugs. Sometimes the mother in me just overwhelms every other instinct.

She is so in-between.

In her racy act, her suggestive wardrobe and antics  tried to convey woman; but her poor judgment screams child.

Her ‘twerking’ tells the world she knows what to do with her lady parts, but the fact that she flaunted her lady parts publically lets us all know that she is still a child. Or that she is high on more than just life, or could be mentally unstable. There is more to being a grown-up than grinding. Nothing says “paradox” like…

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Facebook is the living dead

happy face with laptopI seem to be obsessed with writing about social media these days.    A couple of months ago, I came across a site called Media Smarts (www.mediasmarts.ca) which is Canada‘s on-line centre for digital and media literacy.  Every day, I get headlines sent to me that keep me updated on what is happening the media and Facebook is often one of the topics discussed.

Today one of the articles is named,  “Teenagers Hate Facebook, but They’re Not Logging Off”.  It talks about how teens are complaining about too many adults using Facebook, too much pressure and too many negative social interactions.  Yet, it states that 94% of American teenagers still maintain their profile.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/05/22/teenagers_hate_facebook_a_pew_study_says_that_94_percent_of_teens_use_facebook.html

The article further states, “Facebook is the living dead: the most popular, least relevant social network where teenagers and adults alike gather out of fear of missing out on things that don’t even make them happy”.  Isn’t this crazy?  Why are teens obsessed with being part of something that they don’t really like?

There are several reasons:

  • they want people to like them
  • find out what friends are doing, make plans, post pictures
  • want to be up-to-date with what is going on, good or bad
  • can maintain more friendships than in person and have a larger group of friends
  • easier to contact people and can communicate messages to several people at a time
  • can tell people about themselves
  • they can hide behind a screen and only reveal what they want to
  • they can be themselves and not worry about what other people think
  • they can connect with their friends even if they aren’t allowed out of the house
  • they can connect with people that they are not allowed to be around
  • they can say what they want without getting an instant reaction

Teens and anyone else who uses social media should be very careful in how they interact with other people.  It’s great to share information and pictures as long as it is not inappropriate or harmful to yourself or anyone else.  You need to protect yourself from people who want to hurt you or destroy your reputation.  It is VERY EASY to put yourself in a dangerous or vulnerable situation but it is NOT EASY to recover from any damage that is done.  One thing to keep in mind is that future, potential employers often use Facebook for  personal reference checks to see what type of person you are.   If they see inappropriate information on your site, whether is it something that you have posted or something that one of your friends has posted, it can make you look bad and you will not be chosen for that job you were interested in.  I know because my daughter’s company always checks out applicants on Facebook and many have not been hired because of their profiles or posts.  Always watch your words and be selective of your photos.

Here are some important guidelines that everyone should follow when using any type of social media (also when emailing or texting):

  • use your privacy settings to protect your personal information from being seen by anyone you don’t know really well, just allow your close friends to view your stuff
  • only accept invitations from people you know personally, not just someone who knows a friend because they may not be your friend
  • NEVER post your address or phone number on your profile or give it out in an email or text, it’s also a good idea just to use your first name and last initial
  • NEVER post specific details of where you are going all the time, this may interest a stalker
  • NEVER tell people that your family is going on a vacation, this may interest anyone who is looking for a place to rob
  • don’t post anything that is inappropriate on your own profile or anyone else’s profile
  • if anyone does post anything inappropriate on your wall, DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY
  • if you are harassed continuously, DO NOT allow anyone to keep hurting you……DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT

Social media can be a good thing when used properly.  Please be cautious and protect yourself!

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Educate your children about advertising

adsAdvertising has a huge effect on people, there is not doubt about it and the effect is not usually a positive effect.  Companies try almost anything to sell their products even if it has the power to destroy our esteem.  Money is the ultimate goal and the result is the ever-growing problems of alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, excessive dieting, poor esteem and suicides.

Every day we see thousands of ads on TV and in magazines that can be harmful to our physical, mental and emotional health.    We need to educate our children about the reality of advertising and try to protect them as much as possible from any negative effects.

Following is an article from the America Academy of Pediatrics that describes in detail what effects advertising can have on our children and teens.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

In the Netherlands, there was a study done that shows how kids values are being shaped by their exposure to advertising.  http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/tv-commercials-linked-to-materialist-values-in-kids-55116/

If you have children, please help them develop strong esteem and educate them about advertising so they will be better prepared to deal with the pressures put on them.   If you don’t have children, consider volunteering some time to an organization that helps children and become a mentor to someone in our younger generation.

Our children are valuable and they need our love and support!

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