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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission surveyed 227 people about their experience with racism.
The study, Reporting Racism: What you say matters, found almost a third of respondents had witnessed or experienced racism at work and three out of ten witnessed it in public.Culture & Society | Tagged Equal Opportunity, Human Rights, public, racism, study, verbal abuse, work | Leave a comment
“Why are you crying mum?”
“Because I’m reading Girlfriend”.
An unexpected response, perhaps, from an (allegedly) grown woman. But a story in the latest issue did me in.
‘Real Life Stories’ – which I have always appreciated for giving space to the raw realities of so many girls lives – opens with a first person account of Carrieanne who took on the care of her younger brothers and sisters when her mother died suddenly at only 42, for reasons unknown. Carrieanne was 18. A moving photo shows her with her three younger siblings, one only a baby. Carrieanne has applied for legal guardianship and is continuing to study while caring for the children with the help of two older siblings and neighbours. Speaking of her mum she says “I think she would be so proud of what I’m doing now.” I think she would be too Carrieanne. (Now where are the tissues?).
In other ‘Real Stories’, Mariah, 16, is working to end poverty with World Vision. She began by getting an after school job so she could sponsor a child. By 13 she was fundraising for World Vision’s Haiti earthquake appeal and is now collating a book Reaching Out: Messages of Hope, a collaboration between 30 authors, illustrators and advocates from around the world to be published by HarperCollins, with profits going to UNIFEC for which she is now a youth ambassador. “Teens might not realise it, but we have so much power. We can be the generation that changes history. We don’t need to fix world poverty tomorrow, but we can help one child at a time.” Well said Mariah!
‘I left home to escape abuse’ is the story of Amy, 19, whose father verbally abused her for years. He called her fat and stupid, ugly and a nuisance. She believed it was all true and became depressed and suicidal. Seeking a social worker at Headspace and moving out of home helped her to make the break she needed. “I just want to really encourage anyone who has ever been abused, whether it’s verbally or physically, to be brave enough to ask for help.”
There are other inspirational real life stories elsewhere in the magazine.
Girlfriend of the year finalists (note, this is NOT the modelling competition!) introducers readers to six young women aged 13-19 who are building businesses, overcoming illness, protesting and volunteering in developing countries. Brittany 19, first went to the Philippines as a 15-year-old to volunteer in an orphanage. She has returned 13 times and now wants to start her own orphanage. (I secretly hope she wins). I’ve commended GF before for expanding a girl’s focus and encouraging service to others http://melindatankardreist.com/2013/05/girlfriend-trifecta-three-positive-reviews-and-big-ticks-for-global-perspective-in-may-issue/ and it’s great to see this again in this issue.
“Girl, You’re Amazing’ is about young women involved in non-profit work – from World Vision and Oaktree youth ambassadors, to raising awareness of mental illness, helping the elderly, campaigning for cerebral palsy research and supporting LGBT youth. Readers are given tips on how they can make a difference: Get educated, Raise awareness, Donate/raise money and volunteer.
‘Switched on: Sorting out the small things’ aims to help girls deliver bad news. Psychologist and life coach Dr Robyn Brass advises girls to: Prepare yourself (come to terms with it yourself, pause and process it); Decide on delivery (by yourselves, or with others, preferably in person), Wave the flag (flag what you are going to talk to her about), Tell the whole truth, Stop (collaborate and listen). If you are the reason for the bad news, take responsibility.
Girls interested in the music industry are given ideas apart from being a singer or in a band, to help them enter it. Advice is given on being a venue manager, publicist, VJ or photographer. The music theme continues with readers sharing how it has shaped their lives – one says it got her through depression, another that song writing helps her channel her emotions, a third wants to use her music skills with the piano for music therapy for people with disabilities.
‘Is it OK to be mean to celebrities’ tackles the targeting of celebs on social media, continuing GF’s strong stand against online bullying. While much has been writing about girl-on-girl bullying this piece looks at the targeting and vitriol directed to famous people. “I the way we treat celebrities when they slip up any different to cases of bullying we see on the school playground?” asks GF. “The short answer is no.” Readers are encouraged to see celebrities as also human and not immune to online insults and attacks.
‘Odd one out: How to deal when you don’t fit in’ helps girls who don’t conform to the crowd and might feel lonely and rejected by friends. This can contribute to anxiety. Psychologist Lesley Bretherton tells readers it’s a good thing to be unique. “Think about who you are and what you want to be, and set your own goals. Talk to responsible friends and adults about your plans and goals. If you feel very anxious, ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist to help you develop some good strategies to deal with feeling different.”
There’s a page on ‘Thrifty Tips’ for giving pre-loved clothing a new lease of life (a nice contrast to the pages of often over-priced brand label fashion).
Emily McGuire asks When did girl become a dirty word?’ exploring why the word ‘girl’ is often used as a put down and how many females have bought into it, preferring to be seen as ‘one of the guys’. It starts early, with characters in children’s films mostly male, with the female characters not achieving very much in the world, expected to play a role as ‘eye candy.’ Harry Potter author Joanne Rowling was told to publish her books under her initials so readers wouldn’t be put off by the fact a woman had written them. “Here comes the weather girl” has greeted Federal Minister Kate Ellis when rising to speak in Parliament. Telling someone they are “acting like a girl” is always a putdown. Girls are encouraged to resist this. The last part of the piece tells girls that if they like the accroutements of stereotypical femininity pink cupcakes, frills, bows and sparkles, to embrace that and that’s fine. But I think the ‘girl’ insult is about much more than ‘embracing your inner girl’. The issue is much more than “playing around with your identity”. As so often happens, the issue gets reduced to individual behaviour rather than examining the systems and structures that contribute to girls being put down for being female.
Related is Project You: find you unique talent’ which helps girls discover and pursue their talents. GF psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg says “If GF readers find their ‘spark’ – something that they loved to do that gives them a sense of purpose – it will help free them from the need for approval that haunts many girls and diminishes their confidence.” Girls are told it won’t happen overnight, to think about the things that make them happiest and to put in the time and effort.
‘Perfection Infection: the dangers of perfectionism’ assists girls to recognise perfectionism in study, work, appearance, sport and relationships. “Perfectionists place very high (and often completely) expectations on themselves – and sometimes on others, too. They are ruled by their impossible high standards and an unbearable amount of pressure. Everything has to be ‘perfect, otherwise it’s just not good enough.” The article provides a helpful checklist of behaviours to look out for, such as being fixated on minor details, needing to always be in control, considering any mark below ‘A’ a failure, always comparing yourself to others and finding little joy in achievements or downplaying accomplishments. Long term effects can include depression, anxiety and eating disorders. The perfectionist’s rules and goals are so rigid, when not met, she may punish herself. Helpful advice is offered including recognising what triggers your perfectionism, evaluating how realistic your rules are and establishing more realistic goals.
Which brings me to the cover page. When a celebrity has been re-touched GF has been disclosing the imagine was provided already re-touched. In this issue with Selena Gomez on the cover, the reader is informed “This image has been retouched.” I wonder why GF did that when it continues to say it resists photo shopping and wants more ‘real girls’ in its pages? (The disclosure on the inside piece on Gomez reads ‘These images were supplied to us already retouched). It’s one thing to disclose, it’s another to say why the action was taken. What was it about Gomez that the editors thought needed altering?
Apart from this need for clarification, a very good issue.Posted in Culture & Society | Tagged celebrities, Depression, family issues, Girlfriend June 2013, girls, music, non-profit work, parenting, psychology, Real life stories, Social Media, suicide, Teenagers, women | Leave a comment
How positive are you?
Dr Barbara Fredrickson has designed a simple questionnaire to answer that question!
Take it at: http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php
Go on… it only takes 2 mins. Then come back to me.
Are you close to the recommended 3:1 Positivity Ratio required to flourish?
Does this surprise you? Why? Why not?
Marcial Losada is the psychologist who originally devised the ratio 3:1 when researching the differences between high performing and low performing teams. As such it became known as the Losada Ratio.
Barbara Fredrickson’s work has served to corroborate this in individuals, as well as create techniques to increase your ratio.
One of the reasons we may not score highly on the Losada scale is because we tend to instinctively focus our attention on what has gone, or is going wrong.
A simple way to reframe this is to ask, “What went well today?” and list them. Try to find three positives.
This also works well when you get home. Instead of asking your partner, “How was your day?” ask them “What went well today?”
This has benefit in the workplace too. Often we focus on what’s not working at the expense of the attention we could be placing on what is working.
Given Losada established the Positivity Ration when evaluating teams, how positive is your team, your organisation or your schools classrooms?
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at@danhaeslerPosted in Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged classrooms, Dr Barbara Fredrickson, Positive Psychology, positivity, psychology, workplace | 1 Comment
Dr Andrew Martin, Australian psychologist and one of the country’s leading experts on student motivation, describes the key components of motivation as those that improve, those that restrict and those that reduce motivation.
He refers to those students who have a natural belief in themselves and their capacity to achieve as ‘boosters’; those who restrict their chances of success through fear of failure and avoidance as ‘mufflers’; and those who self-sabotage and believe they have little control over whether or not they succeed as ‘guzzlers’.
So, who can push the ‘boost’ button for our kids? Should they be able to do it for themselves….or do they need the support of teachers and parents to swing ‘muffling’ and ‘guzzling’ behaviour into ‘boosting’?
Some people are, by nature, motivated – they will have a go at anything and believe that they have a reasonable chance of success if they apply themselves. They value education and learning new skills; they focus on doing the best job they can; they have a belief in their own ability. In the classroom, these kids are a joy! They may not necessarily be the ‘guns’ in the class – the brightest, the highest achievers or the ‘naturals’. What they offer is maximum effort, genuine application and a positive, ‘have-a-go’ attitude.
It doesn’t mean that everything comes easy to these students – it doesn’t mean that they ‘get lucky’ or that everything ‘comes naturally’ to them. What it does mean is that they are not the ones likely to want to bask in the reflected glory of someone else’s hard work, as Dan Haesler’s article referenced last week. We don’t need to worry too much about the ‘boosters’….unless of course they tend towards over-achieving and anxiety, which opens up a whole other can of worms!
Last week, Dan claimed that “As teachers and parents we must encourage, recognise and acknowledge perseverance in our kids. Effort and perseverance – rather than ability – are what we should be praising.” Absolutely agree, but HOW do parents and teachers help push the ‘boost’ button or, better still, teach our kids to push it for themselves?
In a current education system based on Naplan results (and teaching to Naplan!), ATARs, school rankings and endless internal test results, it is so easy to lose sight of individual effort and progress. Teachers are under enormous pressure to fulfil curriculum requirements and students are under pressure to achieve – for the sake of the school, parents and themselves. Little wonder many fail to maintain the motivation to achieve across 13 years of school.
As hard as teachers try to individualise their teaching and cater to the needs of all their students, at the end of the day it becomes a case of “too much to do and too little time.”
For parents, it’s very easy to slip into the mode of comparing our kids with the ‘standard’, and overlooking the effort and progress in favour of judging our kids based on a mark written on the top left hand corner of a test paper, an essay or an assessment task. How many parents ask their kids “What did you get?” or “What did everyone else get”? or “How did your mark compare with everyone else?” More often than not, parents ask ALL THREE!
I don’t know how many times I have raised this issue with parents. “Is your child motivated to do well because he/she wants to do well; or is it because they don’t want to let you or a teacher down? Or perhaps because they don’t want to be the worst in the class?” Unfortunately, many parents admit that they immediately want to compare their child’s result with the overall class results, regardless of individual effort or improvement.
I offer this scenario: Your child/teen comes home from school with a History essay result. The score is 9/20. You ask what everyone else scored and then immediately jump up and down criticising effort and application. “You need to do better – you can’t afford to get this far behind……” The next History assignment comes and goes and the marks are in – this time the score is 12/20 – an improvement, but the class average is 13. Again, you are critical of the result. Still not good enough. “Well, it’s better than last time, but you still have a long way to go.” How do you think this makes your teen feel? Angry? Yes! Anxious? Yes! Hurt? Yes! Motivated to improve? Probably not!
Dr Martin believes that loss of motivation and failure to achieve can be due to a number of reasons – one of them being a focus on failure rather than success. Parents, and sometimes teachers, get so caught up in what their students or kids can’t do, they forget about acknowledging what they can. Parents breathe a sigh of relief when their kids don’t get a bad report, don’t get into trouble, don’t fail their exams…..sometimes they forget to acknowledge the good stuff.
In the case of our scenario, what might have been a better outcome? What might be a trigger to inspire this particular teen to continue improving? Instead of suggesting that 12/20 is still “not good enough”, try acknowledging the three marks improvement – obviously any improvement requires effort. Praise the improvement and effort – ask what they think about their mark. Let them take ownership and at least some glory for the improvement. Focus on what they have done, rather than what still needs to be done. Obviously this student knows there is still some work to be done – but at least acknowledge the effort it has taken to see a three mark improvement.
It’s a matter of learning (and teaching) new habits. Start building success into your students’ or kids’ lives. Challenge their negative thinking. Recognise their strengths and acknowledge their improvement. Focus on what they CAN do, rather than what they can’t.
If we don’t want our kids to be onlookers in life and basking in the reflected glory of others, we need to challenge our own beliefs about what our kids are realistically capable of achieving, and guiding them towards understanding and believing in themselves enough to ‘go for it’ on their own.
High Hopes Educational Services
During the last twenty years there has been extensive research on identifying risk factors of school violence. Especially the concept of school climate has received increased attention.
Most importantly, the social climate in class and in school is assumed to have a significant effect on the prevalence of violence in schools. But, the lack of clear definitions and empirically validated measures of school climate has resulted in a multitude of findings that are often difficult to interpret.Culture & Society, Science | Tagged enforcement, school climate, school violence, study | Leave a comment
Children who did not receive enough iodine in the womb performed worse on literacy tests as 9-year-olds than their peers, according to a recent studyScience | Tagged children, iodine, literacy, low scores, study, womb | Leave a comment
Research shows that children who feel that their lives have meaning and value and who develop deep, quality relationships – both measures of spirituality – are happier. It would appear, however, that their religious practices have little effect on their happiness.Culture & Society | Tagged children, Happiness, lifestyle, meaning, relationships, religion, spirituality, value | Leave a comment
A new social media website is turning into a haven for vicious cyber-bullies taunting their victims about suicide, self-harm and weight issues.
Ask.fm is the latest hit website among teenagers, with more than 40 million users worldwide, but parents and schools are shocked by the content.
On the website, members create a profile and are asked questions either by other members or anonymous users.
Most of the questions are innocent – about favourite school subjects or bands – but the website is quickly becoming another tool for cyber-bullies.
Teenagers on the website are being bombarded with swearing and abuse, while others were being asked highly explicit questions about sex and self-harming.Cybersafety | Tagged cyber-bullies, Parents, schools, self harm, Social Media, suicide, Teenagers, victims, website, weight issues | Leave a comment
1. Your room isn’t dark enough.
2. Exercising too late.
3. Drinking alcohol too late.
4. Room temperature too warm.
5. Caffeine still in your system.
7. Getting up to watch TV until you’re sleepy.
8. Trying to problem-solve in the middle of the night.
9. Eating protein too close to bedtime.
10. Smoking before bedtime.Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged insomnia, reasons for sleepless nights, restless, sleepless nights | Leave a comment
While 80 per cent of Australian women are larger than a size 10, and recent studies have suggested consumers respond positively when more realistic models are used, the advertising industry has maintained a defiant stance.Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged advertising industry, body image, body satisfaction, positive body image, realistic models, women | Leave a comment ← Older posts Newer posts →