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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Life as a Bus Driver, Humiliating Discipline, Extreme Sports, and Defeating the Summer Backslide

Written by Ganz Ferrance on . Posted in Television Appearances

I love being on the Alberta Primetime Lifestyle Panel. We recently sat down to talk about the Bus Driver Incident, Public Humiliation of our kids as a form of punishment, and a few other pertinent topics. Hope you enjoy my summary of our discussion.


Bus Incident

This shows how incredibly hard the job of a bus driver is. You are responsible for the safety of everyone on the bus and the other people on the road. You have to also make sure the students are not being picked on, bullied, or misbehaving. I am not sure what tools they have in terms of discipline, but in the video, it looks like this kid was being a bully and inciting the other kids to disrespect the driver. As parents, the primary concern should be to address the issues of basic safety on the bus. I have a hard time with kicking him off the bus so far from home, but again, I’m not in that situation myself so it’s difficult to say he was wrong or right. I would have preferred to take him home and then deal with things via the school and parents the next day. But this may have been a pattern; he may have been warned; there may have been other factors.

Public Humiliation as Discipline

Discipline is very important. I don’t believe in “free-range kids”. However, I’m not at all in favour of humiliation or shaming of kids as “discipline”. You may control the behaviour in the moment but the long-term effects in the kid’s self-image, self-esteem, and (like Wendy Mueller says) as a “relationship-destroyer” are not worth it. If the child is strong-willed, the problem may even escalate, according to Dr. Peter Nieman. Our job as parents is to help kids learn how to be healthy, happy, productive, and contributing members of society—not to just make sure they behave. What I teach is…
    1. Have consistent and reasonable consequences for behaviour that are clear and make sense.
    2. Make sure the kid knows what the expectations and the consequences (both positive and negative) are.
    3. “Honor their decisions” and give them the consequences their behaviour tells you they have chosen.
    4. But always send the message that who the kid is valuable and loved.

Kids and Extreme Sports

It’s great when kids are into something (other than electronics, et cetera), but we have to be careful not to be so happy they’re not isolating themselves or getting lost in the virtual world that we overlook dangers and problems in the real world. Remember: “The opposite of dysfunction is dysfunction!” There are a few issues with letting kids do extreme sports:
    1. They don’t have enough experience to have good judgement. They haven’t been on earth long enough to see how some things play out
    2. Their brain development is not complete, so they don’t have good judgment. Especially in their teens—they are all passion and intelligence, but little reasoning and “behavioural inhibition”.
    3. Physical and brain trauma, concussions, and mild-traumatic brain injury—your brain is make up of different densities, so different parts move at different rates and have different inertia. Sudden head movements (starting or stopping) actually rips the brain apart at the cellular level—this is called “atonal severing”. These can be devastating to a child or teen’s personality, intelligence, and quality of life forever. I would say wait until they are much older and have more experience, and even then you probably still have to help them learn limits.
But one question to ask if you have kids interested in extreme sports is what their motive is. Is it to prove their superiority—that they’re special or better than their friends? Like both Dr. Peter Nieman and Wendy Mueller say, if their passion for the sport is there, safety should always come first (training, supervision, and proper protective equipment). It could be a good learning experience for them to take some risks, discover their own limitations, and discover other new passions.

Preventing Summer Backsliding

This is a real problem for some kids. I remember forgetting how to write or which had the pencil goes in after summer vacation. The key is to make staying sharp fun: structured learning around games and contests. Make it a built-in aspect of your daily or weekly routine in the summer. Do it as a family/group: “this is our quiet/homework/learning/enrichment time”. Don’t do it for too long each day; depending on the kid (age, maturity, et cetera), fifteen minutes to an hour is plenty. Also remember that helping your kids enjoy learning and feel good about themselves is also part of the goal, so don’t frustrate them. Start with easy stuff in each session and also in general over the summer, and then move to more challenging material. Success breeds success. Taking a break also helps kids stay engaged, so don’t worry about missing a few days, or even a week or two if you’re traveling. Traveling itself can be a very educational and enriching experience over the summer. Just make sure you make it a deliberate decision and not just because either of you don’t feel like it at the time. That can be a slippery slope with kids. Health, Love, Happiness, Success Dr. Ganz Ferrance


Gifted Kids & Party Politics

Written by Ganz Ferrance on . Posted in Television Appearances

From Gifted Kids & Party Politics to Latch Key Kids, how prepared will our children be for the future?


Crowdfunding for kids birthday parties. Are we going too far? To watch the video (4:28m) click on the picture above.

Crowd-Funding Parties

Great idea for the parents—if they can get away with it; I personally wouldn’t fund someone’s birthday party unless it was extremely special circumstances. I think this idea points out the much bigger and more troubling issue that many of us have lost our way when it comes to doing what is best for our children’s LONG-TERM development versus keeping up with the Jones. The bottom line is that if you can’t afford a lavish party (like the celebrities on Pinterest and Instagram, says Wendy Mueller), then don’t have one. Your kids get to learn to live within their means and situation and be thankful for what they have. “Happiness is an inside-job,” says Dr. Peter Nieman. Kids need love, attention, validation, but also limits, discipline, direction, and an introduction into how the real world works. You can’t release children into the world thinking that “crowd-funding” their vacation or the new car they want is a responsible way to live.

Kid’s Party Politics

Again, I think we all need to grow up as parents. If you plan a party and your guests don’t have the manners to say they can’t/won’t attend, then don’t invite them next time. If they had something come up (which legitimately happens to people), be gracious and forgiving. We all just need to talk to each other and treat each other with the respect that we would like for ourselves. Don’t send them a bill—this is not an effective way to solve a problem. Also, like Mueller says, we should all have our children’s best interests at heart and think about what effects this behaviour may have on their futures—this can and will follow them on social media. Your invitation was not a contract for services; it was a thoughtful gesture (or at least, should have been).

Gifted Kids

Party Politics & Gifted Children. To watch this segment (7:54m) just click on the picture above.

Party Politics & Gifted Children. To watch this segment (7:54m) just click on the picture above.

I loved this article. Gifted people are not well understood. The truth is that if you are outside the norm (on either side), life is much more complicated. We are social animals and need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. When you are exceptional, it’s not all upside and advantage. Having a place where these kids feel safe and accepted for who they are (including their special ways of interacting with life and others) helps them to feel calm and therefore be much more successful in their own lives and make a bigger contribution to society as a whole. On the other side, when kids are not identified and given the support they need, they can be very disruptive and tend to struggle and suffer themselves. We (parents and educators) definitely need to be more aware of the potential of these kids and find ways to identify and support them early.

The right environment and set of peers can lead to a lot of great potential for kids, says Dr. Nieman. But we need to enable these kids with a way to express themselves and surround them with people who are like them. The truth is that the standard educational systems have traditionally only been really good at teaching to the people who fall in the average (or thick part) of the bell curve and struggle with kids who have different ways of learning/processing information or need more enrichment. Not only that, but Mueller says that these kids need to be supported in the ways that they see the world differently and handle emotional issues differently than others their ages. The good news is that it’s getting better. I just wonder how much of the behaviour issues a school faces are due to not really being able to identify exceptional students.

Latch-Key Kids

To me, this highlights the issue of affordable and universally accessible childcare. I do think that parents need a bit of leeway in determining how mature and ready their children are to be by themselves for some period of time, but I do find that in many cases it’s because of necessity as opposed to readiness of the child. Children do need appropriate supervision (I wouldn’t leave a 6-year-old alone, for example) so they can know/feel a sense of safety and value, also so they don’t have to grow up too fast—you can’t force maturity any more that you can force a flower to grow. Development takes the time it takes. Our job as parents is to protect our kids as much as we can and let the box get bigger as they mature, get older, and are able to make their own decisions. It is also to take into consideration that there are also more things out there in today’s society than what we may have been exposed to when we were younger. One way of aiding this situation would be more adequate, available, affordable childcare as it is in everyone’s best interest. We have healthier kids, families, and more people contributing to the economy.

Heath, Love, Happiness, Success
Dr. Ganz Ferrance


What’s in a Costume?

Written by Ganz Ferrance on . Posted in Blog

Sexy Halloween Costumes, Movie Sex & Violence, "Breaking Bad" Dolls, and Time-Outs. Click to watch.

Sexy Halloween Costumes, Movie Sex & Violence, “Breaking Bad” Dolls, and Time-Outs. Click to watch.

There has been some public outcry over Halloween Costumes lately. Even Value Village has been taken to task over the selections one mom found there for her daughter. What is my response to this? I’m not a fan! This is a disturbing trend to sexualization kids (especially little girls). Along with teaching/encouraging sexual ideas way before kids are developmentally ready or mature enough to understand them, it sends the message (to both genders) that girls can’t do what boys can do. We have come so far in gender equality. Let’s not take a rocket train backwards. Kids are incredibly open to messages they don’t even realize they are getting. They learn what they live and it just seems like a given to them. It can be very hard later in life to consciously look at that we believe and why – much less to substitute something more balanced and healthy.  

Kids and the Headlines

Written by Ganz Ferrance on . Posted in Blog

With recent events on Parliament Hill, more parents have found themselves at a loss trying to explain these terrible events to their children. It isn’t easy to discuss these situations with kids, especially younger ones, but there are a few guidelines you can use to make it easier on you and on your children.