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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Higgins’

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



Go-Getters and the Online Impact. How Much is Too Much?

Written by Ganz Ferrance on . Posted in Television Appearances

Statutory Holidays

abptstatholidaysI like the idea of flexibility, but having days off that coincide with many people does make it easier to get together with friends. (It is nice to see everyone off at the same time, but it’s also nice to go the pool, movies, or park without a crowd sometimes.) I’m in favor of continued Statutory Holidays with the option to trade with others or time in lieu (also overtime pay). This would especially be respectful to people with different cultures and religions. Like Alison McMahon says, we need to start looking and paying attention to the multiculturalism in our society and ask how we can accommodate other holidays, seeing as how many Statutory Holidays are religious, traditional, Christian holidays.

Distrust in the Workplace

I’m hoping our stats may be a bit more favourable than those in America, but I think the trend probably holds—this is a big problem. Productivity goes way up and turnover, lost time, and poor morale go way down when workers feel respected and appreciated by their workplace. Obviously, honesty and trust are part of that. I completely agree with Wendy Giuffre when she says one significant way of maintaining trust between managers and employees is communication. The point is that creating an emotionally and psychologically healthy workplace is good for the bottom line and the health, well-being, and satisfaction of employees and managers. Of course managers are trying to do what’s best for the business and its survival, but it is important to not lose sight of what is best for employees, says Alison. The Psychologists Association of Alberta actually has a “psychologically healthy workplace award” at the provincial level as well as at the national and North American level. The good news is that people and organizations are becoming more aware of these issues and are doing more innovative things to support health and work-life balance: daycares in the workplace (or close by), subsidies for active lifestyles (gym memberships, et cetera), flexible hours, appreciation or recognition programs, et cetera.

Social Media and Work

It used to be that people were actually concerned about their reputations and so they would abptsmtollrestrict themselves from behaviors that violated social or family norms. This was especially the case in small or close communities. These norms and the social consequences had their downsides of course (homophobia, racism, sexism were supported and entrenched to some extent by this fact), but they also served to help a civilization have structure, stability, and respect.
So we should all me mindful of how we act even when we’re off the clock, especially when you’re in a position of leadership. The other side of being in a position of power is also shouldering the responsibility that comes with it. Lots of organizations have codes of conduct (of course, these can also be abused and unfair), so you should be familiar with them and make sure you can live up to them if you work for the organization. Employers don’t have to disclose their reasons for not hiring you or letting you go, so always ask yourself who you look like online. As an employer, a list of set expectations can never hurt—even a list of items you may consider to be common sense, says Alison. Not sure how this emerging situation will ultimately play out in terms of what employers can actually do, but we should all be aware that what we do and how we come across can have lasting consequences.

Go-Getter Woes

It’s great to be the go-to person at work, but there is an imbalance when workload and compensation and recognition don’t reflect this. It can cause resentment by that person and foster lack of engagement in everyone else. This can lead to poor morale and team functioning, which can put more pressure on being the effective person as the manager tries to keep productivity up. It’s a vicious cycle. Managers can deal with this by being conscious of how work is assigned and making sure rewards and compensations follow good performance and poor performance is dealt with early and consistency. Another suggestion from Alison is to communicate with team members and set goals with them in order to ensure everyone is pulling their weight and roles are allocated properly.

Health, Love, Happiness, Success

Dr. Ganz Ferrance