Creating a Legacy for Your Child

Guest Blogger, Sara Stamp Founder of Layla’s Legacy

Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s why when someone learns you’ve lost a child, their first response is typical “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.” Truly, they can’t because our brains aren’t wired that way. Sigmund Freud once said that people run towards pleasure and run away from pain. Thank you Captain Obvious. What is more painful than imagining the death of your child? In short – nothing.

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Frightened Teens: Supporting Your Adolescent in Scary Times


Previously Published by, Deb Vilas on PediaPlay

Another Shooting.

It takes all of our strength as grown-ups to not give in to despair, anxiety, and fear in the face of yet another young person accessing an assault rifle and murdering his peers. School is supposed to be a safe place for all children — teens included.

As the political debates about gun control make our brains feel like exploding, we have to remember to reach out to the adolescents in our care. If it is that tough for us to wrap our heads around, how much harder is it for teens? We must be proactive in engaging teens in conversation every day, about life, about what is important to them, and about the awful things that happen in the world. When something truly terrible happens, it is even more important to take the time to listen, witness, and validate their struggles. And this often means admitting that we don’t have the answers.

Teens have the capacity to reason, to wrestle with abstract concepts, and to articulate their feelings. But their brains are still developing, as is their self-concept, their ideas about who they are in the world. A random act of extreme violence will shake their new identities and burgeoning belief systems to the core, and they need calm, kind adults to prop them up as they try to make sense of their new reality. They need to know what to expect as much as possible, who they can count on. We know it isn’t always easy, so here are a few tips from the experts.

Tips For talking with Teens

What Mental Health Experts say to Their Kids

Fear and trauma responses can sometimes look like anger and disconnect. The teen who is suffering the most, without the ability to articulate and share their feelings, may be the one who needs your best efforts. Often teens find it easier to talk about tough topics when they are involved in an activity. Consider a cooking project, or gathering some art supplies, maybe magazines for collage. Or how about the ingredients to make a mini volcano? As you create something together, you can talk about how the shooter was a volcano waiting to blow, and how many feelings are often seething underneath. The teen can write down questions they have about life or list things that make them feel like blowing their top, and these items can be folded and put into the volcano before you set off the eruption together.



This technique helps release anger through a structured activity providing an opportunity to discuss anger and to problem solve. It works well individually and in groups with preschoolers to teens.


  • Small paper cup or medicine cup (Dixie brand bathroom cups work great)
  • Plastic cereal bowl
  • One container of Play-Dough (The kind that comes in a 4-pack) or homemade.
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Baking soda
  • Red and yellow food coloring
  • Teaspoon


  • Place a small paper cup upright on top of an upside-down plastic bowl. Secure it with a few pieces of tape.  Wrap it in play dough to make a volcano, leaving the mouth of the cup open.  Pour ¼ cup white vinegar, two squirts of dishwashing liquid, and several drops of food coloring into the “mouth” of the volcano.
  • If the child wishes, they can write down or dictate things that upset them (make them scared or angry or mad) on tiny pieces of paper and place them in the volcano.
  • Spoon in a heaping teaspoon of baking soda and watch the eruption!
  • For instant replays, alternate adding a little more baking soda and vinegar. A group can make a larger volcano using a large salad bowl and more playdough. Miniature people, animals, and props can be added to add aspects of dramatic play.


Top 10 Steps You Should Take to Respond to Cyberbullying

Guest Blogger, Carrie Goldman on behalf of  Kidguard

Cyberbullying is an issue that affects us all: grown men and women, teenagers, tweens, and even children. It can eat up a shocking number of mental and physical hours each day, especially given the amount of time we spend with screens.

No one is immune. Whether you are a female gamer, a celebrity, or just a kid trying to navigate the social scene on Instagram, you can encounter unparalleled levels of viciousness online.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with different media, and older children and teens spend more than 11 hours per day.  About 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, and nearly all teenagers use text messaging.

As a result, kids and adults can access social media at any time of day or night.   In speaking recently with a group of young teens, they told me how thoughts of social media often consume their time. Anxious curiosity compels the students to seek out what others are saying about them.

“And even if no one is saying anything bad about me, I feel stressed out when I see pictures on Instagram of people hanging out, and I’m not there,” explained Ellen, an eighth grader at a Chicagoland school.

This phenomenon is called FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, and it affects both kids and adults who watch other people post about their social interactions online.  Even the kids and adults who have active, healthy social lives can feel paranoid about not being included in online conversations.

FOMO is a separate issue from the victimization of cyberbullying, but both create anxiety and stress. These feelings can ramp up dramatically and include panic attacks and depression when you are being directly attacked online. First, take a moment to ascertain that you are actually being bullied instead of suffering from FOMO.

10 steps to take in response to cyberbullying

What Forms Does Cyberbullying Take?

  • Sending hurtful or threatening messages about another person
  • Posting sensitive, private information about a person for the purpose of hurting or embarrassing that person
  • Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad and/or to intentionally exclude someone from an online group
  • Making cruel websites about a person
  • Spreading rumors online or through texting 

Some schools claim they are unable to respond to cyberbullying because the online misbehavior often takes place off school property.  But this excuse is no longer valid.

Justin Patchin, Ph.D., of the Cyberbullying Research Center, advises the following standards: schools CAN discipline students if their online expressions result in a “substantial disruption of the learning environment,” or if their actions “infringe upon the rights of another student (to feel safe, comfortable, and supported at school).”

Even if the cyberbullying takes place on sites that kids cannot access during school hours, such as Instagram, YikYak, Snapchat or Twitter, the school can take action if the effects of the cyberbullying spill over into the school environment.

Cyberbullying Intervention: Top Ten Steps to Take If Digital Attacks Are Happening

If you end up in a hostile situation, it can feel very overwhelming.  Having a plan can help you restore some control.  Here are the top ten steps you or your child should take in response to being cyberbullied, as recommended in my award-winning book on bullying:

1. Disengage immediately.  Bullies want a direct reaction, and if you retaliate, this behavior can make you culpable too.

2. Print out the evidence immediately before others can erase it. Be sure to do this before reporting the bullying. Download copies of any YouTube videos as evidence before the YouTube user who uploaded it can delete it.

3. Block/delete/ban the bullies.

4. Report bullying to the site or network on which it occurs.  They may deactivate the bully’s user account.

5. Consult an attorney to assess if there is a legal case.

6. Take the proof to the school, the workplace, and if necessary, the police.

7. Monitor yourself or the target for signs of overwhelming depression or anxiety, and seek out counseling if necessary.

8. Help a target get involved in the “real world” and see real friends.

9. Have the target join a support group for kids or adults who have been cyberbullied.

10. Do not sleep with your phone in your room.


Digital Allies: Steps to Take If You Witness A Friend Being Cyberbullied

Kids who click “like” on a mean social media post or who retweet a cruel Tweet are just as guilty as the person who created the content. Here are some tips for how kids can act as an ally instead of as a participant or a bystander.

  • Focus on supporting the person who is being attacked instead of launching a retaliatory attack against the aggressor.  The goal is to make a bullied person feel better, not to start an online war that turns into real-life violence and aggression.
  • Ask your child to reach out to the target and offer empathy or a listening ear.  Even a kind text message makes a huge difference.
  • Have your child take a screen shot of the bullying.  Evidence is critical.
  • Have your child report the bullying to the school.

The most important thing you or your child can do is remind a bullied person that things will eventually improve.  The current scandal of the day will pass, as painful as it feels right now.  You can get through this; you are strong.

Article originally posted on Kidguard

Carrie Goldman is the award-­‐winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear (Harper Collins, 2013). She travels around the country educating companies, schools and community groups about bullying prevention, intervention, and reconciliation. She also serves as the Curriculum Director for the Pop Culture Hero Coalition