Questions from Readers

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By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist

Edition: January 28, 2011 | Topic: Questions from readers

Questions from Readers

Question
My second grader comes home from school feeling left out because his friends are allowed to play violent video games at home and they discuss this at school. We feel strongly that these games are inappropriate for young children. What should we do?

Answer
Donít give in to pressure from your son. Instead, use this as an opportunity to talk about the values in your family.

Discuss your specific concerns regarding the video games. Explain why you think they are wrong for young children. He will undoubtedly ask why all of his friends are allowed to play such games. This gives you a great opportunity to discuss why the rules and values in your family are determined by what you think is right, not by what is popular.

Avoid being preachy. Talk at a concrete level that is understandable to your second grader. Involve him in the discussion, asking him questions throughout the conversation. For example, ask if he feels that just because his friends do something it is acceptable. End the conversation on a positive note, to encourage him to bring issues like this to your attention.

Consider speaking with the school principal about engaging parents in a discussion about the impact of technology on children. This might prompt a good debate to help sensitize parents to the effect of such games on young children.

Question
My daughterís 15-year-old best friend spends lots of time at our house. She made me promise to keep something confidential, but Iím concerned because I think her family and others need to know about what she told me. I donít want to violate her trust, but I would feel horrible if something bad happened to this girl.

Answer
You made a mistake. You should never offer a blanket of confidentiality to children. Although well intentioned, you made a promise that you simply canít fulfill.

If this involves any situation in which this teen may be dangerous to herself or others, you have a duty to bring this to the parentsí attention. If this child is being abused and neglected, you also have an obligation to report that as well.

Speak with this youngster beforehand and let her know what youíre going to do. Tell her you will be there to support her throughout whatever occurs, but your concern for her welfare is higher priority than the promise that you made in error.

Question
How long does it take a 10-year-old girl to get over her momís death? My wife died about a year ago, and my daughter is still having problems after all this time. I donít expect her to ever forget her mom, but I do expect her to carry on with her life in a normal way.

Answer
Get some professional help for your daughter. There is no specific timetable for how long children grieve the loss of a parent, although clearly this stressful event will have a lifelong impact on her. Through counseling your daughter will learn that it is possible both to grieve the loss of her mom and to function in school and at home at the same time.

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Dr. Ramey Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit www.childrensdayton.org/ramey and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drgregramey

©2010 The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. Columns may be reproduced with the permission of Dayton Children's.


 

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