Posts Tagged ‘children’

Failing To Teach Good Behavior To Our Children

October 13, 2010

Failing To Teach Good Behavior To Our Children

America’s failure to teach good behavior to its children has significantly increased with each of our recent passing generations. Bad behavior contagion is rapidly increasing within our population and it is a self-perpetuating synergistic process. America is destroying itself from within.

The damages produced by increasing rates of bad behavioral contagion within a population can massively contribute to the decline of sociocultures. The larger, the more technologically advanced, complex and interconnected a socioculture is, the greater the damage that increasing rates of bad behavioral contagion will do.

V. Thomas Mawhinney Ph.D.,  10/13/10

We Had Better Teach Manners!

February 1, 2010

We Had Better Teach Manners!

Once families, churches, communities and schools once commonly, worked in concert, to teach our children manners (civil behavior, morals and ethics).

Now, many of our  families struggle to teach these manners to their children all by themselves.  Our public  schools have largely abandoned the teaching of morals. The media (which has become more the community for our children) is largely dedicated to immoral behavior. The only outside assistance for parents who struggle against the tide of social corruption, pumped from seemingly everywhere to their children,  is the church.  But this important aid is only available to those who significantly involve themselves their children in these specialized communities. Unfortunately, significant involvement in our churches has been in decline.

After decades of these trends, it is very hard  for parents who never learned  manners  to teach them to their children.

In all of this, our Nation appears is  in serious trouble.

Samuel Adams once  expressed his grave concerns about a society without manners .

The following is from Founders Quote Daily, by the PatriotPost U.S.


“[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” –Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749

V. Thomas Mawhinney,  2/1/2010

Disruptive Behavior Disorders In America’s Children

November 6, 2009

Disruptive Behavior Disorders In America’s Children

All children will misbehave from time to time. Fatigue, sickness, stressful situations, and simple immaturity will be enough to ensure some balking, back talk, or outright opposition to parental requests or instructions. Also, as children mature, they have their own social goals and conflicts that can complicate the harmony of family living even further. As my dear father once said with laughter: “Adolescence is God’s way of helping parents to let go.” Mom and Dad had four children, each 5 years apart. We never understood their master plan, but you can be sure that they spent the majority of their years together raising kids. I watched from the vantage point of the eldest and I know that we had marvelous parents (am completely unbiased?). And, of course, we were all “reasonably good kids” (am I totally objective in this judgment, also?).

Even though we were “pretty good” kids, from time to time, there was trouble in paradise and we kids were clearly the trouble with Mom and Dad. Normal kids will almost certainly present problems, but they will present normal problems.

Starting tomorrow, I will post developmental problems that are notable  because they are especially disruptive. They are disruptive to school, normal family settings, many community settings, and to the child’s own social, emotional and educational development.

Therefore they are among those psychological disorders that must be prevented, or improved early, when they first become a problem.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/05/09

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

November 4, 2009

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a special category of psychological problems caused by personal exposure to actual or threatened death or serious injury to one’s self or others. It can be caused by learning of similar lethal or damaging things happening to parents, siblings, friends or other loved ones. Natural disasters, war, family violence, gang violence, child abuse, child sex abuse, life-threatening illnesses, etc., are all experiences that can elicit very disturbing symptoms in both children and adults.


Common symptoms of PTSD are persistent distressing recollections, dreams, illusions (misperceptions of things), and “flashbacks” or unwanted and alarming memories of the traumatic event. Victims often relive the event in startling encounters with smells, sounds, and visions that remind them of the original trauma. They persistently attempt to avoid all reminders the traumatic event and they complain of the numbing of their feelings, emotional unresponsiveness and feelings of detachment. PTSD victims often have trouble sleeping, have poor concentration, irritability, hyper-vigilance and frequently show an exaggerated startle response. They experience significant distress or impairment with symptoms lasting at least one month.

With young children, bad dreams about a traumatic event can turn into nightmares about unrelated monsters or other upsetting events. They may have night terrors, in which they become terrified in their sleep but do not recall what they were afraid of. Children often re-enact the trauma in their play with toy people (soldiers, police, criminals, etc.) and cars, planes, or boats, etc.. They may re-enact events with playmates. Children will often have a sense of foreboding about the future and may tell others that they do not expect to live very long. They may also develop physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

PTSD symptoms normally begin within three months of a trauma and can last over 12 months

PTSD is a sneaky psychological disorder in that some children and adults may experience a traumatic event, but the display of PTSD symptoms may be delayed for 6 months, or more. It is important to remain vigilant and ready to seek professional assistance for a time well-after a child (or adult) experiences some form of trauma.

Also, those who experience a traumatic event can develop a similar, but shorter duration, psychological disorder which lasts from two days to a maximum of four weeks and starts within four weeks of the trauma. This condition also merits close professional attention and is called an Acute Stress Disorder.

There is a risk that those with PTSD can also develop other disorders that are more long-standing, such as various anxiety disorders, depression, or substance-abuse disorders and more. This is just one more reason to seek professional assistance should these symptoms occur.

A Case Study

A 17-year-old male had shown a 10 year history of hyperactivity, disruptive and oppositional behavior in school, home and other organized events. He was very irritable and explosive with his emotions. The adolescent had very few friends, was socially inappropriate, and he frightened his parents and teachers with intimidation and threats to hurt them or himself. He had been hospitalized on two occasions and had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and Bipolar disorder (a very serious form of mood swings). The outpatient therapist was able to help the parents and the boy through repeated crises, and to some extent stabilize his performance in school. However, severe problems continued to occur from time to time.

During one, particularly productive session, the 17-year-old finally revealed the details of months of physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his mother’s  alcoholic-drug abusing boyfriend. He showed the therapist numerous wounds on his body which had healed into ugly scars. He talked about the man holding him out over a high bridge and threatening to drop him when he was a young boy.  He described how the man had repeatedly threatened to kill him with a knife to his stomach and, at other times, a gun to his head.

As the boy described these traumatic events, his hands trembled involuntarily and he sweated profusely. The teen was hospitalized again, shortly there after.

I cannot state it strongly enough. America, we must do better at protecting its children from these and many other kinds of preventable traumas.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/4/09

Preventing Depression in Children and Adolescents

November 4, 2009

Preventing Depression in Children and Adolescents

The symptoms of depression are likely to show themselves in different ways, depending upon the age of the child.

Infants may show listlessness, social unresponsiveness, and slowed physical development. Children up to about 2 yrs. of age are more likely to show little curiosity and interest in play. They may be clingy, fearful, have nightmares and night terrors and show an increase in oppositional and uncooperative behavior.

Between three and five years of age children may show sadness, tiredness, slow movement poor appetite and weight loss. They may also show withdrawal, apathy, irritability and anger. Some children may begin to express thoughts of suicide.

From 6 to 12 years depressed behavior begins to look more similar to that of adults. They may express their depressed feelings as well as suicidal thoughts. They may have difficulty feeling pleasure and show signs of low self-esteem, apathy, withdrawal, and low motivation. Poor school performance is common as are physical complaints, oppositional behavior, social problems, and delinquency

Pre-adolescents and adolescents ages 12-18 years are more likely to “act-out” their depression. They may show volatile moods, rage, various forms of delinquency, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, suicidal thinking, self-abuse, and over-eating and sleeping. There may be guilt and feelings of worthlessness and the inability to concentrate and make decisions. School under achievement and suicidal thinking are also common.

It is estimated that 2-4% of our children under 17 yrs. Suffer from a major depression and the percent for teens is about 7%. There is no apparent difference in depression rates between boys and girls until about 11 years of age. After this time girls are twice as likely to be depressed as boys.

Causes of Depression

There are many causes of childhood depression. Genetics and changes in brain chemistry appear to play a role as does child abuse, abandonment, divorce, and loss of a loved ones to death or divorce. Other factors that are traumatic or negative life events can also be involved, such as rejection by significant others, imitation of significant depression in others, learning to be helpless, and the loss of rewarding people, things, and conditions. The factors that cause child and adolescent depression are similar to those that cause adult depression. Depression may go undetected by others until they intensify and are identified later in adult years. Frequently, adults will admit that they do not remember a time when they were not depressed. This is regrettable, because depression can severely limit ones success throughout life.

Depression can be improved or cured

A 16-year-old adolescent was brought to a therapist because he was flunking his tenth grade classes and was “into” Goth dress, literature, music and friends. He had ceased communicating with most people, stayed in his room at home, and was found to be using marijuana and cigarets. The teen would not communicate with the therapist. As a result of the various dangers involved in this case, the parents were advised to enter their son in an adolescent treatment center for psychological assessment, intensive individual and group counseling and substance abuse treatment. A psychiatrist prescribed antidepressant medication and after about two weeks he was discharged to his parents care and returned to his psychologist for further out-patient family and individual counseling. The teen’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors gradually improved greatly in all ways.

It is important to review the known causes of Depression because in doing so we are in a better position to prevent, catch early and improve or cure depression in ourselves and our loved ones.

An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/4/09

Play is the “work” of infants and children

October 27, 2009

Play is the “work” of infants and children

I read many years ago that play is the” work” of infants and children.  So it is! Infants and children learn countless valuable skills that they will need for their future through the medium of play.

This appears to be true of puppies, kittens, and many (perhaps all) other creatures.

Enjoy the following and think back to your own childhood and that of other children you have loved.

Thanks to my friend Joe Grunert who sent me this wonderful U-Tube video.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 10/28/09

The Foundation of National Morality

October 26, 2009

The Foundation of National Morality

A quote, taken from  Founders Quote Daily  and sent to me by my best and life-long submarine buddy, Howard Hawkins.

“The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families. … How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?” –John Adams, Diary, 1778

VTM, 10/26/09

In The Wake Of Colombine

August 30, 2009

In The Wake Of Colombine

I am sick and tired of this culture’s obsessive-compulsive personal freedom worship. We have, under force of law and governmental mandate, expunged the worship of our indigenous conceptions of God and His Rules for personal conduct from nearly all public places. What has now been imposed is an enforced worship of the Personal Freedom God.

As if in mock similarity to our original religions, the new Personal Freedom God is comprised of its own trinity of beings. This unholy trinity has been forged within the crucible of the politics of blatant profit motives, pleasure, and self-interest. It is comprised of the media, the educational system, and the judicial system. Behavioral manifestations of these coordinated and unified forces represent incarnations of the Personal Freedom God.

Too much of anything is a bad. Too much freedom is as bad as too little freedom. Totalitarianism destroys the normal human growth and development of populations in ways different from destruction by anarchy (which masquerades as total freedom for the individual). Regardless, both of these pathological and pathogenic extremes eventually kill cultural enterprises and damage the people within them.

If there is any message in the Columbine tragedy, and other similar events, it is that our culture is sick and dying. The truth about the state or our union, and its future, is nowhere but in the actions of our children and youth.

Billy Budd, 4/22/99

Is It Personal Freedom or Social Anarchy?!

August 4, 2009

The Freedom Foible 

 “We are special creatures in the universe and therefore we should be truly free. To be truly free, with the exception of a very few prohibitions, we must never restrict or heavily influence the actions of any person.”

“Therefore whatever an advertiser, artist, director, producer, disk jockey, singer, or actor, etc., wishes to call self-expression must be given full access to the American mass media.”

A culture which trumpets and showcases strong drug culture humor, music and ethics; florid blood, gut, and brain splattering images; loin stimulating sexual actions or innuendo in most adds, songs, sit-coms, and soaps; is not free—it is delusional.

Such a culture believes it offers it’s youth total freedom. Instead, it powerfully influences them in the directions of bondage to drugs and alcohol addiction, sexual promiscuity and teenage pregnancy, infidelity, venereal disease, suicide, hedonism and self-centeredness.

It will be a tragic epitaph that once upon a time, the greatest and most promising nation on earth withered and died because it summoned all of its intelligence and all of its technology and inculcated barbarism into its infants and children.

All of this, done in the pursuit of something which never has and never will exist—pure freedom for the individual.

Do not confuse personal freedom with social anarchy.

 Billy Budd


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