When do I Introduce my Daughter to Code?

Introducing Girls to Code

As a VP at Hackbright Academy, (the leading coding school for women) people always ask, “What is the best age to introduce my daughter to code?”  My answer.… “As soon as possible!”  The same goes for all the STEM sciences (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math.)   It’s never to early to introduce a child to something new. The next question they ask is always– How?

Every child is different, but why not expose them to “all things science” early on in a fun way.  There are: science museums, science based board games and video games, science based TV shows, experiments you can watch on Youtube, great tutorials by Khan academy, coding camps for kids, and the list goes on.  The earlier any child is exposed to something new, the more it opens their eyes to possibility. It makes them curious about the world.  First hand exposure is always a great tool and it provides a safe environment for children to ask questions if they are a bit shy.Unknown

The other day I passed a dad and daughter on the street.  They were crouched down on the sidewalk looking at something. (I’d say the daughter was about 7 years old.) Once I got closer, I could see that they were inspecting an acorn.  A very large and lonely acorn that seemed out of place on such a busy city street.  Where did it come from? The dad was talking about what an acorn is, what it does, the shell, how it will spout, etc. He was also taking the time to answer all his daughter’s questions. It was a wonderful exchange and teachable moment that they were both clearly enjoying. He didn’t rush by the acorn on the sidewalk, he stopped and took notice of his daughter’s curiosity.  He used the opportunity to teach her about nature.  This type of time and patience helps ignite curiously in kids. So, introduce your child to code (or any science) when you are ready to dive in and be part of the conversation with them. If they see that you are engaged and curious then they will be too.

If you need help identifying some great resources for your child, just reach out! 

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Confronting Peer Pressure With Your Teen This Summer

Guest blog By Tammy Walsh

With school out for summer break, teens are likely to spend a lot of free time with friends and may face challenging situations they weren’t expecting. This can be scary for parents, but know that you are not helpless!

Summertime presents a great opportunity to start talking with your teen about peer pressure and the influences it can have on his or her behavior. Take advantage of this time to work with your teen on confronting peer pressure and doing what they think is right.

Here are some things you can do this summer to make sure your teen can appropriately handle situations where they feel pressured to participate in something they aren’t entirely comfortable with:

  • Have a conversation, not confrontation: Whenever you choose to talk to your teen about peer pressure, make sure you are having a discussion with them, not lecturing to them. If your teen feels like he or she is being lectured to, he or she may respond defensively and not listen to you. Even if your teen is being unresponsive or appears agitated, remain calm and don’t give up. If you are looking for ways to initiate a conversation, take a look at these conversation starters.
  • Prepare an exit strategy: Sometimes teens simply don’t know what to say when pressured to participate in a risky behavior like experimenting with drug and medicine abuse. Take some time to brainstorm phrases that your teen can say if pressured to engage in a potentially dangerous activity. Here are a few examples to get started:
    • “No thanks, I don’t do that stuff.”
    • “No thanks, I’m not interested.”
    • “The side effects just aren’t worth it to me.”
    • “I’m committed to living a healthy lifestyle and doing drugs is not part of that.”

Even saying something like, “If you were my real friend, you wouldn’t ask me to do that” can turn the conversation on the perpetrator. And finally, be sure to remind your teen that sometimes the best option is to simply walk away.

  • Continue the conversation: Just because you’ve had the conversation once, doesn’t mean you can’t continue it. Bringing up the topic of peer pressure every once in a while will help keep it top of mind for both you and your teen. Casually check in with your teen when an opportunity presents itself. For example, if you see an article about peer pressure in the news, don’t be afraid to share it with your teen—sometimes seeing real life examples can help put things into perspective.

Do you have any other tips for talking to teens about peer pressure? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Tammy Walsh

Tammy is a mother of two, a high school math teacher and a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org. Tammy has a passion for addressing the issue of substance abuse openly and honestly with parents and teens. Through her work with The Five Moms, she hopes to reach more parents on a national level, educating and empowering them with the tools to make positive change in their communities. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter

Easy Steps to RAISE Your Self-Esteem

(Guest article for Fusion Academy) 

R – Resilience
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A – Attitude/Adaptability

I – Independence

S – Self-respect

E – Empowerment

After counseling and interviewing hundreds of young girls, I have an understanding for what they face in the world and how they feel inside. Trying to maneuver the landscape of your everyday life as a teenage girl is tough. Without tools, strategies, or resources it’s nearly impossible. I see RAISE as your toolkit. RAISE is an acronym for five components to building healthy self-esteem: resilience, attitude, independence, self-respect, and empowerment.

Resilience 

It’s probably no surprise that teens rate the disapproval of their friends and classmates as the most difficult to experience. Most will avoid it at any cost. This is where peer pressure can come into play if they don’t have a strong sense of self or healthy self-esteem. Resilience, or self-perseverance, is a great defense against peer pressure and bullying. We are all resilient in our own way, it’s just a matter of taking those “resilient” behaviors and translating them to other situations and environments. Resilience doesn’t have to come naturally. Instead, we can learn skills to help us persevere and practice them along the way.

Attitude 

Maintaining a positive attitude can enhance self-esteem. Simply accepting that we all have good days and bad days is a start. In addition, adapting to different situations is key. Developmentally, the teen years are extremely complex. Dynamics among friendships start to shift and extreme self-awareness takes hold. Not to mention there’s a good chance their hormones are going crazy! All of these conditions create a concoction just waiting for disaster. Teens may deal with these changes in many different ways. They may become moody, crying over big and small issues, they may begin to challenge parents, or they may feel sad or depressed for seemingly no reason. These can all be very scary experiences and cause extreme confusion.

Adolescents need to remember that they aren’t alone; sometimes just knowing that can make all the difference in the world. Teen girls talk about a lot of things with their friends, but based on my research, feeling sad or lonely for no real reason isn’t usually one of them. So, who or what can they turn to?

Dr Carol will be hosting a Community Education Night at Fusion San Mateo on May 27. See more at: Fusion Academy