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Do not ignore abusive behavior

abuse_0  The abuse of others shows it true colors in so many ways, and as much as we want to deny it is happening – all of us must be aware of the signs and then have the courage to speak up. The story in the Washington Post was of the work that Yardley Love’s mom is now doing to make others aware of the importance of not ignoring the signs of abusive behavior. I honor and applaud the efforts of someone for whom it is too late to save her own daughter.

Abuse virtually never starts with a “major” event. A person who becomes the victim of abuse is almost never attacked on the first meeting of two people. That is true in domestic abuse, bullying in school or workplace violence. Generally it begins with what seems to be annoying or even insignificant events that are uncomfortable but we may be blinded by our own emotions to see where the actions might lead.

  • Teasing and taunting may be in fun – but may be a sign of abuse to come.
  • Physical actions may be playful – but can become more violent.
  • BFF – becomes a controlling relationship with jealousy
  • Never being wrong – results in being worried that you are going to hurt their feelings

The list goes on and on. Learn everything you can about abuse as a protection to your future self. What is most interesting to me is the correlation of domestic violence / abuse and childhood bullying.  Anytime one person sees themselves as more powerful than another and chooses to hurt them intentionally on a regular basis to maintain that control – this is ABUSE.

The hardest part is recognizing the signs when it is happening to yourself. Trust your instincts.  The next hardest part is listening to those around you who see the patterns and warn you about the relationship. Trust your friends and family.  Being willing to listen to others and be real with yourself about your relationships is your first line of defense in protecting yourself from abusive relationships.


Student stress over getting into “good” schools

130830170410-angry-father-daughter-laptop-story-topThe struggle is on between parents and young adults. The struggle is about college. Not, should I go or not go to college. The struggle is debt or no debt, is this school the best for me, will I be able to get a job if I choose this school over that school.

Having 4 children myself and watching the results of many more going to school, getting out and working on using what they learned – one thing I do know is that the stress level prior to going to the school of your choice is greater than the stress of writing the papers and finishing the assignments the student gets after getting to the school of their choice.

My biggest concern is about the pressure that our students feel about getting in to a “good” school. Bottom line – Go to any company and you will see that those employed there come from a variety of colleges. While there may be a particular position in a particular company that might be more available to a student from a single school – people do not generally hire based on what school you went to. They hire on who you are, your attitude and skills.

The experience in college is simply what you make of it, what you do when you get there – no matter where you attend. Why is this important to understand.

Being stressed out is one of the risk factors that we see over and over again in youth suicide. Want to learn more of the risk factors and what you can do to protect the youth in your life?

Attend the QPR training on May 3 – 10 AM at Balanced Life Skills. Learn more here.


Happy Valentines Day – Preventing Heart Disease Is Self Defense

HeartHappy Valentines Day!  While it is a day possibly for you to think about those that you love, it is also a good day to think about being around to express your love for family and friends for a long time.  Valentines Day is symbolized by the heart.  So here is a self defense note for all of us – old and young.

Heart disease is preventable, yet heart disease is and has been the number one cause of death for a very long time.  In 2010 597,689 people in the United Stated died due to heart disease.  Nearly one fourth of everyone who passed away did so due to a preventable disease.  Every single day of the year 1637 mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters lost a loved one who will no longer be with their family to enjoy each other.

For me this is very personal.  My father died of heart disease 46 years ago.  Maybe they did not know as much as they do today or maybe they did and he did not pay attention.  What I know is that he was not a part of my life when I needed a father more than anything.  What about you?  Do you have children or others depending on you, looking up to you, wanting you to be there for them.  Here are the facts:


Just a few tips:

  1. Control high blood pressure
  2. Get active
  3. Eat right
  4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  5. Manage stress and anger
  6. Control diabetes

Be mindful of these tips and take action and you reduce the risk factors.

Have you noticed that the self defense that Balanced Life Skills teaches includes anger management, stress reduction, healthy eating and good exercise.  This kind of self defense is just as important as knowing how to escape a physical attack.  In fact, all of us are more likely to be affected by heart disease than to be attacked physically. (there were 16,259 deaths in the same period of time due to homicide)   It is most likely all of us will be affected by stress and anger even if we practice good eating and exercise.

Balanced Life Skills is dedicated to teaching peace.  Peace is self defense.


Fire Prevention Week

firePrevention2013This week coming up is National Fire Prevention Week with the theme this year of Prevent Kitchen Fires”. This time of the year is when we see the most home fires taking place for a number of reasons. New students in college dorms making careless mistakes. More cooking taking place indoors. Fireplace use goes up in the fall with increased risk.

Here are a couple of the suggestions made about preventing kitchen fires.

  • Do not walk away from anything that is cooking on the stove or the oven
  • Keep pot holders and towels away from the stove and oven while cooking
  • Do not hang flammable fabrics from the handle of the oven
  • Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Have a safety plan and escape plan and practice it at least twice each year. Timing the drills at the same time you change the batteries in your smoke detectors would be a good reminder for all in the family about fire prevention safety. If you want to learn more about fire safety – visit your local fire department. It is a fun trip for the kids!


The Similarities of Bullying & Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence and Bully Prevention Month.

abuseEveryone needs to be aware of these two very similar and related methods of ABUSE .  In both domestic violence and bullying, certain behaviors are used to control another person. The behavior may occur in either a married or not married situation, it could be heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or living together, separated or dating. The behaviors may be occurring at school with kids or at home between siblings or even parents bullying kids. It even has happened at time with teachers on students. Here is a list of just some of the behaviors that are abusive that could be domestic violence or bullying:

  • name calling or put downs
  • keeping a person away from friends
  • actual or threatening physical harm
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • sexual assault

Anyone could be a victim.  Abuse that starts as bullying as a child may grow up and either be abused or become the abuser.   It may be male on female, but can be the other way around too or male on male or female on female.

If you are being ABUSED – Remember

  • You are not alone
  • It is not your fault
  • Help is available.

For assistance with bully prevention check out our coaching,  advocacy work, and school workshops.