Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rescue Your Vacationing Kids from ICT

With kids out of school and at home looking for things to do, don't settle for them spending hours playing video games, surfing the Internet, watching friends' posts on Facebook or talking on the smart phone. Instead, spend some time checking out ways to help them escape and get involved in life outside the box.

They will be grown and may be busy with their own new family and even in another state before you know it. So capture your time together now and treasure it!
Check out your local museums for special exhibits over the holidays.
Check out local community theater for neat shows your children might enjoy.
Catch a local production of the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
Attend a house of worship for a special holiday event.
Go to a nearby park and sled, skate board, roller skate, play street hockey, or just take a leisurely stroll together.
Shovel snow with them or make snowballs or a snow man if you are lucky enough to have snow.
Drive around and see the Christmas lights at night in the neighborhood.
Read a good Christmas tale aloud.
Build a fire and share stories by the flickering light.
Sing carols together.
Play a favorite Christmas album and sing or dance along.
Shop together for gifts and forget the surprise element so that you can spend more time together shopping and so that everyone gets exactly the model of digital device they want!
And cook together. Have each person choose a recipe and prepare them all in the kitchen together, each working on their own recipe. It's a blast!
If your child thinks your selection is just too corny, go ahead and plead that they do it for your sake. We parents have some prerogatives even with older kids! They will usually admit afterwards that it was a fine experience.
Besides the inherent value of grabbing more time together and reconnecting, sharing your stories, global philosophies, and laughs, pulling them away from the digital devices has great physical, emotional, and even mental benefits to their health.
Studies are mounting showing that in young people, depression, dissatisfaction with life, anxiety, poor academic performance, and lack of concentration are all associated with heavy cell phone use. It is easy to say that more time at the cell phone obviously means less time studying, but researchers have even considered that and found that there is a stronger association than just the time lost factor.
For xample, a study of college students back in 2007 found a strong positive correlation between Internet and cell phone use on the one hand and anxiety and insomnia on the other. The researchers summarized the study as demonstrating promising tools for assessing "these new behavioral addictions."
A 2012 study found that young people had more sleep disturbances, stress and other mental health problems. This study was done at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. They conducted four studies including 4,100 young adults aged 20-24. According to one of the researchers, "Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women." The study found that a combination of heavy use of both the computer and cell phone strengthened the link between ICT (information and communication technology) and sleep problems and depression.
As for serious problems of physical health, there are numerous studies which have shown that frequent use of cell phones, especially close to the head or carried near the waist, are associated with increased likelihood of brain cancer, infertility, and other scary problems.
A year ago, Pembroke Pines Florida passed an ordinance warning residents of the dangers of cell phone use after hearing testimony from a lawyer who realized that the cancers in his hand, the side of his head, and his hip were directly associated with his cell phone use with that hand, his ear on that side of his head, and the pocket by that hip. The city is recommending that residents keep their phone at least one inch from their bodies and use text, email or speakerphone in preference to holding the phone near their bodies.
As Nikken consultants, my partners and I regularly have folks test their strength either holding their cell phone or holding something else. Their strength is dramatically reduced when holding the phone, especially if it is turned on. But even when turned off it is ready to receive incoming calls, so it is actively in the matrix of radiofrequency waves surrounding us all the time now. The good news is that if you add to your body a balancing magnetic device, like Nikken insoles, or bracelet or neck band, the effect of the cell phone is diminished. But it is best to expose yourself as little as possible to the unnatural waves coming from these devices.
They also heat up the brain. "Frying the brain" can't be good. Though important, the measurements now required for rating cell phones today only refer to this heating effect. We still don't get any information about individual cell phones and the other effects of their emissions.
Consider attaching a blocker to the ear piece of your phone. An inexpensive but well tested on is available at www.waveshield.com. I interviewed Shelly Kalnitsky on my radio show Family First. You can listen to the interview at my website, www.randyrolfe.com. Also, if you are not using Nikken products already and want more information about them, please call me or visit my Nikken website at www.nikken.com/randyrolfe.
It may seem that we are just being negative about a new technology. But it is known that it can take 10 to 20 years for cancers to develop so precautions now are better than waiting to see what happens to our loved ones 10 to 20 years from now. And there are enough results already to convince me to be on my guard.
An MTV study released this summer found that young millenials were looking for better privacy in their social media. So the younger set seems to be wising up to the stressful aspects of their new-found communication tools. The results of the study surprised even MTV. They found that 14-17 year olds were pulling away from Facebook and seeking more private networks for communicating. The study also found that the kids were "taking time to disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs." They found some respondents who were said to be "monotasking."
Let the children lead the way.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: There is no substitute for you the parent. That proposition is my passion! So when your kids are home, include them as much as you can in everything you do, participate in whatever they are doing if they let you, and plan on doing nothing together often! Have a fantastic winter vacation!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013



I hope you enjoyed these three important articles!
Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: Be candid with your kids about how you feel about drinking. But do so only after you have really thought it through yourself, including your own behavior as a teen and now, and including a chat with their other parent, to see if you can get on the same page together. Children listen to their parents whether they want to or are conscious of it or not.  You want the voice of reason and caution and moderation to resonate in their heads when temptation appears. As for their health, let them know that our bodies are made to last a lifetime as long as we take care of them, and that the constant barrage of messages to convince them they need this or that medication is just a profit grab. Let them know that their health is their responsibility, not their doctor's. The vast majority of ailments people suffer today are caused by lifestyle factors over which the individual has a great deal of control. You set the pace by your example of how self-care is done. Finally, be sure your children know that one of the things you are most thankful for is them! Have a great holiday season!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

/No WIFI for French Students---Violence Imitated?


Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips. Kids are kids because they are less experienced in the ways of the world than their parents and because they are less strong in mind and body, at least until they are about 14 years old. The way I see it, we have three main jobs are parents. First, protect them from physical and emotional risks they are not mature enough to appreciate. Second, provide them with the vital elements to sustain healthful living. And third, love them so they feel welcome, worthy, and appreciated as a member of the earth community. It's quite simple really, but it takes focus, energy, and time. If we delegate any of these functions to others, we must still be absolutely vigilant in their performance. Kids don't know what effects frequent exposure to violent images may have on their world view. And they can't appreciate what EMF radiation can do to them either. We must educate ourselves and draw the protective line of safety for them, meanwhile educating them as they mature on how to protect themselves. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

What's with Our Schools?

When I was looking for an image of school for this article, I found only smiling faces of students fully engaged in the classroom or having fun on the playground, or smiling as they read their books.
These images of school can be misleading. The news is filled with stories of failing school systems, cities that can't afford their schools anymore, new programs that tend to marginalize even faster the lower tier of kids, declining competency at high school and college levels, violence and dropouts across the country, and increasing prevalence of depression, attention issues, and drug use among our school youth. Our kids are not all smiles in our schools.
Some experts are taking a longer view of schooling than we usually hear about. For example, John Taylor Gatto, who won accolades for his work in the New York State School System, has written extensively on how schools actually fail to educate our students. We have a serious disconnect between, on the one hand, our popular conception that a good education opens doors, builds leaders, and fosters creative and critical thinking and, on the other hand, a system of education which was developed over a hundred and fifty years ago to create obedient soldiers and was further refined a hundred years ago to create obedient employees to fuel the industrial revolution.
Today kids who have access to global information on their smart phones are less and less likely to take to the regimentation of conventional schooling unless they personally feel the specific training a particular class affords is something they really want. When books were hand-copied back when the first schools emerged a few thousand years ago, a few lucky kids were sent to academy to get the specialized knowledge of the professions. But the vast majority of children learned all they needed to know from their PARENTS. And even then not from instruction by parents so much as from being around them, helping them at whatever their own skill level was at the time, watching them closely, and being inspired by their maturity and skills.
Now many parents I talk with seem eager to send their children off to school and have delegated all that traditional educational responsibility to institutions that were ill-equipped from the beginning to fill the bill. Meanwhile the economy has forced middle class parents and even upper class parents to think they must both work in order to give their children the advantages they need to succeed in life. They assume that they must give up their children to these institutions.
We have no idea what the emotional costs are to this new pattern of family life. Many of the specialists studying these consequences have themselves delegated their parenting to these institutions, so they will have a bias against deciding that they and their children are suffering as a result. Today young mothers don't even know what they may be missing by going back to work so soon, because their own mothers did it too. 
Such commentators as Ivan Illich and Henry Giroux and many others such as leading advocates of home schooling, John Holt and Robert E. Kay, have addressed these issues in great depth and deserve serious investigation. Giroux recently labeled schools "dead zones of the imagination."
 Meanwhile, since most families will be sending their children to school, what are parents to do?
First, be clear where school ends and parenting begins. Avoid becoming the school enforcer at home. Be the parent and demonstrate life and living to your children by being with them and having them with you as much as possible. Ethics, courtesy, self-restraint, emotional processing, meaningful friendship, optimism, graciousness, kindness, healthy daily habits, strength of character and more are still best learned at home.
Second, be clear with your children that school is their responsibility. Don't intervene or check on grades unless asked by your child. Let them know that it is your decision to have them go to school and tell them why, in age-appropriate ways. It is better that they know that it is your decision than that they believe the state can force you, their parent who is in charge of their well-being, to do something against your will. If you want your child to believe she or he has control over their destiny, then you need to let them know you believe you have control over yours. 
Third, don't quiz or test your child. There is already way too much of this in school. A few fascinating experiments with children have demonstrated that they learn more and retain more when not rated, compared, embarrassed, or put on the spot to prove they are absorbing information. Watch closely to check their growing competence without making them feel always on the block.
Fourth, honor your child's reactions to school events, academic and otherwise. Listen and suggest. Don't jump in with solutions unless sincerely asked for your advice. Children will come up with their own solutions if they have a caring, engaged, respected, and trusted listener who can affirm their ability to handle their own problems.  
Fifth, protect your child's home environment and lifestyle. Make sure they get good food, good sleep, good relaxation, private space, time to play, good self-care routines, and caring supervision of their external connections - that is, social media and time with friends. These physical factors make a huge difference in whether they can weather the challenges of this rather strange institution we have invented called school.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: Don't be a substitute teacher at home. Remain the parent. Support your child in her or his activities away from home, including school, but only set safe parameters. Don't try to control or direct. Your job is to be the parent, to love, protect, set an example, guide, not to be homework cop or otherwise enforcer of school directives. When children realize school is their responsibility, studies show they are much more willing to perform what needs to be done to make it in school.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Cost of Parenting?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the cost of being a parent. Reports claim that it costs $200,000 to $300,000 to get a child to age 18. That sounds pretty scary. How many of us have that much extra sitting around? But year by year, that's between $11,000 and $16,000 per year. Consider that just about everyone of us needs that much to live decently. So that's nothing new. You are adding a new person to your family!
But they say that this recession has slowed down the birth rate because  people are thinking twice about the added costs. A new book on the advantages of parenting an only child or being one is timely for those who might feel bad not having a second child. I agree with the author that having a playmate for your first is not enough of a reason to have a second. But if you as a parent or couple really want another child, I say don't let these numbers scare you.
It is high time we pull back from the idea that every child needs two or three after school programs to round out their resume. Many middle school kids are now suffering burnout already. One sport and one art is plenty and they don't have to be the same year. Today's children need to discover ways to relax, amuse themselves, and interact with others, and not always on the most expensive new digital gadget.
And I advocate against skimping on good nutrition and safe environments, but having the latest games and toys and a new smart phone every two years or the latest fashions just isn't necessary.
On the other hand, if a person feels that children will cramp their style, either by slowing down their career, increasing their stress, or depriving them of time out at cultural activities or with their buddies, then I would advise that they are not really ready for kids.
The happiest parents I have known were expecting the unexpected and were prepared for whatever changes they would need to make to enjoy their kids and be the kind of parents they wanted to be. It's only about 20 years. You Can Postpone Anything But Love. That is the title of my first book (now in its third edition) and it is an important truth in parenting and in life.
Parents need to do the research and some calculations. What are your options to take a break from your career path to get a child off to a good start? How does the actual cost of daycare and commuting and headache and sleep remedies compare with the actual money after taxes that you will bring in from your work? And what about home cooked meals and playing in the park compared to expensive, fattening, non-nutritious fast food on the run to yet another expensive lesson?
Every family is different and every family must make compromises balancing time, energy, and finances. Let your children know that you are in charge and that you have worked hard on these decisions. They will respect you for it and learn that what her or his classmate does is irrelevant to what you and your family choose to do.
Hard times make these decisions harder but kids deserve parents who aren't all stressed out. Take the time to know what you want most and let lesser priorities go. Too often today kids are pressuring their parents to substitute gifts and amusements for simple quality family time. Neither kids nor parents know what they are missing. Keep life as simple as possible and you will all benefit.     
Randy Rolfe Taking Home Tips: Families today need frequent reminding that what kids need most is the loving attention and guidance of their parents. Because of the constant borage of commercial advertising that just one more purchase will make life easier and kids happier, we get sucked in to thinking consumerism is the solution for family challenges. But it never is. Listening, chatting without judgment, just being, walking, laughing, caring questions, and hugs, are the tools of effective parenting. Yes there is another mouth to feed and some resources to have on hand for stimulation and education, but parenting doesn't have to be a big ticket item in your budget. Just love 'em!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lessons of Unschooling

I recently gave a talk at a wonderful and stimulating event in the White Mountains of New Hampshire called Life Rocks, which was a week-long gathering of families who are on the cutting edge of freedom in parenting and education. Founded by Dayna Martin with her husband and kids, the event brings together hundreds of families to share and explore their experiences, wisdom, and vision for a family-centered child-rearing experience, to encourage their children to become creative, capable, confident, and happy adults.
Author of Radical Unschooling, Dayna also directs the Rethinking Everything conference in Texas in August. She was my guest on my radio show "Family First," and I encourage you to listen to the show at
Not all families will want to educate their children at home, though more and more are choosing to do so. Those who have done it have learned much that can be of value to those who have chosen to take advantage of our many kinds of school systems. The contrast between letting kids learn what they need through living rather than formal schooling and sending kids to school for twelve to twenty years is often dramatic. Most notably, the children do not come to assume that someone else is in charge of their schedule, their learning, their work contribution, and their income. They take responsibility early for their own future.
In my book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, I included an Appendix describing why my husband and I decided to educate our son and daughter at home. In brief, it was primarily to give them more freedom to explore what they were most interested in at any given time and to give us all more family time so that they could learn more from us, their parents, as well as to have more fun enjoying each other as a family. You will find much more detail in the book, but my point is that all parents can focus on these things without going all the way to home education.
What we find in family-focused child-rearing is that children are naturally curious, naturally want to learn, and don't need to be prodded, "taught" responsibility, caring, or contribution. They want to help, want to do important things, want to imitate the adults they respect.
Making time together is the most important thing you can do for your children. Choose things you like to do and share these with your child. Then pick things they like to do and facilitate their activities and your own participation. Create an example of inquisitiveness in your own life. Create lots of opportunities for seeing, hearing, exploring, traveling, reading, playing, dancing, drawing, singing, building. If your child is in school, it's harder to find these times, but maximize the opportunities during vacations and on weekends. Don't let school and sports and extracurricular activities prevent your time together.
Child-led learning is the natural pattern among traditional peoples and it works just as well for us now. The best teachers in our school systems try to tap in to what turns a child on and show them their own competence around that subject to bolster their performance in other areas. Who is in a better position than a parent to know their child's passions, needs and wants? And who else can figure out better what each child needs for guidance, healthy limits, and healthy freedoms at different ages and stages? Too often today parents are asked to abdicate this all important role. Hold on to it and your children will thrive. You will be happier too!
Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: You Can Postpone Anything But Love.TM Making time to be with your children is the best thing you can do as a parent. Children learn by example and you are it! See that your lifestyle and relationship habits model what you want from your child, and be there to help them interpret what they see and hear from the all-pervasive media. Make time to do fun things together and to listen to their stories. Take time to find out what they would like to do to have fun. Go hiking, watch a game, play a video game with you, go to a fancy restaurant, visit a dairy or a TV studio? Whatever it is, make it happen together.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

As spring approaches, get the kids outside! I was amazed that few children got out in the snow to sled and make smowmen after the few snows we had this year in the northeast. As parents it is our responsibility to direct our children to healthy environments and healthy activities. Get them away from the digital screens for some time each day outside.

 To learn more about the real importance of the outdoors, listen in to the Family First program on avoiding the "nature deficit disorder." My guest Ellen Haas has been teaching kids about enjoying nature responsibly and deeply for decades and is author of several books on the subject.

Just click on this link and listen in, or download the show to your mobile dievice.  http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/54356/do-our-children-have-nature-deficit-disorder.

Our indoor air is far more polluted than outdoor air in most neighborhoods. So just for the sake of breathing, it's good to get outdoors! Also there is space to move, to run, skip, roll around on the ground. Encourage free-wheeling play. And go outside yourself to set the tone. Kids are programmed to want to do what adults do, so show them how to enjoy the outdoors. Make it a family time and they will go for it and look forward to it. Take time to watch the birds and planes, to study the cloud formations, to notice the trees starting to bud with leaves. Pick up sticks around the yard, kick a ball around. Let your child make up games and play along. Laugh out loud. And they love hellping in the garden.

The rebalancing of mental moods and the physical play which happens outside helps everyone, but especially kids who seem to have attention problems. Listen in to my interview about the benefits of nature at

Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: We are all meant to connect with nature. As sophisticated as our civilization is, we are still born of this earth and require the vital energies of good air, pure water, restful energizing sleep, safe environment, quality nutrition, sunlight, and the blues and greens of the outdoors. If you want your kids to appreciate nature, you must do it with them. Kids are programmed to do what the adults around them do. So set an example by getting outside yourself and inviting them to be with you.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why Junk Foods?

Why Junk Food?

In a highly revealing new book out this month, Michael Moss, long time reporter for the New York Times, tells of his four year investigation into the policies and marketing campaigns of the largest food processing companies during the last few decades.
In his book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize Winner Moss tells chilling stories about industry leaders who have no regard for the health effects of their products and about former executives and scientists who tried to reign in the worst of their products only to be rebuffed.
It is clear that only when the market affects the bottom line does the industry move. But even then, these companies design campaigns which get the most dollars for the least amount of actual change in their products or formulas, and often they find ways to use a health trend to their advantage to sell more junk food under a more appealing name.
A long article in the New York Times Magazine by Moss included a number of stories about lunch food for school kids, the soda industry, the yogurt industry, and more.
The bottom line is that advertising and packaging can be very misleading and the ubiquitous messages can actually wear down even the most ad resistant eater at times.
Most health experts agree that the extra salt, sugar, and fat added to our foods is what's ruining our health because these foods are addictive and the industry spends many millions a year to find out how to increase our cravings for them. These are responsible for much of our diabetes, heart disease, and obesity as well as many other chronic problems.
I have long pointed out to my nutrition clients and students that these three factors are ideal preservatives. They have been used throughout history to preserve foods. Traditionally, sugar and salt dry foods out so that they are not attractive to microbes and are less likely to spoil. Likewise fat conceals the food from microbes and tends to prevent spoilage by exposure to air. 
In the past, these three were very expensive to obtain and use. They were rarely if ever used with foods which were going to be eaten before they would spoil or be contaminated. Solomon got rich from his salt mines. Much later, Europe got rich from the sugar cane grown by slaves in the Caribbean. Today, agribusiness farmers have become rich from chemical extraction of oils from seed crops.
Now salt, sugar, and fat are significantly overused because new forms have been invented, especially for sugar and fat, so that they are cheap and last virtually forever, mixed with various chemicals and preservatives in our foods.
But why use them at all? Because they taste good! We are programmed from millions of years of evolution to be attracted to sweet, salty, and fatty foods because in nature these occurred almost exclusively in highly nutritious foods. Honey, maple syrup, and milk were the only sources of sugar not attached to high fiber, slow digesting foods. Salt came only from mines. Fats were hard to extract. Only butter, olives and a few very rich seeds yielded oils which could be used for cooking or flavoring. Obtaining these concentrated salts, sugars, and fats, were time and labor intensive.
In the old days, salt, sugar, and fat flavors were a sign of a good food. They did not appear in isolation as the main ingredient in the food. Sugar usually meant a ripe fruit or a vegetable that was fully ripened and ready to eat. Salty meant a food which was rich in minerals, like a sea creature or sea vegetable or an herb. Fat meant a healthy nut or seed or wild caught animal.
We no longer get those healthy foods when we reach for a salty, sugary or fatty snack. We just get the empty calories, along with the unnatural highly processed sugars and fats, like high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated soy oil.
But why do the food processors continue to include so much of this stuff if they know it is bad for us and if they have other more modern ways to preserve foods, like refrigeration, drying, airless packaging, and more?.
It's about flavor and addiction. First, modern processed foods taste terrible all by themselves. "Like cardboard" is what most folks say when they try to eat low salt low sugar low fat foods which look like their junk food favorites. We have become habituated to highly flavored foods, but the flavor is not coming from whole, healthy, mature, natural foods. It's coming from salt, sugar, and fat, and some amazing chemicals which replicate for our taste palate the impression of the natural food. Strawberry or blueberry flavor for example.
Food product manufacturers make the cheapest product possible which the consumer will still want to consume. The basic ingredients most likely taste terrible without the added salt, sugar, or fat.
The second factor, addiction, is about our body's craving for nourishing food. We are getting the salt, sugar, and fat flavor which to our primitive brain sensors means nutrition but we don't get the nutrition. So we keep eating more of the stuff expecting to find the nourishment which just isn't there. Also, recent research has shown that these foods can have direct addictive affects on the brain's neurotransmitters, much like nicotine or other addictive substances. It is sad to realize that the food processors not only know this, they also build their campaigns around it, based on the marketing reality that it is easier to get a present customer to consume more than to attract a new customer.
But we can make choices which avoid these addictive and tasteless foods. It has been shown over and over again that when people avoid the excess salt and sugar and fat, they don't miss it at all, as long as their need for real food is being met.
People often wonder at the "will power" of folks who stick mostly with home made, minimally processed, and organic food. But there is no willpower involved. The food tastes wonderful and meets the body's needs, so there are no cravings for snacks or junk. The satisfaction of natural sweetness, natural saltiness, and natural fats comes from real foods which your brain and body can use and appreciate to build your health.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: As my colleague Alice Baland, author of Eat Up the Good Life and eating disorders specialist, said just this morning, "Just ignore the ads and attractive labels and ask yourself, when they tempt you, is this really going to contribute to the healthy lifestyle I want to live?"
And of course I want to recommend my own book, The True Secret to Weight Loss Is Energy. just out in 2012. It encapsulates over 40 years of my personal experience educating folks about how to attain and maintain health, healthy weight, and vibrant energy. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Romance just for the young?

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

With baby-boomers hitting retirement, there is a lot in the news about staying young, changing the look of aging, grandparents who don’t slow down, and more. What about seniors who still believe in romance? The baby boomers were the love-in generation and for many of them the optimism about romance has not faded. Many stories have told of love in the mature years, but the baby boomers are bringing it to the fore. Consider the success of the movie Something’s Gotta Give, with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. My guest this week is Tim Carroll, author of the new book Don’t Ever Give Up on Love, which includes great stories of senior romance, including his own. Tim considers himself a “Senior Romantic” and encourages others not to give up ever on finding your romantic partner. Tim will share some stories and also share his insights on how to date in the modern world, how seniors are using social media, what to do about your past, how to handle disbelieving adult children, and more.
Simply go to: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/57527/out-of-the-closet-with-senior-romance.

Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: Setting an example of life-long love and commitment is one of the best things we can do for our children. Even if you are a grandparent, a belief that sharing your life with another is a high goal for all can be a great gift to your grandchildren and everyone around you. So don't give up on finding a partner to share your life. If you are on the second time around, avoid getting jaded or losing home. Do things you love to do and you will attract someone who feels the same way you do.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gun Marketing Direct to Your Kids

In the last five years, gun manufacturers have begun an aggressive campaign to put guns in the hands of kids. The New York Times has published an investigative article on this effort, available now at:
You may not know that, according to the NYT article by Mike McIntire, "The shooting sports foundation, the tax-exempt trade association for the gun industry, is a driving force behind many of the newest youth initiatives. Its national headquarters is in Newtown, just a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza, 20, used his mother's Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 20 children and 6 adults last month." We cannot know if there is any relationship but it is rather a coincidence at least.
The industry has developed a number of studies about how to get more kids into the funnel to want to use guns and to eventually buy them as soon as they can, once they are 18. Meanwhile, many states allow kids to use guns as long as they are supervised by an adult. The initiatives include encouraging children to take up guns for recreational hunting and target shooting. Grants to various youth organizations are taking the form of supplying guns and emphasizing the "responsibility" which handling a gun teaches.
Another initiative is a video game using semi-automatic weapons, which game also happens to include links to gun manufacturers. The gun industry asserts that it is important to maintain the American tradition of hunting, marksmanship, and self-defense with guns.
The marketing effort resulted from the gun industry's awareness that sales were falling off in the last few decades.The effort to appeal  to youth includes starting very young kids with the idea of shooting, with darts, bow and arrow, or BBs. The literature suggests not using human forms as targets since this may seem violent, but rather words, like "family" or "fun."
I found this article very disturbing. In some cultures, in the country, where hunting is really still part of the culture, I don't have a problem with parents teaching tier children to hunt with a rifle after reaching a certain age of maturity, say 14 or later. But the need for semi-automatics for young people seems bogus, and there is no excuse for starting four or five year olds or even eight year olds shooting with life-threatening guns. The gun literature actually speaks of using guns as a way to teach maturity and responsibility. There are much safer ways to learn these life skills.
Another tenet is that parents are the best judges of when their children are ready to handle guns. We don't leave it up to parents to decide about when their kids can handle alcohol, cigarettes, or military duties, or when they can operate a motor vehicle, or even when they need to start school. Why would we leave it up to parents to decide when their child can handle a life-threatening weapon which can kill more people in a minute than even an out-of-control car ever could? 
According to the NYT article, entitled, "Selling a New Generation on Guns," "The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 - an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one - the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent."
As I am writing this in the late afternoon Thursday, there is news of a school shooting in Atlanta today in which a 14 year old girl was shot in the head and is now hospitalized while a teacher was also injured. The suspect in custody is believed to be a fellow student. 
Children are children because they have much to learn to take their place in human society. Full maturity is believed to be reached around age 25. A full understanding of the meaning of life and death can hardly be expected of a child of 8, 10, or 12. Putting weapons that are equivalent to those issued to trained soldiers for war operations in combat zones into the hands of our children is to be discouraged and avoided. 
Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: As parents it is more important than ever that we supervise our children's environment. Digital information has made it possible to expose kids to almost any message if there is not a caring adult screening the input. Use parental controls, hang out with your kids when they are playing video games or surfing the web, or even watching TV, since web-based input is available there now too.  Remove digital devices from bedrooms, and limit daily exposure. Take the kids outside to play, and continue supervision there. lAnd talk, talk, talk about every issue that comes up. Even if you think they are not listening, they will hear you, and your words may play in their ear months or years later when it may make the most difference. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Family Resilience for 2013!

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

 Be sure to take adcantage of the over 88 great interviews with top experts and emerging expert voices on all issues related to family on "Family First" online net radio, available 24/7 on your PC or mobile, at the Voice America net talk radio netowrk, the leader in online interview shows. Simply go to http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1916/family-first

and choose your show. The great interview with James Lee is all about optimism and resilience in the family and the society. A great resource for the end of our first month of 2013!

  For my interview with James, this link will take you directly there: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/62561/the-resilient-family.
Randy Rolfe Take home Tip - Home for a child is wherever a parent is. Resilience is passed on to our children when we show confidence that whatever happens we will be okay and that we will be able to care for our child no matter what. Children are born with an innate trust that their parent will guard, keep, and teach them. But the child can lose faith if we lose faith in ourselves. If you have concerns, it's okay to share them in an age appropriate manner, but always assure the child that you know all will turn out right. Kids may not believe you all the time, but deep down they will trust you because you ARE the parent. We often forget how important the parent is in this complex multi-dimensional lifestyle we live. But for the child, the parent is ALL.She or he sends all the most important cues.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Aiming at better life balance for 2013?

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Have you resolved to find a better life balance in 2013? How often do we hear about the challenges modern families face with both parents working outside the home and still trying to maintain a close-knit and happy family life? Finding a balance between your roles as parent and active participant in the workplace is one of the greatest sources of everyday stress for families today. My guest this week is not only an expert on the subject but is a personal example of how to manage this balancing act. A health educator for over 30 years, Sharon Weinstein is an energetic, motivating and highly skilled nurse, nurse educator and consultant specializing in workplace wellness, corporate training programs and motivational speaking presentations. Among many other roles, she also was advisor to Central Clinical Hospital, Moscow, Russia for twelve years while raising her family and oversaw the building of a western-style International Patient Department. Among her many writings, Sharon’s book B Is for Balance is all about this issue. Listen in! Just click on the link above or this one to go direct to show, and listen online or download to any device!


This is a recording of a previous live interview but deserves repeating! Life balance can often be a continuing challenge today.

Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: The more parenting time and effort you dedicate in the early years of your child's life the less worry and effort it will take as the child matures. The bonding, modeling, communication, and attention to basic needs which happen in a close parent child relationship in the first months and years are irreplaceable. Simplify your child's life and your own by keeping parenting high priority in you life balance plan. Learn more in my book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, available everywhere.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why Do Powerful Men Risk It All?

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Why would powerful men like General David Petraeus cheat and risk so much? We are often puzzled when famous men who seem to have it all, like public acclaim, professional success, and a loving family, throw away their career, marriage, and reputation by having an affair. Ironically, these affairs rarely turn into long-lasting relationships. Fear of infidelity plagues many marriages today.

My guest this week on “Family First,” is Terri Orbuch PhD, a marriage expert and director of a landmark 25-year, NIH government-funded study of marriage and divorce. Popularly known as "The Love Doctor," Dr. Orbuch will explain how powerful men are especially vulnerable to common traps that jeopardize marriages. She will share the 5 reasons why powerful men cheat and how power creates blind spots when it comes to self-scrutiny. Past President of the International Association for Relationship Research, she will give us some important insights into keeping a marriage safe and healthy.

To hear the program, simply click on the link above or on this link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1916/family-first, Friday at 1 pm PT, 2 pm MT, 3 pm CT, 4 pm ET, or any time afterwards online, or on podcast or apps.

Terri Orbuch PhD is a bestselling author, professor, and popular love advisor on TV, radio, and the web. She is a psychologist, a nationally known research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and an Oakland University professor. Dr. Terri Orbuch has studied the marriage, divorce, romance, and relationship patterns of thousands of individuals nationwide for over 25 years. She blogs for Huffington Post and Next Avenue among others, and has a 20-year marriage and family therapy practice in Detroit.

Dr. Orbuch’s newest book is Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.” She is also author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great and several other books. Dr. Orbuch has created bedside inspirations-at-a- glance books and marriage enrichment workshops. Dr. Terri Orbuch has published over 40 articles; been quoted in such national publications as USA Today, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Reader's Digest.

To hear the program, simply click on  the link above or this link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1916/family-first, Friday at 1 pm PT, 2 pm MT, 3 pm CT, 4 pm ET, or any time afterwards online, or on podcast or apps.

Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: The fidelity and commitment between the spouses at the head of a family is not only a stabililzing force for all family members. It also serves as a model for future relationships as well as a safe haven from the compleixities of life constantly portrayed in our media. Time spent communicating, listening, sharing, empathizing, and understanding with your spouse is never a waste of time.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Talking to Teens

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Many parents feel anxious as their children approach the teenage years. Parents worry about peer pressure, losing their influence, being able to communicate effectively with their teens, wondering if they have prepared them well enough for life, asking themselves about whether they pushed too hard or not enough in academics, worrying about how much help they should give or will be allowed to give their teen as they approach young adulthood, fearing the worst when it comes to bad influences. My guest this week on Family First is Kyra Batte, a life coach to teens. She helps parents and their teens get through these uncertain years with the least hassle and the most self-assurance and resilience as possible. She will show how many of the fears felt by teens and by their parents can be overcome by healthy communication, attention to life balance, and care with self-talk. Kyra’s insights can make family life a whole lot better. Listen in and invite your teen to join us.

To hear the program, simply click on tthe link above or his link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1916/family-first, Friday at 1 pm PT, 2 pm MT, 3 pm CT, 4 pm ET, or any time afterwards online, or on podcast or apps.

Kyra Batte is a teen life coach in Los Angeles County. She has been a public speaker and educator for statewide and national programs toward improving the quality of life and mental health for children, teenagers, and young adults. Amongst her public speaking experiences, she recently hosted a show that garnered four million viewers worldwide, promoting self-confidence, removing critical thoughts, dealing with uncertainty and fear of failure, gaining resilience, and finding balance in life. Kyra has been able to speak to hundreds of parents and children and to educate more than one hundred school counselors, teachers, and superintendents. She has also been a published author of articles guiding parents with troubled youth in newspapers and other publications, and she has developed an outreach program for teens dedicated to getting their life on track. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she also has a background in film, theater, and dance, and was chosen Miss LA County for 2012.

To hear the program, simply click on the link above or on this link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1916/family-first, Friday at 1 pm PT, 2 pm MT, 3 pm CT, 4 pm ET, or any time afterwards online, or on podcast or apps.

Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: Good relations with your teens depends on the trust you can build as they approach those years. but it is never too late to build trust. It takes patience and faith and good communication tools, including powerful listening!