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Ouch Moments: Strategies to Help Your Child Understand Microaggressions

You may have heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But the fact is, words can hurt. Young people have a wonderful capacity to care about each other. However, they need guidance, mentoring, and modeling to understand the impact of their words and behaviors. ...the fact is, words can hurt. Magination Press book, Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, PhD, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, helps to increase awareness in children about what “ouch moments” are, how and where they occur, and what kids can do about them. This excerpt from the book’s Note to Parents and Caregivers, by Kevin L. Nadal, PhD, provides information about microaggressions and strategies for parents to help their children understand them. What Are Microaggressions? Microaggressions, or “ouch moments” are brief exchanges where an indignity, insult, or slight is expressed—whether intentionally or not—from one person to another (especially towards members of minority or oppressed groups). Microaggressions are often subtle. The children expressing them may not even realize that they are being biased or offensive. For example, when a child is left out of a playgroup or friendship circle because they are different, that child may be ridiculed directly, or the exclusion may be more subtle. When the exclusion is more subtle, it can be difficult to prove that it is based on one of the child’s identities (such as race, social class, or ability status). The child excluded can often feel marginalized, isolated, and rejected without understanding why. Certain words or phrases that some people might view as harmless can also be microaggressions. For instance, when children use words like “lame” or “gay” to mean that something is bad, weird, or different, they communicate a message that having a disability or being part of the LGBTQ community is equal to being bad, weird, or different. These children are likely not trying to be hurtful toward these groups, they may just be repeating words they have heard and may not realize the discriminatory connotations. However, for children with disabilities or those who are questioning their sexual orientation, or children with LGBTQ parents, hearing words like these can be quite hurtful and may teach them to internalize negative messages about their identities. Many microaggressions are based on gender. Most girls and boys are taught the importance of conforming to certain gender roles such as boys aren’t supposed to cry or girls are supposed to be demure. Because these gender roles are so pervasive in our society, women and men tend to internalize these norms well into their adult lives.  What Parents and Caregivers Can Do Research on microaggressions between adults shows that these “ouch moments” often result in problems like depression and low self-esteem. Talking about these instances with your child is one way that you can promote your child’s psychological health and wellbeing and help her or him avoid internalizing hurtful messages. When your child is the target of a microaggression

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Ouch Moments: Strategies to Help Your Child Understand Microaggressions 2020-07-09T00:49:48-04:00

A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus

...now, super-people everywhere are wearing masks to protect each other from coronavirus. Feel free to wear a cape, too! Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids and grownups alike have lots of questions. This picture book, written in simple language that even the youngest child can follow, answers kids' questions. A Note to Parents and Caregivers provides tips to help kids manage anxiety caused by the pandemic. Hear author, Rebecca Growe, read A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus aloud. Download the book here. View all Magination Press books to help kids cope with COVID-19.

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A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus 2020-06-30T15:13:00-04:00

Nurturing Resilience and Mental Strength Through Creativity

Strength is often only considered in only one way: physically. But we also have to teach our children about mental strength which is arguably more important in today’s hectic world. My story, Doug’s Dung, is about how a dung beetle is mocked by his peers for being too weak to lift the heavy balls of dung like the others. You’re not strong or powerful. You’ve just given up!” they jeered... A passing butterfly helps Doug realize his strength in another way, and it doesn’t take long before Doug’s creativity begins to blossom!  Doug is so inspired to make art that he becomes completely absorbed in it, taking inspiration from the world around him. Even when the other dung beetles criticize or laugh at him, he retains the grit, determination and self-belief to continue creating more amazing art sculptures. When nobody comes to see Doug’s first art exhibition, he clearly feels a little sad and disappointed, but he finds the strength to overcome his sadness and disappointment and is more determined than ever to carry on making art. After all, he doesn’t need justification from others. It is something which gives Doug happiness in itself. Eventually, the butterfly passes by once more to admire Doug’s art and before long, the whole garden has come to see his exhibition.   Our children can sometimes feel down-trodden with the first failed attempt at a new pursuit or can be so influenced by their peers that they begin to doubt their own judgement. It’s important to gently express to them how giving up too early can sometimes mean you feel even more defeated and it often takes lots of practice to get better at any task. Artistic and creative activities are often especially challenging in this way. If your child has a new and exciting idea and others cannot see their vision, it could make them feel it’s not worth pursuing. This is something which happens to author-illustrators, like myself a great deal! Sometimes an idea just isn’t quite ready to share, sometimes it needs a bit more refining, and sometimes you need a break in order to see the problems within your creative idea. This is all part of the creative process and should be praised. All new ideas from our children should be encouraged. It is great to sometimes work on art with children with the understanding that we don’t know the final outcome, it might go differently than planned, or a mistake could turn into a whole new idea and turn into something even better! Nurturing creativity, rather than avoiding failure, is a great way to also conduct yourself as a grown up. Creative thinking and trying new things is courageous and no matter what your age. You have the ability to ride that creative train just like Doug did. Take the lead with creativity and trying new things, and be unafraid to make mistakes.  When you model grit for your child, you show them that risk-taking requires determination and self-belief.

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Nurturing Resilience and Mental Strength Through Creativity 2020-06-23T16:36:58-04:00